Thursday, September 17, 2015

Egypt’s Loss Of Power Prophesied

Jeremiah 45:1-46:12

“The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.” (Jeremiah 45:1-3)

Baruch had been the one who wrote down Jeremiah’s prophecy and shared it with the people and the king when Jeremiah was in prison in Jeremiah 36.  As a result, Baruch himself was accused of trying to subvert the people, even though his purpose was to help them.  He had become really discouraged about what was happening, and God sent him a personal message.  Because the Holy Spirit comes into a Christian’s heart, God usually delivers the message personally, rather than through a prophet today. 
Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.  And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.” (Jeremiah 45:4-5)

God reminded Baruch that God sets things up, and tears them back down, and plants and pulls out things as he pleases, and that he intends to pull out the entire nation of Judah.   He warns Baruch not to get caught up in trying to establish a big reputation or following or build a big church or business or political career because everyone would suffer as He tore down Judah and they would be destroyed.   God promised that his life would be protected, whatever happened and wherever he went.  He should concentrate on just obeying God. 

Eighteen or twenty years after he received the promise, Baruch was named as one of the men who were forced to accompany the Jews to Egypt, losing almost everything he had and being accused again of trying to subvert the leadership.  He was one of the few who returned alive, because he followed the Lord.
“The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.” (Jeremiah 46:1-2)

The Egyptian army under a Pharaoh named Necho had attacked the Assyrian city of Carchemish and taken it.  Josiah, king of Judah had attacked the Egyptians, and was killed.  As a result Egypt took over Judah as well, making his son Eliakim king instead of Jehoahaz .   They changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim.   Four years later, Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Assyrian Empire, taking Carchemish as well.  God gave Jeremiah a prophecy as to what would happen to the Egyptian army. 

“Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle.  Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines.  Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD.  Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates.

Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?  Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.  Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.  For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. “ (Jeremiah 46:3-10)

In an effort to regain Carchemish, Egypt sent a huge army, including forces from Libya, Lydia, and Ethiopia to fight Nebuchadnezzar.  While we have no statement as to how large this army was we know that in Asa’s day, in II Kings 14, the Ethiopians were able to field an army of over a million men.  Jeremiah said they would come up like a flood just running over everybody, but that they would be defeated and Egypt’s power would be broken.  Later, when they were invaded under Hophni, they offered little resistance. 

“Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.  The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together.”  (Jeremiah 46:11-12)

Since they controlled Judah at the time, Egypt would depend on the Jews to help them against Nebuchadnezzar, as well as other nations they had conquered.  They would not be successful. And the nations would not dare side with Egypt for fear of Babylonian retaliation.  Egypt would never regain the prestige they once had, being ruled by other groups from then on.  After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek empire was split into four empires ruled by the families of his generals, and Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemy family until Cleopatra was killed by the Roman army, about 30 BC.  They would then become Roman territory until the collapse of the Roman Empire.    They would then become part of the Byzantine Empire before being taken by the Arabs, the Mamluks, the Ottoman Empire, the French, and finally the British. 

Prophecy foretells what will happen as a result of certain decisions.  History is the record of what happened, enabling us to see the results of those actions and how the prophecies were fulfilled.  Thus, any meaningful study of prophecy requires a review of the history.  

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