The civil strife in Egypt seems to be coming to an end. CBS News reported on Saturday that the curfew for civilians would be shortened from 11 hours per night to nine. The Islamist former president of the country, Mohammed Morsi, is in jail along with many leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Over a thousand pro-Morsi demonstrators have been killed by security forces according to a New York Times report. The crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood may have pre-empted Egyptian involvement a soon-to-come regional war against Israel and helped to fulfill a 2,000 year old prophecy.
In Ezekiel 38-39, an ancient Hebrew prophet foretold a future war in which a large Islamic army marched against a reconstituted Israel. Although many of the names of the participating nations are unfamiliar to modern ears, the identities of many can be determined by Biblical scholars. Ironically, Egypt, one of Israel’s largest and most powerful neighbors, is not mentioned in the prophecy even though its modern name is the same as it was in Ezekiel’s day.
Joel Rosenberg, a prominent scholar and insider of both American and Israeli politics, believes that the prophecy of an Arab coalition led by Iran (Persia) and Russia (Rosh and Magog) may be on the verge of being fulfilled. Rosenberg’s 2006 book, “Epicenter,” [Joel Rosenberg’s blog is Flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com and his podcast is available on iTunes] detailed how Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Iran under the Ayatollah Khamenei are be colluding on an Iranian nuclear weapons program that will eventually threaten Israel. Israel’s relations with Turkey (referred to as Beth-Togarmah, Gomer, and Meschech in the prophecy) have traditionally been friendly, but have become chilly since the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid in which several Turks died while attempting to smuggle supplies past the Israeli blockade of Gaza. In the book, Rosenberg pointed out that Egypt and Israel had signed a peace treaty in 1979 that had secured peace between the two nations for more than 30 years.
The victory of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in the 2012 Egyptian election threatened to change all that. Even before the election, the Muslim Brotherhood had called for a review of the treaty. In 2012, the deputy head of the Brotherhood’s political wing told a London-based Arab newspaper, “We never promised that we would honor the peace treaty with Israel. The treaty is not sacred and we can and should make changes in it.” Israel Hayom also quotes another senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood who said the party’s position “is not to recognize the Zionist entity and not to recognize peace agreements with hostile entities.” It is likely that Morsi would have ignored or renounced the peace treaty with Israel had he remained in power.
The Egyptian military did not depose President Morsi because he threatened war with Israel. Morsi had angered many Egyptians by throwing out the country’s constitution and claiming sweeping new executive powers. Twenty-two million Egyptians signed a petition demanding that Morsi step down according to France 24. The army removed Morsi to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from consolidating power and transforming Egypt into an Islamist state. Eventually the army used force to disperse pro-Morsi demonstrators and cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood members throughout the country. The provisional military government is considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood according to the Associated Press.
With a series of disastrous wars against Israel still in the memory of military leaders, the army may well have also wanted to prevent the nation from being dragged into another conflict by the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, claimed that Israel was behind the coup. The Financial Times noted that since the coup the Egyptian military had stepped up cooperation with Israel to fight Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula. Although the Egyptian generals probably never considered Bible prophecy, their action against the Muslim Brotherhood they may have inadvertently helped to fulfill the prophecy that Egypt would not be part of the coalition against Israel.
The Bible does contain other prophecies of Egypt as well. Daniel 11, Ezekiel 29-30, and Isaiah 19 are all prophecies that deal with the judgment of Egypt. Daniel 11 describes wars between the King of the South, widely believed to be Ptolemy, a Greek ruler of Egypt, who lived 300 years after Daniel. Ezekiel spoke of Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over Egypt. This prophecy was fulfilled by the Babylonian victory over the Egyptians at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. and subsequent conquest of parts of Egypt. Isaiah 19 tells of God’s judgment on Egypt and their eventual repentance and worship of the Hebrew God. This prophecy has apparently not been fulfilled in total.
Most Bible scholars believe that the coalition of Ezekiel 38-39, often called the War of Gog of Magog, will occur before the end-time events described later in Daniel, by Jesus in his Mount Olivet Discourse, and by the Apostle John in the Revelation. In 2011, a group of Israeli rabbis said that they believed that the Arab Spring uprisings might be setting the stage for the Magog war. A number of Christian preachers have also suggested that Ezekiel’s prophecy may be nearing fulfillment. Also in 2011, the Iranian government released a film that indicated that the Mahdi, a Shia Muslim version of the Messiah, is will appear soon to lead his followers on a military conquest.
Israeli officials have had little to say about the unrest in Egypt except to denounce Erdogan’s charges of instigating the coup. Reuters reported on August 15 that Prime Minister Netanyahu had instructed his cabinet to avoid public comment about the fighting in Egypt.