The Ten Plagues

Page No.10

During the Passover Seder, we remember each of the ten plagues by taking our finger and dipping it into our cup ten times, once for each mention of the plagues. We don’t drink the wine, as we’re not drinking God’s judgment. At the same time, we’re not rejoicing either. Passover is not a holiday where we celebrate the punishment of our enemies. Indeed, we have compassion on the Egyptians. In the Book of Ezekiel, God says, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,…rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

The ten plagues might be thought of as ten opportunities for Pharaoh to repent. Indeed, none of the plagues had to occur had Pharaoh simply given in to the LORD’s request, given through Moses, to “let My people go.”

With the plagues, the LORD God punished the gods of the Egyptians. For example, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile River, and called it “the father of the gods.” The first plague, therefore, was blood in the Nile River. The Egyptians worshipped cows, and so cattle disease was brought on the land. They even worshipped the sun (the Egyptian sun god was known as “Ra”). The ninth plague, darkness over the land, was actually a plague on the Egyptian sun god.

Clearly the most devastating plague was the death of the firstborn. This was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” so to speak, in that it was the tenth and final plague, the one which finally forced Pharaoh to fully release the Hebrew slaves. How could God bring about such a terrible plague? If we look at the whole story in the Book of Exodus, we see that, at the beginning, Pharaoh had issued a decree to kill all the male Hebrew babies. He even demanded that the Hebrew midwives kill the Hebrew male babies immediately upon birth, a form of “partial birth abortion,” or infanticide. God could have immediately judged Egypt on the spot, but He did not.

As we consider the tenth plague, which was really the ultimate judgment, we can see the parallel with Jesus, who essentially became our “tenth plague.” As the firstborn Son of God, He sacrificed His life on our behalf, taking the penalty for our sins upon Himself. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah speaks prophetically about what the Messiah would do for us:

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Perhaps Jesus Himself summarized this best:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus and The Passover
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Jesus and The Passover (CD or VHS)