Egypt and Israel Prophecy and Symbol

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“Egypt will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezek 29:15-16 NIV)

The Arabic people of Egypt today call their land Misr. This ancient name is found all through the Hebrew Bible, starting in the “table of nations” where we read about “the sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan” (Gen 10:6 NIV). Mizraim, the ancient Hebrew and Canaanite name of Egypt, is found throughout the Hebrew text, though it is usually translated into its Greek equivalent (Egypt is the Greek name for the land) except in the four places where the ancestral founder of the land is referred to. Altogether Egypt is mentioned by name in the Old Testament about 640 times and another 27 times in the New Testament. Clearly, Egypt was tremendously important in the development of God’s plan in the Bible, both as a nation and as a symbol.

  1. Egypt as refuge and nurture (safety and bounty):
    Matt 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

    Abraham, the patriarchs, Israel, Jesus’ parents turned to Egypt for food and safety

    Acts 13:17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country,

    1. Egypt as persecution, oppression or bondage (greed and power):
      Acts 7:9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him…

      Abraham (over Sarah), Joseph, Israel

      Micah 6:4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.

    2. Egypt as discipline, punishment for sin (wrath and judgment)
      King Rehoboam, the tribe of Ephraim

      Hosea 9:3 They will not remain in the LORD’s land; Ephraim will return to Egypt and eat unclean food in Assyria.

  2. Egypt as temptation and seduction (bounty, comfort, security and power):
    Heb 11:26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

    Abraham (Hagar), Joseph, Israel, Solomon, Jeroboam, Judah

    Acts 7:39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.

Egypt represents the dichotomy that the world presents to the follower of God. It’s always right there, just around the corner, full of blessings and dangers. Sometimes frightening, often attractive, both necessary and dangerous at the same time. It’s not the real source of blessings though…

Gen 26:2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.

Deut 17:16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.”

Josh 24:14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

The seven last plagues in Revelation are echoes of the ten plagues in Egypt, Revelation 11:8; 15:1, 6-8, 16:1-21

The children of Israel were to always remember their experience of slavery in Egypt, not because Egypt would always be a military threat to them, but because return to Egypt, alliance with Egypt, would always tantalize them with a promise of ease and security apart from God. The Christian is to view the present world the same way.

Gal 4:3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.

Eph 2:1-2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name– the name you gave me– so that they may be one as we are one.

John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

John 17:18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Rom 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Cor 5:9-10 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

1 Cor 7:31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

2 Cor 1:12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

2 Cor 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

Gal 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

I Jn 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

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