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| Author: Dele Oke

Understanding the Plagues

Exodus 3 to 13 Why did God use ten plagues?

The book of Genesis ended with the nation of Israel settling in Egypt. Exodus opens about 400 years later with the Israelites now slaves in Egypt.

God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. God subjected Pharaoh and his people to ten plagues before Pharaoh would allow Israel to go.

The slaying of the first-born of the Egyptians was the last plague. An understanding of the nine previous plagues gives us a better appreciation of the power and authority in the blood of the lamb.

Have you ever wondered why God used ten plagues and not just one?

Let's consider two main reasons:

1. Who Pharaoh represented
God did not need to "break Pharaoh down". He knew exactly how hard the heart of Pharaoh was and could have dealt with him immediately (Exodus 9:14-16). The nine plagues prior to the slaying of the first-born were not desperate attempts to break down a hardhearted man, but rather a demonstration of the mighty power of God.

Exodus 7:3-5 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgement I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it." (NIV)

God could have simply wiped Pharaoh and Egypt out and Israel would have walked free (Exodus 9:14-16). He didn't do this for the same reason He hasn't wiped Satan and all his forces of darkness out.

Remember that Israel came to Egypt willingly (Genesis 46). In other words, Pharaoh had a rightful hold over Israel since they settled on his land.

Adam and Eve brought the human race under satan?s power because of the act of disobedience. Satan had a right over us. God would have been wrong to just wipe him out, for he had a rightful hold. At least he did until Jesus came and paid the price.

Satan is doomed for hell fire. Satan and his demonic forces are vessels fit for eternal damnation. Pharaoh was a type or picture of satan, also only fit for destruction (Romans 8:14-22).

The ten plagues were necessary for God to reveal to us the nature of the warfare and tactics of the enemy we are up against. The plagues exposed certain character traits and plots used by Pharaoh, which satan often uses against us.

2. The plagues also demonstrate the effect of the blood on Satan and the power of darkness.

- The first plague involved blood (Exodus 7)
- The last plague involved blood (Exodus 12)

All the plagues are sandwiched in between the blood. This is not accidental. Rather it highlights the fact that they give us a full picture of the effect of the blood on satan. The similarities between Israel in Egypt and us under the power of Satan illustrate this.

a. We all fell with Adam and Eve. We fell from the glory of God into the bondage of Satan. Jesus brought us back to glory. Correspondingly, Israel came from the land of Canaan into Egypt (Genesis 46:5-7), which represented bondage - similar to the fall of mankind. God then brought them out of Egypt back to Canaan (Exodus 3: 16-17).

b. Jesus came down to earth to redeem mankind (John 1:1-14). Likewise God came down physically to redeem Israel (Exodus 3:8)

c. The blood of Jesus Christ redeems us (Colossians 1:13-14). Similarly the blood of the Passover lamb redeemed Israel. (Exodus 12: 23)

d. Jesus not only delivered us. He made a public show of Satan and restored all blessings to us physically (i.e. our healing) and spiritually (i.e. our fellowship with God.) - Colossian 2:14 -15. In like manner God not only delivered Israel from Egypt physically but also blessed them greatly as they departed and used them to make a public show of defeat over Pharaoh and the Egyptians (Exodus 3:21-22, Exodus 12:35-36).

e. The blood of Jesus saves us. The blood of Jesus delivers us. The blood of Jesus heals us. The blood of Jesus defeats Satan. The Israelites had all the same above benefits because of the Passover lamb.

- God used ten plagues as a demonstration of His power. This power is still available in the blood of Jesus today. The ten plagues give us a picture of the destruction and torment satan and the forces of darkness come under when we subject them to the blood of Jesus.

Next > Lesson before the plagues.