Is Isaiah 19 teaching some type of national salvation for egypt?
Your question is one that holds great fascination for me. I do see Isa 19 as predicting the national salvation of Egypt, which is to say the surviving remnant that turn in repentance through the judgments that will poured out. This implies that many in Egypt will not take the mark of the beast. Notwithstanding Egypt’s compliance to the rule of God in the early days of the millennium, Zechariah will show that as the millennium progresses, the disposition to honor the theocracy centered in Israel risks being slighted by Egypt (Zech 14:18-19). For good reason the scripture compares the Lord’s millennial reign to a rod of iron.
I see the “cruel Lord” and “fierce king” that afflicts Egypt (Isa 19:4) as the Antichrist that also afflicts Israel during the time of Jacob’s trouble (compare Jer 30:8, 14; Dan 8:23). This is further confirmed by noticing that Dan 11:42-43 shows that the land of Egypt is one of Antichrist’s conquests later in the tribulation, well after the abomination has been placed in Dan 11:31.
If it happens that Egypt is one of the nations that came with Antichrist against Israel, then it appears that there has been some defection that has brought his wrath down upon them. However, it is also possible that Egypt is not among the cast of nations that initially attacks Israel, since Egypt is conspicuous for its absence among the list of the nations named in Eze 38:2, 5-6. This is possibly quite significant, since Egypt is otherwise frequently mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecies.
I also notice how much the language of verse Isa 19:2 sounds like Jesus’ statement about “kingdom rising against kingdom” (Mk 13:8), as smaller groups within kingdoms, much like we are seeing now in the revolutions of the Arab spring. This coming of God into Egypt is not the return of Christ, but a preliminary visitation of divine judgment in preparation of His coming rule of peace (Isa 2:4).
Especially interesting is the description in Isa 19:5-10 of the drying up of the great waters of Egypt and its resultant impact on Egypt’s economy. A careful comparison of Isa 11:15-16; Isa 27:12-13; Zech 10:9-11 will show that “in that day … the great trumpet shall be blown and the ‘exiles’ in the land of Egypt, with those who were ‘ready to perish’ in Assyria shall begin their return to Zion. This time without the natural hindrance of the great river of Egypt, because it will be dry. Rev 16:14 is also significant in showing that very near the time of the “great day of God Almighty,” the great river Euphrates will also be dried up. Of course, most commentators will spiritualize such spectacular (“fantastic”) phenomena, but the time is clear and the miracle is clear.
It does not appear that the waters are divided as in the exodus from Egypt, but are literally dried up, apparently through the judgments of the tribulation, or the violence of the Antichrist. Interestingly, a considerable number of scriptures that describe the final judgments of the end sound very much like the world will be involved in an all out nuclear exchange when the Lord returns. This is suggested by Rev 11:18 where the Lord is returning to “destroy those who are (in the act of) destroying the earth.” Mt 24:22 suggests that if the Lord’s return had not intervened to check this process of self-destruction, the earth would have soon become uninhabitable (compare also Dan 11:44; Isa 24:6, 15; Joel 2:30; Zech 14:12; 2Pet 3:10).
At that time, Egypt will be greatly humbled, as the dread of God will be greatly upon them concerning the demonstration of His purpose and power with Judah (Isa 19:17). Egyptians that will be humbled by all that has lately come to light concerning the gospel in relation to God’s work with Israel, will apparently have opportunity to repent and turn to Christ in earnest. Interestingly, they too have greatly suffered under the Antichrist (Isa 19:4), as also the fierce judgments of God during the tribulation.
Apparently, there will be a great revival among those who are left after the destruction as they see the meaning of all these things, as “the mystery of God is finished” with the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev 10:7; 11:15 with Isa 27:13; Mt 24:31; 1Cor 15:52; 2Thes 2:1). Even as Eze 39:23-24 says that “then” (i.e., the day of the Lord; Eze 39:8, 22) “all the nations shall know the reason for Israel’s long exile and the hiding of God’s face. We may be sure that they have never known it before then.
Isa 19 is another example of what Paul has in view when he speaks of Israel’s return as bringing about an exponential increase of blessing to the nations that will far surpass the present time (see Ro 11:12, 15). All the prophets give united witness that when God’s elect nation will be restored its place, as theocratic head of the nations, the whole earth will rejoice (Eze 35:14) and be at rest (Isa 14:6-7).
It is amazing how God intends to use this ‘controversy of Zion’ (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2-3) to bring the nations to ultimate judgment or ultimate salvation. Ironically, the same mystery that made the disallowed prophet from Nazareth to be a stone of stumbling to Israel will make Jacob under the chastening rod to become a stone of stumbling for the pride of the gentiles.
In every way, God has prepared a trap for pride. He is committed to bring low everything that is high. “Thus saith the Lord God; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it Him (Eze 21:27).
Unlike the kingdoms of this world and its powerful religions, the rule of God is not enforced through intimidation, but openly won through the demonstration of sacrificial love. He has chosen to win a right that is His already, not through bare fiat, but through the servant nature that distinguishes His elect, as preeminently represented in Jesus, the humble King of Kings (Zech 4:6; 6:13). Doubtless, the last days will be a stark contrast between kingdoms. Doubtless, the final unveiling of that infinite meekness will be unbearably experienced by the children of pride as “the ‘wrath of the Lamb” (Zeph 2:3; Rev 6:16).
Your brother, Reggie