Friday, March 13, 2015


For the week beginning Sunday March 15, 2015

(A sad day for Egypt)
Ezekiel 29-30

When Tyre’s inland city fell to the Babylonians following a 13-year siege in 573 B.C., Tyre’s island city, with the help of Egypt, had already transported most of its wealth from there, by sea, to Egypt. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar was not able to recover the huge military expense that he had incurred during the long siege campaign against Tyre. And so, the only way he could recoup his financial losses, was by attacking Egypt and extracting Tyre’s transferred funds from their coiffeurs.
Ironically, just as GOD had forecast Tyre’s doom in chapters 26-28, HE now, here (chapters 29-32), joins Egypt’s fate to the fate of Tyre’s, by brilliantly connecting them in judgment, just as they were connected in their betrayal of Israel. Here the LORD promises Egypt to Babylon, and the wealth of Egypt and Tyre would be forfeited to Nebuchadnezzar in one big scoop in 568 B.C.
In Ezekiel 29-32 we see the seventh and final nation of which the prophet Ezekiel prophesied against, Egypt, receiving her sentence from GOD. It is a series of seven oracles, of which six are dated, with the second one being dated later than the others. After forecasting that the Pharaoh (Hophra) and Egypt would be destroyed, Ezekiel then prophesies just who would destroy them (Nebuchadnezzar).
Egypt is situated on the northeast shoulder of Africa and is bordered by the Sahara Desert (on the west), the tropical forests of Nubia (on the south), the Red Sea (on the east), and the Mediterranean Sea (on the north). The Nile River serves as the bloodstream of Egypt, and its waters brought life to the parched plains that were cultivated by the Egyptians in the biblical days. It also served as one of the great shipping lanes of the ancient world, as it offered over 600 miles of smooth sailing from the Mediterranean coast to Syene.
Besides being on different continents, Egypt is separated from Palestine by only the rocky Sinai Peninsula, and several marshes and lakes between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Their cultures are radically different, and its people are even of a different race. Yet, through various distinctive acts of GOD, biblical history shows us how they were brought together time and time again, for better and for worse, but mostly for the worse.
In Ezekiel 29, verses 2-5, the Pharaoh, Hophra, Neco’s successor, is depicted as a “crocodile”, or “Leviathan” (one of the Nile gods), a powerful creature like GOD describes in the book of Job (Job 41). Here GOD says that he is a “great monster” lurking in the streams of the Nile, even calling the river “his own” and actually saying that he himself “made the Nile”. In verse 4 GOD says that HE will do what HE implies in Job 41:1-2 (that which no man can do), and that is “put a hook in the jaw of this great monster and pull him out of the Nile with other fish sticking to his scales”.
In verses 8-12 GOD says;

 “I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals.  The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.
“Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia.  For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited.  I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands” (NLT).

However, the LORD says in verses 13-16 that at the end of forty years HE will bring the Egyptians back home again and restore them to their prosperous state, but they will become an unimportant, minor kingdom, and never again become great enough to rise above their neighbors.
And so seventeen years later, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity in Babylon, the words of Ezekiel came true as the LORD rewarded King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon with all the riches of Egypt to compensate for his financial loss in his campaign against Tyre, whom the LORD had sent him to destroy (Vs.17-20). Whenever we suffer losses for the LORD’s sake, no matter who we are, HE always compensates us for those losses.
In Ezekiel 30, verses 1-19, a sad day is depicted for Egypt as yet another message came to the prophet Ezekiel from the LORD. This message comes in four parts with the first part occurring in verses 1-5.

“Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign Lord:
“Weep and wail
    for that day,
for the terrible day is almost here—
    the day of the Lord!
It is a day of clouds and gloom,
    a day of despair for the nations.
 A sword will come against Egypt,
    and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground.
Its wealth will be carried away
    and its foundations destroyed.
The land of Ethiopia will be ravished.
    Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all Arabia,
and all their other allies
    will be destroyed in that war”.

Unlike Ezekiel’s other prophecies, this one is not dated. Here in verses 1-5 Ezekiel seems to be speaking of a future (eschatological) date referred to by the term, “the Day of the LORD”, (when GOD will judge the whole world for its sin), however, that ideology would separate the phrase from the context seen here. Here we have to keep in mind that the term “the day of the LORD” can refer to any day in which the LORD chooses to exact HIS judgment on HIS people, or any people, past, present, or future. For example, for northern Israel, that day occurred in 722 B.C. (Israel’s destruction by Assyria), here in the context of the book of Ezekiel, he is referring to a day in 586 B.C. (Judah’s destruction at the hands of Babylon). Here in chapter 30, the day of the LORD (GOD’s judgment) is extended to Egypt and its most important cities (568 B.C.).
Taking up in verse 6 (the second section of this prophecy) the LORD says that even all of Egypt’s allies will fall, from Migdol to Aswan, and the pride of their power will be ended. Egypt’s treasuries would be looted, including those treasures that once belonged to Tyre, that Egypt had assisted them in hiding from the Babylonians earlier in its siege against those cities (Ezekiel 29:17-20). Ethiopia (Cush), Libya and Lydia (Put), and Arabia (all the bi-racial people of that area) would be destroyed. Egypt would become desolate, and would be surrounded by desolate nations (v.7).
In the third section of this prophecy, verses 10-12, the LORD names exactly who HE will use as HIS instrument of destruction. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his ruthless army would make war against Egypt and its allies and prevail over them. HE would also dry up the demon-filled Nile River, and turn it over to the wicked king, along with everything else in Egypt.
In verses 13-19, the fourth section of this prophecy, Ezekiel names the many places in Egypt that will soon be destroyed by GOD.

·         Memphis - First GOD says HE will destroy the idol god images of Memphis, the first capital city of “United Egypt”. And though it was no longer the capital city, it was still perhaps the most important religious center in Egypt.
·         Pathros – An area located midway between Cairo and Answan (upper Egypt).
·         Zoan – A royal residence in the delta region of Egypt, known as “Tanis” by the Greeks.
·         Thebes – Located in southern Egypt about 400 miles from Cairo. It also served at one time as Egypt’s capital.
·         Pelusium – Name means “sin”. It is located deep in the delta about a mile from the Mediterranean Sea. It served as Egypt’s military stronghold.
·         Heliopolis – At one time was a major religious center. It was located in northern Egypt, south of the delta region.
·         Bubastis – also a religious center that once served as Egypt’s capital.
·         Tahpanhes – Located near the present-day Suez Canal. At that time Pharaoh had a palace there. Jeremiah once prophesied against this city, and the city of Memphis (Jeremiah 2:16).

The destruction of these major cities in Egypt would effectively zap the strength of the entire nation.
The fourth prophecy against Egypt (Vs.20-26), is one that is directed against its current Pharaoh, Hophra, the successor to the throne following the death of Pharaoh Neco. He was known as “the strong arm” by all who feared him. In 588 B.C., he even flexed his muscles at Babylon while they were mounting a two-year military siege against Jerusalem (Jeremiah 37:5-8) causing them to momentarily retreat and put him in check. That was when Egypt’s first arm was broken; however, they had not yet been totally subdued.
This fourth prophecy, which is to be fulfilled twenty years later, is forecasted for a time after Babylon had already totally defeated Egypt (568 B.C.). Here GOD says that HE had already “broken the arm” of Pharaoh (588 B.C.), a pun on the nickname “the strong arm”, and left his wound untreated (without a cast or splint). In 568 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar was to finish the job (break the other arm of Pharaoh), as GOD would allow Babylon to overtake them, and scatter those who survived, into distant lands. And even though GOD would restore Egypt at a future date, they would forever remain in a weakened state of unimportance.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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