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"I will rise, he said, and drown the earth; sweep towns and their inhabitants away!...Now this is the day of the Lord God, a day of vengeance for his revenge on his enemies...Yes, the Lord God Almighty has a sacrifice to make in the north country, by the river Euphrates."
Jeremiah wrote of an "Egyptian" army advancing to the Euphrates River and taking up fixed positions there. The symbolism of the word "Egypt" in scripture is armed forces. It stands for military might. It has long been obvious that the future nation hidden in the symbolism of this word "Egypt" would carry another name when time came for it's true identity to be revealed.
It seemed clear, also, that it would be a heavily armed superpower. We know from our studies that the designation "Egypt" in scripture symbolizes military strength, contrasting it from the symbolic designation "Babylon" which stands for decadence, paganism and sin.
Our earlier assessment of Jeremiah's prophecy (Chapter 46) in which we described a militaristic Israel as the "Egypt" of Jeremiah's visions has been proved wrong. Israel may one day find itself in the position we previously described, but not now.
Instead, a western army has indeed advanced to the Euphrates after the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but no Israeli forces were involved. Instead, the "Egypt" of these prophecies has turned out to be the United States of America.
It is the United States almost alone that has championed the second Gulf War and carried out the conquest of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The outposts at the Euphrates are ours alone. It is the United States that stands today at the Euphrates river, not Israel.
Why did we see Israel there?
Anchored in the history of the return from the Diaspora, there is a close association between Israel and Egypt. Jeremiah ominously predicted that militant Israeli settlers returning early to Jerusalem under the auspices of the decree of the king of Babylon would openly challenge God's terms by turning to "Egypt" (armaments) for support. Emboldened by that alliance, they would further defy God by crossing borders not legally assigned to them to form settlements in "Egyptian" lands.
In Jeremiah's time, thinking that it offered them greater security from their enemies, they did exactly this (just as scripture predicted they would) and the results were catastrophic. Jeremiah has described those calamities in detail.
Now we find ourselves in a current replay of those same circumstances. The ultimate meaning of Jeremiah's prophecies applied to our own time. The true early return from Diaspora was not then, it is now. This time, acting as a modern version of the "king of Babylon", it was the United Nations who voted to allow the Jews to return to the Holy Land. And the armed alliance Israel has embraced for its protection has been concluded with the United States, the military superpower of our age a truly daunting "Egypt" in the symbolism of its military prowess. In other words, a kind of "daughter of Egypt".
And now that "Daughter of Egypt" is at the Euphrates River.
It was tempting to see Israel in the visage of Jeremiah's scripture concerning the Euphrate's outposts because ample symbolism existed, or so it seemed, to justfy that relationship. Especially since the same future eastern army that attacks those "Egyptian" outposts at the Euphrates and rolls over them, is shown in prophecy to continue its speeded advance right into the valley's of Israel and annihilate those settled there. According to Daniel, that eastern war machine doesn't halt its murderous rampage until it's troops are temporarily ensconsed inside Jerusalem itself.
The relationship between the attack on the outposts and the destination of that thrust (Jerusalem) seemed to imply a direct relationship between them.
Perhaps one day there may be. But not today. Today, those outposts are strictly American.
Re-examining those prophecies, it now seems obvious why.
Certainly Israel could not make an alliance with itself. It could not be both the protector and the protected at the same time. So how could it possibly fill both shoes in the prophecy? The "Pharaoh" into whose protective embrace Israel has placed itself has to be an outsider.
"They carry out plans that are not mine and make alliances not inspired by me, and so add sin to sin. They have left for Egypt, without consulting me, to take refuge in Pharaoh's protection" (Is. 30:1-2)
History has shown us clearly who that outsider is. Israel's military alliance was, and still is, with the United States of America, no one else. Israel has taken refuge in America's protection. In armies.and tanks, in fighter planes, in atom bombs, and in military treaties.
Fearing that God would not keep His pledge to protect them, the people returning to restructure a Hebrew presence in the Holy Land have refused to dwell in the peaceful righteousness of God (those are the borders prescribed by scripture). Instead, they have taken up arms, built a powerful military and locked themselves into a binding defense pact with the full might of the American military.
Where is God in all this? They have left Him behind. Israel has placed all its hopes and all its trust in armaments i.e., in "Egypt".
Meanwhile, the prophecies of scripture continue to cry out warning after warning concerning this perilous course. It is a direction precisely opposite the instructions of God. They are not building there a religious nation. They are building a secular nation; a carbon copy of all the other "Egypt's" across the world.
"Despite this, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord and stay in the land of Judah. Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders led off the entire remnant of Judah, those who had come back from all the nations into which they had been dispersed, to live in the land of Judah...and so, disregarding the voice of the Lord, they reached the land of Egypt and arrived at Tahpanhes." (Jer.43:4-5 & 7).
Jeremiah said that the proof of these prophecies (i.e, the proof that the catastrophe regarding the settlers and the attack on the "Egyptian" outposts near the Euphrates river will really happen as predicted) lies in the assassination of the "pharaoh" of Egypt.
"And here is the proof for you that I mean to deal with you in this place: so that you may know that the words with which I threaten you will come true: Yahweh says this: I will hand the pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies and to those determined to kill him..." (Jer.44:29-30).
While these words point to the destruction of the militarism of Israel, they also demonstrate that this disaster when it occurs will be only one part of a greater scourge involving the destruction of the entire world. And, by implication, when it occurs, it will also prove the end of Babylon.
That is the context portrayed by the chapters within which the return to Jerusalem by the Jews and the catastrophe's surrounding it and the attack at the Euphrates in the Book of Jeremiah describe.
"Thus the laboring of the peoples comes to nothing; the toiling of the nations ends in fire." (Jer.51:58).
"I will rise, he said, and drown the earth; sweep towns and their inhabitants away!...Now, this is the day of the Lord God, a day of vengeance for his revenge on his enemies...Yes, the Lord God Almighty has a sacrifice to make in the north country, by the river Euphrates." (Jer.46:8-10).
This cataclysm at the Euphrates, then, is not to be merely a Jewish-Persian event. It is the day of anguish for the entire world that scripture has predicted from the beginning. It doesn't matter whether it is Israel at the Euphrates or Egypt. God has made Jerusalem the magnet of Armageddon. All the armies of the world are to be gathered there for judgment.
"Persia takes up his quiver, Aram mounts his horse and Kir fetches out his shield. Your fairest valleys are filled with chariots and the horsemen take up positions at the gates; thus falls the defense of Judah." (Is.22:5-8).
With hooks in their noses, they will all be dragged there in mass across the Euphrates by God in preparation for this Day of Days and nothing in history or government can change that process or the outcome predicted.
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