Monday, April 15, 2013

Ten Plagues and Beyond

“This is the finger of God.”
Exodus 8:19

Ah, Moses and the ten plagues of Egypt. Many are familiar with Exodus 7-12 and love the account of God’s wondrous power. But often our knowledge of the passage stops there. Well, never fear! I have for you an article to expand your understanding of the ten plagues, to expound on God’s purpose and power in everything, and to express the significance of each affliction which targeted individual Egyptian gods to prove Who is the greatest God.

Plague 1: River of Blood—This first plague abased the Egyptian gods Khnum, creator-god of the Nile, and Hapi, god of the Nile and the life-source it brings. When the Nile River—and all other water sources—turned into foul blood for seven days, God was showing the Egyptians that their puny gods could do nothing to save them.
The Egyptian magicians mimicked Moses’s act with their own spells by Satan’s power, yet notice how they did not change the blood back to water. Satan’s power is limited; they could not go against God’s will.

Plague 2: Smitten with Frogs—As a second sign, God sent an army of frogs to invade Egypt, directly affronting the goddess of fertility and renewal: Heket (one of the many spellings), who had the head of a frog. Chapter 8:3 informs the Egyptians, “So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls” and they were stepping on frogs everywhere they walked. What an insult to the false goddess. 
Again the magicians copied the plague, but if you were Pharaoh, would you want your magicians to summon even more frogs or send them all away? But the satanic sorcerers could not undo what God had done.

Plague 3: A Dusting of Lice—During the third plague, God turned the dust of the earth (and there’s a lot of dust in Egypt) into lice (or gnats). Imagine those pesky fruit flies in your kitchen times a bazillion, crawling in your hair and eyes and nose, everywhere. This belittled Geb, god of the earth, since the earth morphed into vile pests.
Also, Pharaoh’s magicians “worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not” (8:18, NKJV). Then they confessed to Pharaoh that “‘this is the finger of God’” (8:19, NKJV). This also tore down Thoth and Isis, deities of magic.

Plague 4: Flurry of Flies—The fourth plague brought swarms and swarms of flies (also has been translated to beetles) which corrupted the land. Khepri, god of rebirth and sunrise, was mocked, since he had the head of a beetle. The fourth plague was the first of the many to bring destruction along with discomfort, and also the beginning of when the Lord set apart His people from the plagued Egyptians.

Plague 5: LiveDeadstock—When God struck down all the livestock with pestilence—all the livestock of the Egyptians!—Khnum (creator-god of the Nile with the head of a ram), Hather (cow-headed goddess of protection), and Ptah/Apis (god of strength resembling a bull) meant nothing to THE mighty God.

Plague 6: Blistering Boil Outbreak—The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to toss ashes in the air, and the ashes spread over Egypt, causing boils and sores to break out on every living Egyptian thing. And this isn’t just the chickenpox. This is a sooty, inflamed, pus-filled swelling on the skin. The magicians couldn’t even stand before Moses because of the boils. God was mocking the pathetic deities of medicine and healing, particularly Isis, the biggest goddess of medicine and peace.

Plague 7: Hailfire—“So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt” (9:24, NKJV). Some of Pharaoh’s servants now began to fear the Lord by now along with the Israelites and ran indoors after Moses’ warning. But every crop, every beast, and everyone outside was struck by the largest storm in Egyptian history. And where was Nut, goddess of the sky? Or Osiris, god of crops? Or Seth, god of storms and disorder?

Plague 8: Loads of Locusts—The eighth plague nullified Osiris and Seth again, Nephi, god of grain, and Shu, god of wind. On the east wind, a storm of locust—so thick the land was blinded—consumed anything that had grown or survived after the hail. Joel 1 describes the utter, crunchy chaos of a locust invasion. And after Pharaoh pleaded, God blew a west wind which swept all the locusts away into the Red Sea.
Note that these plagues weren’t over a short period of time. The hail struck every beast in the field as well, which means there must have been some time for the Egyptians to raise more animals after the livestock pestilence. The locusts ate everything that grew after the hail, and it takes more than a weekend to grow crops. Plagues aren’t a walk in the park; they’re a devastating, drawn-out deal.

Plague 9: Tangible Darkness—“Darkness which may even be felt” for three days: a literal black plague (10:21, NKJV). This is darkness so thick you could cut it with a knife, not that it would help any. Yet the Israelites had light in their dwellings. The sun-god and one of the chief gods, Ra, could do nothing for the Egyptians.

            Plague 10: Firstborn Fatality—The final plague, which instituted the Passover, killed all the firstborns of unbelieving Egyptians, “and there was a great cry in Egypt” (12:30, NKJV). The most dreadful plague overcame the most worshiped god: Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh could do nothing against the hand of the sovereign God.

            I could’ve written twice as much as I already have. But hopefully this summary encourages you to grasp the gravity and impact of these plagues and the infinite power of the one, true God the next time you read Exodus 7-12.


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