A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Once again my inbox contains a number of questions about Egypt, just like it did when former Pres. Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Feb. 2011 and a year later when Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected President. During both those times articles appeared on various web sites trying to connect the events with the fulfillment of end times prophecy. But as Morsi’s abrupt removal after only 16 months in office clearly shows, we don’t know what the ultimate outcome of the current situation will be so we really don’t know what if any prophecy is being fulfilled. With that in mind, let’s take another look at the Bible to see if we can get the Lord’s perspective on our question, “What’s to become of Egypt?”
Like I said it’s still too early to see if the current unrest in Egypt will lead to the fulfillment of prophecy. Those who’ve read my study on the Psalm 83 scenario know that I don’t believe Egypt is one of the nations mentioned there. Neither does Egypt appear in the line up of combatants in the Battle of Ezekiel 38 that will follow shortly afterward. Participation in one or both of these battles would be expected if Egypt had successfully established itself as a radical Islamic nation.
However, the situation is still volatile. As of this writing, the Egyptian military has taken direct control of the country again, making only vague promises where the future is concerned.
Several people have written to ask if the current events in Egypt could be a fulfillment of Isaiah 19:2-4. Let’s read it.
“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists. I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”
An initial reading shows some similarity to current events. But Egypt has had a long history of internal conflict, so it would be a mistake to think of the current unrest as being unique. Also, Isaiah said they would consult their idols, the spirits of the dead, the mediums and spiritists in an effort to figure out how to avoid defeat. This is a clue that the passage speaks of an event that’s in our distant past, although it was prophecy when Isaiah wrote it. In Isaiah’s time Egypt was a pagan nation as it had been for centuries. But today Egypt is 80-90% Muslim (mostly Sunni), with the remainder being Coptic Christians. Neither religion permits the kind of practices Isaiah spoke of.
I’m convinced this passage was fulfilled when God gave Egypt over to Nebuchadnezzar following his defeat of the Southern Kingdom in 586 BC. Ezekiel 29:17-20 tells us that God was doing this as a reward to Nebuchadnezzar for his 15 year long campaign to conquer Tyre. Even though the siege of Tyre was only partially successful, God said, “I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me” (Ezekiel 29:20). I believe Nebuchadnezzar, who was known as “The Destroyer Of Nations”, was the fierce king Isaiah had in view as Egypt’s cruel master.
Back To The Future
We can tell from Scripture that eventually Egypt will become part of the End Times Roman Empire, also being called The Islamic Caliphate by some. According to Daniel 11:40-42 the King of the South, which in Daniel 11 always refers to Egypt, will make an unsuccessful play for leadership during the Great Tribulation by attacking the forces of the anti-Christ. Daniel 11:42 reveals that this will bring Egypt under the anti-Christ’s control. The timing is shortly before the anti-Christ moves his headquarters to Jerusalem (Daniel 11:45) for the final showdown in his quest to control the world.
Of all the nations who either are now or have been significant in the Middle East, only Israel, Egypt and Assyria are mentioned at the outset of the Millennium, and all three are held in high esteem by the Lord.
The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:25)
This means that sometime between their defeat by the anti-Christ and the 2nd Coming a significant number of Egyptians will become believers and will survive to populate their homeland during the Millennium. We’ll turn once again to Isaiah 19 for more insight.
In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them (Isaiah 19:16-17).
I’ve read the major translations of these two verses and none of them say that anything will actually happen to Egypt at this time. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Egyptian people will be persuaded that the Lord is about to execute some major judgment against them. It will be as if they can see Him raising His hand to smite them as He takes the battle field to defend His people against the nations of the world (Zechariah 14:3). This will so terrify them that there will be a massive national conversion to the Lord, reminiscent of Nineveh’s conversion after Jonah warned them of a coming judgment (Jonah 3). It will happen just in time to prevent their destruction in the final days of the Great Tribulation.
The Great Pyramid
In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. (Isaiah 19:19-21)
Only Egypt has a location that’s both on the border and in the heart of the country. That’s possible because in Hebrew, Egypt’s name is Mizraim, a plural word that means “two Egypts.” In ancient times they were two countries, Upper (southern) Egypt and Lower (northern) Egypt, but they were joined to become one.
The name of this location is Giza. It’s on the border between the two Egypts and in the heart of the combined Egypt. And there’s already a one-of-a-kind ancient monument there, called the Great Pyramid.
The Great Pyramid is thought to have been built in the 22nd Century BC on a 13-acre base made level to within less than 1″. 900 million cubic feet of granite blocks were used in its construction. To this day engineers can’t explain how the workers managed to fit those huge blocks together so carefully in building a monument nearly 500 feet high. Some of the larger ones weigh nearly 80 tons.
It originally had a face of polished white limestone consisting of 115,000 stones finished on all six sides to within .01 inch of being perfectly straight. Cut on a bevel, they fit together with seams of less than 1/50th of an inch. They were then cemented together and polished to a high sheen. It’s said that the pyramid shone as if made of light itself and could be seen from over a hundred miles away. Over time the face has been stolen and carried away.
Unlike the 80 or so other pyramids in Egypt, which are vastly inferior copies, the Great Pyramid was not built as a tomb but as a monument, one that has architectural and astronomical features experts would be hard pressed to duplicate today. There are those who believe it was built as a unique tribute to God by beings with supernatural abilities. It’s entirely possibile that this amazing structure could again become an altar and a monument, restored by the Egyptian people as an expression of gratitude for the Lord’s mercy upon them.
The “savior and defender” who will rescue them from their oppressor (the anti-Christ) has to be a reference to the Messiah, through whom God will make Himself known to the Egyptians as we’ve seen above. We’re not given any more detail than that, but obviously this will have to happen prior to the 2nd Coming because afterwards it will be too late.
It’s Not Over Yet
Some time during the Millennium Egypt will get into trouble with the Lord again, and this time they won’t repent in time to avoid His judgment. Isaiah 19:22 tells us that the Lord will strike Egypt, and when they return to Him he will heal the nation. I think this is described in Zechariah 14:16-19.
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
This could also be the time of fulfillment for Ezekiel 29:8-16 which records an outstanding judgment against Egypt consisting of a 40 year period of desolation. Biblical records don’t show the Lord ever executing this judgment, and it’s not likely to happen before the 2nd Coming. That leaves the Millennium as the most likely time of fulfillment.Zechariah 14:16-19 is clearly Millennial in its focus and Isaiah 19:22 appears to be as well.
But at the end of the 40 years, the Lord will gather the Egyptians and bring them back. The judgment will have cured them of their rebellion and they will never again attempt to think of themselves as better than other nations. After that they will enjoy peace with the Lord.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
So it appears that after Egypt has been brought back into the fold of the Lord’s people on Earth, Egypt and Assyria will join Israel as God’s favored people. By the way, don’t confuse Assyria with modern day Syria. Assyria was much larger, encompassing nearly all of the Fertile Crescent from the Persian Gulf in the East around the Arabian Desert and down the Mediterranean coast to the Nile region in the West.
All this indicates that Egypt is in for a rough time over the next few years. Having come to the Lord in the final days of the Great Tribulation, Egypt will struggle and be disciplined at the outset of the Millennium, but will survive to be known as God’s people, alongside Assyria His handiwork, and Israel His inheritance. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 07-27-13