by Rev. Bertrand L Comparet
This booklet contains the talk which Rev. Bertrand L. Cormparet delivered to a group attending one of his regular Bible studies in Manhattan Beach, California.
San Diego, California
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Upon reading these most interesting discussions one will quickly recognize that the author is an ardent student of the Bible and particularly eschatology or the study of the prophecies of the things which have already taken place, the things that are now taking place, and the things that are yet to take place in the future. He is an ordained minister. His studies in this area of thought extend back over a period of thirty years.
One will quickly appreciate also the straight forward manner of factual presentation and logical thinking. This is due to his professional training and occupation as a well recognized Attorney at Law. He not only writes in a clear, convincing style, but is distinguished in the pulpit, on the lecture platform, and over the air for his clarity of thought and profound logic.
Bertrand L. Comparet is a native Californian, born in San Diego. He was graduated from Stanford University with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor. He was admitted to the California Supreme Court or California Bar in 1926 and by the United States Supreme Court in 1956. From 1926 to 1932 he was a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County and from 1942 to 1947 was Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego. Since that time he has been in private law practice.
Quite obviously, he is a tried and true Christian and a loyal and patriotic American, a believer in a Sovereign America under Constitutional government.
Trying to come up with new ideas is becoming quite a problem, because some of you have been attending these meetings for at least ten years and you have heard an awful lot of things during that time; and I don't want to retrace the same ground unnecessarily. But something new came to my attention, hardly more than a week ago, that surprised me considerably: it has to do with one of the ancient countries, and yet it is startlingly modern, because it sh6ws one of the Bible's prophecies working out, now, which I believe none of us had expected until at least into the time of the final great war.
I want to talk to you about Egypt and about something that is happening there now. It came about unexpectedly, and it shows that God can figure things out, well ahead of us. Perhaps at this point we should have a short review of ancient Egyptian history. But that is something that is quite difficult to pin down with exact dates. You might say, the only authentic history of Egypt was that written by the Egyptian priest about 250 B.C., named Manetho, and the difficulty is no copy of Manetho's history exists; all we have of it are the fragmentary quotes, in the works of some of the Greek historians, and they all don't quote it alike. So you do have problems.
The origin of Egypt is lost in pre-historic legend. Long before there was a single country called Egypt, there were settlements there, of some substantial civilization, but they were scattered; a number of independent cities. And apparently it was gathered together as one country by a king named Menes, who united it into the one nation of Egypt; and when Menes did that is something on which you can get quite a variety of dates.
Some of the ancient historians give quotes, purportedly from Egyptian sources, of early dynasties going back over a period to about 36,500 B.C. The early kings of this dynasty, they say, were the gods. Now of course that can be wholly fictitious, or it can have a partial basis in truth.
Odin, who was worshiped as a god by the Scandinavians and Germans when they were pagan and before Christianity reached them, we know, was a real living person in his day. He was a Scythian chieftain who led his people from Scythia up into Denmark; and, as a matter of fact, he is found in the family tree of George Washington. He was such a remarkable leader that, in time, they deified him.
There can be some such background as that, behind the Egyptian legend, but it is so lost in antiquity that we don't know whether it is a pure fiction, evolved by the priests, or whether they have simply very greatly exaggerated the dates.
By sinking a shaft to a considerable depth, they have found "stone age" implements that can be reasonably and reliably dated about 13,500 B.C. At that particular point, there is one of those huge statues that the Egyptian pharaohs liked to put up in their own honor, and the soil has accumulated around the base of it, to a depth of about ten feet; that is, you have to dig down ten feet to get to what was the original pavement around this statue. And judging by that rate of accumulation, where they found these remains of a late "stone age" culture, those implements date from about 13,500 B.C.
However, you do not find any evidence, historical or archaeological, of a gradual rise of civilization in Egypt; it arrived suddenly. In other words, the evidence would indicate that an already highly civilized people from somewhere else moved in and settled there, bringing their own civilization with them.
The Egyptian priests were also their historians; they kept the records, other than the king's official record of his reign, and they told some of the Greek historians, who inquired about it, that the Egyptians were survivors of the sinking of a lost continent of Atlantis who had made their way across north Africa and settled in Egypt.
Well, that is altogether possible, because we can't find any other place from whence we can say they came. The first dynasty beginning with Menes, according to some of the king lists, began as early as 5948 B.C. Sir Flinders Petrie, one of the great authorities on Egyptology, gave a date of about 4777 B.C.; and later that has been reduced to perhaps 3300 to 3000 B.C. Of course, among the self-admitted experts on the subject, there is a great tendency to believe that nothing could possibly be as old as the people who lived then say it was - "O, lop off a thousand years" seems to be their motto. So we don't know.
The Great Pyramid was built in the time of Pharaoh Kufu, who was in the second dynasty, not the one established by Menes. Some authorities place his reign as about 3969 to 3908 B.C., others try to make it as late as 2700 B.C.; the true date probably is between 3300 and 3000.
I presume you already know, the Egyptians, having started with a rather high type of monotheistic religion, became finally among the most debased of the pagans. They were animal worshipers: the sacred bull Apis was worshiped by them, much on the order of the Hindus of today worshiping the cow as a god. And if you have seen pictures of the various pagan gods worshiped by the Egyptians, you note, that while they had human figures, they would have the head of a bird or a jackal, or something of that sort. Well, I guess a bird-brained god was sufficient for a bird-brained people.
However, the earliest traces of Egyptian religion, that can be found, indicate monotheism of a rather high type; in fact, some of their hymns are surprisingly parallel to some of the psalms in the Bible, showing that they started out with a very much higher religion than they finished up with.
We get these indications when we have been able to dig up the mummies of some of the early kings, or have found their mummified bodies in some of the pyramids where they were buried. The Great Pyramid of Cheops was never a tomb and has no writings in it like the others have, but in those pyramids that were used as tombs, there are very extensive carvings in the passageways. Their theory was that the soul of the dead had to pass through a rather rigid examination, to determine whether the deceased came to a good end or a bad one in the hereafter, and they were afraid the dead person would forget some of his lines; so these were put in his tomb in the passageways near it, so he could refresh his memory as to what he was to say when examined. And in these pyramids, which go back to the second dynasty, are found the evidence of this rather elevated type of religion that 'soon thereafter disappeared. But the animal worship, many authorities say, was established by 4400 to 4300 B.C.
A great deal of work has been done on Egyptian history by David Davidson, who wrote what I consider to be the only really authoritative work on the Great Pyramid. We have an amateur today who is willing to admit he is the great authority on the Pyramid; but comparing his work to Davidson's, whom he scorns, I find Davidson's work very much better I think all of you know how the interior passages of the Great Pyramid have been found to be prophetic. While indicating only in a vague general way, as a turn for the better or a turn for the worse, what the nature of the event will be, they do give very precise dates, and these have been found to correspond with the most important datings in the Bible.
It was simple enough for Davidson, taking the three most official surveys of the Pyramid, to compute the dates represented by these different points in the Pyramid. But the question was, when you had found that it gave a date of 1486 B.C., let us say, the question was, what actually happened in that particular year? So he had to unscramble ancient history.
Now, today, this is the year 1972 all over the world, but there was no corresponding system of dating among the ancients. In every country, the only dating system they had was that their records would show that something happened on the eighth day of the fifth month of the twenty-second year of the reign of King So-and-so. And then when he died and another king succeeded him, you began with the first day of the first month of the first year of the reign of King Somebody else. And of course you had these different reigns of the different kings of the different nations all starting at different times.
Fortunately you had two ways of tying them together. The records of Assyria, we will say, would show that in a certain year of the reign of King So-and-so of Assyria, the Assyrians were at war with, Babylon. And the Babylonian records would show that that same war occurred in such a year of the reign of a certain Babylonian king. So you got the overlap of the two reigns established. Then, because of their superstition, practically all of them recorded eclipses, either of the sun or of the moon.
As I presume you know, while eclipses occur every year, there may be a great many years between two successive eclipses visible at the same place. Astronomers can compute, not only to the day but to the hour, when a total eclipse of the sun, we will say, was visible in Babylon. And since the historical records will give you an approximate time, you know you are not dealing with some other century. When an event is recorded as being on the evening of the eleventh day of the fifth month of the twenty-second year of King So-and-so, you can pinpoint it exactly, right down to the day, by the eclipses.
So Davidson worked all this out with astronomical mathematics, to pinpoint the days of the eclipses, and by checking up on the overlap of the records of the' different kings' reigns. And then, by using the works of the principal ancient historians, while they didn't always agree with each other on everything, he was able to work out a complete and pretty accurate scheme of datings of ancient history. With that he could tell you whether a particular Pyramid date was really significant or not, because he could tell you what happened on that particular date.
Davidson's datings would indicate that the Great Pyramid was built somewhere in the period between 3500 and 2700 B.C. Now there has been a legend, if you want to call it that, that nothing is credited with being history unless it is written by some left-wing Jew at Harvard. The people who lived in the days when an event actually happened and knew what they were writing about; that is legend, you are told. But there has been a persistent legend that one of the men who directed the building of the Great Pyramid was the patriarch Enoch.
Enoch lived from 3382 to 3017 B.C., so that would be within the period when other indications show the Great Pyramid was built. Then there is another thing on which there is the usual disagreement about the dates: there was a people who came out of Arabia into Egypt, who took over and ruled for awhile: the "Shepherd kings."
As I say, the Egyptian pagan priests were the historians, and they had nothing good to say about these Shepherd kings, because, it seems that the Shepherd kings closed down all the pagan temples and insisted on the worship of just one God, which hurt the pagan priests' revenue no end; so you don't get anything good said about them. These Shepherd kings ruled for a time, principally in the northern or lower Egypt, and eventually they were driven out. Now you get all sorts of dates from the so-called experts: some of them say the Shepherd kings were there as long as a trifle over 500 years, others say they were there only very slightly over 100. But the most accurate records that we can get would indicate that they were there about 350 years, from 1937 to 1587 B.C.
Joseph, one of the patriarchs of Israel, was sold into slavery in Egypt in 1729 B.C.; and this, as you can see, was when these Shepherd kings were ruling. Now they weren't technically Israelites, but they were an Adamic people who were closely related to the Israelites, and the favor with which Joseph was received and made first assistant to the pharaoh, or prime minister, is something that is understandable, when it came within the reign of these Shepherd kings; when it wouldn't have been understandable, in the reign of the ordinary native Egyptian pharaohs.
The Pharaoh Tahutmes Ill, who reigned from 1744 to 1690 B.C., was evidently the pharaoh who promoted Joseph to the position of prime minister. His records, from the twenty-first to the forty-second year of his reign, inclusive, show constant warfare; but from the forty-third to the forty-ninth years, inclusive, there is no record of any military adventures. Now this was the seven year period of famine that the Bible records, which had been prophesied by Joseph, and the pharaoh had his hands so full, keeping his people contented enough that they wouldn't throw him out, that the idea of running around elsewhere to make military conquests was out of the question.
In 1698 B.C., his records show that he ordered extensive dredging of the Nile river at the first cataract. Now the headwaters of the Nile begin way back in Ethiopia, and perhaps a little to the west of Ethiopia. There are three principal rivers which have their start in high, snow covered mountains, and these finally join to form the Nile; and it flows from Ethiopia down through the Sudan, which in the ancient days was called Nubia, down through Egypt and. into the Mediterranean Sea.
The southerly border of Egypt itself, at modern Aswan, the first cataract of the Nile, that was quite an important point. Now there is nothing but utterly barren desert, both to the east and the west of the narrow Nile valley. The only place where an invasion could come, from the south, would be along the Nile valley, because there is simply nothing to eat and nothing to drink on either side of it. So the Egyptians, from early days, had put heavy fortifications at the first cataract on the Nile. It is spoken of in the Bible, a time or two, as the "tower of Syene," which was at the first cataract, Aswan.
You still find, carved in the rocks there, the markings where the Egyptians kept records of how high the Nile river rose in flood time. When the extensive snow fields on these mountain ranges, where the Nile began, were melted by the coming of spring, the river, which had gone down considerably before that, was raised to flood height by all this water coming through, and, since the river was a matter of life or death to Egypt, the Egyptians soon learned to keep a careful watch on it.
In years when the water was low, it was important to let every drop come through. So on those occasions the old Egyptian records show that kings would order extensive dredging, so that the channels wouldn't be blocked and hQld the water back where it could percolate out into the desert on either side. So you find the Egyptian records entirely corroborating what the Bible tells you about the seven years of famine that Joseph had prophesied and told the pharaoh to prepare for.
The Shepherd kings were finally expel led in 1587 B.C., and the Bible tells you in Exodus 1 verse 8: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph" - and that, as far as we can determine, was Ramessu II. The Egyptian form of the name is Ramessu, but you generally see it in the Grecianized form of Rameses, because, as I say, we have been getting this thing through Herodotus' story of what Manetho told him.
It is my fervent hope that, for the early Greek historians, there is some super-heated sub-basement of hell: because it was one of the primary articles of faith of these Greek historians that you must never, never, under any circumstances, when you describe one of these ancient kings, use his correct name or anything near enough to it to be recognized. And there isn't a one of these Egyptian pharaohs, that Herodotus talks about, that he gives a name that bears the slightest resemblance to the man's Egyptian name that we find in the Egyptian records, and it has caused no end of confusion in trying to work this out.
Ramessu was the pharaoh of the oppression, the one in whose court Moses lived. Now Moses was born in 1566 B.C., and he was age eighty at the date of the Exodus in 1486 B.C. But Ramessu II was dead at the time of the Exodus.
You remember that Moses, while he lived the life of an adopted member of the royal family of Egypt for a while, finally had to flee for his life, way over into Cush in Babylonia, until that pharaoh died, and the one who was on the throne at the time of the Exodus was Menephtah. The Egyptian records confirm 1486 B.C. as being the year of the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt.
From early times there was a great kingdom and a great empire in Egypt. During the first few dynasties the Egyptians were a peaceable people who stayed at home, weren't trying to go out and conquer their neighbors; they really developed an amazingly high civilization for their time, higher than any of the other empires of their day. Later they became like the other empires: they were governed by pharaohs whose vanity didn't allow them to see any people anywhere that they didn't rule over; and so they were like the other empires, embroiled in perpetual wars of conquest, or defending themselves against some other nation's wars of conquest.
At various times they extended their empire as far as the Euphrates river. The city of Carchemish on the Euphrates river marked the eastern boundary of Egypt a good deal of the time. Now during this period, at least the ruling class and, as far as we know, all of the Egyptians were as white a people as any that you can find any trace of, either in early times or now.
We think mostly of sculpture as being the great work of the Greeks, but as a matter of fact, the Greeks left us very few portrait sculptures. The Greek sculptures, that we have, were the artist's idea of what a handsome person should look like, and were not a true likeness of any one person. In fact, it is well known that many of their principal statues were made with one person serving as a model for the head, somebody else for the chest and arms, and somebody else for the rest of the figure, and so on. And in fact, if you have seen pictures of many of the famous Greek sculptures, you will note that the face is a blank expression of total stupidity. They didn't indicate the pupil of the eye, so there is this blank, unseeing stare. Now, you find nothing corresponding to that among the Egyptians, and for a good reason.
Starting with their monotheistic religion in the early days, and carrying the idea down through their paganism, the Egyptians believed in resurrection. But 'there had to be something to resurrect. That is why they mummified the corpses of their people, at least those who could afford it, so that there would still remain a body. They didn't know how far in the future this day of resurrection would be, so they mummified it in the hope they could keep the body still intact and ready to be resurrected when the time came. They realized that the best of their mummification processes wouldn't keep the body intact forever, and they didn't know how long it would have to be preserved; so, with an Egyptian who was well-to-do enough to afford it, in his tomb there was a portrait sculpture of the man. It didn't have to be life sized, but it was a portrait sculpture of him, so that if the mummy disintegrated too badly, the soul could go into the statue and live there until the time came for resurrection.
There would be no use in putting a statue of somebody else in the tomb; that wouldn't do the dead person any good. So it was a portrait of the individual. Probably no time in antiquity ever produced such remarkably fine portrait sculptures as the early days in Egypt. If you met one of those people walking down the street, after you had seen that portrait sculpture, you would recognize the person without any question.
They were such realists that they also painted these statues, and where the statues have remained sealed in a tomb until opened, so that weather couldn't disintegrate the paint, the paint on them was still good. They were just that painstakingly accurate. The men of course would work out in the fields, superintending their slaves working in the fields, so the men naturally were sun tanned to a degree, and so the statues of the men had a slightly darker suntan complexion than the statues of the women, who spent most of their time in their houses and out of the hot Egyptian sunlight. The features, the narrow-bridged noses, the thin lips, and the general cast of the faces, show that this was very definitely a White race; and the complexion of the people, as indicated by the painting of the statues, also indicates they were White.
In the days of Egypt's grandeur, of course the country was in Africa, but don't ever think of it as Negroid, because in that period of time there was the death penalty for any free Negro found north of the first cataract of the Nile; that is, within the boundaries of Egypt. Now they did have a trading post established just slightly within the. boundary of Egypt, and they would let the Negroes come there with their furs, and that sort of thing, to trade, but down in Egypt proper, any Negro that wasn't a slave in chains was simply summarily killed on sight. So don't let anybody ever tell you that Egypt is an indication of a high Negroid civilization; there never was one.
What tody we call the Sudan, the area lying between Egypt and Ethiopia proper,. in those days they called Nubia. In the early days, of course, the Egyptian army repelled raids by the Nubian Negroes; then, getting tired of that, they went down and conquered Nubia and took a lot of the Nubian Negroes as slaves.
Now you remember, in the days when the Roman people made up the Roman army, Rome conquered substantially all the then known world. And then, as they began degenerating, they didn't have the hardihood to serve in their own army, so they began getting mercenary troops from the so-called barbarians, until the barbarians finally got tired of defending. a. people who had degenerated until they were no longer capable of defending themselves, and the barbarians themselves began plundering Rome.
The Egyptians began doing the same thing: they were becoming too civilized to serve in the Egyptian army. So here were a lot of big husky Negroes down in Nubia, and they began training them to be soldiers. Well, as long as they had enough Egyptian officers among them, to keep control of the troops, they did serve a purpose. Remember that in those days they had no complicated weapons that required intelligence to use. All they had were bows and arrows, and spears, and the Nubian natives at least knew what to do with a spear.
In all these ancient kingdoms, there was always a period of unrest and uncertainty when the reigning king died. Sometimes his eldest son was still fairly young, and any usurper who could get the support of a substantial part of the army might be able to move in and take over the throne. And in Egypt, since that did happen on a few occasions, they developed a system, that during the last years of the reign of a pharaoh, from the time that his oldest son was old enough to be trained in the administration of the kingdom, they had a joint rule, a co-regency. In this way the army for some years was accustomed to taking orders from the crown prince, and it wasn't a brand new idea when his father died and the son succeeded to the throne and told them, "You put down any uprisings."
But back, somewhere around 775 B.C., when the reigning pharaoh died, the Egyptian governor of Nubia knew that as far as Egypt was concerned, there wasn't much of an army there. Down in Nubia he had the best trained troops in that part of the world, so he swiftly marched north into Egypt with his Nubian Negro army and took over. This was the twenty-fifth Egyptian dynasty, and for a period of about 75 or 80 years these Nubian Negroes were ruling Egypt. And of course that was the worst disaster possible, because you know what these Nubian Negro troops did with the Egyptian women. They were the military masters of the land; and in that period Egypt became a mulatto nation, and that was the end of the greatness of Egypt. As the Bible said, they became the basest of all the kingdoms - and they have been so ever since. Egyptian architecture, Egyptian art, everything declined badly.
Remember, the northern kingdom of Israel, the ten-tribed kingdom, was conquered by Assyria between 740 and 721 B.C., so you can see that this was during the period when the Nubian Negro dynasty was in control of Egypt. The power of Assyria, back in the Tigris-Euphrates valleys, had been rising during that period, and the Assyrians never did have much ability at anything except conquering their neighbors; they were quite a good parallel to the Turks in later times. They were a military people, perhaps even more so than the Romans, and they conquered their neighbors and looted them, and made slaves of many of them.
There was this problem: every little kingdom, if it only covered 200 or 300 square miles, had the idea that it wanted to be an empire and conquer some smaller neighboring kingdom that only covered 120 square miles. So every kingdom was in constant peril of attack by its neighbors. Not only the northern kingdom of Israel, but the southern kingdom of Judah also, were constantly in peril of efforts of the kingdom of Syria, to the north and northeast, to conquer them. Now whenever they retained their loyalty of Yahweh God, they had no trouble from attacks by their neighbors. Most of the time they lived in peace, because, when they were attacked, they inflicted such crushing defeats upon these other kingdoms that they weren't in a hurry to come back and make another attack. But when they lapsed into idolatry, as you remember they did about once every generation, then they were subject to attacks by the Edomites on the southeast, and by the Syrians on the north and northeast.
Well, under those circumstances, being idolaters, they didn't ask help from God; they sought help in military alliances with their neighbors: Egypt, if there was an attack by Syria; and Syria, and even Assyria, if it was an attack by Edom or Egypt to the south.
During this period, when Egypt was ruled by these Nubian pharaohs, you read in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel the warnings, that against the threatening power of Assyria it was stupid to try to gain help by alliances with Egypt, because you couldn't rely upon Egypt - and that was true - the greatness of Egypt in every respect had passed.
In this period you begin finding a number of prophecies in the Bible about disasters that were to come upon Egypt. God's patience with Egypt had worn pretty thin by this time. Now some of these prophecies refer to the conquest of Egypt by Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar; Ezekiel 29, 30 and 31, even the first part of Ezekiel 32, belong to this group. Then you will find some others that refer to conquests by Assyria and by the Persians.
You remember the order: the Assyrian empire was superseded by Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and that finally was overthrown by the Medo-Persian empire. So, these prophecies against Egypt have to be studied in the light of ancient history, to know to which they refer. For example, Ezekiel 29 verses 10 and 11 says, "Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years." Well, we know that didn't happen to Egypt proper, and the description here is not that of Egypt proper. The tower of Syene is at Aswan, the southern border of Egypt itself, and it says, from there to Ethiopia; so that is clearly the Sudan, as we call it today, or ancient Nubia. It no doubt refers to conditions following the defeat of this twenty-fifth dynasty, either by the Assyrians under Esarhaddon - that was about 670 B.C. - or possibly by the Persians under Cambyses in 525 B.C., or under Xerxes in 483 B.C. But there are some others that refer to a later, greater event, that has never been fulfilled in the past, and the entire nineteenth chapter of Isaiah refers to this.
Everybody that I know, who has been a student of prophecy, myself included, has thought that the nineteenth chapter. of Isaiah wasn't going to come into effect until the final war that closes this age; in other words, the times described in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel. But it has sneaked up on us and happened in a way that none of us anticipated, not from warfare at all but from what was intended as a most peaceable sort of thing - and that is what I want to talk to you about tonight.
The fact that the prophecies of the nineteenth chapter of Isaiah have actually been fulfilled in the greater part, in the last few years, shows us just how close to the end we are. This nineteenth chapter of Isaiah has of course, like nearly everything else in the King James Version, been garbled somewhat by the translators, and I will make a correction or two from some other translations, as we go. And mostly I am taking it from the King James Version because that is what you will find at home.
"The burden of Egypt. Behold, Yahweh rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour . . ." Well, they have had periods of internal warfare like that in the past, between different people fighting for the throne, but that is apparently not what it is referring to here.
"And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord, and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith Yahweh of hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up . . ." That doesn't make very much sense, because you would have to use up a lot of water, not to have it in the sea.
It is notable that the Septuagint translation, when they translated the Old Testament into Greek about 250 B.C., gives that verse this way [it is Isaiah 19 verse 5): "The Egyptians drink water, even that near the sea, but the river shall fail and be dried up . . ." So they will be reduced to using the brackish water close to the mouth of the river. Then the next verse, 6, garbled as we shall see: "And they shall turn the rivers far away; and . . ." - your King James Version says ". . . the brooks of defense . . ." - a meaningless phrase, obviously garbled. ". . . the brooks of defense shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither . . ." Now the Septuagint and Moffatt's modern English translation, instead of saying the "brooks of defense" say "the canals . . ." and that would make sense, because, from ancient times, irrigation has been necessary in the Nile valley.
". . . The fishers also [fishermen, that is') shall mourn, and all they that cast hook into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish."
Way back in the upper Sudan there is a place where the Nile river flows through a rather shallow valley, and it comes to a place where it has cut its way through a great dyke of rock, so that there is a place where it is flowing through a narrow pass with rock cliffs on either side. A carload of explosives could blast down enough rocks from those cliffs to make a dam in this narrow spot and halt the flow there; and if the water rose, not even very high in this shallow valley, it would overflow the low hills to the east of it and cut itself a new channel, heading eastward into the Red Sea.
You remember, that because of the Suez Canal, Egypt has been an important defense base for England, and you remember how desperately the Allies worried when the German general, Rommel, almost captured Egypt. The Italians had taken Eritrea, the costal portion of Ethiopia, back between World Wars I and II, and had even pretty much captured Ethiopia. They hadn't been able to prevent guerrilla warfare in the jungle portions of it, but they were occupying it and were in general command, and there was quite a bit of nervousness during World War II that the Italians might go back there, blast those cliffs down and block the Nile, which would have made Egypt uninhabitable and driven the British out. So that was the natural interpretation that Bible students had put upon this thing, and that is what, as I say, all of us expected; but it didn't happen, and it never dawned upon us how it would sneak up on us in another way.
". . . Moreover they that work and comb flax, and they that weave cotton, shall be ashamed . . ."
Now there is some more here, where the king James Version has garbled it a bit [verse 16]: ". . . And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish . . ." Now that is about as silly a statement as you will find anywhere, isn't it? And whenever you find something that the translators have turned silly, you know it wasn't that way in the original; it is a mistake in translation.
I happen to have, among the many different translations in my library, a translation of the Old Testament put out by the Jews, the Jewish Publication Society of America, in Philadelphia, and oddly enough they have a translation of this particular verse that makes more sense than any of the others, as we shall see. This verse 10, by the way, because it is so stupid in the King James Version, and most of the other translators haven't been able to make anything better out of it, you will find that many of the modern English translations simply leave it out, and they don't even put in an asterisk to indicate something is left out; they just ignore it.
Here is what the Jewish translation says, and you will appreciate how keenly perceptive it is, when I tell you what I have learned recently: "And her foundations shall be crushed; all they that make dams shall be grieved in soul . . ."
Then it continues, beginning with verse 11: ". . . Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel. of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what Yahweh of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also deceived Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. Yahweh hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of Yahweh of hosts, which he shakes over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt . . ." Note the peculiar accuracy of that: it doesn't say the people of Judah, because these Jews over there in Palestine are not, any of them, from the tribe of Judah.
". . . the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that makes mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of Yahweh of hosts, which he has determined against it . . ."
No doubt you have read that, until recent times, relatively, [oh, go back not more than a century], until recent times, the valley of the Nile was considered to have the most fertile soil in the world because, every year at the flood season, the land was so low, was so little above the normal level of the river at the flood season, water overflowed the farm lands. During the two or three months that the land was flooded, all the salt and alkali that had been accumulating in the soil was leached out of it and washed away, down to the sea.
In the Salt River valley in Arizona [the city of Phoenix is in that valley], about 800 years ago the Indians had a surprisingly high civilization there. They irrigated a great area with the waters of the Salt River. As a matter of fact, the modern irrigation system consists mostly of lust a deepening of the remains of the old Indian canals; they were that well engineered. But what happened was this: the water put upon the land dissolved any alkali or salt that was in the soil, and brought it to the surface - and in that hot, dry climate, there was no run-off; the water simply came to the surface and evaporated into the air. So the water was constantly dissolving and bringing to the surface the alkali and salt, and then leaving it there. And over a period of time, the salt and alkali accumulated to the point where the people could no longer raise any crops, because the fertility of the soil was destroyed, and the Indians were starved out about 800 years ago.
The same thing could happen any place else in the world, but it couldn't happen in the Nile valley because, every year, the flood waters of the Nile flushed out any alkali or salt that had accumulated in the upper part of the soil.
There are three principal rivers that are the source of the Nile: the Blue Nile; the White Nile; and one which is known as the Black Nile because, flowing through an area in Ethiopia where there is a good deal of silty soil, it picks up so much silt that the waters are practically black with it. So the flow of the Nile brings down this silt, and in those three months that the Nile valley in Egypt is covered with the flood waters, another layer of this fresh silt is deposited on the land. The soil is constantly being replenished, so it had the reputation of being the most fertile soil in the world.
Then, back, I forget the date, but say sixty or seventy years ago, the British built for them a low dam at Aswan. You know we are always trying to improve on nature. This was to hold back the flood waters, so the people wouldn't, have to vacate their farm lands part of the year. Then the Egyptians, getting delusions of grandeur, said, "We want a great high dam at Aswan, to store vast quantities of water, so that even in the driest years we will always have ample water there to draw on."
Our own government, eager to give away billions of dollars of the American taxpayers' money, volunteered to do it. Then when Egypt showed a dislike for having her territory taken away by the Jews, the American government reneged on its promise to build for the Egyptians the high dam. So the Russians stepped in, and offered to go through with it, and the Russians did build that high dam. They have had it completed, I guess, three or four years now.
They now have a great high dam at Aswan holding back the waters of the Nile, and they release it in just the quantities they want. All right. A river flowing along rapidly carries with it any silt that is picked up, and when you hold it behind a dam, and the water comes to a halt, all that silt drops to the bottom. So, for one thing, it starts silting up the reservoir behind the dam; you are constantly building up the bottom of it, higher and higher, with the silt that is dropped there. And secondly, no silt gets down below that dam. So for some years now, the farm fields of Egypt have not been covered by the annual flood, for the annual flood water never gets by the high Aswan dam. And now the consequences have begun to show up.
The most important crop in Egypt is the cotton crop, and their cotton crop, by the way, is pledged to Russia for several years yet to come, in payment for the poor grade of Russian military equipment that was foisted on them. Their cotton crop is falling off badly, because the soil is becoming alkaline, for it never gets the flood waters to leach it out anymore. And in that hot Egyptian climate, the water they put on it, by irrigation through the canals, of course dissolves the alkali in the lower depths of the soil and brings it to the surface, where the water evaporates, but the alkali is left in the soil. The same thing is happening there that happened in our Salt River valley of Arizona 800 years ago.
Let us go back and look at Isaiah again. "Moreover they that work and comb flax, and they that weave cotton, shall be ashamed" [Isaiah 19: 9]. They do of course have some flax or linen farming, but principally cotton, and both of them are getting into difficulties.
Now another thing: when it comes to fish, you don't start with whales and work from them, down to the smaller things; you start, to, begin with, with what is called plankton, p-l-a-n-k-t-o-n, which includes tiny little living things, so small as to be bacteria, and a bit larger, up to things that are visible to the eye if you look closely. The smallest little minnows feed upon the plankton, and somewhat larger fish feed on the minnows, and the bigger fish feed on those, and so on. Now they had quite a fishing industry, in the lower reaches of the Nile and at the mouth of the Nile.
Well, the start of the food cycle for fish, the plankton, used to be washed down with the silt, but it doesn't come any more, for they have cut off the food chain right at the start of it. As there are no little minnows to feed the larger fish, the larger fish aren't there either, so their fishing industry has also gone bad. And remember, Egypt desperately needs anything she can get, to bring in any kind of income.
"The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast hook into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the w8ters shall languish" [Isaiah 19:8]. And as I say, this sneaked up on us; only just recently has it come to light.
A friend of mine, who was stationed in Europe for the last three or four years, has returned to this country recently, and on the way back he stopped over a few days in Egypt. He wanted to see the Great Pyramid, and so on, and while he was there he found this out, and told me just a few days ago. As I say, I only ran into this a week or so ago.
The Egyptians are in desperate trouble and, as the Jewish translation says, "all they that make dams shall be grieved in soul." In other words, they have destroyed Egypt.
We were all waiting for the next war, the final Armageddon war, to bring this about, through turning the river away, way back in the Sudan, but that isn't the way God had planned it. It didn't take a war to do it. When we can see that prophecy being fulfilled, it shows us that we are getting close to the time of the end.
Egypt really is in difficulties. The tourist industry had been an important one. During the days of the fighting with the Jews, of course the war scared away most of the tourists, because the Jews were doing some air-raiding and bombardment. So the hotels and the stores that handled goods for the tourist trade, and all who made goods to be sold in those stores, are now out of work.
Another thing my friend noticed: there is no love lost between the Egyptians and the Russians. Now the Egyptians turned to us first, for help, but our politicians had sold us out to the Jews, and so of course they also sold the Egyptians out to the Jews. We would not give them help, unless they agreed to surrender to the Jews and let the Jews take whatever they wanted, which naturally the Arabs were not willing to do. Then Russia came along and, with the idea of getting a foothold where she could take the Suez Canal and have a beachhead in Africa, Russia offered to help.
Of course it has been centuries since the Egyptians have had an army worth anything at all, but at this time they needed some military defense against Jewish aggression. They asked us for weapons and we refused to provide them, while at the same time we were providing weapons to the Jews for use in aggression against the Arabs. So Russia offered to provide weapons, and to a certain extent she did so.
The mulatto Egyptians of today are by no means a high type. The, Russians say, and undoubtedly truthfully, that when they trusted the Egyptians with any of the more complex weapons, the Egyptians didn't know how to operate them and by their clumsy stupidity soon put them out of order - and I don't doubt in the least that that is true,. So the Russians gave them only the simpliest sort of weapons after that, and not always in working order either. I have heard it said, on what I think is reliable authority, that the artillery in the, tanks, that the Russians provided the Egyptians, were quite all right, except in one respect: there weren't any gun sights for them.
Remember now, Russia is completely ruled by the Jews, and Russia wasn't going to provide any really effective opposition to the Jews in Palestine; she was just making a show of it, to get the favor of the Egyptians, enough to get a good foothold there, but not doing anything that could actually hurt the Jews.
The Russians have had thousands of military advisers and technicians, and so on, in Egypt, and they have treated the Egyptians with undisguised contempt [maybe part of it justified] and the Egyptians have returned the contempt with interest. My friend says that whenever a Russian walks down the street there, in Cairo or Alexandria, the Egyptians he passes on the street will usually spit, to show their contempt for the Russian. My friend has talked with a number of Arabs. Now remember, he came there just as an ordinary tourist. He wasn't talking with government officials. He was talking with the people on the street, and he said that, everywhere, he found that the Egyptians hate the Russians and they were saying, "If America would only help us: we want to be friends with America" - and some of them even said, "If the British would only come back: we got along so much better when the British were running things here."
This all fits into the same picture, in the great Russian attack pictured in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel. It has been generally assumed by most people that Egypt would be among the allies of Russia. Now go back and read it again. It says that Egypt is going to be overrun and lots of her people slaughtered, there will be fighting in Egypt, but it never lists Egypt among the allies of Russia.
Daniel 11 verses 40 to 43: "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape . . ." Now this king of the north, as everybody has agreed for a couple of hundred years, is the ruler of Russia. ". . . The land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps."
Libya is on the North African coast, just west of Egypt. Ethiopia has for several years been the center of Russian intrigue in Africa. Actually, for diplomatic and consular purposes, a staff of ten people would be heavily over-staffed, but they have had about 500 there. In other words, Soviet spies fan out from Ethiopia over all of Africa. And Libya also is quite favorable to Russia.
In the thirtieth chapter of Ezekiel it says, "The word of Yahweh 'came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith Yahweh God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day! For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a day of clouds; it shall be the time of the heathen. And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. Ethiopia, Put, and Lud, and all the Arabians, the Libyans and the Kerethites with them, shall fall by the sword. Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, and her proud strength shall come down, from Migdol to Syene shall they fall by the sword, is the oracle of Yahweh God."
Now Migdol was a fortification, practically on the Mediterranean coast, guarding the extreme north of Egypt from attack by sea, at the mouth of the Nile, and Syene of course is Aswan at the southern border of Egypt. You remember, I read you another prophecy here, which said it would be desolate and uninhabited for forty years, from Syene to the border of Ethiopia. So that referred to the Sudan, but this now refers to Egypt proper;
This "Put" might easily be a misprint in some of the ancient manuscripts for Punt. It appears in your Bible as P-u-t, but P-u-n-t was the ancient name for the coast of Somaliland, on the east coast of Africa, just below Ethiopia; it could be that. So it could be Somaliland or possibly Eritrea, which is now part of Ethiopia.
Lud, spelled L-u-d, furnished mercenary soldiers for Egypt in the early days, which could possibly be the Berbers of Libya, or possibly even the Lydians on the shore of Asia Minor, because the position of Turkey is becoming doubtful. Turkey was one of our strong allies till we began selling her out to Russia, and Turkey at the present time appears to be looking to see which side will offer her the highest bid.
The Kerethites were people of southern Philistia, on the Palestinian coast; that is the modern Gaza strip which the Jews have occupied, on the Palestinian coast, south of the border of Egypt.
So some of these things, that we looked for only as part of a war, are sneaking up on us now, with the fulfillment of this much of the prophecy. True, there is going to be the final war, and there is going to be fighting when Russia wants to occupy the Suez Canal and get her bridgehead onto the African continent; that much yet has to come. But note that the first part of this prophecy has happened in less than the last ten years; we are in that period. So take note that things are shaping up rapidly .for the end, and you may not have too long to wait.