It was on this day in 1977 that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt addressed the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem. This was one of the more significant steps that eventually led to the Camp David accords, which resulted in a semblance of peace that has existed between Israel and Egypt. Unfortunately for Anwar Sadat, there were a lot of people who didn’t take too kindly to his peace overtures to the Jewish nation. In 1981, he paid for this action with his life.
In spite of this unfortunate event, the southern border between Israel and Egypt stayed relatively quiet up until a few years ago with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring.” Since then, Israeli-Egyptian relations have been alternatively quiet and tense. Here’s why these issues merit our attention: the Bible has much to say about Egypt, especially in the last days. The prophet Isaiah wrote:
“Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. (Isaiah 19:1-2)
On the surface this sounds a lot like a civil war, which is exactly what occurred in Egypt several years ago, in fact, leading to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarek. We likely have not seen the complete fulfillment of this prophecy. It tells us that, eventually, Egypt will come under the control of a cruel master. Yet, the Bible doesn’t conclude there; the LORD foretells of a time when He will reach out to Egypt and deliver the nation:
“They will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’” (Isaiah 19:20-22, 24-25)
Why is all of this important to believers? First, it signifies that all humanity is created by God and is precious to Him, not just Israel. Secondly, the Creator can be firm in His judgment upon a country due to their contempt and distain for His people, Israel, and yet, promise them deliverance and salvation. If He’s willing to do that on behalf of Egypt, what is He willing to do on behalf of His people, for those who are actually trying to serve Him?
This point of discussing this prophecy is to accentuate the long-suffering, compassion and mercy the Creator displays for all who will call upon Him. We shouldn’t take His mercy for granted nor should we trample on His grace but, at the same time, we shouldn’t diminish His grace and His mercy in deference to viewing Him as a harsh, judgmental God.
Egypt, Israel and the entire world is yet to face some very troubling times and, to some degree, it will affect believers, too. Still, knowing that a loving, merciful, compassionate Creator is in charge of all of these things should bring us comfort. And in the end, when the all the nations of the world – including Egypt and Assyria – acknowledge that He is Lord and that He reigns from Jerusalem, the world will experience true peace, as never before.