Welcome to Bo (Come), this week’s Parasha (Torah Portion).
· Exodus 10:1–13:16
· Jeremiah 46:13–28
· Revelation 9:1–21
“Then YAHUVEH said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them.’” (Exodus 10:1)
In last week’s Parasha, we read of the first seven calamities (makot) that YAHUVEH inflicted upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery.
This week in Parasha Bo, YAHUVEH sends the most devastating and final three plagues: locust, darkness and death of the firstborn.
After the final plague, Pharaoh finally acquiesces, triggering the Exodus of the Hebrews.
But what were the purposes of the Ten Plagues? To pressure Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free? Perhaps, but YAHUVEH is fully capable of setting HIS People free without a king’s permission.
We see in this Parasha and last week's that YAHUVEH does not see the Egyptians simply as an enemy to be overcome; rather, HE is committed to communicating something vital to them:
"I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am YAHUVEH." (Exodus 12:12)
The plagues demonstrate YAHUVEH’s supremacy over and judgment on all the false gods of Egypt.
When Moses first asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, he responded, “Who is YAHUVEH, that I should obey HIS voice to let Israel go?” (Exodus 5:2)
The GOD of Israel wants everyone to know who HE is. And HE wanted to make sure that Pharaoh and all of Egypt knew HIM, too.
HE even told Pharaoh that HE was sending the powerful plague of hail, “so that you [Pharaoh] may know that there is none like ME in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14)
In the end, Pharaoh did come to realize the power of the YAHUVEH the GOD of Israel.
But YAHUVEH was not only concerned about the beliefs of the Egyptians. The Torah indicates that YAHUVEH hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate HIS power to all the nations as well as the powerlessness of their false gods.
YAHUVEH does not want to be known only to this one nation of Israel, either. HE wants HIS name to be proclaimed in every nation on earth:
“For this purpose I have raised you [Pharaoh] up, that I may show MY power in you, and that MY name may be declared in all the earth." (Exodus 9:16)
And YAHUVEH certainly did make HIMSELF known to Pharaoh through the final three plagues.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Arbeh אַרְבֶּה)
“If you refuse to let MY people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field.” (Exodus 10:4–5)
Parasha Bo begins with the eighth plague upon Egypt – locusts. They devoured all the crops and vegetation of Egypt that remained after the hail.
Even though locusts are driven by the wind, a plague of locusts is so devastating that it cuts off the light of the sun and wipes out the food supply of the affected area.
In the Book of Joel, this plague makes another appearance, ravaging the land. The Prophet Joel links it to sin and the Last Days, exhorting Israel to repent and return to YAHUVEH.
YAHUVEH promises Israel that HE will make up for all the years that the swarming locusts have devoured:
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – MY great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of YAHUVEH your GOD, who has worked wonders for you; never again will MY People be shamed.” (Joel 2:25–26)
Locusts are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) as one of the end-time plagues upon the earth.
With the sounding of the fifth shofar in the Last Days, locusts emerge from the bottomless pit.
They will not harm the vegetation, but they will have the power to sting like a scorpion and torment men who do not have the seal of YAHUVEH on their foreheads.
“Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of YAHUVEH on their foreheads.” (Revelation 9:3–4)
The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Hosek חוֹשֶך)
“Then YAHUVEH said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt – darkness that can be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.” (Exodus 10:21–23)
With the ninth plague of darkness, ELOHIM delivered a crushing blow to the worship of the Egyptian sun god, Ra, demonstrating the folly of believing in idols and mythical deities.
Although the Egyptians were plunged into total darkness, the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings in the land of Goshen.
While everyone outside the shelter of YAHUVEH’s covenant live in ever deepening darkness, especially as the end of the age approaches, the light of Believers in YAHUSHUA shines ever more brightly.(Proverbs 4:18)
Today, there are so many reports of evil, and many are fearful of what may come upon us. Nevertheless, even when there is total, paralyzing darkness in the world, we can still have light in our dwellings, just as the Israelites had in Goshen.
It is time for us to stop cursing the darkness and, instead, start living in the light.
Instead of complaining, murmuring and fault finding over the darkness of “Egypt” today world, we can be all that YAHUVEH has made us to be, shining as lights in the midst of a dark and perverse generation.(Philippians 2:14–15)
And if we think that we do not know the Word enough to be a bright light, we must remember that even the smallest of lights shine brilliantly in the darkest of places.
The Bible says that the wicked stumble in the darkness and do not even know what makes them trip. (Proverbs 4:19)
When people are in complete darkness, they cannot perceive anything outside of themselves. In this state of darkness, it is easy to live in a completely self-centered, miserable world. Often a symptom of this darkness is using people for self-benefit.
But YAHUVEH’s presence in our lives promotes a kind of love that is giving, not self-seeking. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
We need YAHUSHUA, the Light of the World to set us free from our own preoccupation with ourselves so that we may truly love our neighbor.
Sadly, far too many of us who have been set free from darkness to live in the light still willfully stumble in the darkness of unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment. We must determine to let these go and walk in YAHUVEH's Holy Light.
Just as paralyzing darkness fell on Egypt, many in the world will one day experience a great, devastating darkness, which is one of the end-time plagues mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
When the angel pours out the fifth bowl of YAHUVEH’s wrath, the kingdom of the beast will be plunged into total darkness. This foreshadows the state of people who descend into Sheol (Hell), where there is a complete absence of all light. Revelation tells us that even this will not convince the servants of satan to repent and turn to the MAKER of all.
"Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the GOD of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10–11)