The big news in the Middle East these days concerns the fate of Syria and Egypt. Students of prophecy will naturally be asking the question, “Are these events the beginning of the final conflict before the return of Christ?” I do not believe this is the final conflict and I believe Syria and Egypt will have different destinies when the great enemy force of Gog opposes us at the end of the age.
As I write this article, the United States government is working on a response to the alleged chemical attacks by the Syrian regime on its rebel opponents. It appears that the government of Syria used poisonous gas against the rebel forces because the civil war was going on and on with no end in sight. The rebel forces now control half of the country but are not unified and do not have any air support, so it will be almost impossible for them to overthrow the Assad government.
The prophecies about Syria and Egypt are contained in Isaiah chapters 17 and 19. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary points out that most of those prophecies have been fulfilled already. My comments on the historical fulfillment of the prophecies will be taken from that commentary. However, the chapters also refer to the Kingdom age so there may be a double fulfillment of the prophecies.
Damascus in Syria was to become a ruinous heap (Isaiah 17:1). This was fulfilled in 732 B.C. when Tiglath-pileser of Assyria totally destroyed Damascus and its vassal cities. Just as the Assyrians took away almost all of the Israelites from the ten northern tribes so they took the Syrians and deported them. Will Damascus and other cities of Syria be destroyed again? The prophecies in Isaiah may be a warning and the civil war may escalate to widespread destruction of many cities, perhaps not to total destruction but to total chaos and ruin in that country. The Syrian cities were emptied in 732 B.C. by Tiglath-pileser, and in our generation we see multitudes leaving the Syrian cities, fleeing to whatever country they can find refuge in.
The prophecy of civil war in Egypt in Isaiah 19:2 was fulfilled in history just prior to 671 B.C. when the Libyan Dynasty clashed with the Ethiopians and the Saites Dynasty. This war damaged the country so much that they were conquered by Esarhaddon of Assyria in 671 B.C. Will Egypt be plunged into civil war again? The prophecies in Isaiah may be a warning and the country may endure a long period of conflict between the Egyptian army and the Muslim brotherhood. Will Egypt again be conquered by foreign invaders? I believe they will be, as prophesied in Daniel 11:42. The current turmoil in both Egypt and Syria will bring about economic ruin and weaken those countries so much that they will not have much military strength left in the final Middle East war. Egypt will not be our enemy, though some groups and individuals in that country will doubtless fight against us. Egypt is not mentioned in the forces of Gog that will oppose us (Ezekiel 38:5-6). The threat is from Russia and Iran, at the heart of the Gog conglomerate. I believe history will repeat itself for Egypt, but this time instead of being conquered by the northern army of Assyria, they will be conquered by the northern army of Gog. I believe the Syrian government will join the forces of Gog and will be part of the “many people” with Gog (Ezekiel 38:6).
The answer for the salvation of Syria and Egypt is simple. They must follow Jesus Christ and trust in Him for their protection. This is the message for every country in the world, but they will not do it. However, in the Kingdom age Egypt will be blessed by God. “And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” Isaiah 19: 22-25.
God cares about other people and nations besides His Israel.