Beginning in 2010, protests gave way to uprisings that unseated several North African and Arab rulers in what has been called the “Arab Spring.” Many of the new governments looked more Islamic than the ones they replaced, particularly in Egypt.
A year and half ago, when these new Islamic leaders were exulting in the their new found power in the Middle East, I felt God wanted us to pray that they would be like Haman in the book of Esther. We prayed that they would say, “I’ve been so successful, I’m going to do everything that is in my heart to do”, so that God would expose the evil plan in their hearts.
I believe that Egyptian President Morsi’s removal is a result of God exposing the evil heart of violence and death in Islam. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (1). The Brotherhood’s stated goals are to introduce Islamic Shari’ah (law) as the basis for affairs of state and society and to work toward unification of Islamic states. (2)
It was primarily the secular and Christian Egyptians – who suffered injustices at the hands of the Islamist government – who protested against Morsi’s government on June 30 and into July. (3). Morsi was removed from power on July 3 (1), and Egypt continues to transition.
Still, the new government is being put together not only by the military, the seculars and leftists but also by another group of Islamists, the ultra-conservative Salafis represented by Al-Nour party. (4, 5)
Shaking the wall of Islam
In the early morning hours of December 16, 2011, I woke up with three phrases that I sense sum up much of how the LORD has been leading us to pray:
- “I will shake all things that can be shaken, and the wall of Islam can be shaken.”
- “The nation of Islam can be divided.”
- “The harvest from Islam can be harvested.”
I wrote on this topic in December 2011, and I encourage you to read that article for details.
The LORD has led us to pray over several years that “unholy alliances” in the Middle East would be broken. Jesus made this prayer strategy clear in Mark 3:23-26 (NIV): “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand, and if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.”
Usually we use these verses to talk about how important it is that we as believers are united, not divided. That’s right. However, Jesus is actually teaching something as a strategy in spiritual warfare. He’s saying that Satan and demonic powers can easily be divided against themselves.
Pray that the demonic powers behind Islam will be thrown into confusion and division. Pray that, as the house of Islam is divided, their attention will be drawn away from coming against Israel and against Christian believers in these nations.
What causes division? More than anything, pride. Satan is the ultimate example of pride. In Isaiah 14, he wanted to exalt his throne above the very throne of God. He said he wanted the throne that belongs to God on the Temple Mount, the mount of assembly; he wants the worship that belongs only to God.
In warfare it’s important to know your enemy. Pride is perhaps the greatest weakness of Satan and his demonic powers.
We’re not fighting against flesh and blood. We love the people who are under the influence of Islam. However, we hate the demonic powers behind Islam and what they do to people: the bondage, pain, suffering, torment, fear, intimidation and death.
So how does that apply to right now, especially in Egypt?
A lot of people were excited on July 3, saying Egypt had thrown off this bondage when Morsi was removed from power. I’m very happy that the Egyptian young people went to the streets to demand Morsi’s removal. It’s shows that there are many in Egypt who are waking up to the demonic bondage brought by Islam.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe the shaking is over yet.
Isaiah 19 prophecy
I believe Isaiah 19 describes the season Egypt is in right now.
Praise God, there’s a wonderful ending – the promise that Assyria, Egypt and Israel will worship God together (Isaiah 19:23-25). The ancient Assyrian kingdom, at its height, covered most of the Middle East (see map at “The wall of Islam can be shaken.”)
Now when we read that, it’s pretty exciting. He’s saying the whole Middle East is going to become a source of blessing in the whole earth.
But how does God get Egypt to this place of worship and unity with Israel?
“A prophecy against Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.” (v. 1 NIV)
Isaiah is talking about the LORD doing a very rapid work. He comes on a swift cloud, not a slow cloud. And since God came to Egypt in 2010 or so, things are moving very rapidly.
The idols of Egypt “trembling” speaks of judgment on the demonic powers behind those idols. Those demonic powers are still at work in Egypt.
Then the LORD explains what will begin to happen.
I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian — brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.” (v. 2 NIV)
He talks about a time of great division in Egypt. That’s very sad. This has been manifesting since the first revolution in 2011. Even as the people called for the removal of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak and later of Morsi, the different groups have fought and killed one another. Three distinct examples are the military massacre of Coptic Christians in 2011 (6), the recent attack on Shiite Muslims by majority Sunni Muslims (7) and the scapegoating of Copts by Muslim Brotherhood supporters after Morsi’s ouster (8).
The LORD continues:
‘I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master and a fierce king will rule over them,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” (v. 4 NIV)
I believe we’ve seen a degree of this already in the way the Muslim Brotherhood so quickly became so oppressive in Egypt. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that most of Egypt even yet really believes the evil or understands the culture of death that is at the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood. In their credo they say: “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” (9)
Now the ultra-conservative Muslim Salafis are part of the new government through the Al-Nour party. While most Salafis reportedly oppose violent extremism (10), al-Qaeda’s “leadership’s own theological platform is essentially Salafi,” according to Abdel Bari Atwan in his book “The Secret History of Al Qaeda.” (quoted in Wikipedia, 11). So evil and death are lurking there, as well.
I was excited to see the deposing of President Morsi, but I feel we need to pray this whole chapter of Isaiah 19 because we need to pray in line with the strategy according to which God is working.
God is not working to establish democracy in Egypt. God is after something far greater – true liberty. True and eternal liberty only comes through the knowledge of the LORD. He is after their hearts.
Continuing in chapter 19, the LORD talks about judgment even on the Nile River, which will lead to additional financial hardship.
“The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away. Those who work with combed flax will despair, the weavers of fine linen will lose hope. The workers in cloth will be dejected, and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.” (vv. 5-10 NIV)
The Nile was worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, and it is still looked at as the source of Egypt. Any threat to the water supply evokes strong emotions.
Ethiopia is currently constructing a electricity-generating dam on the Nile. The prospect of losing water prompted then-President Morsi to say, “We will defend each drop of the Nile with our blood.” (12) Now Egypt is “deeply worried” that Ethiopia has not communicated with them as the building continues. (13)
I believe God is going to allow something to happen to dry up the Nile. They will need leaders who know what to do. However, Isaiah 19 continues,
“The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.” (vv. 13-14 NIV)
Then He goes on to describe a terror of Israel they will have (v. 17). Yet five cities will speak the language of Canaan (in the context Hebrew) and “swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty.” (v. 18 NIV)
The 2013 revolution has revealed through Israeli TV and radio interviews with Egyptian journalists and commentators that some Egyptians already speak fluent Hebrew (14, 15).
Then after all this bad news comes the best news ever. Egypt cries out to God, and He saves and heals them.
“In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.” (vv. 19-22 NIV)
o in the midst of all of this, I don’t believe the shakings in Egypt are over. I believe they will increase in days ahead. Yet the LORD doesn’t leave us without hope. He shows us the end, the victorious, joyous end of “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (v. 25 NIV).
How to pray for Egypt
- Pray judgment on the gods of Egypt; that God will cause those idols to tremble before him and that he will judge the demonic powers trying to rip off the people of Egypt.
- Pray for exposure of the true nature of the demonic powers behind Islam. Pray that more people have their eyes opened to the spirit of death working in Islam.
- Pray for the believers to be protected just as God spared those who put the blood of a lamb over the door of their household when plagues swept though Egypt in Exodus. When thick darkness fell on ancient Egypt, there was light among the people of God. When the Israelites left Egypt, there were a large number of Egyptians who believed in the God of Israel and left with them. Part of what caused those Egyptians to believe was seeing the supernatural protection of God over believers.
- Pray for the emergence of the Kingdom of God in Egypt. We asked an Egyptian leader how we should be praying. She answered: “Pray that we will see the Kingdom of God rise in our midst, that we the believers will show the kingdom of God to those around us.”
- Pray for the young people of Egypt. Among the demonstrators – be they pro- or anti-Morsi – the pictures from TV and other media have primarily shown young people. We need to pray especially for the young people, that their eyes would be opened to the culture of death in Islam. It’s the young people who will tip the balance.
- Pray that eyes of young people will be opened not only to the demonic powers behind Islam, but of those behind materialism as well. We must pray that they will not trade one demonic power for another.
- “Mohamed Morsi.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 19 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.
- El-Hudaibi, Mohammad Ma’mun. “The Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood.” IkhwanWeb. The Muslim Brotherhood. 1 February 2010. Web. 21 July 2013.
- “2012–13 Egyptian protests.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 20 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.
- Kirkpatrick, David D. “Islamist Party a Surprise Force in a New Egypt.” The New York Times. 7 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.
- Kingsley, Patrick. “Egypt’s Salafist al-Nour party wields new influence on post-Morsi coalition.” The Guardian. 7 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.
- “Maspero demonstrations.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 6 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- Guercia, Gianluigi. “Eight arrested over Egypt Shiite killings.” Agence France-Presse. 25 June 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- Chiaramonte, Perry. “Islamic extremists reportedly attacking Egypt’s Christian community over Morsi ouster.” FOX News. 21 July 2013 Web. 22 July 2013.
- “Muslim Brotherhood.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 22 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- “Salafi movement.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 19 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- “Al-Qaeda: Religious compatibilty.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons. 18 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- Geroge, William Lloyd. “Ethiopia’s Plan to Dam the Nile Has Egypt Fuming.” Time.com. Time, Inc. 28 June 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- “Egypt ‘deeply worried’ by Nile water row with Ethiopia.” Reuters. Thompson Reuters. 20 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- Zonszein, Mairav. “WATCH: Egyptian journalist urges Israelis in Hebrew: Stand up to ‘Bibi and Lapid.'” +972 Magazine. 3 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.
- Kais, Roi. “Egyptian Hebrew speakers take Israeli public by storm.” Ynet News. Yedioth Internet. 14 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2013.