The Exodus Plagues

Contemporary Judgments

“Our fathers … were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. … Now, these things happened unto them by way of example [type]; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2, 11 ASV).

by James Parkinson

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Moses came to Egypt and Pharaoh with a message: “Let my people go!” (Exodus 7:16). It took ten plagues on Egypt to let Jehovah’s people go. Jehovah then led them by an indirect route so they would be free from Pharaoh ever after. Parallel to that is Jesus’ plan to free the world from Satan, sorrow, sighing, sin, and death.

Moses said, “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15 ASV). So in Jesus Christ we should seek during the Gospel Age, things parallel to the Exodus. Yesterday’s history shows our present and future.

Exodus — Moses was sent to Egypt to deliver the Lord’s people from bondage.

Parallel — Jesus Christ is sent to deliver people from bondage to sin and death.

For the first three plagues, Moses said to Aaron, Do this. These three plagues fell upon both the Egyptians and the Israelites. The miracle was in the timing and intensity, and not necessarily in the nature of the plague itself.

First Three Plagues

(1) Aaron smote the river with his rod (authority); all the rivers looked like blood and the fish died. The magicians did likewise.
Egyptians dug around the river for drinking water for seven days. This was likely the common “red tide,” where microorganisms multiply until they poison themselves and die; digging around the river uses soil as a filter to get potable water.
Christianity caused Satan’s 2,000-year-old pagan religion to be seen as deadly, and it was overthrown (perhaps 313-538). (But pagan teaching and practice made its way into the reigning
church.)

(2) Aaron caused frogs to come up out of all the waters, entering the houses and overwhelming the kitchens and even the bedrooms.  Pharaoh’s magicians did likewise. Heavy rains — rare in Egypt — then caused waters to overflow their banks and forced frogs away. The Reformation (1517) made the Bible the topic of public discussion throughout “Christendom.” (There were both good and bad Reformers.)

(3) Aaron smote the ground and it produced lice (or sand flies, or fleas); they were upon man and animals. The magicians tried to do likewise but failed. Sir Samuel Baker said, The sandfly is a “sort of tick, not larger than a grain of sand, which when filled with blood expands to the size of a hazelnut” (R3994, May
15, 1907).  The French Revolution converted absolute monarchies into limited monarchies throughout Christendom (Revelation 12:16). Bible societies began distributing Bibles throughout the world.

Last Seven Plagues

For the seven last plagues Moses took the dominant role, and Jehovah separated the Israelites from the Egyptians; so these plagues fell only upon the Egyptians (Exodus 8:20-23). Christ’s return begins the harvest work of separation.

(4) (First of the last seven). Swarms of flies entered into all the houses of the Egyptians. Pharaoh offered two successive compromises: (1st) Go sacrifice to your God in the land; (2nd) “I will let you go … only ye shall not go very far away.” Both compromises were rejected: “We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Jehovah our God, as he shall command us” (Exodus 8:27 ASV).  Long Depression (1873-1890s). Christian Revolt, Ottoman Empire declares bankruptcy (1875). Return of Israel begins at Petach Tiqvah (October / November 1878). Call to come out of Babylon begins and meets resistance: Do not leave, or else take the spirit of Babylon with you.

(5) Murrain (disease) infected all cattle, horses, etc. (Egyptians would need to buy domesticated animals from Israel.) ● World War I, more than 10 million deaths, and at least 2 million more from swine flu. End of Christendom’s monarchs.

(6) Blains (boils) were upon man and animals, including Pharaoh’s magicians. ● Great Depression (1929-1939). Fundamentalism damaged.

(7) Hail fell on man and animals; fire (lightning?) with thunder; flax and barley crops were destroyed. (Egyptians would need to buy flax and barley from Israel.) ● World War II, 15
million battle deaths, more than 45 million civilian deaths (1939-1945). Liberal Christianity damaged.

(8) Moses threatened with locusts. Pharaoh listened to his servants and offered to let the men go but not their youth. An east wind brought swarms of locusts into Egypt, covering the ground and destroying wheat and spelt. A “Khamsin wind” is common in the Spring; it blows hot air from the South or Southeast. When it blows locusts from Arabia to Egypt,
the locusts become voracious. ● East vs. West struggle: communism advances until the West prevails, and the Soviet Union falls. (1945-1989). Catholicism is damaged. (A plague
poured out on the throne of the beast in Revelation 16:10-11).

(9) There came thick darkness that could be felt; so that no one went outdoors for three days. The darkness may have come from a South wind bringing a sandstorm from the Sahara
Desert; or from one of the eruptions of the volcano Thera and counterclockwise winds over the East Mediterranean (typical around winter. Ash from Thera has been found in Egypt and Israel, and the Chinese report the sky turned yellow in the late 17th century BC.)● Will this be a Deep Depression? (A plague is poured out on the Euphrates, which Babylon depends upon, in Revelation 16:12-15).

(10) At midnight, under the full moon, the firstborn of Egypt died, from Pharaoh to the least of the Egyptians and even of their cattle. There is no obvious natural explanation; so
we may consider it a miracle. ● Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-21). World institutions destroyed, but Israel miraculously survives.

Feast of Tabernacles

The Exodus from Egypt was accompanied by the seven days’ Feast of Passover (Pesach, Pascha). This consisted of three days to the Reed Sea, one day to cross the Reed Sea (and lose their enemies), and the remaining three days to go “three days journey in the wilderness,” as they were originally commanded. It suggests a parallel of fulfilling “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth” forever (Matthew 6:10 RV).
Spoiling the Egyptians — Israel despoiled the Egyptians, left Egypt from Rameses (Avaris), and encamped at Succoth, then
at Etham at the edge of the desert, then by the Reed Sea (Exodus 12:37, 13:20, 14:2). A “mixed multitude” went out with them. Day 1 was a “holy convocation” (Exodus 12:16). ● They shall beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks in the thousand-year Kingdom of Christ. Unbelievers will also be resurrected to be reformed.

Crossing the Reed Sea — Israel crossed the Reed Sea. Pharaoh and the Egyptian charioteers attempted to also, but were drowned (Exodus 14:5-28). ● Satan “shall be loosed …
to deceive the nations” before being destroyed.

Three Days Journey — Israel went three days into the wilderness (Exodus 15:22). Day 7 was a “holy convocation” (Exodus 12:16). ● Death shall be no more, they shall reign for
ever and ever.

The Feast of Passover, antitypically, begins with the kingdom of Christ bringing living waters (the water of life) to all the world. It will continue until “Jehovah shall be King over all the earth … and there shall be no more curse” (Zechariah 14:6-9, 11, 16-21 ASV). This result will be achieved after Satan and his hosts
are destroyed at the end of his “little season.” (See also “Studies in the Scriptures,” Volume 6, Study XI, pages 458-459.)

A Summary of the Gospel Age

Here is a brief comparison between the Exodus plagues and Gospel Age events. Each of these 10 events has three or four parts: (a) the Exodus Plague — (b) the Revelation 16 Plague — (c) the impact on the World or Babylon— (d) the impact on Israel.

(1) Waters turned to blood (red tide) — Fall of Rome (476) — Israel in diaspora

(2) Frogs come from the river and get into everything — Reformation (1517) — Israel in diaspora

(3) Lice upon man and animals — French Revolution and aftermath (1789) — Israel in diaspora

(4) Flies — Revelation plague on Earth — Long Depression (1873-1890s) — Petach Tiqvah begins the return of Israel in 1878.

(5) Murrain (disease) on domestic animals — Revelation plague on Sea — World War I (1914-1918) — Balfour Declaration prepares for a Jewish homeland (1917)

(6) Blains on man and animals — Revelation plague on Rivers and Fountains — Great Depression (1929-1939) — Jews leave Germany

(7) Hail with lightning and thunder, destroyed barley — Revelation plague on Sun— World War II (1939-1945) — Jews flee Central Europe

(8) An east wind brought locusts which devoured wheat, they were driven out by a mighty west wind. Revelation plague on the throne of beast — East vs. West struggle (1945-1989)— Israel restored to independence (1948), Jews leave Eastern Europe

(9) Darkness immobilized people three days — Revelation plague on the River Euphrates — Perhaps a Deep Depression — Perhaps Jews flee America

(10) Death of the Egyptian firstborn — Revelation plague on the Air — Armageddon — Israel miraculously survives.

These plagues were followed by the Exodus itself. Israel leaves Egypt — Revelation 20 — Christ’s Kingdom, Resurrection begins

What the Exodus Lesson Should Mean to Us

The purpose for knowledge is to show us what we should do about it. At all times during the Gospel Age we should:

(a) Clean up our lives: recognize our sinful condition and sanctify ourselves.

(b) Trust in Jesus and his sacrifice as the one and only atonement for sin.

(c) Consecrate yourselves, without reservation, to do the will of God.

(d) Witness to God and Christ with our lives and with our words. (Tell everyone we can what will follow after this “present evil world” destroys itself. Who else can tell them?)

See both the opportunities and pitfalls of our time, study where we are on the stream of time, and conduct ourselves accordingly. It is suggested here that we are at the threshold of
the 9th plague (6th of the last 7). If so, it would be especially appropriate for us to:

(a) Get out of debt, and stay out of debt (that our Lord be not blamed on account of us).

(b) Recognize that Satan has been out to keep the youth away from Christ and his principles; be especially alert to encourage them in the ways of righteousness.

(c) Consider whether Satan’s current objective is to take down the West, Israel, and Christianity. If so, be alert to be no part of the lawlessness, nor of anti-Israel slander.

(d) Left as an exercise for the reader.

Suggestions for Further Study of the 21st Century

● Judges 7. Gideon’s three enemies destroy one another.
● 2 Chronicles 20. Two of Israel’s three enemies destroy the third and then destroy each other
● Ezekiel 38 describes the national alliances just prior to Armageddon and Israel’s deliverance.
● Revelation 16:13 speaks of three unclean spirits. Can we identify three dominant ideologies today?
● Habakkuk describes what the attitude of the Lord’s people’s should be in our time.

Chapter 1. Habakkuk acknowledges the sinfulness of the LORD’s people and is told that Babylon is chosen to administer the punishment. Habakkuk then asks, “Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy peace when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13 ASV).

Chapter 2. God answers, “Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the righteous shall live in his faithfulness.” And to Babylon God says, “Because thou hast plundered
many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder thee” (Habakkuk 2:4,8 ASV, margin). In other words, the ones punishing the Lord’s people are far more unjust, and they also will get their just due.

Chapter 3. As Habakkuk acquiesces, so should we: “Though the fig-tree shall not flourish .. and the fields shall yield no food; the flock shall be cut off from the field, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 ASV).

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