Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin Mar/Apr 2011. All rights reserved.
Riots erupted in Egypt in January, an explosion of popular anger that seemed to have little warning. Protesters demanded the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, demanding a new government that would address issues of police brutality, free elections, political corruption, and a stagnant economy. Believers who watched the news unfold considered Egypt’s place in Bible prophecy and its relation to the nation Israel.
I will not soon forget that hot Egyptian afternoon, Aug. 5, 1952, when I climbed 450 feet to the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza. How did this wonder of the ancient world get there?
Two-and-a-half millennia before Christ, tens of thousands of workers spent more than 20 years gathering 2.3 million blocks of stone—some weighing up to 15 tons—on a base covering 13.1 acres to prepare an eternal home for their Pharaoh-god.
What brilliance this took! What dedication! Remember, this was not long after the dispersion of mankind from the Tower of Babel, when the Egyptians demonstrated their amazing building skills along the Nile River.
Intertwined with Israel
Two hundred years after Abraham visited Egypt (Genesis 12:10–20), Jacob and his sons—especially Joseph—must have marveled at the things they saw there (c. 1875 BC; Genesis 36—50).
But the day came (in 1445 BC) when Egypt was in shambles because of her enslavement and mistreatment of God’s people Israel (Exodus 7—11).
Even though “Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter” (1 Kings 3:1), Egypt remained a threat to the people of Israel through the centuries.
The great prophet Isaiah cried out, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1).
Destined for Destruction
At the time of this writing, the land of Egypt is in turmoil. The people of Israel are afraid that radical forces will take control of Egypt and attack them.
This could happen at any time; but the book of Daniel actually tells of a final attack that will occur during the Great Tribulation—which is the next significant period of Bible prophecy.
About three years after the true church has been removed from the earth, “at the time of the end the king of the South [Egypt] shall attack him [the Antichrist in Jerusalem]” (Daniel 11:40).
However, at the same time, the king of the North (perhaps Russia) will attack the Antichrist, kill him (Daniel 11:40, 41; cf. Revelation 13:14), and then move south.
“He [the king of the North] shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt” (Daniel 11:42, 43).
Forty-two months later, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, will descend from Heaven and take over all the kingdoms of the world—including Egypt (Revelation 19:11–21).
Ezekiel prophesied, “I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and…her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Yet, thus says the Lord God: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered…to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom” (Ezekiel 29:12–14).
Spiritual Transformation Awaits
Finally, when the Kingdom of Christ is established upon the earth, the people of Egypt will join the peoples of all the nations to worship the God of Israel.
“In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt;…and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it…. In that day…the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed is Egypt My people…and Israel My inheritance” (Isaiah 19:19–25; cf. Genesis 15:18; Zechariah 14:18, 19).
How amazing are the judgments and mercies of God! In spite of all that Egypt has done and will do to hurt Israel, and in spite of all that Israel has done and will do to hurt their Lord, He remains faithful to His promises and true to His Word.
Especially—and urgently—essential for both Israel and Egypt in the meantime today is this Word from Heaven: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).