Egypt in Prophecy

Isaiah 19

Q. Have the prophecies in Isaiah 19-20 been fulfilled? Does “in that day” refer to the second coming of Christ?

A. Isaiah 19-20 consists of both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled prophecies. Many commentators’ view is that Is 19:1-15 had already been fulfilled around 670 BC, when Egypt was conquered by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, son of Sennacherib. They believe that he was the cruel master and fierce king in Is 19:4. During that time the pharaohs were weak and could no longer control the whole of Egypt. The forty-two provinces set up city-states such as Thebes and Memphis and started fighting each other (Is 19:2).

However, most scholars believe Is 19:16-25 to be still future. The phrase “in that day” appears 6 times in this passage:
v 16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings.
• v 18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty.
• v 19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt,
• v 21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD.
• v 23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.
• v 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.

The expression refers to the Day of the Lord when Jesus Christ shall establish His messianic Kingdom on earth. Egypt will fear Israel, convert from idolatry to the worship of the Lord, and become a blessing on the earth. This has yet to happen.

Is 20 then jumps back to the time of Is 19:1-15. Is 19:16-25 speaks of a bright but distant future during the millennial kingdom. How would the people know that he was right? So Isaiah goes back to predict events in his near future which the people can observe in their life time to prove his reliability.

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