The LORD told Pharaoh that He was striking Egypt “so that you may know there is none like Me in all the earth,” and “in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” What does it mean to proclaim God’s name?
To proclaim God’s name means to reveal God’s character, proclaim His person, His power, and His glory. The revelation of God’s name thematically runs through the story of the ten plagues and the exodus from Egypt. The LORD told Pharaoh that he had raised him up and allowed him to remain “in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.”
The story began with God revealing His Name to Moses at the burning bush. When Moses first delivered his message to Pharaoh, the Pharaoh protested that He had never heard of the name of the LORD: “Who is the LORD that I should obey Him?” (Exodus 5:2). At the beginning of this week’s parashah, the LORD explained to Moses that He had not revealed His name to the forefathers as He was about to do for Israel in Egypt. In the rest of the story, God smites Egypt and rescues Israel in order to make His name known in the world. He used the opportunity to show the world who He is and to establish His reputation. The signs and wonders He brought against Egypt glorified His name and accurately revealed who He was—His saving power and mighty arm.
Our Master Yeshua had the same objective. As He reclined at His seder table among His disciples, He prayed, “I have glorified you on earth … I have manifested Your name” (John 17:4, 6). That does not mean He taught His disciples to pronounce the holy name of God as it is spelled, it means that He revealed God’s character and established His reputation. For three years He displayed God’s glory through His miraculous works, signs, and teachings. As He reclined that night at the seder table on the eve of Passover, He was about to reveal fully God’s name through the ultimate sign, His resurrection from the dead.
There will also come a time in the future when heaven will again unleash plagues and signs revealing God’s name, not merely upon Egypt, but in all the earth. The prophecies of the apocalyptic book of Revelation speak of plagues to come. Witnesses like Moses will appear with “power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire” (Revelation 11:6). Spirits will afflict humanity like locusts (Revelation 9:1-8) and frogs (Revelation 16:13). Plagues of hail and blood will descend on the earth (Revelation 8:8-9) and pestilence, famine and woe will consume Babylon (Revelation 18:8). As in Egypt, the plagues will conclude with the redemption of God’s people and the publication of God’s name. “In that day the LORD will be One and His Name will One” (Zechariah 14:9).