Exodus Day Thirty-Four
August 17, 2020, 5:00 AM

Seals, Trumpets and Bowls, Oh my.
Exodus 15:2-4

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.
Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.

Exodus 15:9-10

“The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Exodus 15:13

“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”

Exodus 15:17-18

“You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place,
O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary,
O Lord, which your hands have established.
The LORD will reign forever and ever.”

Passages from “The Song of Moses,” following on the heels of the Red Sea deliverance. The forces of Pharaoh believe they are god; but encounter God. They rattled their sabers, but God blew the sea, and the chariots were covered over by the mighty waters. On the other hand, for the people for God— The LORD’s promise was a path on dry land — to plant them on God’s mountain, the place he prepared for his Name, the sanctuary, where he will reign forever and ever. This is Temple language (Ex. 15:13, 17-18). At the dedication to Solomon’s Temple in 1 Kings 6:1, it says, “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel… he began to build the house of the LORD.” King Solomon established a place for the Presence of God. Solomon is God’s Son, reigning over the Promised Land. Enemies have been put away. The Land has peace all around. The people have arrived. The Exodus era is now officially complete. But we also know the rest of the Story and recognize that the building of the Jerusalem Temple was a fragile advent. There awaits yet a final fulfillment of this prophecy from the Song of Moses. Exodus 15:17-18 is finally Revelation 21-22 – heaven – language.

Over the years I’ve read and studied the book of Revelation, I’ve always noticed the prominence of the plagues of Exodus throughout the narrative, but I was never able to make the connection as to why God gave John the vision of these plagues. Better put, what do these Exodus-like plagues in Revelation mean?

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (Rev. 6:1-8)

Let me see if I can put this clearly— There are three prominent (most familiar) judgment cycles in the Revelation. Three series of seven Exodus-esque judgments that commence in Revelation 6 and go through Revelation 16. There are the seven seals (Rev 6:1-8:1); the seven trumpets (8:6-11:19); and the seven bowls (16:1-21). In each one of these cycles, each of the Exodus-like judgments upon the earth increase in intensity and devastation. The cycles themselves also seem to increase in this manner: In the seals, a quarter of the earth is affected. In the trumpets, a third. And in the final bowl judgments, the impact is total. As we look back to the Exodus plagues, there was there too, a slow build in the punch of each plague. At first, the Pharaoh’s court magicians were able to duplicate the plagues. They eventually fall away, recognizing the finger of God in the mix. The devastation just keeps building in Egypt. In the climax— after three days of thick darkness, God takes away the firstborn of Egypt, just as Egypt attempted to take away the firstborn of the Hebrews with the initial death decree from Pharaoh. At the end of this plague cycle, God delivers his people out of Egypt, headed towards the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey.

This is what I believe we are seeing in Revelation. The Exodus plagues are replayed in seals, trumpets and bowls. The impact of these judgments on the world is similar to what we see in Pharaoh – hearts harden: (Rev. 9:20-21) “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” By the time we get to the final judgments in the bowl cycle, this— (16:8-11) “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.” This final hardening leads into what we know as the battle at Har (Mount) Megiddo. Uh, that would be Armageddon. Simply put, the Day the Lord comes back after thick darkness, earthquakes and all other manner of earth rattling phenomenon to deliver his people through the Red Sea, across the Jordan to “bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. [And] the LORD will reign forever and ever.”

This is sobering stuff, because it means the plagues of Exodus are being replayed now, today, on a global scale. We are living the cycles of Revelation, which mimic the plagues of Exodus. These plagues; these trials. these trying times— will either harden our hearts, like Pharaoh — or they will strengthen our faith and love for God as we await his final deliverance. I have tried to internalize this perspective as we’ve traveled through this global pandemic. I think of this often as I watch political unrest heat up. It’s something to think about as we observe the cutting edge of human self-rule (hubris) ever-expanding, seemingly wondering why in the world we ever needed God and religion in the first place! Of course, none of us know when the time of God’s forbearance will finally time-out. Therefore, the Lord says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Rev. 16:15).

Once the connection is made between Exodus and Revelation, you can never quite read your Bible the same way. It’s no longer about those bad Egyptians; way back then; in another time and place, far removed from me. We’re there. We’re here. It’s our reality. Our Story.

New Jerusalem Revealed” by Alexander Sorsher

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