A plague is a demonic thing. The evil one is the sole inventor of plagues as a means of tormenting his captives. Curses and plagues remind us of the dungeons where executioners torture prisoners to death.
We read in the bible that God is good. Jesus said to a rich man, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good” (Matt. 19:17). In the Epistle of James, we read, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).God, the Father, sends only what is good, and that which can help, heal and save. The text reveals that God does not change and does not vary, that is, God has always sent good gifts and will keep on always sending them. He sent His Son to save, and with him he sent grace to all men (Titus 2:11). He sent the Holy Spirit to help, teach, guide, intercede, reveal and fill with love and virtue (Acts 2:38; Rom. 5:5; 2 Tim. 1:7; Rom. 8:26).
Christ, being the express image of the Father, did only what was good, healed, and saved; and he also does not change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Neither Jesus nor the Father spends precious time causing havoc to sinners’ lives, tormenting them with plagues and mortal pestilences. They are both occupied with saving the lost — an occupation worthy of the divine mercy.
Finally, who is busy about the plagues? You will be surprised to find out that the plagues were not birthed in the wicked mind of the devil; neither are they evil works of demons. All the existing plagues on this world, millions and millions of them, were birthed in the creative mind of Jehovah. Let us read a few texts. “FOR THIS TIME I WILL SEND ALL MY PLAGUES ON YOU AND YOUR SERVANTS AND YOUR PEOPLE, SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT THERE IS NO ONE LIKE ME IN THE EARTH” (Ex. 9:14). Jehovah declares that the plagues are all his plagues. And there is none other equal to him in this ministry of plagues.
The plagues of Jehovah do not teach, only torment. “Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which Jehovah has afflicted it…” (Deut. 29:22). “I shall also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its disasters” (Jer. 19:8). If the people do not practice evil deeds, it is not because of their virtue, but for fear, because Jehovah’s ability to torment is infinite. “If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins” (Lev. 26:21). Jehovah also thinks his plagues are wonderful. “…then Jehovah will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses” (Deut 28:59).
If Jehovah created the plagues, he is the lord of the flies, not Beelzebub. The word Beelzebub comes from Baal Zebut (Lord of the Flies). But the lord of the flies is Jehovah, for he sent this plague to Egypt (Ex. 8:20,21). The flies transmit all kinds of germs and sicknesses. Jehovah is the creator of lice, for he also sent this plague into Egypt (Ex. 8:16). Ulcers are also an invention of Jehovah, both benign and malignant (Ex. 9:8,9).
The plagues were ten, and the last one was like this: “Now Jehovah said to Moses, ‘One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here’” (Ex. 11:1). This last plague was the death of the first-born. Jehovah created the plagues that destroy the planted fields. The prophet Joel, speaking of the restoration of Israel, promises: “And the threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you” (Joel 2:24,25). This formidable army was sent if someone did not pay the tithe. When they paid, making their situation right with Jehovah, he said, “‘Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,’ says Jehovah of the armies” (Mal. 3:11). This is the tax that someone paid to the boss to be free from assaults of thieves. Read Matt. 3:8-11.
One of the plagues from the lot of Jehovah was the leprosy. “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a mark of leprosy on a house in the land of your possession…” (Lev. 14:34). Jehovah sent the mark of leprosy, and the priests offered sacrifices of atonement (Lev.14:48-52; 18-21). Miriam, Moses’ sister, caught leprosy because of her rebellion (Num. 12:9-10). “Be careful against an infection of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the Levitical priests shall teach you; as I have commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. Remember what Jehovah your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt” (Deut. 24:8,9). Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, caught leprosy for taking presents from the Syrian general Naaman. What stresses the impossibility of the concept of Jehovah’s goodness is the fact that the leprosy passed on to all Gehazi’s descendants (2 Kings 5:21-27). Another person hurt by leprosy was king Uzziah, for exalting himself and coming into the temple to burn incense. While he was before the altar, the leprosy broke out on his forehead (2 Chr. 26:16-21).
Jesus refers to the lepers of Israel. “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). They were not purified, because this was a plague from Jehovah. In the New Testament Jesus specially cleansed the lepers (Matt. 11:5). At one single instance he healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). As this plague was so spread in Israel, Jesus gave the apostles power to heal the lepers of Jehovah: “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, ‘Do not go in the way of the gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons’” (Matt. 10:5-8).
The question we pose at the end of this study is:
The good gift of the Father of lights was to send the leprosy, or was it to heal the lepers? It is important to remember that the plagues have never converted anyone. “And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory” (Rev. 16:9). The plagues are not good gifts, but to heal and deliver from them is a good gift from the Father of lights.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira