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[LET MY PEOPLE GO, CONT.]
[the seventh plague]
The rapidity with which events take place and the stepped-up tempo of judgment is seen in the words which Moses was commanded to speak to Pharaoh just before the final four plagues began to unfold: 'Thus says 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 on your heart, and on thy servants, and on 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.’ (Ex. 9:13-15). The next plague which followed, being the seventh, was that of a great storm consisting of thunder, lightning, and ‘a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.' (Ex. 9:18, 23-24). The storm is symbolic of the worldwide 'storm' of conflict which will be gathering momentum in the earth. Increased use of atomic weapons will cause large amounts of water to be vaporized, ascending into the cold heights above to be frozen into large hail stones; these will then descend upon the earth, creating much destruction. Again you will notice that those in the land of Goshen were protected from the hail. (Ex. 9:26). So shall I keep from all harm those that put their full trust in me. Even among the Egyptians there was a measure of protection for those who heeded the Word of the Lord. (Ex. 9:19-20). This shows that as the end-time conflict increases in intensity, more and more people of the world will begin to listen to the Word being preached by my chosen servants, and they will look to me for protection. And I will faithfully keep them to the measure of their trust and obedience. For at times my chosen servants will warn of severe destruction coming on certain places and certain cities; those who heed my word and do what I tell them shall be preserved.
You will notice further that the storm of the seventh plague is spoken of as 'such as has not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.’ (Ex. 9:18). Since Egypt is a type of the world, the statement becomes synonymous with the prophecy of Jesus concerning the end-time tribulation period: 'For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.' (Matt. 24:21). Thus you can see that the tribulation period will have begun by the time this plague begins to be fulfilled. Like a storm, it will begin gradually and increase in intensity as the tribulation period progresses. The destruction of this plague, which was upon man and beast and vegetation, will not only have its counterpart in literal hail which will fall as previously explained, causing much destruction, but also much life will be lost as a result of the intensified conflict which this plague typifies.
Because of the timing of this plague, it is recorded that ‘the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.' (Ex. 9:31-32). Now what does this mean, says the Lord? It indicates the progressive stages of the harvest of your God during the tribulation period. You will notice that the barley was already 'heading' and the flax was not far behind. But the wheat and rie were not sufficiently up to be affected. Barley is the first grain to ripen in the spring and is therefore a type of the firstfruits of my harvest; those who enter more fully into my purposes and come to spiritual maturity before the rest. The fact that the flax was just beginning to bloom indicates that the firstfruits will have the 'fruit of righteousness' (Phil. 1:11, Heb. 12:11) fulfilled in them in preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb, for flax is that from which linen is made, and ‘fine linen’ is the righteousness of the saints. (Rev. 19:8). The firstfruits spoken of here are those who will have begun to ripen before the tribulation period begins, out of which a SHEAF is taken and glorified as described in the section on the fourth plague. The fact that the barley and flax were 'smitten' during this plague indicates that the more advanced and mature Christians are the ones who will take the brunt of the persecution which will be an integral part of the intensified conflict of the time. The wheat and the rie on the other hand represent those Christians who will not be so severely persecuted because, as a whole, they will not be out in the forefront of the struggle. The 'storm of conflict' represented by this plague will not only be political and military, but also spiritual and religious; the spiritual and religious factors taking on increasing importance as the struggle intensifies. For the final conflict of the ages is not just the result of predatory actions of certain nations; it is the consummation of the age-long struggle for the minds and allegiance of men. It is primarily ideological and spiritual.
The wheat and the rie represent those Christians who have matured very little previous to the great tribulation, or those who are converted during the tribulation, for there will be multitudes who will turn to their God in that day. The Egyptian grain termed rie in the King James rendering is not the same as that which is called rye in this day. That Egyptian grain was more like wheat, but of an inferior quality. It was hard to be cleaned of its chaff. It thus becomes a type of the 30-fold Christian: those who will be preserved by my almighty power through the tribulation to continue to live on the earth, but not within the confines of the Kingdom realm. The wheat represents those who will be in the 60-fold and 100-fold categories, and are slated to be fully gathered into the 'barn' of the Kingdom. (Matt. 13:30). They will mature under the harvest conditions of the tribulation period. The degree of progress made and the maturity realized will determine their category and allotment. The 100-fold wheat Christians will be translated and glorified at the close of the tribulation and gathered into the heavenly Kingdom, and the 60-fold Christians will remain on the earth to be gathered into the earthly Kingdom, eventually entering into immortality in human flesh. Since the 'barley' Christians reach a commendable measure of maturity or 'ripeness' even before the tribulation begins, they will all be 100-fold to enter into the heavenly Kingdom—a SHEAF at the beginning of the tribulation, and the rest at the close of the tribulation.
As a result of the seventh plague, Pharaoh was moved to relent. He called for Moses and Aaron and asked them to entreat the Lord to remove the mighty thunderings and hail, and he promised to let the people go. (Ex. 9:27-28). But Moses was not fooled by his feigned change of heart (Ex. 9:30), and as predicted he ‘feared not the Lord God' but 'sinned yet more, and hardened his heart.' (Ex. 9:34). Thus will it be with many of the world during the intense pressures of the tribulation period. Because of the seriousness of the world situation and increasing chaotic conditions in many places, many will turn with feigned heart unto the Lord, and seek out His servants to pray for them. But once there seems to be a way out of their predicament, and pressures seem to lighten a little, they will sin yet the more and harden their hearts. My true servants, however, will not be deceived by those who are not truly repentant. The power of my Spirit will be working so mightily among my people that the unclean and uncircumclsed will not go undetected; neither will they enter to contaminate the assemblies of the saints. (Isa. 52:1). Those who are sincere will be welcomed and helped; but those whose motives are tainted with corrupt designs will be discerned and exposed. The pretenders will not be allowed to remain and sow their seeds of mischief. I will have a pure work, says the Lord, and that which is of the enemy will not be allowed to take root. It will be quickly dealt with by those who are the true shepherds of my people.
During the earlier plagues it is said that Pharaoh hardened his heart or that his heart was hardened, but during the latter plagues it is said that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. (Ex.9:12,10:1,10-20,27). What is the meaning of this, says the Lord? Is it not written that in the day of evil's consummation I will send a strong delusion on those who love not the truth, that they should believe a lie? (II Thess.2:10-12). Now why, says the Lord, will I do this, and in what way am I justified? I am justified in doing so because I am able to know the point at which an unrepentant sinner will under no foreseeable circumstances turn from his evil ways. I will do so in order to more quickly bring about an impasse, that the catastrophic struggle which shall sweep away humanity's refuge of lies be not prolonged. By causing men to be more thoroughly deluded in their ways, which they are convinced they should follow, I am able to get them to more quickly set in motion those forces and courses of action which will precipitate the world into judgment. I am also thereby able to more profoundly show my mighty hand of deliverance to those who put their trust in me, for those who are hardened to do evil must be dealt with more severely, and thus the conflagration and whirlwind to judgment becomes so great that none can survive except those who are protected by me. The impact of such a worldwide reckoning with the sinful ways of man will long be remembered and told to succeeding generations, and will be a strong deterrent to any future deviation from the paths of righteousness. (Ex. 10:2).
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