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The Burden of Egypt

Lyn Mize

Chapter 19 continues with the details of the overview that was presented in Isaiah 17:1-6: The Burden of Damascus and  continued into the article Woe to the Land of Whirring Wings.  As stated in Isaiah 17, the overview provides a very brief overview of the seven year tribulation period from the time that Damascus is totally destroyed up until the Return of Jesus Christ in Power and Glory to establish His millennial kingdom.  Isaiah then provides additional details about the Church, Israel, and the Gentiles during the tribulation period.  Chapter 18 provides additional details about the Church in America as the focal point for the Church during the first half of the tribulation period.  

Chapter 19 provides additional details about events that will take place in Egypt at the beginning of the seven year tribulation period.  It includes massive destruction of Egypt and the reign of Antichrist (See vs 4) over Egypt.  It appears certain that the massive destruction comes as a result of a nuclear attack by Antichrist—the false messiah of Israel—upon Egypt (See vs 17).  Egypt will see Antichrist as the savior of Israel at this time.  The following passage of Scripture provides an even more detailed description of this destruction of Egypt:  

(Ezek 30:6-16 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt (i.e., Arab nations) 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. {7} And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. {8} And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed. {9} In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh. {10} Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon (i.e., Antichrist, king of New Babylon). {11} He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. {12} And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I the LORD have spoken it. {13} Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt. {14} And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No. {15} And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No. {16} And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.  

In the above passage it is Antichrist who will destroy Egypt, but he will be acting as the instrument of God against Egypt, but he will not know it.  God will also use Antichrist to punish Israel, and bring them back to God later in the last half of the tribulation period.  

The above sequence of events will occur early in the seven year tribulation period when Antichrist as the leader of the ten-horned beast will trample down the Leopard (i.e., Egypt—Daniel 7) and the Four Wings on Its Back (i.e., Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia).  When this takes place, Israel will definitely think Antichrist is their messiah, since he will have defeated their enemies who have persecuted them so long.  Unfortunately, Antichrist will later--in the last half of the tribulation period—be responsible for the deaths of more Jews than anyone in the history of Israel.  

The Hebrew word for Assyria in chapter 19 means Asshur.  Asshur was the second son of Shem and represents the Arab people who are the brothers of the Jews.  Therefore, Egypt represents the world and the world system in type, and Assyria represents the Arab world.  Israel sits between the world and the Arabs.  The end of chapter 19 portrays the world, the Jews and the Arabs coming together in unity with Jesus as the Savior and Messiah of all three.  There will be peace, and war will be a thing of the past.  The Arabs will no longer hate their brothers, the Jews, and the world will no longer hate the Jews.  

With this brief overview of chapter 19, we will now attempt a verse by verse exegesis of the chapter.  

(Isa 19:1 KJV)  The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.  

This verse is not accurate in depicting the Lord as coming as a cloud over Egypt, but it is the Lord who allows the Antichrist complete authority to go in and destroy much of Egypt.  This verse is actually a detailed presentation of the fulfillment of the white horseman in Revelation 6:1-2 as follows:  

(Rev 6:1-2 KJV) (1) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (2) And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  

A paraphrase of Isaiah 19:1 is:  The doom of Egypt. Behold, the Lord dispatches above Egypt a swift dark cloud, and it shall come against Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall shake at the ground’s surface, and the middle of Egypt shall melt or dissolve at the center of the cloud.  

The cloud is clearly a nuclear explosion (i.e., swift dark cloud) in the middle of Egypt, and the devastation will cause the complex idolatrous system of Egypt to shake and topple over.  Whether this nuclear missile or bomb comes from Israel or the USA is uncertain, but the devastation is attributed to Antichrist and Israel according to verses 4 and 17.  

(Isa 19:2 KJV)  And 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 destruction will be so great in Egypt that it will create utter chaos with the Egyptians fighting against each other in a last minute struggle for survival.  Apparently, the flight for survival from the nuclear holocaust will result in anarchy in the whole of Egypt.  

(Isa 19:3 KJV)  And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.  

A paraphraseAnd there shall be a void of life in the middle of Egypt, and I will destroy the plans and purposes of Egypt, and the people will turn to idols and spirits of the dead, and to the mediums and spiritists for answers.  

The Egyptians who are still alive will turn to supernatural means for an understanding of what has taken place.  

(Isa 19:4 KJV)  And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts.  

After the nuclear holocaust, the Egyptians will have Antichrist ruling over them (Daniel 11:42).  

(Isa 19:5 KJV)  And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.  

The Hebrew word for sea also means the Nile River, so a paraphrase of this verse is as follows: 

And the waters of the Nile River shall dry up, and the streams and irrigation canals shall be destroyed and dry up.  

Egypt utilizes a series of irrigation canals that run off from the Nile River to irrigate its farmland.  These canals will be destroyed and dry up at the same time that the Nile runs dry.  The Nile River is the lifeblood of Egypt.  The economy of Egypt depends upon the Nile River for survival.  

(Isa 19:6 KJV)  And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.  

Both the Blue Nile and the White Nile shall change its courses, and the canals or collateral trenches off of the Nile shall become narrower and dry up.  The streams of the Nile delta and the Suez Canal will also dry up and become waste.  

(Isa 19:7 KJV)  The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.  

The fields by the canals, by the edge of the irrigation canals, and all of the crops shall dry up and be dispersed, and they shall be no more.  

(Isa 19:8 KJV)  The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.  

The fisherman shall mourn, and all that cast hooks into the canals shall lament, and they that cast nets into the Nile shall languish  

(Isa 19:9 KJV)  Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded.  

One of the primary industries in Egypt is the making of linen from the flax plant.  “Networks” is white cloth or cotton.  Both of these industries will fail along with the fishing industry.  These are the three primary industries in Egypt.  

(Isa 19:10 KJV)  And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish.  

The people who work in these industries for wages (i.e., sluices) will be dejected and heartsick.  “Ponds” means stagnant or sick, and “fish” is the word for the life or the heart.  Literally, the people will be stagnant in their life, or they will be heartsick and dejected.

(Isa 19:11 KJV)  Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?  

Zoan or Tanis is a city that was the ancient capitol of Egypt from 1070 BC up until 655 BC.  This was the time Isaiah wrote his prophecies.  Thus, the princes of Zoan represent the government of Egypt and its activities.  Isaiah is saying the government of Egypt played the fool, yet they thought they were wise.  The government of Egypt is foolish because they war against and fight against God’s chosen people.  America will make this same tragic mistake in the near future.  Both Egypt and America will pay for this foolish mistake by their governments.  

(Isa 19:12 KJV)  Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.  

Isaiah mocks the so-called wise men of Egypt, and he now dares them to tell the people of Egypt what God has done to them.  

(Isa 19:13 KJV)  The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.  

Noph is the city of Memphis and represents the religious leadership of Egypt.  Isaiah says the political leaders were fools and the religious leaders were led astray.  The political and religious leaders were the cornerstones of Egypt, and it is because of them that Egypt is now a wasteland.  

(Isa 19:14 KJV)  The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.  

The Lord has caused an evil spirit to be in the midst of Egypt’s leaders, and they have caused Egypt to err so greatly that she is like a drunk man wallowing around in his own vomit.  

(Isa 19:15 KJV)  Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do.  

All of Egypt’s livelihood has been removed for the top leaders and the lowest person in Egypt.  Also, there is no work for the management and insignificant workers in industry.  

(Isa 19:16 KJV)  In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.  

In the day of this destruction that shall come upon Egypt, the Egyptians will be as fearful as women because of the brandishing of God’s weapons of power over them.  Nuclear weapons today are so awesome in their destructive power that few people understand the total devastation that can come from them.  The bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were so awesome that Japan had stated that they would die before they surrendered, but they were so overwhelmed by the power that they became extremely afraid and surrendered.  The bombs of today are 100 times more powerful.  

(Isa 19:17 KJV)  And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it.  

This seems to indicate that it is actually Israel that was responsible for the bombs or missiles.  Egypt will realize that the Jews are God’s people and they do not have a chance against fighting against God.  This is the turning point in Egypt’s conversion.  

(Isa 19:18 KJV)  In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.  

In the day that the destruction comes upon Egypt, there will be a conversion in Egypt to the God of Israel.  Five is the number of grace, and the Hebrew word for cities means a a place of waking up.  “Speak the language of Canaan” is a periphrastic phrase that means that five cities in Egypt will convert to the God of Israel (i.e., Canaan as the land of the Jews).  This is confirmed by the phrase “swear to the Lord of Hosts”.  One of these cities will be called the City of Destruction.  

(Isa 19:19 KJV)  In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.  

It is strongly believed that the Great Pyramid of Giza is this altar, and this pillar or memorial stone to which Isaiah refers.  This pyramid is in the very center of Egypt as measured by an arc drawn around the delta created by the Nile out into the Mediterranean Sea.  The pyramid is also on the border between upper and lower Egypt.  The cornerstone or capstone is also missing from this pyramid.  Jesus is the capstone of the Great Pyramid and He will be placed in his rightful place when Egypt converts to a belief in Jesus Christ.  

(Isa 19:20 KJV)  And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.  

There are many signs in the Great Pyramid that point to Jesus Christ as the coming King over Israel and the whole world.  The book by Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truth, has an excellent chapter on the teachings contained in the Great Pyramid.  Somehow this pyramid will cause the Egyptians to cry out to the Lord, and he will save them and deliver them from the oppression of Antichrist.  

(Isa 19:21 KJV)  And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.  

The Egyptians will know the Lord at the time the millennial kingdom is established, and they will be faithful unto him.  They will make sacrifices of themselves to God, and they will pay tribute to the Lord.  They will make promises to God, and they will keep these promises.  

(Isa 19:22 KJV)  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them.  

This is a summation verse of the whole chapter.  The Lord will first smite Egypt severely with the Antichrist as His instrument of punishment, and then He will heal or deliver it when Egypt turns to the Lord in prayer and supplication.  

(Isa 19:23 KJV)  In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.  

This verse portrays the millennial kingdom when a highway will run from Egypt through Israel and into the land known at this time as Assyria.  Egypt is west of Israel, and Assyria is east of Israel.  Egypt typifies the world, and Assyria typifies the Arab nations, who are the brothers of the Israelites.  

(Isa 19:24 KJV)  In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:  

Israel will be the bond that unifies the whole world into the worship of Jehovah God in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Israel is considered to be the very center of the world.  

(Isa 19:25 KJV)  Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.  

From this time forward there will be no essential difference between the nations in their relationship to God, but it will still be the God of Israel Who has obtained this recognition by the nations.  It is the nation of Israel, as promised in the Bible, that has become the medium of blessing to the world.  

This ends the detailed portion that received the overview in Isaiah 17:1-6.  We have seen the details of what happens to the Church, Israel, the Gentiles, America, Egypt and the Arab world during the seven year tribulation period that begins shortly after Damascus is totally destroyed.  The next main event that all Christians can look forward to as signaling the beginning of the seven year tribulation period is the destruction of Damascus.  This event happens just before the Firstfruits Rapture takes place.  It will be the signal for the Midnight Cry to commence.  The five wise virgins are currently saying “The Bridegroom Cometh” to the five foolish virgins, and the foolish virgins are beginning to stir and come awake.  The foolish virgins are replying “Go to sleep, for no man knows the day and the hour.”  When Damascus is destroyed, the five wise virgins will begin shouting “The Bridegroom Cometh!” and the five foolish virgins will quickly awaken to the truth, and begin asking for more oil from the wise virgins.  Of course, it will be too late at that time to secure more oil in time for the Firstfruits Rapture.