..To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"
The Testimony of the Centuries
A T Jones
as published in "Prophetic Lights"
E J Waggoner
Bible Echo Publishing House
All emphasis is in the original. Some larger paragraphs have been split up for easier reading.
"This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth;
and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back ?" Isa. 14:26, 27.
WHEN Paul and Barnabas were trying to persuade the people of Lystra to turn from the vanities of idolatry, they said unto them that although God "suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." These are some of the means by which God witnesses of himself to all nations.
The prophet Isaiah sets forth the absurdity and inexcusableness of idolatry, by simply showing how a god is made. A man plants a tree, which the rain nourishes until it has grown large enough to be used; then he cuts it down, and with part of it he makes a fire, by which he warms himself and cooks his food, and the residue he makes into a god, and falls down to it and worships it, and cries to it, "Deliver me; for thou art my god." Isa.44:14-17. Then the prophet shows where such people fail to use the common sense that belongs with nature itself. Since the rain nourishes the tree from which he makes his god, why does he not worship the power that gives the rain, if he does not know who God is? If he would but do that, he would be walking in the light of common sense, of reason, and of faith, and would soon find God more perfectly. Men who do not do so are without excuse. (See Rom. 1:20.)
But it is not alone by the giving of rain and fruitful seasons that God has "left not himself without witness." He has done it by revelation, and through living testimony. When Egypt stood at the head of the world in power, wisdom, and influence, God made manifest in that land his power and his glory in such a way that all the nations heard of it. The Canaanites heard of it, and knew that the God that delivered Israel was God of Heaven and earth. Josh. 2:9-11.
The next nation that arose to power and influence in the world was Assyria. And when Assyria had grown corrupt and had gone far away from God, the Lord graciously sent a Hebrew prophet to the people, and called them to repentance. Jonah 1:2, 3. After this, again and again, he bore witness to Assyria that he is God above all, the most notable instance, perhaps, being the slaughter of the host of Sennacherib. Isaiah 37.
Babylon next spread her empire over all nations, and to them God left not himself without witness. He bore witness directly to Nebuchadnezzar, in the dream of the great image, and its interpretation by Daniel, the captive Hebrew. Again in the affair of the three Hebrews and the fiery furnace, God bore witness of himself to all the power and all the provinces of that mighty empire, both by the representatives that were present (Dan. 3:3), and also by the decree of the king, which followed. Verse 29.
Again when Nebuchadnezzar, after being warned of God (Dan. 4:4-27), was driven out from the presence of men to run wild for seven years, he learned by it that Jehovah rules in the affairs of men, and that he is above all gods; and when he recovered his understanding, he published "unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth," that he "thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God" had wrought. Verses 1, 2. Again, when that empire was on the brink of ruin, God, by the handwriting on the wall of the palace, bore a last parting witness to the lascivious king, that he was weighed in the balances and found wanting, and that his kingdom was given to the Medes and Persians. Dan. 5:27, 28.
The power of Media and Persia came after, and through that power, also, God again bore witness of himself "unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth." Daniel, the servant of God, was cast into a den of lions, and came forth unhurt, because God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths that they should do him no hurt. Then "King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth," that the God of Daniel "is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end." Dan. 6:25, 26.
When Cyrus reigned, he also "made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of Heaven bath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God)."
When Alexander the Great was in the full tide of his career of conquest, he stood at the temple of the Most High in Jerusalem, and heard the witness of God concerning himself read from the Hebrew Scriptures. And through the Greek language, which the career of Alexander was instrumental in spreading throughout all the Eastern world, God chose to give witness of himself in the salvation wrought for man in the death and resurrection of his own dear Son.
When Rome ruled the world, God not only left not himself without witness, in the preaching of the gospel to every nation under heaven, but also by the apostle Paul he bore witness more than once to the head of the Roman world himself. And from that day to this, God has left not himself without witness to all nations.
Nor was it only to these great empires and nations that the Lord bore witness of himself. In Jer. 27:2-11 is the copy of a message from the Lord that was written by the prophet Jeremiah, and was sent "to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon."
The time would fail us to tell of all the testimonies that God bore by Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Joel, and Amos, and Obadiah, and Zephaniah, and Zechariah, not only to Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt, and Medo-Persia, but also to Edom, and Moab, and Ammon, and Tyre, and Zidon, and Syria, and Arabia, and all the nations round about. It is literally true that God has "left not himself without witness" unto "all nations" in all ages. And when in that great day of the Lord the great trumpet shall be blown, there shall gather before the glorious throne of the Most High God, - "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," and will cry "with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
Prophecy, the foretelling of events, is one of the evidences which God has given to show that it is God who has spoken, and that men might believe. "Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee; lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them; and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them." Isa. 48:4, 5.
The Lord utters this as a challenge to all who deny his power: "Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the king of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods." Isa. 41:21-23.
Thus it is shown that prophecy is an attribute of Deity. "Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods." From this it is evident that the power to show the things that are to come belongs to God alone, and by the following text it is made yet more evident: "Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient/ times the things that are not yet done." Isa. 46:9-11.
Although it is interesting to study the great lines of prophecy which show the rise of the successive empires and kingdoms of the world, it is no less interesting to study the prophecies concerning individual nations and particular cities. In all of them God has borne witness of himself, of his power and his wisdom; but the history of Tyre is remarkable in its fulfillment of prophecy.
Tyre, "whose antiquity is of ancient/ days (Isa. 23: 7), was founded by a colony from Sidon (verse 12), about twenty-five miles south of the mother city on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was "planted in a pleasant place" (Hosea 9:13), and in the days of Isaiah, 715 B.C., she was "the crowning city," "a mart of nations," and her merchants were princes, and her "traffickers" were "the honorable of the earth." As early as the time of Jehoram, 904-896 B.C., Tyre, in company with the Philistines, invaded the land of Judah and took silver and gold and "goodly pleasant things" and carried them into her temples; "the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem" she sold unto the Grecians that she might remove them far from their borders. Joel 3:4-6; Amos 1:6, 9; 2 Chron. 21: 16, 17.
The builders of Tyre were so accomplished that they are said to "have perfected her beauty." A thousand years before Christ, when Solomon was about to build the temple of God in Jerusalem, he wrote to Hiram, the king of Tyre, saying: "Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide. Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon; for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants, even to prepare me timber in abundance; for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great."
King Hiram answered: "I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Hiram my father's, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him." 2 Chron. 2:7-9,13,14.
Five hundred and eighty-eight years before Christ, Tyre was so rich that she could afford to make all her shipboards of fir, and their masts of cedar of Lebanon; their oars of oak of Bashan, and their benches of ivory; their sails of fine linen with broidered work from Egypt, and their coverings of blue and purple from the isles of Elishah. The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were her mariners, her own wise men were her pilots, and her army was hired from Persia, Lud, Phut, and Arvad. Her traffic was so great that she enjoyed a continual "world's fair."
Because of the multitude of all kind of riches, and the multitude of the wares of her own making, Tarshish came to trade in her fairs with silver, iron, tin, and lead. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech (Greece, Libya, and Russia) came with persons of men and vessels of brass. The house of Togarmah (Armenians) came with horses, horsemen, and mules.
Dedan (bordering on the Persian Gulf) came with horns of ivory and ebony, and with precious clothes for chariots. Syria came with emeralds, purple and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate. Damascus came with the wine of Helbon and white wool; Judah and Israel with wheat and honey, and oil, and balm; Arabia came with lambs, and rams, and goats; Sheba and Raamah (parts of Arabia) came with chief of all spices, and with precious stones and gold; Babylonia and Assyria came with all sorts of things in blue clothes and broidered work, chests of rich apparel bound with cords and made of cedar; and she enriched the kings of the earth with the multitude of her riches and her merchandise. See Ezekiel 27.
And yet for all this, she coveted more. As though this was not enough, she envied Jerusalem the trade that passed through her gates; and when Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, Tyre rejoiced and exultingly exclaimed, "Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste." Eze. 26:2.
Then it was that Ezekiel uttered the following prophecy concerning Tyre: "Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, 0 Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. . . . For thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field; and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee; thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets; he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. " Eze. 26:3-11.
When this prophecy was spoken, Ezekiel was at Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar had just completed the destruction of Jerusalem, B.C. 587. Soon afterward Nebuchadnezzar invaded Phenicia, and all the towns hastily submitted, except Tyre, which made such stout resistance that it required of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar a siege of thirteen years, from 585, to take it. The main part of the city was on the mainland, but on an island about a half mile from the mainland, there was the temple of the chief god of the Tyrians, and there was a considerable settlement on the island also. Although the siege lasted so long, and was so persistently pressed that by the continuous wearing of the helmet "every head was made bald," and by the constant working of the battering-rams "every shoulder was peeled," yet the city was finally utterly ruined. And although they at last acknowledged the authority of Nebuchadnezzar, "Yet he had no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it" (Eze. 29:18), because the remnant of the people removed with all their valuables to the island.
By the work of Nebuchadnezzar there was fulfilled that part of the prophecy which said that they should destroy the walls and break down the towers, and that with the hoofs of their horses they should tread down all her streets; but there were yet two important statements unfulfilled; these were: (1) "I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock:" (2) "and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water."
This part of the prophecy, however, was as perfectly fulfilled as was the other, and it was accomplished in this way:- After its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, the Tyrians rebuilt the city, but they rebuilt it on the island instead of on the mainland, and left the old city lying in its ruins. The new city in the course of time regained much of the glory that had so exalted the old, and one of her principal articles of traffic was fish, for when Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem, B.C. 445, he says: "There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem." Neh. 13:16. It was built very strong, being "completely surrounded by prodigious walls, the loftiest portion of which on the side fronting the mainland reached a height not less than a hundred and fifty feet." Thus it stood, a mighty city, when, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great, in his course of conquest, was compelled also to besiege it, or leave behind him a most powerful enemy. He determined to take the city, and accordingly began "one of the most remarkable sieges ever recorded," which lasted seven months. When Alexander determined to besiege the city he had no fleet, and as the city lay wholly on an island nearly a half a mile from the mainland, with the water eighteen feet deep, the prospect of his taking it would seem to have been not the most promising; nevertheless he began the work at once.
His first move was to build a solid mole two hundred feet broad from the mainland to the wall of the city, and, says Grote, "he had stones in abundance" from Old Tyre, for the work. And here was the perfect, literal fulfillment of the prophecy, spoken more than two hundred and fifty years before, that "they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water;" for to make that mole the troops of Alexander the Great did literally lay the stones and the timber and the dust of Old Tyre in the midst of the water.
Nor was that all, for the prophecy had also said that they should "scrape her dust from her and make her like the top of a rock." There was abundance of material there to have made the mole as first designed, only two hundred feet broad, without any very close scraping, if all had gone well. But the channel was exposed to the full blast of the wind, and the work was often broken by the heavy waves. Besides this, as soon as the Tyrians began to see that the enterprise really threatened them, they applied all their power and ingenuity to defeat it by annoying the builders, burning the timbers, and breaking down the mole and scattering the stones in the water. And when, even against all these hindrances, the mole had been carried almost to the city wall, on a stormy day the Tyrians, pouring out their whole naval force in ships and little boats of all kinds, drove a great fire-ship loaded with the most combustible materials against the two great protective towers that defended the advancing mole, setting them on fire, while at the same time every Tyrian that could get in a damaging blow at the mole itself did so. They burnt the towers, drove off the workmen, tore out the woodwork that held the mole together, and the waves being dashed against it, the greater part of the structure was broken to pieces and sank in the sea.
It then became necessary to begin the mole nearly new, but, nothing daunted, Alexander at once set to work not only to rebuild the mole, but to make it broader and stronger than before. Of course the work that had been destroyed formed a good foundation upon which to make the new one both broader and stronger. But every reverse made it necessary to have more stones and especially more dust, and so it came about that in the very nature of the case the builders were compelled to literally "scrape" the dust from Old Tyre, and at the last to leave her "like the top of a rock."
But even yet there was one more word of prophecy unfulfilled: "Thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon," and it is evident that this refers to the city on the island rather than to that on the mainland, for another passage says, "It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea." Eze. 26:14, 5. This was not fulfilled by the capture of the city by Alexander. Although he took the city he did not destroy it, and although Alexander sold many of the people into slavery, yet the place was soon repeopled, and regained much prosperity.
Under Roman rule Tyre was a free city
till the reign of Augustus, who for seditious conduct deprived
her of this liberty. At that time she is described by Strabo as a
city of great wealth, which was chiefly derived from dyeing and
selling the Tyrian purple. He also says that the houses consisted
of many stories, even of more than in the houses at Rome. It is
often mentioned in the Gospels, and there was a company of
Christians there with whom Paul stayed a week as he made his last
journey to Jerusalem. Acts 21:3, 4. The number of
Christians multiplied till Tyre became the seat of a bishop in
the second century. And in the fourth century Jerome called it
the noblest and most beautiful city of Phenicia, and wondered at
what seemed to be the non-fulfillment of the prophecy that
pronounced its desolation. In the time of the crusades it
sustained a long siege, and was taken in 1124, and was made an
archbishopric; but from the conquest of Syria by Selim I.,
its decline was rapid, and soon its ruin became complete.
In A.D. 1610-11 it was visited by Sandys, the traveler, who said:
"This once famous Tyre is now no other than a heap of ruins; yet they have a reverent aspect, and do instruct the pensive beholder with their exemplary frailty."
In 1697 Maundrell visited it and said of it: —
"on the north side is an old Turkish ungarrisoned castle, besides which you see nothing here but a mere Babel of broken walls, pillars, vaults, etc., there being not so much as one entire house left; its present inhabitants are only a few poor wretches, harboring themselves in the vaults, and subsisting chiefly upon fishing."
In 1751 Hasselquist was there, and said:
"We... came to Tyre, now called Zur, where we lay all night. None of these cities, which formerly were so famous, are so totally ruined as this, except Troy. Zur now scarcely can be called a miserable village, though it was formerly Tyre, the queen of the sea. Here are about ten inhabitants, Turks and Christians, who live by fishing."
About 1780 Volney was there, and said:
"The whole village of Tyre contains only fifty or sixty families, who live obscurely on the produce of their little ground, and a trifling fishery."
In 1820 Jolliffe wrote of it:
"Some miserable cabins ranged in irregular lines, dignified with the name of streets, and a few buildings of a rather better description, occupied by the officers of government, compose nearly the whole town."
And in 1838 Dr. Robinson spent a Sunday there, and wrote of it thus:
"I continued my walk along the shore of the peninsula (formed by the mole of Alexander the Great), part of which is now unoccupied, except as a place to spread nets upon, musing upon the pride and fall of ancient/ Tyre. Here was the little isle once covered by her palaces, and surrounded by her fleets; but alas! thy riches and thy fame, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers and the occupiers of thy merchandise that were in thee - where are they? Tyre has indeed become like the top of a rock. The sole tokens of her ancient/ splendor - columns of red and gray granite, sometimes forty or fifty heaped together, or marble pillars - lie broken and strewed beneath the waves in the midst of the sea; and the hovels that now nestle upon a portion of her site, present no contradiction of the dread decree, Thou shalt be built no more. "
And those who have visited it since "all concur in the account of its general aspect of desolation."
Thus the word uttered by Ezekiel two thousand four hundred and seventy-four years ago, concerning Tyre, has been completely and literally fulfilled. Ezekiel said that they should break down her walls and destroy her pleasant palaces. Fifteen years afterward it was done. Ezekiel said they should lay her stones and her timber and her dust in the midst of the water, and they should scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. Two hundred and fifty-five years afterward it was done. Although the city was rebuilt in the midst of the sea, Ezekiel said in 587 B.C. that Tyre should be like the top of a rock, and should be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea. That is what she was in A.D. 1697, and that is what she is at the present time, and she shall be built no more. The word spoken by Ezekiel, 587 B.C., is the word of God. Empires perish, nations fall, cities are brought to ruin, the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.
THE BURDEN OF EGYPT.
Egypt was one of the very first of nations to attain to power and civilization. She attained to such a height of power that for ages she was the strongest nation in the world; and to such a height of civilization that "the wisdom of the Egyptians" was proverbial even among the wisest people in the world. It was a commendable qualification in Moses that he "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." And the Scripture, after stating that "God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore," proceeds to give the measure, or at least some sort of an idea, of it, by adding, "And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." 1 Kings 4: 29, 30.
Egypt was invaded, and, in fact, subdued by Esarhaddon and Asshur-bani-pal, the last of the great kings of Assyria; but she soon recovered strength, and not only assisted Babylonia and Media in the utter destruction of the Assyrian kingdom, but also received as her share all the Assyrian possessions west of the Euphrates, with her stronghold at Charchemish on the Euphrates. 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chron. 35:20, 21.
In a few years, however, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took all these possessions, even as far as to the very border of Egypt itself. "And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land; for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt." 2 Kings 24:7. This was in B.C. 598. But yet the king of Egypt was "like a young lion of the nations," and "as a whale in the seas," and in 588-586, Ezekiel took up a lamentation for Egypt, and declared that her ruin should come as the ruin of Assyria had gone before. Egypt was given to Nebuchadnezzar by the Lord, for the service which he wrought in the destruction of Tyre, and the spoil of Egypt was the wages of Nebuchadnezzar's army, for their work which they did for the Lord in the ruin of Tyre. Eze. 29:18-20. The secret of this was that Egypt had helped Tyre in her resistance.
We have not space to notice all the prophecies concerning Egypt, but the following passage of Scripture is worthy of special notice:-
"Thus saith the Lord God: I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land; and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers; I the Lord have spoken it. Thus saith the Lord God: I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt; and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt." Eze. 30:10-13.
We have none of the particulars of Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Egypt. It is known, however, that he did invade it twice, and that he was thoroughly successful, and carried large numbers of the Egyptians captive to Babylon. But aside from this, there are three points in the above quotation which stand forth in such perfect fulfillment that no objection can justly be made by any man, to the faithfulness of the word spoken by the prophet Ezekiel nearly twenty-five hundred years ago. We shall notice them in reverse order, taking the last one first.
1. "There shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt." Although Egypt was subdued by Esarhaddon and Asshur-bani-pal, by Nebuchadnezzar, and by Cambyses, the Egyptians still ruled within the country itself. But in B.C. 344 Ochus of Persia invaded the land with three hundred and forty-four thousand troops, while the Egyptian king Nectanebo had an army of only one hundred thousand with which to meet him, and twenty thousand of these were Greek mercenaries. The king of Persia was wholly successful. "All Egypt submitted to Ochus, who demolished the walls of the cities, plundered the temples, and after amply rewarding his mercenaries, returned to his own capital with an immense booty." "Nectanebo in despair quitted the country and fled southward to Ethiopia," and from that day till this there has been no native ruler of Egypt. Nectanebo was the last Egyptian king that Egypt ever had.
"Thus miserably fell the monarchy of the Pharaohs after an unexampled duration of nearly three thousand years.... More than two thousand years have since passed, and though Egypt has from time to time been independent, not one native prince has sat on the throne of the Pharaohs. "There shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt" (Eze. 30:13) was prophesied in the days of Apries [the Pharaoh-hophra of Jer. 44:30] as the final state of the land." — Encyclopedia Britannica, art. Egypt.
Beside the princes of the monarchy itself, there were "local princes" throughout Egypt; these continued for about twelve years, to the time when Alexander the Great took possession of Egypt, and then they too disappeared.
''With Alexander, the Macedonian dominion began... From this time the Egyptian local princes, who for five centuries, except only during the rule of Psametik and his house, had caused all the divisions of Egypt, disappear from the scene. " - Ib.
Thus the word has been literally fulfilled that "there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt."
2. "I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease." This is a most remarkable prediction, for of all nations that have ever lived on the earth, the Egyptians were the most abundantly idolatrous. Bodies heavenly and bodies earthly, bodies animate and bodies inanimate, real and imaginary, fish, flesh, fowl, and vegetable, all were worshiped as gods in Egypt; and it was literally true that in Egypt it was easier to find a god than a man. "The basis of their religion was Nigritian fetichism, the lowest kind of nature worship.... The fetichism included, besides the worship of animals, that of trees, rivers, and hills." The principal gods, such as Phtah, Ra, Shu, Isis, Osiris, etc., numbered up into the hundreds. Of the animals universally sacred, the principal were cows and heifers, apes, ibises, cats, hawks, asps, and dogs. Others, whose worship was more local, were lions, crocodiles, wolves, jackals, shrew-mice, hippopotami, antelopes, ibexes, frogs, goats, vultures, fish, ichneumons [small carnivorous mammals, a species of mongoose, Encyclopaedia Brittannica], and others too numerous to mention.
Yet as numerous as the idols were, and as base as the idolatry was, the idols have been totally destroyed and the images have ceased utterly.
3. "I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers." All history from the conquest of Egypt by Ochus, before mentioned, till this day, bears continuous testimony to the literal fulfillment of this prophecy. From the day that King Nectanebo fled into Ethiopia till now, strangers have spoiled Egypt of her wealth and drained her of her treasures. When Alexander the Great had defeated Darius at Issus, he was welcomed by Egypt as a deliverer. In the final division of Alexander's dominion, Egypt fell to Ptolemy the Macedonian, and he and his successors ruled and rifled it for two hundred and ninety-four years. It fell next under the dreadful dominion of Rome, whose iron hand held it for six hundred and seventy years, until A.D. 641. Then the Saracens took it and spoiled it for six hundred years. In 1250 the Mamalukes seized it, and held it two hundred and sixty-seven years, and "if you consider the whole time that they possessed the kingdom, especially that which was nearer the end, you will find it filled with wars, battles, injuries, and rapines." - Pococke.
In A.D. 1517 the Turks conquered the Mamalukes, and took possession of the whole country, which they still hold.
And a hundred years ago, Gibbon, in describing the condition of Egypt under their rule, stated not only what is still its condition, but gave the best statement in existence of the fulfillment of the prophecy. He said:-
"A more unjust and absurd constitution cannot be devised, than that which condemns the natives of a country to perpetual servitude, under the arbitrary dominion of strangers and slaves. Yet such has been the state of Egypt above five hundred years. The most illustrious sultans of the Baharite and Borgite dynasties, were themselves promoted from the Tartar and Circassian bands; and the four and twenty beys, or military chiefs, have ever been succeeded, not by their sons, but by their servants. They produce the great charter of their liberties, the treaty of Selim the First with the republic; and the Othman emperor still accepts from Egypt a slight acknowledgment of tribute and subjection."
Decline and Fall, chap. 59, paragraph 20.
And that is exactly as the prophet of God, nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, said it would be.
The statement of these facts has prepared the way for the statement in a few words of the fulfillment of another notable prophecy concerning Egypt. After the scattering of the people by Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord said: "I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations." Eze. 29:14,15. In view of the fact that that nation has been so sold into the hands of strangers, and so spoiled by them, it is easy to see how, from the wisest of nations, she could become the basest of kingdoms.
A hundred years ago Volney wrote this:-
"In Egypt there is no middle class, neither nobility, clergy, merchants, nor land-holders. A universal air of misery in all the traveler meets points out to him the rapacity of oppression, and the distrust attendant upon slavery. The profound ignorance of the inhabitants equally prevents them from perceiving the causes of their evils, or applying the necessary remedies. Ignorance, diffused through every class, extends its effects to every species of moral and physical knowledge. Nothing is talked of but intense troubles, the public misery, pecuniary extortions [excessive taxes], and bastinadoes [whippings]."
In 1875 Dr. Robert Patterson wrote this:-
"The wretched peasantry are rejoiced to labor for any who will pay them five cents a day, and eager to hide the treasure in the ground from the rapacious tax-gatherer. I have seen British horses refuse to eat the meal ground from the mixture of wheat, barley, oats, lentils, millet, and a hundred unknown seeds of weeds and collections of filth, which forms the produce of their fields. For poverty, vermin, and disease, Egypt is proverbial."
"I have seen the population of several villages, forced to leave their own fields in the spring, to march down to an old, filthy canal, near Cairo, and almost within sight of the gate of the palace, men, and women, and little boys, and girls, like those of our Sabbath-schools, scooping up the stinking mud and water with their hands, into baskets, carrying them on their heads up the steep bank, beaten with long sticks by the task-masters to hasten their steps, while steam dredgers lay unused within sight."
Fables of Infidelity, chap. 8.
Twelve years later Mrs. Susan E. Wallace wrote of Egypt and her people, as follows:
"The valley of the Nile produces three crops a year; and sowing, plowing, reaping go on at the same time. Women worked in the field with the men, each wearing one loose garment. There was no machinery but the shadof, like our old-fashioned well-sweep, the most primitive of pumps, and a rush basket. Swinging the water-tight basket, they moved with machine-like precision, these forever oppressed Egyptians, without recollections of a great past or ambition pointing to a better future. Their very souls are enslaved by centuries of grinding tyranny, knowing no change but a change of task-makers. The locomotive gives them no impulses, and they do not lift their heads as the herald of a new civilization, a chariot mighter than Pharaoh's, rolls past. Among the low-bending figures we saw the tattoed faces and painted blue lips, forbidden by the Levitical law.
"In a slow, heart-broken way they moved steadily, swinging the rush basket, in the hard service of the field named in Deuteronomy, drawing up water from the river and emptying it on the fields in the higher levels. Sometimes the passer-by may hear a dull, droning sound from the unpaid toilers, a melancholy chorus chanted by gangs of boys and girls degraded unspeakably, who are set to work together along the Nile banks."
There is no more a prince of the land of Egypt; the idols have utterly ceased; the land is wasted by the hand of strangers; Egypt is the basest of the kingdoms; the prophecy is literally fulfilled; and this word which Ezekiel wrote, as he dwelt among the captives by the river of Chebar, two thousand four hundred and seventy-four years ago, is the word of God.
"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established;
believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper."
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