Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists-Program 1
|By: Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1991|
|When choosing a God, would you rather have one who was made by man’s hands, who is subject to decay and ruin – or a God whose hands made man and the universe – and who is intimately involved in directing the lives of his worshipers?|
The Gods Who Fall to Pieces
Dr. John Ankerberg: The information in this program was taped live at The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute’s Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida. Each year we invite laymen, students and pastors to attend this conference and hear seven or eight of the best professors and apologists in Christianity teach on topics of vital interest to all of us.
Our instructor for this session is Dr. Walter Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is Academic Dean and Professor of Semitic languages and Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Kaiser received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Mediterranean studies and he’s the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching, Toward an Exegetical Theology, Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching, A Biblical Approach to Suffering, which is a commentary on the Book of Lamentations, Toward Old Testament Ethics, The Uses of the Old Testament in the New, Hard Sayings of the Old Testament, Back Toward the Future: Hints for Interpreting Biblical Prophecy, and “Exodus: A Commentary” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
In addition, he has written a number of other titles for both popular and scholarly audiences.
What’s more, Dr. Kaiser has contributed articles to a number of periodicals, including Moody Monthly, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Evangelical Quarterly.
Dr. Kaiser is a widely respected conference speaker and an enthusiastic and skilled teacher.
Dr. Kaiser’s topic for this session is: “Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists – Part 1.”
As you listen to this information, it will be my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: Since our conference, Dr. Kaiser has become President-Elect at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Professor of Old Testament. He has an M.A. and Ph.D., Brandeis University.]
Dr. Walter Kaiser: Thank you very much. We are looking forward to working with you on a number of these prophecies in the biblical text. I am dying to hear what I have to say and I think that you probably are too as well. There are just numerous ones. We want to look, first of all, at Isaiah Chapter 19 in depth and rather than just taking a cursory look at some of these, we want to really open them up and begin to demonstrate that something more than just ephemeral on the surface is involved here but that the God who has given His Word is One who also can speak of the future.
This is how He is presented in the Book of Isaiah: “I have spoken about the past; I’m in the present and I also know the future.” And there comes a challenge, then, to the other so-called claimants to Deity, “If you are gods, in effect, will you please stand up and say something about the future–say something good or say something bad but just don’t sit there. Say something.”
Of course, the Israelites had problems with the Philistine gods. Dagon, you remember when they brought the Ark of the Covenant in in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant the thing fell over and just came unglued, which is a terrible thing for a deity just to go to pieces in front of its adherents.
And then, also, I think you look for more stability in a god than that and that’s why some of them, Isaiah Chapter 40, said, “If you’re going to make a god out of wood, please get a craftsman that knows something about gods.”
I mean, some people couldn’t make a god if their life depended on it. So get a skilled craftsman. And he’s having heaps of fun. Now, some people won’t smile when they read that part of the Bible. Understand that. But on the way home, think about it. It’s funny.
And then He said, “If you’re too poor to get one who works in metal, then get someone who is skilled in wood. Oh, and look your wood over, too,” He said. “It would be awful to have your god come down with termites, so check it. Check it out and make sure.” And then He said, “Nail it down.”
Well, Isaiah had heaps of fun but he also is the one who gave to us in chapters 13 through 23 a whole section of prophecies about the foreign nations. God is not just a God of the Jewish people and the God of the Old Testament, but He is the Lord of the whole earth.
And this is proven, I think, by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel alone which have 25 chapters, 680 verses that apply particularly just to foreign nations, like Egypt, like Babylon, like Assyria, Moab, Ammon and Philistia, and so it goes on. It reads like a “Who’s Who” of nations. More verses and chapters than all the Pauline letters, at least his prison epistles, together. It’s an enormous body of literature. So I think it’s well worthwhile surveying and in this lecture we want to focus on Egypt.
Egypt is tied up with Israel more than any other nation. Over 700 references to Egypt alone in the Bible. And some 250 verses which at the time that they were offered were future to the event at that time. In other words, 250 times with regard to one nation alone, the Bible put its neck on the line, so to speak. It said, “Here it is, Charlie.” And this is for all who come from Missouri, who want to see it and feel it and touch it and taste it. It’s there. This is empirical data, hard fact. The number of geographical references in the Bible, when compared to other sacred writings of other religions, is enormous. Just enormous. Take Genesis, the first 11 chapters alone. There are more geographical references in the first couple of chapters of Genesis as compared to the whole Koran. It exceeds it already in just that small scope. So the Bible was not written for up there, it was for people living here on planet earth.
So we want to go to places like Alexandria, Cairo, Thebes, real places on the Nile River. Not on the moon or some kind of planet where we’ve never been–“out on planet X.” But here, right here. God was here, Charlie. He visited us. And this becomes one of the great proofs, because God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He can not only speak of what was past in eternity and what is happening now, but He can speak of the future. And so that is the argument. Isaiah Chapter 41, 43, 44, 45. I have loads of fun sort of detailing that in a little book called Back Toward the Future, hence, on interpreting biblical prophecy. I didn’t say “Back to the Future,” I said, Back Toward the Future. He must change these things.
But at any rate, in Chapter 19 of Isaiah, I want to call your attention to one of the great prophecies of the biblical text which, in part, has come to pass. Then in our next lecture I think we’ll turn to Babylon and Iraq and we’ll go very modern. And things that I think will make the eyes of most people bug when they look at the biblical text and see that God has spoken. And then go to the Pentateuch and we’ll talk about the first five books of the Bible and there the message that God has given about the Messiah who is to come.
So, with that as our kind of backdrop, look at Isaiah Chapter 19 (19:1). He begins with an oracle or a burden literally concerning Egypt, and then he states the theme. This is what an overture is to a symphony. Now we’ll have the statement of the main theme. He says, “Behold, look, see, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and He is coming to Egypt.” So he pictures a storm coming in. Now, any farmer that knows anything about the weather, when you see the clouds coming in, you know that rain is on its way. And here, it is pictured as if the Lord is using the clouds as His tanks and so He is coming toward the nation. And who is responsive? God’s rational creatures? Well, no, the idols of Egypt tremble before Him. He uses a figure of speech here and has the idols trembling. Actually what they’re doing is shaking in the wind. What is taking place is that the wind is blowing these wooden and stone things so that they’re tipping a little bit back and forth. That’s why they’re trembling. The storm has had an effect physically on them. Of course, they are not emotional beings so it has none, for there is no reality to them. But then, finally, finally, God’s creatures, made in His image, come to life and the idols of Egypt tremble before Him and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.
Well, the statement of the theme, then, I think, comes in this opening paragraph. This nation of Egypt, which I said, is so tied up with Israel’s history that there are over 700 references, and here in this chapter we are going to move in a structure of verse 1, sort of the statement of the theme, an overture. Then in verses 2 down through verse 15 we’re going to have three disasters. There will be a civil disaster; an economic disaster; and an intellectual disaster. Then we will have a bridge kind of verse in verses 16 and 17 that will sort of set the scene for God’s great climactic final day activity with regard to this nation. And then from verses 18 through 25 it preserves one of the most remarkable expressions of responsible international understanding that is to be found in the Old Testament. But more than that, it envisages the conversion of Egypt turning to the Lord and Iraq also coming to know the Lord and Iraqis and Egyptians and Israelis going to the house of God together. Wow. I mean, tell that now to anyone and they say, “Get out. This is a wonderful bedtime story, but it has nothing to do with reality. You can’t tell me that this is in the real world of real politic. It doesn’t happen that way.” But remember, you heard it here first.
So, let’s look at this chapter, Isaiah 19. It is a remarkable chapter. And I think that it is one that we need to come back to time and time again. So here we find these major blocks of text, and I am only pulling out one. The preceding one was about Ethiopia. Much in the news too as well. We could go back to Ethiopia. Someone tried to say that the preceding chapter 18 is about a land of many rivers and great wealth. And so they say, “Uh-huh! That’s the USA.” I’ve heard some preach that way. But there’s no reference to that at all. I’d like to suggest that Ethiopia is Ethiopia. And I’d like to suggest that Egypt is Egypt. As a matter of fact, you should see from the Reformation time what our good friends Luther, Calvin and Zwingli said about this. They said that Egypt here is the church or Egypt is something else. But they’re all in heaven now, I take it, and they would like me to revise some of the things they said. So I’d like to speak on their behalf and things that they could not have known at all.
So we have this overture in verse 1 of Isaiah Chapter 19. Then comes the first of the disasters. The first judgment passage is verses 2 through 4 and it would appear that civil war breaks out, for He said, “I will stir up the Egyptian against the Egyptian.” That sounds like civil war.
And He said, “Brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, and kingdom or gnome against gnome. And the Egyptians will lose heart. And I’ll bring their plans to nothing. They will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, and the mediums and the spiritists and I will hand over the Egyptians into the power of a cruel master. A fierce king will rule them, declares the Lord Almighty.”
Well, what on earth does all of this mean? Here’s a shrewd people known for their wisdom. When Solomon was given the gift of wisdom from God, guess how bright he was? He was wiser than the men of Egypt! That’s news worthy. You write home about that. God gives national gifts to each nation. He gave to Greece philosophy, to Rome law, to Egypt wisdom, to the United States plastic. So you have all sorts of things here, you see, that are gifts that are given to nations. I’m not sure about that last one. That was spontaneous. But at any rate, you have these different sort of things that are unique that come to nations. And so they were known for that.
But here you have them just without heart, verse 3, and their plans are coming to nothing. They don’t know one end from the other. The whole thing has spun out…as a matter of fact, they are so much in need of understanding that they have said, “Now, let’s go to the underworld.” A very modern theme, by the way. When people have decided there is no God, He doesn’t exist, they say, “But still, we feel lonely. Let’s put out radio astronomy and see if anybody else is home in the universe,” you know. “Is anyone there? Are there any other planets that are inhabited? Please, please, don’t leave us alone.” Talk about the picture “Home Alone.” That’s what ought to be put over everyone that is without the Lord: “Home Alone!” We’re here by ourselves.
And so I think that that’s how they felt, that they were here by themselves. So then they said, “Well at least maybe if God doesn’t exist, then maybe the demons of hell and Satan does. Let’s sell our souls to him.” And they start toying with Ouija Boards and table turning and spiritists and mediums. And that’s what they did. They went there to get an answer: please tell us. But that’s a bankrupt society. That’s a society that is about as bankrupt as perhaps the Soviet Union is at this very morning, as it looks around and Yeltsin declares that Communism has a fatal flaw and it can no longer supply the mechanism with which to run those fourteen large republics. That’s quite an admission. So it was here, too, as well.
But then, there is in the providence of God, something else, too. God has given them over to a hard-hearted cruel king. Notice, not a conqueror, but some apparent national despot who is a native. Has he appeared on the scene yet? It would not seem to be so. But, by the way, don’t forget. I’m not a prophet. My father wasn’t a prophet. He was a farmer. So I’m not a son of a prophet and I work for a non-profit organization. So in all these senses, I can’t tell you anything by way of prediction. But I can point to the text and while I can’t say, “This man is that,” yet on the other hand Jesus said, “I told you these things before they come to pass so that when they do come to pass, you may know”–not that Kaiser was right. It doesn’t say that. It says, “You may know that I am He.” So prophecy ultimately points back to Christ. It vindicates Him. It doesn’t vindicate our charts. It doesn’t vindicate our books. It vindicates God and Christ.
And the second thing is, history is the final interpreter of prophecy so that when it comes to pass, you might know. History is the final interpreter of prophecy on all of its details. I remember during September 13, 1988, which was supposed to be, according to one very famous book that sold several hundred thousand copies, the date for the coming of the Lord. And I was getting calls in my office constantly. And I was getting the letters. Finally, my secretary said, “If there’s one more call, I’m going to resign.” And I said to her, “Lois, look, why don’t you on the next call say the following: ‘The dean is preparing a definitive statement on September 14, 1988.’ And I’ll release on that date whether the Lord came on the 13th or not. And I’m sure that will be a help to a lot of people.” At any rate, with tongue-in-cheek, of course, you understand, I was having some fun. She enjoyed it too.
But there is a second kind of disaster, and this one is the major part that I think has taken place in our day. History has now pointed back to verses 5 through 10 that were written in the 730s, 720s B.C. Here’s the text until 1975 and 1980. What takes place is, the waters of the river will run dry. And the word river here we know from the Hebrew is a special word which is only used of the Nile, “Nahar.” So he’s talking about the Nile River running dry. Now, you’ve got to be crazy to say that.
The Nile River running from the center of the earth, from the equator, going north–one of those few rivers that flows north, and takes a route over several thousand miles. And this thing swept down its banks every year an enormous amount, 130 million tons of top soil each year, and laid them over top of that little narrow band and strip that went down along the Nile. No wonder Herodotus said that Egypt was a gift of the Nile. It was an annual gift. But if the flood waters did not come up high enough and they only dropped down two feet, flood stage was 30 feet above norm at the present site of Elephantine or where the Aswan Dam is right now at the First Cataract. If it was 30 feet, and I’ve seen in hieroglyphic forms going back into almost 3000 B.C., if it was right there, it was on the money. They got about 130 million tons of top soil spread and with a lot of moisture. And it went out quite far. And that is why even to the present day Egypt continues to be an agricultural nation. It’s basically agricultural. Even though only 1/30th of the land can be farmed; 29/30ths of it is a wonderful place for sandboxes or for burial plots, too, you know. That’s why it was a big joke when Israelites said with biting sarcasm, “Moses, you and your big idea. We shouldn’t have left Egypt. Was it because there weren’t enough grave plots in Egypt? Is that why we left?” Now, that’s dripping sarcasm. Enough grave plots! They could keep burying for millennia there, you know. They had sand a la mode. So that wasn’t the problem at all.
But that the waters of the Nile should run dry, if they only pressed it to 28 feet rather than 30, crops were off by 20 percent that year. This has been documented over and over again. A fifth less in production if it only came to 28 feet rather than 30. If it went to 32 feet, there was loss of life because that would go over the banks of the villages and would wipe out the people then too. It had to hit on the money 30 feet. What if it dropped down to 20 or 15 feet, as it did in numerous years, sometimes for seven years running like it did during Joseph’s time when Joseph predicted there would be a famine because there would not be enough water?
And so it happened on several occasions in their history, as a matter of fact, even in the times just before Christian times there was another period of seven years where year after year after year she didn’t come anywhere near that 30 but only about half or two-thirds that mark. That was enough to cut off production more than 20 percent. It would cut it down to 50 and less.
So, he says the Nile River will run dry. “The riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink. The streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and the rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched and will blow away and will be no more. The fishermen will groan and the men who cast hooks into the Nile, those who throw nets on the water will pine away.”
Stop there. The point is that one of the great exports, even to the present day, is the sardine industry and an enormous amount are put out each year. It’s still one of their big producers. Something like 100,000 metric tons of fish.
But one of the great things that came was the introduction of something that the United States had been asked to join in and then bowed out, but the Soviet Union assisted in, and that is in the building of the Aswan Dam. I’d like to suggest to you that these verses, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, can only find explication by looking up an article on hydrology in a modern encyclopedia that has been published in the last 10 or 15 years. Look up the Aswan Dam. Here is the largest rock-filled dam in the world: 40 million cubic meters of material; 35,000 men working for 10 years; cost at $1 billion to build this thing. And what a lake it has formed. Lake Nassar, which backs up behind it, is 500 miles long. Do you understand the kind of distance we’re talking about here? This is an enormous thing. This would be, for those of you who come from the West Coast, this would be further than say L.A. is from San Francisco. For those from the East Coast, this would be practically be beyond Cleveland to New York City. We’re talking distance here. This is an enormous thing. But, the crazy thing is, it has introduced more problems than you can imagine. It was supposed to make Egypt into an industrial nation, giving them hydroelectric power and giving them the ability to make fertilizers to make up for the 130 million metric tons of dirt that come down the stream each year. But they can’t keep up with it. In other words, the production of fertilizer is not even equal to what was happening naturally.
But even worse than that, one of the things is that the river downstream has been scourged lower and lower, hence the water table has been lowering. And without the deposits out on the delta of fresh mud and fresh dirt, in has come the salt water, backed way up the Nile River and knocked off the sardine industry. Well, they knew that would happen, so they said, “We’ll stock Lake Nassar,” but still it hasn’t balanced out. And in the meantime, the canals, as verse 6 says, have no longer been cleansed each year so now there’s a little water snail that hosts on the kind of a thing that’s called schistosomiasis, which now inflicts one out of every two persons in Egypt. And at one point, up to a few years ago, was causing death in one out of every ten because of the canals that had been so fouled up. This text said that the canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up; the reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile and at the mouth of the river will go.
And then he goes on, verse 9, talks about those who work in flax will be in despair. “The weavers of fine linen will lose hope; the workers in cloth will be dejected. All who are the wage earners will become sick at heart.” The linen manufacture, which is their other great export, and cotton, both of them have fallen off significantly in world markets.
So no factor is more important to the life and industry and economy of Egypt than the Nile. As a matter of fact, there are 45 references in prophecies of Egypt to the river, to the deep, to the Nile or the sea. Forty-five references. So again, the Bible knew how distinctively important that was. Could it be that this is one of the signals that God is giving to us, along with a signal that there will come apparently also civil disobedience and civil war that will break out, and a cruel master who will arise within Egypt.
I can’t begin to talk to you about how many of these facts have–in verses 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10–have found almost tit for tat exact kinds of replication in what took place since 1970. I think our generation is enormously privileged to see the God who spoke this 700 years before the Christian era and now 1900 years into the Christian era, for a total of two and a half millennia His Word stood. And everyone said, “What does it mean? Egypt is this. Egypt is that.”
And we had all kinds of figurative, allegorical interpretations. But now it turns out, Egypt is Egypt and that’s what it means and God is going to work with them literally. He is the God who is there. He is the Living God! And He has spoken before it took place.
A third disaster, and that is in verses 11 through 15. “The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools. The wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.” What’s surprising about that? With the gift of wisdom you would think that they would have the smarts, not just knowledge but the ability to put facts together.
And then, “How can you say to Pharaoh, I am the wise man, a disciple of ancient kings? Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the Lord Almighty has planned against Egypt and the officials of Zoan have become fools. The leaders of Memphis are deceived. The cornerstones of her people have led Egypt astray. The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness. They make Egypt to stagger and all she does as a drunkard staggers about in his vomit; there is nothing Egypt can do, head or tail, palm branch or reed,” or as I would translate that passage: One end doesn’t know what the other end is doing.
So you have here the pillars of the land are crushed, all who work for wages are troubled because they can’t get the economic picture back into balance again. There is a disparity between the wage earner and those who pay. And the pillars, the princes, are just plain stupid. He speaks of Memphis and Noph or Zoan and can they tell what the Lord of heaven has purposed now? With all their smarts and all their wisdom? Can anyone say what’s in store for this nation? And so I think you have the Spirit of God, which has allowed them, permitted them–not directed–permitted them, I think, to have their own wisdom backfire on them. So it has boomeranged and come back in the opposite direction. Nothing works. No one knows the way of escape. The nation lies like drunkards and no idea works or is successful when carried out by the upper classes or the common people or the mob.
Well, now for the surprise. Verses 16 and 17. And at the heart of this lecture and at the heart of this passage is a surprise. I want to tell you that this verse never made sense until 1967. I don’t understand how you could ever say this made sense, for it says, “In that day.” Now, that’s a biblical reference that is used many times by the prophets that talk about a complex of events that’s spread not over a 24-hour period of time, but over a period of time–the word “day” here is an epoch, an era–that belong to those complex of events as God begins to wind up history. It occurs six times. Verse 16: “In that day”; verse 18, “In that day”; verse 19, “In that day”; middle of verse 21, “In that day”; beginning of verse 23, “In that day”; beginning of verse 24, “In that day.” So it is extremely important: the day of the Lord, the day of Christ, the day when God, the period of time, when He begins to wrap things up.
All right, now get ready for it. Verse 16, “In that day the Egyptians will be like women.” Sorry about that, but it’s what it says. “They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand of the Lord Almighty that He raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians.” The land of Judah? I mean, that’s a joke! To say to the Egyptians since they were down in Egypt, “Here come the Jews,” and they’d laugh. They’d said, “What do you mean, they’re coming back to make bricks?” Here they come, you know. But to say that is a joke.
Until the Six Day War. When the Six Day War came, you’ll remember, the Egyptians had, like the old Maginot Line in World War I, had all of their guns trained toward the East, toward the desert and toward the northeast. They were looking for the Israelis to come flying in. The Israelis got in their jets, went down low under the radar, skimmed the water of the Mediterranean, went out, banked over Libya and came in out of the west. Out of the west. And were flying right over. And these fellows at their gunposts there with their aim this way…..you know, they’re coming over this way. They’re watching them coming over their heads! This led to a lot of jokes, as you know, during that war. Not too funny from the Egyptian side but certainly the Israeli community and the Jewish community in the States had a lot of fun and they were saying that some of our people in Washington who are so concerned with safety that Ralph Nader, for example, is going to get after them for having tanks without backup lights on them and things of this sort, you know, so they could go quickly in reverse.
But the most interesting thing in this transitional theme here is that he speaks of a time when Judah would be a terror to the Egyptians and everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified. Judah is just your other reference for Jews or those who were left because the northern ten tribes had been carried away. And he says, “This is because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.”
So, Round One, watch it when suddenly Judah becomes a terror to Egypt. When? In your lifetime and mine. You were there. You were there. You saw it. This text never had any historical meaning and could have never been dreamed up unless it had been God who spoke it.
Now, I would call that the bridge verse. So we’ve got a symphonic overture in verse 1. Here come clouds and the Lord’s moving in a threatening way against Egypt on clouds. Now disaster 1, it is civil disaster. Disaster number 2 is economic. Disaster number 3 is intellectual, goes to the university, goes to the whiz kids, goes to the computer guys who are trying to run the economy and run the nation and run the banking system and run the businesses. Now, transitional bridge. And over the bridge stands this one great fact: there’s coming a day when Judah will suddenly be a terror and you mention, “Here come the Jews!” and it strikes panic into the heart of an Egyptian. That started in 1967.
Well, then what takes place? Now, the most interesting thing. For now there are five beautiful prophecies of salvation, deliverance and healing for Egypt like you have never seen in the Bible. It’s not a chauvinistic book which says “God loves only Jewish people,” but it says here also, look what’s going to take place. Verse 18, “In that day, five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan.” Five cities will start speaking Jewish, will speak Hebrew? What are those five cities? Well, the Lord swore that that would happen and one of them shall be called the city of–and I think the best reading there is, city of the sun. Sometimes it’s read “city of destruction,” but it’s helios which is sun and polis which is city. That’s how it’s rendered in Greek and in the Hebrew rendering it seems to be that’s the best rendering, too, as well. So he says, “I want you to know revival is going to break out. Here’s life, Egypt. And I want you to know one of the cities, I’ll put it down. I’m going to go with it. Outside Cairo is Heliopolis.
By the way, Heliopolis has been visited in the last ten to fifteen years with a Bible study run by a Father Zacharias in the Coptic Church. Now, the Copts–not to be connected with robbers–but Copts in this case are one of the earliest forms of the Christian church in Egypt and have carried that identity since almost the time of Christ. But generally it has become liberal and has slipped away from their early moorings. But some of the best manuscript evidence that we had for what the Greek text says, we go back to the Coptic Scriptures.
If you’re going to be a New Testament scholar, you probably should learn Egyptian, demotic, hieroglyphics and then Coptic, which is related to it. And it’s a very complicated thing. But nevertheless, it belongs together.
Well, what do we have but this Father Zacharias in Heliopolis who has had for a number of years every noon time, during kind of the siesta period, he has had a Bible study attended by approximately up to 2,000 people per time. And every day, for I think a period now of 15 years, something like 20 individuals have come to profess allegiance and belief in Christ, per day. Per day.
The Coptic Church became a little excited about this and said, “Father Zacharias, we’ve had a new call from God for you. Canada.” And they sent him to Canada. And they sent him to Argentina. But the people there said, “If you don’t bring him back, we’re going to riot.” So they brought him back. And my latest information is, he continues to maintain that Bible study there. I want you to know, this text says, five cities will experience unusual revival. When you see it in the papers, remember where you heard it first.
So here, in verse 18, that’s the first promise in this text. And he says, “And one of them is the city of the sun,” Heliopolis. Just like we say the heliocentric view of the universe. The sun is the center. So Heliopolis, like our word “politics,” “polis.”
Then the second great blessing. Not only does God plan for conversion of Egypt and five cities will speak Hebrew and swear allegiance to the Lord, and that one of them will be the city of the sun, but now He plans to receive worship from Egypt, verses 19 and 20. “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt.” Just like at Jerusalem, God will set up one of the great churches and centers of worship in the heart of Egypt. Try that for an Egyptian, Arab, basically, Muslim country at the present time. Try thinking about that. And about the possibilities of it. Right now it sounds pretty crazy.
“And a monument to the Lord is its border.” How about that. A statue of liberty set up by the people in grateful remembrance of the great revival that came there. Now, if you take one of the tourist trips to Egypt right now, they cannot point this place out to you. It does not exist. But I want to tell you, it will be on brochures in the future day. He says we’re going to put one like they put the Statue of Liberty in the harbor up there in New York, a gift from France, this, there will be a corresponding monument to the Lord to say, “Thanks be to Yahweh the Lord who met us in a unique way in our history. And for that we’ll set up a monument on the border.”
You say, “Yeah, but how can I trust that? Trust it because of what it said in verses 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 about the whole economic disaster there and what took place only because of the Aswan Dam. It’s the only way you can explain those things. Or trust them because of that transitional thing in verse 16 which said Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Some of these chickens have already come home to roost. So you ought to trust the rest of the roost.
And I think that that’s the point that’s made here in verse 19, 20. He said this monument will be a sign and a witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt when they cry to the Lord because of their oppressors. He will send them a Savior, a judge like in the Book of Judges when God raised up Debbie, for example. Deborah. He raised up Deborah and He raised up Samson and He raised up Othniel and He raised up one judge, one savior after another. God said, “I’m going to do the same thing for Egypt.”
Do you remember that cruel master over in verse 4? I’m going to raise up someone in contradiction to counterpoints with where he is, I will send a deliverer and I will send a savior, a defender, and he will rescue them so that the Egyptians shall know me, He says, in that day. So God plans to receive worship from Egypt. That’s why they set up an altar.
Some say, “Well, this was fulfilled by the priest Onias the Fourth when he built the temple for Jehovah in Egypt and in Heliopolis.” But on the other hand, that was by Jews for Jews. This is by Egyptians for Egyptians. So it’s different. And the pillar that’s to be set up here, there’s nothing that has ever taken place like that. And that altar and the pillar were to be, says the text, as signs that there are worshippers to the Lord in Egypt. Don’t forget it that this country belongs to the Lord. Think about that when you think about Egypt right now. You would not think of that as being a believing nation. You would not think of that as a Christian nation at all. This text says it will be so. This text says so.
So the pillar will be a witness that Jehovah proved Himself to be God of Gods and they will cry for a deliverer and God will send them one.
The third thing that God will do, the third great promise here, is to be found in verses 21 and 22. God plans to make Himself known throughout all of Egypt. God plans to make Himself known. That Islamic nation, by and large, since 640 A.D., which has been basically Islamic, now He says it will be my nation, says the Lord, and I’m going to make myself known.
Verse 21, “So the Lord will make Himself known to the Egyptians and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord; they will sacrifice with sacrifices, or they’ll worship with sacrifices and grain offerings. They’ll make vows to the Lord and keep them. The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague. He will strike them. But He will heal them. And then they shall turn to the Lord and He will respond to their pleas and heal them.”
So, like a number of passages in the Prophets, Malachi 1:11, where it says, “An offering shall be offered to the Lord in every place,” not just downtown Jerusalem, every place, “and a pure offering to the Lord.” So you have it in Malachi 1:11, and in Zephaniah 2:11 as well. The persons now offering offerings to the Lord are just not priests in Jerusalem but believers around the face of the earth. And if that’s not enough, Isaiah says that in that day God will take from all the nations to be priests to Himself around the earth.
You say, “Well, what about sacrifices? I thought Hebrews said that we put them away once and for all.” That’s true. So why are sacrifices here in that day? And my answer would be that they are here only because He speaks of the future worship under the symbols of worship of that day, just like in prophecy it speaks of future battles under the implements of war of that day. They don’t mention tanks, planes, stealth bombers and this kind of thing. Rather, what they mentioned are bows and arrows and swords and spear, but we take the concomitant, commitment, of the author to what the implements of war were in that day for what they will be in the future day. So I would say that what you have here is that Egypt will be converted and will come to know the Lord and worship the Lord in a magnificent way.
But we’re still not finished with the shocks. Look at the fourth thing here, verse 23, says, “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria.” Now, Assyria is northern Iraq. That’s where the Kurds are right now and it is that disputed part where they would like to break free. But He says there will be a highway from Egypt to Iraq, a kind of interstate, and the Iraqis will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Iraq and the Egyptians and the Iraqis will worship together. Fantastic. Talk about blowing a fuse. There’s one. How can this happen? How can you have people coming together to worship God? But the text says here, verse 23, I want you to note “In that day,” in that complex of events that surround and perhaps precede the coming of our Lord, I want you to know, “I’m going to pour out my Spirit upon the Assyrians, I’m going to pour out my Spirit upon the Egyptians, and I’m going to pour out my Spirit upon Israelis.” And they’re going to come to know the Lord.
People ask me sometimes, “What should I be praying if I’m going to be a world Christian? I want to be involved with God to see real things happen.” You want to see real things happen? Here are a couple of prayer requests: Pray for Egypt. Pray that she may come to know the Lord. Pray for Iraq. Pray for the Kurds that they may come to know the Lord. Pray for Israel. For this text says that it’s going to happen.
You say, “Well, if it’s going to happen, why pray for it?”
That’s the point. The promises of God were not meant to detract us from praying, it was to help us in knowing what we ought to pray for. The promises of God were not meant to excuse us from prayer, they were to help us so that we might pray with knowledge, with understanding, and pray in the will of God. We’re not just to pray for anything.
I prayed as a little boy, “Dear Lord, give me a pony,” but that wasn’t in the plan of God. I was just horsing around. You see, that’s not what God really wants to happen and I never did get a pony, but that was because I was praying for myself and I didn’t understand what the biblical text had to say. So here too as well.
So, one more. In the fifth place here He says in verse 24 and 25, “And in the day Israel will be third along with Egypt and Assyria.” Thirds? In the Kingdom of God. You have to be kidding. These are enemies at each other’s throat. They have nothing in common with each other. But this text says there will be thirds. And he goes on to say where he suggests, “And the Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people.” No, no, no, Isaiah. You’ve got it all wrong. Israel is “My people.” “Let my people go.” Remember that? “My people” is a technical phrase referring to the believing community in the Old Testament and now the believing community in the New Testament. That’s who “My people” are. But no, he says, “Egypt.” Egypt. And he says they are my people.
And then he goes on to say about the Assyrian and Assyrian or Iraq if you want to put it in modern terms, “My handiwork, the work of my hands.” Isaiah, you’re getting us all confused. That was the phrase used of Israel. Israel was the “work of my hands.” I know that you said that. Of course, God did say that, but He is saying, “Now I’m saying that to the Kurds. I’m saying that of Arabs and Islamic people who are now dwelling in Iraq. I want you to know there’s coming a great day. And then goes on to say, “Israel, my inheritance.” Well, at least he got one right. But the text there is to go on the line and say all three: “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork and Israel my inheritance.”
Thirds together in the Kingdom of God. Fantastic. God will include all the nations in the world in His triumph and the kingdom of Egypt, a bitter but hospitable nation that entertained them for some 430 years under somewhat dubious circumstances, but nevertheless, a nation that’s been lasting on the face of the earth for over 5,000 years.
We’ve got history back to 3000 B.C. and past running and so they’ve existed all this time but now in the end days they come to the Lord.
You say, “Yeah, but how does this prove that God exists? Would you run through that again. I thought this was apologetics. You seem to be in prophecy.”
They go together here at this point because Jesus said, “I told you these things before they come to pass so that when they do, you may know that I am He.” And that we may know that indeed history is the final interpreter of prophecy. And already I’d like to suggest to you about a half dozen things in this chapter how it came to pass.
First, Judah is a terror to Egypt for the first time. First time in history of their 4,000 plus recorded years of history. First time, 1967. Secondly, that the river Nile will dry up and the riverbed will be parched and become dry. I’d like to suggest to you that’s 1970, Aswan Dam. I’d like to suggest to you that the canals will stink and that also that it will cause great calamity upon the land and I’d like to suggest to you that the new phenomena which has just entered Egypt since the 1970s, schistosomiasis, affecting one out of every two people and killing one out of every ten is a reality coming from this verse. And I’d like to suggest to you that the fishermen who are groaning and lamenting, that is a reality at the present time because of the salt waters that have backed into the Nile River. And along with the farmers too who now have the problem with flax and with linen and with cotton. So, we’ve been given some hints. God’s on target. Wait till you see the rest. Wait till you see the rest. And what a pageant of text it is. God making Himself known; God bringing conversion; God sending five major cities in Egypt and one of them He puts on the line: Heliopolis. Heliopolis.
My dear friends, here are passages that have been neglected in the Major Prophets: Isaiah 13-23; in Jeremiah Chapters 46 through 51; in Ezekiel Chapters 25-32–25 chapters, 680 verses, and basically, though we have people who say they believed in the inerrant Word of God, have never, never touched those chapters or preached on those verses. None. Even the International Sunday School Lesson, which for over 125 or 150 years now has had as its goal to preach every chapter and teach every chapter in Sunday School in a uniform lesson, has never even touched one of these chapters. So even that system has never caught it. Don’t tell me that we believe the whole book and yet there are large sections we won’t even touch. And guess how surprised we’re going to be.
So this nation tied up 700 references, Egypt. No nation is so mingled with the history of Israel as this nation and 250 of those verses when given were then future. And a good number of them still remain future. God is on target. He is the Lord of all nations. And so I think we ought to say like Daniel Chapter 4 what Nebuchadnezzar said when he finally came to his senses after that seven years when he was put out to pasture literally, he said, “Only God is great. Only God is great.”
They had to say that, too, at Louis the Fourteenth’s funeral, you remember. Louis the Fourteenth and Versailles and all the beauty and pageantry of that thing. They wheeled him into Notre Dame, down the center aisle and put his casket right up front and the great court preacher got up and he started to give the oration. They had candles. Louis the Fourteenth wanted candles all over, but then he wanted them doused in the whole cathedral and only one candle left on his casket to say he was the real light. The court preacher went over, wet his finger and snuffed the candle out and came back and began his message: “Only God is great. Only God is great.” He repeated it in French twice. And so it is, and so it is for Egypt too as well.
Well, your questions now. We’ve got a few minutes here toward the end.
Question: Do you think that some of the things yet to take place will take place after the Rapture?
Kaiser: It’s a good question but it’s an American question. We always want to know what time it is. I’ve got to watch my time here on this tape, too, as well. So you’re always under pressure. But in the biblical revelation time is not that significant a factor. However, it doesn’t mean that God has no indication, but He down-plays that whole matter of time. I think best that I can say is, with regard to the coming of Christ, it doesn’t locate on which side they come. That is, some of these things are out in front. That’s clear. During the seven years of Tribulation. Some are included in the first part of the Thousand Year rule of Christ here upon the earth as indicated in Revelation Chapter 20. So I think that what we have to say is that they are grouped in very close proximity to the coming of Christ but not always does the text think that it’s important that we should tell which one is at which time.