Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 21, 2020

Moses Does Apologetics with Plagues

(3 Minute Read. 21Oct2020)

Moses’ epic contest with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, some 3500 years ago is still famous today. Even for the unchurched, movies and books have made the basic events familiar.

What was the essence of Moses’ clash with Pharaoh?

It was effectively an apologetics battle — between the gods of Egypt and Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews.

The purpose of the increasingly severe plagues was to demonstrate to both Israel and Egypt the supremacy of Yahweh, Creator of heaven and earth. Moses used plagues to instruct Pharaoh “to know the Lord.”

Throughout the course of the plagues that Moses called down on Egypt, Israelites and Egyptians were urged to acknowledge Yahweh as Lord. Pharaoh repeatedly refused — resulting in the destruction of Egypt by the plagues (Exodus 8:24; 10:7; 12:36).

Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
(Exodus 6:6-7 ESV)
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:3-5 ESV)

First Plague: Water Turned to Blood
Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. (Exodus 7:17 ESV)

Second Plague: Frogs
Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. (Exodus 8:9-10 ESV)

Seventh Plague: Hail
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16 ESV)
Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. (Exodus 9:27-29 ESV)

Eighth Plague: Locusts
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” (Exodus 10:1-2 ESV)

Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn
For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. (Exodus 12:12 ESV)

Pharaoh’s Pursuit
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. And they did so. (Exodus 14:4 ESV)
Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
(Exodus 14:16-18 ESV)

Do You Get the Point?

Pharaoh never got the point. The purpose of the plagues was to demonstrate the identity, supremacy, and sovereignty of Israel’s God.

The same principle echoes today: the point of disaster is to turn people to God.

When Jesus was asked about Pilate’s bloody slaughter of men of Galilee, He added the tragic death of 18 men killed by the fall of the Siloam Tower and said of both,
Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

Jesus used tragedy to call people to repentance. We should do the same in our own lives, just as Pharaoh should have done.

Question Mark Cufflinks

Questions to Ponder

1. What words of truth can you prepare to help someone respond to tragedy?
2. Is it insensitive or is it compassionate to direct a hurting person to Yahweh’s identity, supremacy, and sovereignty?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This is the tenth post in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics
5. Jesus Does Apologetics
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics
7. Matthew Does Apologetics with a Sword
8. David Does Apologetics with a Sling
9. Luke Does Apologetics with a Pen
(with video)

Read the sequel:
11. Jude Urges Apologetics

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday October 21, 2020 A.D.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land. (Exodus 11:9-10 ESV)

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  1. Bill,
    Thanks for your dedication to this blog. Your clarity is appreciated. Many are blessed by your work.

    Moses’ writings about the Jews in Egypt also teach the Doctrines of Grace.

    Most impactful and easy to understand is what God did at the first Passover. This event teaches a clear, powerful, foreshadow of the most difficult Doctrine of Grace for some to adopt, the Limited Atonement of Jesus shedding his blood for the forgiveness only of God’s chosen people (Biblically known as His elect).

    The Israelites (God’s chosen people) were told to slaughter a lamb without blemish and paint the posts and lintel of the door on their home with the blood of the lamb so that God, while passing through Egypt to kill all firstborn of man and beast, would pass over their home. There was no blood shed that night to save Pharaoh and his family; there was no blood shed that night to save Egypt. The atoning effects of the shedding of blood that night were limited to God’s chosen people.

    Liked by 1 person

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