- Religion and Philosophy»
Israel, Egypt, and Ezekiel
Egypt has been in crisis since early February, when street riots broke out following an earlier riot in Tunisia. The purpose of the Egyptian revolt was to overthrow the 30-year-long regime of Hosni Mubarak. On February 12th Mubarak did, in fact, resign. The Egyptian Army took control. Since then there has been continuous pressure to create an Islamic state.
There are ongoing reports of weakening in the military junta in control there. Experts say that there will be an increasing struggle for power, which very predictably may end up in the hands of radical Islam.
Since this uprising in Egypt, Israelis have been on high alert. Mubarak’s fall caused the cessation of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that had been in place for over 30 years, beginning in 1979. Throughout that time, (though ruled by a despotic leadership), Egypt guaranteed Israel some stability on its southern flank. In a sense, Israel relied on Egypt for support. That protection is now gone.
Making this perfectly clear, the leaders of two terrorist groups determined toward the destruction of Israel met in Cairo on May 4th. Fatah and Hamas signed a truce, agreeing to combine their forces against Israel. Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas firmly declared Palestinians have, “turned forever the black page of division. Hamas is part of the Palestinian people. Israel must choose between settlements and peace.” Are future peace talks between Israel and these groups even impossible? I don't believe they are.
Ezekiel 29:6-12 says, “And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
“When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
“And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
“Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
“No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
“And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries”
Now that Egypt has come under the terroristic influence of radical Islamic leadership, how long before there is a sense of critical mass in Israel? A historic moment?
Some people may say this Bible verse has nothing to do with end time prophecy. Some believe the context of this chapter already happened in the times of the Babylonian captivity. But the very nature of Ezekiel’s words places the outcome of the Syene prophecy in the last days. Egypt has never been desolate and uninhabited for any 40-year period like these verses described.
What can it be other than contemporary? When Ezekiel wrote it, there was no “tower of Syene.” It didn’t even come into existence until 1967, in the form of the Aswan High Dam, spanning the Nile at the location of the first cataract at Egypt’s southern border. The proper noun “Syene” from the Hebrew S’veneh, means “opening” or “key.” Which is said to be the ancient designation for the opening to Egypt, when approaching from the south, from Ethiopia.
From the Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, first published in 1866, the connection is affrimed, from the Greek Septuagint: “[, Syene, in the inscriptions according to Brugsch [was] the most southerly border town of Egypt in the direction of Cush, i.e. Ethiopia, on the eastern bank of the Nile, some ruins of which are still to be seen in the modern Assuan (Aswan) …” (Vol. 9, Ezekiel 29-48, p. 8).
As mentioned above, when the prophecy was written around 570 BC, no tower was in place at Aswan/Syene. The same is true about 1866 when Keil and Delitzsch wrote their commentary. Until the Russians and Egyptions finished the huge dam and hydroelectric project in 1967, there was no tower at Aswan/Syene at all! Now it is the most towering structure in the entire area, and probably pegged to be destroyed at some time between now and the tribulation.
Because of the dam Eygpt can truely say “The river is mine, and I have made it.”
Ezekiel 29: 2-5 “Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
“Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
“But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.
“And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven”
After looking carefully at these verses it seems the real target is, “…the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers. ” And looking back at Ezekiel 28, (the chapter just before this one), Satan, as the “anointed cherub,” is shown as defeated. This prophecy in chapter 29 then may be taken as an extension of the preceding prophecy.
The fish of the Nile figuratively stick to the dragon’s scales, as all are hurled from the river onto its banks to rot and dry in the sun. The Nile, which used to flood annually just like clockwork, has not flooded since the construction of the High Dam at Aswan. The only way it could flood as catastrophically as described in prophcey would be if the dam were destroyed.
In 2002, Israeli Knesset member (MK) Avigdor Lieberman, a man who often makes controversial statements, pointed out that Israel could defeat an invading Egypt by bombing the Aswan High Dam. He realized that it would take the use of nuclear force to do it, since experts have testified that the dam is too massive to fall to ordinary explosives. Lieberman, who served as Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, and as Minister both of Foreign Affairs and Strategic Affairs, had surely been briefed on military alternatives. Maybe he wanted to give Egypt some food for thought. But basically the same thing had already been said by MK Yigal Allon, a Labor Party rep, in the early 1980s.
If Israel’s existence were threatened by an Egyptian invasion, drastic measures could, and probably would, be brought into play, The Aswan Dam holds back Lake Nasser, an enormous 340 mile long and 22 mile wide body of water. If the dam were breached by a nuclear blast, radioactive waters could flood Egypt from one end to the other.
Almost all of Egypt's entire population lives very near the Nile River, from Aswan all the way down to Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is a narrow river that flares out at the Nile Delta. You can "google earth" the area to confirm this. Egypt may be the only country on earth so vulnerable to total destruction.
Ezekiel 30:1-6 says “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
“Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth the day
“For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
“And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
“Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.
“Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD”
This would clearly explain why Egypt is prophesied to be uninhabitable for the long period of forty years. It also explains why Egypt is missing in the prophesied attack on Israel by the allied forces of Gog, in Ezekiel 38.
Prophecy interprets itself. We can only watch and wait to see how the events between Egypt and Israel will unfold, and apply what we learn to what is foretold in the Bible. We should pay attention, be aware, and use our knowledge and understanding so that we endure to the end and are worthy to stand before the Son of man.