Woe to the Children of Israel

Isaiah 30 begins with a woe to “the rebellious children.”  These “children” were making plans that were not the Lord’s and developing alliances that were not a result of the leading of the Spirit of God.  Instead of repenting of their sins, they sought refuge from the pharaoh in Egypt.

Surely this is a reference to the Israelites of 2 Kings 17 and 18.  When Hoshea was the king of Israel in Samaria, he became a vassal of Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria and paid him tribute.  Several years later, Hoshea send messengers to So, the king of Egypt and stopped paying tribute to the king of Assyria.  This made the king of Assyria angry so he put Hoshea in prison.  In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria finally took Samaria and carried away Israel to Assyria because they abandoned the commandments of the Lord their god; committed idolatry, witchcraft, soothsaying; and did other evil in the sight of the Lord.  Samaria was taken in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign in Judah.

These people were disappointed because the Egyptians left them disgraced.  The prophecy found in Isaiah 30, describes Egypt as “Arrogance Doing Nothing.”  The children of the Lord are described as lying children who refused to hear the Torah of the Lord.  They did not want to hear about the visions of the seers.  They desired to trust in extortion and rely on deceit as a way of life.  They refused to return and rest in the Lord who could save them.  If they had, He would have given them calmness and confidence which could have made them strong.  Surely, they thought they could flee from their enemies.

Hezekiah, the king of Judah was not completely like Hoshea, the king of Israel.  Hezekiah gave us a different example to follow.  In the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria came against the cities of Judah.  This resulted in Hezekiah paying the king of Assyria silver and gold.  The king of Assyria sent an army against Jerusalem and accused them of having plans of war and said they were trusting Pharaoh, the king of Egypt for Egypt’s chariots and horsemen. 

The Assyrians errantly believed that the Lord could not protect the Judeans because Hezekiah had removed the high places.  They mistakenly believed that the high places belonged to the Lord when in reality, they really didn’t.  These Assyrians intended to conquer Judah and receive tribute from Hezekiah.  They threatened the Jews with exile if they did not comply.  Sennacherib mocked the Lord’s ability to protect the Jews.  First Kings 19 says that when Hezekiah heard about this, he demonstrated a heart of repentance, went into the house of the Lord, and prayed for deliverance.  The Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer by sending the angel of the Lord to kill those in the camp of the Assyrians.

Hezekiah experienced the truth of Isaiah 30:18-19:  “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. 19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you.”

This is the word for Israel today!  The Lord wants to reveal Himself to His people.  He wants them to hear the word of the Lord and walk in the ancient path.  Israel needs to cast aside their idols no matter what form they take.  Once they do so, He will send literal rain in its season so that nutritious food will grow abundantly.  The water will flow in streams and brooks instead of their being dry, empty stream-beds.

At this point in Scripture, the prophecy of Isaiah begins shifting to a time in the future—the day of the Lord, the day of great slaughter. 

Matthew 24:29-31 describes it like this:   “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

The coming of the glory of the Lord will cause the sun and moon to change.  The moon will be as bright as the light of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times stronger.  Once he gathers His chosen ones together, He will heal them and bind up their wounds.

The vision seen of the Lord in Isaiah is one of the Lord coming to the earth.  Note the physical description here:

  • Anger, burning in thick rising smoke;
  • Lips, full with fury;
  • Tongue, a consuming fire;
  • Breath like a racing torrent that rises up to the neck.

It is clear He has come to selectively destroy the wicked of the nations and lead them away.

Revelation 9:11-16 describes Jesus whose name is “Faithful and True”:

  • Riding on a white horse;
  • Passing judgment and going into battle in righteousness;
  • Eyes like a fiery flame;
  • Royal crowns on His head;
  • A name written  which no one knew but himself;
  • Wearing a blood soaked robe;
  • The name by which He is called, “The Word of God;”
  • Accompanied by the armies of heaven on white horses;
  • Sword coming out of His mouth with which to strike down the nations.”
  • Ruling with a staff of iron;
  • Treading the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of the Lord, God of heaven’s armies.
  • “King of kings and Lord of lords” written on his robe and thigh.

Isaiah 30:29 says the people will sing a song like that which is happily sung on a night when a holy feast is kept.  Revelation 15:3-4 says this song is the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:  “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

The Lord will come in furious anger, in a flaming firestorm, with cloudbursts, tempests, and hailstones.  He will terrify the Assyrians as He strikes them down with His scepter.  Who are the Assyrians?  Are they only those the angel of the Lord killed in Hezekiah’s time?  No, this is also referring to the nations who will come against Israel in the last day. 

Isaiah 30:33 says the Tofet fire pit has long been ready for the king of Assyria.  It has been set on fire by the breath of the Lord.  The Tofet fire is a place of cremation.  It is the everlasting fire repeatedly referred to in the New Testament.  This is also the fire the Beast and False Prophet of Revelation will be thrown into.  This fire is also known as the second death into which those from the second resurrection will be thrown into after they are judged according to what they had done during their lives.

What about present-day Israel? 

They can no longer trust in Egypt or America.  Israel must repent, realize the Yeshua is HaMashiyach, and rest in Him.  They must remember that the angel of the Lord killed the Egyptians on the night of the first Passover and the angel of the Lord killed the Assyrians who came against Hezekiah.  Since that is the case, “Faithful and True” will come to kill those who come against Israel on the day of the Lord. 

Long ago, the Assyrians did not believe the Lord would rescue Jerusalem because Hezekiah had removed the high places of other gods.  Today, Israel’s enemies do not believe in the power of the Lord God of Israel.  They mock the King of kings and Lord of lords by saying their god is greater than all other gods.  This will lead to their destruction. 

All believers must know these prophecies, believe them, and count on them!

Remember, anyone who comes claiming he is Messiah before that day is not the Messiah so don’t be deceived or led astray!!

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The Harbinger

Today, we’ll look at Isaiah 8-12.  In Isaiah 8, the Lord told Isaiah to write “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” on a large scroll; it was to be witnessed by Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah.  Later, Isaiah’s wife, the prophetess conceived and gave birth to a son.  The Lord told Isaiah to name him “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” which means “make haste to plunder! Hurry to the spoil!”  The Lord also said that before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria would be carried off by the king of Assyria.  This prophecy was fulfilled in 732 by Tiglath-pileser III. 

Because the people rejoiced in Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah, the king of Israel and rejected the waters of Shiloah, the Lord used the imagery of the rising Euphrates River to describe how the army of Assyria would sweep into the southern kingdom and cover the whole land of Judah.  According to 2 Kings 18:13, this was accomplished by Sennacherib in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. 

What could be so special about the waters of Shiloah?  Shiloah was a fountain or pool in Jerusalem that shares similarities in spelling to Shiloh which is an epithet of the Messiah.  How interesting that Revelation 21:6 refers to Jesus as the Fountain of Life!  Jeremiah 2:13 agrees with Isaiah by saying, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

Why would people in Judah rejoice in their enemies, Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah, the king of Israel in addition to rejecting the Lord?  Obviously, they practiced idolatry.  Were these people foreigners or terrorists in the land and/or ordinary citizens’ whose thoughts and behavior were at war with their own people or government?  Could there be a parallel here to address what’s happening in America today?    

The Lord promised to bring the army of Assyria on these people.  As Isaiah speaks of Assyria filling the land of Judah, he says, “Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries. Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces; Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”

The Lord said to all those from distant lands to arm themselves and devise a plan.  No matter what they said, it would not come to pass because “Immanu El (God is with us).”  This must be a message not only for the past but the near future—perhaps it’s a message not only for Israel but America as well.

Just like Isaiah, we should not be afraid of those around us.  We are to fear the Lord of armies and consecrate Him!  He will be our sanctuary!  Lord, please be selective in judgment!

Both Israel and Judah have stumbled against the Rock of their salvation.  In other words, they rejected the Lord during the Old Testament period and rejected Jesus when He came to visit them as Immanu El.  They were greatly offended by Him.  By the time Jesus came, the religious leaders had added numerous and complicated teachings and traditions to the law that often nullified the law of God.  Their teachings and traditions were preventing the common people from entering the kingdom of heaven.  It was obvious to Jesus that the light of the Lord was not within them.  Jesus did not abide by their traditions but taught the Torah by His own authority. He drove out demons by the finger of God, healed the sick, and raised the dead to show He was the Living Water but they couldn’t see what He was showing them or hear what He was saying.  Apparently, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were more interested in their power and position, and their traditions and interpretations of the law than in living out the written law given to them by the Lord through Moses.  Aren’t we the same today?

The meaning of the precepts of the written law was to be bound and hidden but revealed only to those the Lord intended.  Jesus made it clear to His disciples that this was His reason for telling parables—so that only those God intended to see, ear, and understand could do so.  When Jesus came the first time from Galilee, He broke the burden of the oral law which had become so overwhelming and laid the easier yoke of the original written law on the people.

In Isaiah, prophecy is bound up by the way it was written.  It’s clearly a mixture of the past and the future.  It’s often hard to separate and some of it likely applies to both the past and the future.  It’s written in such a way that it can only be seen dimly.  In a similar way, Isaiah’s children were for signs and wonders in Israel because their names foretold the future.

God’s people were not to participate in the occult to know what would happen in the future.  The Lord has revealed the future from the beginning through His word.  He said there would be those who walk in the way of the Lord and others who won’t, and some who would bless Him while others cursed Him.

The first time Jesus came as Immanu El, He came from Galilee but the next time He comes as Immanu El, the government will be upon His shoulders and there will be peace forever.  Obviously, much prophecy must be fulfilled before that happens.

Isaiah 9:8-10 says, “The Lord sent a word against Jacob, And it has fallen on Israel. 9 All the people will know — Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria — Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 ‘The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.”

Since Israel said this, the Lord raised up Retzin’s enemies against him; Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) could no longer help Israel because he was killed by Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:9).  Assyria carried the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity but the Lord said Syria and the Philistines would devour Israel with an open mouth.  Since Syria was an ally of the northern kingdom of Israel, this has to happen in the future.  Even now they are salivating at the chance while nipping here and there.

America is much like the house of Israel.  In Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger, he gives a detailed description of America as seen in Isaiah 9:8-10.  Even though it is in a fictional format, it is true down to the last detail.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It shows how America is under judgment, how leaders in America declared the words of Isaiah 9:9-10 in response to 9/11, and how the harbinger was fulfilled in amazing detail.  Woe to America, my homeland!  Oh, how you have fallen!  I can only grieve for my country because I know based on Isaiah that a horrible tragedy is coming.  Please repent, America!  Have mercy, Lord!  Please protect Your faithful!  Please be selective in judgment!  Praise the Lord, Immanu El!

Let us stand with fear and trembling because the Lord’s hand is still raised against us.  It should be clear that God is using the Syrians and Philistines to get our attention.  The northern kingdom didn’t get it in the past, we’re not getting it now, and I doubt Israel will get it in the future.  God wants people to repent and turn to Him.  He has His hand stretched out waiting for people to take it.

Look at this warning: Isaiah 9:15-16 says, “The elder and honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. 16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed.”  Surely this is true of America as much as it was/is of Israel.

Who will we follow after?  Who will we listen to?  Our political and spiritual leaders are causing us to error!  We must individually repent of our pride and arrogance and turn to the Lord evening if our churches and nation won’t join us corporately.  Pray for the Lord to have mercy on us and on Israel (Judah).  Don’t join those who stand against Israel.   Reject the teachings of men and embrace the commands of God before it’s too late!

Isaiah said woe to those who make unrighteous decrees.  This is a warning to leaders who take what belongs to the people and deny people of justice.  They will not escape punishment for what they are doing.

The Lord used Assyria as a rod in His hand against His people.  Assyria moved their boundaries, plundered their treasuries, and moved captives far away from home.  Isn’t this the goal of Israel’s enemies today?  Even though the Lord used Israel’s enemies to judge and turn His people back to Himself, His people ignored Him.  Wake up! Repent!

Eventually, the Lord judged and punished Assyria too.  In the future, Israel’s enemies won’t get away either.  Jesus, the Lord of heaven’s armies, will cut down those who are haughty and this rod (Israel’s enemies) will be burned with a consuming fire.  The people of the east will be plundered.  The remnant of Israel will return.  Jesus, the rod from the stem of Jesse will rise up and rule in righteousness.  That which was once wild will dwell in peace with that which is domesticated.  The Gentiles will seek the Lord.  The Lord will be praised in all the earth.

Isaiah 9:6-7 makes it clear:  “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor [Pele-Yo’etz], Mighty God [El Gibbor], Everlasting Father [Avi –‘Ad], Prince of Peace [Sar- Shalom].  7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

A Remnant Will Return

Today, we will look at Isaiah 7.  Near the end of the reign of Jotham, the Lord began to send Ephraim (northern kingdom, Israel) and Syria to fight against Judah (southern kingdom).  The Lord was using Israel and Syria as a tool to cause Judah to repent of their idolatry.  During that time, Ahaz was co-regent with his father, Jotham. 

According to Isaiah 7, Pekah, the king of Ephraim and Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) came against Jerusalem to make war. They intended to make a gap in the wall and set for themselves a different king in the midst of Judah– the son of Tabeel.  The name Tabeel means to please God; it’s also the name of a Syrian and a Persian.  

The hearts of the people of Judah were fearful of their enemies.  Since Ahaz’ heart was also troubled by what was happening, the Lord told Isaiah to take his son, Shear-Jashub and meet with Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool which was on the highway to the Fuller’s Field (also translated as Launderer’s Field).  The Lord instructed Isaiah to tell Ahaz to stay calm and not fear Rezin and Pekah.

Since the name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-Jashub means “a remnant will return,” Isaiah’s son was a visible message to Ahaz and the people of Judah that a remnant will return.  Depending on the actual chronology of events, this message may refer to all of the captives taken by Pekah which were returned to Jericho instead of being kept as slaves while those taken by Rezin were kept and taken to Damascus (2 Chronicles 28). 

During this meeting between Isaiah and Ahaz, Isaiah told Ahaz that Pekah and Rezin’s plan of dividing the land and setting up a new king would not come to pass.  In fact, within 65 years Ephraim, the house of Israel would no longer be a people.  At the same time, Isaiah warned Ahaz if he didn’t stand firm in his faith, he would not stand either.

To assure Ahaz that His word was true, the Lord offered to give Ahaz a sign.  Since Ahaz would not ask for one, the Lord gave him the sign of the virgin birth of “Immanu El” (“God with us”) and told him before the child knew enough to choose right and reject wrong, he would have to eat curdled milk and wild honey and the land Ahaz dreaded would be forsaken by her kings. Isaiah also told Ahaz that the Lord would bring the king of Assyria with his powerful Assyrian armies (bees) and numerous Egyptian armies (flies) down on him—meaning the kingdom of Judah.

Judah’s enemies would not have been a threat to Ahaz if he trusted in the Lord.  He refused to believe that Syria and Ephraim were smoking firebrands—that their power was fizzling out.  Ahaz refused to believe the prophecy of Immanu El — “God is with us.”  Ahaz rejected the Lord and wanted other gods to protect him so he continued his idolatrous ways and caused the nation of Judah to do the same.  The Lord knew what Ahaz’ choice would be.  This is why Isaiah warned him that the king of Assyria (fly) and the king of Egypt (bee) would be brought down on him and those days would be worse than any he had ever known since the time of the divided kingdom.

The sign of the virgin birth was fulfilled when Mary gave birth to Jesus although some believe this was a reference to Ahaz’ son, Hezekiah who was a type of the Messiah.  Either way we look at it, the Lord assured Ahaz that the land of Syria and Ephraim would be forsaken before the promised child was a few years old.  History shows that Hezekiah was no longer a child but was already reigning in Jerusalem by the time of the last deportation of Ephraim to Assyria.  This confirms the prophecy of the virgin birth was not referring to Hezekiah. 

Once Ahaz ignored Isaiah’s prophecy, he became a vassal of Tiglath-Pileser, the Assyrian king instead of trusting in the Lord.  Tiglath-Pileser then captured Damascus, took captives to Kir, and killed Rezin (2 Kings 16:9).  

According to 2 Kings 15:30, Hoshea, the son of Elah attacked and assassinated Pekah; Hoshea succeeded Pekah as king in the 20th year of Jotham.  Since Pekah had come against both Jotham and Ahaz, it seems that the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz overlapped.  This practice was not uncommon in the Middle East.

In Hoshea’s ninth year, the king of Assyria took Samaria which was the capital of Ephraim and carried away the house of Israel into Assyria because of their lawlessness (2 Kings 17:1-18). Ahaz’ son, Hezekiah began to reign in Hoshea’s third year so he had reigned six years when the king of Assyria deported the last group of Israelites into Assyria.

Judah did not fight against the Egyptians (bees) until the end of Josiah’s reign when the Egyptians were on their way to aid the Assyrians who were fighting against the Babylonians.  As a result of confronting Pharaoh Necho, Josiah died at Megiddo.  On their way back, the Egyptians took control over Judah. King Jehoahaz, son of Josiah was deported to Egypt where he died (2 Kings 23) and Eliakim, son of Josiah reigned in his place.  Eliakim’s name was changed to Jehoiakim and he reigned in Jerusalem for eleven years.  He eventually became a vassal of the Babylonians.  After a period of rebellion against the Babylonians, Jehoiakim died and his son, Jehoiachin reigned in his place.  Eventually, what belonged to Egypt was taken over by the Babylonians and finally, the Jews were taken into captivity for seventy years in Babylon until a remnant returned in the first year that Cyrus reigned in Persia.

What happened in the past is a pattern for the future.

Much has happened to the land of Israel throughout history.  Many empires and peoples have claimed it for their own.  Samaria is located in what is now called the West Bank.  Israel refers to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.  The West Bank was once controlled by Jordan but it is now claimed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.  Damascus is still in Syria and is the home of several terrorist organizations who desire to destroy Israel. 

It’s no secret these groups have evil intentions for Israel.  Today, Israel’s enemies say they intend to divide the land of Israel and set up their own ruler just like Pekah and Rezin intended to do.  Perhaps they want a Syrian or Persian to be their leader.  Who knows for sure?  Will all of their plans for Israel come to pass?  Time will tell.

Many throughout the world think dividing the land will bring peace to the land.  Surely this plan for peace won’t bring lasting peace.  As the prophecies of the latter days unfold, the Jews must not be afraid but must stand firm in their faith in the Lord.  Believers around the world must fearlessly stand with them as well.

Ephraim also seems to parallel America today.  America was once united with the country of Israel against its enemies; however, the current administration has taken the side of Israel’s enemies.  Israel is being forced to stand alone.  Israelis needs to know who their Savior is.  Believers around the world should also stand with Israel.  Who can say what will happen to America in the future?  Will America soon cease to be a people like Ephraim did?  Again, only time will tell.

No matter what happens, remember, Immanu El!

Even more curious is Assyria.  Previously, once Ephraim and Syria were no longer a threat to Judah, Assyria and Egypt became a problem for Judah.  Assyria is not synonymous with Syria as many believe.  Even though the Assyrian empire faded away, ethnic Assyrians still exist throughout the world.  It may surprise you to know they are predominantly Christians and not Muslim. 

During the last 1260 days, the Lord will hide and nourish the 144,000 in the wilderness.  It’s possible that they may eat curdled milk and wild honey.  This will be during the last half of the final shavuah—the 70th week of Daniel.

Who is the future antichrist known as?  One of his many names is “the Assyrian.”  Could it be that he will be ethnically Assyrian?  Since he will not follow the god of his fathers, he will not be a true Christian.  He could be Muslim.  When he rises to power, everyone will be expected to submit to him and worship him in Jerusalem.  Our pattern suggests that Egypt will be his ally.  Once again, as the sixth millennium ends, a battle will be fought in the Valley of Jezreel at Har Megiddo –which is also known as Armageddon.  This time, Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords will be leading the battle and not King Josiah.  He will not disguise Himself or die like King Josiah did.  Everyone will know who He is and He will be victorious.

In recent history, a remnant returned to Israel after the Holocaust of World War II.  In the future, shear-jashub — “a remnant will return” from the four corners of the earth when Christ returns to begin His millennial reign in Jerusalem.  Immanu El!