Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Question or Topic
What does the passage of Isaiah 19: 23-25 have reference to?
Scripture Isaiah 19: 23-25
The passage reads: "In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance."(Isaiah 19:23-25)
Answer This seems likely to be speaking of the same time as that described in Isa. 11:15-16; "And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, who shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."
It is this writer's understanding that this refers to the time after the return of the Lord Jesus to establish the Kingdom of God. Assyria and Egypt both come within the area of the nations round about Israel who will be the first to feel the defeat by the Lord when he takes up his sword against Israel's enemies.
Assyria is not to be mistaken for the present land of Syria. Assyria of old was situated along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that corresponds to the present land of Iraq. As we all know modern Iraq is still a very real threat to the nation of Israel. They hate the Jews through their religion which is Islamic and they hate them because of their alliance with the U.S. during the Gulf War of the early 1990's in which Iraq was totally defeated and put under sanctions by the other nations. They make no bones about their desire to destroy Israel and only this past week there were some Iraqi terrorists found among the Palestinians and weapons supplied by Iraq.
Egypt has taken a large part in wars with Israel since Israel once more became a nation, suffering defeat four times at Israel's hands in 1947-48, 1954, 1967, and 1973. Their Islamic religion along with their hatred for Israel keeps them stewing in their desire for revenge although they have been somewhat more cautious in their approach but still supporting the terrorist activities of the other Arab nations.
Speaking of the restoration of the children of Israel to their land in the end times. We are given these words in Zech 10:10-12: "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD."
Assyria and Egypt defeated
We notice that both Assyria and Egypt are selected for special defeat by God and that God blesses Israel. Although it is not complete we are seeing some of this unfolding since 1947-48 and it will continue until its completion.
It seems that there will be an invasion by the Assyrians into the land of Israel that will bring about their final defeat by the hand of Christ. Micah 5: 4-6 tells us about this; "And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders."
Another passage that seems to deal with this time is found in Isa.31: 4-9. "For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. 7For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem."
Isaiah 9 Context
Let us look at more verses preceding the verses in question that may help us fit it all in a little better. Isa.19: 15-25 reads as follows;
"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 the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it. In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance."
Before the invasion by Gog
On the strength of these passages of scripture the writer feels the passage in question is speaking of the early days after the establishment of the Christ's Kingdom when only the immediate area is under his power. The area from Egypt to Assyria (Iraq) would come into his hand with the defeat of the nations now surrounding and fighting with Israel. These areas along with the area promised to Abraham would comprise his first territorial conquests and there would be immediate peace in this area as he brings it under his power. The nations would no longer be fighting but will have come under his absolute rule and be able to travel back and forth with no territorial boundaries to hamper them.
If we notice when the Gogian invasion of Ezekiel comes against Israel neither Assyria, Egypt, or any of the surrounding nations are named among the nations who will make up the invading host. This would lead one to think they will no longer be a factor but will already have been subdued and under Christ's rule. This time would be the mustard seed stage or the time of the small stone that Daniel spoke of before the full growth of Christ's Kingdom is reached.
Whenever we attempt to interpret these prophecies that are still in the process of being fulfilled, we are subject to our own limitations. We all have a good understanding of the general outline and purpose of God, and we know what the final outcome will be, but the sequence and the other details are not always easy to determine.
I have presented what I consider to be a likely interpretation for the passage in Isaiah 19, and I hope that my thoughts will be helpful in the stimulation of your own study of this subject.