In the midst of raging wildfires, hailstones the size of baseballs pounded Australia in a mix of elemental opposites echoing the Egyptian plague. As if that reminder of the Exodus were not enough, a massive dust storm turned day into night. These and other phenomena created a pre-Messiah show of wonders in the hard-hit continent down under conspicuously timed to coincide with the week when Jews around the world read the section of the Torah relating the story of the plaques in Egypt.

While the northern hemisphere hunkers down for winter, Australia enters its dry summer. This year, a stark drought brought on devastating wildfires that have, so far, burned an estimated 46 million acres of land. The fires destroyed over 5,900 buildings including approximately 2,683 homes, and killed at least 30 people. An estimated one billion animals were also killed and some endangered species may be driven to extinction.

While the fires continued to burn in the southeast, the capital city Canberra, Melbourne, and other areas were hit by hailstorms raining down golf-ball-sized chunks of ice.

The mingling of elemental opposites is precisely how the plague of hail appeared in Egypt.  Fire intermingling with icy hail is reminiscent of the Biblical seventh plague that appeared with its elemental opposite: fire.

So Moshe held out his rod toward the sky, and Hashem sent thunder and hail, and fire streamed down to the ground, as Hashem rained down hail upon the land of Egypt.  So Moshe held out his rod toward the sky, and Hashem sent thunder and hail, and fire streamed down to the ground, as Hashem rained down hail upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:22-23

The Israel Bible explains this unnatural phenomenon.

“The hail of the plague is unlike anything we have ever experienced, let alone the Egyptians, who live in a warm climate. The Torah tells us the hail combines ice with fire, a combination which does not typically exist in nature. As the Israel Bible relates, the miraculous combination shows us that anything can exist in harmony to do God’s bidding.”

As if a Biblical plague of hail was not enough, a massive dust storm engulfed the town of Narromine, some 250 miles northwest of Sydney.  The186-mile wide cloud of red dust was carried by wind gusts up to 66 miles per hour. The huge storm quickly plunged the area into darkness so complete the weather service described it as “Day turns into night!”.

It is interesting to note that this multi-plague appearance in Australia falls in the week when Jews around the world read chapters 6-9 from the Book of Exodus which begins the story of the plagues in Egypt.

In fact, Jewish sources predict that all of the plagues will reappear in the final Redemption but in even more powerful forms. This reload of the Egyptian plagues was prophesied by Micah.

I will show him wondrous deeds As in the days when You sallied forth from the land of Egypt. Micah 7:15

It is written in Midrash Tanchuma, homiletic teachings collected around the fifth century, that “just as God struck the Egyptians with 10 plagues, so too He will strike the enemies of the Jewish people at the time of the Redemption.”

This concept was explained by Rabbi Bahya ben Asher, a 13th-century Spanish commentator, who wrote, “In Egypt, God used only part of His strength. When the final redemption comes, God will show much, much more of His power.”

The hailstorms, accompanied by gale-force winds, generated flashflood warnings. Brisbane and Gold Coast in Queensland, heavily hit by the wildfires, were drenched and some flooding occurred. The territory’s Emergency Services Agency reported receiving a record 1,900 calls for help, more than three times the average for a normal storm.

The storm shattered windows, damaged cars, and even forced Australian National University in Canberra to close for two days in order to assess structural damage to its buildings. Power was knocked out in several sections.

Residents were shocked to see birds falling from the trees and the sky.

This is a small taste of a much larger phenomenon of animals dying that is prophesied to appear as part of the all-encompassing experience at the end-of-days.

I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea. I will make the wicked stumble, And I will destroy mankind From the face of the earth —declares Hashem. Zephaniah 1:3

For that, the earth is withered: Everything that dwells on it languishes— Beasts of the field and birds of the sky— Even the fish of the sea perish. Hosea 4:3

 

The extreme contrasts exhibited in this difficult season was documented by ABC News correspondent, Siobhan Heanue.

The blessing contained withing the destruction was evident as the storms brought rejuvenating rain to wash away the destruction of the fires, creating beautiful scenes of fields coming back to life.