‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance’ ~ Isaiah 19:25
In the Bible, Egypt was known for her wealth, agricultural prowess, mighty army, and abundance. It was a powerful empire known worldwide, not only in Africa. When nations faced any trouble, they turned to Egypt not knowing that ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength’ (Jeremiah 17:5). Nonetheless, everyone wanted to be associated with her and none wanted to be an enemy. In fact, God knew Egypt’s ulterior motive and says, ‘Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters. She says, ‘I will rise and cover the earth: I will destroy cities and their people’ (45:v8). They were even considered as gods themselves but God reminds, ‘But the Egyptians are men and not God, their horses are flesh and not spirit’ (Isaiah 31:3). Egypt was also recognized for its notoriety in idol worship, having many gods, full of superstitions and divination. They consulted ‘idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists’ (19:v3). But God says, ‘Do not learn the ways of the heathen or be terrified by signs of heaven for the heathen are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless’ (Jeremiah 10:2-3). Still, many nations were fascinated with Egypt which was described as ‘a beautiful heifer’ (46:v20).
Only God knew that the beautiful heifer wanted more power and control. Egypt wanted to impose her rule and religion throughout the world in some kind of a One World system. They wanted to be god. But the Lord Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth thwarted her plans. God says, ‘I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh’ (v25). Even after God had showed His undisputed power through plagues, parting of the Red Sea, and overthrowing Egypt’s best chariots in order to bring ‘judgement on all the gods of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:12), Egypt still did not revere God. Decades later, God says ‘I am against you Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, “The Nile is mine; I made it for myself.” But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams with all the fish sticking to your scales’ (Ezekiel 29:3-4). Not only judgement was decreed on Egypt, but all her allies, ‘Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land (Israel) will fall by the sword’ (30:v5). Egypt and her neighbours were descendants of Ham (Psalm 78:51). The people living in Cush located in the upper Nile region, were described as ‘a people tall and smooth-skinned . . . a people feared far and wide . . . an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers’ (Isaiah 18:2,7).
A judgement was decreed for Egypt and the surrounding African nations, as well as its allies. Egypt’s and Africa’s judgement was, ‘I will dry up the streams of the Nile and sell the land to evil men; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it . . . I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis. No longer will there be a prince in Egypt, and I will spread fear throughout the land’ (Ezekiel 29:12,13). During that time, ‘Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt’ (v18). God says to Pharaoh whom He describes ‘like a lion among the nations’ (32:v2); ‘I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land’ (v8). In this darkness, Egypt would ‘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’ (29:v15). In addition, God says ‘I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord’ (30:v26). Isaiah describes in detail when he prophesies, that ‘Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old’ (Isaiah 20:4) will be led captive ‘with buttocks bared- to Egypt’s shame’ (v4). True to the prophecy, Africa has many deserts, was colonised by brutal men and foreigners plundered her wealth, some of her people were scattered in diverse nations through captivity and slavery, monarchies are scarce, and we are considered Third World in the Global map. In fact, we were referred to as the ‘Dark Continent’. All this was so that the African people as God says, may know that I am the Lord.
Keenly looking through the establishment of God’s initial nation, Israel, Africa was also featured. Not only was Egypt mentioned as a source of refuge during times of famine for Abraham and Jacob’s family, but a place of prosperity for some Israelites such as Joseph. In fact, alliances were formed by Israelites with Egyptians, bringing the African heritage into Israel’s bloodline. This happened when Joseph was in Egypt, ‘Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Phaneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Photiphera, Priest of On, to be his wife’ (Genesis 41:45). Joseph and his Egyptian wife had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh who composed of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob say to his son Joseph regarding Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers’ (48:v6). God also says, ‘Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of my head’ (Psalm 60:7). Moses also had a Cushite wife and ‘Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite’ (Numbers 12:1). God did not take this lightly and ‘The anger of the Lord burned against them’ (v9), and Miriam became ‘leprous, like snow’ (v10) for seven days. Also, King ‘Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem’ (1 Kings 3:1).
Long before the plagues, destruction, and captivity, God had already set a plan to redeem His people, Egypt. He reveals this plan through the Prophets, especially Prophet Isaiah when He says, ‘In that day five Cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun’ (Isaiah 19:18). God continues to say, ‘In that day, there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt’ (v19-20). Currently, the heart of Africa is Christianity, which makes up 49% of the Continent’s population. ‘So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord . . . They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them . . . ‘ (v21,22). In fulfilment of the Prophecy, the Light of Christ started penetrating through the ‘Dark Continent’, as in the rest of the world. The first evidence of this is recorded when God sent one of the Apostles, Phillip, to meet with ‘an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his Chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit told Phillip, ‘Go to that Chariot and stay near it’ (Acts 8:27-29). ‘Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus’ (v35). Since then, the good news about Jesus has caught fire in Africa and is continuing to spread, all to the glory and plan of God.
‘In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth’ ~ Isaiah 19:24