Egypt In Prophecy March 2013
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 3, 2013
Do reports of unrest and economic collapse in Egypt point to anything? How do we find the answer? God uses a number of symbols to announce an event about to happen. Take for instance God’s mountain. God called Israel to His mountain when He gave them His ten commandments. God will call His people to His holy mountain when He calls them home. The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Isaiah 65:25 NLTse). God also used the symbol of His mountain to announce prophecy. I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. (Isaiah 56:7 NLTse). There is one constant fact, no one knew what God was about to say. We see events coming, but do not know specific details until they are fulfilled. History has show, God’s prophets announce prophetic scenes, they live to see them accomplished, but are not given specific details of what will happen. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others are examples.
Egypt is another symbol used in the Bible. We cannot see the real meaning of prophesy unless it is revealed by God with evidence it is a message from God. This would be consistent with examples in the Bible. When God sent Moses to Egypt to fulfill prophesy, He provided Moses with evidence the announcement was from God.
Jesus used simple methods to teach people how to understand prophecy. Jesus used the same method to teach His disciples and the Pharisees. Eventually the disciples understood. The Pharisees decided to stick with their methods.
Jesus’ simple method sent them back to scripture. If we use this same method we can learn how Egypt is used as a symbol in the Bible. The main thing to keep in mind is, symbols will always point to a greater fulfillment. We will not know exactly what will occur. Any guesses will take reliance off God and place it upon human wisdom, leaving the security of the Holy Spirit behind. Studying symbols within proper context will provide one thing, security knowing God is on control.
One of the main features of Egypt is of course the fact Pharaoh enslaved Israel.
Exodus 1:12-16 NLTse But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. (13) So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. (14) They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. (15) Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: (16) “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”
One of the main rules of Bible study is to look back to see how one event led to another. In this case we find God send Israel into Egypt.
Genesis 46:1-4 NLTse So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. (2) During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. (3) “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. (4) I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph attending to you.”
Looking back a little further we find the prophecy given to Abraham.
Genesis 15:12-17 NLTse As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. (13) Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. (14) But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (15) (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) (16) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” (17) After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.
Following basic Bible study rules taught by Jesus we learned, God first gave a prophecy to Abraham, telling him very few details. Abraham did not know when or where this prophecy was going to be fulfilled. There was a specific sequence of events God established before sending Israel into Egypt. There were major parts of the prophecy that needed to be fulfilled, Israel going into Egypt, the oppression, and deliverance. Each step in the process was a specific detail. No one could have ever guessed exactly how God was going to fulfill His prophecy. This is a fact we have to respect before we learn how to understand how and why God provides details, otherwise we are wasting our time mixing God’s Word with reasoning established by the world. If you look at spiritual details from the entire sequence of this story, you will understand how human reasoning led to many of the problems listed in the Bible. They are not very difficult to understand. All you have to do is pray, listen to the Spirit and go back, review previous texts when directed.
There are a few other interesting details about Egypt to consider. All the original materials for the tabernacle were taken out of Egypt.
Exodus 12:35-36 NLTse And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. (36) The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!
Few people care to follow the sequence of context on details such as this. The fact is, every item in the Tabernacle built from materials taken out of Egypt were returned. Not one single item was carried to Babylon. Replacement items were carried to Babylon.
1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. (26) He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made.
Once again, this is a major event which is easy to remember and find. If we look back we find other interesting details which the author used to lead to this event. Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter to form an alliance with Egypt. This carries a wide variety of spiritual implications.
1 Kings 3:1 NLTse Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the LORD and the wall around the city.
Look at 1 Kings chapter 8. Solomon refers to Egypt a number of times. For some reason Solomon keeps pointing back to Egypt. Repeated details always lead to a deeper spiritual meaning.
1 Kings 8:9 NLTse Nothing was in the Ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Mount Sinai, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel when they left the land of Egypt.
Not only did Solomon form an alliance with Egypt by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter, he formed a military alliance with Egypt through arms trading.
1 Kings 10:28-29 NLTse Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. (29) At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.
We cannot take our sights off of the beginning of this story, explaining how God is in control, setting up a specific sequence of events to accomplish His will. Everything was done for God’s glory.And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:4 NLTse).
We know Egypt will play a role in the last days. The details are vague at this time, but are there for us to see and study.
Revelation 11:8 NLTse And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified.
We see how God communicates in signs and symbols like those given to Abraham. Using the original prophesy as a guide we see details of the fulfillment will not be revealed until the proper time. We see how God reveals prophecy in specific steps. God personally spoke to Jacob when He sent Israel into Egypt. Specific details led to Israel’s slavery. God knew exactly who, when and how Israel would be freed from bondage. All of these details were revealed by God in His perfect timing. One of the most important lessons many people delivered from Egypt failed to see was the fact God ‘s goal was to teach them to trust in Him. History is repeating itself. This world has another chance to trust God or themselves. Remember how many people wanted to go back to bondage in Egypt?
The Bible shows us exactly how God’s perfect timing works. The problem is, people like to rely on themselves, their own imagination and want things accomplished according the their schedule. God controlled a series of events to bring the world to this point. There are a number of parallels between the events we see today and those recorded in the Bible. The problem is, people want to take a little part of the Bible then rely on their own knowledge to fill in the blanks. They do not want to take time to study and understand God’s timing. Today we live in a world of instant answers, but that is not the way God works. We have seen enough texts to prove that point. Understanding God’s Word requires a close, personal relationship with the Creator. God’s prophets must know His Spirit, how He communicates, and His perfect timing. Any form of guess work will distract from God’s message. The story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt is a testimony to this fact. The vast majority trusted in their own wisdom and never saw the promised land.