Ex 17:9                 The Battle Between Christ and Satan                   11/15/2009    ßà   

  • A Battle for Water (Ex 17:8-16, Gen 36:12)

 

 

 

 

#1.       A Chronological Sequence (1Cor 2:2, Eph 1:3-4, Ex 17:9)

 

 

 

 

  • Moses, Aaron and Hur (Gal 4:4, 1:15, Ex 17:9-10)

 

 

 

 

#2.       Moses’ Hands Were Heavy (Ex 17:11-12, John 3:5, Rom 10:17, Phil 2:13, Acts 6:6, 8:17, 9:12, 13:3, Isa 43:1,3,4)

 

 

 

 

  • The Mouth of the Sword (Ex 17:13, Heb 4:12, Eph 6:17, John 12:48, Phil 2:9-11)

 

 

 

 

#3.       Write This For a Memorial (Ex 17:14-16, Isa 43:11)

 

 

 

 

  • The Battle in the Church (Eph 1:3-4, John 6:39,44)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 17:8 (2X). Today we will look at the second half of Ex chapter 17. We read here about Joshua and his army doing battle with the army of the tribe of Amalek. And since Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, which is a Greek name, we can see here a battle taking shape in which one of the parties represents the Lord Jesus Christ and His army, and thus logically the other party must be Satan and his army. And thus, the title for this sermon is, The Battle Between Christ and Satan (2X). Let us first read this piece of history which indeed took place.

  • A Battle for Water (Ex 17:8-16, Gen 36:12)

Ex 17:8-16  Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Amalek fought with Israel in Rephidim. Did you notice the timing of this attack? Rephidim was a very deserted place, since there was no water there. But as soon as Moses struck the Rock, and a river of water flowed out of the Rock, and Amalek heard that there was a river of water coming out of Rephidim, Amalek wanted to conquer this place. In this wilderness everything depended on the availability of water and thus the desert tribe of Amalek fought for territory where there was water. But they coveted to have what legally did not belong to them. Historically this was the cause of the battle. It was a battle for water. If they had known that Israel would move on, they would not have attacked Israel; they would have waited until Israel has left the place. But God used their sin to work out His plan for the Gospel, so that all things come to pass according to the counsel of His will. God was drawing Amalek to this battle to show us a picture of the battle between Christ and Satan. Where did Amalek come from? Amalek was a grandson of Esau. We read in Gen 36:12, “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz, Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.” Esau was never saved, and thus his posterity can be expected to act like wicked Amalek did. But Esau was Jacob’s twin brother. And thus we see that Amalek was in the family of Isaac, together with Israel. What does that mean spiritually? In the spiritual picture it means that both Israel and Amalek were in the same church. And thus the battle that we see develop here is the battle between saved and unsaved people in the church. And that is a battle between those who hold the true Gospel of the Bible against those who hold a false gospel. Look where the battle was fought historically. It was at Rephidim, where an abundance of water flowed out of the Rock, which represents Christ. There was an abundance of the water of the Gospel. Israel had it and Amalek did not have the Gospel. God gave it to Israel, free. God did not allow Amalek to take it by force.

#1.       A Chronological Sequence (1Cor 2:2, Eph 1:3-4, Ex 17:9)

When we looked at Ex 16 we saw that the storyline centered on the manna from heaven, the bread from heaven, which was a spiritual picture of Christ, the Bread of life, who also was sent from heaven. And thus Ex 16 centers on the Incarnation of Christ, the gift of God who came in the likeness of sinful flesh. Then when we moved on to Ex 17 we saw that Moses struck the Rock, and an abundance of water flowed out of it. And this picture in the first half of chapt 17 centers on the atonement of Christ on the cross, and the result was that an abundance of the water of the Gospel flowed out of the crucified One. We read in 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” First the incarnation, then the atonement; what do you expect should now follow? We expect Pentecost and the beginning of the growth of the church. What does this imply? It implies that Christ is spiritually doing battle with Satan, and Satan is losing, for Satan is not able to stop the progress of the Gospel into the world. This is the chronological sequence we would expect in the spiritual pictures that we now see develop. Therefore chapter 17b must fit the context of chapters 16 and 17a. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to he Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X). As I have already said, Joshua is the same name as Jesus. Joshua is the Hebrew name, meaning “Jehovah saves.” As His name already implies the Lord Jesus Christ definitely saves people; He does not make them savable at a later date, but He saves them absolutely in His atonement. And as soon as His atonement was finished, the battle between Christ and Satan intensified, for Satan does not like to loose more souls. Let us now start where the Gospel begins. We have read in Ex 17:9, “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek.” Joshua was asked to choose the men, or elect the men, who will join him to fight the enemy, Amalek. Does this not remind us of election? It reminds us of Eph 1:3-4,

Eph 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Before the foundation of the world God the Father chose us, and placed our names in Christ, who is God the Son, in order that we should stand before Him holy and without blame, which means that we should be saved from our sins and from the penalty of our sins. Please turn again to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 17:9 (2X). Now apply what we have found in Eph 1:3-4 to our story in Ex 17:9. It is as if before the foundation of the world the Father said to the Son, “Son, let us choose out men who will fight against Satan.” In other words, in this picture Moses fills the role of God the Father and Joshua fills the role of Christ as the head of the army of the Lord. Let us look now at the three figures on top of the hill:

  • Moses, Aaron and Hur (Gal 4:4, 1:15, Ex 17:9-10)

The name “Hur” means “Noble”, or “Light”, which is the emblem of Divine holiness, and so it points to the Holy Spirit of God. Aaron was the head of Israel’s priesthood, and so this figure speaks plainly of the Lord Jesus Christ in His role as our great High Priest. Then Moses fills the role of God the Father. And when should the battle be fought? The Father says, “To morrow”. Why to morrow? Why not today? Amalek was already attacking and killing Israelites. We have to leave this to the wisdom of God, for God tells us in the Bible that everything in His plan will be carried out “in the fullness of time”. It was in the fullness of the time that “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal 4:4). And it was in the fullness of time that “God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, called me by His grace” (Gal 1:15). The battle between Christ and Satan did not start immediately in the Garden of Eden, but years later. We see the effect of it when Cain killed his brother Abel. We read in Ex 17:9, “To morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” This was Moses’ rod. Only once before do we read that God calls this “the rod of God”. It was when Moses was sent to Egypt with the impossible task of taking two million Israelites out of their slavery to the king of Egypt. This rod of God symbolized the power of God to save His people from their bondage to sin and Satan, and to condemn those who are the enemies of God. But was this battle between Christ and Satan in Ex 17:9 so great that it also might be called an almost impossible task? Indeed that is so. This battle is not the battle at the cross. That battle was fought when Moses struck the Rock. We are now past the cross, and we are seeing that we are in a warfare against Satan. But now the war is at three fronts: #1. We are at war with Satan about the heathen out there who have never heard the Gospel. #2. We are at war with Satan about apostacy in the church. #3. We are at war with our sinful bodies, which are drawing us into sin.

Moses, Aaron and Hur stand on top of the hill. The hill represents the Kingdom of God. It means that the triune God rules over this universe. He alone decides who may enter the Kingdom of God. He alone decides who will be saved. And for this reason He has stated in the Bible, not only in Eph 1:4 but in more than 100 other places, that He has an elect people whom He will save out of the hands of Satan, and God will save no one else. And to accomplish this He has dispatched Christ as the leader of His army on earth to fight against Satan in Ex 17:9. Moreover, He has as His counselors at His side the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who will plead our case before Him, and God the Holy Spirit in the person of Hur who will implement the providence of God throughout this universe, in Ex 17:10. Is this a picture that glorifies God? Definitely it glorifies God, for this is the God who is described in the Bible. This is the God whom we serve and whom we worship. This is the God who has established His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only Mediator between God and man, through the cross of Christ. But now in this chapter we are past the cross, and the warfare against Satan is still going on as if he is trying to undo what Christ has promised at the cross. At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ saved the souls that His Father has given Him, and He promised that He will take us through this life, symbolically through this wilderness, until at the end He will present us to the Father as His Bride. No one will be able to deceive us into another gospel, for we are in Christ, and no one is able to take us out of Christ. So, let us look at this battle at three fronts, and let us look at the role the rod of God played in the hands of Moses.

#2.       Moses’ Hands Were Heavy (Ex 17:11-12, John 3:5, Rom 10:17, Phil 2:13, Acts 6:6, 8:17, 9:12, 13:3, Isa 43:1,3,4)

Ex 17:11-12, And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

How many hands did Moses lift up? Two hands, for Aaron and Hur were holding up his hands, one on the right and one on the left. And yet verse 11 speaks of only one hand. It was the hand that held up the rod of God, which symbolized the judgment of God on Amalek. It means that the judgment of God on all the unsaved is sure, for all the unsaved are on the side of Satan. Therefore, if we love our neighbor as ourselves we want to bring the Gospel to them, so that all those who are of the elect will hear and fear, and come to a saving relationship with Christ. But they must hear the Gospel. As long as they have not heard the Gospel they are still on the side of Satan. The Lord Jesus said in John 3:5, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. We must be born of God by hearing the water of the Gospel, and these words must be printed in our heart by God the Holy Spirit. Just the hearing with our ears will not do. God the Holy Spirit must revive our soul so that we receive the faith that accompanies salvation, and then we will believe what our ears have heard. The same principle is stated in Rom 10:17, which says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith, the evidence of salvation, is received by hearing the Gospel both with our ears and with our heart, and the ability to hear with our heart is received by a spoken word of God. Like God spoke the creation into being, so God speaks to a dead soul, and makes it come alive. This is the process of “regeneration.” A dead soul has come alive, like dead Lazarus was made alive. The Lord Jesus spoke the word, and Lazarus was made alive, and he heard the call from the Lord, and he believed and obeyed the call. This is the first front of the battle between Christ and Satan. We are simply God’s instruments through which Christ speaks to the heathen. We exercise no power in this battle against Satan, for we read in Phil 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This is a marvelous provision of God on our behalf, for we receive not the credit, but we also receive not the blame. And God knows that our efforts in evangelism will be rejected much more often than when it would lead to salvation. Moses held up both hands. It is as if he blessed the army of Joshua. What is the meaning of holding up both hands? Could it mean the posture of prayer? No! The Biblical posture of prayer is to lay down flat on your face. When Martin Luther prayed for 5 hours he could not possibly hold up his hands high for 5 hours, for his hands also would become very heavy. When we read in the Bible about the laying on of hands, it always refers to commissioning people to do a certain job. For example, in Acts 6:6 the apostles laid their hands on the 7 newly appointed deacons, commissioning them to serve the congregation. In Acts 8:17 Peter and John laid their hands upon the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Ghost, and this was a sign that they were commissioned to bring the Gospel to other Samaritans. In Acts 9:12 God instructed Ananias to lay his hands upon Saul, commissioning him to bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles. In Acts 13:3 the elders of the church at Antioch laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul, commissioning them to preach the Gospel to the unsaved world. And when I give the Lord’s parting blessing to this congregation every Sunday I raise my hands for the same reason. You all are commissioned to bring the Gospel to whosever wants to hear it.

But why were Moses’ hands heavy? Historically that is easy to see. But why did God put this detail in the Bible? Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:3 (2X). Moses had in one hand the rod of God, symbolizing the judgment of God on all the unsaved, and symbolizing the mercy of God on all His elect. That was what Moses was raising above the two armies in battle, and that is certainly an awesome responsibility to bear. Only God can make such weighty decisions. Moses was only the instrument through which God’s providence was made known to mankind. What is God’s providence? God’s providence, or the hands of God, is the executioner of the will of God in the history of mankind. God’s providence is carrying out what God decided in His counsel before the foundation of the world. It was then that God decided who of mankind will be saved, and who He will pass by. We read in Isa 43:3-

Isa 43:3-4  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

Let these words sink into your minds. God tells us here that He has sacrificed people to give us eternal life. Historically it means that God has given up the populations of Egypt, and Ethiopia, and Seba just to give salvation to the remnant chosen by grace of the nation of Israel whom He rescued out of Egypt. It is the remnant of whom God says in Isa 43:1, “for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” This is what the rod of God symbolized. This is an awesome responsibility and that is why God indicated that Moses’ hands were heavy. And the word “were” is a suggestion by the translators. Moses’ hands were heavy to begin with. Let us return to Ex 17:13 (2X).

  • The Mouth of the Sword (Ex 17:13, Heb 4:12, Eph 6:17, John 12:48, Phil 2:9-11)

Ex 17:13, “And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”

Here the translators inserted in their own interpretation, for this is not what the Hebrew text says. Literally “the edge of the sword” should have been translated “the mouth of the sword.” Now we all know that a sword does not have a mouth; or does it? A metal sword that is used in battle does not have a mouth. But God uses another sword in the Bible that is specified in Heb 4:12, where we read,

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing

even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Here and in Eph 6:17 the Word of God, the Bible, is called the sword of the Spirit. Two times in the Revelation of Jesus Christ does the Lord Jesus appear with a twoedged sword in His mouth. And so, we have ample evidence that whenever we look for a spiritual meaning of the word “sword” we should see in here the sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God. And then indeed the Word of God has a mouth. Christ and the apostles and prophets are the mouth of God. And after Pentecost we are the mouth of God. Whenever we speak the words of the Bible, we are prophesying, and we speak the words that came from God. But what is the meaning of Ex 17:13? When we look at the word “discomfited” we notice that it is a word that basically means “to be prostrate.” And thus, in the spiritual sense, Christ caused the enemy to be prostrate by the words of His mouth, which is the sword of the spirit. It reminds us of the words the Lord Jesus Christ spoke concerning the judgment of the last day. We read in John

Joh 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

The word that I have spoken refers to the whole Bible. This is the sword with which Joshua smote the Amalekites. And thus we have firm evidence that God meant for us to interpret this story all along. This is not something that I sucked out of my thumb. This battle between Christ and Satan will have as the result that Satan will be prostrate before Christ as the Judge. Let us hear the words of Phil 2:9-11,

Php 2:9-11  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Even Satan shall bow the knee, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Let us continue in Ex 17:14.

#3.       Write This For a Memorial (Ex 17:14-16, Isa 43:11)

Ex 17:14, And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

What Book is this? It is the Bible. Here in the Bible is the memorial of the battle between Joshua and Amalek, or between Christ and Satan. Satan will be the loser on the last day, just like Amalek was the loser in 1500 BC. And notice that Amalek was not annihilated, for God said in Ex 17:16,

Ex 17:16, For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation

From generation to generation means that Amalek, or Satan, shall continue to have battles between Christ and his people against Satan and his people. We see that 500 years later when Saul was king over Israel Samuel commanded Saul to smite the Amalekites, but he did an incomplete job. In fact, the Amalekites grew stronger and they overran Ziklag, the city of David, and they burned Ziklag with fire. But David recovered what the Amalekites had stolen, and eventually David subdued the tribe of Amalek. But that was not the end of Amalek. The Amalekites were in existence even until the time of Hezekiah, around 700 BC. Today the physical tribe of Amalekites may not exist any more, but spiritually they still exist in the many who are on the side of Satan and are in open opposition to Christ and His people.

Therefore, when Moses built an altar and called the altar “Jehovah-nissi, meaning Jehovah is my banner, Moses directly referred to the battle of Joshua against Amalek. Joshua fought under the banner Jehovah-nissi. Who is Jehovah? Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:11 (2X). When we see the word “LORD” in the Bible with all four letters capitalized, we know that the original Hebrew text reads “Jehovah.” The Hebrews were so afraid to use the name of Jehovah in vain that they substituted the word LORD, or “adonai”. The KJ translators copied this practice and wrote the word LORD, which actually stands for Jehovah. And thus we read in Isa 43:11,

Isa 43:11  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

What is God saying in this verse? God says “there is no other Saviour than Jehovah.” But the NT tells us in 24 places that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Saviour there is. Harmonizing all this information leads us to conclude that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. And thus when we consider again the triune God we must say: God the Father is Jehovah, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, is Jehovah, and God the Holy Spirit is Jehovah; but the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. And yet the fulness of the Godhead dwells in the Father, as well as the Son, as well as the Holy Spirit. Isa 43:11 tells us plainly that the Divine side of the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God, for He is God the Son. However the human side of the Lord Jesus Christ is fully man, and shows all the characteristics of being a man. He got tired and slept. Jesus walked great distances in Palestine. Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus. Jesus’ blood flowed when the soldiers pierced Him in His hands and His feet and in His side. Jesus body died when He gave up the ghost. From all this we can see that He suffered the atonement in His human side, not in His Divine side, but He was strengthened by His Divine side, so that in His human soul He was able to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And so we see that we cannot even understand the extent of the incarnation. And therefore to fully comprehend His atonement, which was a much greater miracle, is so far above our ways. As the heavens are far above the earth, so are His ways far above our ways. And so, when the Lord asks us to be His ambassadors to all the heathen round about us, we should be delighted that we can in any way serve Him who has done so much for us. It is in God’s plan to make us all warriors with the Lord Jesus Christ. The battle between Joshua and Amalek was recorded for us to show us the battle between Christ and Satan. And the first front of that battle is to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world with all the tools that we can lay our hands on. But the second front of that battle is the apostacy in the church.

  • The Battle in the Church (Eph 1:3-4, John 6:39,44)

Do we need to do battle in the church? Do we not dishonor the Lord by being so technical and so critical

of other people’s opinions? Let us look at the history of the church. The church in Jerusalem was very slow in learning what the true Gospel is. More than 30 years after the cross and after Pentecost they were still entangled in the ceremonial law, so that the apostles and elders asked Paul to make the Nazarite vow to show that he was still obeying the law. It was about time that God stepped in and God overthrew all this nonsense by destroying the entire city of Jerusalem. Only then did they understand that God’s plan include concepts that are altogether spiritual and not of the OT tribal nature.

Let us look at the Gentile churches of Asia Minor. It was only 35 years after the apostle Paul and the apostle John labored among the seven churches of Asia Minor that we see the damage caused by Satan in those churches. In Rev chapters 2 and 3 we find that only two of the seven churches have remained faithful, because they were persecuted by descendants of Jacob who are now called the Synagogue of Satan. Five of these seven churches are on the brink of sliding into total apostacy.

And this is how we enter into the church age. It was not much different from the apostacy in the OT church, where the Lord had to tell Elijah, I have reserved for myself 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. But what a pitiful fraction is 7000 out of a nation of at least two million? And so we see that even in the church age the fraction of truly saved individuals was very small. Is there a need to battle Satan in the churches? Absolutely yes! First of all, after a learning process of almost 2000 years we understand what the Gospel is, the Good News of Christ crucified. The Good News is preceded by the bad news. The bad news is that all mankind is on a slippery slide into Hell, and none of mankind is able to save himself from this terrible predicament, because all mankind is born wicked, at enmity with God, and friends with Satan. Of ourselves there is none righteous, no not one, and we are all by nature children of wrath, for God’s righteousness demands that His wrath rests upon all who commit sins. The Good News is that God has reserved a people for Himself, just like He has reserved 7000 in the days of Elijah. We have already seen that reference, Eph 1:3-4, where God says that He has elected a new nation of people to become saved, and placed their names in His Son before the foundation of the world. Then in John 6:39 the Lord Jesus assured us that all whom the Father has given Him shall be saved through His atonement, and shall be resurrected on the last day to receive eternal life. How shall they be saved? The Lord assures us that all who shall be saved shall be drawn by the Father to Christ (John 6:44). Not one shall be forgotten and not one shall be added. This is God’s plan. Therefore this brings glory to God.

But many churches have concocted their own gospel of salvation, whereby they have made Christ to be crucified for all mankind. In their opinion all mankind stands in the same favor with God. Then they want salvation for all those who are on good behavior with their fellow man. This is an insult to God, for God does not want man to be saved based on good works, for then man can boast of his good works, but all our good works are as filthy rags in the sight of God.

This is the battle in the church. The Good News of the Gospel has been twisted into the good news of pride being rewarded. But God wants nothing of this false gospel. Those who are believing such a false gospel are still unsaved, for they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, but they have concocted for themselves their own righteousness, which is of the law, for they insist that you must obey the law of accepting the Lord Jesus as your savior.

And so, the battle between Christ and Satan goes on, and the battle fronts get longer and wider, because fewer and fewer people rely totally on the Word of God.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.