For my dispensational friends, and for all who enjoy the subject of biblical prophecy, I would invite your attention to Egypt. The prophet Isaiah declared, “And the LORD shall be known to Egypt” (19:21). That prophecy has been, and is being fulfilled, in part, by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. According to tradition, the founder of the Egyptian church was the apostle and evangelist Mark in AD 42, during the apostolic era. As of 2012, about ten percent of Egyptians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria with adherents in Egypt numbering as many as fourteen million.
The idea of prophecy being fulfilled in Egypt should be a source of comfort and encouragement as the troublesome events in the Middle East are being witnessed. Several practical lessons with spiritual application should be kept in mind.
The first spiritual truth to remember is that God has foreordained all that will come to pass. Long before Jesus fled to Egypt, long before Mark evangelized the country, God foreordained He would be known in Egypt. Seven hundred years prior to Christ, Isaiah predicted Assyria would come and discipline Egypt for their treatment of Israel, but then the time would come when the Lord would be known in Egypt, not only as the Righteous Judge, but as the Redeeming Savior.
Second, the Lord is absolutely sovereign. What God foreordains always comes to pass. God not only plans, He executes His plan. History confirms that what “He hath purposed upon Egypt” (Isa. 19:12) has occurred, both good and bad.
Third, the church will emerge triumphant in Egypt. I know that many Americans are concerned about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. From a human point of view, there is good reason to be concerned, for the current dictator, disguising himself as a president, is ruthless. He will crush his opposition without mercy as Mubarak did and will suppress freedom of speech and religion, among a host of other human rights. Nevertheless, the church will triumph over evil, though it might know more persecution. With Paul, we would exhort our Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ to continue in the faith, knowing that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The church in the West must pray for believers in Egypt (and throughout the world). The Lord will protect His own and the church will emerge victorious over the anti-Christian movements.
Finally, Christians must remember—and value—not only the great example of grace under pressure the Egyptians give to the world, but the physical contributions of the Egyptians to the church, because they are significant. From Egypt has come the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament dating to the third century BC. The Coptic Church produced and preserved thousands of texts, biblical and theological studies which are important resources. From Egypt have come the Desert Fathers who had a tremendous influence on the development of Christianity. The ecclesiastical leaders of Egypt helped to formulate critical Christian theology. From Egypt comes the realization of prophecy being fulfilled. God has kept His word. He has sent to Egypt, “a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them” (Isa. 19:20). That Savior is Jesus, whom we love and worship.