What Does the Future Hold for Egypt?
By Bill Salus
Question: Bill, in reading Isaiah 19 the WORD speaks of smiting Egypt...then healing it and they returning back to the Lord...even an altar is built on the borders for worship to our true God. vs. 24 says Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria--a blessing in the midst of the land.
My question....is this after Psalm 83?
Answer: Egypt still faces two future confrontations prior to the return of Christ. First, for its participation in Psalm 83, Egypt will come under attack by the Israeli Defense Forces (I.D.F.). This appears to find fulfillment in Isaiah 19:16-18. In the aftermath of the I.D.F. victory Israel will annex at least five Egyptian cities. According to Isaiah 19:18, five of these cities will speak Hebrew. The Israelis will feel justified in claiming these cities as per Genesis 15:18, which promises them land east of the Nile River. This first confrontation occurs prior to Daniel's Seventieth Week.
Additionally, the Jews will set up an altar to the Lord in the midst of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord at Egypt's border as per Isaiah 19:19. According to Isaiah 19:20-a, the altar and pillar are set up as a sign and witness to the Jewish God Jehovah. The existence of this altar suggests the Jews will be implementing the Mosaic Law inside the portions of Egypt taken over sometime after Psalm 83.
The pillar serves as a memorial stone and is probably constructed to remind future Jewish generations how the Lord delivered the Jews through their Psalm 83 confrontation which extended into Egypt. Joshua 4:7 and Joshua 22:26-28 shed further light on this traditional Hebrew ritual.
The second confrontation occurs when the Antichrist invades Egypt fulfilling Daniel 11:42-43. The Antichrist will come into Egypt seeking to destroy the Jewish population residing therein. Additionally, he will capture the wealth of Egypt. This takes place in the second half of Daniel's Seventieth Week during the campaign of Armageddon. The Antichrist will be attempting Jewish genocide at the time.
Isaiah 19:20-b says those residing in Egypt at the time, which should include both Jew and Egyptian, cry out to the Lord due to oppression. This oppression probably results from the Antichrist's and his army's invasion of Egypt. We are told in Isaiah 19:20-c their pleadings will be answered and they will be delivered from the oppression when Christ returns.
Isaiah 19:21-25 informs us that Egypt will ultimately become a saved nation and enter into the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom period along with the remnant of Israel and Assyria. However as Isaiah 19:22 warns, Egypt's conversion from Allah worship to Jehovah worship is brought about by being smitten. Egypt's national conversion to Christ does not result apart from experiencing affliction. Ezekiel 29:8-12 gives us details about the smiting.
Many Egyptians will be dispersed for forty years after being smitten. This forty year period could commence after either of the above two pending confrontations. Some have suggested the forty year dispersion may have found historical fulfillment during the reign of the Babylonian empire. Here is what the Bible Knowledge Commentary says regarding Ezekiel 29:10-16.
"No archeological finding has yet confirmed an Egyptian (40 year) deportation similar to the one experienced by Israel (70-year Babylonian captivity). However, it is unwise to dismiss a clear statement of Scripture on the basis of incomplete archeological data. Nebuchadnezzar did attack Egypt (29:17-21; cf. Jer. 43:8-13; 46:1-25). Assuming that he conquered the country, one would expect him to deport people to Babylon as he did others he conquered. Presumably, then, the Egyptian captives would have been allowed to return home in the reign of Cyrus of Persia, who defeated Babylon in 539 B.C. (ca. 33 years after Nebuchadnezzar's attack). Allowing seven additional years for the people to return and rebuild, a 40-year period of desolation was entirely possible."
I personally don't believe the forty years of deportation has occurred yet. I think it commences after the first confrontation by the I.D.F. and possibly carries on through the second confrontation and concludes just prior to, or about the same time as, the return of the Messiah. Clues inscribed in Isaiah 11:12-16 suggest this will be the case. Additionally, Isaiah 11:16 seems to connect well with Isaiah 19:23-24.
Lastly, it is important to note that Egypt will be a lowly nation during the Messianic Kingdom as per Ezekiel 29:15. This is not presently the case with Egypt. There is a saying in the Middle East that "Two poles presently hold up the Mideast tent and that's the countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia." The saying goes on to state that "If you knock one of the poles down the entire tent collapses." I believe that both poles get knocked down soon as a result of the Psalm 83 war.