19:1 An oracle concerning Egypt: When the Lord enters Egypt riding on swift clouds, the idols of Egypt will rock at his presence and the Egyptians' hearts melt within them.
Now, the Egyptians, too, are part of this Babylon, arch-Babylon, conglomerate. Everything that is not Zion is Babylon. Now it's interesting that the Lord should enter Egypt, because Egypt is where Ephraim was born and grew up. It is the land where Joseph ruled under Pharaoh, as a type of the Lord's Servant ruling under the Lord himself. It is a time where there's deliverance and salvation for Jacob's brothers whom he brought and delivered from the famine in Egypt. It's a time where there was kind of a time of prosperity, under Joseph. It was a time of safety and protection from the seven bad years, or from the seven years of drought. All of that's a type of things in the end time of the world. We'll see kind of a dichotomy, here, very similar to that which appears for the people of Israel; some repent and are delivered. And some don't repent, and suffer destruction. "Swift clouds" is storm imagery, again, which is day-of-judgment imagery, so it's ominous for the people of Egypt. "Swift clouds" would again identify judgment at the hands of the Assyrians. Historically, the Assyrians went down into Egypt and cleaned it out. The Egyptians were no match for the Assyrians, at that time. So that serves as a type for a last-days scenario of a similar nature. "The idols of Egypt will rock at his presence." Again, they're idolaters like the Moabites. All of these people are clinging to their idols of various kinds. "Egyptian's hearts melt within them." It's interesting how the hearts of the wicked always melt. They go into a panic. They lose hope. Whereas the hearts and minds of the elect people of God are firm in maintaining faith and integrity, and trust in the Lord.
19:2 I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians; they will fight brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor, city against city and state against state.
This is some kind of anarchy or civil war that happens to Egypt. When the Lord begins to judge Egypt, that's kind of a prelude,; that's kind of a first event that happens, a breakdown of the society. Anarchy rules. Idolatry in a people causes confusion, and lack of contact, a lack of harmony with God. And anarchy and civil war are the result of confusion.
19:3 Egypt's spirit shall be drained from within; I will frustrate their plans, and they will resort to the idols and to spiritists, to mediums and witchcraft.
The wicked always have their own human plans and counsels, and that is what they follow, versus God's plan. And all human plans, in the book of Isaiah, come to naught. So instead of resorting to God they resort to idols, spiritists, mediums, and witchcraft, which is the very opposite. As we saw earlier, there are spirits who respond to people trying to contact them, but not the righteous spirits, because you're not suppose to do that. And so when people get information from the other world, in this manner, it won't be the right kind of information. It's information which will lead them further astray.
19:4 Then will I deliver the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel master; a harsh ruler will subject them, says my Lord, the Lord of Hosts.
The "cruel master" is the king of Assyria, as denoted by the word "hand." In the book of Isaiah there are two hands, the left hand and the right hand-- the right hand being the Lord's Servant, who delivers-- and the left hand being the king of Assyria who subjects people. He imposes his yoke of servitude upon them. He is the yoke. He's the rod and the staff that rules over the wicked. So there are rhetorical links identifying this cruel master as the king of Assyria. "My Lord the Lord of Hosts, he who commands the hosts of men," angels, nations. He has all power to do these things.
19:5 The waters of the lakes shall ebb away as stream beds become desolate and dry.
19:6 The rivers shall turn foul, and Egypt's waterways recede and dry up. Reeds and rushes shall wither;
19:7 vegetation adjoining canals and estuaries, and all things sown along irrigation channels,
shall shrivel and blow away and be no more.
That is a covenant curse when the vegetation dries up. It's a drought situation. And also it is a metaphor, an allegory for people. Waters, or streams of people, dry up. People are reeds and rushes, and vegetation, as we see in many parts of Isaiah where Isaiah talks about people as grass, weeds, or trees, or plants like that.
19:8 Fishermen will deplore their lot and anglers in canals bemoan themselves; those who cast nets on water will be in misery.
19:9 Manufacturers of combed linen and weavers of fine fabrics will be dismayed.
19:10 The textile workers will know despair, and all who work for wages suffer distress.
So the whole economy of Egypt is at stake, here. The whole economy collapses. The economy kind of goes into a limbo. But it attests to the fact that it was a very prosperous country. That there were waterways, that there was plenty of vegetation, and there were fine fabrics being made. There were fish to be had. There was plenty of work. And now all of that, the whole system, collapses.
19:11 The ministers of Zoan are utter fools; the wisest of Pharaoh's advisers give absurd counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, We ourselves are as wise as the first rulers?
19:12 Where are your wise men indeed? Let them please tell you, if they can discern it, what the Lord of Hosts has in mind for Egypt!
Zoan is the political capitol. So if Egypt were America, and Zoan were Washington D.C., and Pharaoh were president, then wise men would be those who advise him as his counselors. It's interesting that today those elite peoples that do advise the president call themselves the wise men. The Lord will overturn their counsel because he has other things in mind for them. What does he have in mind? He has in mind an Assyrian invasion of Egypt which they are not able to forestall, no matter how diplomatic they will try to be. What the Lord of Hosts has in mind for Egypt is something other than what they planned. It will put all of their wisdom to shame.
19:13 The ministers of Zoan have been foolish, the officials of Noph deluded; the heads of state have led Egypt astray.
19:14 The Lord has permeated them with a spirit of confusion; they have misled Egypt in all that it does, causing it to stagger like a drunkard into his vomit.
So the leadership in Egypt is the cause of the confusion and the cause of this decline. But then, when you look at any political situation, the leadership generally reflects what the people are. So the people themselves, in a sense, bring calamity upon themselves. The drunkard imagery links Egypt to Ephraim in chapter twenty-eight, the drunkards of Ephraim; chapter fifty-six, the drunkards of the Lord's people. It links it to the Lord's covenant people, and to Ephraim. Egypt was the birthplace of Ephraim. Ephraim was an Egyptian. So, typologically, Ephraim can also be in Egypt, in that sense. And the prophets of the Lord's people can also be in the land of Egypt. It makes sense that way. They're overcome by a spirit of confusion. Again, that happens because of idolatry because they've departed from the Lord God.
19:15 And there shall be nothing the Egyptians can do about it, neither head nor tail, palm top or reed.
In chapter nine we saw that the head is the political leadership, and the tail is the religious leadership of the people. Chapter nine, verse fifteen: "The elders, or notables," that is, of the Lord's people, "are the head. The prophets who teach falsehoods are the tail. The leaders of this people have misled them, and those who are led are confused."
This is speaking of the Lord's own people. So there's some direct, rhetorical links to the Lord's people, there. "Palm top or reed," too, has rhetorical links. "Reed" is Pharaoh, in chapter thirty-six, and "Palm top" refers to Babylonians, signifying kind of a worldwide thing. It could also refer to air defenses and sea defenses, if you want to look at in another sense.
19:16 In that day the Egyptians will be as women, fearful and afraid at the brandishing hand the Lord of Hosts wields over them.
Earlier we read: "Like fluttering birds forced out of the nests, so are Moab's women at the fords of Arnon," where the people appeal to someone other than themselves for help. They kind of became like women; men became like women. That's what's implied here. Men have become effeminate, or worse, actually become gay; it's kind of a gay society, at least part of it is. They become fearful and afraid. Men should not be fearful and afraid. They should have trust and confidence in God. "At the brandishing hand the Lord of Hosts wields over them--" The hand, again, is the king of Assyria, who is threatening Egypt with destruction, and actually carries out the destruction, too. The king of Assyria conquers all the lands of the world, including the land of Egypt—the whole world except for the people of Zion.
19:17 The land of Judah shall become a source of terror to the Egyptians; all reminded of it shall dread what the Lord of Hosts has in store for them.
Why? Because the Assyrians come into the land of Egypt, through the land of Judah. So when Judah is taken and captured then the Egyptians know that they're next. Just as if there was to be an invasion and conquest of Europe, who would be next? Well, we also stand to be attacked at that point, if Europe is overthrown. "All reminded of it shall dread what the Lord of Hosts has in store for them." That expression, "what the Lord has in store," refers back to the day of judgment of the Lord's people. Chapter two, for example, says the "Lord has in store a day for all the proud and arrogant," and so forth. And that which people dread comes to pass, for them.
However, there's a redeeming side to this whole thing:
19:18 In that day five Hebrew-speaking cities in the land of Egypt will swear loyalty to the Lord of Hosts. One shall be known as the City of Righteousness.
"That day" is the day of judgment, again. There are cities in the land of Egypt, or city states, or places of refuge, or places where there are covenant communities, swearing loyalty to the Lord of Hosts, in the land of Egypt. So there are "Egyptians," or people of Egypt—that's the case in any land. In the end-time scenario there are people who covenant with the Lord in all the nations of the world. And here's a case-in-point: in this great nation that was the only power sufficiently strong, really, to counter Assyria, which collapses before Assyria. And that great super power that Egypt was, in that ancient time, was one of two super powers—Assyria and Egypt. And in that land there are covenant people of God inhabiting five cities, or five city states.
"One shall be known as the City of Righteousness," signifying that these people are righteous, but signifying also that it is a city of the Lord's Servant, in the land of Egypt. Kind of like Joseph was righteous before the Lord, in the land of Egypt. The Servant personifies righteousness, in the book of Isaiah, chapter forty-one, verse two. So he dwells in Egypt, at least for a time. And it's also going to be the City of Righteousness that Isaiah talked about earlier, that becomes a harlot. "Righteousness made it's a abode in her, but now, murderers." So it could be the city that turns bad, after awhile, and suffers the consequences, or it could be a city that maintains its righteousness, or that was wicked and becomes righteous. It's either one scenario or the other.
19:19 In that day there shall be an altar erected to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt and a monument to the Lord at its border.
An altar signifies a temple of the Lord. And, anciently, there was, in fact, a temple built in the land of Egypt to the Lord God of Israel. There's three variant readings, here: The Masoretic text has " City of Destruction," which makes no sense. The Dead Sea Scroll has "City of the Sun," which makes a little more sense. But, in the Septuagint there is a transliteration of the Hebrew word "At tzedic." It says, "Polis atzedic." "Poles" is the Greek for "city," and "atzedic" is a transliteration of the Hebrew, "atzedic." So it is a construct of two nouns, City of Righteousness. The Septuagint is the most early version of all of these. It comes from about 200 B.C. It is probably the most reliable.
Another reason why "City of Righteousness" makes sense, here, is that it is an instance of what I call "Zion ideology," where you have deliverance of the righteous, destruction of the wicked at the presence of a righteous descendant of David. So the descendant of David has to be there, somewhere. And this is where he is; he's the one that's called "Righteousness."
The ancient Canaanite language was the same language as Hebrew. So these were Hebrew colonies, in the land of Egypt, anciently. In a modern context if you were take this country as the land of Egypt, they might be covenant communities, the people of Israel. They might be a type, or allegory of that. "Swearing loyalty to the Lord of Hosts might imply, in a modern context, five states that will maintain the Constitution in its original form. There's all kinds of possibilities. The whole book of Isaiah can be superimposed upon a last days' scenario. So, in that case, Egypt is not Egypt back in the Middle East. Egypt is a superpower in the world today. If you read it as America, then it makes all kind of sense. We can't really say that it is, but if you really look at it closely, there are very few possibilities. It's got to be America because it's the only superpower that fits the description. The ancient names become code names for modern entities, modern powers. Egypt is one of two superpowers, the other being Assyria. There's no Assyria today. There's no country by that name.
"In that day there shall be an altar erected to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt and a monument to the Lord at its border." This signifies that there is an actual temple built as their was anciently, in the land of Egypt, by Israelite colonists. In the land of Egypt there will be a temple built where those who covenant with the Lord God of Israel will worship. "They"--that is the altar and monument-- serve as a sign and testimony of the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt. (Verse 20) Now, a "silent testimony" are terms you've seen earlier, signifying prophets and disciples who testify of the Lord. The testimony is sealed among the prophets, in that day, and the prophet, himself, serves as a sign and paradigm or type. He and his children serve as signs, portents, to the people of Israel. So those are rhetorical links to the prophet and the prophet's disciples.
19:20 They shall serve as a sign and testimony of the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt: when they cry out to the Lord because of the oppressors, he will send them a savior, who will take up their cause and deliver them.
So there will be oppression in Egypt. Why? Because wicked people oppress the righteous. As usual. Also, the Assyrians come into the land, or are threatening to come into the land, and eventually do and clean it out and take it over. But the Lord sends a Savior who delivers them. The one who delivers them, in the book of Isaiah, is the Lord's Servant who is a forerunner of the Lord's coming. There are two saviors in the book of Isaiah. The Lord himself personifies salvation and delivers them spiritually, and the Lord's Servant who delivers them temporally, in a temporal salvation, a physical deliverance. And that, of course, ties in with the word, Righteousness. One shall be known as the "City of Righteousness, " the city of the Savior, or of that Servant.
19:21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day. They will worship by sacrifice and offerings, and make vows to the Lord and fulfill them.
To know the Lord is to confirm the covenant that God has made with you, or that you have made with God. It means a personal covenant relationship that the elect have with him. "Adam knew his wife, Eve, and she conceived and bore a son." We would say, it's making sure your calling and election. So there are certain "Egyptians" who are really the people of God, people who covenant with the Lord God of Israel, who know the God of Israel, who know him face to face. In that sense, in a covenant relationship that he confirms upon them in "that day," in that time of judgment, in that time when that Servant, that savior, fulfills his mission. In fact, it is likely through the Servant's agency that they reach that point. Because his job is to renew the Lord's covenant with the Lord's people everywhere in the world, not just in the land of Egypt. And as they do so, and renew their covenant relationship with him and become the Lord's people, then, eventually, they can know him face to face, as Moses knew him face to face. But this is also an instance where people who have assimilated into the nations and become known as Gentiles, as it were, or Israelites, perhaps, who were mingled among the nations of the Gentiles and became known as Gentiles, can resume their Israelite identity, can give up their Gentile identity and resume their Israelite identity. It's kind of like later on, like in chapter fifty-six where the aliens and foreigners come into the house of the Lord. They become the covenant people of the Lord. While at the same time, those who are prophets of God, are cut off from being the covenant people. The wicked of God's people are cut off from the covenant. They cut themselves off from his covenant, from his blessings, even while others are coming in. So it doesn't really matter who you are, in the world—whether you are an Israelite or an Egyptian, or anybody—you can become covenant people of the Lord and enjoy the highest privilege.
"The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day. They will worship by sacrifice and offerings, and make vows to the Lord and fulfill them." So sacrifice and offerings are [unclear word] of the temple, because this is temple worship, temple sacrifice, and they keep the covenants and vows that they make. They not only make them, they also fulfill them, it says. That implies that some now make vows and don't fulfill them, doesn't it? Who are "they?" Others of the Lord's people. We read, earlier, in chapter one, about temple sacrifice and the multiplicity of offerings that were brought to the temple, and we discussed that, and they were all worthless, because people were hypocrites who made those sacrifices, who came to the temple. So this verse is kind of contrasted with that. Those who were God's people who worshiped by temple sacrifices were rejected, and here, those who were not God's people, who become God's people and offer sacrifices are accepted of the Lord.
19:22 The Lord will smite Egypt, and by smiting heal it: they will turn back to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
He smites by the hand of the Assyrian. What's the purpose? To bring Egypt back around. Healing, in the book of Isaiah, is synonymous with salvation. Chapter six, verse ten," seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears, understanding in the heart, repenting and being healed," encapsulates salvation. So it implies that when the Egyptians are healed, that see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, understand in the heart, repent and are healed. So the smiting causes repentance. They will turn back to the Lord, it says here. And he will respond to their pleas and heal them. Healing comes upon repentance. Salvation follows righteousness. He will respond to their pleas, unlike the Moabites and the wicked whose pleas he does not respond to, or to the pleas of his own wicked people when he does not respond to their pleas. The fact that he responds to them means the Egyptians are, in fact, the people of God.
19:23 In that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyrians shall come to Egypt and Egyptians go to Assyria, and the Egyptians shall labor with the Assyrians.
Anciently, Egypt was in the south, and Assyria in the north. And the highway led through Judea, or the Promised Land, that of Israel, from the one nation to the other. This highway is also mentioned in chapter nine, which is the highway over which the Ten Tribes return. So that's a rhetorical link. It's also mentioned in chapter thirty-five, "the Way of Holiness," which is the highway by which the Israelites returned from exile. In effect, all of these nations become covenant peoples of the Lord. The remnants of Assyria are the Ten Tribes, and in Egypt there are the people of the Lord, those who covenant with prophets, as we've mentioned now. And so they all begin to have liaison with each other and become a united people. "Egyptians laboring with the Assyrians" implies these Egyptians who know God, and whom the Lord knows, will be instructing those who come out of Assyria or who are in Assyria. That is, the Assyrians who survive the destruction. We have the one groups instructing the other. If we're "Joseph in Egypt," here, in America, then we will do missionary work among the Russians or the people of the Ten Tribes. That's a possible scenario. We will labor with them. They will come here and we will go there, and so on.
19:24 In that day Israel shall be the third party to Egypt and to Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth.
That the earth, Palestine, between the two nations, anciently, is also, today, still in the midst of the earth. Yet, it will be the third party to Egypt and to Assyria.
19:25 The Lord of Hosts will bless them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
This is a wonderful phrase because it identifies three, distinct groups of people who are the covenant people of the Lord. "Egypt, my people" implies "my covenant people; it's the covenant formula. So those who survive of the nation of Egypt, at the end of the world, become his covenant people. Blessing also implies covenant keeping. There's no blessing without covenant keepings. So these people inherit a very blessed situation; they live on into the Millennial time of peace. "Becoming my covenant people," implies making a covenant, like the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt and made covenants with the Lord in the Sinai wilderness and became his covenant people and he became their God. "Assyria, the work of my hands," is linked to elsewhere, as well. In chapter sixty, verse twenty-one, it says: "Your entire people shall be righteous. They shall inherit the earth, forever. They are the branch I have planted, the work of my hands in which I am glorified." They are the covenant people of the Lord, for sure. In chapter twenty-nine, verse twenty-two and twenty-three it talks about Jacob, or the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, "when he sees among him his children, the work of my hands hallowing my name, devoted to the Holy One of Israel." So again, they are the covenant people who return from exile. "Assyria, the work of my hands," then, would be the covenant people of the Lord who come out of Assyria. There shall be a remnant out of Assyria, as there was for the Israelites when they came up from the land of Egypt, it says in chapter eleven, verse sixteen. The remnant of the people who come out of Assyria become "this" Assyria, namely the Ten Tribes who were taken captive into Assyria who now become the sole survivors of an end time Assyria, of that very aggressive, world-conquering nation. "Israel, mine inheritance, paradoxically, refers to the Jews. We have Joseph in Egypt, the Ten Tribes in Assyria, and the Jews in Palestine. "Israel mine inheritance" refers to the third, of the three, and, paradoxically, it would refer to the Jews because they were always kind of distinct. They were called Judah, as distinct from being Israel.
When the kingdoms divided into two, the northern kingdom called itself Israel, and the southern kingdom, Judah. And so they never really had the name "Israel" after that. And now the Lord gives it back to them and says, "You're Israel. You're just as Israel as anybody else." But there's basically three groups of people, constituting the Lord's covenant people, in the Millennium. Three distinct groups in [three parts of the world. ?]