How do you view Isaiah 19:18-24?  It seems that the prophecy has not been accomplished yet from my understanding of the scripture. I’ve seen some commentaries claiming that Assyria and Egypt unification is more related to Christianity and that the Coptic and Syriac churches united as one in fellowship with our Lord. Could there be another explanation offered?


I have studied Isaiah carefully, and I have looked at an excellent commentary on this passage, and I agree with the author that this prophecy primarily points toward the messianic age.  In other words, it is fulfilled when Christianity came to and, essentially, conquered Egypt and Mesopotamia.  The church in Alexandria was on of the most powerful in the early period.  By the third century, Christianity was the dominant religion there, as it remained even after the Muslim conquest.  Similarly, Mesopotamia was one of the earliest areas dominated by Christianity, already by the second and third century.  The church at Antioch oversaw the growing influence of Christianity in what would be Eastern Syria, Southeast Turkey and Northern Iraq.  The “Christian” crescent included Asia Minor, Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia.  In this sense there was a “highway,” spiritually, between Egypt and what is figuratively called Assyria in the prophecy.  And that highway passed through Jerusalem, which is implied in the prophecy. The unity of the two in Isaiah’s prophecy is found in Christianity in the second century and later.  I believe that the “altar” (v. 19) is a figurative, not an actual Jewish altar.  The savior he sends them (v. 20) is not a military one, but it is Christ.  Again, the “sacrifices” in v. 21 are not literal ones in my opinion, but the sacrifices of a Christian (Romans 12:1).  I do not believe that this is a prophecy about the later Coptic and Syriac Orthodox churches uniting as one group.  This seems unlikely, but I cannot absolutely rule it out.

John Oakes







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