Category Archives: Egypt

Egypt, My People!!

Without a doubt you have seen the tragic and disturbing news about the Coptic Christians that were brutally murdered by ISIS in Libya. Our hearts are with the families — and all of Egypt — who are mourning the loss of their beloved ones. God bless each one of them today.

Neighbours and friends of the relatives of Egyptian Coptic men killed in Libya attend mass at a church, as a banner with pictures of the men who were men is displayed on the church wall, in El-Our village, in Minya governorate, south of Cairo February 16, 2015. (Photo: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih, EGYPT)

Pope Francis did not shy away from the clear religious motivation behind the mass beheading. “They were murdered just because they were Christians,” he said during a meeting with a Scottish church leader, calling the victims “brothers, who died simply because they professed their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Coptic Christians?

In Egypt alone there are estimates of 9-15 million Coptic Christians, about 10-20% of the population. The Coptic Church community is one of the oldest in the Middle East. It is thought to believe that St Mark took the Gospel to Alexandria, Egypt shortly after the ascension around 42 A.D.

Ancient Alexandria, Egypt

Ancient Alexandria, Egypt

By the 2nd century, Christianity began to spread to rural areas and the Scriptures were translated into the local language known today as the Coptic language, but then known as the Egyptian language. By the beginning of the 3rd century A.D., Christians constituted the majority of Egypt’s population. You can read more about the history of the Coptic church on wikipedia.

The Ancient Church of the Middle East

It is important to note that the target of ISIS has been the ancient church of the Middle East that has been unconquered by Islam through the centuries— slaughtering Christians of the ancient church of Assyria in Northern Iraq, and the Coptic Christians of Egypt. Islam was unable to completely conquer the Coptic Church of Egypt, and so they continue to this day to persecute, kill them, and burn their churches. There seems to be an intentional strategy of these extreme Islamic radical groups to go after Christians in Islamic nations in particular.

Another of their intentions is to target Islamic nations that have partnered with the West: Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia.

With the rise of attacks against the Jewish communities in Europe as well, it is clear about the brutal agenda of these radical Islamic groups against Jews and Christians emerging around the globe.

How to Pray

We count it a privilege that God has allowed us to bless these nations where we have traveled and lived and have come to know many friends of the Middle East over the years—Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Iran. One of the things God has put on our hearts as we have been engaged with the Middle East, and Europe, is to pray God’s blessings on these nations. We have also been praying specifically for revival, that they will return to their spiritual roots of faith in Jesus. We have walked these lands and prayed on site in the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities for God’s purposes to be realized.

Pray especially for the Christians of these nations who are facing persecution as believers in Jesus.

Let’s agree together in a prayer for the nations of the Middle East:

Father, comfort the Egyptian families who have just lost their loved ones in this brutal act. We pray you will surround them with Your presence today. Continue to strengthen Egypt so that she will arise to the destiny You ordained for her at this time in history. Bless the church of Egypt – and in particular, all of our Egyptian friends!

Bless the church of Jordan today! Bless the King, the nation, his parliament, the economy, and all those agencies who are assisting the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing ISIS.

We pray for the Assyrian, Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese Christians, in particular, and ask that you make provision for all they need today. Protect them – and pour out Your goodness upon them.

Bless Israel today and surround her borders securely as the mountains surround Jerusalem. Bless the Body of Messiah of Jewish and Arab believers. May they demonstrate Him in creative ways.

Father, glorify Your name through the church of the Middle East today. Comfort the hurting, and provide for the all those who are in need today. May You be revealed as the Messiah and Lord of all. Thank you for all You are doing in these nations that You love.

In the name of Jesus/Yeshua/Yesu3, amen!

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The Prophet’s Dance

Prophet Isaiah (Drawing by Ron Cantrell)

Prophet Isaiah (Drawing by Ron Cantrell)

The prophet sat in a daze with that thousand-mile stare of one seeing beyond the shadowlands of the physical world. Isaiah’s scribe knew the look, and immediately took up pen and scroll ready for what was coming. He was a trained scribe—God’s secretary—recorder of the timeless world of a holy throne room.

scribes-Photo-creditWGBH-Educational-Foundation - Version 2

Isaiah rose, lifted his hands, and began to move about the room almost in a dance, looking first toward the north, then the south, and not neglecting east and west with his intent gaze and squinted eyes as if trying to make something out in a haze. Circling and circling, the prophet moved until he was finally spinning so that his robe responded to the centrifugal force in a great circle. Dust rose from the stone floor and Isaiah’s growling other-worldly voice began repeatedly pronouncing,

“Mitzraim, Mitzraim, Mitzraim…..!”

His countenance turned toward the south in the direction of Mitzraim (Egypt)—Israel’s southern neighbor—who had at times been a friend, at other times a foe.

The words were tumbling forth now, painting the vision for the hand armed with pen and scroll.

scribe at work ii

The great and mighty nation’s woes spilled out of the prophet’s mouth like a waterfall. Isaiah spoke like a thunderstorm in another voice, a perfect voice filled with authority and majesty colored by Heaven. The scribe shuddered. It seemed that the prophet controlled the atmosphere in the room like a mighty storm so that the everyday objects of the palace faded into a shroud of the dark prophecy.

The very God of Heaven rode down on Isaiah’s words to touch Earth in His fire.  “Kings . . .” and “war . . .” spilled out; “brother against brother”; “terrors…” and “devastation…” darkened the room. Depression swirled in the circle with Isaiah’s flowing robe. There was no time for emotional paralysis—the words were coming in a rush. The hand hurried to keep up; the swift scrawling letters imprinted matched the urgency of the prophet’s message.

Then Isaiah stopped; his head tilted as if to hear something more clearly. A light seemed to break through the dark clouds of the prophetic flow reflecting in the prophet’s face. His lips began to slowly, silently, form another word,

“Sun . . . sun . . . the sun . . . Heliopolis will speak Hebrew,” the prophet whispered.

The city, named for the sun god of the Egyptians, would speak Hebrew? The scribe shifted in his seat, sitting more uprightly . . . more was pouring forth from Isaiah’s mouth.

“It will be a sign to the Lord of Hosts . . . “

Isaiah bent at the waist, groaning as if giving birth. Tears spilled as he began slowly spinning again. For awhile, no words came, just the dance: the bent stature, the spinning in silence. Then Isaiah stopped abruptly.  “Come, Yuval . . .”

Isaiah hurried out of the palace toward the stables. He didn’t speak a word as if on pause between segments of a download from Heaven. He merely gestured to the stable boy—two horses. Yuval managed to quickly gather up his inkpot and scroll but hoped the prophet’s words would not flow on horseback. He would have to try to remember them.

From the palace they traveled west and moved to the ridge road that connected Jerusalem with Bethlehem. Turning south they rode in silence; Isaiah’s face set like a flint. Determined, yet not harsh, was the prophet’s appearance. In the distance the hill rose where the southern military armory was located at Talpiot. A smaller path led up the hill eastward to the armory. Isaiah guided his horse east and upward. Upon arrival, they skirted the armory to the east and turned the corner to the south side and a long promontory that seemed to end in space, high above the deep valley that separated Jerusalem from Bethlehem.

There, Isaiah stopped, dismounted, and stared southeast. As if in a dream, he spoke to no one in particular,

“The King’s Highway.” He stroked his beard, “Oh God! My God!” the words escaped his lips on a soft breath, not pleading, rather in wonder.

He lifted a hand as if tracing the route of the King’s Highway that traversed the far ridge of mountains on the other side of the River Jordan.

The King's Highway, Jordan

The King’s Highway, Jordan (photo: Jordan Travel)

“That’s the highway . . . Right there it is,” turning slowly southward his hand changed history tracing the highway toward the border of Egypt. “There . . . there . . . Yuval, do you see it? There will be a memorial pillar to the LORD, and beyond, in Heliopolis, an altar. He will rescue them from themselves.

“Three nations, Yuval, three nations . . .”

Ancient King's Highway, Jerash Jordan.

Ancient King’s Highway, Jerash Jordan.

The prophet bent again as if giving birth. He groaned deeply. He sank to his knees both hands extended upward.

“On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will go to Egypt, Egypt to Assyria, and Egypt will worship with Assyria.”

kings-highway-0014

Yuval could hardly write . . . What could the prophet be saying? What? Had he lost his mind? 

Isaiah now turned northeast, and with hands still extended he uttered,

“On that day Israel will form a triple alliance with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing within the land. The Lord of Hosts will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”

Looking from the mountain ridges of Jordan along the King's Highway route into Israel, "The Beautiful Land."

Looking from the mountain ridges of Jordan along the King’s Highway route into Israel, “The Beautiful Land.”

Isaiah ceased speaking. It was a good thing . . . Yuval sat stunned. In his years with the prophet, he had never known him to be wrong, but this . . . Yuval could not speak. He merely stared with Isaiah at the eastern horizon where the highway lay—that famed ancient trade route connecting so many nations of the world.

The ancient King's highway through the southern wilderness of Jordan (photo: Jordan Travel)

The ancient King’s highway through the southern wilderness of Jordan (photo: Jordan Travel)

This, the prophet had uttered, is where hundreds of thousands of feet had previously tread a world-renowned trail would one day be a highway of holiness unto the Lord of Hosts. Enemies would embrace one another in the fear of the Lord.

Google earth image of the "King's Highway."  (Photo image from netours.com)

Google earth image of the “King’s Highway.”
(Photo image from netours.com)

The King's Highway begins from the Port of Aqaba at the Red Sea

The King’s Highway begins from the Port of Aqaba at the Red Sea

A tear fell from Yuval’s cheek.

In stunned silence Isaiah rose, gathered himself together, and mounted his horse, awaiting his scribe to do the same.

The sun was sinking in the west and the color embraced them in golden hues as they made their way back to the city of the Great King—where history was fashioned by the hands of a servant of the Almighty, the Most High and Holy God.

Jerusalem of Gold. (Photo: A scene from National Geographic Entertainment's “Jerusalem.” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENTERTAINMENT.)

Jerusalem of Gold.
(Photo: A scene from National Geographic Entertainment’s “Jerusalem.” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENTERTAINMENT.)

(Based on Isaiah 19.)

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