There are many Bible predictions about nations and cities in the Middle East.
These predictions were very different for each nation and city, yet the Bible prophets picked the correct prediction for each one.
Let’s think about the nation of Egypt.
When Egypt is mentioned, most of us will think of the pyramids. Tourists visit Egypt to look at ruins of magnificent temples found there. These monuments are all reminders of Egypt’s very long history. This included a period of great power. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built by a Pharaoh who reigned around the middle of the 25th century BC. The majority of ruins date back thousands of years.
They come from a time when Egypt was ruled by the famous Pharaohs. "Encyclopaedia Britannica" talks about…an almost unbroken line of native rulers that lasted nearly 3,000 years. Some of these native rulers built the famous pyramids.
1 No more royal Egyptian rulers
Towards the end of this long line of native rulers, the prophet Ezekiel made the bold prediction:
"there shall no longer be a prince from the land of Egypt"
Ezekiel predicted that Egypt would not have any more Egyptian royal rulers.
This was after almost 3,000 years of rule by Egyptian Pharaohs.
Visitors to Egypt these days see many reminders of how right Ezekiel was.
There is a lot of visible evidence of these successive non-Egyptian rulers. The Greek temple, for example, in the Luxor Temple complex dates from the time when Egypt was part of the Greek Empire.
The Greek Empire was succeeded by the Roman Empire, and they too left their mark on Egypt. There are ruins of a Roman amphitheatre in Alexandria.
The Muslim Empire followed. One of their mosques is built into the ruins of the famous Luxor temple.
Other mosques remind us of other foreign rulers.
The Hassan Mosque in Cairo was built in the style of the Mamlukes, who ruled Egypt for over 200 years.
The Ottomans then ruled Egypt for almost 300 years; the Alabaster Mosque, though built in their style, was in fact erected by Muhammad Ali, an Albanian who established himself as Egypt’s ruler in 1805. During his dynasty, the British also had a considerable influence in Egypt.
A Mosque in Cairo is dedicated to President Nasser who overthrew Muhammad Ali’s dynasty in 1952.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica makes the observation that:
“… Nasser emerged as the first native Egyptian ruler in more than 2,000 years.”
Gamal Abdel Nasser was a colonel in the Egyptian army who led a bloodless coup that toppled the monarchy, after which Egypt became a republic. Nasser was a president, not a royal ruler like the Pharaohs. Egypt continues with no prince to this day just as Ezekiel predicted.
2 Egypt to become a base nation
Before this period of domination by foreign rulers, the prophet Ezekiel made this comment about Egypt:
“It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.” Ezekiel 29 v 15
Egypt has declined from its previous dominant position in the world. Even today, it is still not a major world power – just as the Bible prophet foresaw.
3 Egypt’s irrigation difficulties foretold
The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel have an interesting couple of prophecies.
“The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up…. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more.” .Isaiah 19 v 5, 6 & 7
And Ezekiel says:
“I will bring desolation upon the land and everything in it, by the hand of foreigners;” Ezekiel 30 v 12
Egypt is dependent on the River Nile for its agriculture. Equally important are the irrigation canals that take water to the surrounding land. The problem was that some of Egypt’s foreign rulers neglected these irrigation systems.
The book " A history of Egypt" tells us:
“Ottoman governors and Mamluk Beys alike neglected irrigation and related agricultural works, allowing the country’s economy to deteriorate”.
The Ottomans and Mamlukes ruled Egypt in this disastrous way for over 500 years.
4 Egypt’s cruel rulers foretold
Another interesting prediction made by Ezekiel is that God will
“…sell the land into the hand of the wicked.” Ezekiel 30 v 12
For long periods most Egyptians lived in poverty while their rulers enjoyed considerable luxury.
Talking about the Muslim rule of Egypt, Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us:
“Egypt’s status was much the same as it had been for centuries under foreign rulers whose main interest was to supply the central government with Egyptian taxes and grain.”
Sultan Hassan ruled Egypt in the mid-14th century. He showed he had no feelings for the Egyptian people by building a magnificent mosque just after people had died in vast numbers from the Black Death plague which struck in 1347. He financed the building from death duties and by confiscating the estates of people who died without heirs. He spared no expense and showed no compassion, making the mosque as grandiose as he could. This is just one more example of the rulers treating the Egyptians badly.
Even though Egypt is now ruled by Egyptians, the same problem still exists.
The contrast between the rich and poor in Egypt is very obvious to anyone visiting the country today. Some areas of Cairo are very modern and have very comfortable hotels for the tourists.
The vast majority of the people however, live in very poor housing. They struggle, living out a peasant- like existence working the land.
Modern roads are used by both modern and ancient forms of transport showing the great difference between the poor and the wealthy.
5 Cities amidst the ruins
There’s another remarkable prophecy about the Egyptians made by the prophet Ezekiel:
"Thus says the LORD: their cities shall be in the midst of cities that are laid waste”. Ezek 30 v 6 & 7
No words can be more appropriate to Egypt. There are countless ruins between the modern cities. Most of Egypt’s tourism comes from people wanting to visit the remains of ancient cities. The modern city of Luxor is near to the spectacular ruins of ancient Luxor, Karnak and Thebes.
The question “Where can I find ruins in Egypt?” has been asked on the website “Answers.com.” The reply given started “There are ruins almost everywhere …”.
Satellites are now being used to find Egyptian ruins. Archaeologists believe they have unearthed only a small fraction of Egypt's ancient ruins.
Yet again we can see the accuracy of the Bible predictions – Egyptian cities are surrounded by ruins of earlier cities. Egypt is littered with ruins of ancient cities which haunt the skyline like ghosts from a glorious past.
Egypt would be ruled by foreigners.
These foreign rulers would treat the Egyptians very badly.
Egypt would continue, but not be significant in world politics.
It would have major irrigation problems and be desolated by foreign rulers
Egypt would be a land of ruins.
Now let’s think about the Egyptian city of Thebes. The site of this ancient Egyptian city is about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile. At one time it was the capital city of Egypt. The area has been called the "world's greatest open air museum".
Thousands of international tourists come each year to visit its temple ruins. The magnificent ruins of the temple at Karnak are part of the ancient city of Thebes. We can see the past grandeur of the city and its temple from the ruins that exist today. The vast scale of the temple can be seen in the picture, where the people are dwarfed by the huge columns.
While this enormous temple was still in use, God told the prophet Ezekiel:
“I will … inflict punishment on Thebes. … and cut off the hordes of Thebes… Thebes will be taken by storm.”. Ezekiel 30 v 14 to 16 (NIV)
This prediction about Thebes was finally fulfilled in the first century BC. It was besieged by the Greeks. For three years it held out against the besiegers. When it did fall, the Greeks levelled most of Thebes to the ground. Punishment was inflicted on the city and it was taken by storm, just as Ezekiel predicted.
The city eventually continued as several hamlets. Here is one of them – now known as Luxor. Compared with the time when it was the capital city of Egypt the population has drastically reduced. The “hordes” were indeed cut off, as Ezekiel predicted.
We’ll now look at the ancient city of Memphis. Like Thebes, Memphis is on the River Nile, but it is considerably closer to the Mediterranean Sea. Memphis remained an important city until the Muslims conquered Egypt. It was then largely abandoned and its ruins became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements.
There are two interesting Bible predictions about Memphis:
“…Memphis will be laid waste and lie in ruins without inhabitant.”
Jeremiah 46 v 19
The picture opposite shows how literally this prophecy has been fulfilled.
The second prediction is even more detailed:
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis.’ Ezekiel 30 v 13
As the picture shows, very little of Memphis, that one-time populous and important city, or its temples still stands. As we have seen, there are ruins of magnificent Egyptians temples in other areas, but not in Memphis, just as Ezekiel predicted.
Thebes would be besieged and its population drastically reduced
Memphis would be destroyed
The temples in Memphis would be destroyed.
- How did the prophets know that Egypt was about to have a long period of foreign rulers, despite having just had a long period of Egyptian rulers?
- How did the prophets know that some of these rulers would treat the country so badly with such disastrous results?
- Many countries have been conquered by harsh powers, but Egypt has had far more than its fair share and for long periods! How did the prophets know that the country would have so many ruins?
- Most countries have some ruins, but again, Egypt has far more than most countries. How did the Bible prophets know which prediction to attach to which city?” If the predictions had been reversed, they would have been wrong!
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