Types and Shadows — The Plagues of Egypt

So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. 

Exodus 10:22-23

One of the greatest mistakes many people make is trying to study the book of the Revelation of the Jesus Christ without being well read and rooted in the Old Testament. Every image, symbol, pattern and event in Revelation already has been established for us in the Scriptures. This is the key to understanding the prophetic word.

When it comes to understanding the end-times events described in the book of Revelation, one of the first places to begin is the Exodus. The parallels are astonishing. Let me show you what I mean.

The Primary Players on the Stage

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Romans 9:17

The Exodus account is filled with prophetic typology, starting with the main characters at the heart of the story. Notice the obvious similarities to the players who will be involved during the great tribulation.

Pharaoh is a clear type of the Beast, or antichrist

Pharaoh was an evil pagan king over a Middle Eastern empire but also with world-wide influence. He was a defiant tyrant and cruel master over God’s people. The Egyptians historically recognized their Pharaohs as a one of the “gods,” which is precisely what the end-times ruler, the Beast, will claim to be.

Moses and Aaron represent the two witnesses from Revelation 11

We like to give Moses all the credit as the deliverer of Israel, but we often forget that his brother Aaron was right there with him the entire time. Actually, Aaron was the main one doing the talking on behalf of both the LORD and Moses when confronting Pharaoh. God’s testimony is always established upon the testimony of two or three witnesses. Furthermore, Moses was given supernatural powers by God to perform signs and wonders, as will the two witnesses during the great tribulation.

The Egyptian magicians are a shadow of the false prophet(s)

Just as the false prophet will exercise the authority of the Beast in the last days, Jannes and Jambres acted on behalf of Pharaoh. These magicians were able to reproduce some of the signs of Moses using their occult arts, just like the false prophet will come working great signs and wonders to deceive the whole earth. Just like the Egyptian magicians contested with Moses and Aaron, the false prophet will contest with the two witnesses during the great tribulation. This will be a supernatural showdown.

The Egyptians represent the Wicked Inhabitants of the Earth under the system of the Beast

Just as ancient Egyptians submitted and worshipped Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt, so shall it be during the great tribulation. Those who are deceived will worship the dragon (Satan) and the Beast.

The Israelites represent God’s people

God’s people Israel were enslaved and oppressed in Pharaoh’s kingdom, as the saints and Jews will be persecuted under the Beast kingdom. Eventually Pharaoh pursued Israel with the intent of total annihilation, and the Beast will attempt to kill all Jews and Christians in the great tribulation.

The LORD God Himself is the primary player involved

Yahweh is the One who ultimately brings judgment upon Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt and also redeemed His people in power and great glory. So shall the Lord Jesus return in power and glory to destroy the Beast in the end and at the same time save His people.

God’s Wrath is Poured out in Judgment

The LORD sent 10 devastating plagues upon Pharaoh and the land of Egypt, directly pouring out his wrath on the earth. In the very same manner that Egypt was the target of God’s wrath, the Beast Kingdom will be the target of God’s wrath during the great tribulation. Of course the bowl and trumpet judgments described during the great tribulation will be on a much broader scale, but the plagues of Egypt provide the necessary context to understand God’s wrath in the last days.

Many of the plagues correspond directly to the trumpet and bowl judgments of Revelation.

  • Plague #1: Blood — Just as Moses turned the waters of the Nile to blood, God will repeat this plague on a greater scale during the great tribulation. The 2nd Trumpet (Rev. 8:8-9) the 2nd Bowl (Rev. 16:3-6) along with the powers of the two witnesses (Rev. 11) include this sign. [Note — I do believe Moses himself will be one of the two witnesses.]
  • Plague #2: Frogs — The 6th Bowl judgment (Rev. 16:13-14) refers to the three “frogs” coming out of the mouths of the dragon, beast and false prophet, which is a direct appeal to the foreshadowing plague in Egypt. These frogs are “unclean spirits” going out to deceive the kings of the earth.
  • Plague #5: Pestilence — Not only does the 4th Seal provide the general overview of pestilence and death (Rev. 6:8), but also the two witnesses are given the power “to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire” [Revelation 11:6].
  • Plague #6: Boils — The 1st Bowl judgment corresponds to this plague, as “harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image” (Rev. 16:2).
  • Plague #7: Hail and Fire — Hail and fire are two of the most prominent signs of God’s judgment during the great tribulation. The 1st Trumpet judgment is described as “hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth” (Rev. 8:6-7). Furthermore, the language used between Exodus and Revelation is nearly identical.
    • So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.” [Exodus 9:24]
    • 7th Trumpet — “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.” [Revelation 11:19]
    • 7th Bowl — “And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.” [Revelation 16:20-21]
  • Plague #8: Locusts — Not only does the prophet Joel describe the devastating locusts associated with the last days, but also the 5th Trumpet judgment mentions the demonic locust army coming up out of the abyss to torment those who have not been sealed by God. (Revelation 9:3-4)
  • Plague #9: Darkness — All of Egypt was cast into darkness for three days (except the land of Goshen!), which corresponds directly to the 5th Bowl judgment on the Beast. “Its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.” [Revelation 16:10-11]
  • Plague #10: Death of the Firstborn — Just as the final and most severe plague was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt, the final judgment of God upon the earth will be death to the Beast and all who are aligned with him. [see Revelation 19:20-21]

God’s People were not Removed from Egypt but were Protected from His Wrath

Perhaps the most telling typology of all when studying the plagues of Egypt is the fact that God was able to directly administer His wrath and judgment on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt, while at the same time protecting and preserving Israel from His wrath. This one example is enough to encourage all of God’s people that He is able to protect the godly from suffering the direct effects of His anger, but you may be surprised to discover that the Scriptures are full of other examples, including the book of Revelation.

Of course the righteous are not destined for wrath, but that doesn’t mean that the righteous must be removed from the earth in order to be protected from God’s wrath. It simply means that when the judgments begin, God is very capable of specifically targeting those under His wrath, while at the same time sheltering His people.

This is precisely what we see during the plagues in Egypt. God makes a clear distinction between His people and those under His wrath. Notice how all the plagues affected the land of “Egypt,” while the land of Goshen was spared.

But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.

Exodus 8:22-23

Behold, the hand of the LORD will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.

Exodus 9:3-4

Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.

Exodus 9:26

So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. 

Exodus 10:22-23

And of course, the final plague did not take the life of the firstborn in Israel because they obeyed the LORD’s command to cover their doorways with the blood of the lamb so that the angel of death would passover them. They were saved by faith from God’s wrath.

So as we can see, God is able to pour out direct wrath without destroying His own people in the process. And when we look at the book of Revelation, guess what we discover? THE VERY SAME THING! God makes a distinction between the righteous and the wicked.

  • During the 5th Trumpet, the demon locusts are allowed to harm “only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” [Rev. 9:4].
  • During the 1st Bowl Judgment, painful sores came upon only those who had received the mark of the beast and who worship it. [Rev. 16:2]
  • During the 4th Bowl Judgment, the sun only scorches those who curse God and refuse to repent. [Rev. 16:8-9]
  • During the 5th Bowl Judgment, only the kingdom of the Beast is plunged into darkness. [Rev. 16:10-11]
  • During the 6th Bowl Judgment, only the wicked kings of the earth are deceived and gather for battle against Jesus. [Rev. 16:12-16]
  • During the 7th Bowl Judgment, Jesus comes in glory to pour our wrath upon the Beast and his armies in flaming fire.

Many believers refuse to accept the fact that the saints will remain on the earth through all the judgments of God during the great tribulation because they misunderstand what it means for God’s people not to suffer His wrath. They believe that if God’s wrath is being poured out on the wicked inhabitants of the earth, then believers can’t still be on the earth at the same time, but the Exodus account demonstrates clearly that this is not the case at all. God doesn’t remove us from the earth, but He does supernaturally shelter and save us from His wrath.

Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!

Revelation 16:15


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