“Exposing the Exodus”
The Significance of the Plagues – (Chapter 7 Verses 14-25)
We come now to the direct intervention of God in power. Pharaoh has been warned but reacts in unbelief. Many make attempts to explain away the miraculous in this event. This will not do. A deluge of rain washing red sand into the river and such nonsense we are told. This is an idolatrous nation remember, with gods innumerable, the river Nile being one of them. The practical fall-out from this is catastrophic let alone the religious aspect. The Egyptian sorcerers notice only add to the disaster, they are not able to reverse what God does. They cannot for this is the judgment of God upon the Egyptian nation. Once again their power is not of God, it comes from another source altogether. This is the beginning of a series of ten plagues. The number and sequence of these plagues are not without significance. There are three threes and one amounting to ten. In Biblical numerics, ten is the number of perfection, or completion rather. The plagues move from the external to the internal, from the mediated to the immediate hand of God, until the last one, the tenth is completed. There is also progression and gradation in the severity of the strokes against Egypt. In the first three, there is no distinction, everyone in the nation is affected. In the remainder the Israelites are shielded, only the Egyptians are affected. In the last seven, the order of creation is reversed. There are three that affect the animal kingdom and then three that affect the vegetable world, that supports both animal and human life. Then the next six, light to darkness, which is a reversal of the creation order. Then the very last one is death. In every home, every Egyptian house. So the first three affect the health and comfort of human life. The next three removes the stuff of life, then death and destruction are completed, the number ten fulfilled.
Then there is the depth and the meaning of this conflict (v16). The opposition between God’s people and the sons of disobedience. The like of which hasn’t been seen so openly at least, since Babel and the dispersion of the nations. Egypt prior to this was a foster home for God’s family. It began with Joseph bringing his family down to Egypt when he ruled the land, to save God’s inheritance. But Joseph and all he did have now been forgotten. Now Egypt has become Israel’s persecutor and an antagonist of God. But the opposition is not just rivalry, not just for gain, for land, for power. It’s not for selfish, earthly ambition. The controversy between light and darkness, this is a battle that was fought in the heavenly realms. It is between the forces of good and God and the powers of evil and Satan. And so as God manifests his presence for the sake of his own people in order that beholding such they put their trust in him to deliver them. From the hands of a nation defiant against them and God, a nation that represents heathendom, the kingdom of Anti-Christ. The kingdom of man without God, ie. This is a model for present and for future spiritual warfare between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). It is the same conflict fought through all the ages, right to the end of the age. The importance of this is highlighted by giving it a place in the preface to the ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-3). You see the implication? I, says the Lord, I delivered you, therefore, you shall have no other gods before me. But you and I having been delivered from the bondage and oppression of sin and death at the price of the blood of God’s only Son. How much more is obedience due to the same God who delivered us?
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)