Updated: Feb 28
Author’s note: I believe I was on my seventieth article when I hit a serious case of writer’s block. I reluctantly told Jack (the late, great Jack Kinsella) that I had run out of ideas, and besides, everything I had wanted to write about, had already been written about a hundred times over. He must have chuckled at my amateurish bemoaning’s (he who had already penned several thousand by the time I came along). He told me, yes, everything you want to write about has already been written about many times over….but it has never been written by you.
As it were, I began taking everything I had ever been exposed to and began using that unique experience to draw from. One of those influences was music. I grew up listening to hard rock and heavy metal pretty much from junior high onwards. There was a band named Metallica I grew up listening to, and they had this song named Creeping Death, presumably named after the angel of death imagery portrayed in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston. Surprisingly, the lyrics were biblically accurate. I say surprisingly because the band is nowhere near being a Christian band from what I know of them.
Anyway, with that writer’s insight, I present to you a story from roughly three thousand years ago.
The Pyramids. The Sphinx. The Pharaohs.
The grandeur of the world’s first superpower.
From roughly 2000 through 1400 BC, the Egyptian Dynasties were the center of the known world. Due to both their economic and military strength, along with their technological and architectural know-how, their civilization had no rival. They were for all intents and purposes, the world’s first superpower. They were the most developed kingdom of any civilization in their day. But what was the source of their strength? As any good realtor would likely say, location, location, location! Well, that and the Nile River, which flowed from southern Egypt (the Upper Kingdom), to the north (the Lower Kingdom). The Nile provided rich, fertile farming grounds for hundreds of miles throughout the Egyptian provinces.
To the Egyptians, the Nile was the source of all life. The river provided both a vibrant way of life and produced great economic wealth for the Pharaonic dynasties for centuries. However, somewhere in their ancient past, either during or before the Old Dynasties began, Mizraim (the Hebraic and Aramaic name for Egypt), turned from worshipping the one true God, to worshipping false gods. It is unclear when exactly they turned to worshipping other gods, but presumably shortly after the fallout at the tower of Babel. It is possible that being close descendants of Noah’s son Ham (Genesis 10:6), they found a way to resurrect the memory of the Nephilim gods who had previously roamed the earth before the flood in Noah’s day several centuries earlier (Gen. 6:1-4). It would not be until Pharaoh came face to face with an eighty-year-old Hebrew named Moses that the Egyptians would finally have to reckon with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happens, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor. Exodus 1:8-14
The traumatic story of the Hebrew’s plight and flight from Egypt has been recorded in the Torah in the named books of Genesis and Exodus. Beginning with Abraham and going forward, God foretold him that his descendants would be in bondage for four hundred years in another land (Gen. 15:13). In other parts of the Bible, we see that the number is four-hundred and thirty years (Exodus 12:40-41, Acts 7:6, Gal. 3:16-17). The seeming discrepancy is not really one at all.
Maximum and most probable total time in Egypt (comprising both initial time in freedom and subsequent time in slavery) can be calculated using Moses’ genealogy in Exodus. The line is: Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses.
Kohath was alive when Jacob and his sons went into Egypt (Gen 46:8, 11).
Kohath lived 133 years (Ex 6:18).
Amram lived 137 years (Ex 6:20).
Moses was 80 years old at the time of Exodus (Ex 7:7). Let us assume that Kohath had been born just before entering Egypt, so as to maximize time in Egypt. The maximum possible time in Egypt is when assuming that Kohath and Amram procreated at the end of their lives. Maximum possible total time in Egypt = 133 + 137 + 80 = 350 years The most probable total time in Egypt is when assuming that Kohath and Amram procreated at the mid-point of their lives: Most probable total time in Egypt = 66.5 + 68.5 + 80 = 215 years Let us now calculate from Abraham to Exodus using the most probable time: Age of Abraham at Isaac’s birth (Gen 21:5)….: 100 Age of Isaac at Jacob’s birth (Gen 25:26)…..: 060 Age of Jacob at entrance into Egypt (Gen 47:9): 130 ————————————————— From birth of Abraham to entrance into Egypt..: 290 From entrance into Egypt to Exodus…………: 215 ————————————————— From birth of Abraham to Exodus……………: 505
As “Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran” (Gen 12:4): Time from call of Abraham to Exodus: 505 – 75 = 430 years.(Source–this last entry interestingly enough is by a Roman Catholic)
Another source (AIG) puts the timeline much tighter, and thus only has the actual bondage of Hebrew servitude at 144 years (between the death of Joseph and the exodus). Thus, the problem of determining a specific ancient timeline continues. For me, however, the timeline is somewhat inconsequential.
A) I cannot prove one position over another definitively
B) I will just take the Bible at face value since it does not err anywhere else.
In the story, Moses finally (after much divine prodding) leads his people out of bondage and towards the Promised Land (albeit through a forty-year desert wandering). It is in their deliverance from the totalitarian grip of Pharaoh, that I want to direct your attention. Since this particular Pharaoh would not relent in releasing the Hebrew slaves, God sent a series of destructive plagues that would devastate the Egyptian Dynasty. From the outset, God knew Pharaoh would not willingly give the Israelites there freedom, so we see a process of hardening, and being given over repeated here. Nevertheless, God uses Pharaoh’s indignance to further display His glory to His people the Israelites. These judgments were:
1) Turning the Nile to blood (Ex. 7:17-18)
a) Pharaoh hardens his heart
2) Plague of frogs (Ex. 8:1-4)
a) Pharaoh hardens his heart
3) Plague of lice (Ex. 8:16-17)
a) The Pharaoh’s magicians could not repeat this through magic, and signal this was of the God of the Hebrews (Ex. 8:18-19)
b) Pharaoh hardens his heart
4) Plague of flies (Ex. 8:20-22)
a) Pharaoh hardens his heart
5) Plague of death upon the Egyptian Livestock (Ex. 9:1-4)
a) Pharaoh hardens his heart
6) Plague of boils (Ex. 9:8-9)
a) The Lord hardens pharaoh’s heart (Romans 1:18-32)
7) Plague of hail (Ex. 9:22-23)
a) Pharaoh hardens his heart
8) Plague of locust (Ex. 10:4-5)
a) The Lord hardens pharaoh’s heart
9) Plague of darkness for three days (Ex. 10:21-22)
a) The Lord hardens pharaoh’s heart
10) Death of firstborn (Ex. 11:4-7)
He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, Wrath, indignation, and trouble, By sending angels of destruction among them. He made a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave their life over to the plague, And destroyed all the firstborn in Egypt, The first of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Moreover, the Lord continued to harden pharaoh’s heart until he had pursued them into the Red Sea, thus drowning himself and his army in their ill-fated pursuit of the Israelites out of Egypt. What is interesting to note, is that each time a world superpower arises, it is in their dealings with Israel (at the national level), do we see the fate played out.
1) Egypt– (1840-1440 BC) enslaves the Israelites and is systematically destroyed. Egypt never again rises to world power.
2) Assyria– (722 BC) conquers and destroys the Kingdom of Israel (the northern ten tribes) and scatters them across their empire.
3) Babylon– (605-586 BC) conquers and assimilates Assyria, then conquers and destroys the Kingdom of Judah (the southern two tribes). They are enslaved for approximately 70 years (Jer. 25:11-12, Dan. 9:2)
4) Persia– (538 BC) the Medo-Persians overthrow the Babylonians, kill their royalty, and then King Cyrus releases the Jews back to Judah. Persian support continued off and on through Artaxerxes II by way of Nehemiah in/around 445BC.
5) Greeks– (332-142 BC) under Alexander the Great, the Persian Empire and all their holdings are conquered to include Judah. However, upon Alexanders’ death, his empire is subsequently divided up unto his four generals: Ptolemy, Antigonus, Cassander, and Lysimachus. The Ptolemys ruled what was then Judah and Israel but eventually turned that control over to another general named Seleucus. The Seleucid Empire would rise; who eventually gave birth to the most infamous leader the Jews had ever known, Antiochus IV, Epiphanes. His abominations ultimately led to the Maccabean Revolt and a short period of Jewish independence until the rise of Rome.
6) Rome- (63BC-70AD) although Rome ruled the known world then until the early fifth-century (est. 430AD), the nation of Judah (having previously split and never reconciled with the northern ten tribes) was besieged and destroyed by the Roman legions under General Titus in 70AD. We know that Jesus had foretold the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44, 21:5-6, 20-24) some thirty years prior to the actual event. He also described a Jewish diaspora beginning then and continuing until some future, undeterminable point. Looking back, we know that this fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 and Luke 21:24 occurred respectively in 1948 and 1967.
7) Rome 2.0- (430-today) although the western Roman Empire collapsed around 430AD, the eastern Roman Empire continued on for another thousand years under the name of the Byzantines. Back in the west, the newly formed Roman Catholic Church began to assume growing power and authority and eventually rose in its own rights largely between the sixth through eleventh centuries (what we now call the Dark Ages). Since then, Europe has undergone numerous empirical rises (Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany, etc.) and culminated in two world wars (WWI and WWII).
Upon the conclusion of the latter, a new vision of a unified Europe arose in primarily two arenas: Political (what is now the EU), and militarily (what we know as NATO). However, to date, both the EU and NATO are still very much dependent upon their youngest offspring, the United States. Thanks to the prophetic role President Trump is currently playing, we are in the process of attempting to wean them from their dependence upon us. Interestingly, it is here that the nation of Israel is reborn (after 1,878 years in diaspora). She is reborn and enjoys the protection of the world’s most powerful superpower, the United States.
8) The Kingdom of Antichrist– although this revived Roman Empire, consisting of a ten-nation/region confederacy has yet to rise; we can see the signs of its impending arrival all around us (technologically, economically, and geopolitically). This also assumes that the current world superpower, the United States, is no longer a factor. This Antichrist (who rules this confederacy) will officiate or confirm a covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27) that kicks off the last week of years (seven years). The Prophet Jeremiah describes this is as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7-11). Elsewhere it is called the Day of the Lord. We commonly refer to it as The Tribulation.
During this last week of years, the period is broken up into two halves of three and a half year periods consisting of roughly 1,260 days each (the 1,230, 1,260, and 1,290 days issue is discussed in further detail in my article Tying It All Together Part III: In the Midst). I assume a gap occurs after the Rapture and the actual beginning of the Tribulation, of which, I cannot be dogmatic about regarding the specific length. Although not perfectly aligning in all areas, what is interesting is the correlation we see between the judgments in the Tribulation (Revelation 6-18), with the plagues that we saw in Exodus.
For example Exodus Plagues Revelation Judgments1Turning the Nile into blood (Ex. 7:17-18)Turning the fresh water and the sea into blood (Rev. 8:8, 11:6, 16:3-4)2Frogs (Ex. 8:1-4)Three unclean spirits like frogs cause the world leaders to gather at Armageddon (Rev. 16:13)3Lice (Ex. 8:16-17)Although not specifically mentioning flies, the Fourth Seal Judgment unleashes the beasts upon humanity. Beasts is all-inclusive here.
Rev. 6:84 Flies (Ex. 8:20-22)
Again, God is using the natural order as an infliction upon mankind
5 Livestock struck (Ex. 9:1-4) Again, God is using the natural order as an infliction upon mankind
6 Boils (Ex. 9:8-9) Rev. 16:2, 11 Sores upon all those who bear the mark of the beast
7 Hail (Ex. 9:22-23) Rev. 8:7, 11:19, and finally 16:21 (100 lb. hailstones)
8 Locusts (Ex. 10:4-5) Although not natural locusts (as was the case in Exodus, these locusts come from out of the abyss and inflict torment upon mankind (Rev. 9:1, 3, 7)
9 Extreme darkness (Ex. 10:21-22)Rev. 16:10 also describes extreme darkness that causes men pain due to its oppressiveness10Firstborn killed (Ex. 11:1-4)The armies of the antichrist are killed in totality. (Rev. 19:19-21)
Needless to say, the Tribulation judgments will be to the world, what the plagues were to Egypt, except being amplified 1000%. I believe the correlation exists between Exodus and Revelation primarily to serve as the signs and wonders the Jews needed in order to believe (1st Cor. 1:22). Since the book of Revelation is heavily themed from the Old Testament (from chapter four onward), it is further evidence that the New Testament Church is no longer physically on the earth. Yes, people will come to the faith and be saved (Tribulation Saints); they are not part of the Bride of Christ (the Church) that exists from Pentecost until the Rapture. These Tribulation Saints will be like those believers who came before the Church, redeemed by grace through faith, albeit, distinctively set aside just as both Israel and the Church are set aside into different categories of the redeemed. This does not mean there are numerous pathways to salvation, because there is only one way, by God’s grace through our faith. What has changed over time is what that faith was/is placed in.
The Old Testament Saints believed in a coming Redeemer (Job 19:25-27), although, they did not know who this Messiah was specifically.
The New Testament Church places their faith in the finished work of the Messiah Jesus Christ, placing their hope in things yet to come.
The Tribulation Saints will place their faith in Christ because of the Rapture and will withstand the worst of the coming global martyrdom. The Jews will see the signs and wonders, and the judgments (hearkening back to Exodus), and finally recognize that Jesus was the Messiah (Zech. 12:10-14).
One final thought regarding Exodus, Revelation, and the end of the age.
For the Jews, the Bible starts at Genesis and ends with Malachi (not necessarily in that order). For Messianic Jews, the first book of the New Testament most begin with (and credit for realizing the Jewishness of the NT) is the book of Matthew. What is interesting to me, is that if a Jew was conversant in the Old Testament (or the Tanakh), and they read Matthew’s gospel all the way through, it ends with the passage;
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
If the same Jew(s), reads nothing else in the New Testament except the Revelation, they could read about the deity of Christ, and the account of the entire two-thousand-year church age (Ephesus through Laodicea) in three chapters. They then move into the heavens and the judgments, which are heavily themed by Old Testament allusions. There are 404 verses in Revelation, of which, 278 are allusions back to the Old Testament (or Tanakh). That is almost 69% of the book. Amazing that God uses this book as the final tool and blueprint to help guide them in this final week of years, Daniel’s 70th Week.
Even so, Maranatha!