I understand you and your family lived in Egypt while you were researching and writing this book. But if Egypt will not play a role in the War of Gog and Magog, why did you choose to live there?
You’re right, we did live in Egypt for several months while I was working on this book, and it was a wonderful experience for my wife and kids, as well as for me. Egypt, with a population of 70 million, is the largest Arab country. It is also the intellectual and cultural center of the Arab world, and by extension of the Islamic world. It is strategically located close to several Ezekiel 38 coalition countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia) and it is, of course, a direct neighbor of Israel.
While Egypt has historically been a great enemy of Israel and the Jewish people, it does currently have a peace treaty in place, which is no small thing. In fact, I took my boys to the gravesite of the slain Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to pay tribute to the courage he displayed in visiting Israel, speaking to the Knesset, cutting a deal for peace, and telling his people that no good could be achieved for the Arab people through war.
Egypt was an excellent place, therefore, to immerse myself in Islamic culture, to meet players in this unfolding drama, and to conduct interviews that have strongly affected this book, though nearly all of them were off the record or on “deep background.”
One of the things that struck me most about living there was how many Bible characters crisscrossed through Egypt during their lives. Abraham and Sarah did, as did their sons, and later Joseph, who rose to become the country’s first and only Jewish prime minister. But many others were there as well, including Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The more I studied the Scriptures while I was there, the more I realized that God has a special place in his heart for the Egyptian people. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah says that one day God will shower his grace upon the Egyptians and the Assyrians (including the people of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and northern Iraq) and draw them to himself and to peace with Israel in a way few can currently imagine.
In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it. The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them.
In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!” (Isaiah 19:19-25)