Egypt, the great antagonist of Israel

The next leaders in Cairo may be more democratic but also will likely be more hostile to Israel. With the passing of time, we could see Egypt returning to its age old antagonism.

egypt newspaper_311 reuters (photo credit: Peter Andrews / Reuters)
egypt newspaper_311 reuters
(photo credit: Peter Andrews / Reuters)
The recent political turmoil in Egypt has led to serious concerns that the 1979 peace treaty with Israel might soon be nullified by new leaders in Cairo. In this regard, it is sobering to recall that Egypt, but for brief moments in history, has always been a great antagonist of the people of Israel
This saga really began when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, was wrongly accused and left to rot in an Egyptian jail. His later rise to power was phenomenal as were his leadership skills
He not only saved Egypt from starvation but delivered his family as well, and thereby guaranteed the existence of the Jewish people
As time went by, a Pharaoh arose “who knew not Joseph” and literally enslaved the Jewish people, murdered their babies, and threatened the nation with extinction
God went before them and provided a deliverer in the person of Moses. He brought Israel out of Egypt with great signs and wonders
When the Children of Israel got to the Red Sea, the Egyptians had them cornered; there was nowhere to go. And yet, in response to Moses’s outstretched arm, the sea miraculously parted and Israel escaped unharmed on dry land
Were it not for God’s supernatural deliverance, Israel would have perished at the hands of the Egyptians
Throughout history, up until the present day, Egypt has repeatedly set itself against the purpose of God concerning the Jews and has tried time and again to destroy them
In 1948, Egyptian forces advanced to within 25 miles of Tel Aviv in an attempt to “drive the Jews into the Sea.” In the Six Day War of June, 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt had overwhelming military strength and backing by the Soviet Union when he sought once more to destroy Israel. Yet again, a miracle of God happened, and Nasser and his Arab allies were not just defeated but humiliated by the IDF
Since 1979, Israel and Egypt have enjoyed a rare season of peace between the two nations. Ambassadors have been exchanged and even tourism has flourished between the two countries, albeit mainly because Israelis have gone to visit Egypt. This peace, although it initially shook the Arab world, broadened out in time to include Jordan
Sadly though, neither Arab nation is under democratic rule, thus leaving room for discontent and anger against authoritarian regimes which suppress basic freedoms. This in turn breeds radicals like the Muslim Brotherhood, who used Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s adherence to the peace treaty with Israel to portray him as a traitor and thus hastened his ouster
Those yearning for freedom and democracy in Egypt have now had their say. Yet sadly, numerous reports coming out of Egypt confirm our worst fears – that many demonstrators agree with the Muslim Brotherhood in their hostility toward Israel
The next leaders in Cairo may be more democratic but also will likely be more hostile to Israel. With the passing of time, we could see Egypt returning to its ageold antagonism. This, in turn, means that Israel could once again be encircled by enemies
Bible scholars are pondering what all this upheaval means, as the Prophet Ezekiel envisages a day that has yet to arrive, when an alliance of Middle East nations will attempt, one last time, to destroy Israel and remove the Jews finally and forever from the land of promise (see Ezekiel 36-39). Egypt will undoubtedly be among them! However, this is not the end of the story. Egypt is destined for glory! She gave shelter to the Christ child and thus preserved his life (Matthew 2:13- 15). She historically attacked the Jewish people, but in the end gave protection to the Messiah. God has not forgotten this, and thus, in the messianic age, she will be united gloriously with Israel and Assyria to become a highway of blessing in the midst of the earth (Isaiah 19:18-25).

Rev. Hedding is executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem;