Egypt

 

Egypt figures prominently in Bible history and prophecy. Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, and one of the 12 sons of Israel, was sold into slavery there by his brothers almost 4000 years ago. He was adopted by Pharaoh and later put in charge of the Egyptian grainery. Through wise stewardship, he was able to amass an enormous storage of foodstkuff just before an extensive famine. He was able to feed all of Egypt and even his father, Jacob and his other 11 brothers who came to live with him in sumpuous quarters in Egypt. The 12 tribes of Israel stayed in Egypt and slowly were transformed from guests to captives. Five hundred years later, Moses appeared and led them back to the Promised Land of Canaan where their ancestor's had originally lived.

The symbolisms for Egypt in scripture are numerous. One is war and armaments. A symbolic "Egypt" is the subject of a forbidden treaty with Israel that incurs the wrath of God. Israel's embrace of militancy plays a prominent role in the processes that bring the world to its end.

The most important symbolism, of course, is captivity. The Hebrew flight from Egypt is memorialized in two of its three major feasts, Passover, and the Feast of Tabernacles. That escape lies at the core of the Mosaic religion. The exile relates to the Garden of Eden and the expulsion from it of Adam and Eve, who took with them all mankind. The exile to Egypt prefigures the exile to Babylon from which God, through His Savior, Jesus Christ, is able to call all the world back from Adam's apostasy, into reunion with God.

In relation to the House of Israel's captivity, Egypt also stands for the wild 'Sea' that the Lord tamed and out of which God drew His people. Both the 'sea' and Egypt are also known by the name 'Rahab', a term used often by the prophets.

God not only drew His people out of Egypt, but His Son, too. "I called my son out of Egypt" (Mat.2:15).

"So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet" (Mat.2:14-15).

"When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt" (Hos.11:1).

""The Lord his God is with him; in him sounds the royal acclaim. God brings him out of Egypt, he is like the wild ox's horns to him." (Nb.23:21-22)

"A hero arises from their stock, he reigns over countless peoples. His king is greater than Agag, his majesty is exalted. God brings him out of Egypt, he is like the wild ox's horns to him." (Nb.24:7-8).


The relationship of the sea with Egypt goes back to the moment when God parted the waters of the Red Sea so that the people of Israel could cross it in safety on their journey to the Promised Land.

Yet that relationship has a deeper meaning still. Since Egypt stands also for the cosmic waters above the earth, the division of the waters and the creation of dry land (a seabed) points to a wild and chaotic 'sea' tamed by God, and made into an 'order' of stars and planets structured in His master plan.

The monster that rules these waters was subdued by God who then raised his people up out of their benthic captivity and brought them to the cross of Christ to make a decision regarding reconciliation with the Creator.

Satan had scattered the souls of these lost people throughout the waters, and God aggregated them together, accumulating them all on the earth so that Christ could appear and lead them to the rescue that God had prepared for them.

Rising himself out of the same waters, Jesus is leading the people of God to safety. Thus in prophecy, God has called both His Son and His people out of Egypt and out of the Great Sea for which it stands. The allegory, of course, hinges on the flesh of mankind.

In splitting Rahab in two, God has divided the person of man into two parts: a spiritual soul and a physical body of flesh, born onto a physical world which itself is a part of the Sea. In this sense the Sea has cooperated in the birth of man, but God has drawn him up out of it by His Christ who leads them out of the waters of this creation to the upper waters in heaven where the new kingdom is being built by God.

In scripture the 'sea' refers to the lower waters which God formed in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis and out of which He formed the earth and the heavens which stand above it, the stars and galaxies of our universe (Gen.1:1-10).

One of the driving philosophies that characterized the Nicene Council in 325 A.D., hinged on the concept that Jesus was not only true God but true man as well. Were He not a true man, He could not have come from the allegorical Sea (from Egypt) like the rest of us. Instead, He would have been sent down from heaven as God and therefore could not be our brother (one of Judah's own) as the Bible teaches.

This 'sea' is shown in prophecy to be ruled by a sea monster of primeval chaos, the great red dragon which God subdued and which the ancients believed still to be living in the ocean. In the Book of Job (40:25) this monster is equated with Leviathan and in Ezekiel with the crocodile, symbol of Egypt (Ez. 29:3; 32:2).

"Am I the Sea, or the Wild Sea Beast, that you should keep me under watch and guard?" (Job 7:12).



Rahab, the Bible's other symbol of Egypt is often seen in conjunction with the water prophecies of the Bible:

"Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in strength, arm of God. Awake, as in the past, in times of generations long ago. Did you not split Rahab in two, and pierce the Dragon through? did you not dry up the sea, the waters of the great Abyss, to make the seabed a road for the redeemed to cross?" (Is.51:9-10).


Rahab (Egypt) is also used to symbolize the primordial chaos vanquished by the creator. The 'Abyss' designates the Red Sea crossed in the course of the Exodus but is also the cosmic ocean encircling the earth.

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Who pent up the sea behind closed doors when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb, when I wrapped it in a robe of mist and made black clouds its swaddling bands; when I marked out the bounds it was not to cross and made it fast with a bolted gate? Come thus far, I said, and no farther: here your proud waves shall break...Can you fasten the harness of the Pleiades, or untie Orion's bands?" (Job.38:4-31).


Rahab, symbolic of the ocean, was 'split in two' by God at the Exodus when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. But a greater split of Rahab occurred when God divided the cosmic waters making a dry land appear in those waters so that the people could come to life on the earth and follow Jesus to the safety God had prepared for those of faith.

"With his power he calmed the Sea, with his wisdom struck Rahab down. His breath made the heavens luminous, his hand transfixed the Fleeing Serpent." (Job. 26:12-13).


When Moses was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, there were several occasions when the disgruntled tribe members tried to return to Egypt. This attempt to go back to Egypt became an important theme of the prophecies aimed at our journey out of Babylon following the path of Christ.

The allegorical meaning of this 'return to Egypt' revolved around rejection of the spiritual conversion to Christ and going back to the flesh we had died to in baptism. In other words, trying to go back to the Sea and to the dragon who rules it.

When the new heavens and earth appear, the Sea will be no more. It will pass away, plunged by God into the eternal lake of fire reserved for Satan and all who followed him in Revolt against God.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea." (Rv.21:1).

See Also:

'The Clock of God', Chapter 2, 'Eden'
Sea (God Parts the Sea)
Sea, (the Lower Sea)
Sea (monster of the Sea)




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