W R Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Plagues of God are instituted for a purpose; normally as a punishment of a rebellious people who have forsaken the ways of the Lord. They become so short-sighted that they cannot see His desire to be their shield, protector, and provider.
A plague is defined as any epidemic disease with a high death rate; any large scale calamity to infest or afflict with disease, calamity, or evil of any kind.
It was noted that respiratory transmission was mainly responsible for the historic plague epidemics that swept across entire continents and wiped out tens of millions of people. One such epidemic killed an estimated 100 million people in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia during the 6th century.
Another epidemic in the same regions during the 14th century, known as the Black Death, killed about 75 million people. Epidemics of that magnitude have not occurred in modern times.
We are seeing epidemics of far less magnitude but devastating to those affected. Similar words to plague are: Calamity, destruction, distress, pestilence, and pandemic. Those words all carry the frightful unknown circumstances that entails such outbreaks, whether they are plagues of God; or not, remains to be seen.
Most of the plagues of God, mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, were brought on because of disobedience and failure to heed God's Word. However, God in His mercy, would stay such when called upon by a repentant people.
Scripture reveals: And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated (heeded the prayers) for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (2 Samuel 24:25).
Plagues of God can be stopped when recognition of their source is realized, the reason for such, and calling upon the mercy of God by a repentant people.
A rebellious nature was noted in the time of Moses. Scripture reveals: And the people spoke against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loathes (detests) this light bread (Numbers 21:5).
The people were in a rebellious state even detesting the provisions of God with His response being: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (Numbers 21:6). This was not called a plague but obviously had the same affect on those in its path; bringing calamity, distress, and death to a rebellious people.
Scripture reveals: Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said to Moses, Make you a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld (looked at) the serpent of brass, he lived (Numbers 21:7-9).
It was noted that later the bronze snake played a large role in Israel's religious life, even until the days of King Hezekiah, during which Israel fell back into the ancient pagan way of thinking, an worshiped the bronze snake as the bearer of life. This brings out that the memory of man, in reference to the plagues of God, falls by the wayside as time elapses, and sinful practices are once again instituted.
Ten plagues of God were released upon Egypt which had held God's people in bondage for 400 years. Scripture reveals: And the Lord said to Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
For I will at this time send all my plagues upon your heart (that of Pharaoh), and upon your servants, and upon your people; that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite you and your people with pestilence; and you shall be cut off from the earth (Exodus 9:13-15).
The final plague (death of the first born) would attest to God's deliverance of the Hebrews from the clutches of the Egyptians. Scripture reveals: And the Lord said to Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterward he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether (Exodus 11:1).
In the world today we are experiencing calamities, destruction, distresses, pestilences, sometimes described as pandemics, similar to that of a plague. Scripture reveals: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers (various) places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7-8).
There is ample reason towards the plagues of God becoming a reality; those who have tuned God out, investing in the ungodliness of man, the killing of the unborn, openly flaunting homosexuality which is condemned in God's Word, and attempting to change one's God-given sex at birth!
Scripture reveals: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea, and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for (from) fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:25-26).
And when these things being to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption (deliverance) draws nigh (near) (Luke 21:28). Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged (weighed down) with surfeiting (carousing) and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day comes upon you unawares. For as a snare, shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34-35).
The plagues of God does not always bring an ingathering to Him. Scripture reveals: And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues; repented not of the works of their hands that they should not worship devils (demons), and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk (Revelation 9:20).
It was noted that at this point in the Tribulation period, most surviving unbelievers will refuse to repent; even under the terrible judgment of the plagues of God. Despite the wrath of God being poured out they will not turn to the very one who is able to stay that wrath!
In reference to the fall of Babylon; noted as the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, was a directive to believers: And I (John) heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues (Revelation 18:4).
It was noted that believers were to forsake Babylon's idolatrous activities, not to touch the unclean thing, to separate themselves from its influence. God's people are to be separate from the rest of the world; not conniving with them, committing the same as them, not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, in order to not receive the plagues of God.
In reference to calamity, destruction, distress, pestilence, or pandemics, there are many promises in God's Word towards His divine protection to the believer. One such assurance is: Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation (dwelling place), there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plagues come nigh (near) your dwelling (Psalm 91:9-10).
It was noted that the evil punishment plagues of God does not touch the saints of God. When they dwell in God, have made Him their most High, it may not enter into them, and should it, it will not be in the way of punishment.
The believer in Christ's hope is standing true to God and His blessed Word. As the brazen serpent was the source of life to those bitten by serpents, in Moses' day, to those who looked upon it, so is Christ to those who look upon Him, as Lord and Savior!
Plagues of God may come upon the unfaithful, unbelieving, but the same God who brings plagues, is also a God of mercy to the repentant in heart. May the grace of God flow in your heart, and the Lord Jesus Christ, outweighing any plagues of God, calamities, destruction, distresses, pestilences, or pandemics that may come, to awaken those who have failed to take note of His amazing grace!
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