There are plagues that we see in the book of Revelation, but at the same time they will be a call for the people of God to come out of that city of sin, the great city of Babylon. Revelation 16:9, Revelation 18:4, Revelation 18:8, Revelation 21:9. Through these 10 plagues let us think about how it relates to the prophecies in Revelation and even to the life and times we are living in today. God uses the 10 plagues to judge Egypt and save His people Israel. In the end God’s work of judgement will also be salvation at the same time for true Christians who are following Jesus all the way to the end. The bondages of Egypt, the bondages of this world we are living in right now will not easily let us go that is why God sends the plagues to cause Pharaoh to let the people go. In Revelation and the end times, same thing will happen, the wicked not repent, they will blaspheme God’s name but the people of God will wake up and repent.
Let us go through the 10 plagues quickly.
1. Water of Nile turned to blood. (Exodus 7:14-25)
2. Frogs. (Exodus 8:1-5)
3. Gnats (Exodus 8:16-19) – God gave warning before the plague
4. Flies (Exodus 8:20-24)
5. Pestilence upon the livestock (Exodus 9:1-7)
6. Boils upon people (Exodus 9:8-12) – God gave warning before the plague
7. Thunder and hail (Exodus 9:8-35)
8. Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20)
9. Thick darkness (Exodus 10:21-29) – God gave warning before the plague
10. Death of firstborns – human beings and animals (Exodus 11:5)
1. Introduction about the signs and wonders of God
Let us first think of the terms used to refer to these plagues.
The word “plague” was used only 4 times, 4 different words used to refer to these events.
Exodus 9:14 – Nagepa. Exodus 11:1 – Nega. Exodus 12:13 – Negat. 1 Samuel 4:8 – Maka. Another word “nagaph”, mean to smite or to strike was used in Exodus 8:2, Exodus 12:23, 27, Exodus: 32:35. It was a plague from the perspective of the Egyptians. But from the perspective of God’s people and in God’s intention it was not only a plague and judgement. The terms used more are ott (signs) and mopet (wonder). The word “wonder” in Hebrew is mopet, and draws attention to the unusual aspects of these acts, something that human beings do not really do, supernatural, wondrous, something that makes you wonder and amazed and marvel. It shows us urgency, shows us that the time is near, shows us that the one who does the work must be special and supernatural and behind it. “Sign” in Hebrew = ott. When Jesus performed signs, it was for the purpose of showing the people that cannot see, helping people who cannot spiritually understand who He is, these signs are pointing at Jesus that He is the Messiah.
2. Purpose of the 10 plagues. Exodus 7:17, Exodus 8:10, Exodus 9:14, Exodus 10:1-2
(i) God repeats the reason why He is giving the signs and wonders is so that they may come to fear Him, know Him, repent before Him. Exodus 8:19, Exodus 9:16. The reason why God wants His power and His name to be seen and manifested is so that people can come to Him and be restored and redeemed.
(ii) It is to judge the authorities of the world. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt therefore they lost their identity of people of God, firstborns of God. Let us ask ourselves, what are the things enslaving us today? God will judge whatever became my master, and replaced God in our hearts and our lives. Those who depended on these Egyptian idols, were judged together.
(iii) It is to judge what human beings decide to be their gods and credit for our well being. It is God who provided. But people became superstitious and gave deity or things or trees or different animals, idols and credited them deity. Genesis 15:14, Exodus 12:12, Numbers 33:4.
(iv) That they may know that there is no other God like our God. Exodus 18:10-11
(v) It was a curse against those who worship these idols. Micah 2:9-10, 1 Samuel 4:8
3. What is the redemptive significance of these plagues?
These plagues are given as signs and prophecies of what will happen in the future. Revelation 16:4 is just like the first plague in Egypt. Revelation 16:13, Revelation 8:7, Revelation 16:10, Revelation 9:20-21, Revelation 9:15. There will be death for those who do not repent. These are judgements against those who do not come into the realm of what God saw was good in Genesis 1-2. In this creation work, God creates something that becomes the something of separation between good and evil.
(i) Waters of Nile river that turned to blood – represents the water below, the judgement and fall of the waters below
(ii) Frogs and gnats – represent the corruption of the beings in spiritual realm. Due to greed, and uncleanness and defilement and wickedness are given to people and people learn from them. These things live and are born from the waters below.
(iii) Pestilence and boils – judgement against the beast. Those who are not born again and live by the ways and philosophies of the beast in Revelation 13.
(iv) Hail and locusts – are effects of barrenness and famine that results from spiritual barrenness and disobedience.
(v) Thick darkness – comes from rejecting the light.
(vi) Death of the firstborns – foreshadows the eternal end of all those who did not receive the life of Jesus, the 2nd death of Revelation is in the fire and brimstone of hell.
Let us think of the fulfilment of the signs and wonders by Jesus. What is the purpose of signs fulfilled through Jesus? Jesus comes and says He is the I AM.
I am the bread of life, came down from heaven – John 6:35.
I am the source of living waters – John 7:37-39.
I am the light of the world – John 8:12, John 9:5.
I am the gate of the sheep and the good shepherd – John 10:7, 9, 11, 14.
I am the resurrection and the life – John 11:25-26.
I am the way, the truth and life – John 14:6.
I am the true vine – John 15:1, 5.
Jesus is the protection and security in the midst of these plagues. Those who are in Jesus Christ, even curses will turn to blessings.