Egypts Prophetic Future

The Holy Scriptures give a lot of space to Egypt and her relationship with Israel. From the beginning of Hebrew history, even as far back as Abraham's first decade of pilgrimage, the association has been close.

Nor was it surprising that both Abraham and Isaac looked to Egypt for help in famine times, for they knew that the Nile provided ample water for their neighbour when the rains failed where they were. More surprising was the elaborate operation God planned for Israel's survival through a prolonged drought of seven years' duration in the days of Joseph.

Israel 's four generation sojourn in Egypt and the subsequent servitude that was not relieved until Moses led his people back to Canaan demonstrated that Israel's history is not accidental–it is rooted in the eternal purposes of God.

Small wonder then that Egypt gets more mention in the Bible than any other Gentile nation, a total of six hundred and eight times. Egypt's history may be older than Israel's but the final chapters of both will be written together. It is hard to believe that in the day of Israel's triumph, when the Messiah will reign on the earth, Egypt will be a partaker of the blessing and prosperity.

"In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.

"In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts will bless, saying, 'Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance'" (Isaiah 19:23-25).

Egypt has had a chequered history. Before Babylon and Assyria built their empires Egypt was a world power. Its natural resources and industry enabled its ancient Pharaohs to put their nation into world class in culture. Rich in gold, silver, copper, lead and emeralds, its artists used them lavishly.

Trade was vast in grain, cotton, flax and the riches of Africa its caravans brought up through Nubia. Labour was cheap because Egypt used slaves. Her artists were adept; her astronomers were able. Architecturally, scientifically, militarily and industrially Egypt was in the lead.

They must have been astute agronomists too, for even after their long period of decline after their subjugation to the Babylonians, Persians and Greeks, Rome used Egypt and neighbours to the west as the Roman Empire's granary. Egypt's wheat was famous.

But bulging barns, bunkers full of bullion, and libraries filled with literary classics do not measure greatness according to the Creator's standards. Egypt was religiously corrupt, morally impure, socially unjust. Her priests were leaders in occult practices. They had more than three thousand gods.

For Egypt's centuries of sinning in these areas the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar was sent and was used as an instrument of judgement. Indeed Egypt's servitude to a succession of foreign rulers began in the early days of the seventh century BC except for brief periods of independence.

Ezekiel had said that Egypt would be "the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations any more" (29:15).

The fulfilment of this prophecy has been a fact of history–Babylon, Persia, Alexander the Great, Rome, Arab caliphs, Mameluke sultans, the Turks, then the British till Egypt's independence in 1922. The country had sunk to a deplorable state, so much so that its people were mostly illiterate and often disease-ridden.

Egypt 's prominence in the last days is one thing; its pre-eminence quite another. Ezekiel's prediction about Egypt always being a base nation in the meantime still holds good. Modern Egypt has tried to assume leadership over other Arab states (although its people are less than Arab racially) with very little success.

In the Bible Egypt is known as Mitzraim, Noah's son Ham being the father of Mitzraim who peopled Egypt. So it is more Hamitic than Arab. Egypt has been conquered by the Arabs and has had Islam and Arabic forced upon it, but it will never achieve greatness again, even as Ezekiel prophesied.

And the prophet Daniel foretells that Israel is to be in deep trouble with Egypt and Syria in the latter years before the Messiah returns, as there is to be a coming clash involving the king of the south (Egypt) and the king of the north (Syria).

Israel being in between the two is bound to be deeply involved as they fight each other, or the third power that is mentioned in the prophecy: a personage who occupies Israel at that time, sometimes called "a vile person" (Daniel 11:21), "the Antichrist" (First Letter of John 2:18), and "the beast" (Revelation 19:19,20; 20:10).

"At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind . . . and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.

"He shall enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown . . . he shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape" (Daniel 11:40-41).

In the meantime Egypt will continue to be in the world news in these days right up to the time when the nation turns to God in repentance, when it recognizes some natural disasters as being judgements from the Lord. Ezekiel speaks of the future day when these events will occur.

"The sword shall come upon Egypt, and great anguish shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain fall in Egypt, and they take away her wealth, and her foundations are broken down . . .

"Thus says the LORD: 'Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, and the pride of her power shall come down . . . They shall be desolate in the midst of the desolate countries, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are laid waste. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt and all her helpers are destroyed . . .

'I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; I will make the land waste, and all that is in it, by the hand of aliens. I, the LORD, have spoken'" (30:4,6,7,12).

Thus God's judgements will bring this nation back to Himself, until "it shall come to pass that everyone who is left (after God's judgements) of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

"And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain . . . this shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up . . . " (Zechariah 14:16-19).

It has to be admitted that the detailed prophecies which have been so far accurately fulfilled in both Egyptian and Israeli history demonstrate the truth of the holy Scriptures. We need to guard against the interpretations of men who might veto the Word of the living God, which is not to be 'interpreted' and thus diluted.

The Word of the Lord is to be accepted, believed, and counted on in its entirety. There will surely come a day when "Israel will be one with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, 'Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.'"