Editor’s note: Joseph Farah is leading a tour of Israel through Nov. 21 with messianic rabbi and best-selling author Jonathan Cahn. His columns during this time will be devoted to the Holy Land and the introduction of his new book, available the first week of December, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age.”
In my new book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age,” I devote a chapter to one of the most amazing passages in the Bible – one that offers what I call “the ultimate Middle East peace plan.”
There’s a strange and unlikely prophecy in Isaiah 19, which begins with a promise of a messianic deliverance of Egyptian believers.
“The burden of Egypt,” it begins. “Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”
It has been good news, indeed, for Christians in Egypt for millennia. It’s a signature verse for Copts and the growing evangelical body in Egypt, along with New Testament verses dealing with Scripture about Egypt providing refuge to Joseph, Mary and young Jesus when the family escapes Herod’s threats of death against the newborn king of Israel.
Isaiah 19 goes on to describe Egypt’s last days’ judgment, including the drying up of the Nile River.
That’s right. You heard me right – the drying up of the Nile River.
It’s a catastrophe to say the least. But there’s spectacularly good news that follows. I want to focus today on one key, mysterious verse – Isaiah 19:18: “In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts.”
In other words, Isaiah prophesies that five cities in Egypt will speak Hebrew. Scholars have puzzled over this prospect for hundreds of years with as much wonder as the claim that the Nile would dry up. Throughout history, it has seemed more than unlikely – until now.
Here are some recent headlines you almost certainly missed unless you are an Egypt-phile:
- From al-Monitor: “Nine of the 14 state universities in Egypt, including Al-Azhar Islamic University, have Hebrew departments. Close to 20,000 students study Hebrew at these universities at any given point in time, most in colleges of Middle Eastern Studies. Each year, at least 2,000 students graduate with bachelor’s degrees that include the study of Hebrew.”
- From the Algemeiner: “The military coup in Egypt has given Israelis a chance to witness a revolution of a different sort in their neighboring country: fluency in the Hebrew language. As protests climaxed last weekend (2013) in Egypt, many journalists on the ground in the country were called on by Israeli press to keep the Israeli public up-to-date on events. Luckily, an extensive Hebrew studies program has prepared many Egyptians for just such an opportunity.”
There are plenty more reports like these.
There’s suddenly a real frenzy in Egypt to learn Hebrew. And the fulfillment of Isaiah 19:18 no longer seems as unlikely as it did.
I suspect there is another motivation not mentioned in such reports.
Because Christians in Egypt, about 10 percent of the population, are so familiar with Isaiah 19, I believe faith in the redemption promises of that verse are also a factor.
Whatever the case, this undeniable and well-documented trend is further evidence of biblical prophecy being fulfilled in our time.
What about the Nile River drying up? I cover this extensively in my new book, but there is actually already evidence this catastrophe could be in the works. Here’s an excerpt from a report from a recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine: “Egypt’s musical-chairs government faces enough challenges. So why is a construction project almost 3,000 kilometers from Cairo provoking fears over Egypt’s national survival? Egypt and Ethiopia are butting heads over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a $4-billion hydroelectric project that Ethiopia is building on the headwaters of the Blue Nile, near the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Cairo worries the megaproject, which began construction in 2011 and is scheduled to be finished by 2017, could choke the downstream flow of the Nile River right when it expects its needs for fresh water to increase.”
Note we are talking about a dam project that could threaten Egypt’s national survival in 2017. And I’m willing to bet most of the very informed people reading this column have never even heard about it.
It may not be news in the West, but it’s a virtual news obsession in Egypt. Everyone’s talking about it and writing about it because it’s a matter of “national survival.”
Egyptians learning Hebrew, just as prophesied in Isaiah 19.
And the Nile River drying up, just as prophesied in Isaiah 19.
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