And The Plague Was  Stopped …

Second Passover?

Trying times are upon us, my dear readers – and, like everyone else, I am seeking the answers. The words that ring in my mind these days, are the words from Numbers 16: “And the plague was stopped”- and even though I know very well the Hebrew word, עָצַר atsar (“stopped”), that is used here, I was still  blessed to read  in my Bible program the list of all the possible biblical meanings of this word:

1) to restrain, retain, close up, shut, withhold, refrain, stay, detain 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to restrain, halt, stop 1a2) to retain 1b) (Niphal) to be restrained, be stayed, be under restraint”.

To restrain, retain, close up, shut, withhold, refrain – that is exactly what we need today isn’t it? But how did it happen then? How was the plague stopped? Let us study this chapter together, and try to understand exactly what God says to us today. C.S. Lewis wrote: suffering is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. If so, undoubtedly God is speaking very loudly these days – so let us try to understand what it is that He is saying to us.

Before we move to the book of Numbers, I would like to share some thoughts. I do need to issue a very stern warning though: this is not a prophecy! For me personally, it was a powerful revelation and that’s why I would like to share it with you, but there is no way I would pretend to know the “ultimate truth”. Like you, I have more questions than answers, but I just want to bring your attention to two obvious facts.

The first one is the “when” of the plague – the timing. Coronavirus is happening right before Passover (this year, Passover starts on April 8th ) – exactly at the time when the plagues in Egypt were happening. Are we witnessing a second Passover? In our previous, before-Corona, life (that feels so remote to us now, although it was only a few weeks ago), we were very aware of – and alarmed by – the growing anti-Semitism in the world. Might it be that the God of Israel is standing behind His people? Might it be that He is using this plague in order “to rouse a deaf world” and to shake off from it the hatred of His people? Of course, there is coronavirus here in Israel as well, and our lives here have become  as scary and surreal as everywhere else: empty streets, closed stores, crowds of masked people waiting before the entrance to supermarkets etc.; yet the approaching Passover makes me think, again and again, about the Egyptian plagues: did the people of Egypt realize that it was all about the Hebrews—that they were key to that story? Jewish people are always the  key to God’s plan and God’s heart  – and I  can’t help but  think that somehow, Israel is one of the keys to unlocking today’s story.     But once again, this is not a prophecy, I may well be wrong  – I am simply sharing my personal thoughts and my personal feelings with you.

Even more significant – and less obvious – is a second factor that I would like to bring to your attention: the “where” of the plague. If we consider which countries were hit the hardest (outside China), we realize that this topography may not be by chance and may well have to do with the attitude of these countries – in the  past or in the present – towards His people.  Trust me, the suffering of the simple people in these countries seems as unfair and as incomprehensible to me as it seems to you – but these are the sad but true facts, and I am just trying to decipher God’s message through these facts. Once again, I may l be wrong. Once again, my heart goes out to all the suffering, whatever country they are from – and like you (and like Abraham in the Bible), I am asking God how can it be that innocent people are suffering and dying because of the sins of the others. But the numbers are soaring – and these are the facts and not just my personal thoughts.


Between the Dead and the Living

And now, let’s open Numbers 16. I suppose, most of you know the story of Korah and his rebellion – how “they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown[1]. You probably remember “that the ground split apart under them, and the earth … swallowed them up”[2]. What I find very interesting in this chapter, though, is the fact that it’s not right after the Korah rebellion that the plague began: as a punishment for this rebellion, just 250 people, along with their households, were swallowed up by the earth – and the story seemed to be finished. But it was on the next day, when “all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD,” that the “wrath has gone out from the LORD” and “the plague has begun.”. What made God so angry?

There is no better commentary on Scripture than Scripture itself, so in search of an explanation, let us consider another well-known story: when Moses saw the people sinning with the golden calf, his “anger became hot”[3] and he broke the tablets that God gave to him. We know that not only did God not rebuke him for doing so, but He Himself was so angry that He wanted to destroy the people! The obvious conclusion: God is angry when something that is not His, is called by His name. And that’s exactly what happens in the story from Numbers: when the Israelites call those people who rebelled against Moses (and by doing so rebelled against the God of Moses), “people of the Lord,” – “wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.”[4]

14,700 people died from this plague (almost like the death toll in the world now – at the time of writing this post it’s 13,071).  But how was the plague stopped? We read that Aaron put fire and incense in his censer and “ran into the midst of the assembly … and made atonement for the people.[5]. – and here is the key verse that I’ve kept hearing in my head ever since it all began: And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.[6]

Friends, I am not making any conclusions here – it is not my place, after all. I do want to know, however, how the plague can be stopped. Let us think together and seek the answers together; I invite you to share here your comments and your thoughts. Maybe, together we will understand how the plague was stopped.




[1] Num.16:2

[2] Num.16:31-32

[3] Exodus 32:19

[4] Num.16:46

[5] Num.16:46-47

[6] Num.16:48


In these difficult days, when it feels indeed as if God is hiding His face from His people, I invite you to check out my books  – because now I understand that some of them have been written for such a time like this!. You can get them  from my page on this blog:   

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. SandraC

    Thank you for that insightful post. As for me who is a gentile but observes biblical feast the Lord reminded me to celebrate the last passover like I have been doing the past 4 years. During the night 08 to 09 April 2020 I would have an encounter that I have never seen before. I would see like a cosmic portal in the sky while I was starring in the dream the sky. Suddenly a huge face had appeared with the mouth opened wide while I was still looking at the sky my mouth started to open without me doing it and the heavenly being that I was seeing had flown words that I could not hear into my mouth like a river from heaven to me!

    Definitely this passoever was unusual and when I have seek God to know what we men should do to stop that plague He gave me 2 Chronicle 7:14-16 (if mann would humble themselves in repentance and if man would turn away from sin & seek the face of God then He would hear us and heal our land).

    Days before the Lord asked me to look for the meaning of Corona..and I would find out that it actually means Crown. While asking more to the Lord He would tell me this: Which crown do you want to wear the devil’s one or the Son of God?

    I humbly believe that through that Covid-19 God is calling us to repentance and also He is searching the heart of His own people to see whether we will trust Him as our King and Headship or will we doubt and walk in unbelief and allow the devil to muzzle us with the medical ask and by the same crown us with his demonic crown called Covid-19.

    The Lord told me also that out of the midst of chaos He will reveal Himself to the world through His chosen ones that He had kept hidden for a season. They are now ready to enter the scene all over the world to bring revival for the great harvest to take place.

    They hold His trumpet and He will roar again like the Lion of Judah through them.

    He also told me that eyes have not seen and ears have not heard what He is about to do because He said also that No longer shall He be mocked by man.

    I was listening to some worship songs when the advertisement of your institution had appeared over my phone and I was led by Holy Spirit to google your website…I now know why.

    I would be much please if you could please assist me for more info in regards to bible study. I presently have some knowledge of it when the Lord had taken me out of the world to make me study my bible since 2015 but I desire to add more knowledge to what I have learned so far from a Jewish perspective so that I may also read the original text of the scripture.

    It would be great if you could mail me at:

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He shines His face unto you now and forever.


  2. Ivan

    1. קורונא
    ק=100 + ו=6 + ר=200 + ו=6 + נ=50 + א=1 = 363

    2. המשיח
    ה=5 + מ=40 + ש=300 + י=10 + ח=8 = 363
    (‘Ha Mashiyach’, Strong’s # H4899: the Messiah)

    Covid 19 vs ADONAI

    1. קוביד 19
    ק=100 + ו=6 + ב=2 + י=10 + ד=4 + 19 = 141

    2. סמכיהו
    ס=60 + מ=40 + כ=20 + י=10 + ה=5 + ו=6 = 141
    (‘Semak-Yahu’, Strong’s # H5565: supported of YAHWEH; YAHWEH will sustain, support, uphold, refresh, revive)

    3. מלכיאלי
    מ=40 + ל=30 + כ=20 + י=10 + א=1 + ל=30 + י=10 = 141
    (‘Melki-Eli’, Strong’s # H4440: My King is God)

    4. אפלל
    א=1 + פ=80 + ל=30 + ל=30 = 141
    (‘Ephlal’, Strong’s # H654: Intercessor)

    A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1

    In that day the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown And a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people; Isaiah 28:5

    Thank you Ms Blum for your posts, very informative and inspiring as always!

    Blessings and shalom.

    בשם ישוע הנוצרי מלך המשיח

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you for your comment Ivan, very interesting! This “Corona vs HaMashiah” gematria is indeed very remarkable, thank you so much for pointing it out.

    2. Ivan

      A. Observation:
      1) covid-19 = 141 = My King is God
      2) corona = 363 = The Messiah

      B. Interpretation – Even though it may seem that the virus has effectively ruled over men through fear and death, it is not so for the child of God. The reality, despite the evidence of our senses concerning the pandemic, is that God still rules and reigns; covid-19 is not and will never be king. Jesus’ nail-scarred hands, though unseen, has always been and will always be in control over everything that happens in our world today.

      C. Biblical support (min. 3 passages, Ecclesiastes 4:12 ):

      1) ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’ Isaiah 45:5-7

      2) Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
      Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37

      3) “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

      4) In that day the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown
      and a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people… Isaiah 28:5

      5) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
      Philippians 2:9-11

      D. Application – There is no need for us to be afraid of the covid-19 pandemic; the Lord Jesus still reigns over all and He decides what happens to us and our famililies, and over all the countries of this world. We can have peace because of that truth, and our souls can be at rest in the One Who holds our breath in His hands, and Who owns all our ways.

      Blessings and Shalom to everyone!

      1. Julia Blum

        Hi Ivan, thank you for your thoughtful comments. Just a little note: in Hebrew, the last letter of the word Corona is ה;
        therefore, the numeric value of the word Corona (קורונה ) is
        ק=100 + ו=6 + ר=200 + ו=6 + נ=50 +ה=5 = 367.

        1. Ivan

          Ah yes, my mistake. Thank you Ms. Julia