“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” [Romans 9:17]
Pharaoh is the general title given to the dynastic kings of Egypt. At least a dozen different Pharaohs are mentioned in Scripture, but only two by name — Neco and Hophra. This profile will focus on the two Pharaohs of the Exodus. The first Pharaoh who initially oppressed the Hebrews by forcing them into slave labor, and his successor who opposed Yahweh to his own demise as recorded in the Exodus event.
One interesting comparison between many of the ancient kings who prefigure the coming antichrist is the pagan concept of divine royalty. This was the belief that the kings of old were of divine origin and authority — basically “gods” ruling over the mortals. Historically this concept was prevalent in most pagan civilizations, such as the Babylonians, Persians, Romans, and the Egyptians. For example, many Christians of the 1st & 2nd Centuries were martyred for refusing to call Caesar Lord, under the conviction that Jesus Christ alone is Lord. Likewise, the Pharaoh was considered by the Egyptian people as the incarnation of the gods and therefore supreme in decree and destiny.
When Moses first appeared before Pharaoh to demand that he let the Hebrew people go, it is no surprise how Pharaoh answered. He said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” [Exodus 5:1] In other words, no one tells a “god” what to do.
The Scriptures are clear that the coming Antichrist of the last days will exalt himself above God, even claiming to be God himself. Consider Daniel’s description of the Antichrist.
“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. [Daniel 11:36-37]
The Apostle Paul echoes Daniel in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 when he says, “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
Like Pharaoh, the Antichrist will proudly exalt himself above all gods, even claiming to be God.
Persecution of God’s People
After the death of Joseph, the Hebrews continued to prosper in the land of Egypt, becoming a threat to Pharaoh. In response, he forced them into slave labor and severely oppressed them. As the Hebrews cried out in agony to the LORD for mercy, God heard their cry, commissioned Moses and redeemed His people out of the heavy hand of Pharaoh.
The spirit of antichrist was at work in the wicked heart of Pharaoh to exploit and destroy God’s people, even if meant murdering babies by casting them into the Nile. The Scriptures tell us that the Antichrist will also bring relentless persecution against both Jews and Christians during the great tribulation.
Daniel gives keen insight into the future exploits of the Antichrist and his persecution of God’s people . In Daniel 7:21-22, the prophecy reads, “As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel also says, “His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.” [Daniel 8:24]
The very same language is used in Revelation 12, where John describes the Dragon being thrown down to the earth to make war with the “woman” [Israel] and the “rest of her offspring” [the church]. Revelation 12:17 reads, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.”
Supernatural Protection for God’s People
I also would like to bring attention to another similarity between the Exodus account and the end times persecution of the saints. The LORD brought judgment and devastation on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, while at the same time protecting and preserving the Hebrews from the plagues. God poured out wrath on Egypt while at the same time supernaturally protecting the Hebrews in the midst of the land. The LORD did not remove them from the earth, He simply preserved them through the plagues.
While the Antichrist, False Prophet, and their evil demonic armies will certainly capture and kill believers during the tribulation (Rev. 14:12-14), not one of God’s children will be subject to the wrath of the Lamb on that Day of judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The return of Jesus to tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God is in connection with the rapture of the saints, who will be protected from God’s wrath and indignation on the nations.
Outpouring of God’s Wrath
Finally, in the same way that Pharaoh was judged by the LORD, and brought down to destruction, the LORD promised to come with fury to strike the nations with a rod of iron and destroy the Antichrist with the breath of His mouth (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Now I personally don’t believe the end times Antichrist will emerge from Egypt, but the Pharaoh does provide a picture of Antichrist that allows us to add another puzzle piece to the profile. That said, Egypt will certainly be involved as one of the enemy armies gathered to Jerusalem to be judged on that great and dreadful Day of the Lord. The following dual prophecy from Ezekiel not only describes an historical event that took place at the hands of the Babylonians, but also gives a future glimpse into the final demise of this evil king Pharaoh and the Antichrist.
“Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him:
“You consider yourself a lion of the nations,
but you are like a dragon in the seas;
you burst forth in your rivers,
trouble the waters with your feet,
and foul their rivers.
3Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will throw my net over you
with a host of many peoples,
and they will haul you up in my dragnet.
4And I will cast you on the ground;
on the open field I will fling you,
and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you,
and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you.
5I will strew your flesh upon the mountains
and fill the valleys with your carcass
6I will drench the land even to the mountains
with your flowing blood,
and the ravines will be full of you.
7When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens
and make their stars dark;
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
and the moon shall not give its light.
8All the bright lights of heaven
will I make dark over you,
and put darkness on your land,
declares the Lord GOD.
9“I will trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries that you have not known. 10I will make many peoples appalled at you, and the hair of their kings shall bristle with horror because of you, when I brandish my sword before them. They shall tremble every moment, every one for his own life, on the day of your downfall. [Ezekiel 32:2-10]