Turmoil and Treachery in the Land of the Pharaohs/Part 1
|By: John G. Weldon; ©2011|
|Once again the Middle East occupies center stage in the eyes of the world and given startling biblical prophecies it’s hardly surprising. The Bible is clear that prior to the return of Jesus Christ, the Middle East and specifically Israel and Jerusalem will become center stage for the final events of the Age.|
Once again the Middle East occupies center stage in the eyes of the world – and given startling biblical prophecies it’s hardly surprising. The Bible is clear that prior to the return of Jesus Christ, the Middle East and specifically Israel and Jerusalem will become center stage for the final events of the Age. Many people don’t know it, but the Bible teaches more about the last days of Israel and the ensuing Return of Christ and His millennial Kingdom than any other prophetic subject. Currently Egypt is in the spotlight right now, and again, it’s not unexpected.
Egypt plays a more than fleeting role in the biblical narrative — there are about 700 references to Egypt in Scripture. In Genesis, we remember the classic and encouraging story of Joseph, sold into cruel slavery to Egypt by his jealous brothers, betrayed at least twice and jailed for acting righteously, and how in the end (much like with Job) God used something that was evil for something ultimately good i.e., to preserve the nascent Jewish nation and save not just Egypt from famine, but, as Genesis reveals, many surrounding nations from starvation as well. Beginning as a slave in Egypt, God blessed Joseph so that he actually became second in command over the entire Egyptian kingdom (As happened similarly with Mordecai in Esther and with the prophet Daniel.)
Thus, we read the classic Old Testament phrase for what is taught in the New Testament in Romans 8:28, when Joseph explained to his brothers: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20, ESV). As Romans 8:28 declares: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” (NLT) (We also find this specific historical incident applied figuratively to Joseph’s descent into Egypt with the incarnate Son of God, the baby Christ, to spare His life from Herod’s treachery; Matthew 2:13-20)
Then in the book of Exodus, there is the famous incident of God’s judging Egypt with the 10 miraculous plagues because the Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” had placed the once favored and budding Jewish nation under cruel slavery. While the Jews were in Egypt God again illustrated the truth of Romans 8:28 (cf. Acts 7:17; 13:16-17) by utilizing their harsh conditions to form and strengthen a nation of some 2.5 million people, which He then supernaturally delivered through Moses by pronouncing 10 powerful judgments upon Egypt and her pagan deities. The result was the miraculous deliverance and beginning of an independent Jewish nation, whose blessings to the world are innumerable, fulfilling the amazing prophecies in Genesis 12:2-3. It also memorializes the beginning of the celebrated Passover commemoration rejoiced in even today, some 3500 years later, by Jews worldwide. Spiritual lessons regarding Egypt are also found in the Scripture (e.g., Hebrews 11:26-29) and Acts chapter 7 refers to Egypt some 20 times recalling the events of the slavery in Egypt, the great Exodus, and the Jews rebellion after their deliverance (cf. Jude 1:5). In sum, there is more than a passing reference to Egypt in the Bible. There are also prophecies of Egypt’s destruction/dispersion by King Nebuchadnezzar and its divine restoration (Ezekiel 29:12-16; 30:23-26) and Egypt’s actual future conversion is foretold in Isaiah 19:18. Egypt is used figuratively to describe the city of Jerusalem in the book of Revelation when it discusses the world’s Christmas-like response to the death of the miraculous two witnesses who torment the wicked on the Earth during the time of the Great Tribulation, the future period detailed in the book of Revelation and spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24 (Revelation 11: 7-12)
Egypt has had a long and colorful history, biblical or otherwise. The great pyramids, the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world; the Egyptian pharaohs and their mummification; Cleopatra; the Sphinx; the Nile River; the Red Sea; we are familiar with them all.
But today Egypt is embroiled in massive protests and revolution, and the outcome is likely to be anything but neutral. Egypt could be falling apart. Or, with God’s favor (and through the pro-Western Egyptian military, who really runs the nation), a moderate and largely secular new government could be established, one that won’t become a threat to Israel, the general region, or America. But the military must continue to support a secular government if Egypt is to be saved from radicalism; a split in the military and it’s a whole new ballgame. Without God’s mercy, sooner or later, a radical Islamic Egypt will emerge. The result would be devastating — to fully surround Israel with enemies who wish to annihilate her, leaving her confronted with the likelihood of a potential, almost unbelievable 9-front war, with no less than three fronts internally — Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the PLO/Fatah in the West Bank, and a large minority of the Palestinians who want war with Israel — plus Lebanon, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, and what will have become an Islamist Egypt and possibly an Islamist Jordan. Currently, Israel apparently feels as isolated and alone as it did in 1948.
Right now, it’s a waiting game, but perhaps not for long. There are at least a dozen unique events in play since 1948 which suggests that the last days of Israel may not be far off, a topic that will be the subject of an upcoming article. Now isn’t the time for Christians to be timid about their faith or their actions. But now is the time to remember Romans 8:28, that whatever happens, God has an ultimately good purpose for it and that He remains in sovereign control.
For more on Egypt see Part 2