Let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 16 as we continue our study through the prophecy of Isaiah.
Now, in these next few chapters that we are covering here in Isaiah, behind the scenes Assyria is arising as a strong powerful military force. Assyria with its capital city of Nineveh is becoming extremely powerful and beginning to develop a tremendous army that will soon be on a campaign of subjugating the world. And so the prophet Isaiah begins to address himself to some of the various countries roundabout—to Moab, to Syria, to Ephraim, and all because these nations, Egypt, Ethiopia, are to be in conflict and in battle with the Assyrians. And so behind these next chapters you have to see the clouds of war rising from Assyria as they are going to soon begin their sweep down into this area of the world. And Isaiah is addressing now the nations concerning the destruction that is sure to come during this Assyrian invasion.
And the first nation that he addresses himself to is the nation of Moab, which is the present-day Jordan. It lies on the east of the Jordan River from Mount Gilead actually on south to Mount Seir.
Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela (16:1)
Now Sela is the word rock and from it the word petra and the city of Petra which happens to be in the area of Moab.
to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness (16:1-5).
And then he begins his lament over Moab because of their great pride. Now, as we mentioned earlier as we were studying the prophecies of Isaiah, there’s a unique characteristic in…well, it isn’t unique because it is in many of the prophets, where they will be talking about a situation that is close at hand, but there seems to be a dual fulfillment of the prophecy and it reaches on out to another era and it spans into another time. And so, there is often what we call the near fulfillment and the far fulfillment of this prophecy.
Now many Bible scholars in the far fulfillment of this prophecy, as God is commanding Moab to “meet the wandering bird that is cast out of the nest, at the fords of Arnon and to hide the outcast and betray not him that wanders. And let the outcast dwell with thee, Moab,” there are many Bible scholars who see this in its fulfillment as yet to come when in the midst of the seven-year period that God has yet to reckon to the nation Israel. For in Daniel the ninth chapter, the angel said unto Daniel, “There are seventy sevens determined upon the nation Israel, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy One” (Daniel 9:24).
No one understands from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah the Prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens and the walls will be built again in troublous times. But the Messiah will be cut off without receiving the kingdom. And the people will end up by being dispersed. Now Daniel said, “The prince of the people that shall come will make a covenant with Israel for the seventieth week.” Or for this last week, this last period of seven years, but in the midst of the seven years, he will break the covenant and set up an abomination which causes desolation.
The disciples came to Jesus one day and they said, “Lord, what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?” And Jesus began to tell them the signs that they should watch for, the things that would be transpiring in the earth which would be a warning to them that they were approaching the end of the age. And as Jesus is talking to them about the various signs, He does speak to them, talking again to the Jews, “When you see the abomination of desolation, that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then flee to the wilderness. And if you happen to be on the roof of your house, don’t even bother grabbing a coat as you’re going through. Just get out of there as quickly as you can. And if you are out in the field working, don’t even return to your house, but get down to the wilderness just as quickly as possible.”
So the Lord is warning them that the sign of the abomination of desolation. Now He said, “He that has wisdom understand.” Because He said, “There is going to be a time of Great Tribulation such as the world has never seen before or will ever see again.” Now, we are told in the book of Revelation, chapter 12, that John saw these various characters, or these various symbolisms. He saw a woman clothed with the moon and the stars. Twelve stars and the moon. And she was travailing, ready to bring forth a child. And he saw this great dragon that was seeking to devour the child as soon as it was born. And he speaks of how the woman brought forth the child which was caught on up into heaven to his throne. And so the dragon sought to make war against the remnant of the woman’s seed, but God gave to her the wings of an eagle to bear her to the wilderness place where she is to be nourished for three-and-a-half years.
From a prophetic standpoint, what this is all talking about is that God has one more seven-year cycle to fulfill in the history of the nation of Israel. The sixty-nine seven-year cycles were fulfilled from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of Jesus Christ. The sixty-nine seven-year cycles were fulfilled actually to the day. For in March 14, 445 B.C. Artaxerxes gave the commandment to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and 173,880 days later, 483 years on the Babylonian calendar, 360 days in the year, Jesus on April the sixth, 32 A.D. made His triumphant entry in Jerusalem. Fulfilled right on the letter.
But the angel said,” There are seventy sevens.” Now Jesus in being cut off, the Messiah will be cut off. Jesus was cut off. But in being cut off, in His being cut off, He made, through His death upon the cross, He made reconciliation for iniquity. He made an end of our sins. But He did not set up the everlasting kingdom, nor was the most holy place anointed, nor were the prophecies all fulfilled. So a part of those prophecies are yet remaining and they will take place at the end of the seventieth seven-year cycle. So there is one missing seven-year cycle that Jesus, when He was talking with His disciples, declared that it was a yet future thing.
When the church is taken out of the earth, it will then immediately give rise to the antichrist. Sometime after the church is removed, I believe that it will pretty much coincide with the removal of the church, for “that which hinders shall hinder until it is taken out of the way” (II Thessalonians 2:7); and then shall that “man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3) who comes forth with all kinds of lies and deceit and guile. In Revelation chapter 4 you see the church taken up into heaven. “I saw a door open in heaven: and the first voice was as of a trumpet saying, ‘Come up hither, and I will show things which will be after’ [the church thing]. And immediately I was caught away by the Spirit into heaven; and there I saw the throne of God and the emerald type of rainbow about the throne of God. The twenty-four lesser thrones of the elders and the cherubim as they were worshipping God and the elders as they join in the worship, falling on their faces and casting their crowns on the glassy sea” (Revelation 4:1-4,10). Declaring the worthiness of God to receive the praise and the worship.
And then in chapter 5 he saw the scroll with seven seals in the right hand of Him that was sitting upon the throne. Heard the angel say, “Who’s worthy to take the scroll and loose the seal? The title deed to the earth. Who’s worthy to take this title deed? To reclaim the earth. The day of redemption has come. Who is worthy?” And John began to sob because no man was worthy in heaven, in earth, under the sea to take the scroll or even to look thereon. And the elders said, “Don’t weep, John. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll, and loose the seal.” And John saw. Turned and he saw Him as a lamb that had been slaughtered. And he saw Him as He stepped forth and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And immediately the twenty-four elders took little golden bowls that were full of incense odors, the prayers of the saints. Offer them before God. And they sang a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the scroll, and loose the seal thereof: for Thou was slain and You have redeemed us by Your blood out of all of the nations, tribe, kindred, tongues and people. And You have made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign with You upon the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
The song of the redeemed church in heaven. Only the redeemed church can sing that song. That is not the song of Israel; it’s out of all of the families of the people on the earth. That is not the song of angels; it’s only the song of the redeemed church. “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us by Thy blood.” Angels can’t sing that song, but they can sing the chorus, and so they join in. A hundred million strong plus millions and millions as they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and power and might and dominion and glories and thrones,” and so forth. But we sing the verse.
And so we get into chapter 6. “And he opened the first seal and the angel said, ‘Come.’ And I saw, and a white horse with his rider came forth conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2). The antichrist, the revelation of the antichrist, it immediately follows the glorious acclamation of the worthiness of Christ to take the scroll and loose the seals. So the introduction of the antichrist upon the earth. And one of the first orders of business of the antichrist as he is putting together the earth once again that has been ravaged by war when Russia invades the Middle East. So now he’s starting to put the pieces together because Russia has been soundly and thoroughly defeated in her invasion of the Middle East. He starts to put the pieces together again and the first thing he does is make a covenant with the nation of Israel.
Now the Bible doesn’t say that the covenant includes the rebuilding of the temple, but that is my own personal feeling and opinion, and it’s very strong. That this covenant that he makes with the nation Israel includes their giving to them the privilege of the rebuilding of their temple. And when they rebuild their temple, they will not build it on the site of the Mosque of Omar, or that which is commonly called the Mosque of Omar, which in reality is the Dome of the Rock Mosque.
I believe that they’ll leave the Dome of the Rock Mosque intact. I believe that they will build a wall on the north side of the Dome of the Rock Mosque. And in that large area of some fifteen acres or so they will make provision for the Jews to build their temple, which many of their scientists now believe is above the site of Solomon’s temple. Just last June one of the archaeologists and scientists in Israel came out with a very interesting article that was published in the Jerusalem Post in which he declared and gave his findings for believing that the temple of Solomon actually was north of the Dome of the Rock Mosque. Which if they can prove and all, which they are seeking to do, it will be a tremendous kind of a boon for those Jews that are wanting to rebuild their temple, because it means they can build it without having a holy war. All the Moslems of the world marching against them. It would be very easy just to put a wall and there is a verse in Ezekiel that talks about putting a wall along to separate. And in the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation where the Lord gave unto John a ruler and said, “Now go measure the new temple and the court.” He said, “Don’t measure the outer court because it’s been given to the heathens.” And the Dome of the Rock Mosque stands in what would have been the outer court of Solomon’s temple if Solomon’s temple was there on the north side.
So he’ll make a covenant with the nation Israel. But in the midst of the seven-year period, after three-and-a-half years, he will come to Jerusalem and according to what Paul tells us in Second Thessalonians, and Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24, and Daniel spoke about in chapter 9, he will stand in the rebuilt temple and declare himself to be God. And he will demand that they worship him as God. Now according to the Scriptures, according to Jesus, this is the sign for the Jews to flee out of Jerusalem. Get out of there as quickly as you can, because the antichrist, the man of sin, is going to now demand that the Jews worship him as God. And though they had initially hailed him as the Messiah, at this point they’re going to realize that they were mistaken and deceived by this man. And Jesus said, “Get out of there as quickly as you can. Don’t bother taking anything with you.”
And according to Revelation, God will give to them wings of an eagle to bear them to a wilderness place where they will be nourished for three-and-a-half years. And the antichrist will send out an army after them, but the earth will open up and swallow his army. And so we begin to see the prophetic scene take place. Now where are they going to the wilderness and where will they be fleeing? Here’s where this prophecy of Isaiah begins to unfold.
Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Petra to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts [God says, “mine outcasts”] dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covering to them from the face of the spoiler [or from the antichrist]: for the extortioner [the antichrist] is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, and the oppressors are consumed out of the land. [And what will happen?] And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he [that is, Jesus] shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hastening righteousness (16:1-5).
Now one further note should be made about this before we move on. And that is, the day that the antichrist comes, or the man of sin, the son of perdition, the beast, one of the many names that the Scripture gives to him, the spoiler, the extortioner, the day that he comes and stands in the rebuilt temple and declares that he is God in the midst of the seven-year period, the day that that takes place, it will be from that day 1,290 days until Jesus comes again with His church to set up His kingdom upon the earth. So we’re moving down towards this final sequence of events. We are reading constantly of Russia’s threat to move into the Middle East because of her own oil needs. And that will be the event that will more or less trigger this final sequence of events. For as Russia moves in, God will soundly defeat Russia. It will give rise to the ten nations of Europe out of which will arise this man of sin who will make a covenant with the nation of Israel for seven years. But in the midst of the seven-year period, he’ll break the covenant by coming into the temple declaring that he is God, demanding that he is worshipped as God, stopping the daily sacrifices and prayers. And 1,290 days later, Jesus coming again with the church to establish God’s kingdom upon the earth.
So at this point the Jews are to flee to the wilderness. God is telling Moab, “Open up your arms. Receive them. Cover them. Keep them safe from the extortioner and from the spoiler and all. And hide them. Don’t betray them until this time of indignation is overpassed.” Time of great tribulation. And of course, until the King comes to sit upon the throne of David and to establish it in righteousness.
Now he turns to Moab at the immediate condition. Moab has been filled with pride.
he is very proud: filled with haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath (16:6):
Now notice: pride, very proud. Haughtiness, pride, these words in the Hebrew are all a little different, but they come from the same base or root word. It is like using the word boast, boastfulness, boasting, and the boaster, and so forth. It’s the same root word in the Hebrew as it speaks of the great pride of Moab.
Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken (16:7).
And so it tells about how that this tremendous…the vineyard for which Moab was famous were going to be trampled under the soldiers that were to come. They would no longer be trampling…the people would no longer be trampling the grapes in the winepresses. Now there was a cry that the people used to sort of as they would stomp the grapes in the winepresses they would cry, “Haddad! Haddad! Haddad!” With every, you know, “Haddad! Haddad! Haddad!” as they were stepping down the grapes and crushing them. And so the prophet is saying this cry Haddad! will no longer be heard in the winepresses, but it will be heard by the marching of the soldiers that are trampling down the vineyards. They will be coming marching to the, “Haddad! Haddad! Haddad! Haddad!” and it will be a not a sign of, not a shout of rejoicing, but a sound of the conquering armies of the Assyrians who shall destroy the marvelous vineyards of Moab.
And in verses 13 and 14 he declares that this judgment against Moab will actually come within a three-year span of time. And within three years, Assyria conquered over Moab. And as the result, Moab will become, though she was very proud and all, she’ll become very small and feeble.
Now he turns his prophecy against Damascus, which, of course, was the capital of Syria. Now Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel had confederated together to stand against Assyria. As Assyria became a very definite threat, Syria knew that she could not stand against Assyria alone so she sought to confederate with Ephraim and Manasseh, the major tribes of the Northern Kingdom. And they were hoping by a confederation to stop the Assyrian invasion. And so he prophesies first against Damascus, but then he begins to weave in also Ephraim and Manasseh, declaring that even through their confederation they will not be able to withstand the Assyrian invasion that they were going to all of them fall at the hands of the Assyrians.
The burden of Damascus. Behold, it is taken away from being a city, and it is going be a ruinous heap (17:1).
The Assyrians are going to just smash down Damascus.
The cities of Aroer are forsaken (17:2):
And in these places where the cities once existed, they will now be herding their flocks of sheep and it will be so desolate from people that the sheep won’t even be bothered by people. The sheep will be grazing in what was once the cities of Syria.
The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim (17:3),
Coming down now to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax [thin,] lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, and the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top (17:3-6)
In other words, God is declaring that the inhabitants are going to be destroyed. They will be like the gleaning of an olive tree. There will just be a few berries on the top. There will be just a few grapes left on the vine, but it’s like the Assyrians have come through and harvested and wiped out the majority of people and just a few people remain.
The Assyrians were extremely cruel people. According to the record of history, there were many cities, which, when were surrounded by the Assyrian army and it was obvious that there was no chance of escape, much like Masada the entire populace of the city would commit suicide. Rather than to be captured by the Assyrians, because they treated their captives so cruelly. They would pull out their tongues. They would gouge out their eyes. They would commit all kinds of atrocities against the captives. And so people were extremely fearful of Assyria and would oftentimes, entire cities you’d have a mass suicide rather than being taken captive by these Assyrians.
That is why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh to declare the judgment of God, because he was afraid that the Ninevites might repent and God wouldn’t wipe them out. And so he had no intention of going. When God said, “Go to Nineveh and warn them My judgment is coming,” Jonah took off the other way because he wanted God to wipe Nineveh out. And he was afraid if he went and preached, they might repent and God would… He knew God was gracious and merciful and God might relent and not wipe them out. So that’s why Jonah took off the other way. He was a true patriot. He wanted Assyria, the Ninevites to be wiped out.
In fact, you remember that Jonah was sitting out there pouting after the whole thing. God says, “What’s the matter? You have any right to be upset?” “You bet your life I have a right to be upset. This is exactly what I thought was going to happen. I knew You were merciful and gracious. I knew that they might repent and that You would forgive them. Now You haven’t wiped them out.” Boy, he was mad! And it’s interesting what God said. “The reason why I didn’t wipe them out is because there are a hundred and twenty thousand little children in that city that are so small that they don’t even know their right hand from their left hand.” God’s mercy upon the children and for the children’s sake spared the city. But we’ll get to the story of Jonah later, but it gives you…
Here the whole thing is fitting together. Assyria is getting ready to move against Moab, getting ready to move against Syria and against the Northern Kingdom of Israel and they are all going to fall. The Northern Kingdom of Israel is going to be left just a few people. Just like a few berries in the top of the olive tree. Just a few grapes in a vineyard that has already been harvested. Just the gleaning.
At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel (17:7).
Those that remain will be turning to God.
He will not look to the altars (17:8),
That they have created. The worship of Baal and the groves and so forth that they have made. The false worship for which God’s judgment came against them.
In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation. Because you hast forgotten the God of your salvation, you have not been mindful of the Rock of your strength, therefore you shall plant pleasant plants, and shall set it with strange slips: In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning that thou shall make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow (17:9-11).
So because they had forgotten God, they had turned away from Him and were worshipping these other gods, the reason why God has allowed this judgment using Assyria as His tool of judgment to destroy Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel with its capital Samaria. But yet, though Assyria is used as a tool of God’s judgment, God turns His word against Assyria.
Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas (17:12);
In other words, the noise of their armies coming is just like the roar of the sea.
and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not (17:12-14).
God will wipe them out. In the evening they’ll be there, but in the morning they’ll not be there. Now here is a hint at the destruction of the Assyrians. The Assyrians did come. They did conquer the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They did conquer Moab. They did even go down and conquer Ashdod and on down into Egypt and Ethiopia. But they did not conquer Judah. Now here in Judah, as the Assyrians were coming and all, Hezekiah was the king, and Isaiah was his counselor; he was saying, “Hey, don’t worry about it. They’re not going to conquer us. Don’t be afraid. God is going to stand for us. Now don’t worry about it. You’re not going to have to fight this battle. This is the Lord’s battle. He is going to stand up and fight for us.” And Isaiah was telling him, “Hey, you don’t have to worry about this. God’s going to take care of things.”
But, of course, Hezekiah was busy building the tunnel from the spring of Gihon over the pool of Siloam to bring the water into the city so that they would have water in the city when the Assyrians invaded and cut the city off and all. But yet, all the while Isaiah was encouraging the king to trust in the Lord that God would deliver. And the Assyrians brought their invading army against Jerusalem. And they were making all of their threats; the Rabshakeh said to the men, “Where is the God of the Samarians? Where is the God of the Syrians? Where is the God of the Egyptians? We wiped them all out. Don’t let Hezekiah lead you into a false trust of your God saying our God will deliver. What God is able to deliver from the hand of the Assyrians?” And blaspheming God.
Isaiah said, “Watch this now. God’s going to take care of him. Don’t worry about it, Hezekiah.” Hezekiah took the letter, he spread it out before the Lord; he wept. He said, “God, look what they’re saying. Look what they’re doing.” And an angel of the Lord went through the camp of the Assyrians and in one night he wiped out 185,000 of their frontline troops. When the Israelis awoke in the morning and looked over the wall to see their enemy, they were nothing but corpses on the ground. In a night, in the morning they’ll not be there. And of course, the Lord… We’ll get out into a little bit further where… Actually there were so many corpse that the birds and the beasts feed on them for a long time. You can imagine what a feast that would be for vultures. Hundred and eighty-five thousand carcasses to feed on. “In the evening time, trouble; and before the morning it’s gone, they are not.”
This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us (17:14).
This is God’s judgment against Assyria.
Now in chapter 18, there are those that see the United States in chapter 18, but it is rather far-fetched and I am sorry that my mind can’t stretch that far. I cannot see the United States in chapter 18.
Woe to the land shadowing with wings (18:1),
And they point out that on the top of the American flag there’s an eagle with wings. So “shadowing with wings.”
which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia (18:1):
And, of course, we are beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.
That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, in vessels (18:2)
And, of course, the only way our ambassadors could travel to the other lands prior to the aircraft and so forth were by boats. But it does say, “vessels of bulrushes,” and I don't know of any ambassador that ever went out in a reed boat made of bulrushes.
Now as I say, people can see and I can’t, but people do see the United States in it. What it is basically dealing with is Ethiopia itself, which was making…, which had sent ambassadors to Jerusalem to the king to make a confederacy with them against Assyria. In other words, Assyria was conquering and these Ethiopian ambassadors, big, tall dark skinned, handsome men, were there trying to get Judah to join with them in a confederacy to withstand this invasion from Assyria. And Isaiah was counseling against the confederacy. Not to make a covenant with them, for God was going to watch over them and take care of them and don’t get involved in a treaty, mutual defense pact with these Ethiopians. So, “Woe to the land.”
God is pronouncing the woe that is going to come upon Ethiopia that sends the ambassadors by the sea. They came in these boats down the Nile River from Ethiopia and the boats of bulrushes were light so that when they get to the rapids and all, they could carry them and then put them in. And they came from Ethiopia in these boats of bulrushes to Israel or to Judah, the Southern Kingdom and sought then to make this covenant.
saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation that is scattered and peeled, to a people that is awesome from their beginning hitherto; a nation that is meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have cut through! All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches (18:2-5).
So Isaiah is saying we don’t need to make the covenant with these people. God is going to take care of them. He’s going to cut them down before they’re able to really fully develop. And so here is the prediction of Assyria’s destruction by God.
They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them (18:6).
In other words, the vultures will eat the carcasses during the summertime but there are so many, by the time winter is come, even the animals the coyotes and all will be eating the bones of them even through the wintertime.
In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people awesome from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have cut through, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, mount Zion (18:7).
So the prediction of Assyria’s destruction by the hand of God and no need to join hands with the Ethiopians in a mutual defense pact because God is our defense and God will take care of us.
Now he turns to Egypt.
The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians (19:1-2):
So God is speaking here of a civil war.
and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom (19:2).
There’s going to be civil turmoil and war within Egypt.
And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts (19:3-4).
And then he begins to make some very interesting predictions.
The waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers far away (19:5-6);
The word there is translated in one of the new versions, “And they shall dam the river far away.”
and the brooks of defense shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more. The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast their hook into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread their nets upon the waters shall languish. Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make the sluices and ponds for fish. Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say you of the Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? (19:6-11)
Now here is a prediction that the river shall be dammed far away. The Aswan Dam surely answers to this prediction. As early as 1970 they began to discover some of the ecological problems that were created by the building of the Aswan Dam. In a report made to the Congress and has become a part of the Congressional record, number S3448, in an ecology report the first thing that they drew the attention to was the smog in Los Angeles as an ecology disaster. But the second thing was the DDT problem that since has been resolved by laws. But then the third thing was Egypt, and here is what was said, “The Aswan Dam has slowed down the Nile. Six hundred miles downriver the sandbars have stopped building up on the delta. The Mediterranean is flooding the delta and one million fertile acres have disappeared under saltwater. Below the dam, snails carry the blood flukes of schistosomiasis. And thousands of men and women and children are going to die of this painful, cruel disease. The Nile no longer carries its nutrient-rich sediments out to sea, and the fish are disappearing and the fishing families are moving to the slums of Cairo and Alexandria. That source of food is disappearing. Also, oxygen from the loss of the greenery and water.”
Now ten years later, as further studies are made concerning the ecological damage of the building of the Aswan Dam, the first thing, of course, that the prophet here does talk about is the saltwater intrusion into the delta, the rich delta farmland area. And this has continued. The idea of damming up the Aswan was, of course, to create a control of the water flow into the irrigation canals and so forth and hopefully to open up thousands of new agricultural acres by the irrigation projects. But they have discovered that through the saltwater intrusion and into the most fertile area of Egypt, into the delta, the Nile delta, through the saltwater intrusion, they have lost over twice the acreage, agriculture acreage as they were gaining. You see, it used to be at the flood tide as the Nile River would bring the silt and all into the Mediterranean, that it built up these silt dams against the Mediterranean creating this very fertile delta area much like we have down in El Centro and so forth, that fertile area that has been built up by the Colorado over the years.
Now with the Nile no longer flooding, they’ve lost the agricultural area by saltwater intrusion from the Mediterranean. First thing he predicted. But not only that, all the reeds and so forth that used to grow along the Nile were killed because there is a little snail that sort of feeds, eats at its roots, but it used to be carried away every year in the flood season. But now that there is no more flood season, these little snails have destroyed all of the reeds and everything that used to be along the Nile River. Even as Isaiah said.
Now in 1970 the fishing industry was beginning to disappear, it has now totally disappeared. It doesn’t exist. They do not have any more fishing industry. There in the Mediterranean there used to be tremendous schools of fish that supplied Egypt with one of its greatest protein sources. Just an overabundant supply of fish, because they would feed on the rich nutrients that were carried by the Nile River on into the Mediterranean Sea. But now that there is no great flooding and the carrying of these nutrients in, the fish, they don’t know what happened to them, if they just left and gone someplace else, or just disappeared. But there is no more fishing industry. It is amazing to me that 2700 years ago, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to not only prophesy the building of the Aswan Dam as they will turn away the river far away, but also to prophesy those ecological disasters that would be created by the damming of the Nile River. There has even been suggestions by the Egyptians that the Aswan Dam be blown up in order to seek to correct the ecological disasters that have resulted from its building.
It is interesting then that at the end of the prophecy he sort of takes off against those engineers and counselors that advised them to build the Aswan Dam. “The counselors of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish. How can they say, ‘I am wise, the son of the ancient kings’?”
Where are they? where are the wise men? and let them tell you now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts has purposed upon Egypt (19:12).
Men are so wise. Now let them tell you. God has already told you what damages are going to happen. These men are so wise let them tell you what God has purposed.
The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man who is staggering in his own vomit (19:13-14).
What a graphic picture.
Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shakes over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that makes mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it (19:15-17).
And so interesting as we look at the situations today and see how clearly and concisely God has actually spoken of these things. “The land of Judah even again becoming a terror unto Egypt.”
In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day (19:18-21),
“In that day,” begins to go ahead into the future into the day of the Lord. When God is going to work, of course, in the coming of Jesus Christ throughout the world. But Egypt is going to become a religious center for the worshipping of the Lord. Right now, of course, Egypt is strongly Moslem. They have laws in Egypt against witnessing, proselytizing; it’s a capital crime. If you seek to lead a Moslem to Jesus Christ in Egypt, you could be put to death. It’s a capital offense to seek to convert a Moslem to another faith. But in that day, the Lord shall be known to Egypt. They’ll know the Lord.
and they will do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them (19:21-22).
Now Egypt will be smitten by the antichrist, actually, when he takes his forces and he starts a move towards Africa to conquer Africa. He will pass through Egypt. He’ll get to the borders of Ethiopia, at which time tidings out of the north and the east will trouble him, for he will hear that the Chinese have been moving their armies westward. And he will turn in all of his fury to meet the invading armies of the east and of the north, the regrouped forces of Russia, and they will meet in a deadly conflict in the valley of Megiddo. So Egypt is going to suffer. They will be conquered by the forces of Europe as they begin their invasion of Africa. But it is an invasion that will never be completed, because as soon as Egypt is taken, as they start to move against Ethiopia, is when the news comes of the invading forces from the east and from the north at which time the antichrist will turn to meet them with the European forces. And thus the battle of Armageddon.
In that day (19:24)
The day of the Lord after He has healed them and established them, actually Assyria, which is modern-day Iraq, and Egypt will have a highway going between them passing through Israel. And the three nations will be joined together in a beautiful harmony and accord in the glorious day of the Lord.
it shall be that Israel shall be a third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (19:24-25).
And so God’s glorious work in that day; that day when Jesus comes to establish God’s kingdom.
Now in chapter 20, Isaiah predicts that Assyria is going to waste both Egypt and Ethiopia.
In the year that Tartan (20:1)
Which is the title which means the commander in chief. Tartan, the commander in chief.
came unto Ashdod (20:1),
One of the major cities of the Philistines. It is now a seaport city of Israel.
(when the commander in chief of the forces of Assyria under Sargon) came to Ashdod, and took it; At the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off your loins, and put your shoes off your feet. And so he did, walking naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot for three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, where can we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape? (20:1-6)
So, it was a sort of a method by which the conquering armies would seek to disgrace the conquered people is by making them march naked. Now it is interesting that God would tell his prophet Isaiah to walk around naked for three years. So that it would be the sign to the people. So Assyria is going to embarrass both Ethiopia and Egypt by conquering them and leading away their captives naked. And their confederacy together is not going to stand. And that is why Isaiah’s saying, “Don’t make a league with Egypt or don’t look to them for help against Assyria. Look to the Lord. If you look to man, if you look to the arm of flesh, you’re going to fall anyhow.”
Now the counsel of God is pretty much perennial in that God is encouraging us to look to Him for our help and for our strength and for our defense. Don’t look to the arm of flesh. Don’t look to the arm of man to help you, because man can fail. The Lord will not fail. And so this was the message of Isaiah unto Judah and to king Hezekiah to trust in the Lord. Don’t trust in an alliance and an agreement, because these nations are going to fall to Assyria. You trust in the Lord, the Lord will take care of you. And as we trust in the Lord, we can be sure the Lord will take care of us.
Shall we pray.
Father, we thank You again for Thy sure Word, that even as You have spoken, surely it shall come to pass. And Father, we can see as we look at history and as we read of the prophets, who before the events so clearly described them, we thank You, Lord, for this proof of Your divine capacities and divine nature. Dwelling, Lord, as You do in the eternal, outside of our time continuum. And thus, speaking of things before they come to pass as though they had already come to pass because You know they are going to come to pass. Oh, how thankful we are for Your sure Word and for the promises that yet await us as Your children, of those things that are going to come, of Thy glorious kingdom upon this earth. And our privilege of being with You and reigning with You. Now hide Thy Word away in our hearts and let us grow in our confidence and trust in Thee. In Jesus' name.
Shall we stand. May the Lord be with you and watch over you through the week as special emphasis is being made, the emphasis and attention upon the death of Jesus Christ and His subsequent resurrection. May the power to raise Jesus from the dead dwell in you, quicken you to every good work. God bless you and anoint you with His Spirit and use your life as His instrument to shine forth His light to a dark world. In Jesus’ name.