As the Arab world’s most powerful nation, Egypt will continue to dominate the news. We are likely to see more riots, embassy protests, and weekly American flag burnings. Most recently the Salafis of Egypt have stirred controversy by demanding that the Muslim Brotherhood install Sharia law.
For those unfamiliar with the components of Sharia law, you are truly missing out. It includes stoning for adultery and homosexuality, imprisonment for female rape victims, abolition of alcohol, oh and the death penalty for converting to Christianity. Not a bad gig eh?
In 2010 Egypt seemed on the verge of becoming the first Arab nation to fully embrace democracy. Tingles spread down the legs of Western journalists as they watched “democratic” crowds converge on Tahrir square. “The Arab world is finally embracing Western-style democracy!”
The rape of three Western female journalists should have been a red flag that these crowds weren’t the least bit interested in democracy. The bustling crowds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, chanting “death to Israel” should have signaled that replacing Mubarak with the Brotherhood was a very bad idea. But the media (as always) downplayed the warning signs and ridiculed those who disagreed with them. Egypt was ready for democracy.
The Western world recoiled in horror as it watched Egypt democratically elect a non-democratic terrorist organization -- the Muslim Brotherhood. The Arab Spring quickly turned into Sharia winter. Ex-president and dictator Hosni Mubarak was no fan of democracy, but at least he was a neutral figure towards Israel and an ally to the United States.
What replaced him was a political organization founded in terrorism with the goal of creating a Muslim caliphate across the Middle East. Radical Islam had used the West’s greatest weapon (democracy) to create a radical Muslim paradise.
Since Egypt’s “Revolution,” Egypt’s Coptic Christian population has found itself under attack. According to Open Doors USA, a group that persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, Egypt ranked as the highest level of persecution in the Middle East. Many Christians have fled the country while others hope future elections of secular candidates will help them.
These hopes were dashed when Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Morsi won the presidency in 2012. Confronting Israel, restricting freedoms for women, and ignoring the plight of Egypt’s Christians tops his “to-do” list as newly elected president. He has even open talks with an old enemy – Iran.
Despite Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood leaders, the Obama administration has decided to continue a plan that would forgive one billion dollars of Egyptian debt. In classic “reset” fashion, the Obama team hopes to curry favor with the Brotherhood by bolstering their ailing economy. This sends the entire Muslim world a message: if you persecute Christians, arrest rape victims, and spew hatred at Israel we just might send you a stimulus package.
Perhaps NBC news should enlighten the Obama administration about Egypt’s new pharaohs. According to a recent article by NBC’s foreign policy analyst Richard Engel, the Muslim Brotherhood believes women need to be veiled, Israel should be “excised” from the world, Hamas is an oppressed gang of freedom fighters, and Islamic law is fair and tolerant. Maybe America should adopt some of these views. Then perhaps someone will give us a billion dollars?
Egypt in Bible Prophecy
What does the Bible say about Egypt’s future? We must first analyze what the Bible does not say. Egypt is eerily silent in the famous Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Other Muslim lands (most famously Iran) will converge on Israel, but Egypt is not mentioned at all. A nation run by radicals and has attacked Israel four times in the past 70 years will sit idly by? Yes.
Why would God omit one of Israel’s oldest enemies from this prophecy? The enemies who converge on Israel during this famous invasion are so badly mauled that they cease to function as nations. But as Isaiah and Daniel indicate, God has bigger plans for the Egyptian people.
Surprisingly Egypt’s Christian-persecuting leaders will one day become Christians. With brutal persecution of Christians, suppression of women’s rights, and weekly American flag burnings, this biblical prediction seems far-fetched. Keep in mind the Bible’s predictions have always fulfilled in a literal fashion. This miraculous conversion will not take place until the Millennial Kingdom. Yet before Egypt converts this ancient nation must undergo severe trials.
“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists. I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty (Isaiah 19:2-4).
Found amidst other end-times prophecies in Isaiah, chapter 19 details Egypt’s future. First, there is to be civil war. In the future, some Egyptians may tire of Egypt’s oppressive Muslim Brotherhood, leading to war. Isaiah does not specify why Egypt goes to war with itself, but after watching their “Arab Spring” it should not be surprising. Perhaps some Egyptians will grow weary of having a curfew, or maybe the women of Egypt will storm the palace gates demanding the right to wear jeans again.
A second and more chilling prophecy lies in the “cruel master and fierce king” that will rule over them. This future dictator will be the antichrist. Daniel records that the antichrist will invade not only Egypt, but the entire Middle East during the Tribulation.
"He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape" (Daniel 11:40b-42).
It is Egypt (the king of the South in Daniel) along with Syria (the king of the North) who rise up against the antichrist during the Tribulation. The rebellion is met with swift destruction as the antichrist usurps control over Egypt. Additionally, Isaiah 19 prophesies that Egypt will undergo serious environmental disasters. Yet in the end, Egypt will become a land of believers again.
"The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance”"(Isaiah 19:22-25).
After the horror of the Tribulation, Egypt will enter into a spiritual/economic alliance with Israel and Assyria during the Millennium. As difficult as it is to believe, Egypt and Israel will become allies one day.
Egypt is a far cry from the Millennium. Despite Egyptian rage towards Christians and Jews today, the people of the Nile will eventually mend the error of their ways and embrace Christ. Before Egypt is to be called “my people” by God in the Millennium, they have a long hard road ahead of them.
Jeremy Stevens is a historian, author, and teacher. His latest book, "So What Happens Next? Exploring Biblical Prophecies to Make Sense of Today's Chaos" is available at all participating bookstores.