Churches in today’s culture seem to focus so heavily on only the New Testament that we forget the importance of the lessons taught in the Old. If I went out and asked the average Christian what the Passover was, I think only a few of them would be able to answer in such a way that they are totally familiar and have a solid idea of it.
In short, the Passover is a seven day period that commemorates God’s deliverance of the Israelites from the bonds of their Egyptian oppressors. Now, most people are familiar with the story of the Ten Plagues, wherein God sends Moses to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s captivity. The first half of the Book of Exodus deals strictly with the struggle between Israel and Pharaoh. Moses approaches Pharaoh over and over again asking him to release the Israelites from slavery, only to be denied each time.
“2 You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My sings and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:2-5 NKJV)
The Bible tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that His signs and wonders would be multiplied and through the many judgments He would bring upon Egypt would the Israelites be relieved. Think of it this way: If Pharaoh had immediately released the Israelites and been a friendlier ruler, the story of Exodus would’ve been quite short with nothing quite as special about it. In this way, there would not have been much to glorify God. However, God allowed a struggle to emerge wherein Pharaoh was stubborn and cruel. This way it allowed God to use His miracles to prove his divinity and existence and to magnify His Name over everyone who was watching the struggle unfold.
Sometimes this still applies in our own lives in modern day. When we are going through troubles that seem only to get darker and darker, with no foreseeable end, God uses a miracle to end it. This way we know that it was God who saved us, not some coincidence or stroke of luck–or even that life simply worked out on its own for us. The presence of God in our lives is magnified and emboldened then, and it allows us to grow closer to Him. It also inspires other people who look at our situation and see the miracle that God placed there in order to save us; in this way it also draws them closer to God as well.
The Ten Plagues that God used against Pharaoh and the Egyptians were as follows
The Nile’s water turns into blood
“17 Thus says the LORD: “By this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. 18 And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river.”‘” (Exodus 7:17-18 NKJV)
Frog invasion in Egypt
“1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Let my people go, that they may serve Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. 3 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. 4 And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants. (Exodus 8:1-4 NKJV)
Lice invasion in Egypt
“16 So the LORD said the Moses, “Say to Aaron, stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’ ” 17 And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice on man and beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 8:16-17 NKJV)
Fly invasion in Egypt
“20 And the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 21 Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.” (Exodus 8:20-21 NKJV)
Widespread livestock death
“2 For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep — a very severe pestilence. 4 And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.” ‘ ” (Exodus 9:2-4 NKJV)
Boils on the Egyptians
“8 So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 9:8-9 NKJV)
“18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. 19 Therefore send now and father your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.” ‘ ” (Exodus 9:18-19 NKJV)
Massive locust swarms
“4 Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat the tree which grows up for you out of the field.” (Exodus 10:4-5 NKJV)
The skies go dark
“21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” (Exodus 10L21-23 NKJV)
Now before I list the tenth and final plague, I will go deeper into the significance of each of these nine.
As previously mentioned, God used these plagues as a miraculous way of proclaiming his divinity and existence. Furthermore, God uses this as a way to show that there is only one God — and it is Him. If examined closely we can see that God uses the plagues to mock and deny the gods of Egypt. Take a look at some of the idols of Egypt and what they stood for:
- Ra – god of the sun
- Anuket – goddess & protector of the River Nile
- Geb – god of the earth
- Heket – goddess associated with frogs
- Khepri – associated with the sun & bugs
- Hathor – goddess of skies & the milky way
- Isis – goddess of health, fertility, magic, etc.
- Nut – sky goddess
- Nepri – god of agriculture
- Bat – cow goddess
We can quickly draw the connection between the false idols and the plagues, and conclude that God used these signs as a way of casting down the Egyptian religions and showing that He is the One True God. Furthermore, flash forward fourteen hundred years, the New Testament shows us the reality behind all false gods:
“20 Rather, that the the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (1 Corinthians 10:20-22 NKJV)
“1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NKJV)
In some ways we can relate that God is directly mocking the demons that have overtaken the Egyptians. In addition, let’s inspect a piece of scripture from Exodus 9, where God is addressing Moses on what he is to say to Pharaoh next.
“14 ‘for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14 NKJV)
God says that there is none like Him in all the earth. And we know that Satan and his demons dwell within and upon the earth (Job 1:7). It is obvious that the plagues, in part, are an assault on the sovereignty Satan has placed over the people of Egypt.
The final plague will be listed in part 2 (Lamb’s Blood) as we go extensively into its meaning and look at it more in depth than the rest of the plagues.