© Anthony E. Larson, 2003
A Tale of Two Books
The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses’ inspired leadership is perhaps one of the more spectacular events recorded in the Old Testament. In the process, the list of plagues visited upon Egypt is impressive: water turned to blood, vermin, pestilence, destructive hail, fire from heaven, thick darkness and the death of the firstborn. There were also some miraculous manifestations: the pillar of fire and smoke, the parting of the Red Sea, bitter water made sweet, manna from heaven, the sound of trumpets and thunder, as well as lightning and earthquakes at Mt. Sinai.
Remarkably, there is another book of scripture that reports the same plagues and miracles. When we turn to John’s Revelation in the New Testament, the principle scriptural source of prophesied plagues and miracles seen to occur in the last days, we see the same sort of things going on. In fact, a side-by-side comparison of the two books reveals remarkable similarities that intrigue the student of the scriptures.
We read in Exodus: “… and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.”
A comparable passage from Revelation reads: “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of water; and they became blood.”
Again, in Exodus: “… and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along the ground.”
Also in Revelation: “… and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth.”
Exodus: “And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.”
Revelation: “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; …”
Exodus: “And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Revelation: “… and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men … and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores.”
Exodus: “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings … and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
Revelation: “… and there were voices, thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”
Exodus: “… and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.”
Revelation: “And the seven angels which hold the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded …”
These stunning similarities are all the more amazing when we consider that Exodus is a record of past events while Revelation chronicles things that are yet to come. Apparently, the same things were going on in Moses’ time as will happen in ours. In fact, when all revelation touching upon the prophesied events of the last days is taken into consideration, these similarities become unambiguous commonalities.
Upon pondering this remarkable coincidence, it becomes apparent that the events of the last days, prior to the Savior’s advent, will see a return of the plagues and miracles of the Exodus – a rerun, if you will, in our day – something that most Saints have never considered.
Once established, these commonalities shed further light upon latter-day revelations, allowing us to better understand the context of past and prophesied events and appreciate their interrelated nature. That is, these signs do not happen in isolation; they occur in concert. Hence, when one or two of these plagues or miracles occur, most if not all of the others can be expected as well, even though they may not be specifically mentioned.
For example, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith, “For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
“And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:89, 90.)
These signs are plainly some of the same as those mentioned in Exodus and Revelation. Hence, we can surmise that other signs from those two books will also be included.
“For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree. …
“And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall her it.” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:87, 94.)
This more ample statement of latter-day events significantly elaborates our understanding of such events, whether they occur in ancient or future times. Yet, it reinforces the connected nature of these signs, plagues and miracles.
Given this new perspective of Exodus and Revelation, our study of prophecy and the scriptures should be more meaningful than ever before.
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