How to Escape the Coming Plagues

How to Escape the Coming Plagues

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:11-13, Revelation 18:2-4
Date: 10/02/2021 
We are living in a momentous time. The world is enslaved but God is calling us to freedom. A time of judgment is coming to this world. The only way for us to be safe is to follow Jesus all the way.
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Doug Batchelor: Well, you may be wondering exactly what's going to happen with the message this morning, "How to Escape the Coming Plagues." And, you know, the Bible is a book that actually has good news in it. The Bible ends, it's a happy ending in the Bible. But sometimes before you get to the triumph, you've got some tribulation and trials, and sometimes before you got a baby, you've got some labor pain and blood. And this is the way you see it happening in the story of the Scriptures. Now, in the message, "How to Escape the Coming Plagues,"

I want to begin by going to Revelation chapter 18, talk about the plagues on Babylon, because we really need to set the stage. Now, we're living in a world, let's face it, we've got a plague right now. In case you're wondering, no, I do not think the COVID pandemic is one of the seven last plagues. It is a plague. In fact, it's not the worst plague that we've had. If you study history, with the black death, or the bubonic plague, or the Spanish flu, and you look at the mortality number percentages, extremely severe, but this is definitely a plague. Jesus told us before his coming there would be pestilence. That pestilence has nothing to do with the seven last plagues.

So, the pestilence that Jesus referred to, yeah, that's happening now. And you look at what's happened historically in the world in the last few years, we have fires on a great scale, record breaking, and floods and pestilence. I think the Lord is maybe trying to get people's attention. But you look in Revelation chapter 18, it talks about the fall of Babylon, and verse 2, this angel that comes down from heaven, he cries mightily with a loud voice, saying, "'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.' And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and receive of her plagues.'"

When you read about the fall of Babylon and the plagues in Revelation, to understand the teachings in the Bible, sometimes you've got to go back. For instance, if you look in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and in verse 11, he's talking about the Exodus experience. And Paul says that everything that happened to them back then happened as examples for us upon whom the end of the world has come. And so, when he says, "Come out of her, my people," it hearkens back to the time when the children of Israel were in Egypt, and they were called out of Egypt. Matter of fact, it says here in Revelation, "Come out of her, my people." You also have that in the Old Testament. He said, "Let my people go." And so, God's people are being kept in captivity.

So, you read in Exodus 3, "Come there now, for I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." Egypt was surrounded by the Nile. Babylon is surrounded by Euphrates. The Nile is mentioned in Exodus. Euphrates is mentioned in Revelation, and you'll see in the seven last plagues that fall upon the world in the last days, there's a lot of parallels to the plagues that fell upon Egypt in the Old Testament.

So, to understand what is just before us now, I thought it would be profitable for us to look at what happened back then. So, we're going to go from the beginning of--or from the end of the Bible in Revelation, we're going to jump to the beginning, in Exodus anyway. Turn with me to Exodus chapter 4. And in Exodus chapter 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, you've got the story of the plagues, and they're coming out of Egypt. I'm just going to be able to highlight, obviously, certain points. I can't read those ten chapters right now.

Now, when Moses gets the command, he sees the Lord at the burning bush. God says, "I'm going to use you. I had to shape you for 40 years to humble you, prepare you, and now you've become the meekest man in all the world. I'm going to use you to bring My people out." Now, Moses, he feels unqualified. He said, "I haven't spoken Egyptian in 40 years. My tongue is slow. I can't do it." God said, "Look, who made the tongue? I'm going to use you. I want you to go." "Pharaoh won't believe me." He says, "Here, do these signs. Throw down your rod and put your hand in your coat, pull it out, it'll be leprous, then I'll heal it again. Your rod will turn into a snake, and then it'll turn into a stick again." Says, "You take these signs with you."

Now, what's the name of the God? He says, "I AM THAT I AM. I want you to go." And so, he agrees to this commission, and something interesting happens. A lot of folks skip over this, but I think it's part of the story. Go to Exodus chapter 4. The covenant is renewed, Exodus 4:24, "And it came to pass on the way," he's on his way to do what God said, "at the encampment," I think it might say "at the inn," there's a rest stop, "that the Lord met him and sought to kill him."

We can stop right there, and people go, "The Lord sought to kill him? Did His gun misfire? Did He swing and miss?" "Moses is fast. Stand still so I can kill you." I mean, if God really wants to kill you, is there anything you can do to stop it? So, what does that mean, "He sought to kill him"? Well, it could mean that the Lord struck him with an illness that could've been fatal, because there was an area in his life where he was out of harmony with God. Moses was getting ready to lead his nation, that has made a covenant with Abraham, said it was to be a permanent covenant with God's people of circumcision.

Now, the Midianites did practice circumcision. He had married a Midianite girl. He had married a Midianite girl, Zipporah, but they often didn't do it until they were 13. What does the Bible say for Hebrew boys? Eighth day. And I don't know, there must've been something else going on in the background between Moses and his wife because--well, let me finish reading it. "The Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone." They had flint knives they used for this purpose, and they were very sharp, so don't let that scare you. "Took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son," could be because Moses is incapacitated by illness, "and cast it at Moses' feet and said, 'Surely, you are a husband of blood to me.'"

Now, she might not have been too excited about his mission of leaving home and taking the family to go do a showdown with Pharaoh. That could not end well, potentially. And also, she may have thought that the practice was barbaric, as some of the world still do today. But whatever it is, there was an area where Moses was not obeying.

How can you lead the people if you have not practiced the covenant in your own life? Other people wonder. It says, "the boy." Well, Moses had two sons. He had Gershom and Eliezer. Eliezer means God will help me. The oldest was probably already circumcised because he was past 13. They had neglected the rite with the youngest. At the beginning of Moses going to Pharaoh, she says, "You are a husband of blood."

You know the first time Jesus shed blood was not on the cross. When He was eight days old, when they named Him, and He was circumcised. So, at the beginning of this birth experience of the nation of Israel, as he goes in to see Pharaoh, there is a shedding of blood of the son, another type of Christ. At the end, we'll get to that, the Passover, there's shedding of blood.

It's interesting that Moses begins after 40 years in the wilderness, he comes out of the wilderness to do his greatest work. It was after 40 years or 40 days in the wilderness Jesus comes to do His greatest work. There's a lot of parallels between Moses, who Moses was born from slaves, but he never served as a slave. Jesus was born from sinners, but He never sinned. And the Bible tells us that Moses was a great lawgiver, judge, priest, prophet. Jesus is a great lawgiver, judge, priest, prophet. Moses was the mediator between God and the people. Jesus is our mediator. We pray in his name--between God--a lot of parallels.

So, as we look at the story of their deliverance from Egypt, going to the Promised Land, we're going to find out something about where we are in history right now, coming out of Babylon into the Promised Land. Plagues, plagues at both ends of the Bible here. So, after this experience, he follows what he's supposed to do with the rite of circumcision. Then the Lord says to him--and now there's several momentous meetings that take place. Exodus 4:27, "The Lord said to Aaron, 'Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.'

So, he went to meet him on the mountain of God." What mountain is that? It's Mount Sinai. Moses was probably on the eastern side of the Sinai wilderness, Mount Horeb, and he comes, and he rendezvous with Aaron actually at the Mount. A lot of interesting things happen at that mountain along the way. Hasn't seen his brother in 40 years. And before that, he hadn't spent much time with Aaron because he had been in the palace of Egypt. So, he sees his older brother, and he kissed him. Now, at this time, Moses was fully resigning he is not an Egyptian. He is not a Midianite. He sees Aaron, and he goes, "This is my family, these are my people," and he becomes the leader of his people. He had to follow the circumcision rite. He embraced Aaron and his brother. Aaron was not just an old slave. And they meet there at that mountain where the other covenant was made, the Ten Commandments. And in Exodus 4, verse 29, "Then Moses and Aaron went, and they gathered together all the elders." They go from Mount Sinai back to Egypt. They call together all the elders of Israel.

Before they ever went and talked to Pharaoh, they talked to the people. This is a very important passage people skip over, and something happened here that is extremely profound and significant. They gathered the elders together, and he tells them what God is about to do. And there's things you read between the lines here. For one thing, they said, "Look, you've been in Egypt. You're drifting away from the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do you want deliverance from God? Well, you need to renew the covenant that God made with Abraham. You're praying to these pagan gods. There--some of you throwing your babies in the river, and you're not keeping the Sabbath. You're working seven days a week. You need to recommit yourself to the Lord." And the people worshiped God. That's what it tells us. After they had this talk, they said, "God is coming to deliver you. He's looked upon your affliction. Then they bowed their heads." This is verse 31, "They bowed their heads, and they worshiped."

Is worship involved in Babylon and coming out of Babylon in the last days? What does the beast's power compel? You either worship the beast or you worship God. So, there's an issue of worship that you see here. Now, we go to chapter 5. "Afterward Moses and Aaron, they went in and they told Pharaoh--" I don't even know how they got an audience, but somehow. "They went and told Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.' And Pharaoh said, 'Who is the LORD? I don't know the LORD that I'm going to let them go.'"

Now, I don't have time to read all that's going on in the story between the two, but I just want you to know Pharaoh then gets upset. You go to verse 5, Pharaoh says, "Look, the people of the land are many, and you make them rest from their labor." That word "rest," and you can look it up. Some of you have a computer on your phone. You can look it up. That word "rest" there is shabbat. He says, "You are making them rest." A little later in the same chapter, it says that Pharaoh is saying, "Don't listen to idle words. Don't believe the word." Moses and Aaron had told them, "You need to renew your commitment to the Lord, obey His commandments. He's going to deliver you." And what do you think those words were? They had talked to the people, and the people were now keeping the Sabbath, and Pharaoh says, "I've heard what's going on. You're causing them to rest. In fact, I'm going to make it impossible for you to rest. I'm going to increase your load of work by not giving you straw."

So, you see right here before the great deliverance, there is a renewal, a rediscovery of the Sabbath and a contention, a controversy over the Sabbath, over rest. Could that happen again? And then plagues come. Brace for impact, friends. I think we're living in the last days. Says, "You're making them rest from their labor."

Now, as we go through the devil's strategy to keep us from getting out of Babylon, out of Egypt, same thing--let me just--there's an analogy that I think that I'm taking for granted everybody understands. The Exodus experience is a metaphor for salvation. This really happened, but it's a story of salvation. The Pharaoh, who would he represent in this story? The devil, Lucifer, Satan, the adversary. He is making the people slaves, and we are all slaves to sin. Moses comes as a great deliverer. Who does he represent? Jesus. You and I are the slaves who are wanting to be set free.

So, you've got the whole story. And when they cross the Red Sea, it's a symbol of baptism. And before they got out of Egypt, 1 Corinthians chapter 10 again, says they were baptized in the cloud, and they were baptized in the sea. Jesus said, "Unless the cloud of fire--" Remember, and they went through the sea. We must be born of the Spirit and born of the water or we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, everything that happens with the children--they don't begin their journey without the sacrifice of the lamb. That Lamb is who? It's Christ. And so, the whole story of the Exodus is really a picture of salvation.

Now, there are parallels for what happened back then to what is happening today. The battle between good and evil has not changed, and there's a reason that you've got those plagues that are in the Old Testament and the plagues in the New Testament. I'm going to just list the ten plagues for you quickly because we don't have time to read all the details of what happened with them. First plague, water turns to blood. Is there blood mentioned in Revelation? Yes. Was blood one of the plagues in Revelation? Yeah.

It says then frogs covered the entire land. Does Revelation talk about three unclean frogs? Frogs in Revelation. Then there's lice everywhere that comes after they sprinkle dust. Talks about dust in Revelation. Then there were flies everywhere, but Goshen. All the livestock died. It talks about the economic collapse in Revelation 18. Boils, that's plague number six. Is there a noisome sore in the plagues of Revelation? Yeah. A hailstorm, in the seventh plague, there's a great hail, hailstones 100 pounds apiece ravaged the land.

Plague eight, clouds of locusts cover the land. Does Revelation talk about locusts? Not among the seven plagues, but locusts are mentioned as a plague earlier. Then darkness covers the land. Is there darkness mentioned in Revelation? One of the plagues. And then it tells us the firstborn of man and beast died in Egypt. And, of course, the Bible tells us in Revelation that Christ is the only begotten Son. He dies on our behalf, that we might be saved from that slavery. So, they come to Pharaoh and say, "Let our people go." And he says, "I'm not going to let them go."

Now, one more thing I should mention. The Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Have you heard that? It says it two or three times. God said to Moses, He said, "I'll harden Pharaoh's heart." And people say, "Well, that wasn't very fair. Is that how God does it? It's like, you know, a box of chocolates. You just make them all a little different, and you're kind of surprised when you bite in, find out what it was." God says, "I'm going to make this person, they've got a soft heart, and they'll be saved. I'm going to make this person with a hard heart, and they can't be saved. And then I'm going to punish them for having a hard heart, even though I made them that way."

Wouldn't that be kind of cruel for God to say, "I'm going to make you so you're proud and stubborn and sinful, and you're not going to be able to change, and then I'm going to punish you for being the way I made you." See where there's a problem with that theology. God is good. God is not an accomplice to evil in any way. So, that needs to be clear. If you look in Exodus chapter 9, it says Pharaoh hardened his heart. Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

So, why does it use that language that God said, "I'm going to harden Pharaoh's heart"? What it's really saying is, in the circumstances that God was going to bring--because Pharaoh was so proud, it would've hardened his heart. So, you could say God hardened his heart through the circumstances, but it was Pharaoh's choice.

I heard one pastor explain it this way. "You've got the sunshine, and the sun shines on two different materials. One material is wax, and one material is clay. The same sun shines on both. The wax softens, the clay hardens. The problem is not with the sunshine; the problem is with the substance. Knowing the pride in Pharaoh's heart, the circumstances that God sent hardened his heart, but Pharaoh made the choice. We are all free, just like the devil was free, but he chose to be proud. He hardened his own heart. So, just want to make that clear because God did not just say, "Well, in this story, I need a heavy. I need a fall guy. Who shall it be? I guess I'll make it the Pharaoh."

Same thing with Judas. People say, "Did God make Judas fulfill a prophecy and he had no choice, so he was going to be the bad guy? And then God's going to punish him?" No, Jesus didn't want Judas to do it. Judas was free, he made his own choice. That's why the Bible says, "Whosoever will," right? "Choose ye this day whom you will serve." God is not willing that any should perish. He creates potential for everybody to be saved. Christ died for all. Isn't that what the Bible says? So, just wanted to touch on that because it is in the story.

All right, first plague water turns to blood for seven days. But after seven days, Pharaoh still doesn't change. Doesn't even call for Moses. Makes it almost impossible for them to drink any water because it all turns to blood in the river, and it says the river stank, the fish went belly up, and that smells pretty bad after two or three days, but he hardened his heart.

And then you've got the second plague is the frogs, and the frogs had completely covered the land, and they're hopping everywhere. I've never seen a plague of frogs before. I've seen a lot of frogs in one spot, but just--I used to catch frogs when I was young and used to race them, have hopping contests. We had a lot of frogs in Florida, and my stepbrother and I got spearguns. We put all the frogs in the pool, and then we decided to see if we could spear them. I don't think we hit any of the frogs, but every time the spear hit the edge of the pool, it made a big pockmark in the concrete. My father found out. I never forgot about those frogs. That's my frog story. But it says that the water was destroyed by the blood, but the frogs got in their kneading troughs, and it destroyed their food.

So, these first two plagues are affecting their bread and their water. And Pharaoh said, "Oh man, enough is enough." And he calls for Moses and Aaron. He said, "All right, entreat the Lord that he might take away the frogs." Isn't it interesting that the unbeliever is praying. And does God answer his prayer? He does. So, don't think just because you pray and God answers your prayer, that means everything is okie-dokie. God also answered Pharaoh's prayer several times in this story. So, he calls for Moses and Aaron. He said, "Take away the frogs, and I will let the people go that they might sacrifice to the Lord." And so Moses prays. God takes away the frogs, and they gather them together in heaps, take them out to compost somewhere.

But Pharaoh saw there was relief, and he hardened his heart, and he did not heed as the Lord said. He said, "Well, we'll just procrastinate." Have you ever heard a politician make a promise that never is realized? That wasn't even funny, was it? That's just--that is so real. So, he said, "Look, I just keep promising; and as long as I promise the plague goes away. But I'm not letting them go. That's half our work force." Why did they want to destroy Israel? They said, "There are more of them than there are of us. If there's a war, they'll join our enemies. They've multiplied." And he said, "We're not-- lose all our slaves? You crazy?" So, he said, "I'm not letting them go." So, he uses his first tactic, which is called procrastination. God said, "Get out of Egypt." And Pharaoh said, "Okay, I'm going to let you go." And they're waiting and waiting, nothing happens. The devil will say, "Oh, yeah, one of these days you can be free."

You know, one of the devil's most successful tools to keep people in bondage is procrastination. I bet just about everybody here, in some area of your life, you can think of something that you plan on changing someday, and you've been planning that for 20 years, and it never comes. The devil says, "Yep, you're going to get out of Egypt. Cheer up, it's going to get better. One of these days, I'll let you go." But you don't ever break free.

Procrastination is very dangerous. When he saw there was relief, he hardened his heart. Because the sun is still shining and God is still blessing us, we don't turn from our sins. There's a passage in Ecclesiastes 8:11, "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil."

Whenever God calls us to follow him, when does he say to follow him? Today, if you hear his voice. Now is the accepted time. Jesus called the apostles. It says they immediately forsook their nets and followed Him. Calls Matthew, walks away from the cash register and follows Jesus. He calls Zacchaeus, says, "Make haste and come down, for today I must eat at your house." Whenever Christ calls us, He calls us to come to Him now. Someone said, "One of these days is none of these days." I often thought about starting a procrastination club, but I never got around to it. Some say procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

I heard that during the Revolutionary War, there was a general on the one side of the Delaware, General Rall, and he was in his tent with his men, and he was playing cards with his officers, and Washington was crossing the Delaware, and one of the lookouts saw that, and a courier was sent with an emergency letter for General Rall that said, "Washington's crossed the Delaware." And he hands him this sealed letter, but he's playing cards, said, "Thank you very much." He stuck it in his pocket, said, "I'll take a look after my card game."

By the time the game was over, the Americans had showed up, and he and many of his men were killed, and the battle was lost because he waited. So often true, we lose, I think, a lot of battles because we procrastinate. All right, then there's more plagues. You've got the second plague, you've got the third plague that comes, which is lice everywhere, and then finally the fourth plague, which is the flies, and these are not just house flies that are annoying. These are biting horseflies, and they're worse than chiggers, and everybody--they're getting into everyone's house, and Pharaoh and his family and servants are all being bitten. And he calls for Moses, said, "I'll let you go, I'll let you go."

This is Exodus 8:28. "I'll let you go. You may sacrifice to the Lord God in the wilderness. Only don't go very far. We want to--you can go out there, we want to keep our eyes on you. Don't get further than we can see you from the top of the pyramid." It doesn't say that, I'm just saying he's basically saying, "You can go, but don't go all the way out. We want to watch you. Don't go very far and intercede for me."

Well, isn't that another tactic? The devil says, "You can be a Christian, but don't go too far." Now, does Jesus say he has followers that don't go all the way? He says, "If you're going to follow Me, you've got to take up your cross, crucify yourself, forsake all that you have, and follow Me." To follow Jesus, He said, "I can't be second place in your life, I can't be number two. Seek ye first the kingdom of God."

You know how Peter ended up denying Jesus? It says he followed Jesus at a distance. John went all the way into the judgment hall, but Peter didn't want to look like he was too closely associated, so he stood back, and he hung out with the servants, the enemies of Christ, when Jesus was being tried, and finally a girl thought she recognized him and said, "Aren't you one of them?" And through association, he compromised and said, "No, I don't know who He is."

Have you ever denied the Lord by your actions, didn't want people to know you were a Christian, followed from a distance? Acts chapter 5, verse 1, you remember what happened in the early church. Ananias and Sapphira died because they promised to give 100%, and they gave part. All the way my Savior leads me. We're not there yet, but that's a closing song. We're to follow him all the way. Well, that doesn't work. Moses said, "No, we're going all the way." And Pharaoh said, "Well then forget about it." So more plagues come.

We've got plague 5 and plague 6. There was all the livestock died. Boils broke out on all the people. A hailstorm ravages the land, breaks down the trees, thunder and lightning scares them half to death. By the way, is there thunder and lightning in the seventh plague in Revelation? Yes, and fire from heaven.

So, when the eighth plague comes, it's the locusts. Now, I have seen a plague of locusts. It was in Nevada, and they just covered the ground. We were able to drive out of it, but do you realize the biggest locust plague in recorded history, you know where it was? North America. They were called Rocky Mountain locusts; and at one point, the locusts reached over 1,000 miles across the country, if you can you imagine that. The amazing thing is they are all extinct now. You cannot find a single Rocky Mountain locust. They don't know what happened. Farmers plowed up their eggs or something, but they just disappeared. But you can read about that story of the locusts that covered North America.

Well, this plague that went on in Egypt, it said there had never been anything like it. The sky grew dark. Any living thing that happened to remain, they landed upon it and gobbled it up. The ground was black with them. They were crawling everywhere. You could not step anywhere without hearing a crunch, crunch. It was awful.

So, Pharaoh picks up the hotline, he calls Moses and Aaron again. He said, "Go serve the Lord your God." But he's so proud, he can't help himself. "Uh, but who's going?" Moses said, "We're going to go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we'll go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord, and that's all of us." He said, "The Lord had better be with you when I let you go and your little ones! Beware, for evil is ahead of you." It's dangerous out there. You leave your little ones here. "Not so! Go now, you who are men, leave the women and the children and serve the Lord, for that's what you desired." And they were driven from Pharaoh's presence.

Well, was that going to qualify? Moses could've said, "All right, well, just the men are going to go." But Pharaoh knew that, "If I can keep their family, if I can keep their relations, their children or their family," and he now uses paternal compromises. There was going to be paternal priorities. He says, "Leave your children." And he figured they would be anchor babies. You ever heard that expression before? You've got to come back if they're there. And Moses said, "No, that's not going to work." What does Jesus say about that?

Does the Pharaoh--does the devil sometimes use our relationships to keep us from going all the way? In the last days, are people going to be tested because even some of our own household will become our enemies? That's troubling to think about. And I know some of you, right now, you don't want to look at the person on the right or left, because you might think that you're incriminating them, but there will be people that will turn. These are the words of Jesus. Father against daughter, daughter against mother-in-law, husband against wife, parents against children. There's going to be terrible, heartbreaking betrayal. Jesus said, Matthew 10:37, "He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. He that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." Someone came to Jesus, said, "Lord, I want to follow You, but first let me go bury my father." And what did Jesus say? Says, "Let the dead bury the dead. You follow Me."

When it comes to following Jesus, there is no second place. He must be first. And while I'm at that, some people make a compromise with the pharaoh by saying, "I'm going to compromise with my relationships. I'm going to marry somebody outside of the faith. I'll just give them Bible studies and convert them later." You'd better convert them first, friends. That doesn't always end well, amen? The Bible's pretty clear about not being unequally yoked, and this is one of the tactics that the devil uses to anchor people in Egypt.

So, Pharaoh's trying to hold something back, make sure the slaves are going to come back. So, he says, "Give me your children." And then there's the ninth plague, darkness over all the land, and this darkness is a darkness that you can cut with a knife. It's so thick they can't see anything. Is darkness one of the plagues that falls on the seat of the beast in Revelation? Yes. And so, Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron, and he says in Exodus 10:24, "Go serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. We'll let the little ones go. You can take your wives and your children with you, but you've got to leave your cattle here."

Now, why is that? Jesus said, "Wherever your treasure is, that's where your heart is." And he thought if I have your treasure, if I've got your assets, if I've got your property-- Some people are slaves to their stuff. They can't go on a mission trip because someone's got to stay home and take care of their stuff. They never get out of Egypt because they've got to buy more stuff. They've got to pay off their stuff, and we become just slaves to materialism. And so, where the devil can't maybe get you through a partial commitment or through your relationships, he tries to get you through materialism, through your possessions and your property.

And what does the Bible say about that? Luke chapter 14:33, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." "Pastor Doug, are you saying that we're supposed to put everything in the donation bag as we leave church today?" No, you should give everything you have to the Lord when you give him all your heart. Anything that you have, if you are a real Christian, you are simply the steward of God's property because I've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. You can't take it with you. It all belongs to Him. Matthew 19:21, "If you want to be perfect, sell what you have, give it to the poor, you'll have treasure in heaven, and follow Me. The young man heard that, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." What profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose the soul?

And the Pharaoh knew that some of these people, they were shepherds, they're going to come back for their property. And we'll capture them and make them be our slaves again. Peter said to Jesus, "Lo, we have left all and followed You." Did Peter still have a house? Yes. But they put Jesus first in their lives.

You know, one of the verses that jumps into my mind is where it says in Luke 17, speaking of the second coming, Christ is warning and he's pointing back. "In that day, he that is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, one who is in the field, do not even turn back to get your coat." When we see that the Lord is approaching, he says, "You're on the roof. Do not even take the time to go back in your house and retrieve your valuables. Run for your life." And then Jesus says--you know what the shortest verse in the Bible is? It's "Jesus wept," right? You know one of the next shortest verses? "Remember Lot's wife," who looked back. All of her treasure and her possessions and her people that was in Sodom, she looked back. Christ said, "Any man who puts his hand to the plow and follows Me and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom."

Being a--He's your Creator. Does He deserve it? One hundred percent, and He loves you more than anything in the world or anyone in the world is going to love you. He said, "I've got to have your heart." There should be no substitute. Years ago, I went to Pompeii, the ruins at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, where that volcano blew up, you know, I think 79 AD, and it just caught all these people by surprise. A number of people escaped. They had a lot of warning signs that the mountain was going to blow, and they were able to get away, but a lot of people were caught by the ash and the gasses that came down, and they could see it rolling down the hill. And if they dropped everything and ran for the coast, a lot of the people got in the boats and got away and lived.

Pliny the Elder--or the Younger--wrote a first-hand account of what happened to Pompeii. But when they were excavating--and they're still excavating--they would find these remains. And there was this one young lady--they could tell from her skeleton--that was just outside the city, that had evidently was fleeing and thought she had time to turn around and go back in and gather some valuables and jewels. And they found her, in her hand, clutching her earrings and some jewels. And you think, "Oh, what a tragedy, that you would lose your life for that." She thought, "Well, I've got a little more time to hang onto this stuff." What profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? And Pharaoh said, "Let me have your stuff." If the Lord doesn't have all of your heart, if it's all about your things, then you're going to be a target for the enemy. Well, more plagues come. So, that was the ninth plague.

Now, before the tenth plague--you all know what the tenth plague is. It's the worst of all, death of all the firstborn, man and beast, man and woman, and slave, rich, poor was going to be taken. And Moses gives everybody plenty of warning. In fact, there are even some Egyptians that have come now to believe in Moses. And when they go out of Egypt, the Bible says it wasn't just Israelites. There was a mixed multitude that said, "Their God's bigger than the Egyptian god. We're going with them." And they're told that, "If you're going to survive the plagues, you need to sacrifice a lamb," and they were to take a perfect lamb, a type of Christ. His bones are not to be broken. Christ's bones were not broken. It was a male. Christ, of course, was a male.

And they were to take this innocent lamb, and after they sacrificed it, they were to take the blood of the lamb and put it over the door of the home. Now, they're going to be saved, and it's going to be a Passover and a procession. Exodus 12:13, "Now the blood shall be assigned for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you."

That's not that many words. Let me say it one more time because I'm going to ask you to say it with me. "And when I see the blood, I will pass over you." Can you say that with me? "And when I see the blood, I will pass over you." This is an angel of judgment that's coming to judge. And when he comes, that judgment is death. The penalty for sin is death. But it says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." The only way for us to survive the plagues in the last days is to have the blood of the Lamb. Now, that's the moral of the whole sermon. There are plagues coming, but there's only one way to survive the plagues, and you must have the blood. That's where we get the word Passover. That angel of judgment will pass over when he sees the blood.

It's interesting that there's a judgment in Egypt at the beginning of this 40 years before they come out of Egypt. And when the angel sees the blood, those that have the blood above the door, their homes are protected. You go 40 years later, and when Jericho's destroyed, the only house where people are going to survive is the house that has a red rope in the window. That red represents what, that scarlet rope? The blood of Christ. Everybody in that house survived.

Do you have the blood over your home? Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Your home as a family, your home as an individual. They took the blood of the lamb. And when the angel saw the blood, he passed over. And then, of course, those that had that sign around them, the angel came through at midnight, and there was a cry that went up from the land of Egypt. Some of the Egyptians put blood over their door, and they were spared, but the majority of the homes did not.

And from Pharaoh that sits on the throne to the person who is in the dungeon, there was not a home in Egypt that did not experience the terrible agony of death. Says a cry went up from the land, the mourning and the wailing that went up from the land of Egypt after that plague was frightening, but nobody that had the blood perished. And at this point, Pharaoh, the people that are in such anguish, they don't know if they're next. "This is death. It's not just losing our cattle. It's not just frogs and grasshoppers and lice and flies now. Now it's we're dying."

See, God is so merciful. When it comes to the priority of life, God sent plagues on the rivers. By the way, all these plagues are against their gods, you realize. They worshiped the river and they worshiped frogs and they worshiped all these things. They worshiped the elements, and so these were really judgments on their gods. But God, you know, punishing the river and frogs and lice and locusts, it wasn't until the very end, God said, "I want to spare you, you're made in My image."

People aren't going to die until the last plague, it's--because God wanted to preserve them as long as he could. It's at the end of the days of Creation--God saves his greatest work when he creates man in his own image. Because you and I--he didn't die to save frogs and spotted owls. I mean, I like animals, but he died to save us. The blood is to save us. He waited as long as he could. At this point, Pharaoh says, "Get out of town." He says, "Leave now." And so, they do, they pack up and they eat the Passover meal. How do they eat it?

You can read about this in Exodus 12 and 13. They've got their shoes on their feet, they've got their staff in their hand, their bread is unleavened because they don't have time to wait for it to rise. It's something that was done in haste, again, reminding us that if God is calling you to get out of Babylon--now we're taking it to our day--get out of Egypt, don't hesitate. You've got to be ready to go when he calls you to go. And that--as soon as they sacrifice the lamb, then Pharaoh gave the command, "Get out," and they got up, and they began their journey.

Well, as they got to the Red Sea, and suddenly it got very quiet in Egypt. Not only have all the firstborn died, all the slaves are gone, and the Egyptians are saying to one another, "That was probably a natural occurrence." And here the Israelites have taken advantage of that. All these plagues are probably--they could be explained scientifically. Have you heard that before?

I remember there was a lot of fires that were happening in Northern California. I don't know if you remember, but right after they legalized same-sex marriage, California had 1,000 lightning strikes in one day. And I commented to a fellow pastor, I said, "Makes you wonder if there's a judgment." Oh, he got after me and says, "Oh, man, do you still believe that stuff?" He says, "That's not how God works." I said, "Really?" I said, "I read in the Bible that when they didn't repent, there was like no rain." And I said, "Yeah, sometimes I think that is how God works." They said, "That's all scientific. It's the weather." And the Egyptians started saying, "That wasn't God's acting. That wasn't God taking any initiative. What have we done? We let them go. Let's go get them back." So, they get their 600 chariots and all their soldiers that are still available, and they go--and they're a trained army--and they go to attack the children of Israel. And you know the story.

The children of Israel have taken the road to the south instead of the regular king's road, and now they're headed in between mountains on both sides and an ocean in front of them, and they see the Egyptians coming. Looks like there's no way of escape. And God says, "Stand still." Moses lifts up his rod. The Red Sea parts. God creates a way for them.

When it looks hopeless, God often does his best work, amen? They go down, the Bible said the wall--the water was like a wall on the right hand. It's like going to visit one of those big aquariums. They could look right in and see the fish. A wall on the right and a wall on the left, and they went across, and the Pharaoh probably took some--a few pep talks to get his soldiers to go down in there, but he said, "Follow me," and they went charging with their chariots off through that chasm between the two walls of water.

All the Israelites completely got on the other side, and then the walls started to leak for the Pharaoh and his army because it says their wheels got stuck in the mud. It was dry ground when the children of Israel went over. The wall started to leak, and it might've been a warning for any of the soldiers that still had any sense to turn around and get out of there. But they kept going, they got stuck in the mud, and pretty soon God released his power. The angels released the four winds, and those walls came crashing in, and not one Egyptian was spared.

The next day it said, "They saw the Egyptians on the seashore." And it says, "He has thrown the horse and rider into the sea." You know what it says in Revelation? "Babylon is thrown down." You look at the language of the Exodus deliverance, and you look at the language of Revelation, and you're going to see amazing parallels. Could be because God is telling us we're on the borders of deliverance. He's telling us, "Do not compromise with the Pharaoh." So many people are going to be lost because we're making deals with the devil. And He's saying, "You've got to have 100% commitment. You need to be willing to come out 100% from Egypt, Babylon." That's what God's calling for from His people.

And then you've got the plagues and the punishment. Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. When the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So, the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. You know, there's an interesting quote in the book, "Last Day Events," page 240. "The Lord God of Israel is to execute judgments upon the gods of this world as upon the gods of Egypt. With fire and flood, plagues and earthquakes, He will spoil the whole land. Then His redeemed people will exalt His name, make it glorious in the earth. Shall not those who are living in the last remnant of this earth's history become intelligent in regard to God's lessons?" That's one quote.

I just think I have time for one more I want to read you. This is from the book, "Great Controversy." "When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above, when Michael stands up, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt, when God was about to deliver Israel, were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God's people."

We're living in this momentous time. We've got a world that's enslaved. God is calling people to freedom. Jesus, like Moses, is saying, "Follow Me, and I'll get you out of here," but He needs 100% commitment. There's only one way for us to escape the coming plagues. When the angel sees the blood, he will pass over. Are you consecrated to Christ? Have you surrendered your life to Him? Have you asked for Jesus to cover your sins under that blood?

I remember reading an interesting story from history that when the people in Holland, in Rotterdam, Holland, they rebelled in the 16th century from the king of Spain, and he sent his army to destroy the people in the city. Well, they held out as long as they could. They held off the Spanish army, but finally, this town in Holland fell. And when the Spanish breached the walls and the city fell, they showed absolutely no mercy on any of the inhabitants because they had fought against the king of Spain. And they decided to annihilate everybody: men, women, old, young.

They went from house to house, army surrounded the city, slaughtering the people, and there was folks in this one house. It's called the House of a Thousand Terrors. You'll understand why in a moment. This one house filled with women and children, they heard the judgment was coming through the city, and the soldiers were going through, and they're massacring everybody in the city.

One young man had an idea. They barricaded the door as best as they could, and they got a goat. They used to have their little stalls where the milking goats were next to the house not far away. He got a goat, brought it in. They barricaded inside. They sacrificed the goat. And as the army approached their house, they took a broom, and they pushed the blood of the goat underneath the door. And the soldiers at first began to try to batter down the door. And one of them saw the blood coming under the door. He said, "Looks like our soldiers have already been here and done their work," and they went on. People in the house waited three days until they knew that the soldiers had left the city, and they survived because of the blood.

Well, there's a time of judgment coming to this world, and the only way for us to be safe is to be under the blood of the Lamb and to make that commitment, "I will take up my cross and follow Jesus all the way."

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Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Brian: It was ongoing with me. I would get up and drink. I would go to work and drink. I would come home and drink. And that was my way of life. I had an older sister, and in 2008 we received a phone call from her husband saying that she was involved in a very serious home accident. She had fallen outside on her patio--it was a concrete patio--and she hit her head because she was in a drunken stupor, and she needed emergency brain surgery because of the trauma that she had suffered. And so, they were able to stop the bleeding in her brain, but her organs started shutting down one by one.

So, here I was. You know, I hadn't had a drink. Being a full-blown alcoholic myself, hadn't had a drink in probably a full day, which was, you know, a lifetime for me. And during the time we were watching her, and they said that she wasn't going to make it, and we had made the decision, as a group, you know, with her children present and her husband, that they were just going to go ahead and pull the plug.

And during that time, watching her fade away--God forgive me--but I sat there asking her to die fast so I could go get a drink. And, you know, I didn't even see it then. I didn't see how bad I was at that time, but, you know, I look back at it now, and it just, it tears me up. But alcohol, that's what it does to you. I was walking out to go to work one morning with my breakfast, which was a six-pack of beer, and as I was climbing into my truck, it just--it just hit me that it was enough. So, I turned around. I took the six-pack of beer, and I threw it in the trash can, and I went and told my wife I needed help.

And there's two things I never do: ask for help and throw away beer. And, you know, thank God, I was able to do both. Well, when I finally got to the hospital, and they came and got me and took me in, and when they did a blood alcohol on me, they had to do it twice because they weren't quite sure it was right, but it was .38. They were all amazed I was even able to walk in there, let alone, you know, being conscious.

It was about two months after I got out of treatment, and starting my fresh life. I'd left home, left my wife, and I was going to start my new life of sobriety, and she wasn't going to be part of it. So, I moved out, and I was on my way to the store one morning when I was t-boned, broadsided by an oncoming SUV on the driver's side door of my truck, and this driver was doing an estimated 65 to 70 miles an hour, hit me smack on my side of the door.

I woke up in the passenger seat of the truck, and I remember coming to and hearing people standing outside, "Look, he's still alive." There was hairline fractures in my pelvis, and there was a compression fracture in my spine. And so, on all intents and purposes, I walked away from an accident I had no business living in. Well, with a broken back, I wasn't allowed to be vertical for but very short periods of time, and I wasn't very mobile with a fractured pelvis, so I was forced to move back home. And, you know, thank God I've got a stubborn wife who was willing to take me back and put up with all this.

Well, during my recovery, the only thing I could really do was watch television, and so as I was thumbing through the channels. I noticed a gentleman, and I happened to stop because he was proclaiming that you can't prove biblically that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday and that it's not biblical. And I thought, "Well, you know what? I think I can do this." You know, so I took up my Bible, and I did something strange to me, which was actually study.

You know, in over a course of several months of watching this man, who I would later discover was Pastor Doug Batchelor, I started trying to disprove everything he was saying. And the more I read and the more I studied, the more I found out that not only could I not disprove it, I was believing it, and I realized it was the truth. And then I started soaking up everything that Amazing Facts had to--I was at their website, you know, doing all the reading. I was looking at the Sabbath truth. I was, you know, downloading and streaming everything they had, you know, and I was really, really getting it, and it helped me so much.

Well, over a process of about three months, while studying, you know, with Doug Batchelor and the Amazing Facts team, and then, you know, of course, my Bible, but over that three months, I had fallen in love with Christ, like I never had before. And not only was my back and my pelvis healed, but my soul was healed, and I experienced an emotional and a mental healing that, you know, I had been longing for for years, that I've got to do something. What do I do next?

So, I looked up in the phone book, and I found the number for the local pastor, and I called him, and I said, "Hi, my name's Brian. I've just been converted. Where do I go?" And the poor guy was like, "Brian, it's nice to meet you. Converted from what and go where?" And I said, "That's what I want to know." But we had a little laugh over that, and he thought it was funny. And before you knew it, I was, you know, heart and soul into this little church, and I was studying with the pastor and decided, you know, "I want to be baptized. I want to be re-baptized." And we thought, "Great."

So, I did some study, and we agreed that I was going to be baptized in this state. Well, the next morning, my wife asked me, said, "Do you realize what day this is?" And I said, "Well, it's Sabbath." And, you know, Sabbath was amazing in itself, but she said, "Look at the calendar." And when I looked at the calendar, on that day was my one-year anniversary of my sobriety. I was being baptized one year after being sober, and then I just thought, you know, there's no such thing as coincidence.

That was just amazing for God to work that for me. God has done amazing things with my life, and I am--I have to give him, you know, all the credit, because short of just responding, you know, I've done nothing, and it's been him, and it's just, it's pleasure, absolute pleasure to be called a child of God. I'm really thankful that God used Amazing Facts television program and Pastor Doug Batchelor to make a change in my life.

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