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Isaiah is the prophet of Salvation. He is also known as the truly "Universalist" prophet, by which is meant that He makes it clear that salvation is extended equally to all nations and not just to Israel. He lived to see the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Israelites to Assyria, and he prophesied of their "return" to God (through repentance). He is truly a "major prophet" whose prophecies greatly influenced the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
Category - Bible Commentaries
The salvation of Egypt will resolve the conflict between Egypt and Assyria. They will be at peace, unified by the same God that they all will worship. Isaiah 19:23 says,
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
Between Egypt and Assyria was the land of Israel (including Judah). The prophecy pictures geographically how both Egypt and Assyria will worship the God of Israel, and all of them will be united by their common faith. This is the result of the Savior being sent to Egypt, as we saw earlier in Isaiah 19:20.
The salvation of Egypt makes them God’s chosen people.
Yes, that is what the prophet says. Isaiah 19:24, 25 concludes,
24 In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”
This is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the entire Bible, primarily because so few Christians or Jews actually believe it. If they believe it, they narrowly focus upon the aspect of peace or the construction of a highway from Assyria to Egypt through Jerusalem. But the prophecy is far more than that.
The peace between them is explained by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 2:13-19,
13 But now by Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household.
When the Jews built “the dividing wall” in the outer court of the temple in Jerusalem to separate Jewish men from the women and from non-Jewish converts, they confessed that they did not believe Isaiah 19:23-25. By refusing to acknowledge Christ as the King, they refused to believe the work that He accomplished on the cross in reconciling all men to God, giving them all equal access to God.
Even the Jewish Christians in the first century often had difficulty accepting non-Jews as equals, preferring to think of themselves as the only inheritors of the promises of God. So we read in Acts 10 how Peter was called to go to Caesarea and preach the word to a group of Romans soldiers. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, as He had descended earlier upon the 120 in the upper room, Peter learned a great lesson. Acts 10:34, 35 says,
34 Opening his mouth, Peter said, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”
The result was seen then in Acts 10:44, 45,
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
When Peter returned to Jerusalem, some of his fellow Jews criticized him for eating and fellowshipping with “uncircumcised men” (Acts 11:2, 3). Peter then explained what had happened and how he was led to go to Caesarea. Only then did the Jews in Jerusalem accept Peter’s new (yet old) revelation. Acts 11:15, 18 says,
15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning…” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well, then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
Some had not understood that salvation was for everyone, thinking it applied only to Abraham and his physical descendants. Others had not understood that the Holy Spirit was to be poured out upon “all mankind” (Joel 2:28). They had been blind to the law of the feasts, where Moses commanded the “stranger” (i.e., “alien”) to keep the feast of Pentecost (Deut. 16:11) and also the feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:13, 14).
Neither did they understand Isaiah 19, where the prophet of universal salvation prophesied of the day when the dividing wall, constructed by the traditions of men, would be broken down to bring peace, reconciliation, and equal status, which in turn gives all mankind equal standing in the divine court and before the throne of God.
The second covenant (Deut. 29:1, 13), which really restated the New Covenant that had been given to Abraham in Gen. 17:7, was not given to Abraham’s physical descendants but to those who were sons by following Abraham’s example of faith. Gen. 17:7 says,
7 I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants [zera, “seed”] after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants [zera, “seed”] after you.
Most of the Jews had assumed that this limited the scope of God’s covenant to the physical descendants of Abraham. Hence, the Jewish Christians in Acts 10 had believed that the New Covenant applied only to Abraham’s physical seed, and they disputed with Peter who had dared to share the New Covenant gospel with non-Jews.
Paul explained this new understanding more fully in Gal. 3:6-9,
6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
A “son” could mean either a physical son or one who resembles his “father.” Hence, “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) are not physical descendants of a man named Light but are rather those who walk in the light. Likewise, “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35). Wisdom has no physical children. The children of wisdom are those who are wise.
This is also how Paul defines the seed of Abraham, for after being trained in Jewish traditions, he received a better revelation of truth that was more inclusive. The children of Abraham were those with faith.
So also the second covenant, given through Moses in the plains of Moab, included everyone, including women and even “the alien who is within your camps” (Deut. 29:11). All were called to participate in the New Covenant, where God made an oath to make them His people and to be their God. Deut. 29:12, 13 says,
12 that you may enter into the covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath which the Lord your God is making with you today, 13 in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We see here that men, women, and aliens were included in God’s oath and covenant. It was the same covenant and oath that God had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In other words, it was the New Covenant, because it was the promise of God, rather than the promise of men. God then restated His universal intent in Deut. 29:14, 15,
14 Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today.
At the time, the people were either standing there or not, but the New Covenant included everyone. This, then, defined the Abrahamic covenant more precisely, where God told him, “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). Likewise, Abraham was to be “the father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 17:4), most of which, in the plains of Moab, were “not with us here today.”
In the first covenant with Israel at Mount Horeb, Israel’s status as God’s people depended upon their ability to keep their vow of obedience (Exodus 19:5). Hence, it was the “Old Covenant,” which obviously failed through the inability of the flesh. It required the “New Covenant” to succeed in making them God’s people, and for this reason forty years later the second covenant was made with Israel—and all others with them.
This second covenant promised to make them His people and to be their God, but its success depended on the promise of God and His ability to keep his promise—not upon the promises of men.
The two covenants show plainly that the Old Covenant lacked the ability to make Israel God’s people, for if this were not so, a second covenant would not have been required. Yet this second covenant specifically includes all nations, including those who had not gathered before Him in the plains of Moab.
This, then, is the basis of Isaiah’s revelation that someday Egypt too will be “My people” (Isaiah 19:25), Assyria will be “the work of My hands,” and Israel will be “My inheritance.” The status as God’s people, i.e., the “chosen people,” is not limited to race or nationality but includes all nations and all people who have Abrahamic faith.
Of course, both Egypt and Assyria represent the greater body of nations. Such status is not limited to these three nations. Egypt represents those nations living in bondage and those nations that oppress others. Assyria represents the enemies of God, though really, Assyria had been raised up as God’s rod of correction to bring judgment upon Israel. Oppressors and enemies alike are to be converted to the true God, so that they can become God’s people.
Some, of course, become “My people” before others. To be “My people” requires the faith of Abraham, and not all in this present age are given such faith. Nonetheless, God has promised to impart the faith of Abraham to all nations and to each individual before the end of time.
That is how Abraham was to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. In Acts 3:25, 26 God defined His “blessing” as “turning every one of you away from your wicked ways.” In other words, the nations are blessed by causing them to repent and turn to God.
The New Covenant puts this responsibility upon God alone in order to ensure the success of the divine plan, and this is the testimony of the Great Pyramid that stands as an “altar” to God at the border of Upper and Lower Egypt.