The Nine Plagues

Pattern of the Plagues

The Nine Plagues are categorized in three groups of three.  The plagues announced beforehand were:  1-2, 4-5, and 7-8.  The plagues sent without such an announcement were:  3, 6, and 9.  A group of three elements refers to Ecumenical, Political, and Cosmic Babylon.  The plagues were God's judgment of the world, Cosmos Diabolicus.  Such judgment could be expected to divide the world into Ecumenical, Political, and Cosmic Babylon.  The analysis of the Nine Plagues reveals the pattern.

9 Plagues

Dog Flies

The key to advance to the next row is Ecumenical - Political - Cosmic, shift right and rotate.  The plagues began and ended with the judgment of Ecumenical Babylon, which is the opposition to Bible Doctrine (Faith, X-axis) and the Righteousness of God.  The diagonal line of plagues of Ecumenical Babylon is rare in the Word of God and corresponds to the oblique order of battle.  There are no diagonal lines in the Tabernacle.  The counterattack of Ecumenical Babylon is the most serious threat that the Cosmic System poses against the Plan of God.  The religion of Egypt opposed the Word of God and, consequently, met with severe judgment.

Principle:  Ecumenical religion is the enemy of Bible Doctrine and the enemy of God.
Each group of three plagues represented the judgment of the Holy Spirit upon Ecumenical, Political, and Cosmic Babylon.  Each plague was a national disaster, and three plagues should have been sufficient to convince anyone of the power of God.  However, three groups of three totally destroyed Egypt.  After the 7th Plague of Hail, which represents the completion of a category, Egypt was already devastated (Exodus 10:7).  Three groups of three judgments symbolize a sieve for sifting.  The number nine is 32 , three raised to the second power; whereas 33 (27) is the number for the judgment of a horn (e.g. a tornado).  Number 3 represents the judgment of the Holy Spirit against Ecumenical, Political, and Cosmic Babylon.  Number 9 represents the intensified judgment of the Nine Plagues, and number 27 represents the more intensified judgment of a horn

Egyptian Account of the Plagues

An eyewitness account of the Plagues has been found on a papyrus written by an Egyptian named Ipuwer, who described the devastation of the Plagues to the land of Egypt.1  Quotations from the Ipuwer papyrus will be included with the descriptions of the Plagues.

The 1st Plague:  Blood


Because Pharaoh's heart was hardened, the Lord ordered the first Plague.Nile Blood
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go. (Exodus 7:14)
The word for hard here is chabedh, which means hard in the sense of refusing to budge.  In the previous verse the word for hard was chazaq, which stressed the strength, or firmness of Pharaoh's convictions against God.  So not only was Pharaoh's heart hard and firm against God, he was also refusing to budge.
Exodus 7:15-19, NAS
15 “Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. 16 “And you will say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.” 17 ‘Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 “And the fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul; and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.”’” 19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
Pharaoh went down to the Nile River every morning to worship the god of the Nile.  The Nile was the backbone of the economy of Egypt.  The people were totally dependent upon it for growing their crops, their water, and transportation.  Rather than recognize God as the Creator of the Nile, however, the Egyptians were hoodwinked into worshipping Satan and his demons.  The Lord, knew Pharaoh's habits, and He knew that Ecumenical religion was the strength (or backbone) of Egypt.  So His first sign, or wonder, would be to pollute the Nile, and turn it to blood, which would kill the fish, make a big stink from the odor of decaying fish, and leave the Egyptians without drinking water.  Not only would the Nile be turned to blood but also the other waters and streams of Egypt as well as the water in the vessels of wood (e.g. buckets or troughs) and stone (cisterns).  Cisterns of stone were usually located on street corners for the poor.  The judgment of God would turn all their water to blood - not just the water in the Nile.

The Plague

As Pharaoh watched, Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord's command.  They told Pharaoh that the Lord had sent them and what He had said.  They were telling Pharaoh that a higher authority was about to judge the waters of Egypt.  Aaron lifted up the staff of Moses, struck the water in the Nile, and it was turned to blood just as the Lord had said.
Exodus 7:20-21, NAS
20 So Moses and Aaron did even as the Lord had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 And the fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt.
Was this literal blood?  From other passages turning to blood is a metaphor.  In 2 Kings 3:22, blood refers to the color of the water - not literal blood.  At the Second Advent the moon will be turned to blood (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20, Rev. 6:12), which is not literal blood but a metaphor.  The turning of the Nile to blood could also be a metaphor; however, the Ipuwer papyrus also calls the water blood.
2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
2:10 The river is blood.
2:10 Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water
3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.1
Thus, the water certainly resembled blood.  It was some kind of pollution, which resembled blood, or else it was literal blood.  The pollution killed the fish.  The Red Tide 2 is an example of such pollution, but the Red Tide does not occur in Egypt.  The Nile fluctuates in color as it rises and falls.  When it is low, it is greenish and the water is not good to drink; and when it rises, it is red as ochre and the water is good to drink.  It overflows from June through September.  In the normal course of events the Nile does not have the properties of the Plague of Blood.

Magicians Copy the Miracle

Pharaoh's magicians apparently knew enough chemistry to turn water into blood, though it is obvious that they couldn't turn all the water in the land to blood, and then make it clean again.  However, Pharaoh believed their demonstration, and his heart was still hardened (chazaq), strong or firm (Exodus 7:22).
Exodus 7:22-25, NAS
22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. 24 So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. 25 And seven days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
The Plague of Blood lasted seven days, which indicates categorical judgment.  The Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, which probably means the only water they could get was muddy.

The 2nd Plague:  Frogs


Moses was sent back to Pharaoh to announce the 2nd Plague of Frogs.
Exodus 8:1-4, NAS
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 “But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. 3 “And the Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. 4 “So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.”’”
The frogs were the small Nile frog, called Dofda in Egyptian - also called rana Mosaica, or Nilotica.3   Frogs symbolize the croaking of politicians of Political Babylon.  Frog demons will come out of the mouths (for communication) of Satan, the Beast, and False Prophet of the Tribulation to gather the nations to the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-14).  Thus, the Plague of the Frogs represents the judgment of Political Babylon.  The great Egyptian Empire was judged as a part of Political Babylon of the Cosmic System.

The Plague

At the appointed time, the Lord directed Moses to give the order to Aaron to stretch out his hand and the staff over the waters of Egypt, and the plague of frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
Exodus 8:5-6, NAS
5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
The frogs were a severe pestilence upon the land of Egypt and a sign of God's judgment of Political Babylon.

Magicians Copy the Miracle

Since demons have power over animals, it is not too surprising that the magicians were able to duplicate the miracle of the frogs.  They were, however, unable to make the frogs go away.  Here the Angelic Conflict can be seen, for the Plagues of Egypt were supernatural acts that were implemented by the Elect Angels.  This is explained during the description of the Plagues of Egypt in Psalm 78.
He let loose upon them His burning anger,
Wrath, fury, and distress,
A company of angels of destruction. (Psalm 78:49)
The "company of angels of destruction" were the Elect Angels tasked with implementation of the Plagues of Egypt.
And the magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt. (Exodus 8:7 NAS)
When the angels of God brought out the masses of frogs, the magicians with the help of demons were able to bring frogs also; but they were apparently not successful in sending them away.

The End of the Plague of Frogs

So Pharaoh appealed to Moses and Aaron to remove the frogs and he would agree to let the nation of Israel go and sacrifice to the Lord.
Exodus 8:8-15
8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat the Lord that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” 9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, “The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?”
10 Then he said, “Tomorrow.” So he said, “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 “And the frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.” 12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields. 14 So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
When Pharaoh indicated that he would agree to the demands of Moses, Moses let him choose the time for the removal of the frogs.  Pharaoh picked the next day.  He obviously thought the task was too difficult to perform the same day.  When Moses interceded, the Plague of Frogs was removed.  The frogs died.  The Egyptians piled them up.  The phrase, "in heaps," in verse 14 is literally omers of omers.  Since an omer is 5.1 pints and omers (plural) would be at least 10.2 pints, then omers of omers would be 10.2 X 10.2 = 104 pints = 1.5 bushels.  So "in bushels" would be a better translation for "in heaps."

The stench of decaying frogs was foul.  But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief from pressure, he hardened his heart again.  The word for relief is rewachah in the Hebrew, which means relief from pressure.  The word in the Septuagint is anapsuxis, which means breathing space.  Thus, the phrase means as soon as Pharaoh could catch his breath, or had breathing room, he hardened his heart.  The word for hardened here, as in Exodus 7:14, is chabedh, which means hard in the sense of refusing to budge.  Thus, Pharaoh is only influenced by punishment.  He will lie to get relief.

The 3rd Plague:  Gnats


Unlike the previous two plagues where Moses was sent to announce the plagues beforehand to Pharaoh, the third plague of gnats was unannounced.  The Lord told Moses and Aaron to stretch out the staff, and the swarms of gnats came.
Exodus 8:16-17
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt.
The species of gnats was sciniphes, a species of gnat hardly visible yet causing painful irritation of the skin according to Philo and Origen.3  Gnats, which swarm in the air, are identified with Cosmic Babylon.

Magicians Cannot Duplicate

The magicians, who had been able to copy the previous two miracles, were unable to duplicate the plague of gnats.
Exodus 8:18-19
18 And the magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
Having been put down, the magicians were impressed with the plague of gnats and called it "the finger of God."  Although the finger of God is associated with writing the Ten Commandments, creating the heavens, and casting out demons (Exodus 31:18; Psalm 8:3; Luke 11:20), the magicians were unbelievers and were referring to one of their demon-gods and not Jehovah-Elohim.  They were saying that the gnats were the work of a powerful god, and, therefore, they could not duplicate it.  In spite of the gnats, however, Pharaoh's heart was still hardened.  The the word for hardened is chazaq, which stressed the strength, or firmness of Pharaoh's convictions against God.

Dog Fly The 4th Plague:  Dog Flies Dog Fly

Dog Flies


Moses was sent to announce the fourth plague to Pharaoh when he went out to the Nile for his morning worship service.
Exodus 8:20-23
20 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 21 “For if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of dog flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of dog flies, and also the ground on which they dwell. 22 “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of dog flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land. 23 “And I will put a deliverance between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur.”’”
The word, dog flies, is the Hebrew `arobh, which means mixture.  The word in the Septuagint is kunomuia, which means dog flies.  The dog flies of Egypt have been described as worse than the gnats.  The dog flies bite people and even attach themselves to the eyelids.3  The dog flies, like the gnats were associated with the air, and, therefore, Cosmic Babylon.  The key to the second group of three plagues is to shift the first three to the right and rotate; so the second group of three begins with Cosmic Babylon.

The land of Goshen where Israel was living would be exempted from the plague of dog flies.  As the plagues judged the land of Egypt, Israel was delivered since it was on the right side of history.  In verse 23 the word deliverance is literally peduth, which means redemption and not division as sometimes translated.  As the justice of God judges evil, it delivers the Righteous.  The plague of dog flies is called a sign.  The metaphorical sign of the dog flies was established for future generations to understand this symbol in Bible Doctrine.  A dog fly is a symbol of Cosmic Babylon.  Later in history it will be revealed that Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:2-6, 16; Matthew 10:25; Mark 3:22) is the lord of the flies.  Whereas, dog flies represent demon powers of Cosmic Babylon, Baalzebub rules them.  He also rules the world wide web.  Baalzebub is symbolized by a spider.  Thus, the Plagues of Egypt are important for learning the vocabulary for Spiritual Warfare.

The Plague Dog Flies

The fourth plague of dog flies swarmed all over Egypt.  Dog flies are blood suckers, which were a menace to people and animals.  The dog flies devoured the people (Psalm 78:45), and their bites left the people swollen and disfigured.
Then the Lord did so. And there came great swarms of dog flies into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was destroyed because of the swarms of dog flies in all the land of Egypt.  (Exodus 8:24)
The dog flies also laid their eggs in various places, such as fermenting vegetation, manure, and garbage.  The eggs produced maggots, which destroyed the land.  The dog flies were a nasty pestilence.

Pharaoh Cries for Relief

The nuisance of the dog flies convinced Pharaoh to call for Moses and Aaron to end the plague.
Exodus 8:25-32

25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It is not right to do so, for we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? 27 “We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He commands us.” 28 And Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.”

Pharaoh promised to let Israel go and sacrifice to God.  However, he stipulated, "in the land."  This was an unacceptable compromise for two reasons.  First, the cow, which was the sacrificial animal of Israel, was considered sacred to the Egyptians.  The Egyptians would not stand by and watch their sacred animals being sacrificed.  Secondly, the Lord had commanded Moses to go three days into the wilderness to sacrifice.  Pharaoh agreed to let Israel go into the wilderness to sacrifice to God, and he implored Moses to make intercession for him, i.e. to get God to stop the plague.
Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the Lord that the swarms of dog flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” (Exodus 8:29)
Moses warned Pharaoh against dealing with him deceitfully again.

The End of the Plague of Dog Flies

When Moses interceded in prayer, the Lord stopped the plague of dog flies.
Exodus 8:30-32
30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord. 31 And the Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of dog flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
However, Pharaoh hardened his heart again and refused to let the people go.  The word for hardened here is chabedh, which means hard in the sense of refusing to budge.

CattleThe 5th Plague:  Murrain


Moses was sent by the Lord to Pharaoh to announce the fifth plague.
Exodus 9:1-5
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 “For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the Lord will come with a very severe murrain on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks. 4 “But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.”’” 5 And the Lord set a definite time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”
The fifth plague, murrain (pronounced mür'_ün, ü as in further), is the Hebrew deber, which means murrain, or cattle-plague.  The word is derived from an Arabic word which means departure or death.  This is similar to the expression, "passed away," as a euphemism for dying.  Therefore, erroneous translations have rendered this disease as carrying off the cattle - meaning the cattle passed away, or died.  Murrain is also called rinderpest, which is a highly contagious virus infection of livestock.5

The murrain would infect the livestock of Egypt but not the livestock of Israel.  Here again the selective judgment of God cursed the Egyptians and delivered Israel.  Even viruses are under the control of the Lord.  A definite time was set for the beginning of the murrain to distinguish it from an incidental outbreak of the pestilence, which was known to occur periodically.

The murrain infected the cattle in Egypt, which were considered sacred.  Thus, the murrain was a judgment of Ecumenical Babylon.

The Plague

The plague of murrain began the next day as prescribed, and the cattle of Egypt along with all the livestock were killed.  According to the Ipuwer papyrus, the cattle and livestock suffered greatly, which agrees with the Biblical account (Exodus 9:6-7).
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan. (Ipuwer)1
Exodus 9:6-7
6 So the Lord did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
The phrase, "all the livestock of Egypt died," does not mean every single one of the livestock died because some were left for the Plague of Hail.  It means perhaps all in the region or all in the field.  Yet, none of the livestock of Israel died, as the Lord had promised.  However, in spite of the widespread destruction in Egypt, Pharaoh's heart was hardened. The word for hardened here is, again, chabedh, which means hard in the sense of refusing to budge.

The 6th Plague:  Boils


The sixth plague of boils was a skin disease.  The skin is used to feel or touch others, i.e. political relationships.  The skin is also close to a person, and skin problems represent problems with intimacy.  Intimacy problems arise from violations of Marriage Culture.  The plague of boils was against Political Babylon.  The sixth plague, like the third, was not announced beforehand to Pharaoh.
Exodus 9:8-9
8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. 9  “And it will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.”
Moses and Aaron were to take handfuls of soot from a kiln and throw it into the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.  The kiln (Hebrew kibe shan) was a smelting furnace or lime kiln for lime or pottery.  The soot produced a very fine dust like coal dust in the air, which symbolized the spreading of the boils on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.  Boils cause the flesh to turn dark like a bruise, which corresponds to the darkness of the soot.  Soot also causes the skin to be dirty, which symbolizes spiritual uncleanness, i.e. rejection of Salvation or Rebound.

The boils broke out into blisters or sores.  Boils (Hebrew shethin) are described in other passages (Leviticus 13:18-23; 2 Kings 20:7).  The boils spread rapidly.

The Plague

When Moses threw the soot into the sky, the plague of boils began.  It struck both people and animals.
Exodus 9:10-11, NAS
10 So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.
The magicians could not go to work because of the boils.  Boils on the legs can cause severe pain and cramps and make it impossible to stand or walk.

Pharaoh's Hardened Heart

This time the scripture says "the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart," which explains much more about the sequence of events.
The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (Exodus 9:12)
The word for hardened is chazaq, but it is in the Pi'el stem, which is the intensive stem, and it means to make strong or hard.  The Lord made Pharaoh's heart very hard so that he would resist the punishment of God and reject Moses' request to let the people go.

Categorical Punishment

Summary of Last 3 Plagues

Prior to the 7th Plague there is a summary in the narrative.  The 7th Plague will complete a category.  The summary explains the Doctrine of Categorical Punishment, which is illustrated by the first seven plagues.
Exodus 9:13-14
13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 14 “For this time I will send all My plagues upon your heart, upon your servants, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.
This word, "plagues," appears in verse 14 for the first time in the narrative.  It is the Hebrew maggephah, which means death blows or fatal strokes.  The Lord said that He would send His plagues upon Pharaoh's "heart," the right lobe of his soul.  Striking to the heart is like inflicting a mortal wound.  The sequence of events was:
  1. Pharaoh had negative volition toward God.
  2. God hardened Pharaoh's heart.
  3. Pharaoh was punished with Plagues.
  4. Pharaoh's servants were weak and sickly.  They had boils that kept them from standing.
God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and sent plagues upon Pharaoh, his servants (his staff), and his people.  He hardened Pharaoh's heart so that He could punish him more severely, which would reveal the truth that God is more powerful than the Cosmic System.  Before the Nine Plagues, the Egyptians thought their demons were more powerful than God.  The intensified punishment would also make a news story that would go over the entire earth so that all the world could be evangelized.  For example, Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, heard about Israel crossing the Red Sea and was saved.
Exodus 9:15-16
15 “For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. 16 “But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.
The Cycles of Punishment continue in verses 15 and 16:
5.  It was a grace decision of God to allow Pharaoh and the Egyptians to survive.
6.  The Lord allowed Pharaoh to remain to demonstrate His power and to evangelize all the world.
7.  The 7th Plague will complete a category - i.e. Categorical Punishment.
The Lord made the grace decision to let Pharaoh live.
He has mercy on whom He wills, but He hardens whom He wills. (Romans 9:18)

The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16:4, NAS)

Pharaoh was not destroyed for two reasons.  First, he was an unbeliever and the Lord was trying to get him to acknowledge the glory of the Lord (Exodus 9:27; 10:16-17; 12:31).  Secondly, the Lord was going to use the news stories of Egypt to evangelize the entire earth.  Pharaoh had even been raised up with all his obnoxious flaws and evil beliefs so that God could use Him for His purpose (Romans 9:17).

Doctrine of the Cycles of Punishment

The category of punishments of Pharaoh are seven cycles of punishment which are applicable to other generations of history.  The Cycles of Punishment of Pharaoh define the Doctrine of the Cycles of Personal Punishment, which is applicable to others besides Pharaoh.

Doctrine of the Cycles of Personal Punishment



1.   Rabbi Mordechai Becher.  "The Ten Plagues - Live From Egypt,"  Ohr Somayach International, 1997.
2.  "Red Tide Update,"  Mote Marine Laboratory.
3.  C. F. Keil and F. Delitzch (James Martin, Translator), Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. I, ISBN 0-8028-8035-5 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 1978, p. 481-484.
4.  Ian Dadour.  "Stable Fly,"  Chief Executive Officer, Agriculture Western Australia, 1997.
5.  "Rinderpest,"  Encyclopædia Britannica Online. [Accessed November 25, 1999],5716,65350,00.html#Article

Released December 9, 1999 - Revised September 28, 2011
Author: Larry Wood
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