After Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution toppled autocratic leader Ben Ali’s government Jan. 15, protests have erupted in other Arab nations from Algeria to Yemen. But it is Egypt in particular that has the world’s attention.
Tens of thousands of protesters in the streets of Cairo have voiced frustrations about the economy (about a quarter of young people are unemployed throughout the Arab world) and corruption. But protesters don’t all share a common view of the solution—beyond removing President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 29 years. If the government falls, will anarchy, democracy, military rule or an Islamic regime emerge?
The United States and the rest of the Western world has come to depend on Egypt’s stability for the 30 percent of the world’s oil that is transported through the Suez Canal, as well as its assurance of peace with Israel. That peace has come at a high price of about $2 billion a year in American aid—mostly military aid—to Egypt. Who will control Egypt’s vast array of the latest armaments?
Egypt in Bible prophecy
Throughout the Bible, Egypt was in contact and often conflict with the people of Israel. No wonder Egypt is mentioned 611 times in the Bible! Although none of the New Testament mentions of the nation of Egypt refer to end-time prophecies, there are plenty of them in the Old Testament. Here are just a few:
In the Bible’s most detailed prophecy, Daniel 11, Daniel saw many specific events that then occurred over the next 400 years. The conflicts centered on the king of the North (the Seleucids, whose empire was swallowed up by the Roman Empire in 65 B.C.) and the king of the South (the Ptolemies, who ruled from Alexandria in Egypt).
Then the prophecy skips to end-time events. Daniel 11:36-38 Daniel 11:36-38 36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
American King James Version×appears to describe the actions of the Roman emperors and their successors, leading all the way up to a final king of the North of the end time.
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push [Hebrew nagach, to push or to attack] at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land…and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Daniel 11:40-42 Daniel 11:40-42 40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also on the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
American King James Version×, King James Version).
Good news for Egypt and everyone
Soon after this, Jesus Christ will return to save humanity from self-destruction and will be proclaimed king of all nations, including Egypt (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×; Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×).
Through those end-time events of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, Egypt will be punished for rebellion against God, as all nations will. But God promises to heal Egypt: “They will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them” (Isaiah 19:22 Isaiah 19:22And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them.
American King James Version×).
Then Isaiah records one of the greatest ironic twists of history. Egypt and Assyria, historically Israel’s greatest foes, become blessed allies!
“In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’ ” (Isaiah 19:24-25 Isaiah 19:24-25 24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the middle of the land:
25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
American King James Version×). That is truly the good news of the peaceful Kingdom of God!
To understand the volatile Middle East today, and the real hope God promises for the future, read the carefully researched and detailed booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy .