In Chapter 46 of his book of prophecies, Jeremiah describes an "Egyptian" army advancing to the Euphrates River and taking up fixed positions there.
Jeremiah says "Egyptian", but the meaning is almost certainly "Israeli". This is a complicated prophecy because it comes to us in the form of scriptural cryptography. It is written in a type of code called metonymy, one of several forms of symbolism employed by the Holy Spirit in the prophecies of the Bible to insure their veil. In this instance, Jeremiah's words actually describe an Israeli army that functions in the symbolism of Egypt.
This possibility is not remote. God has scattered similar cryptograms all across the prophetic landscape of the Old Testament as a way to mask the visions revealed in the writings. This occurs so often, in fact that symbolism is the most common literary device in the biblical lexicon.
The close association between Israel and Egypt is anchored in history. A fundamental focus of Jewish religion (as well as its theology) concerns a people held captive in Egypt being led out by Moses on a journey across the desert to the Promised land. Those who were successful in this journey formed the "Israel" of scripture.
The Bible tells us, however, that most of those who trekked the desert with Moses decided they did not want to continue on that journey. One by one, these reversed course and returned to Egypt.
Those who returned to Egypt ceased to be of Israel. Returning to the bondage of Egypt they became Egyptian by symbolism. As such (except to serve as a 'type') they are completely ignored in the subsequent development of the Hebrew scriptures.
That 'typology' can be seen in this prophecy.
The term "Egypt", here, is a symbolic characterization of a part of Israel that has failed to obey God and returned to the ways of Egypt (i.e. into the ways of the world). Doing this they have reverted into the symbolic essence of "Egypt".
Whenever the word "Egypt" appears in Old Testament prophecies, while it may refer to the nation of "Egypt" per se, just as often it applies to an Israel that has gone back to Egypt in the same way that happened in Sinai. That is because the focus of the Bible is Israel, not Egypt. We must view its prophecies using the same focus. But we need to look beyond Israel as well.
As far as God is concerned, the entire Bible is about Jesus. The Old Testament was designed by the Holy Spirit to predict His coming and the New Testament is the blueprint for the eternal salvation He came to bring. The new Testament is the way of God. For this reason, it is also the paramount way to understand the prophecies of scripture.
All the prophecies in the Old Testament have dual meanings, the prime one always being the way they are fulfilled in Christ. As it says in scripture, "all the works of God go in pairs by opposites." The Old Testament and the New Testament are opposites.
Therefore every prophecy exists in two parts -- one tells us what the vision appears to say on the surface and the other, what it was designed to say by the Holy Spirit. That design always relates to Jesus and to His era.
According to the Bible, when Judaism rejected Jesus, that Hebrew tribe was made blind and sent into an exile now called the "Diaspora". Paul described it as an enforced dispersion and blindness commanded by God for the sake of the conversion of the pagans. He added that at the end of the divine period set aside for pagan conversion, the Jews will be returned to Jerusalem where sight will be returned to their eyes and they will see Christ.
God has allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem for only one reason -- redemption -- so that they can wed themselves to His sacred purpose.
The meaning of Israel's return is entirely religious. It was orchestrated by God Himself for purely hallowed reasons. Peaceful behavior is an absolute! It is one of the two divine commands that governs the entire safety of this early return. These were the conditions Jeremiah was instructed to relate to that first wave of settlers (the army people) that God allowed to return from Babylon ahead of schedule:
"If you are willing to remain peaceably in this country, I will build you and not overthrow you...I will move the king of Babylon to take pity on you and to allow you to return to your native soil." (Jer.42:7-14).
"But if you say: We do not want to stay in this country; if you disobey the voice of Yahweh your God, and say: No, the land of Egypt is where we want to go...in that case, remnant of Judah...the sword you fear will overtake you, there in the land of Egypt." (Jer.42:14-18).
Peacefulness and borders. These are the two divine conditions imposed by God that forestall Israeli catastrophe, and both have been dramatically violated. Not by minor infringements; these violations have reverberated in bold headlines all across the planet for years. Israel has returned to the world of ordinary nations; to guns and armies and establishing new frontiers.
"You must not behave as they do in Egypt where you once lived; you must not behave as they do in Canaan where I am taking you. You must not follow their laws. You must follow my customs and keep my laws; by them you must lead your life." (Lev.18:3-4).
In the current Israel, that goal has been sacrificed in a rush to be like the other nations. The Bible calls this abandonment of God in favor of massing weapons and armies, "going down to Egypt", and warns of dire consequences as a result of the misdirection.
"They carry out plans that are not mine and make alliances not inspired by me, and so add sin to sin. They have left for Egypt, without consulting me, to take refuge in Pharaoh's protection" Is. 30:1-2
"Pharaoh", in this instance, is metonymic symbolism for the United States under whose military umbrella Israel is able to sustain its clamor for battle. Taking refuge in the profanity of the nations, Israel has abandoned all quests for sanctity. Peace is now a shattered dream.
Jeremiah has devoted several pages of prophecy to Israel's transposition of purpose. His words reverberate with the consequences of the warfare they now pursue (Jer.42-44). Because of God's command, militarism itself is a sign of this rebellion. Violating divine orders, Israel has rejected God's ways of peace, surrounding themselves with tanks and armaments in the way of the nations of the world, and has made these their new gods (Jer.44:12-14).
It is not Old Testament prophecy alone that uses the term "Egypt" to refer to a disobedient Israel, New Testament prophecy does the same:
"Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names 'Sodom' and 'Egypt', in which their Lord was crucified." (Rev.11:8)
When John declared the Jerusalem in Palestine (i.e., the city in which Jesus was crucified) to be symbolically identical to Sodom and Egypt, he made clear that they must be considered mutually reciprocal locations as far as Bible prophecy is concerned as well. In all cases they underscore populations fully disinterested in or antagonistic to the goals and desires of God.
The Bible tells us that the Jewish nation will be divided into two camps. One will be peaceful and the other strongly militaristic. Only the peace-loving group, scripture says, will constitute the true Judaism which God means to save. The militant group will not be saved. They will be destroyed in their entirety because the rule of God is, "those who live by the sword will die by the sword".
The dichotomy between these two groups is well documented in the prophesies, and we have covered it extensively in our writings (See Chapter 13, "Jerusalem Under Seige", in the book, 'The Last Days of Babylon').
A peaceful contingent still exists in Israel today. But they can be barely seen. They were much more visible a few years ago before an Israeli militant assassinated the leader of the peace movement, former Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. The candlelight peace vigil Rabin was attending (and directing) at the moment of his assassination, showed a camp of Israeli's now virtually invisible.
That assassination reversed the peace process and plunged Israel back into the spiral of warfare that has brought it to the nadir we now see there under the militant leadership of the current Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.
By turning their back on the pursuit of peace and returning to take up the ways of this world, the army people have "gone down to Egypt". They have duplicated what the dissident Hebrews did in Sinai.
In their pursuit of war Jeremiah tells us that the Isaeli's will battle their way up to the Euphrates river where they will take up positions. We can see the historic (Old Testament Egyptian side) of this prophecy in the panicky events at Carchemish 2600 years ago (see Jeremiah 46). However there has been no opposite fulfillment of this prophecy in New Testament terms, nor in the New Testament era. That fulfillment still awaits.
A very militant contingent of Israelites stand at this moment poised and sufficiently armed to make that advance; they have the full backing of the might of "Kittim" (the United States) and are confronted by a madman in Iraq who is taunting them to come.
The angels chained at the Euphrates are about to be released.
When the events these prophecies herald come to pass, God will release the eastern angels which He has held in bondage at the Euphrates (Rv.9:14-15 ). This unchaining will remove the divine impediment that has blocked eastern forces for the last 3000 years. As soon as those chains are removed, the "kings of the east" will pour across the Euphrates river (Rv.16:12) -- the first devastating wave of an invasion that will ultimately topple Babylon (world civilization) forever.
As we have shown, the prophecy indicates that military forces of Israel have to be stationed near the Euphrates before that attack can take place. Once they are there everything will be in scriptural readiness for the eastern world's catastrophic invasion to take place. When that happens, it will result in almost total annihilation of the Jewish forces.
In Jeremiah 46 all of these elements are in place. Shown is the attack (Jer.46:2-5), the decimation of the militant Israeli troops (Jer.46:5-12) and, in its sweep south, the East's invasion of Israel itself (Jer.46:14-24). In Jeremiah's prophecy, the "East" is called the "North", because that is the direction of its travel -- from the Euphrates river down to Jerusalem.
The eastern invasion has its inception at the Euphrates because that is the location where God has kept the angels of the east in chains. It also marks the spot where the Babyon of history and the Babylon of symbolism unite. Overrunning that location carries with it the same kind of symbolism the fall of the world's towers did.
Like the chimes of a clock these are events that define the hour.
Jeremiah indicates that a group of "mercenaries" will join Israel in it's push north to the Euphrates and these, too, will be counted with the fallen when the eastern counter-attack comes (Jer.46:21). It is possible that these are Christian militants who have taken up the sword on behalf of Israel, thinking they can help facilitate prophecies which they are convinced predict Israel will reclaim all of it's former lands, expanding its borders from Dan to Beersheba.
Jeremiah shows those borders will be achieved, but they cannot be sustained. They will evaporate in lightning speed as eastern troops erase them and sweep south all the way into Jerusalem, itself.
This eastern incursion into Jerusalem will mark the first entrance of the east into modern Israel. The United States will force them to leave, but, as Daniel has shown, there is much more to come and the portent is grave. When the day arrives for these events to unfold, it will be a clear signal that the world has come very close to its end.
These are visions written in the prophesies of Jeremiah and Daniel. They have resided in the Old Testament for thousands of years, awaiting a time identical to our own. We will not have to wait long to find out if our time is that time.
It still seems a little early in light of some of the other prophecies, but God has His own timetable.
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