Passover Plagues and the Gods of Egypt
The Gods of Egypt
by Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.
The title of a recently released film caught my attention: The Gods of Egypt. This column is not about the film, but rather it addresses God’s judgment on the gods of Egypt by way of the ten plagues.
The ten plagues were the systematic judgments of God against Pharaoh and the Egyptians for enslaving the Hebrews for 400 years and refusing to let them go.
“Let My people go,” said God through his servants, Moses and his brother Aaron. But Pharaoh refused. So under God’s instruction, Moses unleashed ten plagues against Egypt.
In each of these judgments, God spared His people, the Hebrews. He miraculously kept them from experiencing His wrath.
The final judgment, the slaying of the Egyptian’s firstborn, involved the very first Passover event. The Hebrew people were instructed by God to take a lamb without blemish, to sacrifice it, and to spread the blood on the top and the two sides of the doorpost, forming a type of cross.
Then the angel of death would pass over the Hebrew households, but would slay the firstborn of the Egyptians. The New Testament says Christ our Passover lamb has been slain for us.
Dr. D. James Kennedy points out that each of the ten plagues was a judgment on one of the gods of Egypt. You can find his commentary on this in the new D. James Kennedy Topical Study Bible in the book of Exodus.
Kennedy notes, “In the Book of Exodus, we see the great confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh. This is the Old Testament counterpart to the confrontation between Christ and Pilate, the representative of the pagan Roman Empire, with Pharaoh being the representative of the pagan empire of Egypt. Here is a classic confrontation between good and evil, Christ and Satan.”
Consider the plagues one by one and what Kennedy says about God’s judgment on Egypt’s false gods:
1) The Egyptians worshiped the River Nile, the source of their lives. The first plague attacked that idol by turning the water into blood.
2) The goddess Hekt (Heket, Heqet) had the face of a frog. “You worship frogs,” said God in effect, “now see what it’s like to have frogs everywhere.” In a short time, the Egyptians were sick of frogs.
3) Plague number three saw lice fill the land. Kennedy notes, "Now one of the gods of the Egyptians was Seb, the earth god…The Egyptians' reverence for the ground having it covered with trillions of fleas or lice would no doubt cool their amorous desires for that earth god Seb."
4) Swarms of flies comprised the fourth plague. Says Kennedy, “Scholars say they probably were not flies, so much as they were the beetles common to that area, called the scarabaeus from which we get the word scarab, which is a black beetle.”
5) The fifth plague was the judgment on the Egyptian cattle. Apis, the chief god of Memphis, was a sacred bull worshiped by the Egyptians.
6) The sixth plague involved boils. This was a judgment against the god Typhon. This god, notes Kennedy, was “a magical genie that was worshiped in ancient Egypt. Here was a god who was connected with the magicians, which were the priests of the Egyptian religion. We find here that the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boil was upon the magicians and upon all of Egypt. So their power was broken.”
7) Then came the plague of hail. Shu was the “god of the atmosphere.” As Kennedy points out, “Now it is hard to go out to worship the god of the atmosphere when you are being pounded with large hail stones.”
8) Next, locusts swarmed the land. The Egyptians worshiped the god Serapis, defender of the land against locusts.
9) Another major god of the Egyptians was Rah, the sun god. But Plague number nine saw darkness come over the land, even during the day.
10) “And finally in the last plague upon Pharaoh himself who was supposedly descended from the sun god Rah, his first born was killed,” writes Kennedy.
He sums it all up this way, “In the ten plagues, God shows the world for all time that He alone deserves our worship.”
Tragically, people today worship all sorts of false gods: money, celebrities, football or other sports. Some even worship their own possessions. Each of these will one day be burned up in God’s final judgement of this earth, and then all will see that only the Triune God is worthy of worship.
Whether audiences find the new movie, The Gods of Egypt, to be an entertaining fantasy adventure or just a high tech stinker, it's good to remember that the ten plagues were God's judgments on human idolatry.