Isaiah 19 (Egypt)
Gloriously, the Spirit of Prophecy moves Isaiah to prophesy to Egypt in the same ongoing fashion. However, the opening scene of prophetic foresight could hardly be more dramatic than what is beheld in Isaiah 19:1, here called: “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.” – Isa. 19:1
Such a sight seems misplaced and hard to grasp if the reader considers it in retrospect. For, literally speaking, the Messiah will on this wise fly to make war in the 2nd Advent War as described in Revelation 19:11-16 & 2 Thess. 1:7-9. However, this event was no less literal even though it was manifested invisibly and with different implications in various historical scenarios of the past. For example, when the LORD did on this wise descend upon Mount Sinai, it was to meet with and speak to (Ex. 19:20-24, Ps. 68:17-18, Acts 7:38). Or, when the LORD moved to deliver His people from imminent threats of calamity, it was seen and described in like manner according to the invisible reality: “the earth shook and trembled” and “the hills moved and were shaken” amidst a terrible display of “smoke”, “fire”, and “coals”, for, “the LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire” (; , ). Or, when the LORD moved to punish the backslidden Church in the Old Testament (God’s Judgment upon Israel via Assyria), the same shocking descriptions widened the eyeballs of these prophets, in that,
“…behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.” –
Moreover, in description of what God did to Assyria through Babylon, or, what Isaiah pleads for as a reciprocal judgment upon Babylon for what she did to the Church, the prophets were moved to speak on this wise, saying,
“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.” –
“Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy Name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, Thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at Thy presence.” –
All things considered, what Isaiah was seeing in Isaiah 19:1 can have various implications depending on if the LORD will move on this wise invisibly or visibly. Both cases are a testament of God’s glory, the former showcasing the LORD’s power over terrestrial armies and the latter being the highest expression of divine glory in that the LORD visibly appears in bodily presence - the express image of His glory (Heb. 1:3, Rev. 1:7)! Unsurprisingly, the meaning intended in the revelatory sight given to Isaiah in Isaiah 19:1 is both the former and the latter.
Isaiah 19:1-15 was fulfilled in history while Isaiah 19:16-25 will be fulfilled in futurity. Historically speaking, Egypt underwent the inner turmoil of factional war (Isa. 19:2) as a forerunning divine judgment to a worse punishment. Namely, being subjected to “a cruel lord” and “a fierce king”, according to Isaiah 19:4, both of which were fulfilled in Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Persian Kings thereafter. All of this, and more (Isa. 19:5-15), was the expressed appointment of “the LORD of hosts” intervening as only He can (“…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.” – Isa. 19:1). Demonstrably, the historical fulfillments of Isaiah’s prophecies in Isaiah 19:1-15 were fulfilled as a result of the Lord’s swift and majestic intervention from above.
Then, the utterance of these divine acts of history suddenly shifts to unfulfilled futurity in that Egypt will be reduced to a state of fear and terror before “the Land of Judah” (Isa. 19:16-17). Why? Namely, because the Lord will visibly fulfill the dreadful scene beheld by Isaiah described in Isaiah 19:1 during the 2nd Advent War that will after (Isa. 11:15, Zech. 2:9, Isa. 59:19, Ps. 102:15-16)! Thereby, the astounding record of futurity in Isaiah 19:16-25 will be realized in full! After the of Babylon’s World, Egypt & Assyria included, the Jews will be regathered and restored to their land for the commencement of the Millennial Reign of Christ! Therein, the Egyptians will know the terror (Isa. 19:17), the Cities thereof will utter the foretold oaths (Isa. 19:18; Isa. 44:5), for herein “the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD” (Isa. 19:21; Mal. 1:11, Isa. 60:6, 66:19-20). The foretold network of highways (Isa. 19:23; Isa. 11:16, 19:23, 35:8, 40:3, 62:10) is a small glimpse of what blessings belong to the happy inheritors of this 1,000-year period of inexpressible glory (Isa. 19:21-25). With such a lengthy illustration of Egypt in her future estate of glory during the Millennial Reign, it is no wonder that she is explicitly spoken about in Zechariah’s vision of the same time period of futurity in Zechariah 14:17-19.
Many conjectures have been made on why Egypt is foreseen to be offering sacrifices and oblations during the Millennial Reign of Christ (Isa. 19:19, 21). This important aspect of the text deserves an answer and simply cannot be overlooked. Notably, the same problematic details exist in the vision of futurity granted to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40-48. Such matters are resolved once the reader understands the progressive alterations made to the record of prophecy from generation to generation. The ancient prophecies reveal God’s intention for the , and in like manner the , but because both generations fell short of the promises delivered to them by way of prophecy, the vision was breached, recalibrated, and recasted to the Last Days for one climactic fulfillment in the End of the World. A lengthy answer that will sufficiently explain this happening can be observed in provided for Ezekiel 38-39. This matter, like all others, is justified on the same grounds as all unfulfilled prophecies and covenants leading up to and warranting the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (for more information, see “”).