Friday, December 20, 2013

DOUBLE PLAGUES - PART 8b, FROGS, LICE AND FLIES

THE DOUBLE PLAGUES UPON BARACK OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY, Part 8

Part 8a of this series.

THE SECOND PLAGUE - THE PLAGUE OF FROGS

Exodus 8: 1, 2 tells us that Jehovah commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to “let My people go,” or He would smite “all thy borders with frogs.”

Frogs are not unusual to find in Egypt. They are found along the banks of any river or stream or pond. However, they are not found at ALL the borders of Egypt. Some of the borders of Egypt run through dry, arid regions, such as the desert area to the west, places which are not hospitable to the water-needing creatures.

Verse 3 tells us that Moses declared that the frogs would spill out of the banks of the Nile and into the homes of the Egyptians, including Pharaoh’s palace. The frogs would be found in beds, in kneading troughs, in ovens -- they would be everywhere!

At this moment, once more Pharaoh could have cried out, “Wait, I repent,” but he did not. It appears that he said nothing for verse 5 tells us that Jehovah commanded Moses to speak to Aaron and have Aaron stretch out his hand over the “waters of Egypt.” When the men did thus, frogs emerged in a vast army from the waters and covered the land.

Ellicott comments: The frogs were hideous to the eye, grating to the ear, repulsive to the touch. Their constant presence everywhere rendered them a continual torment. If other later plagues were more injurious, the plague of frogs was perhaps of all the most loathsome.(1)

Some commentators dismiss this plague as a natural occurrence, but it must be remembered that the frogs appeared just after the Nile and surrounding ponds and pools had been turned to blood, which is NOT a natural source for frogs.

Once more, Pharaoh called for his now rather useless magicians to duplicate the event, and verse 7 tells us that the magicians were able to bring some frogs forth through the efforts of their enchantments, yet, again, it would have been more helpful, and certainly a checkmate, if the magicians had actually removed the frogs.

Ellicott also notes the difference in how Pharaoh reacted to this plague of frogs compared to the Nile turning to blood.

In the first plague, [Pharaoh] retired, sullen and hardened, into his house (7:22), but in this judgment he appealed to Moses and Aaron to remove the frogs, and in doing so revealed the first sign of yielding. Personal suffering from the loathsome frogs led Pharaoh to make a concession. He now acknowledged the power of God and also the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous -- “intreat the Lord, that He may take the frogs from me, and from my people.”(2)

Pharaoh tells Moses if he will pray for the frogs to be gone, he will relent and let the Hebrews go (v. 8). Moses tells Pharaoh, “glory over me,” meaning, “Ok, you pick the time for the frogs to be gone, and it will be as you say” (v. 9). Interestingly, Pharaoh did not say, “Immediately”; instead, he picked the next day, “Tomorrow.” Perhaps Pharaoh was hoping the frogs would dissipate on their own before the appointed time?

We are not told how long this plague lasted but like the fish that died and rotted in the water, Exodus 8:14 tells us when the frogs did die, they did not return to the waters; instead, they died upon the land, which forced the Egyptians to rake them up in great heaps so that they stunk.

Despite this distressing turn of events, Exodus 8:15 gives us once more what will become the all too familiar refrain, that Pharaoh “hardened his heart” and “harkened not” to Moses and Aaron.

THE THIRD PLAGUE - THE PLAGUE OF LICE

As stated earlier in this series the plagues were not a contest, and the magicians knew this and threw in the towel at the third plague, the plague of lice.

“. . . Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. --Exodus 8:17

Commentators vary on which insect is exactly meant by lice. Irwin believes it was a type of mosquito (3), as does Jamieson-Faussett (4), while Dummelow believes it was sandflies or possibly fleas. (5) Ellicott believes it could have been a previously unknown insect.

The language used in the record of the plague clearly implies the creation of God of new swarms of flies, “I will send’ (8:21).(6)

Whatever type of stinging insect it was, the magicians could not duplicate even a small amount with their enchantments when Pharaoh so bid them saying, “This is the finger of God.” (Exodus 8:19) Hayford notes that this was tantamount to the magicians admitting the superiority of the Hebrew God.(7)

Ellicott notes this about the confession of the magicians as well as the particular effect the lice had upon Pharaoh himself:

The only living creature that the Bible says is fashioned out of dust is MAN. What a singular conjunction! We wonder whether it was this fact that compelled the magicians to confess, “This is the finger of God”?(8)

Pharaoh’s response to his own magicians?

“. . . Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; . . . “--Exodus 8:19

Aaron stretched forth the rod both for the plague of frogs and the plague of lice. The frogs came out of the WATER, the lice out of the EARTH. The frogs came AFTER Moses warned Pharaoh that they would come if he did not let the Hebrews go, but the plague of lice that descended upon the land came without warning, and they were either some type of stinging insect that naturally breeds in the sands of Egypt yet whose outbreak was unprecedented in scope, or the dust actually turned into lice supernaturally.

If we are to take the Scriptures literally, that the dust itself transmutated into a type of stinging insect, this may explain why the magicians IMMEDIATELY knew this plague was of God because a life form had come from something inanimate for magicians can only seek to reanimate the dead. This theme, re-animation of the dead, is the stock of many a horror movie, beginning with Shelley’s Frankenstein written in 1818, when Frankenstein “re-animates” his monster using electricity. A more recent example is in the Star Trek movie Into Darkness, in which Captain Kirk dies after exposure to the radioactive core of the starship Enterprise but is “reanimated” when injected with the blood of his nemesis Khan. Reanimation by some external means is the best that man can do at this point, so the magicians perceived that the plague of lice coming from the dust of the earth was more than just re-animation by some means.

Perhaps this theme of re-animation that keeps occurring in various movies is meant to condition us to prepare for the Antichrist for Revelation indicates he will suffer a mortal head wound yet survive it. Perhaps the explanation that will be offered is that he was brought back to life by some electrical or blood means. In the recent movie with Brad Pitt, World War Z, Pitt injected himself with an un-named bacteria in order to become sick, but then his blood was used as the basis for others to also inject and also become sick. By becoming sick the zombies would not attack because they could innately detect the illness of the intended victim. Pitt describes this as a form of camouflage. A “sub-idea” of the movie seems to be that if mankind was to survive they all had to become "blood contaminated" or else become a victim of zombies.

Interesting that the actor’s last name is “Pitt,” for Revelation very clearly tells us in 11:7 that the beast, i.e. the spirit that comes upon the Antichrist, will ascend out of the bottomless pit. The Antichrist is described as the beast because he will not, in some way, be fully human though as yet that is not clear what is meant by this.

Interestingly, at this present time in history, the Iranians, the sworn enemies of Israel, are waiting for their 12th Imam, a world leader that they believe will ASCEND up out of a WELL (i.e. a PIT).

Batman is an American icon who ASCENDS out of a PIT.

Back to the lice.

Walvoord notes that the reason the plague of lice came without warning may have been because of Pharaoh’s false promise of release. The judgment was sudden. Aaron struck the dust with his staff and the air became filled with flying, stinging insects.(9)

At this judgment, there is no record given in the account in Exodus 8 of Pharaoh calling for Moses and Aaron to appear before him or how the lice were removed. We are only told that once more, Pharaoh’s response, in spite of the admittance of his own magicians no less!, was to “harden” his heart yet again.

THE FOURTH PLAGUE - THE PLAGUE OF FLIES

Like the Nile turning to blood, this plague began at the same time and same place, in the morning when Pharaoh came to the banks of Egypt’s great river.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. --Exodus 8: 20, 21

The word “flies” is in italics in the King James because there is no certainty to which insect this refers. According to Gesenius Psalm 78:45 presents the flies as “blood-sucking.” Unlike the lice, which stung, these flies devoured. In other words, the former GAVE a sting, but the latter TOOK blood.

Dummelow indicates that the Hebrew word simply means “swarms,” and that the Septuagint calls them “dog-flies.’ He also notes that Isaiah 7:18 references “flies from the Nile delta in Egypt.”(10)

The plague of flies is notable because it is the first time we see, in Exodus 8: 22 and 23, that the land of Goshen was exempt from a plague, amazing considering flies go where they please, but the Pharaoh, according to 8:21, was NOT exempt -- “I will send swarms of flies upon thee. . “

Pharaoh suffered with his subjects, or rather, I-MORE than his subjects for it was upon him that the flies inflicted their painful bites. “I will send swarms of flies upon THEE” (8:21). Then it was “his palaces” that bore the brunt of the plague, for the flies or beetles destroyed his costly and magnificent furniture and ravaged his fertile fields (8:24). It was, therefore, because of his personal experience of this devastating plague that he gave way before it almost at once and immediately called for Moses (8:25).(11)

And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. --Exodus 8:24

Exodus 8:24 tells us that because of this swarm of flies the land was “corrupted,” a word meaning “ruined.” If these dense swarms of flies “ruined,” i.e. “destroyed,” the land, it appears that these flies had the means to chew in some fashion.

Jamieson offers this comment:

. . . the predicted evil overtook the country in the form of what was not “flies,” such as we are accustomed to, but divers sorts of flies (Ps 78: 45), the gad-fly, the dog-fly, the cockroach, the Egyptian beetles, for all these are mentioned by different writers. They are very destructive, some of them inflicting severe bites on animals, others destroying clothes, books, plants, every thing -- the worship of flies, particularly of the beetle, was a prominent part of the religion of the ancient Egyptians.(12)

Beetles may have been a “prominent part” of ancient Egyptian religion, but another prominent part were the magicians, and they are nowhere to be found with this plague -- Pharaoh does not bid them to come, and they make no appearance.

Instead, we see in verse 25 that Pharaoh sent word to Moses and Aaron to come see him. At this meeting, Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron that they could sacrifice but had to do so inside of Egypt. Moses refused saying the Egyptians would consider it an “abomination.” He was concerned that the Egyptians might actually stone them for doing so. Not outside the realm of possibility as we recently saw Egyptians stoning members of the military during the uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood this past summer.

Dummelow notes that the sacrifice of certain livestock inside the borders of Egypt was an impossibility for Moses.

For the Israelites to sacrifice cattle, sheep, and goats would be to outrage the religious feelings of the Egyptians, and might lead to war and bloodshed. Dummelow even relates an event that Diodorus, the historian, tells of a Roman ambassador who was put to death for accidentally killing a cat.(13)

So here we see that Pharaoh relents somewhat by saying he will allow the Hebrews to worship their God, but only if they do so in the land of Egypt -- they will not be permitted to take the three-day journey they are requesting. If Dummelow is correct, that this would place the Hebrews in fear of death, then perhaps this was the actual ulterior motive of Pharaoh. For a leader who is obstinate and stubborn and finds himself defied by someone he considers inferior to himself, will usually find a means of revenge upon the offending party. In this particular case, not only was Moses and Aaron, thus the Hebrew people, defying him, they were actually thwarting him and his magicians AND inflicting real-time physical pain and discomfort upon him and his household. This would never do.

Dummelow emphasizes that the “abomination of the Egyptians” referred to in Exodus 8:26 means that certain kinds of animals were sacred to the Egyptians and could not, on any account, be slaughtered. For the Israelites to sacrifice cattle, sheep and goats would be exactly the kind of abomination that would outrage the religious feelings of the Egyptians and possibly lead to war and bloodshed.

Thus, Moses said in so many words, “Thanks, but no thanks.” This must have galled Pharaoh exceedingly for it was plain that he was relenting somewhat. Other subjects would have been grateful for the crumbs tossed them, but not Moses or Aaron -- it was all or nothing, and these prophets were plainly telling Pharaoh that what he was offering them was simply not good enough. This position can only be taken by one who has the superior hand, and Moses held the upper hand. The massive swarm of flies were not only devouring the physical land of Pharaoh but also the grip of power Pharaoh held over all who found themselves inside the borders of Egypt.

. . . I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. -- Exodus 8: 28

Here we see it, Pharaoh’s grip on Moses and the Hebrews is beginning to shake and tremble. He agrees to Moses terms, which means Pharaoh recognized he had nothing to bargain with -- he had no choice but to agree. But even in this moment of concession he tells Moses he can go, but not “very far.” Moses tells Pharaoh that he will “intreat” the Lord concerning the flies, then warns him to not “deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

Almost as soon as Moses leaves and the door is closed behind him, the turning point for Pharaoh occurs. Yes, he hardened his heart again, and he had no intention of letting the Hebrews go, he only wanted the flies gone, so he was willing to outright lie. Thus, the turning point. When a leader of a nation justifies lying and deceit to obtain a goal he desires, he opens the door to wrath judgment(s) from Jehovah.

There is a distinct difference between warning judgments and wrath judgments. In warning judgments, catastrophes happen but they tend to be economic or in some manner physical but they do not usually result in widespread death. However, in wrath judgments, death, usually in large numbers can and will occur. These deaths can be either animal or human.

Many object to such a statement, that God allows death as a result of wrath judgments, but what happens to Pharaoh after his purposeful deceit upon Moses is hard to discount because the judgments that follow ALL involve death on a large scale of both animals and humans. More on this in the next post.

God is faithful. He has put these accounts into His Word that we may study and understand that He follows a pattern so that we, either individually or collectively as a nation, can anticipate what the consequences for our actions could be if we persist in deceit and sin. I suspect that God has established this principle in His Word, that we can understand consequences of sin in advance, so that on the Day of Judgment, when we stand before Him and the books are opened and we are to give an account of our lives, we cannot accuse Him of not warning us.

Paul gives us instances in I Corinthians 10 of those who fell into idolatry or sin and the consequences that came upon them and then tells us this in verse 11:

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

With these three plagues of large amounts of frogs and insects coming upon the land, should we not take heed then to the different swarms of insects and critters that have come upon various parts of this nation since President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, and immediately began coming up against the nation of Israel?

For instance, we have had increases in the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus, a sign in itself as the Nile should remind us of the plagues upon the Egyptians. Florida has reported a new “mega mosquito,” and there have been reports of attacks of Africanized bees in both Florida and Texas. Texas has reported “crazy ants” that are causing extensive damage to electrical equipment and electronics because they attempt to chew through wiring only to die but their bodies release a chemical that attracts more crazy ants and these also die, and eventually so many dead ants accumulate that electronics short out. Crazy ants are so difficult that even fire ants are known to abandon their nests to get away from them.

We had large swarms of ladybugs this past October. Ladybugs are innocuous enough as they neither sting nor devour, BUT when they swarm they come inside homes and then die, which attracts cockroaches, which eat the dead bodies and cockroaches attract rodents. Since 2009, we’ve had a dramatic increase in bedbugs across the nation, especially in hotels and motels, but particularly in New York City. These insects do bite and draw blood and while they don’t necessarily spread disease, they are very annoying.

Gardeners have seen a dramatic increase in stink bugs. Large numbers have been reported in various parts of the nation, and as birds don’t prey upon them because of their foul taste, they grow unchecked.

In the summer of 2012, reports came in of increases of black widow spider bites. A school in San Diego had to close to be fumigated to rid the rooms of the nasty arachnids.(14)

This past summer in Oklahoma and Kansas swarms of crickets covered sidewalks and walls of buildings. They died in large masses, so it was difficult to walk without stepping on them. Hearing their exoskeletons crunch was gross, and they did not smell good at all. Not injurious but certainly annoying.

Even Obama’s White House has not been immune. It was reported this past year that the White House is “overrun” by cockroaches and rats. No! not politicians -- actual cockroaches and rats.

In this video you can see a rodent run in front of Obama’s podium right before he speaks.

Rodent runs in front of podium

Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron after the plague of flies because the swarm of assorted insects had devoured so much throughout Egypt that Exodus 8:24 tells us the land was “corrupted,” i.e. ruined.

This past year, like Pharaoh, President Obama addressed the nation under similar circumstances though he did not realize it.

IN THE MIDST OF RUIN

There are consequences for lying, and Pharaoh is about to find out with the very next plague that the consequences for deceiving Moses, the prophet God, Himself, sent to Pharaoh, are deadly.

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NOTES:

1. All the Miracles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, 1961, pg 50

2. Lockyer, pg 50

3. Irwin’s Bible Commentry, C. H. Irwin, M. A., D. D., 1965, pg 32

4. Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson Fausset and Brown, (copyright page missing), pg 53

5. The One Volume Bible Commentary, edited by The Rev. J. R. Dummelow, 1958, pg 55

6. All the Miracles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, 1961, pg 53

7. Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Jack W. Hayford, 1995, pg 14

8. All the Miracles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, 1961, pg 51

9. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, Old Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, 1985, pg 122

10. The One Volume Bible Commentary, edited by The Rev. J. R. Dummelow, 1958, pg 55

11. All the Miracles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, 1961, pg 53

12. Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson Fausset and Brown, (copyright page missing), pg 53

13. The One Volume Bible Commentary, edited by The Rev. J. R. Dummelow, 1958, pg 56

14. As a side note, we noticed a large number of black widows on our property, including down around the bases of our tomato plants. I kept a tally and we closed out at nearly 100 black widow spiders found from April thru October of 2012. For 2013, we found only about a dozen.