Ten Plagues: Our Spiritual Condition is Reflected in the Plague of Boils

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out on the earth the seven bowls of God’s wrath.” So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on earth, and loathsome, malignant sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.  And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it turned to blood like that of the dead, and every living thing in the sea died.…

The plague came without warning, and for those with discernment, it was a foreboding of doom.  At the command of the Lord a veil of fine particulates, a sooty ash, was flung heavenward in the presence of Pharaoh. It shall become a dust upon man and beast. Some translations expand on the sooty ash to include cinders, embers, or the white ash that forms on embers.  Another view is that God turned it into fiery dust and spread it throughout Egypt. 

Whatever this sooty-ash was we know that it is an irritant: 

An irritant is defined as a substance that causes pain, inflammation, itching, or discomfort. It is a thing that is annoying or distracting, and that causes trouble.

Let Moshe throw it… a light substance such as soot cannot normally be cast very high, towards heaven indicating it not only was in the lower atmosphere but also higher up in the firmament.  It is a miracle was that such a small amount of soot would suffice to become dust over the entire land. 

In the view of some the soot was burning hot ash such as one might encounter from a pyroclastic flow after a volcano erupts.

It is not detailed I Scripture but would make sense that as the wind carried the soot-ash, it went into homes.  There was no escape from it. 

This is the first instance of soot in the bible.  Soot can provide some interesting clues on the judgments of God.  Most of us think of ashes or soot as being black, and indeed we get that impression, from the Arabic word for soot.  As we have seen, soot can also be white.  I burn wood to heat my home and on my Cinderella days (cleaning the ash box) it is filled with a combination of black and white ashes giving an overall appearance of gray.  When I see this, I think of the dual nature of Satan.  He portrays himself as an angel of light but his rebellion against God is as darker than the Abyss.

Soot is a substance formed by an incomplete combustion, or disengaged from fuel in the process of combustion, which results in fine particles.  This fine powder, consists mainly chiefly of carbon.

What was the Origin of the Sooty Ash?

Given that this soot-ash was an incomplete combustion I have to wonder if one of the earlier plagues at the judgment of God included the first wave of galactic or inter-planetary event or merely the ashes of the Egyptians mundane everyday life. 

Did our sun super nova?

Did was pass through a cloud of intergalactic dust?

Were these ashes just left over from the every day process of baking bread?

We know that earth endured an incinerator event aside from the fireball event that supposedly killed the dinosaurs.  Did this event either cause super wildfires or instantaneously incinerate all life forms causing this carbon sooty layer in Egypt and around the world?

Is it possible that this ash contained the elemental remains of the nephilim that is dangerous to breathe?

Given that we know it was used in a supernatural way what else can sooty ash tell us? 

There is another gruesome possibility.  British theologian E.W. Bullinger compiled the Companion Bible that includes the notations of the Hebrew scribes called the Mesorah.  The accuracy of these scribal notes is one reason the Hebrew Torah has maintained its accuracy through the centuries.  Bullinger's Bible notation is that these ashes from the furnace were from the altars on which human sacrifice were sometimes offered to appease their serpentine god Typhon (Evil Principle) also known as Set a god of chaos, the desert, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in ancient religion.  Sacrifices were no doubt being offered to avert the plagues but the ash produced another plague instead of averting it. 

In the previous plagues we have seen Scripture allude to drought-like conditions, as a result of climatic changes.  Many times during drought, the fall of the dew is accompanied by a sort of dust, and it is furthermore written:

The Eternal will make the rain of thy land powder and dust.  Deuteronomy 28:24

Its onset, too, came from something negligible—a handful of soot from the kiln—but its affliction of the human body was greater than that of more impressive plagues.

Your Amazing Skin!

Your skin is amazing!  As a health advocate I am in awe of the marvelous barrier of our skin.  It is associated with subtle energies, electrical charges, auras, energy meridians and points, and other features. 

The nervous system and the skin remain intimately entwined throughout life.  As we look at the historical accounts of the sooty-ash let us keep in our minds the impact of SMART dust and nanoparticle's in the future of our physical and spiritual health.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) founded the Central Nervous System of the Earth (CeNSE) in 2010, which aims to launch billions of nanoscale sensors around to world to observe and gather data on the physical environment.

More and more talks of incorporating the technology with medical practices are popping up. We find an integration of Smart Dust in human augmentation and brain-computer interface

Spiritual Aspects of Skin Disorders

The skin is a great projection screen onto which physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of the person are constantly made visible. As with other challenging physical conditions, visible skin disorders can have significant psychological and social effects.

Inflammatory skin disorders such as acne and skin eruptions may point to a variety of spiritual concerns. Physically deforming conditions can raise existential issues and provoke searches for meaning in the afflicted.

Past traumatic experiences involve a memory that links to the skin.

Persons with these conditions were considered ritually impure, with the presumption that their skin disorder was associated with transgression or immorality.

Boil Basics

I will go into the Plague of Boils later, but for know a cursory look at boils is in order.

A boil is a pus-filled area of skin usually located from infected hair follicles.  A more severe form of boil is a carbuncle.

The usual cause of a boil is from a bacterium, most commonly Staphylococcus Aureus which today is antibiotic resistant. 

A boil starts as a red and painful limp.  As it swells and it fills with pus it becomes rounded and forms a yellowish head.  Boils can be reoccurring.

When one has boils it is critical that a person not burst for the boil for it will spread.  Hot compresses aid to relieve discomfort, hastening drainage and healing. 

At times boils must be surgically lanced and drained for healing to take place. 

Some Hebrew translations believe that the boils are better translated as

Supernatural Plague of Boils

This particular plague began with Moses taking a handful of sooty ash and casting it heavenward.  This settled over the land of Egypt much like Geo-engineering has blanketed our earth with SMART dust and nanoparticles among other things. 

It is very possible that these boils began from the irritation caused by the sooty-ash although we cannot discount a supernatural element as it was cast heavenward. 

Blains or boils in Holy Scripture comes from the root word to boil and the fire causeth the waters to boil…Isaiah  64:1. In the Hebrew the word is doubled.

As the whole atmosphere over Egypt is saturated with sooty-ash a foundation is laid that from this plague foreword, the plagues are of compounded or complex nature, involving several miracles within each plague.

And the lord appointed a time.  Once again we see that God Almighty has set a fixed time for the sign to begin and so we shall see this pattern repeated in Revelation. 

Jewish Legends add to our understanding about the Plague of Boils:

Upon man and upon beast it began as a dry rash. This dryness withered both man and beast.  This sooty-ash had desiccant properties that we see in today's geo-engineering and will increasingly experience with increased volcanic activity.  The boils then metamorphosed into a rash of wet boils of boils.  Some accounts say that the boils were an agonizing hybrid of boil that was moist on the outside and dry on the inside. 

Exodus 9:9 conveys to us several insights such as the boils in their formative stage there first was a dry inner flowering and over that formed the outer layer of boils while some adhere to a reverse order of boils on the outside and a dry rash on the inside.  Either way this was clearly a tortuous affliction. 

This plague does not highlight distinction any place which gives one pause to contemplate that among the Egyptians had they crossed the humanity line?  Had they abandoned their Divine Image in which they had been created thereby losing their human distinction and becoming beast like?  If this is the case was this due to their dabbling in the Black Arts and forbidden knowledge?  Or, possibly, was due to the dark practices of mixing forbidden species as seen in the Days of Noah?  As we see in the biblical narrative, it could also be, that the Egyptians embraced the hard heart attitude of Pharaoh. 

The Egyptians could not cure themselves of the boils therefore the god Imhotep-the god of medicine, was rendered a fraud!

Were the Magicians of Egypt Redeemable?

A friend and I had a lively discussion last evening whether or not the Egyptians in the fullness of their sin were redeemable.  One view is that they contained the blood of the nephilim and therefore they were unredeemable.  Another view is that they were deliberately sinning against God, making redemption without repentance questionable.  One last thought on this topic.  I took a biblical class several years ago and in class the teacher challenged us by inquiring, "Is redemption possible for some extremely wicked?"  It may sound simplistic, but I share with you, it is a very thought provoking question.  Think of an evil person.  Was that person created in the Divine Image of God?  Did God breathe life into that body?  Did that person stray from God's perfect plan?  Are we redeemable if we have a certain percentage of tainted blood?  Now back to the magicians.  My first impression was that they were not redeemable but after studying this more intently, given their reaction of shame even if it was a response to the boils, I could see potential, some glimmer of humanity still residing in their hearts.  Or, maybe I just choose to look for the positive and good in people. 

When it came to the Plague of Boils, mediated by Moses and Aaron, they magicians wanted to exhibit their prowess with dramatic effect.  They had remained inactive during the Plague of Vermin and Animal Disease, which were wrought by God.  Despite their plan this inflammatory rash was upon the magicians themselves and also upon all the Egyptians.  The helplessness of the magicians proved the hollowness of their faith.

God strengthened Pharaoh's heart it was not on account of the magicians.

Pharaoh's sorcerers were unable to stand before Pharaoh or Moses because they were afflicted with boils upon their knees and legs.  These magicians were ashamed, confounded and covered their heads.  They made no appearance in the royal palace but remained imprisoned in their homes.

The imagery in the narrative is very similar to that spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah in 14:3:

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth….And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

This narrative regarding the magicians also reminds me of Genesis 3:

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

The words describing the boils upon the magicians are spelled different ways in the Hebrew language.  One is with a full spelling and the other is defective.    This indicates that their status was now even more greatly reduced.  They no longer enjoyed the glory of their close association with Pharaoh. 

God hardened Pharaohs heart and therefore he did not request Moses to entreat the Lord. There was none to help him and none to uphold him.  His folly and iniquities ensnared him. 

His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. Proverbs 5:22

Spiritual Side of Sooty Ash

The fate of your soul is directly impacted by your life choices. On the physical sensation level, this occurs as molecular, biochemical, and electrical interactions between skin cells and nerve cells. On the cognitive thought level, the appearance of our skin, hair, and nails influences our thoughts and vice versa.  The skin is a psychological semi permeable membrane that separates self from others but permits interchange.

On the social level, the appearance of our skin, hair, and nails influences social interactions as well as internal self interactions.

On the spiritual level, the perception of the skin can influence the core self, relationships between people, and a person’s relationship with God. We received a glimpse of this through the verses with the Egyptian magicians.   

Religious Aspects of Skin

Why did the magicians retreat from public view?  If you have ever had a noticeable affliction you already know the answer.  Skin and skin disorders have had religious aspects since ancient times. At the outer layer of the body that presents itself to self and others, skin has major psychological and social effects on how we view self and others. Persons with visible skin disorders have often been stigmatized or even treated as outcasts. Various skin disorders have spiritual and religious aspects. I recall my bout with pimples as a young girl.  All I will say is that peer review can be brutal. 

Off the Beaten Path from the Pages of History

He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

— Jeremiah 36:18

In ancient days Torah scrolls and the Bible were written in ink.  I am not sure what is used to today for printed materials. I am fairly certain that the original ink recipes are not used.  Why would I research ink when I am investigating the Plague of Boils? There is a fascinating connection between sooty-ash and the Book of Life.

Sooty-Ash Ink

Black ink in ancient days — ink was a solution or suspension of solid ingredients in a liquid environment which served for writing. …and contained at least three ingredients:

  • Pigment — which gives the ink its color,
  • Binder — which binds the pigment to the writing surface,
  • Carrier — the liquid in which the pigment and the binder are suspended….

The ink used for ancient writing was black and of two kinds, according to the sort of pigment used: carbon-based and iron-based.

Carbon-based ink was made from soot or charcoal dust…soot was gathered from burning vegetable or animal fats. Charcoal dust was produced by burning vegetable matter such as beech trees or cedars.  Carbon-based ink was first developed circa 2500 BCE.

Iron-based ink was made, in ancient times, from the following ingredients: blanched oak-nut galls, green vitriol, also called copperas…its chemical formula is iron sulfate crystallized with seven water molecules…”

Dr. Nir-El in the Sinai journal: “The ink used by Jewish scribes until the second century CE was carbon-based. The Dead Sea scrolls were also written in carbon-based ink, as seen by chemical analyses recently performed (published by Dr. Yoram Nir-El in his article “The Black Ink of the Qumran Scrolls,” Dead Sea Discoveries 3.2 [1996] pp. 157-167).

Martin Levey from Yale University suggested that diyo is a black ink whose color is due to soot particles.  Based on prior work, the best soot came from olive oil, which was then mixed with balsam.

Kankantum is translated as copper sulfate or perhaps "copper water".  

In a recent paper on the ink of Persian documents, the author found that they too contained lamp soot which was gathered from inside a chimney that burned linseed oil. The soot was then sieved to produce a fine powder that was bound with Gum Arabic, made from the sap of the acacia tree.

Dead Sea Ink

Then a group of German scientists analyzed the ink on one of the Dead Sea Scrolls and reported their findings in Dead Sea Discoveries. They used x-ray spectroscopy, in which an electron beam is bounced over the sample, and the spectrum of radiation that is given off is measured. As you can see in the figure below, the spectrum of the Dead Sea Scroll ink is similar to Gum Arabic, but it contains peaks that suggest other compounds, including a gum produced by the Acacia Raddiana. Not surprisingly this tree is only found in very dry or desert climates.

To their astonishment was comparable to ink dating from the 12th century.

Analysis of the spectrum of the scroll ink also suggests the presence of tannins -a group of chemicals naturally found in many trees and plants. Gall-nuts contain tannin.

The survival of this ancient use had actually been forgotten. In this case the tannins would chemically bind the ink to the parchment collagen, explaining the surprising durability of the scroll inks as compared to the usual, physisorbed, carbon-based ink.   

The ink used on the Dead Sea Scrolls written around 100 CE compares to ink from recipes over 1,900 years older. 

How is ink made? One collects lamp-black obtained from oil or from pitch, wax  or similar substances; one binds them with wood resin and a little honey, and they are kneaded well and flattened into cakes.  Then they are dried and put away. When they are used to write, they are soaked in gall-nut water or something similar and he writes with it.  And if the writing needs to be erased, it may be erased.  

This is the worlds first and finest erasable ink.

Blotting Out Transgression and Betrothal

And herein the forgotten mystery of the sooty-ash ink!  It is durable to withstand the test of time, but is not so permanent that it cannot be blotted out.  Thankfully for us, God wanted to retains His exclusive right to blot out our transgressions. 

For you see, our relationship with Jesus Christ is much like a wedding contract.  There is much significance of a King writing His Word in stone, for it endures the weathering of time-irrevocable.  This is why Moses destroyed the First Commandments in stone when the Hebrews were playing the harlot.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He offers us a free gift, but we are betrothed, a martial relationship of sorts- with all that goes with that intimate relationship. 

The Song of Songs is the most beautiful and dynamic account of this love story between the Bridegroom and His Beloved.  I encourage you to read it and to infuse romance of the Beloved into your walk of faith as we become the spotless Bride.


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Celeste has worked as a contractor for Homeland Security and FEMA. Her training and activation's include the infamous day of 911, flood and earthquake operations, mass casualty exercises, and numerous other operations. Celeste is FEMA certified and has completed the Professional Development Emergency Management Series.

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