Introduction: Exodus Chapter 11 describes the final and most deadly of the 10 plagues. This plague would take the life of every firstborn person and animal. Death would come to all regardless of the person’s ancestry. Only through faith in the blood of the lamb could a Jew or an Egyptian be saved. From this chapter, God reveals seven important lessons about Jesus.
First, from God’s promise to free the Jews after one final plague, He reveals that Jesus will free you from the devil’s hold. Second, from His instructions for the Jews to ask the Egyptians for money, He reveals that Jesus will give you the means to stay free from bondage. Third, through His promise that the Jews would find favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, He promises that your enemies will be at peace with you when you walk with Jesus. For those enemies who refuse to be at peace with you, He promises victory over them when you walk with Jesus. Fourth, from the warning of the final plague, He warns that death is coming for those who refuse to submit to Jesus. Fifth, from the promise to protect the Jews from the plague of death, He reveals that Jesus would provide a means for His believers to escape death. This would come from the blood of the lamb. Jesus was the Passover Lamb who allows judgment to pass over those who believe in faith that He took their punishment at the cross. Sixth, from the prophesy that the Egyptians would let the Jews go to worship God, He reveals that He wants you to honor Him with your freedom by worshipping Jesus. He also wants you to make yourself a slave to His righteousness. Finally, from the revelation that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened so that God could again show His power at the Rea Sea, He reveals that He will use His power to judge sin. In the end times, Jesus will destroy the armies that assemble against Him, just as He did against Pharaoh.
God’s promise to free the Jews after the final plague. After the eighth plague of locusts and the ninth plague of darkness failed to persuade Pharaoh to submit to God, God advised Moses that one final plague was coming that would force Pharaoh to free the Jews: “1Now the Lord said to Moses, ‘One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.”’ (Ex. 11:1). This was a fulfillment of a promise that He had made twice previously to Moses: “So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.” (Ex. 3:30). “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.’” (Ex. 6:1). The message is God is faithful to keep His promises.
Jesus also offers you the promise of freedom from the devil’s bondage. Jesus has also given you the power to resist returning to your former slave master, the devil. If any old addiction arrives, through Christ you have the power to overcome all things: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1). “[A]nd you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jo. 8:32). “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jo. 8:36). “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Ro. 8:37; Phil. 4:13). Are you looking to Christ to stay free from your old sins?
Jesus wants you to help others be freed from their sins. Jesus also urges all believers to help others to escape bondage: “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.” (Dt. 23:15-16). Are you helping others to stay free from the bondage of sin?
God’s promise to provide restitution to the Jews for their slavery. God not only promised to free the Jews, He also promised to provide for them from the gold that the Egyptians had acquired through their labors: “2 Speak now in the hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” (Ex. 11:2). This fulfilled a promise that God previously gave to Moses: “But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians.” (Ex. 3:22). Following the tenth plague, the Egyptians allowed the Jews to “plunder” them: “and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.” (Ex. 12:36). From the amount of gold that they had to build the Tabernacle, God gave them the equivalent of millions of dollars in gold.
Jesus wants you to also help those freed from bondage to remain free. God’s law requires restitution for those who are wronged (Lev. 6:1-4). His law also requires that a freed slave be given the financial means to prevent the slave from ever selling himself or herself into slavery again (Dt. 15:13-15). The money that He had the Egyptians give the Jews fulfilled His law. Just as He provided for the Jews, He commanded that the Jews give to a freed slave in a similar way: “When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.” (Dt. 15:13-15). In the context of saved believers, believers must be accountable to one another. Each believer must help to ensure that the other members of God’s flock stay free from sin. Are you in an accountability relationship? Are you opening up your life for examination?
God’s promise that the Jews would find favor amongst the Egyptians. God not only blessed the Jews financially, He blessed them by making the Egyptians both fear and respect them: “3 The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.” (Ex. 11:3). This was also the fulfillment of another one of God’s promises to Moses: “I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; . . ..” (Ex. 3:21(a)). “He also made them objects of compassion In the presence of all their captors.” (Ps. 106:46.) Jesus offers similar protections to every believer who trusts Him when faced with an enemy.
God’s promise that you will find peace with certain enemies. When you walk with God, He promises that even your enemies will be at peace with you: “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Prov. 16:7). “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?” (1 Pet. 3:13). If you find yourself in constant conflict with others, are you looking at your own walk?
God’s promise of protection from other enemies. If the Jews followed God’s Covenant, He also promised victory over the enemies who refused to make peace with them: “But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.” (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22; Nu 10:9, 35; Isa. 54:17; Gen. 22:17). “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7). For those who are obedient and take refuge in God, He promises to be a shield against the enemy’s fiery darts: “He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5(b); 2 Sam. 22:31). With God’s help, Jonathon killed 20 enemy soldiers (1 Sam. 14:14). Likewise, His blessing allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). He also used Gideon’s small army of only 300 soldiers to kill 120,000 enemy Midianites (Judges 7:16-22; 8:10). If you need God’s protection, are you being obedient and faithful?
God’s warning that every firstborn would die. After promising to bless the Jews, God revealed through Moses the final and most deadly plague yet. Horror and cries of terror would fill the land at the death of every firstborn, both human and animal: “4 Moses said, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again.”’ (Ex. 11:4-5). God previously revealed this punishment to Moses and told him to convey it to Pharaoh during their last encounter: ‘“Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.’” (Ex. 4:23). He later confirmed this judgment by repeating it: “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I am the LORD.” (Ex. 12:12). Not one Egyptian household escaped without a fatality (Ex. 12:30). His punishment sapped what was left of the Egyptians’ pride and stubbornness: “He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, the first fruits of all their vigor.” (Ps. 105, 36; 78:51; 135:8; 136:10). This included Pharaoh’s pride. Pharaoh believed that he descended from the gods. By killing his son, God humbled him. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11). Those who refuse to submit to God will also be humbled in the end times.
Jesus will punish the prideful with death during the end times. Each plague foreshadowed a punishment during the end times. In the end times, Jesus will also bring death to the unrighteous at battle in the valley of Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-21). He will also punish those who refuse to submit to Him with death after a trial at the Great White Hall Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Faith in Jesus is the only means to be saved.
God’s promise to protect His people from death. While death and horror would strike every firstborn, He promised to provide a means to protect all from the angel of death: “7 But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.” (Ex. 11:7). As He did previously, He spared His people from the worst of the plagues (e.g., 8:22; 9:26). In the future, He will protect His people from eternal death.
Jesus is the Passover Lamb who brings salvation. God later revealed how any who acted in faith could be saved by placing the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes (Ex. 12:3-13). There was nothing special about the Jews that exempted them from the final judgment. It was only faith that their punishment was transferred to the blood of the Lamb. This foreshadowed the blood of Jesus which will allow judgment to “pass over” His believers: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”’ (Jo. 1:29). “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7).
God’s command that the Jews honor Him for their freedom. Before Moses’ final encounter with Pharaoh ended, He gave a prophesy through Moses that the Egyptian would bow down to the Jews and tell them to leave Egypt and to go and worship God: “8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.’ And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.” (Ex. 11:8). God freed the Jews for a purpose. He freed them to bring them into fellowship with Him. This included worship.
Worship Jesus in thanks by being a servant to Him. By freeing the Jews, God expected them to serve Him. Jesus also expects you to honor Him with the freedom that He has given you by being a servant to Him: “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” (Ro. 6:22). “For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.” (1 Cor. 7:22). “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16). Are you living as a slave to Christ or your earthly desires?
Worship Jesus with your freedom by staying free from sin. Part of being a slave to Christ means that you keep your body free from sin: “and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Ro. 6:12). “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh . . .” (Gal. 5:13(a)). “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Ro. 6:15). Guided by the Spirit, you are a slave to righteousness when you exercise self control: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16; 1 Pet. 4:7). “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14). Part of self denial involves choosing not to watch or read certain things. Jesus warned that: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). Job denied himself by making a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1). If you do not control your covetous desires, they will ultimately consume you: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (Ja. 1:14-15). Are you exercising self-control by removing unclean influences and turning to Christ whenever you feel weak in the face temptation?
God’s promise to harden Pharaoh’s heart to demonstrate His sovereignty and power. Before unleashing His final plague, God again warned Moses that Pharaoh would not fully submit to Him. He would harden Pharaoh’s heart one last time for an even greater display of power to come at the Red Sea: “9 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’ 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” (Ex. 11:9-10). Exactly 20 times in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened (Ex. 4:21; 7:3, 13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34, 35; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 5, 8, 17). This represented a confirmation of his guilt under God’s Law. Two is the number of confirmation in the Bible, and the number ten represents the Ten Commandments. Including Aaron’s staff that turned into a serpent and the first six plagues, God gave Pharaoh seven signs before He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God only hardened his heart further to demonstrate His power and sovereignty over all. You may marvel at the number of times Pharaoh disobeyed God. You may even claim that you would never act like him. Yet, as one commentator asks: “Again, Pharaoh is more typical than unusual; how many warnings from God have we ignored?” (David Guzik on Exodus Chapter 11).
God’s judgment of the false gods of this world. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He could bring judgment upon all the false gods and the priests who induced the people to worship them: ‘“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I am the LORD.”’ (Ex. 12:12). “The LORD had also executed judgments on their gods.” (Nu. 33:4(b)). “And I shall set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them captive. So he will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely.” (Jer. 43:12; 46:25). The final judgment judged Pharaoh’s claim of divinity. It also judged Isis, the Egyptian god of life and the protector of children. The following chart shows how each plague was calculated to bring judgment upon a false god and those who deceived the people to worship them. This chart also shows how God will repeat these judgments in the end times to judge the evil and idolatrous nations.
|Plague no.||Description||Jews Exempt||Reference||Egyptian gods judged||End Times Corollary||Reference|
|Plague 1||Nile turned into blood “dam”||No (only well water)*||Ex. 7:14-21||Khnum, Hapi, Osiris (Nile gods)||Rivers and springs to blood||Rev. 16:4-5|
|Plague 2||Frogs “tzepardea”||No*||Ex. 8:1-6||Heqt (frog goddess of human fertility)||Demons (spreading like frogs)||Rev. 16:13-14|
|Plague 3||Gnats, lice, flees or mosquitoes “kinnim.”||No*||Ex. 8:16-17||Set (desert god); Geb (fertility god of earth)†||Torment||Rev. 14:11; 6:16; 9:5|
|Plague 4||Swarms of biting flies or wild animals “arov”||Yes||Ex. 8:20-24||Re &Uatchit (gods depicted as flies)†||Wild beasts||Rev. 6:8|
|Plague 5||Pestilence, disease “dever”||Yes||Ex. 9:1-7||Hathor (cow goddess); †||Pestilence, diseases (including STDS)||Lev. 26:25; Dt. 28:21-22; Amos 4:10|
|Plague 6||Boils “shechin”||Yes||Ex. 9:8-11||Imhotep (the god of medicine); †||Boils and soars||Rev. 16:2, 16: 11; Dt. 28:27, 35|
|Plague 7||Burning Hail “bered”||Yes||Ex. 9:18-26||Nut (the sky goddess)||Hail and fire||Rev. 8:7; 16:21|
|Plague 8||Locusts “arbeh”||Yes||Ex. 10:3-15||Seth (crop protector) & Horus (sky god)||Stinging locusts||Rev. 9:3-9; Amos 7:1; Dt. 28:38-39; Joel 1:4|
|Plague 9||Darkness “choshek”||Yes||Ex. 10:21-23||Ra (sun god) & Mehen (protector of son)||Darkness (over 1/3rd of earth)||Rev. 8:12; 9:2; Mark 13:24 Joel 3:15; Is. 13:10|
|Plague 10||Death of firstborn person and animals “maccat becorot”||Yes, but only by faith in blood of lamb||Ex. 11:1- 12:29||Isis (goddess of life, protector of children) & Pharaoh’s alleged divinity||Armageddon, war, death, Great White Hall Throne Judgment||Rev. 16:12-21; 20:11-15|
*The first through third plagues affected “all the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 7:21, 8:2, 8:16).
† The third through sixth plagues most likely were an attack on both the Egyptian gods and the ritual purity of the Egyptian priests.
The warning to the Church from the plagues of tribulation during the end times. Every event in the New Testament is foreshadowed by prophesies or events in the Old Testament. The plagues of Egypt further follow certain patterns that will likely be played out again in a similar fashion during the New Testament judgments. During the Egyptian plagues, God supernaturally protected the Jews from the fourth through the tenth plagues. This would support the view of many Christians today that the Jesus will remove the Church to protect it from certain judgments against the nations. This is also consistent with God’s revelation in the New Testament that the Church has not been appointed “to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.” (1 Thess. 5:9). The Bible reveals that Jesus will take His Church up in an instant at the sound of a loud trumpet (Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Christians refer to this as the “Rapture.” Yet, the Bible is also clear that no one knows the exact day or hour of His return (Matt. 24:36, Mark 13:32). Nevertheless, the plagues of Egypt reveal the Church will experience discomfort, persecution and testing before Christ takes it. God reveals this from the fact that the Jews suffered persecution under Pharaoh, who symbolized Satan in the end times. As shown in the chart above, the Jews were also not supernaturally protected during the first three plagues. They would have experienced discomfort with the rest of Egypt when the Nile was turned to blood. They would have lost their fish. They would have also been forced to turn to the water in the well, a symbol of Jesus. They would have also experienced the discomfort of the frogs and gnats, fleas, or lice. This may refer to the discomfort to Church faces today under the ruler of this world. Or, it may suggest that the Church will be raptured at some point after the start of the Tribulation but before God unleashes His serious judgments upon mankind. The book of Revelation does distinguish the types of judgments that will be experienced during this time period. At one point, during the seven-year period, the Bible references the beginning of “the great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14). The Jews were also present to witness the demonic powers of Pharaoh’s magicians during the first two plagues. Jesus warns that many members of “elect” – believers – will be fooled by the demonic powers that they observe during the end times (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Thes. 2:9-10). If the Church were raptured before Satan used his power to control of the world, the believers would not be around to be deceived. The Bible provides another picture of this when Jesus rescued the believers in the middle of a storm at the Sea of Galillee and instantly brought them to other side (Jo. 6:1-17). His believers experienced the storm before He raptured them to the other side. The message is that you should not lose your faith if evil seems to be out of control, the Church is persecuted, and you see supernatural signs from the devil: These are just the ‘birth pains” of the new life that Christ has in store for you. ‘“But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”’ (Matt. 24:8-11).