Egypt in Bible Prophecy


Dr. John Hoole      - September 8, 2013





Because of the questions that were raised two weeks ago about what is happening currently in the Middle East, I have decided to again address what the Bible has to say about Egypt in the End Times.  Last week, we reviewed what the Bible says about Syria and it capital, Damascus, in particular.  The rush of activity that was going on in a number of Western governments two weeks ago concerning Syria and use of chemical weapons has quieted over the last week to 10 days.


The activity concerning Syria put the atrocities in Egypt on the back-burner.  However, the carnage that has been happening in Egypt has certainly been catastrophic.  The instability and lack of a sense of law and order has impacted all facets of Egypt’s economy.  And lack of real security has reduced tourism to a small percentage of what once was.  Revolution and tourism really don’t mix.  The lack of tourism is affecting the Egyptian economy $400 million each month.  And right now is what should be the height of this industry in Egypt.


I have visited Egypt and have found it a very fascinating place.  I have seen the historical monument of their great day.  Before the uprising in 2011, millions of tourists every year visited Egypt to see the days of her greatness.  I have visited the Sphinx nearby the pyramids of Giza and have visited the Valley of the Kings.  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..


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.  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.


As a Christian, I am interested in what happens in Egypt.  On a personal note, I have made friends with the owner of the Dairy Queen on Kent East Hill.  George is a Coptic Christian.  The Copts are mostly native to Egypt.  They are probably the largest Christian community in the Middle East.  They make up 18% of the population in Egypt – some fifteen million, with another million Egyptians making up other Christian organizations.


I am sure you have heard the news that during the latest uprising with the Egyptian military replacing the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi, after which the Muslim Brotherhood has tried to blame the country’s Christians for Egypt’s problems.  I have a list of 47 churches by name, by city, that have been damaged or destroyed.  In addition to that, I have a list of Christian homes and businesses also destroyed or burned.


What will be the result of the more than 2 years of upheaval in Egypt.  The 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak was nearing the end of his leadership before the uprising two years ago.  Many expected his son Gamal Mubarak to be his replacement, however, Gamal and his family reportedly fled to the U.K. for safety.  Hosni Mubarak left Cairo, and moved to Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort area at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.


An election was held that put the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of setting up a new government.  Over the next two years this leadership was setting to break the treaty Egypt had with Israel.  They did their best to implement Sharia law in the country.  And they imprisoned Hosni Mubarak, the former president.


Several months ago, a new uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood put the Egyptian Military in charge of the government.  There was a great population approval for this as seen in a recall election, but Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have painted it as a coup, not democracy at work.  What two years ago started out as the so-called Arab Spring has turned into a dark winter for Egypt.


I do think that the Bible will help us understand part of what is happening in that nation right now.  The Old Testament has over 700 references to the land of Egypt.  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.


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.  The book of Ezekiel can be segmented into several sections.  The first half of the book is speaking about God's intentions regarding Israel and Jerusalem.  The Israelites had sinned and judgment was coming.  The siege of Jerusalem is mentioned in chapter 4.  The next chapter (5) speaks of the aftermath of the siege.  God addresses their idolatry, and in chapters 10 & 11, the glory of God is removed from them.  This continues through chapter 24.


Beginning in 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.


Back in Ezekiel, in chapters 33 – 39, we find God’s judgment on more distant neighbors.


Egypt during our present era


The first of the three periods of Egypt’s prophetic history mentioned in the Bible is “Egypt in the present era.”  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.


Earlier, I mentioned that the book of Ezekiel can be divided into 5 or 6 sections.  And I said that Egypt is mentioned in chapters 29 through 32.  Let's look at a portion of this prophecy.


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 will use the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish this.


Let read, starting at verse 12.


Ezekiel 29:12-16 NIV


12     I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.

13     "'Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered.

14     I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom.

15     It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.

16     Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.'"


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 King James 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 controlling 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 the British, until 1922.  This is a country with a population of 75 million, but has little power.


Dr. Joe Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell, WA, in a recent 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 16:10-12 NIV


10     The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

11     The angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.

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.  All during their history, the offspring of Ishmael have not trusted each other.  Except for the protection of God on Israel, this is probably the primary reason the Arabs have not wiped Israel of the earth.  They don’t trust each other enough to form a formidable alliance against Israel.


Now, getting back to Egypt, 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 the lowest standard of living in the Middle East.


What we learn from Ezekiel 29 is that after the 40 years of desolation, the Egyptians would return, but they would no longer be a strong nation.  And for the last 2,600 years, Egypt has not conquered and ruled any other nation.


Another passage about Egypt worth reading and studying is found in Isaiah 19.  Is God finished with His judgment of Egypt?  This Passage tells us that it is not yet finished, but does inform us that a day is yet to come when her judgment is completed.  Here, we read that God is not only a God of justice, but also a God of grace.


The passage in Ezekiel 29 probably had a partial fulfillment in the past.  One salient point in that passage is the prophecy that Egypt would no longer be a strong and proud nation.  Rather, since the 7th century B.C., Egypt has been base kingdom.


But the entirety of Isaiah 19 seems to predict conditions from now through the Millennium.  The first three verses might sound somewhat like what happened in Tahrir Square in Cairo recently.  I am not, however, saying this passage is being fulfilled by what is happening in Egypt today.  However, it really could be coming to pass today.


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.  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.  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.


Isaiah 19:19-22 NIV


19     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.

20     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.

21     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.

22     The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.


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.