THE EGYPTIAN ENIGMA
by Pastor Jory Steven Brooks
A fascinating and enigmatic statement is made by the Apostle
John in Revelation 11:8, which speaks of "...the great city,
which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord
was crucified." Here Jerusalem, the city where Christ suffered
death, is likened to Egypt. The New International Version
translates this, "which figuratively is called Sodom and Egypt."
Why is Jerusalem figuratively
Professor E. Ball of Cambridge wrote concerning "...the
contribution made by Egyptian civilization to that of Israel
during the Old Testament period, particularly during the period
of the early monarchy. This contribution has been illustrated in
many areas - literature and thought, civil administration, royal
ritual and ideology... Of particular interest in this connection
are the suggestions of [ancient Mid-east scholar] Gerhard von Rad
regarding possible Egyptian influence on the Judean coronation
ritual." Professor Ball continued, "...the modeling of Israelite
high official positions on supposed Egyptian counterparts...
[and] close contacts in lower administrative spheres, in
particular the Solomonic taxation system... certainly Egypt gives
us a better parallel than any which Mesopotamia or any other of
Israel's neighbors afford... we may see here further evidence for
a direct Egyptian influence on Israelite civilization..."
However, not all of Israel followed the Egyptian model. In
many ways and customs there were definite and distinct
differences between the two Israelite houses - Ephraim (the
northern ten tribes) and Judah (the southern two tribes). One
such custom, for example, was co-regency. Professor Ball defined
co-regency, stating, "By coregency we mean that situation in
which the reigning Pharaoh exalts some other person, usually his
son, to a more-or-less full co-kingship with himself during his
lifetime." (ibid, p.271) However, Professor William H. Shea of
Andrews University pointed out that while the kings of the house
of Judah practiced co-regency, the house of Israel (Ephraim) did
not: "...the pattern of the Northern Kingdom is consistent with
that in Western Asia in general, where co-regency was not
practiced, while on the other hand Judah followed the Egyptian
custom in this matter." (AUSS15, p.148)
This is but one of a number of important examples showing
that the house of Israel followed the Aramaic customs of Western
Asia, while the house of Judah was heavily influenced by Egyptian
customs. Such was true not only concerning co-regency, but in
many other areas of national life, as explained in the new DVD
presentation, "Ephraim: The Lost City and the Forgotten People"
available from CBIA. (See a synopsis at www.migrations.info)
The important point is that the term, Egypt, figuratively
fit the house of Judah very well, while on the other hand Egypt
had essentially no influential relationship over Ephraim, the ten
tribes of the house of Israel. This is undoubtedly why the
Apostle John very specifically likened Egypt to "Jerusalem,"
capital of the house of Judah, and did not use the word,
"Israel," which latter term certainly could have been interpreted
as including Ephraim, the ten tribes.
The Old Testament Pattern
Our opening text, Revelation 11:8, spoke of Jerusalem, the
city "where also our Lord was crucified," as "the great city."
This same term is used again in Revelation 16:18, in the
important passage concerning the latter-day seven last plagues,
where we read, "And the great city was divided into three
parts..." Bible commentaries tie in this great city with Babylon
in the next verse, and interpret it figuratively as Rome, either
pagan or papal or both. However, the specific term, "the great
city" defines it as Jerusalem.
Interestingly, Rome is not divided into three parts, instead
being known as the city on seven hills. Jerusalem indeed has a
well-known division into three parts: Jewish, Christian, and
Muslim. In fact, this three-fold division of Jerusalem is not
only religious: "Jerusalem is divided into three sections, the
Old City, New City (West Jerusalem) and East Jerusalem" according
to several internet sites.
A crucial point in understanding this sixteenth chapter of
Revelation is that it is connected in prophetic symbolism with
the ten plagues of Exodus chapter eight during the Egyptian
captivity. The first three plagues - blood, frogs, and lice -
affected everyone, "throughout all the land" (Ex. 8:17). However,
the last seven plagues, the theme of Revelation sixteen, plagued
only the Egyptians. (An important point, as we shall see.)
The question becomes one of Old Testament type and New
Testament antitype: Who or what represents the New Covenant
"Egypt" in Revelation symbolism? The answer seems to be revealed
in our opening text of Revelation 11:8 - Jerusalem, "...the great
city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our
Lord was crucified."
It is interesting and instructive to notice the definite
parallels between the ten plagues on Egypt in Exodus chapter
eight, and the last seven plagues of Revelation chapter sixteen.
We will mention one or two here. The word, "sores" (KJV) or
"ulcers" (CLNT) in Revelation 16:11 is translated from the Greek
word, "helkon," the same word as used in the Greek Septuagint
version of Exodus 9:9, translated "boils."
The first three plagues of Exodus 8 parallel the three
"unclean spirits" of Revelation 16:13, who are "like frogs." In
fact, in Exodus 8:2 we read of the second plague: "...behold, I
will smite all thy borders with frogs."
The Command To Flee Egypt
The theme of Exodus eight is for Egypt to "Let my people go,
that they may serve me." (8:1) God's people were to leave Egypt
so that they could serve the Lord, because they could not
properly worship him in "Egypt." In Revelation chapter eighteen
the similar theme is "another voice from heaven, saying, Come out
of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that
ye receive not of her plagues." Here God's people are again asked
to leave a figurative "Egypt" or they would be subject to the
seven last plagues that were to afflict only those in "Egypt."
How did the early church interpret this message of warning?
In a Spiritual sense, the early church was told to flee from
Judaism into Christianity, and multitudes did. But in a literal,
physical sense, Christ warned, "When ye therefore shall see the
abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand
in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand), Then let
them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is
on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his
clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that
give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in
the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great
tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to
this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be
shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's
sake those days shall be shortened." (Matt. 24:15-22; cf. Mk.
13:14ff; Lk. 21:21ff)
Judea was the figurative "Egypt" from which God's New Covenant
people were to flee. History records that when the Roman armies
approached Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Christians saw the warning
and fled to safety. Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, in his
book, "The Jewish War," recorded that over a million Jews died in
the Roman onslaught. The Temple was desolated and destroyed - an
abomination! Unbelieving Jews who remained and fought suffered
great tribulation, dying in great numbers, or were taken into
slavery to foreign lands. For many centuries afterward, Judea was
a barren waste. Even so, apparently not all of the features of
the seven plagues were fulfilled during the Roman holocaust. Was
this only a fore-type of events to occur again at the end of this
(Indeed it is!! Keith Hunt)
If so, how ironic it is that a growing number of Christian
fundamentalists want to move to Palestine, either "to help the
Jews" or to be present at our Lord's return. As we enter the end
time, they may instead find themselves personally enduring the
horrible seven last plagues. Let us heed our Lord's warning!
From "Thy Kingdom Come" (May 2008) a publication of The
Association of Covenant People, Burnaby, B.C. Canada
Entered on this Website June 2008
Jerusalem and the Holy Land is to be the center of end-time
prophecy. The Beast power of Europe, the last resurrection of the
Holy Roman Empire, will one day march into the Promised Land and
surround the city of Jerusalem. The Beast Babylon will destroy
the city of Jerusalem, make it desolate. It will be an
abomination that makes desolate the Holy Place, the Holy City of
The Jews will face another massive defeat and slaughter (not seen
since the Second World War) and those Christians not a part of
the Babylon Religious Beast will have flee to the hills or suffer
death by the woman drunk with the blood of the saints.
The battle of Armageddon will happen in the region of Megiddo,
about 70 miles North-West of Jerusalem.
The Seven Last Plagues will be poured out on the Beast's people
The city of Jerusalem is NOT a city for true Christians to move
to and decide to make it home ..... maybe AFTER Jesus has
returned, but certainly not for the present age.