Where does Africa fit in Bible prophecy?

Is Africa under a curse? How will end-time prophecies affect the peoples of Africa?


The Bible is, in the main, a book about physical Israel, as well as spiritual Israel, that is, the Church of God (Galatians:6:16). Therefore, Scripture doesn't mention most other nations, except as they cross paths with Israel. God chose to use Israel to model His way of life, not to exclude other nations, but rather as a means of bringing all peoples to His way of life and His generous blessings.

Many end-time prophecies deal with terrible challenges of a worldwide scope, including Africa. Given the present condition of many African nations, one wonders if the fires of end-time disasters have already been ignited. God will send some terrible plagues just before Christ returns. But the world will suffer a great deal before that from disasters mankind brings on itself through sin.

Because it seems that most nations on the African continent have suffered unduly in past decades, some speculate that God placed a curse upon them. But people forget that there were prosperous black empires in ages past and that most of the continent prospered when it was part of the British Empire. A major cause of the current despair is the dictatorial rule of a few people who have enriched themselves instead of caring for their citizens. Additional problems, especially sexually transmitted diseases, can be traced to deeply entrenched customs that block needed education.

It would be difficult to overstate the damage these two factors alone have inflicted on the continent. These causes bring curses, not from God, but rather from man himself.

There are more specific references to northern Africa in conjunction with end-time prophecies about the Middle East, which principally appear to pertain to that region's Muslim population. We believe that the prophecies of the "king of the South" probably refer to an Islamic confederacy at the end of the age (Daniel 11). Our booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy outlines what the Bible foretells on this subject.

With the return of Jesus Christ to rule all the nations of the world, peace and justice will come to all peoples, including the peoples of Africa (Revelation:11:15; Isaiah:11:10-11; 42:1-6). Psalm 68 refers to the time when everyone will submit to God, and says that "envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia [Cush, probably ancestor of more than just Ethiopia] will quickly stretch out her hands to God" (verse 31). Africans will respond to God and He will show mercy to them.


nyumba's picture

i think Isaiah 18 is a specific reference to end-time prophecy and taking place in africa


iNi's picture

I agree, Isaiah 18 and 19.

Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Nyumba,

“[On the one hand,] there is reason for dating this section to around 715 B.C. At that time, around the death of Ahaz, ‘a Cushite dynasty took over Egypt...and probably sent ambassadors to Jerusalem’ (Nelson Study Bible, note on 18:1). [Thus, it could be] a reference to ‘Shabako, the Nubian successor to Osorkon [IV],’ the latter, apparently known also as King So (2 Kings:17:4), having been defeated by Sargon II of Assyria in 716’ [Merrill]…

[On the other hand, an alternate interpretation] makes it most likely an end-time prophecy. Supporting this conclusion is the repeated phrase ‘in that day’ (17:4, 7, 9), which often refers to events surrounding the coming of the Messiah to reign over the nations (compare 2:11, 17, 20; 4:1-2; 11:10-11; 12:1, 4)…

‘JFB Commentary…‘Isaiah announces the overthrow of Sennacherib's hosts and desires the Ethiopian ambassadors, now in Jerusalem, to bring word of it to their own nation; and he calls the whole world to witness the event (vs. 3). As ch. 17:12-14 announced the presence of the foe, so ch. 18 foretells his overthrow…[and] the destruction of [Ethiopia’s] enemies’ (note on Isaiah 18).

‘Indeed, in the end time too, the ruler of Assyria—the ‘king of the North’—will be an enemy of Ethiopia, as we elsewhere see him bringing the Ethiopians as well as the Egyptians under his subjection (see Daniel:11:42-43). This is another reason we may view the defeat of the enemy force in Isaiah 18 in an end-time context. Also, compare verse 6 with Revelation:19:17-18.

‘Finally, mention is made of a ‘present’ being brought from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. This is stated in Zephaniah:3:10 as well: ‘From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.’

‘These verses also appear related to Psalm 68…‘Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring presents to you... Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God’ (verses 29-31).” http://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/Isaiah/Oracle-against-Damascus;-Gl...

Note Isaiah:18:1 can refer to either downstream, “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” (NKJV): “Downstream from Ethiopia...the country of Egypt” (CEV); or to upstream, “beyond the rivers of Sudan” (GWT): “Ethiopia—land…that lies at the headwaters of the Nile” (NLT 2007).

Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi again Nyumba,

Lastly, it is possible that “Cush…Biblical Ethiopia is not present-day Ethiopia, but a region located south of Egypt” (African Presence note on Genesis:6:1-12 [referenced at Isaiah 19], “Aspire: The New Women of Color Study Bible—For Strength and Inspiration,” September 2012, Zondervan).

“Ethiopia, or Cush…was not the same as modern Ethiopia. It covered a much larger area, reaching from the Congo basin to Egypt, which was sometimes ruled by Cush. It can therefore be said without exaggeration that the prophet is here [(in Isaiah 18] speaking to black Africa. He pays it great attention, and prophesies that…[l]ike the Israelites (17:7), Africa will turn to God in its misery…and its former glory will be restored (18:7). What a message of hope for our continent!” (“Africa Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary Written by 70 African Scholars,” August 2010, Zondervan).

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