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Tuesday, July 21 2015

Isaiah 33: Why Did The Assyrian Army Cross The Line?

"For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us"

The united kingdom of Israel (see How Many Kings Reigned In The United Kingdom? and A History Of Israel's United And Divided Kingdoms) was divided into the independent kingdoms of "Israel" and "Judah" after the reign of King Solomon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah).

The Kingdom of Israel thereafter existed from about 933 BC to 721 BC - a national existence of approximately 212 years. The LORD (see The LORD God Our Saviour) then destroyed the Kingdom of Israel, after years of warning by His prophets (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets), because they had become defiantly and irreparably corrupt in His sight (see What Did They Say To The Prophets?). The LORD brought about their erasure by means of the Assyrian Empire - who happened to be the world "superpower" on that day of reckoning.

"17:22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 17:23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day." (2 Kings 17:22-23 KJV)

The LORD authorized and permitted Assyria to take down the Kingdom of Israel (the north-of-Jerusalem and east-of-the Jordan River ten tribes; see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes), not the politically and religiously separate Kingdom of Judah (the three tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah and Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings) because the Kingdom of Judah was then still righteous in the LORD's sight.

The LORD much later destroyed the Kingdom of Judah too, for the very same reason as happened with the Kingdom of Israel, but it took Judah another 135 years to become as corrupt as Israel had made themselves (see also Iniquity In History And Prophecy and Decadence In History And Prophecy. The LORD had Judah fall to Babylon in 586 BC because by then the Babylonian Empire had replaced the Assyrian Empire as the bully of the block (the prophet Daniel was given to know and record all of the Biblical "superpowers" from the time of the Babylonian Empire right to the yet-future time of the Messiah's return; see The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image and the Fact Finder question below).

Assyrian Army The prophet Isaiah lived and worked in the Kingdom of Judah during the time that led up to the fall of the Kingdom of Israel to Assyria. The LORD used the Assyrians as the instruments of His wrath against Israel - while they were to leave Judah alone. But after their seemingly easy victory over Israel, because the LORD delivered it to them, they became intoxicated with fantasies of arrogance and self-importance - so they turned south and crossed the border into Judah, capturing cities until Jerusalem itself was under siege by the Assyrian army (see also The Sieges Of Ariel - Past And Future).

There were at least 185,000 Assyrian troops surrounding Jerusalem (we know that from the body count of the Assyrian troops after the LORD annihilated them in a single strike), which is the context of what Isaiah wrote in this chapter - a city under siege, with its people terrified by their seeming impending doom: "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"

Isaiah knew that the LORD was going to deliver the city and the nation from the Assyrian invasion. Their easy progress to Jerusalem was actually the LORD permitting them to gather themselves into a tidy mass for destruction, until "Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself," so that "Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.

The battle is recorded in subsequent chapters (as we will get to), as well as the Book of Kings (see 2 Kings 19: What Did Isaiah Do During The Siege Of Judah?), but until then, the Assyrian army was about to know what a real Superpower can do to anybody who gets too big for their britches.

"33:1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

33:2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. 33:3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered. 33:4 And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.

33:5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

33:7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. 33:8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. 33:9 The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.

33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. 33:12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

33:13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. 33:18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? 33:19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.

33:20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. 33:21 But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

33:23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey. 33:24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." (Isaiah 33:1-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: How did Germany become "Rome" in end-time prophecy?
See The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation

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This Day In History, July 21

356 BC: The original Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana) in Ephesus, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" (it took 120 years to build it) was destroyed by arson. The idol-worshiping Temple was rebuilt and is recorded in the New Testament (see The Riot At Ephesus).

Temple of Artemis 285: Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar and co-ruler of the Roman Empire (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

365: An earthquake at Crete (see Aegean Islands) caused a tsunami in the Mediterranean Sea that struck Alexandria, Egypt (the city was founded and named after Alexander the Greek of Greece; see The Prophet Daniel: The Ram and The He Goat). It killed over 5,000 people in the city and 50,000 more in the surrounding area.

1403: Henry IV defeated rebel forces at the Battle of Shrewsbury in England.

1542: In an increasing fight against "Protestantism," Pope Paul III set up an "Inquisition" (see also Job's Inquisition).

1588: The first of 3 battles of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada (warships and thousands of European marines) that had been sent by the Papacy to invade England.

1667: The Peace of Breda ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667) and ceded Dutch New Amsterdam (today known as New York City) to the English.

1711: Russia and Turkey signed the Treaty of Pruth, ending the year-long Russo-Turkish War of 1711.

1773: Clement XIV issued his Dominus ac redemptor noster which officially dissolved the so-called "Society of Jesus" (the Jesuits).

1774: The Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1798: The "Battle of the Pyramids" took place in Egypt (see also The Egypt Connection). The Mameluke army attempted to block Napoleon's march on Cairo but were repulsed and eventually driven into the Nile River, where many were drowned.

1831: Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (in Germany) was elected the first king of the Belgians.

1904: The 4,607 mile / 7,468 kilometer Trans-Siberian railway was completed after 13 years of construction.

1904: Louis Rigolly of France became the first man to achieve 100 miles per hour / 161 kilometers per hour on land with a 15-liter Gobron-Brille in Ostend, Belgium.

1925: The "Scopes monkey trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee when John Scopes was found guilty and fined $100.00 for teaching "Darwin's" theory of evolution (see Rescuing Charles Darwin From The Atheists) in violation of a Tennessee statute enacted earlier in the year. Scopes' conviction was later overturned.

Apollo 11 1954: The French signed an armistice with the Viet Minh that ended their war but divided the Vietnamese people into two artificial countries - North and South Vietnam. The result was a Vietnam civil war between the north and the south that the U.S. later involved itself in after the French withdrew from the divided Vietnam that they created. When the U.S. left in the 1970s, Vietnam was reunited to its original nation.

1969: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin lifted off from the surface of the moon, successfully completing the first manned lunar landing (the Russians were the first to make a successful unmanned lunar landing; first, a series of intentional crash landings beginning in 1959, then a controlled landing in 1966 from which scientific instruments transmitted data and video back to Earth).

1970: Construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed after 11 years of work.

1976: Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, was assassinated by the "Irish Republican Army" terrorists.

1977: The four-day Libya-Egypt War began (see also Libya In History And Prophecy).

1983: Martial law was lifted in Poland. It had been imposed in December 1981 by the communist government in a crackdown against Solidarity labor union.

1983: The lowest temperature ever recorded occurred at Vostok Station, Antarctica: -89.2 degrees Celsius / -128 degrees Fahrenheit.

1998: Alan Shepherd died at age 74. Shepherd was the first U.S. astronaut in space (a Russian, Yuri Gagarin, was the first human in space, in 1961; a Russian woman, Valentina Tereshkova, was the first woman in space, in 1963, 20 years before Sally Ride of the U.S.) and the 5th man to walk on the moon.

2011: The U.S. Space Shuttle program ended with the landing of Atlantis. U.S. astronauts now depend on Russian space launches to get into orbit or to the International Space Station.

2012: Erden Eruc of Turkey, at age 54, became the first person to complete a solo, human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth. Using rowboats, sea kayaks, bicycles and canoes, his route covered 66,299 kilometers / 41,196 miles in the 5 years from July 10 2007 to July 21 2012.


Copyright © Wayne Blank