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Online Articles

Egypt and Life

            Egypt is a part of the Bible world from Genesis to Revelation.  More than 500 times one will read references to this religion and nation.  The first occurrence is in Gen. 10:6 when the generations of the sons of Noah are listed and Mizraiam (some translations read Egypt) is there among the sons of Ham.  Psalm 105:23 refers to Egypt as the land of Ham.  Egypt is a transliteration of the Hebrew word Algypton.  And we still call it Egypt today.

            Although Egypt is no longer the dominant force in the world as in ancient times, it is still a thriving country pivotal in many international concerns.  It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations.

            For most people, to mention Egypt conjures thoughts of the pyramids.  The pyramids boggle the mind.  Not all the pyramids were grandiose and many of them no longer exist.  But among the ones that do, they are sites to behold.  As modern people gaze upon these mighty monuments, their minds are transported back many millennia to those times when Egypt played a major part in the lives and events of Biblical characters with whom we are familiar.

            Among those Biblical people who went to Egypt, one must wonder, “Did Abraham and Sarai, did Jacob and Joseph, did Jesus, Mary and Joseph see the pyramids?”  Were they as awe-struck as we are today?  Some people have the erroneous notion that the Israelites, while slaves in Egypt, were among those who built the pyramids.

            Even more significant that the amazing, architecturally inexplicable pyramids, Egypt is a source of life.  At one time, Egypt was understood simply as the land around the Nile River.  Egypt was the Nile, and the Nile was life.  It is not merely coincidental that so much of Biblical history occurred in or was affected by Egypt.  Note these three occasions:

  1. Abraham and Sarai journeyed to Egypt to escape the severe famine that threatened their lives (Gen. 12:10-20).
  2. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain because of the famine from which they were suffering severe extinction.  This grocery-run resulted in the relocation of the entire family to Egypt, brother Joseph’s home (Gen. 42–47).
  3. After the visit from the wise men, Joseph in a dream was commanded to take his wife and child and go to Egypt to escape Herod’s death decree (Matt. 2:13-15).

            “Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die” (Gen. 42:2).  It is fascinating how Jacob’s reasoning about going to Egypt in order to live and not die seems to be true in all three of these episodes.  Was traveling to Egypt just a fortunate coincidence in these incidences or was it the providence of God?  Clearly God’s hand was in it all.  Egypt was not what saved them.  It was God, Who through the action of their faith in Him, provided life.

            God is the giver of life (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4).  God sent Jesus into this world to give us eternal life (John 3:16).  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  Jesus tells us He came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

            We are thankful for the role of ancient Egypt in its part of bringing the Christ into this world to bring life and light.  However, Egypt is no longer the place to go for those seeking life.  We are commanded to go to Jesus to live (John 1:4; Matt. 11:28-30).  He calls His children to “come out and be separate” and live holy lives in His kingdom (2 Cor. 6:17).

            Israel’s freedom from Egypt metaphorically represents our deliverance from sin and death through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:13, 4:5; Titus 2:14).  Although initially Egypt is seen as a place of refuge in famine or threat, it became a place of oppression and slavery.  Egypt represents our old life of slavery to sin.  God redeemed His people from slavery in Egypt by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 12), He now redeems us from sin by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

            “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamps me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple” (Psa. 27:1-4).

[Southside helps Mike with financial support in his preaching of the gospel in Wallingford, Connecticut.]