Who would disguise a pre-meditated massacre with a soccer ball? Consider what happened at a soccer game in Port Said, Egypt, in 2012 —
On February 1, 2012, in what seemed to be a peaceful Egyptian premier league football match between Al-Masry [Port Said, Egypt] and Al-Ahly [Cairo] clubs, the 3-1 victory by Al-Masry [the home team] catalyzed a full-on riot where Al-Masry fans brutally attacked Al-Ahly fans [on the home field]. Following the victory, Al-Masry fans [the victors] stormed onto the field armed with knives, clubs, swords, and stones, resulting in fatal melee of 79 deaths [more than 1,000 injured] caused by stabbing, brain hemorrhages, or concussions. Read more.
A trial followed. Seventy-five suspects were charged in the deaths of the seventy-nine at the soccer stadium. (Read more). Twenty-one of the seventy-five were given the death penalty. (Read more). As one might expect, more riots occurred resulting in the death of an additional 31 people.
It seems that the initial riot was not about football. The initial riot occurred on the home field of the victor, Al-Masry of Port Said. Here is how one report described the real reason for the killing:
It is widely believed in Egypt that the al-Masri fans, called ultras or football hoodlums, deliberately caused the stampede, which killed dozens of people, and that they were hand in glove with Old Regime security officials who wanted to punish the al-Ahli ultras for their role in making the revolution against Hosni Mubarak. The court appears to have taken this theory seriously. (Read more)
In other words, the supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak (the Port Said fans) came to the game with revenge in mind, armed for their after-game assault. The stampede was deliberate and apparently pre-meditated, a part of their plan — not the result of fan frenzy after a heart-breaking defeat (particularly since they won!). The Port Said fans wanted to avenge the removal of Hosni Mubarak in the revolution inspired by Arab Spring, of which the al-Ahly fans were apparently believed to be participants in. The security officials at the game were accused of complicity in the actions. In fact, the head of security for the stadium was arrested and charged by officials. The sports event was simply an opportunity, and the deaths, the result of Mubarak’s supporters at “war” against the new regime, Muhammad Morsi.
What does a soccer game have to do with Bible prophecy? Perhaps, I should rephrase the question: What does civil war between rival “kingdoms” have to do with Bible prophecy?
Isaiah 19:1-2 (NASB) 1 The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; … . “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom.
Egyptians against Egyptians. City against city. Kingdom against kingdom – in Egypt, the civilization thought by many to be the cradle-of-civilization. In fact, a civilization known for its stability, its ordered society, its great pyramids, a society known from antiquity for Pharaohs, wonders, and precious things (Daniel 11:43 NASB). When Egyptians use a soccer event to mask the premeditated murder of men, women, and children, all the while as security officials do nothing to stop the rampage, one can only conclude that the events of this imploding civilization are worth noting. And what could the Scripture be referring to when it prophesies of “kingdoms against kingdoms”? I posit that the text is referring precisely to the “kingdoms” in Egypt that are currently fighting for power: the Morsi supporters led by the Muslim Brotherhood versus the military backed regime led by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (that represents all other groups, including Copts (Christians), other minorities, and non-Islamist Muslims). When Muhammad Morsi was “unseated” from office by General el-Sisi, the rebel group that led his ouster (Tamarod) had collected over 22 million signatures calling for Morsi’s removal. To give you an idea of the significance of this number, when Morsi was elected on June 24, 2012, he received 13,230,131 votes against his opponent’s 12,347,380. That means that almost 2x the number of people who voted for Morsi a year prior called for his removal from office a year later. It also means that Morsi’s “kngdom” has contracted since taking office and that of the opposing force, presumably the Egyptian military, is winning the war.
Perhaps you think I am making a little much about the soccer massacre? Consider the timeline for civil war in Egypt, and the many lives lost on all sides over the last three years:
- February 11, 2011, Mubarak resigns after Egyptians riot in Tahrir Square as Arab Spring claims its next monarch;
- February 1, 2012, 79 are killed at Port Said soccer game as Egyptians take sides
- June 24, 2012, Muhammad Morsi, an official of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, is elected by Egyptian people
- June 30, 2012, Morsi is sworn in as Egypt’s first democratically elected president
- November 22, 2012, Morsi issues an order preventing any court from overturning his decisions. He orders retrials of former President Hosni Mubarak
- December 9, 2012, Morsi reverses his action of November 22, 2012
- December 15, 2012, a new sharia-based constitution is submitted to the people for vote
- December 25, 2012, the people approve the sharia-based constitution
- December, 2012, riots and protests against Morsi begin in Tahrir Square
- March, 2013, the newly formed youth-led movement, “Tamarod” (“Rebellion”) is formed, along with goal of raising 15 million signatures prior to June 30, 2013, the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s election, calling for Morsi’s removal from office
- July 3, 2013, Egyptian military removes Morsi from office and suspends the constitution that was ratified six months prior
- Morsi is arrested along with all known leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and kept in an undisclosed location
- September 23, 2013, Egypt’s courts rule that the Muslim Brotherhood is an illegal organization and its assets are frozen
- Morsi supporters riot in different cities; over 1000 people are killed and 2000 are arrested
- August 15, 2013, the interim Egyptian presidency declares a nationwide state of emergency as Muslim Brotherhood officials march in Alexandria;
- Polarization within Egyptian society deepens as Morsi supporters and military supporters protest against one another
- Hospitals, churches, and police stations are attacked. The Egyptian stock market is closed
- United States Secretary of State, John Kerry calls the violence deplorable and pressure mounts for the United States to curtain its aid due to the coup that has occurred
- October 13, 2013, Egypt’s General Al-Sisi comments in an interveiw that the removal of Morsi is what prevented civil war
- October 23, 2013, the “Anti-coup Egyptian delegation of public diplomacy” is formed to protest the military’s coup against Muhammad Morsi at the United Nations
- November, 2013 – Morsi and 14 Muslim Brotherhood leaders are brought to trial for not protecting protestors against Morsi. Morsi supporters protest the trial and Morsi refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the court that tries him and his 14 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
I think it’s about a lot more than soccer fans gone mad about the home team. Prophecy is being fulfilled almost daily. Egypt and its current implosion is only one of the many “pieces” that are falling into place; and its civil war is likely about far more than Egypt. It will eventually bleed all over the world. Revelation 13:7-8 NASB, Daniel 7:23-27 NASB.
Jesus come quickly.
The good news about Egypt is in verses 19-24:
19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord near its border. 20 It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. 21 Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them. 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.
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.”
Thanks Hunt – Yes, you are so right. I am actually drafting posts on the entire chapter, section by section. The most important aspect of Isaiah 19 is the time of its fulfillment, i.e., has it already been fulfilled or not yet fulfilled. Sections such as vv 19-25 are clearly “not yet fulfilled.” They make the rest of the chapter relevant to the modern day since the events and happenings of the modern day parallel the prophecies of Isaiah 19. Stay tuned. The final post will include each post I have made so far (four, I think) and tie all of them in to the “not yet fulfilled” time table.