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In reading in Ezekiel 30 reference is made to Egypt being scattered throughout the nations (v.23). Do you know when this was, or will it yet be fulfilled?

The history of Egypt is an interesting study in Scripture whether we think of its mention in the books of Genesis and Exodus or in the later prophetic writings. The passage the questioner refers to in Ezekiel 30 is within a section of the book which contains four chapters (chs.29 to 32) of seven messages focusing on Egypt and the Jewish exiles. Israel so often had trusted in Egypt instead of trusting God (see Is 30.1-7 and 31.1-9). A lesson here, no doubt, for the believer today not to look to the world for help.

In Ezekiel 29 the king of Egypt thought he was a great monster guarding his river (the Nile), but God would capture the monster and make Pharaoh understand that He really owned the river. In ch.30 He would break Pharaoh’s arm, but give strength to Nebuchadnezzar’s arms and grant him victory over Egypt and her allies. In ch.31 we have a message to Pharaoh, who considered his nation was indestructible, but Egypt, as Assyria, would be cut down like a great tree. In ch.32 the illustration is of the trapping of animals, like a young lion. Strong though Egypt was the nation would be caught in God’s net and go down into the pit.

This section in Ezekiel refers not to Egypt in the future. Other prophetic passages refer to Egypt in the Tribulation and the Millennium (Dan 11 and Is 19), but the prophecy of the scattering of Egypt by God was possibly the result of the breaking of the arms of Pharaoh first at Carchemish in 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 24.7 & Jer 46.2) and secondly when Pharaoh Hophra tried to help Judah when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem (Jer 37.5-10). As a point of interest, notice in the fourth message we have the formula, "They shall know that I am the Lord", mentioned twice (Ezek 30.25 & 26). What a difference this is to the attitude of the Pharaoh during the time of Israel’s slavery in Egypt. Then he would not recognize this, but Egypt and all nations will yet learn that the God of Israel is the only true and living God.

John J Stubbs

When will the promise given to Abram, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen 15.18), be fulfilled? Why was all this land not given to Israel in the days of Joshua?

Genesis 15 records the fourth manifestation of the Lord to Abram; this was accompanied by the assurances to Abram of protection and reward. He has the Lord’s promise that he will inherit the land of Canaan: "I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it" (Gen 15.7), but now he asks, "Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" (Gen 15.8).

Prior to Abram asking this question, the Lord had reaffirmed that he would have a son and heir: "he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir" (Gen 15.4). The Lord then enters into a covenant with Abram (vv.9-12), outlines the subsequent history of Abram’s descendants for 400 years (vv.13-16), and then gives two symbols: "a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp" (v.17) which describe their chequered career. Finally, in the closing verses (18-21) of the chapter, He defines the limits of the land which would eventually be theirs.

Here Abram receives a great expansion in his view of the inheritance. The Lord had said to him, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Gen 13.14-15). But Abram had not seen the greatness of it, so here it is "this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (15.18), the land then occupied by Canaanites, represented by the ten nations named in vv.19-21. This defines the ultimate extent of Israel’s kingdom.

The time had not come in the days of Joshua for this prophecy to be fulfilled; indeed the nations referred to had not all been dispossessed. There was a time in the reign of Solomon when his authority extended almost this far (1 Kings 4.21), but the complete fulfilment of the Lord’s promise to Abram awaits Israel’s eventual establishment as the head of the nations under the millennial reign of Christ. What God has promised is as sure as if it had already come to pass.

David E West


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