Yahweh is Greater than Nature:
The God of Israel then confronts and conquers Pharaoh and Egypt, and all the gods of nature that the Egyptians worship. God will get Pharaoh to release Israel by smiting Egypt with ten plagues. One of the primary purposes of Genesis and Exodus is God disassociating Himself from nature, that He is outside of nature and greater than nature. Man is no longer to worship nature or the things of nature. God is outside of nature. He existed before nature and the universe. He is the very Creator of the whole cosmos, not confined to it. Additionally, Yahweh is judging and showing His superiority to the pantheon of Egyptian deities. Yahweh is discrediting Egyptian polytheism.
Yahweh’s Plague Judgments of Egyptian Deities:
Yahweh is revealing Himself, His name, and seeks to, in effect, destroy the competition of idolatrous so-called deities through ten plagues. Speaking of the plagues on Egypt, the Book of Numbers says, “The Lord had also executed judgments on their gods.” (Num. 33:4) Similarly, the Book of Wisdom says, “For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals that even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish infants. Therefore, as though to children who cannot reason, you sent your judgment to mock them.” (Wis. 12:24-25) The pseudepigraphical Book of Jubilees also highlights this point: And the Lord executed a great vengeance on them for Israel’s sake, and smote them through (the plagues of) blood and frogs, lice and dog-flies, and malignant boils breaking forth in blains; and their cattle by death; and by hail-stones, thereby He destroyed everything that grew for them; and by locusts which devoured the residue which had been left by the hail, and by darkness; and of the first-born of men and animals, and on all their idols the Lord took vengeance and burned them with fire.” (Jubilees 48:5) One can imagine the consternation and disbelief of Pharaoh and the Egyptians as their gods fail them in each successive plague:
(1) First plague of Nile water turned into blood is against Hapi, god of the Nile and flooding, and Khnum, guardian of the Nile;
(2) Second plague of frogs is against the frog goddess Heket, depicted as a frog, who represented fertility and the flooding of the Nile;
(3) Third plague of gnats (or lice) is against the earth god, Geb/Seb;
(4) Fourth plague of flies and insects is against Uatchit, the god manifested as Ichneuman fly; and Kheper, god of beetles and flies;
(5) Fifth plague of diseased cattle is against Apis, the bull god, and Hathor, the cow goddess; and Amon, god associated with bulls;
(6) Sixth plague of boils and sores is against Shekhmet, the goddess of disease control, Imhotep, god of medicine, and Serapis, god of healing;
(7) Seventh plague of hail is against Nut, the goddess of the sky, and Shu, god of the atmosphere;
(8) Eighth plague of locusts is against Senehem, the god of pest control; Seth, protector of crops, and Isis, the goddess of life;
(9) Ninth plague of darkness is against Ra, Aten, Atum, and Horace, all gods of light and the sun; and Thoth, the moon god;
(10) Tenth plague of firstborns’ deaths is against Osiris, the god of life and patron of the so-called divine Pharaoh himself.
Moses is now 80 years old. There are traditionally three 40-year divisions of Moses’ life. Pharaoh’s royal headpiece featured a cobra representing the serpent goddess Wadjet. When the occultist magicians throw down their staffs they become serpents, representing Egyptian power. However, Moses’ wooden staff represents a sign of the Cross. When Aaron throws it down before Pharaoh, it too became a serpent and swallowed up the serpent-rods of Pharaoh’s sorcerers. This anticipates the “swallowing up” later of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army that chases the Israelites into the Red Sea. And, later symbolism is reflected in the Cross of Christ swallowing up sin and death. After the third plague of gnats, though “the magicians tried to bring forth gnats by their magic arts, they could not do so.” This is a turning point in the plagues. The magicians finally confess that Yahweh’s power exceeds their own dark occult powers. They declare to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (Ex. 8:15) This finger of God is revealed in the third plague because it is the power of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity.
Moses as Mediator:
Moses as mediator and intercessor is a constant theme throughout Exodus. Moses pleads to Yahweh on behalf of the Egyptians and the Hebrews throughout Exodus. After the plague of frogs, Moses “cried to the Lord” to relieve the plague of frogs on the Egyptians. Moses as a type of Christ also foreshadows Christ as mediator and intercessor for his people. Moses is depicted throughout Exodus praying efficaciously to Yahweh on behalf of his people, “and the Lord did as Moses had asked.” Jesus is the new Moses leading the new exodus to the promised land; just as Moses’ first miracle was changing the waters to blood, so too, Christ’s first miracle at Cana was changing the water to wine.
Three Cycles of the Plagues:
The plagues are grouped into three cycles of occurrences (ie, 1-3, 4-6, 7-9), with the tenth plague (10) as the climax. In the first cycle of each plague (1, 4, 7th or blood, insects, and hail), Moses is instructed by God to go to Pharaoh “early in the morning” and wait for him, then issue the warning. God is giving Pharaoh time to convert. Before the second cycle of each plague (2, 5, 8th or frogs, pestilence, and locusts), God tells Moses to “go to Pharaoh” directly in his palace and forcefully confront him there. In the third cycle of each plague (3, 6, 9th or gnats/lice, boils, and darkness), these are inflicted without any forewarning from God or Moses. So, there are three cycles of plagues that go from a warning to confrontation to punishment without warning. The three cycles also increase in severity and intensity from one cycle to the next. The three cycles of plagues climaxes with the worst plague of all, which is the 10th plague, the killing of all the first-borns. The plagues also represent a reversal of the order of creation of life found Genesis 1: The Lord makes darkness prevail over light; waters become foul and unable to support life; He destroys plants, trees and fruits; He brings death to fish, frogs and cattle; and ultimately kills some human lives. There is a play on words here too for Pharaoh to choose. God tells Pharaoh to “send” His people, or He will “send” another plague upon him.
Apocalyptic Nature of the Plagues:
The apocalyptic prophet Joel wrote that, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:31) These are events depicting the end of the world. However, the plagues of the Exodus foreshadow these events. The first plague is the Nile turning to blood, and the ninth plague is the three days of the sun turning to darkness.
The Three Days of Darkness:
The three days of darkness has long been in the apocalyptic mind. Yahweh set a plague of three days of darkness over Egypt in order to set Israel free. Jesus remained in the tomb for three days; as the light of the world died, the world remained in darkness for three days from Good Friday to Holy Saturday till the morning of Easter Sunday. In the Book of Revelation, darkness also overtakes the sinful world of the antichrist, although three days is not specifically mentioned. After the fourth trumpet, “a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark. The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.” (Rev. 8:12) Similarly, after the fifth bowl is poured out on the antichrist’s kingdom, “Its kingdom was plunged into darkness.” (Rev. 16: 10) Various mystics through the centuries have also prophesied about a three days of darkness shortly before the end of the world.
The Ten Plagues of Exodus and the Plagues of the End of the World:
There seem to be a lot of overlap and comparisons in the plagues against Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the Exodus and the plagues against the Antichrist and his kingdom, referred to as the trumpet blasts and bowls in the Book of Revelation. The judgment upon Pharaoh and the kingdom of Egypt is a type and forerunner to the judgment and punishment leveled against the antichrist and his followers. The dramatic intervention in Exodus by God with miracles and wonders and judgment to extricate the chosen people from slavery under a tyrannical antichrist figure and bring them to the promised land is but an echo and foreshadowing of the dramatic events of the end of the world. Here are the plague similarities between Exodus and the Book of Revelation:
1st Exodus plague, Nile’s Water turn to Blood:
Revelation 2nd Trumpet: “something like a large burning mountain was hurled into the sea.” “A third of the sea turned to blood, a third of the creatures living in the sea died.” (Rev. 8:8-9)
Revelation 3rd Trumpet: “a large star burning like a torch fell from the sky.” “It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.” And, “a third of all the water turned to wormwood.”(Rev. 8:10-11)
Revelation 2nd Bowl: “The sea turned to blood. . . every creature living in the sea died.” (Rev. 16:3)
Revelation 3rd Bowl: “on the rivers and springs of water. These also turned to blood.” (Rev. 16:4)
2nd Exodus plague, Frog Infestation:
Revelation 6th Bowl: “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These were demonic spirits who performed signs.” (Rev. 16:13) Just as Yahweh sent a plague upon Egypt of a frog infestation, so too, at the end of the world will the demonic frog spirits come forth from the Beast, antichrist and false prophet. God condemns them just as He did the demonic frog deity Heket of Egypt, whose magicians also performed false “signs.”
3rd Exodus plague, Gnats/Lice:
Revelation 1st Trumpet: “A third of the land was burned up, along with a third of the trees and all the grass.” (Rev. 8:7) The land is burned up in Revelation, similar to how Yahweh had Aaron “strike the dust of the earth” in order to turn it into gnats/lice. In both plagues, the land of the earth and its inhabitants are stricken.
4th Exodus plague, Flies:
Revelation 5th Trumpet: “The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the passage. Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions of the earth.” (Rev. 9:2-3) This does not equate exactly to “flies” but the idea of a swarm of flies darkening the air and other insects like locusts and scorpions are analogized.
5th Exodus plague, Death of Livestock:
1st Trumpet, again the land of the earth is struck killing lots of plants and animals. This is the only equivalence to this plague.
6th Exodus plague, Festering Boils and Sores:
1st Bowl “Festering and ugly sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast or worshiped its image.” (Rev. 16:2)
4th Bowl: the sun “was given power to burn people with fire. People were burned by the scorching heat.” (Rev. 16:8)
7th Exodus plague, Fiery Hailstorm:
1st Trumpet, “there came hail and fire mixed with blood, which was hurled down to the earth.” (Rev. 8:7)
7th Bowl: “Large hailstones like huge weights came down from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because this plague was so severe.” (Rev. 16:21)
8th Exodus plague, Locusts:
5th Trumpet: “Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” (Rev. 9:3-4) Just like the locusts of Exodus only affected the Egyptians and Pharaoh, and not the Hebrews, so too, the locust-demons of Revelation will only torment those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (i.e., Christians) and follow the antichrist.
9th Exodus plague, Three Days of Darkness:
4th Trumpet: “a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark. The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.” (Rev. 8:12)
5th Bowl: the Beast’s “kingdom was plunged into darkness, and the people bit their tongues in pain.” (Rev. 16:10)
10th Exodus plague, Death of Firstborns:
6th Trumpet: “a third of the human race was killed” by fire, smoke and sulfur. (Rev. 9:18) “The rest of the human race, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, to give up the worship of demons and idols made from gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk.” (Rev. 9:20) There is not an exact match for the killing of the firstborns, but a general plague killing a third of the human race.
Exodus and Revelation’s Parallels:
It is interesting too that Revelation calls “‘Egypt’ where indeed their Lord was crucified” referring to end-times Jerusalem. (Rev. 11:8) The parallels from Exodus’ plagues to Revelation’s end-of-the-world plagues are unmistakable: from the waters turning into blood and the life forms in them dying; to the infestation of demonic “frog” spirits; to the striking of the land and its creatures; to infestation of flies and demonic locusts; to festering boils and sores; to fierce fire and hail storms; to the three days of darkness; and to the mass killing of human life. The plagues of Exodus are a sign and foreshadowing to the plagues of the end-of-the-world. Just as the Hebrews were separated and singled out by Yahweh for special protection, so too, those Christians sealed with the Holy Spirit on their foreheads will be saved by God in the end.
The Seventh Trumpet:
The 7th Trumpet is never revealed, but St. John is told to “seal it up” till the proper time when the “mysterious plan of God” is revealed. In the end, amid lightning, and rumbles of thunder, and earthquakes that will lay waste the entire earth, on the last day, as sin and suffering and death are, at last, vanquished and our eternal existence begins, God will say, in the same final words of Jesus on the Cross, “It is done.” (Rev.16:17)
Sacrifice, Idolatry and Abomination:
At one point after the plague of flies, Pharaoh agrees to permit Moses to go “in this land” to offer sacrifice to Yahweh. But Moses protests saying, “It is not right to do so, for the sacrifices we offer to the Lord, our God, are an abomination to the Egyptians. If before their very eyes we offer sacrifices which are an abomination to them, will not the Egyptians stone us?” (Ex. 8:22) Slaughtering flocks and herds of these animals was unthinkable to the Egyptians, who worshipped these animals’ representations as their gods, such as Apis and Mnevis the bull gods; Hathor the cow goddess, and Amun and Khnum the ram gods. The Hebrews sacrifice the Egyptian gods as an offering to the one true and eternal God, Yahweh. Hence, Moses insisted on offering the sacrifices to Yahweh at a three days journey into the wilderness. Yahweh probably ordained the sacrifice as a means to disassociate the Hebrews from the idolatrous animal gods of the Egyptians. For the Hebrews had been enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years and had become undoubtedly attached and tainted in some manner and form to the Egyptian idol worship.
Silver and Gold:
In fact, before the 10th plague, when the Lord knows Pharaoh will finally capitulate and release the Israelites, He tells Moses, “Instruct your people that every man is to ask his neighbor, and every woman her neighbor, for silver and gold articles and for clothing.” (Ex. 11:2) The Egyptians, after the ten plagues, were undoubtedly well disposed, to get rid of the Israelites with anything they sought. Yahweh tells them they will be very agreeable to give them whatever they want at that point. The Israelites then leave Egypt finally, not as slaves poor and sullen, but as a conquering army, filled with “gold and silver” from their oppressors. Unfortunately, that idolatrous religion from Egypt persisted with the Israelites. Some time later, in the desert wilderness for 40 years, it will probably be this same “gold and silver” from the Egyptians that Aaron and the Israelites will meltdown into the “golden calf” to worship at the base of Mount Sinai. (Ex. 32:2-4)
The 10th Plague and the Killing of the Firstborn Sons:
Yahweh tells Moses that: “Every firstborn in this land shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh on the throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, as well as all the firstborn animals.” (Ex. 11:5) This is probably an answer in-part to the bloodthirsty call by Pharaoh earlier to, “Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews.” (Ex. 1:22) Just as the Hebrew slaves had been unable to protect their children, now the powerful Egyptians could do nothing to protect their children. This echoes Yahweh’s earlier call to Moses and warning to Pharaoh: “Thus says the Lord: Israel is my son, my first-born. Hence I tell you: Let My son go, that he may serve me. If you refuse to let him go, I warn you, I will kill your son, your first-born.” (Ex. 4:22-23) Israel is, in fact, the chosen nation and people that Yahweh will reveal Himself and His laws to the world. Israel is Yahweh’s firstborn nation, and Jesus Christ born of the Jews will be God’s firstborn Son. Again, the type and foreshadowing hold true; just as the Egyptians tried to kill the sons of the Hebrews and Moses, so too later, Herod will try to kill all the firstborn Jewish sons of Bethlehem and the baby Jesus.