All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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The Gospel to the Egyptians
Based on Exodus 7–11

When we read the stories of the Old Testament, it is easy to think that God is heavy-handed with everyone other than His people. Many Christians avoid the Old Testament because they cannot reconcile a loving p God with One who orders the destruction of whole nations. But a closer look reveals the same God that Jonah spoke of when he said, “I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 4:2.

By sending the plagues upon the Egyptians, God reveals both His character and His power. In the Egyptian mind, gods were not worshipped for their holiness, but rather, for their power. Therefore, the plagues are judgments on the Egyptian deities (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4), and result in God establishing Himself as the only true God in Egypt. In current terminology, He presents the gospel to them.

A Revelation

Ten is a complete number for the secular ancients, so God uses ten plagues as a complete revelation of the gospel. Just as Jesus came to liberate us from slavery to sin and death, God is trying to draw the Egyptians to Him and liberate them from spiritual bondage and eternal death. Step by step, Pharaoh and the Egyptians have the opportunity to either accept or reject Him.

Bible commentators spend too much time trying to explain the plagues away as simply natural disasters, so it is important to understand each of the plagues in a theological context. The ancients lived in nature and thought far more concretely than we do today, so God chooses to reveal Himself through literal aspects of nature.

The first nine plagues are arranged in three groups of three, and in ascending severity. The first three plagues are irritants, the second three are destructive, and the final three are fatal.

It is especially important to point out that each plague results in the obvious destruction of an Egyptian god, and as they continue, these false gods are destroyed in ascending order of importance and power.

The tenth plague stands apart from the others because it is a supreme blow to the leadership and authority structure of Egypt. It also delivers the fatal blow to the religious structure of the land by causing the death of the human equivalent of the head of their pantheon of gods.

Gradual Growth

The ancient Egyptians have a difficult time trying to live with all their gods, since they are demanding, and consider humans as servants to fulfill the duties they don’t want to do. However, God wants to establish Himself as the one and only true God—the Great I AM who supplies all their needs and is intensely interested in their wellbeing. This will be a gradual process, since the people need time to absorb the spiritual significance of the plagues.

Real spiritual growth normally comes gradually, as we’ve already seen in the lives of the patriarchs. So, therefore, God presents Himself both dramatically and gradually over a period of time through the plagues. While God provides liberation from physical bondage for His people, he also provides spiritual liberation from paganism for the Egyptians. Each of the plagues is designed to show them their need of a true God, and through their difficulties they gain both knowledge of Him, and of true religion. He offers them a much more intimate and loving relationship than they could possibly have had before.

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