The Burden of Egypt!
"The Egyptians Against the Egyptians"
As the "Arab Spring" moves into a scorching summer, the temperature in the Middle East is climbing dangerously high. We have seen events in Syria lead to civil war and now Egypt is being torn apart by the struggle between the various factions who seek power and control of that country. As far as Egypt is concerned, it brings to mind the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 19, where God says (verse 2):
"I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom."
The Muslim Brotherhood under the leadership of Mohammed Morsi gained power with a 52% majority after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, but that left a large dissatisfied section of the people who have now brought down the Muslim Brotherhood through a military coup. Morsi has been removed, at least for now.
But the struggle now going on in Egypt is subject to powerful influences from outside. Saudi Arabia (the Biblical Sheba) and the United Arab Emirates have come forward with $8 billion for Egypt - all in one day! Kuwait has put up $5 billion, making $13 billion in order to support Egypt's military takeover from the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand Iran, Russia and Hizbollah influences are supporting Syria and would like to see Egypt join the radical Islamic nations. This division in the Arab world is exactly what Bible prophecy teaches us to expect, creating a north-south division such as we see indicated in Daniel 11:40-43. but this divide is as much religious as it is geographic - The tug-of-war in Egypt is largely between the two factions of Islam: the Shiite and the Sunni.
The United States would normally support a pro-western Egypt, but President Barack Obama has apparently moved from that position as he seeks to avoid an involvement in the Middle East that could, potentially, bring him into a confrontation with Russia and Europe. He is also said by some sources to have pro-Islamic sympathies, and many will remember his speech in Egypt after his election to his first term in office, not to mention his full name "Barack Hussein Obama." If he does not intervene in Syria or in Egypt it could influence the outcome of the struggle going on in both of those countries.
God’s Hand in Politics
We must recognise that it is the God of Heaven that controls the political world, and so the prophet Daniel blessed the God of Heaven in these words:
“Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (Daniel 2:20-22).
This Truth was revealed directly to the King of Babylon as we are informed in Daniel 4;
“...the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Verse 17).
The same principle is stated again in Daniel 5:21, and it is endorsed in the New Testament thus:
“For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”—Romans 13:1.
So it may be that while men delude themselves into thinking that the modern world is controlled through the ballot box, or by force of arms and revolution, the reality is that God controls everything—and knowing this to be so the true believer is very interested in politics because he knows that God works out His purposes through the kingdoms of men, placing in power those individuals who will accomplish that which He pleases. This is no less so in the modern age of democracy than it was when kingdoms were founded by the sword—and by by war.
This was well expressed by John Thomas in Elpis Israel where he wrote:
“...Paul says every power is of God; and the powers that be are ordained of Him, This is a matter of great consolation and rejoicing to his saints; for, though the tyrants may propose, it is God only that disposes events. The saints who understand the word will keep aloof from politics. None are more interested in them than they; but they will mix themselves up neither with one party nor another; for God regulates them all: therefore to be found in any such strife would be to contend in some way or other against Him. The servant of the Lord must not strive, except “for the faith once delivered to the saints.”
The word of God has revealed that at the time of the end, the Middle East will be divided into two blocks. We have already referred to Daniel 11 (King of North and King of South), and we can also see a similar configuration in Ezekiel chapter 38 with Gog's "company" (the Hebrew word suggests a religious assembly (similar to the Greek "ecclesia"). Another prophecy that gives the idea of a North/South divide is seen in Zechariah 6 (see verses 1-8).
That is the picture that we expect to emerge; a divided Arab world with each side allied to other major powers. So when we see "the Egyptians against the Egyptians" we know from Isaiah's prophecy that the outcome will be their eventual surrender to "a cruel lord" (Isaiah 19:4), for as Daniel also says (Daniel 11:42) "the land of Egypt shall not escape."
Isaiah also tells us of Egypt's economic woes (verses 5 to 10). Such is "the burden of Egypt" (the oracle concerning Egypt, RV) before the God of Israel heals them (verse 22).
"In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance."
We apologize that there is no audio version available this week. -- Paul Billington.
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