Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty, Living Education
Did you know that one of the greatest nations of antiquity suffered not just one pestilence but a series of ten plagues in succession?
That nation was Egypt. This harrowing account is recorded in chapters 1-12 of the Book of Exodus in the Holy Bible. Jews and Christians alike reflect on the meaning of the original Exodus and Passover stories in springtime. For Christians, this reflection includes meditation on the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross as our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7; John 1:29) to provide us an exodus from sin, Satan’s society, and self.
The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is motivating people around the earth to consider the meaning of this frightening and deadly experience. Perhaps over several months, Egypt suffered plagues of blood, frogs, lice or gnats, flies, murrain, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of its firstborn. The plague of murrain on the animals was a pestilence (Ex 9:3, 14). Amos 4:10 referred to Egypt’s plagues as a pestilence. A working definition of pestilence is a contagious and destructive disease that is a calamity, a scourge, and an epidemic or pandemic. Today the world is reeling from one pestilence but imagine if it had to respond to ten in a row!
This story is one of the greatest epics of biblical history and literature.
The plagues on Egypt were God’s judgment upon a God-defying pharaoh and his people who had confined, enslaved and mistreated the Israelites for hundreds of years. God had given fair warning, through the preaching of his servant, Moses, to the proud Egyptians about the onset of these plagues if they refused to set His people free. By these afflictions, God released, rescued and redeemed His people from servitude to be His very own special people led by Moses, whose own birth narrative relates to the suffering of his people. God accomplished His will through this historic tragedy. It marked the beginning of the Israelites’ long journey to the Promised Land.
The desolating plague of our own time will accomplish God’s purpose in something we may not yet understand. The key to understanding this experience is humbling ourselves in repentance to receive God’s reprieve when He deems we are genuinely establishing godly standards (2 Ch 7:13-14). In the meantime, Christians need to consider and follow the apostle Paul’s example while under arrest in Rome: “… so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Phil 1:20). May God have mercy on us as we sincerely turn to Him in our time of need (Heb 4:16).
Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.