God told Moses to put his hand in his bosom (chest). Then he took it out. When he looked at it, it had turned into a leprous hand. Then God said to put his hand back into his bosom (chest) the second time; this time when he took it out of his bosom, behold it was healed (Exodus 4:6-7). Unlike the miracle of turning of the rod into a snake, this miracle was supposed to be performed only in front of Israelites (Exodus 4).
The Healing of the Leprous Hand
To ask Moses to put his hand over his bosom was another way to ask him to put his hand over his own heart. His hand turning leprous signifies that his heart was having the disease of leprosy (Leviticus 13). This speaks of the loathsome condition of the human heart. Bible tells how the human heart is wicked. Jeremiah the prophet writes,
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.Jer 17:9
Who can understand it?
“For out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies”Matt 15:19
See also (Eccl. 9:3). We can, therefore, conclude that God was preaching Gospel to Israelites through a sign language. God was telling them to not to trust the voice of the human heart that speaks to us that we can make good choices and refrain ourselves from sinning. Human heart deceives. Jeremiah says “the heart is greatest deceiver among all things (17:9)” Paul says,
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doingRom 7:19
”Jesus said, A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit! Humans are born in the image of fallen Adam (Gen 5:3, Job 14:4). We need healing of heart which is diseased with the disease of sin! We need a new heart. Like in Ezekiel, God was saying to Moses, “A new heart also will I give you… I will take away the stony heart… (Ezekiel 36:26 paraphrased).” Like in Psalms 51, God wanted Israelites to pray, “Create in me a clean heart and renew the right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)!” Therefore God asked Moses second time to put his hand back again over his heart. This time his heart was healed. As a result, his whole body was healed. His hand was restored. Remember, this miracle was not performed before Pharaoh and his servants. The promise of a new heart was only for the Israelites, had they believed!
The Ten Plagues
When Pharaoh refused to acknowledge the gospel preached unto him, (by the miracle of rod turning into a serpent), then God began to thunder ten plagues upon the land of Israel (Exodus 7 to Exodus 12). New Testament confirms this. The writer of Hebrews says that the trampling of Jesus underfoot will have serious consequences (Heb 10:29). Men who refuse to get saved from coming judgment of God through Jesus will ultimately face it.
The First Two Plagues
Out of the ten plagues, we read that the first two were replicated by magicians of Pharaoh. When Moses turned water into the blood for Egyptians, then magicians also turned water into the blood for the Israelites (Exo 7:20 – 22). Also, when Moses sent frogs on the land of Egypt, then magicians too repeated the act (Ex 8:6, 7)! Water speaks of life. Turning water into blood signifies men getting killed. When men get killed in huge numbers, then their blood flows like a river into adjacent water bodies and turns it bloody. This meaning can be confirmed from the book of revelation. John says,
“The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments, for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserveRev 16:4-6
We see that God sheds the blood of people who have persecuted saints and prophets. As Moses enacted this plague on behalf of God, we read magicians repeating the same. Therefore there are two kinds of deaths. One as the death of worldly men by the wrath of God, (it may be in the form of war), and second the death of people of God as martyrs. Then we read that there was the second plague of frogs in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh’s Magicians also repeated this plague. The book of Revelation provides the spiritual meaning of frogs. John says,
“And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the AlmightyRev 16:13
The Bible is clear that God sends the spirit of deception to deceive people who obey not the gospel (2 Thess. 2:11, Psalms 81:11, 12, I Kings 22:18-22, I Timothy 4:1). Similarly, devil also sends his deception in the form of false prophets (2 Cor 11:3, 2 Peter 4:1, 1 John 4:1, Gal 2:4). Therefore the plague of frogs is the plague of evil spirits performing deception with false signs and wonders.
Eight Plagues which exclusively came ONLY upon Egyptians
We have seen that the consequences of the first two plagues were felt by people of Israel along with the people of Egypt. However from the third plague onwards, we read that God took an oath saying,
I will make a distinction[a] between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.”Exo 8:23
Israelites were unharmed by these (Exo 8:23-24), (Exo 9:4, 7),(Exo 9:11), (Exo 9:26), (Exo 10:6), (Exo 10:23), (Exo 12:13). The Magicians of Pharaoh could not repeat from the third plague onwards (Exo 8:18). They surrendered before the power of God saying “this is the finger of God (Exo 8:19).” Jesus uses the same phrase saying “If it is by the finger of God I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11:20).”
Some Similarities between the plague of Egypt with the Lord’s judgement in Revelation
Though there is a change in the order and some description, it is important that the pattern of judgement is very close to what we can understand.
Just as in first plague water turns into blood (Exo 7:17 – 20) so it happens in the 1st Trumpet where the destruction of life begins(Rev 8:7) and in the 2nd trumpet, that sea became blood (Rev 8:8). A similar thing continues in the 2nd and 3rd bowl that sea and rivers turn into blood (Rev 16:3, 4). As in times of the plague, waters of Egypt became undrinkable (Exo 7:18 – 24), so also in 2nd trumpet water becomes bitter. As in the first plague, fishes in rivers die and stink, so in 2nd trumpet 1/3rd creatures inside sea die (Rev 8:9), and in the 2nd bowl, all fishes die; men similarly (Rev 16:3-7). Additionally, we find that 1/3rd of men in sea and ships also get destroyed in 2nd and 3rd trumpet (Rev 8:9 – 11).
Then as in second plague we find frogs so we find mentioning of frogs when 6th bowl is poured. There is mention of river Euphrates in 6th Trumpet and 6th bowl. The 3rd, 4th and 5th plagues of flies, gnats and death of cattle are not mentioned in 7 trumpets and 7 bowls of Revelation.
The 7th plague of hail and fire from heaven (Exo 9:23-24) has mentions in 1st trumpet (Rev 8:7) of hail and fire (Ex 9:23-24). The seventh trumpet and seventh bowl also mentions thundering of great hail from heaven (Rev 11:19, 16:21). In 4th bowl, the mention of heat from the sun (Rev 16:9) sounds similar to fire ran along with the ground phrase of seventh plague (Exo 9:23). Just as the plague of hail smote upon every herb and every tree in Egypt (not wheat Ex 9:31-32), so does the 1st trumpet destroys the third part of trees and green grass upon earth (Rev 8:7).
Then the locust of 8th plague (Exo 10:4) is similar to ‘smoke of locusts’ of the fifth trumpet (Rev 9:3). However the locust in Egyptian plagues consumed all green things, fruits and vegetation (Exo 10:12), but the locusts of the fifth trumpet are commanded, not to hurt any green thing, but instead kill men (Rev 9:4-5). Locust of Egyptian plagues so covered the land that it became dark (Exo 10:15). This sounds similar to the phrase used in the fifth trumpet about locusts of revelation, that “sun and air were darkened by the smoke of pit (of locusts) (Rev 9:2).”
The ninth plague of darkness in the land of Egypt (Exo 10:21-23) is similar to 5th bowl being poured on the seat of beats, which brings darkness in the kingdom of beast (Rev 16:10). It is similar to 4th trumpet by which 1/3rd of sun moon stars darkened making night and day darkened for 1/3rd of their shinning time (Rev 8:12). Just as after the plagues we find that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened (Exo 7:22, 8: 15, 19, 32; Exo 9:7, 12, 34-35, 10:20, 27), so do we read in the book of revelation that men repented not nor gave glory to God (Rev 9:20, Rev 16:9, 11). Also, as we read that plagues in Egypt came upon Egyptians (Exo 8:23) so we read that bowls were poured on them who had taken the mark of the beast (Rev 16:2).