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By Richard Gunther
are many books about the three main pyramids in Egypt, but this article is not
about them. There is no doubt that these monuments, along with the sphinx and a
few other buildings around the same area, represent a powerful witness to the
intellectual prowess of humans who lived a few thousand years ago, but it is not
the scope of this article to examine this aspect. When were the pyramids built?
Based on Biblical chronology, these monuments in stone must have been erected
soon after the Great Flood (about 2,300 BC) since all that man ever built before
that time was destroyed by the ravaging of the waters. (See my article
‘Crustal Displacement and Biblical Chronology’)
There is no doubt that the pyramids represent a technological marvel. The
main ones at least display mathematical wonders, architectural marvels, and
astronomical accuracy which is only now being fully appreciated, some four and a
half thousand years later. It is repeatedly said, by writer on the subject, how
amazing it is to find such constructions, at a time when humans were supposedly
still in their infancy as far as science and technology goes.
It is the fact that these pyramids display so much ingenuity and skill
that has led many people to imagine all sorts of dubious origins for them. Some
conjectures involve visits from aliens, and supervision by creatures from
another planet. Other theories revolve around humans being able to harness
unknown forces, or levitation techniques using mind-power or vibrations.
But the most common sense explanation seems to me to be the best. Humans
have always been intelligent, ever since God created the first two. They were
able to discover and use metals soon after creation, and they built an ark.
After the flood they built a city with a huge tower. The pyramids are simply one
more construction among many. At about the same time that the pyramids were
going up, other pockets of civilization were also building massively with stone
– for example the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs and Incas.
But there are a number of people who strongly maintain that the words in
Isaiah 19:19 refer to the Great Pyramid in Egypt. They also believe that the
internal and external measurements of this pyramid have prophetic meanings. If
this is so, then the Great Pyramid (at Gizeh) is suddenly extremely important,
since, apparently, God Himself has mentioned it. If this pyramid is indeed
described in Scripture, then perhaps there is some prophetic significance to it?
And perhaps Christians would do well to study it?
Is. 19:19 says “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 at its
So we have two objects here: an “altar” and a “pillar”.
When Joseph and Mary set out for Egypt (Mat.2:14), he most probably
headed for the Jewish colony there. This colony had been there ever since the
destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar around 604 BC. The colony continued
to expand after Palestine became a Greek province, until it was nearly a million
strong. Jewish colonists had built, at Leontopolis, a temple, said to
rival that at Sion. (Jerusalem, or Zion). The majority of these Jews remained
faithful to Palestine and stayed in constant relation with their compatriots
there. In Alexandria, the Jews formed two-fifths of the population. The Jews of
this city made, for the Library of Ptolemy II, the translation called the
Septuagint (About 200-300 BC)
The fulfilment of Is.19:19.
As a consequence of the wars between the Jews and the Syrians, Onias IV,
the high priest, fled to Alexandria, where, on account of his active sympathy
with the king of Egypt against Syria, he was welcomed by Ptolemy Philometor, the
Macedonian king of Egypt, who ruled from 180 – 145 BC. (Encyclopaedia
Britannica). Onias was then rewarded by being made prince over the Jews in
Egypt, with the title of Ethnarch and Alabarch.
All the above is also recorded in Josephus: Ant. XIII, chapter 3:1-3, and
Wars, Book 7, chapter 10:3.
The place of this temple, which the Jews built, was erected on the same
spot that Israel, centuries before, had been given light in their dwellings,
while Egypt was suffering a plague of darkness. i.e. the “land of Goshen”.
The temple was maintained for more than 200 years (about 160 BC – 71 AD) when
it was finally closed by Vespasian.
19:18. The New king James wrongly translates this verse (following the
deliberately altered Septuagint version) : “In that day five cities in the
Land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the Lord of hosts;
one will be called the city of destruction . . . (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 at its border . . .(20) and it will be for a sign and for a witness to the
Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of the
oppressors . . .”
The Jerusalem Jews were opposed to the Alexandrian temple, and jealous,
because they saw it as a rival temple. When they got their version of the
Septuagint, they minutely altered the word for “sun” (cheres) so that it
read “destruction” (heres) instead. The Septuagint version
read “ir-ha-zedek” = “a city of righteousness”, but the altered
version read “a city of destruction”. It is because of this tiny variation
between the two versions of the Septuagint that the King James and Authorised
versions have a marginal note about the alternative reading. The correct
rendering is “city of the sun”, or “Heliopolis”.
The “five cities” were probably Heliopolis (the place where the altar
and pillar were built), Leontopolis, Daphne, Migdol and Memphis.
In Hebrew, the word “pillar” is ‘matsebah = “a thing set up”.
As in Gen.28:18 and 22, where Jacob set up a stone. Similarly throughout
Genesis, 31:13, 45, 51, 35:14, 20, Ex.24:4, Deut. 12:3, 2Sam.18:18. In all these
texts the word means “something set up”.
When Joseph returned from Egypt with Mary and his son Jesus, he heard
that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod, so he did not venture back into
Judea, but went instead on the long journey north to Galilee, and stopped at
Nazareth. This was a wise precaution because Archelaus was almost as ferocious
as his predecessor, and had inaugurated his reign by the massacre of 3000 Jews.
Jesus would have been about 18 months old at this time.
Another example of the building of an “altar” and “witness” is
found in Joshua 22:10-27, where the children of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe
of Manasseh built an “altar” and a “witness”, so that if succeeding
generations asked what the meaning of the altar was, the question would serve as
a lead in for some teaching about the history of Palestine.
So, to recap, we have God’s promise in Isaiah that God would set up an
altar and a pillar to serve as a “sign” and a ”witness” in the land of
Egypt. The temple which the Jews built served as both things. The position of
the witness was also backed up by mention of five cities, which we have named.
One of these cities was to be called the ‘city of the sun’ which came to
pass exactly as the Lord said. Heliopolis, the city of the sun, was certainly
Is there any correlation between this temple and the Great Pyramid?
As far as can see there is no correlation at all. The pyramid was not set up by God, nor did it serve as a witness to him in any way. It was a monument to Man’s power and skill, not an altar to God. Other pyramids were decorated with astrological signs and false religious beliefs. The Great pyramid is strangely free of all embellishments, but it is also free of any reference to the God of Israel. There is a theory that the great pyramid was a monument to mathematics, but even if this was so it could not be the “altar” and “sign” and “witness” to the Jews, because they were not interested in following the ways of the pagans.
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