Isaiah 19 is a prophecy against Egypt. It begins, “The burden against Egypt. Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.”
This is vaguely reminiscent of the Lord coming into Egypt on the night of Passover. Exodus 12 says the Lord Himself promised to pass through the land of Egypt and to strike the firstborn man and beast, and all the gods of Egypt. The Bible says this took place at midnight. When the mixed multitude left Egypt, the Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud to lead them during the day and in a pillar of fire during the night.
Isaiah 19:2 continues, “I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom.”
As I consider what happened long ago in Egypt during the time of Moses, I wonder if the Egyptians were fighting one another as the plagues fell upon them. Even the magicians realized this was the finger of God. Surely they wanted Pharaoh to give in to Moses and Aaron before more damage was done. If they felt this way, surely many of the other Egyptians felt the same way. The question remains as to whether or not they were willing to fight one another over it.
We have to wonder if this Scripture has been fulfilled in our midst today. Back in February 2011, during the Arab Spring, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime fought against the popular uprising in Tahrir Square. What was quite curious at the time was the viral video of a ghostly rider on his horse. Could this have been the equivalent of the Lord coming on a cloud into Egypt or was this one of the horsemen of Revelation?
If this is not the actual fulfillment of Isaiah, then it will come in the future.
Isaiah 19:3-4 goes on to say, “The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, And they will consult the idols and the charmers, The mediums and the sorcerers. 4 And the Egyptians I will give Into the hand of a cruel master, And a fierce king will rule over them,” Says the Lord, the Lord of hosts.”
Today the most predominant religion in Egypt is Islam (mostly Sunni) although there are some Jews and Christian denominations there and people of other beliefs. [i] By the end of June 2012, Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, won the presidency of Egypt. So far, all of this activity in the country has decreased tourism in Egypt and unemployment is rising.[ii] Time will tell exactly how cruel Mr. Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood will be as president of Egypt.
Isaiah 19 prophesies that at some point, the waters of Egypt will also be affected by drying up and turning foul. This will cause the plant life to wither. The fishing and textile industry will be negatively affected in addition to the daily wages suffering due to lack of available work.
As we consider this passage, we must also consider the information found in Ezekiel 29. The Lord will be against the Pharaoh of Egypt. He’s referred to as a great monster that dwells in the river of Egypt. The Lord says he will put hooks in his jaws and draw him out with all the fish in his rivers sticking to him. I other words, the Lord will draw the Egyptians into battle. This is a reference to the president of Egypt and his army. All of them will be left in an open field to be eaten by the beasts of the field and birds of the air. This portion of Scripture has obvious connections with the feast for birds mentioned in Revelation 19:17-21.
I wonder what the Egyptians thought when they realized their Pharaoh and his army was drowned in the sea. As I consider the future, I’m confident Ezekiel was correct when he said that only after the flesh of the Pharaoh and his army are eaten will the Egyptians know the Lord.
Prior to that, there will be no wise men in Egypt; the counselors will give foolish counsel. A perverse spirit will cause Egypt to error in all its work.
Will the Egyptians realize that what is happening to them is caused by the hand of the Lord? Since the Egyptians in Moses’ time did, I think it will only be a matter of time before the Egyptians will fear the Lord and Israel.
At some point, there will be an altar to the Lord in Egypt and a pillar at its border. This will be a sign and a witness for the Lord. Just like the Hebrews called out to the Lord for deliverance because of their oppressors, many Egyptians will do the same thing in the future. The Lord will send Jesus to deliver them! Even though the Lord will strike Egypt, He will heal it afterwards. The people will return to the Lord and He will heal them.
As hard as it is for us to imagine, there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria when Jesus returns. The Assyrians and Egyptians will travel back and forth on this road. Both the Assyrians and Egyptians will serve the Lord with the people of Israel. This is very different from the Egyptians being led away from their homeland by the Assyrians unclothed and ashamed as described in Isaiah 20.