Welcome to Bo (Come!), Exodus 10:1–13:16; Jeremiah 46:13–28; Revelation 9:1–21. “Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Go [Bo / come] to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them.” (Exodus 10:1).
In last week’s study section, we read of the first seven calamities (makot), which God inflicted upon Egypt in order to persuade Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. This week, in section titled “Bo”, God sends the most devastating and final three plagues: locust, darkness, and death of the firstborn.
After the last plague, Pharaoh finally acquiesces, triggering the Exodus of the Hebrews; but what were the purposes of the ten plagues? To pressure Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free? Perhaps, but God is fully capable of setting His people free without a king’s permission. We see in this section and the last that God does not see the Egyptians simply as an enemy to be overcome, but rather, He is committed to communicating something vital to them:
"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am Yahweh God (translated as the LORD in bibles)." (Exodus 12:12).
FROM DEVASTATION TO A NEW BEGINNING.
That is a theme of this study’s chapters. When the children of Israel left Egypt, they were leaving behind their old culture. While in Egypt they had absorbed much of the wickedness and idolatry of Egyptian society. The unleavened bread symbolized a new beginning. They were starting over. In a spiritual sense, we leave Egypt when Messiah saves us. That’s what it means to be born again. It is a matter of starting over. When we become believers, we are supposed to die to our old way of life and begin life again as new creatures.
We have to leave our old ways behind us. Addiction counsellors warn recovering addicts about falling back into old patterns. The recovering addict is at greatest risk when he spends time with old friends or revisits familiar hang-outs. To successfully overcome his addiction, it is important to break with the past, carve out new patterns of behaviour and develop new, healthy habits. It is the same for all of us. The leaven in our lives comes in a variety of disguises. It may be certain entertainments, amusements, vices, habits or social circles. Paul suggests that it may lie in the wicked and malicious attitudes of our hearts.
The plagues demonstrate God’s supremacy over and judgement on all the false gods of Egypt. They also made it clear to the Hebrews that they had a more powerful god whom they had forgotten being in Egypt for 430 years and in whom they could belief. Exo 10:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am Yahweh God.
When Moses first approached Pharaoh, he said, ”Who is YHVH, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Exodus 5:2). In the end, however, Pharaoh came to realize the power of the God of Israel even to saying Exo 12:32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. God was not only concerned about the beliefs of the Egyptians. The Torah indicates that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate His power to the nations and the powerlessness of their false gods. “So that you [Pharaoh] may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14).
God does not want to be known only to this one nation of Israel; He wants His name to be proclaimed in every nation on earth: “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth“ (Exodus 9:16). God certainly did make Himself known to Pharaoh through these final three plagues. The coming of the messiah Yahshua was also to reconcile the world back to Yahweh God. For that to happen the other nations and individual of the world have to know of Him and belief He is the creator and controller of all. Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Arbeh אַרְבֶּה)
“Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field.” (Exodus 10:4–5).
Study section “Bo” begins with the eighth plague upon Egypt, locusts. They devoured all the crops and vegetation of Egypt that remained after the hail. Even though locusts are driven by the wind, a plague of locusts is so devastating that it cuts off the light of the sun and wipes out the food supply of the affected area. In the Book of Joel, this plague makes another appearance, ravaging the land. The Prophet Joel links it to sin and the Last Days, exhorting Israel to repent and return to the YHWH. God’s promises Israel that He will make up for all the years that the swarming locusts have devoured: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten, the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm, My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed.” (Joel 2:25–26).
Locusts are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) as one of the end-time plagues upon the earth. With the sounding of the fifth shofar (trumpet) in the Last Days, locusts emerge from the bottomless pit. They will not harm the vegetation, however, but rather will have the power to sting like a scorpion and will torment men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. “Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” (Revelation 9:3–4).
In the ninth plague, God revealed to the Egyptians that their sun god Ra was nothing and that the God of Israel was the One True God.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Hosekחוֹשֶך)
“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt, darkness that can be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.” (Exodus 10:21–23). With the ninth plague of darkness, Elohim (God) delivered a crushing blow to the Egyptian sun god, Ra, demonstrating the folly of worshiping false gods. Although the Egyptians were plunged into total darkness, the Israelites had light in their dwellings in the land of Goshen. While everyone outside the shelter of God’s covenant live in ever deepening darkness, especially as the end of the age approaches, the light of Believers in Yahshua will shine ever more brightly. (Proverbs 4:18). Even the smallest of lights shine brilliantly in the darkest of places. Sadly today in most Christianity denominations they have inherited the main custom of Ra the sun god worship, celebrating and worshipping on a day in honour of him Sun day or Ra’s day! As Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,”.
Today, there are so many reports of evil and many are fearful of what may come upon us. Nevertheless, even when there is total, paralyzing darkness in the world, we can still have light in our dwellings, just as the Israelites had in Goshen. It is time for us to stop cursing the darkness and instead start living in the light.
Instead of complaining, murmuring, and fault finding over the darkness of “Egypt” (the world), we can be all that God has made us to be, shining as lights in the midst of a dark and perverse generation. (Philippians 2:14–15) Pro 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Bear in mind at the time Paul said this to Timothy, they both knew the only scriptures to which Paul referred was the Old Testament. So the word “scripture” in our bibles as 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: refers to the Old Testament, Law and Prophets and does not include the writings of Paul, though they can be of assistance.
The Bible says that the wicked stumble in the darkness and do not even know what makes them trip (Pro 4:19).
When people are in complete darkness, they cannot perceive anything outside themselves. In this state of darkness, it is easy to live in a miserly and completely self-centred world. Often a symptom of this darkness is using people for self-benefit, doing things and interpreting the bible in a way that pleases self and what they may find fits their lifestyle: but God’s presence in our lives promotes a kind of love that is giving, not self seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). Also one that obeys God not man, even if it means dying to self.
We need Yahshua, the Light of the World to set us free from our own preoccupation with ourselves so that we may truly love Yahweh God foremost and our neighbour.
Sadly, far too many of us who have been set free from darkness so we can live in the light, wilfully stumble in the darkness of forgiveness, bitterness, resentment and more sadly the theology of their denomination rather than commandments of God. We must determine to let these go and walk in God's holy Light of His true gospel free from changes of man or denomination. I urge you to learn the alterations of your denomination. Like Egypt, many in the world will one day experience this same darkness, which is one of the end-time plagues mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
When the angel pours out the fifth bowl of God’s wrath, the kingdom of the beast is plunged into total darkness. This foreshadows the state of people who descend into Sheol (hell), where there is a complete absence of all light. This still does not convince the servants of Satan to repent, however.
"Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds” (Revelation 16:10–11). It is common for seekers of God to repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness as did pharaoh, [Exo10:17 “Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat Yahweh your God, that he may take away from me this death only”]; but on deliverance from their situation, to harden their hearts and not make a complete turn to God and follow His ways. Similarly they may ask for knowledge or guidance of the Holy Spirit; yet when one comes to point out a possible error in their denomination’s theology, they do not even give an ear. May our hearts be soft toward the leading of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so that God will never need to use ever increasing disciplinary measures to break through our stubborn and wilful pride and bring us into a holy place before Him.
The Tenth Plague: The Striking of the Firstborn (Macat B’Chorot מַכַּתבְּכוֹרוֹת)
“This is what Yahweh says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt, worse than there has ever been or ever will be again" (Exodus 11:4–6).
When Pharaoh still refused to repent and relent after the Plague of Darkness, God sent the tenth and most devastating plague, the Striking of the Firstborn of Egypt.
Egypt’s king refused to let God’s firstborn (Israel, Ex 4:22) go, so God took Pharaoh's firstborn, those of his loyal subjects even down to the beast (note how the beast are included in Ex 19:13, Jonah 3:7). The word is clear, God will treat the nations (and individuals) as they have treated Israel! God acts on behalf of His people and judgement will fall on the enemies of Israel. While Pharaoh was perhaps unmoved, remaining stubborn and proud as the rest of the land suffered under God’s hand, when God struck down his firstborn son, the hardness of his heart was broken through. How tragic that it took the death of Pharaoh’s own child to bring him to the place of humility and submission where he was willing to let God’s people go. Moses prepared the people of Israel for this final judgement on Egypt by instructing them to sacrifice a lamb and to put its blood on the tops and sides of their doors “And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it” (Exodus 12:7).
The blood of the Passover lamb was the sign that caused the judgement to “pass over” the Israelites, sparing them from suffering the wrath of God that fell upon the Egyptians. Anyone inside that protection, Israelite or Egyptian would have been saved similar to Rehab and the red string around her house and similar to true believers of today who keep the commandments of Yahweh and the faith of His son, Jew or Gentile.
“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).
At the conclusion of this section, Moses leads the children of Israel out of Egypt and Yahweh gives them the ordinances of the Passover. Thus Yahweh God did all He had promised; not one Word that Yahweh had spoken was left unfulfilled. We may also trust in God’s faithfulness, power and mercy now and in the days to come. He led them out of bondage at the beginning of His year Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. [varies around end of March to beginning of April. See also Gen 8:13 and Ex 40:2, Deu 16:1]; gave them a righteous way of living. Out of bondage into light; yet most pastors teach and followers believe, to return to what was given is returning to bondage!! To the extent that instead of keeping the annual holy days of God (see Ex 12 feast of Passover, unleaven bread and Lev 23 for others) they now keep annual holi days of man changing truth of God to a lie, Passover to last supper or Easter, etc. Remember the reason why God took His “my people” out of Egypt was to “serve” him and to keep the first of these feasts (appointed time) Exo 10:9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto Yahweh.
Today, the Jewish People and those gentiles grafting themselves into this way of Yahweh still celebrate this miraculous salvation memorial Passover each year Exo 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. More and more Christian churches are also recognising the true meaning of Passover and its specific appointed time. It is a memorial of God’s redeeming of His first born nation, Israel out of Egypt’s grasp and also of Yahshua’s redeeming of New testament believers also as the Passover lamp. Same appointed time, similar redemption. “Do this in remembrance of me” in Luke 22:19 is not a weekly nor quarterly event but annual Passover one of the lamb of God redemption from bondage of sin if we obey His commandments and live a new life unto Him.
Redeeming the Firstborn: Because God spared the firstborn Jewish sons from the 10th plague, we find in this Torah / Bible portion the command to consecrate or set apart for Him every firstborn male (Exodus 13:1–2). However, the firstborn sons ended up worshiping the Golden Calf along with most of Israel, so they forfeited their right to serve God in this holy position (Exo 32). God, instead, gave that right to the tribe who did not worship the Calf, the Levites.
This symbolic ritual of redeeming the firstborn son out of Temple Service continues today with the payment of five silver shekels (or about 4.4 ounces of pure silver) to a man of Cohen descent, according to the command given by Moses: "Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the Lord. To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.” (Numbers 3:45–48)
Another custom in Judaism arises from the Exodus story, the custom of wearing tefillin. Tefillin (phylacteries) are a set of little black boxes containing Scriptures connected by straps. The boxes are worn on the forehead and arm, and straps are wound around the arm and fingers. This custom serves as a reminder to submit one's head, heart and action to Yahweh and it arises from the following command: “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” (Exodus 13:9, see also verse 16).
According to Scripture, in the last days, the anti-Messiah will attempt to force all people to put his mark, rather than the Word of God, on their hand or foreheads, thereby usurping the mark of the rightful place of God in our lives (Revelation 13:16–17). Nevertheless, those who love God will resist evil and be true to the end. To love God is to keep ALL His commandments, everything He asks us to do not just the man divided so called 10. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
It is because of God’s enduring mercy that He brought each one of us out of Egypt by delivering us from the powers of darkness that held us captive. HalleluYAH (Praises toYah)!
REMEMBER IT WAS NOT JEWS THAT CAME OUT OF EGYPT; BUT 100% EGYPTIANS on the assumption ALL that made up the “mixed multitude” (Hebrews and other origins) were BORN in Egypt (or lived there if others who did not live in Goshen also came out) . Likewise ALL people of the world from whatever nation of birth are called to accept living by Yahweh’s righteous ways in order to get His promise of eternal life.
Exo12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
You may have come out of the world; but if you have entered into a denomination instead of God’s total way of life you may not be much better off.
Jerimiah: Jer 46:28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. Psa 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; Psa 118:18 The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.Pro 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Rev 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads Rev 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, walk: Rev 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Rev 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Rev 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; …. (i.e. similar to the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt).
Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.