Few people may suspect that the great superpower America appears in the prophecies of the Bible, especially in end-time prophecy. Yet there it is in plain sight, and just as prominent as America is in the world today. Where? In the prophecy of Isaiah under the codename of the great superpower of Isaiah’s day: Egypt. The two are a perfect match. We know they are the same because Isaiah’s prophecies have a dual fulfillment, one in his day and one in the end-time. Foretelling “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10), Isaiah depicts both nations in a single prophecy. The Jews have traditionally taught such dual fulfillment. Only recently, however, has evidence come to light that supports the Jewish tradition.
A seven-part synchronous literary structure of the Book of Isaiah transposes events from Israel’s past into an allegory of the end-time. In other words, Isaiah foretells the end from the beginning by portraying only those events in the beginning that typify an end-time scenario. As with all nations that Isaiah describes, their end-time identity becomes clear from the way he characterizes them. As the world today is a different place than it was anciently, those characterizations are often unrelated to their past names or locations as far as an end-time scenario is concerned. What is key is the role these nations play in relation to God’s covenant people, many of whom today live dispersed among the nations of the world.
Isaiah’s Egypt, however is a superpower imploding. Its heads of state consider themselves as wise as Egypt’s founding fathers: “The ministers of Zoan are utter fools; the wisest of Pharaoh’s advisers give absurd counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh [the president], ‘We are as wise as the first rulers?’ Where are your wise men indeed? Let them please tell you, if they can discern it, what Jehovah of Hosts has in mind for Egypt! The ministers of Zoan have been foolish, the officials of Noph deluded; the heads of state have led Egypt astray. Jehovah has permeated them with a spirit of confusion; they have misled Egypt in all that it does, causing it to stagger like a drunkard into his vomit” (Isaiah 19:11–15).
In Isaiah’s day, a black, non-native Egyptian pharaoh rules Egypt. Egypt’s spiritual degradation, political ineptitude, and economic collapse lead to civil war: “I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians; they will fight brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor, city against city and state against state” (Isaiah 19:2). When another world power, Assyria, becomes a threat, the Egyptians “become as women, fearful and afraid at the brandishing hand Jehovah of Hosts wields over them” (Isaiah 19:16). In the end, Assyria invades Egypt and ravishes it. Although Egypt is the greatest military power in the world, that is no guarantee of God’s protection when the nation has turned to evil.
All is not lost, however, as a community of covenanters in Egypt turns back to Israel’s God, who sends them a savior and delivers them. While Egypt as a whole suffers covenant curses for its godlessness, a righteous people within the nation become Egypt’s salvation: “Jehovah will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day. They will worship by sacrifice and offerings, and make vows to Jehovah and fulfill them. Jehovah will smite Egypt, and by smiting heal [it]: they will turn back to Jehovah, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them” (Isaiah 19:21–22). To be healed of iniquity and to know the God of Israel is to be his covenant people indeed!
Read part 2 here