Friday in the First Week in Advent

Isaiah 19:16-25

The Future Conversion of Egypt and Assyria

Today we have another passage that contains a wonderful prophecy, the fulfillment of which is hard to clarify.  Isaiah and virtually all the prophets speak of coming judgment only to turn around and declare a promised future in which a remnant will turn to the Lord.  In this case, however, it’s not a remnant of Israel or Judah but the conversion of outright pagan nations that is prophesied.

Egypt and Assyria were constant enemies and aggressors of God’s people Israel.  In a way, Egypt was the archenemy.  It was from Egypt that Israel was delivered in the great exodus of the fifteenth century, B.C.  There they were slaves for roughly four hundred years; there they had endured cruel oppression, even the genocidal policies of Pharaoh; and, there the Lord parted the Red Sea for them while He drowned the pursuing Egyptians in those same waters (Exodus 1-15).  Their deliverance from Egypt would always be commemorated in the annual celebration of the Passover, and looked upon as THE event in their history that made them who they were.  It was just after that event that the Lord gave them His Law on Mount Sinai through His servant, Moses.  By God’s command, they were never to return to Egypt.  (Many indeed broke that command after being conquered by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., Jeremiah 42 & 43.)  They were a perennial threat over the centuries.

If the Egyptians were the major threat to the south, the Assyrians were the worse threat to the north.  The Assyrians were fierce warriors who controlled much of Mesopotamia in the eighth century, B.C.  They eventually carried off the ten northern tribes of Israel in 721 B.C., and reduced the southern kingdom of Judah to a vassal state for several years after that.

And warfare has occurred between these three countries in recent times.  But this passage speaks of an entirely new day, when the Lord will make Himself known to both Egypt and Assyria.  Isaiah even speaks of a highway between the future converted nations, that highway obviously being the nation of Israel as it so conveniently lies between the two.  It could be that this prophecy experienced a partial fulfillment in the first few centuries, A.D., when Christians inhabited all three countries, the major locations being Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch.  But surely it awaits a greater fulfillment when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” and all three nations embrace the gospel (Isaiah 11:9).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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