Egypt in Bible Prophecy


Dr. John Hoole



I have visited Egypt and have found it a very fascinating place. I have seen the historical monument of their great day. I have walked beside the Sphinx nearby the pyramids of Giza and have visited the Valley of the Kings. And I have walked through the enormous structures in Luxor and Karnak. They speak of an era long past when Egypt was greater than most kingdoms.  But today that greatness is but a glimmer of its past glory..


Today, Coptic Christian are probably the largest Christian community in the Middle East. and they are mostly native to Egypt. They make up 15% of the population in Egypt – some fifteen million, with another million Egyptians making up other Christian organizations.


The Bible has much to say about Egypt, not only of her past history, but also of her in End Time prophecy. Next to Israel, Egypt is probably the most mentioned country in the Bible. The Bible includes 676 references to the land of Egypt and the Egyptian people. Of these, there are approximately 250 verses that, at the time they were given, were prophecies of events yet to take place in Egypt.


This point alone makes Egypt an important place in Bible prophecy. Although the Israelites are the chosen people of God, the truth remains that God loves people in every nation. And that includes the people of Egypt.


Both from the standpoint of world history as well as the Biblical point of view, no other nation in Africa has had such an impact upon the world as a whole.


First mention of Egypt is under its ancient name of Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham in Gen. 10:6. The name itself is in a dual number  as is indicated in the ending of the word. The “-IM” [pronounced eem] ending signifies plurality. For all masculine Hebrew words, their plural ends with the “IM” sound. Some believe this duality is referring to the natural division of the country into upper and lower Egypt.


There is another place name in the Bible that is also in the “dual” or plural form. It is Jerusalem – Yerushalayim. Not only on this earth is there a Jerusalem, called in Hebrew Yerushalayim Shel Matt – Jerusalem the Lower. But there is also in heaven a city, Yerushalayim Shel Maalah – Jerusalem the Upper.


In Galatians 4:25-26, Paul reveals both of these cities when he speaks of the present Jerusalem” and “the Jerusalem above.” We will go into more detail about this in a later lesson.


The first mention of Egypt in the history of the Old Testament occurs in Gen. 12 where it is recorded that Abraham, because of the famine in the land of Canaan, went to Egypt (Genesis 12:10).


The subsequent fruit of this venture into Egypt was that he brought Hagar back with him. She ultimately became the mother of Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-6) who became the progenitor of the Arabian tribes who caused Israel so much trouble in the years that followed.


Isaac was forbidden to go down into the land of Egypt as Abraham had done (Genesis 26:2). On the other hand, Ishmael guided by his mother took a wife from Egypt (Genesis 21:21). It was not until the time of Joseph that the children of Israel again entered the land of Egypt.

There are five major passages that deal with Egypt in prophecy:


            •  Isaiah 11:15-16

            •  Isaiah 19:1-25

            •  Jeremiah 46:2-28

            •  Ezekiel, chapters 29 - 32

            •  Daniel 11:40-43


In this short lesson, we will not look at all the biblical passages dealing with Egypt. But I would like to address some of them. As I read the Bible and what it says about Egypt, it is stated there, and corroborated by ancient historical records, that Egypt was at the height of her power for more than a thousand years.


Between three and four thousand years ago, she was one of the strongest kingdoms on earth. These passages describe three main periods in Egypt's prophetic history.


      1.   Egypt’s history up to the present era.


      2.   Egypt in the Tribulation.


      3.   Egypt in the Millennial reign of Christ.


To begin, I would like to first look at the chapters in Ezekiel. Ezekiel, writing some 585 years before Christ, lived at a time when Egypt was still strong. Except by the power and wisdom of God, he would have had no idea of Egypt steep decline.


Beginning in Ezekiel, chapter 25, and continuing through chapter 32, the prophet Ezekiel speaks of God's judgment to the neighbors of Israel.


      •  Ammon        25:1-7                Northern Jordan

      •  Moab            25:8:11               Central Jordan

      •  Edom              25:12-14          Southern Jordan

      •  Philistia        25:15-17          Gasa Strip

      •  Tyre             26:1 - 28:19          Lebanon

      •  Sidon            28:20-26          Lebanon

      •  Egypt             29:1 - 32:32


      If you know your biblical geography, you will notice that each of these seven are immediate neighbors of Israel. Notice the only immediate neighbor that is not mentioned – Syria. That absence will become more noticeable as we go further in this series.


The nation of Egypt was the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament.    Egypt was the land where Israel grew from a family to a nation. It is also where Mary and Joseph were told to go with their young Son, when King Herod set about to kill boys under the age of two.


Early in chapter 29, God tells Ezekiel to write that He (God) is against Pharaoh, and describes Egypt’s destruction in the first six verses. In verses 10 & 11, the prophet says Egypt will become a wasteland for 40 years, and that “neither foot of man or beast will pass through it.”


Later, in verse 18, we are told God says He will use the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish this. Let read, starting at verse 12.


Ezekiel 29:12-14  NKJV


12   I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries."

13   '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.

14  I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom.


After the forty years of desolation, God will bring back the Egyptians (vss. 13 & 14).


But please note verse 15.


            "It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations."


      The K.J.V. reads: "the basest of kingdoms."


This prophecy is very clear. The prophet Ezekiel does not use any ambiguous terms here. And for more than 2,600 years, Egypt has never been over another kingdom. In all of human history, Egypt rose early to come to a position of eminence. Why should it not happen again? This prophecy has stood the test of time for some 2,600 years.


No matter who ends up governing Egypt today, she will always remain a base kingdom. After King Nebuchadnezzar's overthrow of Egypt, this land was subsequently conquered by the Persians, then Greece, Rome, the Saracens, the Mamlukes, the Turks, and then the British, until 1922.


This is a country with a population of 102.3 million, but has little power.


Dr. Joe Fuiten, former pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell, WA, in a an article, said:


"There have been those who have tried to restore the power of Egypt most notably President Abdul Nasser. He rose to power with the army behind him. In his presidency, he envisioned Egypt as the center of three circles. Those three circles were the Arab circle, the Muslim circle, and the African circle. He did briefly establish a United Arab Republic with Syria but it soon fell apart."


Everything went wrong and the Arabs ended up fighting among themselves instead of uniting to form a mighty nation with Egypt at its head - as was Nasser's dream. Is not this exactly as God promised to Hagar regarding to her son Ishmael and his descendants?


Gen 16:12 NIV


12   He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."


Many of the Arab nations are descendants of Ishmael.  Keep in mind that Egypt is not, in a technical sense, an Arabic country. But Ishmael is part Egyptian in that Hagar, his mother, is Egyptian.


Also be aware that for many centuries that even though Egypt is not Arabic, they have aligned themselves with the Arabic population. I believe the finger of God was at work in Egypt and in spite of Russian aid to Gamal Abdel Nasser, and later American aid to Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, Egypt remains a "base kingdom" whose common people (the fellahin) have one of the lowest standard of living in the Middle East.


Another passage about Egypt worth reading and studying is found in Isaiah 19. Is God finished with His judgment of Egypt? The nineteenth chapter of Isaiah is of special interest because it provides a rather comprehensive picture of God’s plan and purpose for Egypt.


The first half of the chapter predicts divine judgment upon Egypt. This will be fulfilled by the destruction of their idols (verse 1). This chapter tells us that God is not yet finished. Rather, He informs us that a day is yet to come when her judgment is completed.


Isaiah 19 presents both a prophecy against and for Egypt.    This chapter, I believe, has almost in its entirety a future look, not only from when Isaiah wrote it, but yet future from our time.


Isaiah 19:1-3 NIV  


1    An oracle (NKJV = a burden) concerning Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.

2    "I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian —  brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.

3    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 (NKJV = sorcerers).


God speaks through Isaiah to tell us that there will be, in the last days, a civil war in Egypt followed by cruel and fierce rulers This civil war will be instigated by the hand of God as part of their punishment.  As it was at the time Ezekiel was writing his prophesies, so, it was during Isaiah’s day that Egypt was at the height of their power. And being situated immediately to the south of Israel, it was an empire that Israel constantly had to reckon with.


Isaiah 19:5-10 gives us a 10-fold desolation to the land of Egypt. The first thing mentioned is that God will strike the Nile River and its tributaries. Isaiah describes how the rivers in Egypt will turn foul and dry up. We don't know when this will happen, but it is definitely future – it has never happened before. And we don't know specifically the cause of the rivers running dry. Is it because God has stopped the rainfall needed to fill the river beds?     Or does it have something to do with the closing of the Aswan Dam on the Nile, some 450 miles upstream from (south of) Cairo? While we may not know how and when, we do know that God will keep His word. This will literally happen.  This is not figurative.


When it happens, it will affect the entire economy of the nation of Egypt, as is also mentioned in this part of the chapter.


In Verses 11 – 15, Isaiah tells us that when all these things happen, the country’s leadership will turn to their counselors, but they find none. In fact, we are told that God sends them foolish counsel.


In verse 16 and on, we find that God does not forever leave Egypt in aguish & without hope. Yes, they remain a base nation, but God has grace to yet extend to them.    The phrase, “In that day,” are the first 3 words of verse 16, and is a phrase found 6 times in the last 10 verses.


“In that day” is a phrase among the prophets that almost always refers to the last days, either the Tribulation or the Millennium. The phrase is found at the beginning of 5 verses – 16, 18, 19, 23, 24, and is found in the middle of verse 21.


Listen to what that phrase says each time it is used.


•  The people will be very fearful of the shaking hand of the Lord, and fear grips them any time someone mentions “the land of Judah.” (19:16)


•  “In that day five Egyptian cities will speak the language of Canaan, and swear allegiance to Jehovah (Verse 18).


The next time the phrase is used is in verse 19.

In verses 19 – 22, we find God revealing his mercy and grace.


This is most definitely speaking about the time when Christ comes back to earth to reign for 1,000 years. Egypt will receive God blessings. He will not only judge them but will also heal them.


The remaining verses in this chapter speak of two things that will happen “in that day.”.


•  A highway from Egypt, through Israel, to Assyria will be built.


•  God will pour His blessing upon Egypt.


Isaiah 19:23-25 NIV


23      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.

24      In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.

25      The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."


These three nations, which have almost always been enemies in the past, will, “in that day,” serve the Lord Almighty.  God tells us through Isaiah that the day will come when peace between these three exists. When has this ever happened – never, This is all yet to happen.


What a God we serve. Only He is able to make enemies friends.  Not only that, they will all be worshiping the LORD Almighty together.