Shall we turn to Isaiah, chapter 21.
Isaiah begins this particular prophecy and addresses it to Babylon which was referred to as,
The desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass (21:1)
Or in the Negev. We call them sun devils out in Arizona. You’ve seen those whirlwinds that have been created by the sun out there in the desert and they move along and pick up dust and weeds and trash. “As whirlwinds in the south pass,”
so it cometh from the desert, from an awesome land. A grievous vision is declared unto me; The treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. Therefore are my loins filled with pain (21:1-3):
And he speaks of the response upon himself. So interestingly enough, 200 years before the event, when at this point in history, Media was just a small tribe and Persia was known as Elam by its tribal name, before Babylon has even become the first major world empire. While Assyria was in its period of ascendancy historically, he prophesies the destruction of Babylon by a combination of Media and Persia.
Now there is no way, absolutely no way, that any man in that day could foresee the two little tribal provinces of Media and Persia or Elam becoming a major world power that would destroy the tremendous empire of Babylon. This, of course, is just another one of those what we call internal proofs of inspiration. These fulfilled prophecies or these predictions that are made that are so unlikely at the time that they are made and yet was so completely fulfilled.
Now it is interesting the effect that this particular vision had upon Isaiah. And it was interesting that oftentimes when God would speak to a prophet that it would seem to have a physical effect upon him. Sometimes of just great weakness, just sort of a physically draining experience to have that kind of a close relationship with God. God speaking to you, showing you things and the effect would just be physically very draining.
Daniel speaks of how that after a set of visions that the Lord had given to him, how that on his bed his head was just sort of spinning and how he just felt that he was, “My beauty is turned into ugliness” (Daniel 10:8). And just the presence of God and all, it had a very powerful adverse physical effect upon him. And Isaiah here describes that “my loins filled with pain.”
pangs have taken hold upon me, the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear (21:3-4).
And so this is the physical reaction that Isaiah had to seeing this vision of the Medo-Persian Empire conquering the Babylon Empire. He bowed over. He was in pain like a woman that was in labor and his heart panted. He began to have this…of course, he describes it; he was filled with fear, and it had a very adverse physical effect.
Now it is interesting here that he begins to describe a little bit of the circumstances by which Babylon is to be conquered. Now he expands this further in the forty-fifth, forty-fourth and forty-fifth chapters of Isaiah, he expands more on the destruction of Babylon, even there naming the conquering king or general. Calling him by name a hundred and fifty years before he’s born. Telling how that the very method by which the city would be taken. How that the river Euphrates would be diverted and how that they would come in onto the banks of the river and through the levied gates that would be unlocked. And when we get to that forty-fifth chapter we will again take a little time to show you as you get into the historical record by Xenophon and you take a look at the conquering of Babylon by Cyrus. And it is exactly as Isaiah described a hundred and fifty years before Cyrus was born, naming him, and two hundred years before Babylon fell. Gives you details.
Now here he indicates that it is suddenly in the midst of their revelry. “The night of pleasure he has turned into fear.” You remember the night that Babylon fell, Belshazzar was having this great feast with all of his lords. Actually, they were celebrating the invincibility of Babylon. Though the city was encircled by their enemies, because the walls were three hundred feet high, eighty feet thick, they figured that there was no way anybody could conquer Babylon. And thus, it was just sort of a smear to their enemies who were outside and they had this great feast. In that while they were drinking, while they were getting pretty drunk, he ordered the vessels that were taken by his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar in the siege of Jerusalem brought in and they drank the wine out of the vessels of gold and silver that had been sanctified to the service of God in the temple. And they began to praise the gods of gold and silver. And so he describes here, “The night of my pleasure,” the banqueting and all, “he has turned into fear.”
Prepare the table (21:5),
The big feast that they had.
watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint your shield (21:5).
For suddenly in the midst of the banquet, the cry comes. Now, the anointing of the shield was the greasing of the shields so that the sword would glance off of it. It was harder to pierce through a greased shield. There is more of a tendency of the spear or sword to glance off of a greased shield. So that was the idea of the anointing of the shield. But suddenly the cry comes from the watchtower in the midst of the banquet. “Anoint your shields.”
For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed: And he cried, A lion: My Lord (21:6-8),
Now it is interesting that when Daniel had his vision of the world governing empires and he saw them as beasts, the lion was representative of Babylon. So he cried, “A lion: My Lord,”
I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you (21:8-10).
So Isaiah’s declaring, “Hey, what I heard from God I’ve declared unto you. I saw this guy coming and he was crying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen!’” Of course, this reminds us over into the book of Revelation when the destruction of spiritual and commercial Babylon takes place. We read of these angels that declare, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!” That great religious system that caused people to commit spiritual fornication, idolatry, and so forth. And so this one little aspect, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” has a twofold fulfillment, at the fall at the time of the Medo-Persian invasion, but then also in the future as it is picked up by the angel in Revelation.
In verses 11 and 12 I don’t understand the vision that he had. It’s concerning Dumah, which is Edom.
He calleth to me out of Seir (21:11),
Mount Seir, which marked the borders of Edom.
Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning comes, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire: return, come (21:11-12).
Now, I frankly don’t understand what the watchman was saying. Or the, what he…what was he indicating? I don't know. So I’ll just leave it.
Next we get:
The burden on Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim (21:13).
Dedan, of course, is one of the tribes. The Dedanim, being plural, would be the peoples of the tribe of Dedan.
Now Saudi Arabia was originally made up of two major tribal families. Those of Sheba and those of Dedan. So when you move into the book of Ezekiel and you read the prophecies in Ezekiel of the coming invasion of Israel by Russia with her allies, it is important to note that though Iran does come with Russia in the invasion of Israel, Saudi Arabia does not.
So evidently, you know, right now…and to me this is very important, because one of the major concerns of our government today is the oil supply that comes to the United States from Saudi Arabia. We are dependent upon those oil supplies for our whole industry, economy and everything else. And so there’s quite a bit to do right now in government circles on how much aid, military aid, we should give to Saudi Arabia. The F-15, shall we equip them? You know. Two thousand tow missiles for antitank missiles and so forth. And everytime we speak of aiding Saudi Arabia, Israel begins to lobby, because Israel is fearful that these weapons that we are giving to Saudi Arabia could very well be used against Israel. And thus, they seek to lobby against any aid that we might be giving to Saudi Arabia.
But there is concern, great concern, that Russia may seek to move into Saudi Arabia to take those oil supplies and thus to cut us off from our much-needed oil that we get from Saudi Arabia. Obviously, Russia does not take Saudi Arabia because Saudi Arabia is not. In fact, they are listed as not being with Russia in Russia’s invasion of Israel. And so Israel really doesn’t need to worry about an invasion from Saudi Arabia from the Scriptures.
In fact, Saudi Arabia is listed with those nations, of which the United States is perhaps one, because it speaks of the “merchants of Tarsus” which are thought to be England, and “the young lions thereof” (Ezekiel 38:13). Now the United States could conceivably be a young lion from England. Break off from England and one of the young lions. Canada, Australia. They say unto Russia, “What are you doing invading this little land of Israel? That isn’t fair. That isn’t right.” But Saudi Arabia joins with the objection with the United States and with England and the breakoff nations of England.
So as we look at the major decisions that are being made today in the State Department and in our government that are dealing with these very issues and these very nations that have been predicted in the Bible, having a biblical background helps tremendously. I am really excited over the number of military officers that are now beginning to look to the Bible as sort of a guideline for these days. Somehow they’ve gotten hold of a lot of my tapes that deal with these subjects of the Middle East and so forth. They’ve been listening to them and they have been actually using the Word of God as sort of a guideline. I was told of this one commander in the Navy who used to just have no time for God, no time for the Bible. I mean, it’s just so much stuff that he didn’t need to get involved with and was very antagonistic. But got hold of a tape and God got hold of his heart and they said that on his desk there’s always an open Bible. And as he’s going over the plans and so forth and developing strategies, he’s always looking now to the Bible and seeking guidance from the Bible. And this was shared by another military officer who is in a Bible study with him and there in Hawaii. There’s just a big bunch of military officers that get together and study the Word of God now and are looking to the Bible as a guideline for these days. And that’s very wise, because surely God has set things out.
He said to Amos, “I won’t do anything unless I tell my prophets in advance” (Amos 3:7). And God has told us in advance of the situations that would be existing today. So if Israel would read the Bible, they would realize they have no fears of Saudi Arabia. Because Saudi Arabia will take up their part when Russia invades. Russia’s the thing that they need to be concerned about, not Saudi Arabia. Iran, yes.
Now at this particular time, Israel is not so worried about Iran. In fact, people have wondered how Iran was able to keep these phantom jets going. Because when they kicked out the United States they didn’t have any more spare parts. And with this hostage situation and all, they… Iraq was surprised that Iran, they thought that Iran would crumble. That they would soon no longer be able to fly the phantoms because they didn’t have the technicians to keep them in repair. They didn’t have the spare parts to repair them and they figured the Iranian Air Force would be put out of commission very quickly and that they would then be able to just control the whole scene. What is happening, and what most people don’t know, what is happening is that Israel is repairing. They’re flying these jets to Israel. Israel is repairing all these phantoms for them.
So there is an underground kind of an alliance still between Iran. Israel feels a debt to Iran because during all of the oil crises and so forth, they supplied Israel with all of their oil needs. Now Israel is trading off the repair of the jets and all for oil needs and all. But Israel is keeping the Iranian Air Force going. And some of the Israeli officers were sharing that with me when we were over in Israel this last time, how that they’re flying these jets in and out from Iran almost everyday and they’re keeping them. And that’s the big surprise of the war is how the Irani Air Force could keep going. And that’s how they’re doing it. And I trust I’m not revealing any great military secrets and get in trouble for it. But that’s what’s happening.
Now Israel, though still underground, is friendly toward Iran. If they would only read the Bible, they would realize that Iran is the one to watch, not Saudi Arabia. That in the end, when the conflict comes, Saudi Arabia will join in the protest—not in the fighting—just in the protest of Russia’s invasion of Israel. So the fact that these things are all moving in that direction right now makes, of course, the Bible extremely relevant to our own world in which we live and the current decisions that are being made by the State Department and all of those guys that deal with world strategy. How much support shall we give to Saudi Arabia and all of this. And yet the Bible lays out the whole story of the future.
Now this burden that he has for Dedanim, one of the tribes of Arabia.
The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war (21:14-15).
Now this prophecy of Isaiah had an immediate fulfillment.
For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it (21:16-17).
Within a year and within a year Sargon in 716 B.C. conquered Saudi Arabia. So that prophecy could be checked off as one that was fulfilled.
Now in chapter 22 he turns his attention to Jerusalem, which is referred to as the valley of vision. And this is,
The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that you’ve gone up to the housetops? That you are full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far. Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people (22:1-4).
And so he sees them not being slain with the sword. And in seeing their destruction, he weeps. He said, “Don’t try to comfort me, because I’m weeping for the spoiling of the daughter of my people.”
For it is a day of trouble, a day of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. And it shall come to pass, that your choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armor of the house of the forest. You have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and you have gathered together the waters of the lower pool. And you have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have you broken down to fortify the wall (22:5-10).
Now he is speaking of the preparations that were going on at that moment in Jerusalem in preparing themselves for the threatened invasion by Assyria, which had destroyed the Northern Kingdom, and now Assyria was threatening to come with her armies to destroy Jerusalem. And so Hezekiah the king was making these precautions. First of all, he dug this tunnel some 1,700 feet from the spring of Gihon into the pool of Siloam. Coming under the wall of the city under the area of Ephal there, the old city that…Ephal that came up from the spring of Gihon. And through this rock they dug this tunnel 1,700 feet long because the spring of Gihon has a good head of water that flows through it constantly. And that was one of the major supplies for water in Jerusalem. It happened to be outside of the wall because it was down in the Kidron Valley at the base of Ophel there. And so what they did was dig the tunnel and then they covered over the spring so that the Assyrians would not know the source of the supply of their water. And so they diverted it through this tunnel. Brought it into the pool of Siloam within the gates so that they would have a water supply during the siege of the Assyrians.
And then they took some of the houses and they broke down the walls in order to fortify…the houses, they broke them down to fortify the breaches that were in the walls that were surrounding Jerusalem. And they were just fortifying the city and preparing the city for this coming invasion by Assyria.
You’ve made a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool (22:11):
And they have done all of these things, but—and this is what the prophet is getting on to their case about. You’ve done all, fortified the walls, you’ve dug the pool…the tunnel for the water and so forth,
but you have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had you respect for him that fashioned it (22:11).
In other words, who created the spring of Gihon? Who put the source of water there? You tried to fortify yourself with your own ingenuity, but you haven’t really looked to God for your help or for your guidance or for your protection or for your strength.
This is a mistake I think that we oftentimes make, is that we are doing everything in the natural, but we’re not doing anything in the supernatural. We’re not looking to God. We’re not looking for God’s strength or God’s guidance or God’s help. A lot of people today that are doing all kinds of things in storing up foods and trying to prepare themselves for a coming desolation that they envision, and they’re not really looking to God. They’re not really turning to God for guidance, for help. They’re not really trusting in the Lord. They’re trusting in their own capacities. And so the prophet finds fault with them for not looking to God.
In that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth (22:12):
Now the baldness was the shaving of their heads as a vow unto God. And God was calling them for a consecration and a commitment unto Him. Now God had said, “If My people, called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, then will I hear from heaven” (II Chronicles 7:14). But rather than humbling themselves and praying and seeking God, they were taking every natural precaution that they could, but not taking God into account at all. Now God does expect us to use wisdom and to take natural precautions. But He also wants us to look to Him and to trust in Him. And when God is calling us to times of fasting and prayer and waiting upon Him, then it is manifestly wrong that we seek our own resources for our deliverance. And so when they should be weeping and mourning, girding themselves with sackcloth, they were having parties.
There was the slaying of the oxen, the killing of sheep, the eating of flesh, the drinking of wine: [and they were saying] let us eat, drink [and be merry]; because tomorrow we’re going to die (22:13).
Reminds us of the world in which we live today that is faced with one of the greatest crisis in the history of mankind as the superpowers are girding themselves for war. As the United States is diverting more and more of our budget towards a military posture in order that we might counteract the tremendous military build-up by Russia and the military superiority that she has gained. And the superpowers are girding for a super war. And we look around at the scene in America when God is calling for weeping, God is calling for prayer, God is calling for sackcloth. We see the people just blithely going on seeking pleasure, leaving God out of their lives, and it seems to be the attitude, “Eat, drink and be merry, tomorrow we die.” And so the prophet comes out against this.
And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity will not be purged until you die (22:14),
There’s no cleansing for it. The course is set. The die is cast. They won’t change until the judgment comes.
saith the Lord GOD of hosts (22:15).
What a terrible, awesome indictment.
Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, What do you have here and who do you have here, that you have hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and he that graveth a habitation for himself in a rock? Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will cover thee (22:15-17).
Now while all this is going on, here this guy who was the treasurer of the nation was building himself out of the rock a beautiful sepulcher. If you go to Israel in the Kidron Valley you’ll see some beautiful sepulchers that were hewn out of the rock there in the Kidron Valley. And this guy was cutting him out one of these fancy sepulchers for himself. And the prophet Isaiah says, “Hey, why are you making yourself a fancy sepulcher here in the land as though you’re going to get buried here? You’re going to get carried away captive and they’re going to cover you someplace else.”
You know, people laying up their plans for the future. God’s going to interrupt your plans.
He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there you are going to die, and there the chariots of your glory shall be the shame of the lord's house. And I will drive thee from your station, and from your state shall he pull thee down. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah (22:18-21).
Now Shebna was the treasurer, but Eliakim was also one of Hezekiah’s counselors. They were both men of state. And later when the Rabshakeh who is one of the spokesmen for king Sennacherib of Assyria, when he came to bring the…not an edict, but a demand for surrender from king Hezekiah, Eliakim and Shebna were two of the men that dealt in the matters of state. Now, Eliakim evidently was God’s choice. Shebna was a foreigner who was usurping a place there, trying to build himself a big tomb to be buried in and all. He said, “You’re going to be carried away and buried elsewhere in a large land,” and all.
Now in this the two men, Shebna and Eliakim, you have one of these cases where you have a prophecy that is veiled in the near fulfillment and in the far fulfillment. He was dealing with a particular situation. These two men were at that time men of state in Israel. And Shebna was to lose his position and Eliakim was moved in--God’s choice. But from a prophetic standpoint, you have here Shebna as a type of the antichrist and Eliakim as the type of Jesus Christ. And even as the antichrist will come and be hailed and seek to ingratiate himself to Israel, yet he will be destroyed and the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, will come and establish the kingdom.
So you have here types of yet the future. And so when you get into verse 22, it lapses on out and Jesus picks up verse 22 when He is talking to the church of Philadelphia. And He is introducing Himself to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation chapter 3 there, “Unto the church of Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). So Jesus makes this verse apply to Him. That is why we say that it had an immediate fulfillment, but also it looked down prophetically and yet has a future fulfillment as Jesus takes these very words out of verse 22 and applies them to Himself.
And the key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder (22:22);
That is Eliakim.
and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house (22:22-23).
And so a little light of future burst in and then he comes back to the local situation.
And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it (22:24-25).
Now in chapter 23 he takes up his burden against Tyre. Tyre was, of course, a seaport town. It was the area… The people of Tyre were known as Phoenicians. And so you who are versed in your ancient history know of the Phoenicians and the tremendous navy that the Phoenicians possessed. They were merchants. Their ships plied the Mediterranean. In fact, they even went around the Cape Horn to bring back goods, merchandise and all. And the Phoenician navy more or less ruled the seas, and in those days the navies were used primarily for merchandising.
And so Tyre was the commercial capital of the world as far as goods and variety of goods and all. Commercialism more or less centered in Tyre in those days, the city of Tyre. So he is pronouncing now the judgment of God against Tyre, the commercial capital.
It is interesting as you go into the prophecies of Ezekiel that Ezekiel also in chapter 26 declares the destruction of Tyre. The description that Ezekiel gives in chapter 26 is much more detailed than is that of Isaiah. Ezekiel points out that there will be two enemies that will come against Tyre. The first one would break down their walls, destroy their cities, and so forth. The second one would take the rubble and cast it into the midst of the sea. And scrape the dust and cast it into the midst of the sea. And he goes on and he divides the sieges of Tyre between, “he shall do this, he shall do this, he shall do that.” And then it turns and the pronoun becomes “they and they and they.”
Now, as you look at your secular history, you’ll find that Nebuchadnezzar came against Tyre first; after a thirteen-year siege he finally took Tyre. But as the Scriptures said, he’ll not get any spoil. And Nebuchadnezzar after thirteen years did not take any spoil. Because while he was besieging the city of Tyre, because he basically had a land army and the Phoenicians had all these ships, the people of Tyre during this period of siege actually moved to an island that was about a mile offshore. And they built a whole new city of Tyre on this island, so that by the time Nebuchadnezzar took the city of Tyre, the people had pretty well moved out to this island and thus he didn’t take any spoil. Just like Ezekiel said. But then Ezekiel said, “And they shall come and they shall take thy timbers and thy stones and cast them into the midst of the sea: and they will scrape thy dust and throw them in the midst of the sea” (Ezekiel 26:12). That’s a strange thing for a prophet to say about the destruction of a city.
So when Alexander the Great, couple hundred years after Nebuchadnezzar, came in his conquest of that area, when he came to the city of Tyre and made a demand that they capitulate to him, they said, “Are you kidding? We’re safe. We’re out here on this island. There is nothing you can do.” Well, he tried to gather a navy from ships in Sidon and so forth, and that invasion was crushed. And so Alexander the Great then launched upon this very interesting campaign of taking the ruins of the old city of Tyre, and he began to throw the rocks, the timbers and all, building a causeway out to the island. Finally taking the dirt and scraping it and dumping it on top so that he could get his machines for besieging the city and all, moving them along this causeway that he built and he fulfilled the weird prophecies of Ezekiel of scraping the dust and all and throwing it into the midst of the sea. And he built the causeway out to Tyre and finally took the city of Tyre, utterly destroying it and the Bible says, “And thy place shall be a place for the spreading of nets” (Ezekiel 26:14).
Now for years people just thought when they saw the ruins of the area Tyre that this was just a peninsula. But upon closer examination they discovered that it is exactly as the historian said, “This is the island city of Tyre.” And the peninsula that they thought was a peninsula is actually an artificial causeway that was built by Alexander the Great as he conquered the city of Tyre exactly according to the script. You’d think that Alexander had read the Bible or something. He would just follow the script perfectly as God declared.
The interesting thing when they finally discovered the site of ancient Tyre, when they finally realized, “This is Tyre”, they looked up and here were fishermen spreading their nets on the rocks there. Just like Ezekiel said, “And thy place shall be a place for the spreading of nets.” So again, God’s interesting Word being fulfilled.
Then in Ezekiel 28, he takes up this lamentation against the king of Tyre. But as he is speaking against the king of Tyre, the prophecy switches and he begins to address himself unto Satan, the power behind the king of Tyre. “How art,” no, that’s Isaiah. In addressing himself, Ezekiel says concerning Satan, “Thou was perfect in beauty, perfect in wisdom, perfect in all of thy ways until the day that iniquity was found in thee,” and so forth. “And thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:12-13). And he is describing Satan.
Now Tyre was the center of the commercial system. God seems to have it in for man’s commercial systems. It would seem that God is not interested in men exploiting other men for their own profit. And God comes down hard against Tyre because of its commercialism. In the eighteenth chapter of Revelation, the final great commercial system that is destroyed, again, it says, “Weep and howl, ye merchants for you were made rich and so forth by thy merchandise and all.” But it says, “Rejoice ye in heaven for those men who have enslaved other men in debts and so forth are over, you know.” So that when we enter into the Kingdom Age you won’t find commercialism. Everyone that thirsteth, come and drink, eat freely. Commercialism will be over in the Kingdom Age. And all of us will share together in that kingdom and no one will be exploiting someone else for gain or for profit. And God really has it in for people exploiting others for personal gain or profit. And so he takes up the burden against Tyre, the commercial center.
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them (23:1).
So Tyre is to be laid waste. It was. This great commercial city.
Be still, ye inhabitants of the coast; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is the marketplace of the nations. Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins. As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the coast. Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth? The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength. He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strongholds thereof. And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest. Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish (23:2-14):
Now he speaks here of the Chaldeans or the Babylonians being the conquerors.
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish for your strength is laid waste (23:14).
The great Phoenician navy.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten for seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as a harlot. Take a harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing (23:15-18).
Now in Psalms, a psalm of the Kingdom Age speaks of Tyre bringing her gifts and so forth unto the Lord in the Kingdom Age in one of the kingdom psalms. So ultimately Tyre will be used again only for the supplying of the kingdom of the Lord.
Now as we get into chapter 24, we get into, really, things that the earth will be facing very soon, because we get into things that will be happening during the Great Tribulation as the Lord is preparing the earth for the return of Jesus Christ. Purging the earth before the return in His second coming.
Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty, he makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants thereof (24:1).
Now this sounds like it could refer to a polar axis flip. “He turneth it upside down.” There are some physicists who speak of a polar axis flip. By studying the ions in iron ore, because the positive poles are in the wrong direction they theorized that at one time the magnetic poles were different than what they are today, and that there has actually been a polar shift. And you can get quite a bit of material in the various papers and all that were done by the phycisists who have made a study of this ion in, the ionic structures really, and the changes that have taken place through periods of time.
In the book Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky, it is his premise in the book that the planet Venus was introduced into our solar system during the time of recorded history. That it actually was a comet that came into our solar system, made a close pass to the earth during the time of the plagues upon Egypt. And he attributes many of these plagues to this Venus being introduced. In fact, the pillar of fire he theorizes was actually this comet, the planet Venus. And that it moved out, but yet came back in at the time of Joshua’s long day when the earth stood still. And that the earth stood still as the result of this close pass of this comet Venus. It came so close that a gigantic electrical spark came between the earth and Venus that stopped the earth. And when the earth began its rotation again, it began to rotate in the opposite direction. That before the earth was actually rotating from west to east, but after this close pass…
And he gives some records out of Babylonian astronomy charts showing where in the older charts the planet Venus doesn’t exist. And yet it’s one of the brightest planets in the sky. And he gives all kinds. It’s a fascinating book. It’s created quite a furor in the scientific circles, but it would seem that more and more they are beginning to accept some of the theories at least that he presents in this book Worlds in Collision. If you like just good interesting reading of someone who brings up a lot of interesting things that he is seeking to make points off of. I found the book very fascinating. That with Ages in Chaos and then his latest book Earths in Upheaval. But the basic premise is that the planet Venus was then locked into a solar orbit and became a part of our solar system. But it happened during the period of history.
And he…I like the book because he proves that the long day of Joshua did exist. If it was a long night, or long evening, afternoon over there, then it would have been a long night over here. So he goes into the Inca records and finds a long night recorded in the Inca records. And all the way around he follows the whole thing around the earth and the Chinese records, and the Indian records, in the islands, some of the records. And he follows this thing all around the world and correlates. It would be a long morning here. It would be a long afternoon. It would be a long evening. Long night and so forth. And he correlates these things in the histories and the records of ancient men. And really confirming the fact that that long day did take place. The rest of the world didn’t understand why, only Joshua and his men really knew why the sun stood still. It was to give them a chance to totally wipe out their enemy. But it was, he really, of course, when the long night took or when the long afternoon took place, it said that God began to throw rocks at their enemy and more were destroyed by the rocks.
And he believes that these were the debris from the tale of this comet Venus that just pelted the enemies of Joshua. Of course, that’s man trying to look at it from a natural standpoint and explain things from a natural standpoint, because it would be sort of difficult to explain why the rocks only hit the enemy instead of Joshua’s troops, too, you see.
But it is interesting, fascinating. I enjoyed reading it. It’s a lot of original type of thinking and I just like original thinking. So the Lord speaks here about He’s going to turn the world upside down. “Scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof.” Velikovsky believes that it caused a polar shift at that time and that it’s going to happen again.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied (24:2-3),
In other words, it’s going to come on everybody. Nobody’s going to escape it; rich or poor are going to be affected alike. “The land shall be utterly emptied.”
and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word (24:3).
And, of course, this will take place during this Great Tribulation period, where not only will men through wars be devastating the earth, but there will also be corresponding cataclysmic events being sent from God that are just going to devastate the planet Earth. Be no time to be here, I’ll tell you.
The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left (24:4-6).
Very few will actually make it through the entire Great Tribulation period. Very few will come out on the other side.
The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry-hearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceases, and the noise of them that rejoice ends, and the joy of the harp ceases. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down: and every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. And the city is left desolate, and the gate is smitten with destruction. When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the coasts of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. For fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth (24:7-17).
“Fear, the pit and the snare.” Now we are told that the antichrist, the beast “that thou sawest who was and is not shall ascend out of the pit, out of the abusso.” So it’s talking about the time during the reign of the antichrist, a reign of tyranny and fear. And Jesus speaks about the days of the Great Tribulation as being a snare. Jesus said that you should beware of gluttony, of drunkenness and the cares of this world. For they shall be as a snare upon the inhabitants of the earth in that time. So the Great Tribulation period.
And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake (24:18).
It’s going to be a tremendous cataclysmic, wild time upon the earth. They are saying more and more, I’ve heard it several times this week. Of course, because this week was the celebration, if you can call it that, of the earthquake that shook San Francisco seventy-five years ago. So this is the seventy-fifth year from the quake in San Francisco, 1906. And they had celebrations and so forth. They estimate that the quake that devastated San Francisco was about an 8.3 on the Richter scale. They didn’t have Richter scales in those days so they estimated the earthquake to be about that intensity and all of the scientists said, “And we are expecting another earthquake to shake this area and it’s overdue and it’s coming very soon and we’re sure that another one is coming soon and it will probably be about the same intensity.”
I don't know where I would want to be if an 8.3 earthquake would shake this area. Surely not on the freeway, because it will topple every freeway overpass. The one in Sylmar a few years ago was only 6.5 and it devastated areas of the freeway up there. And, of course, with each point you’re ten times more powerful. So you get an 8.3 earthquake and you’ve got total devastation. God says, “I’m going to just shake the foundations of the earth.” This isn’t a localized quake. This is something that’s going to hit the whole earth. What we see is kids’ play, just a little move on the San Andreas fault line that shakes up us here along the coast. God’s going to shake the foundations of the world.
Now it speaks about the foundations of the world being shaken one other time and that was the time of Noah’s flood. And really a part of the great devastation from Noah’s flood was from the shaking of the foundations of the world.
The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage [or a summer house]; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again (24:19-20).
So God is going to shake the earth. It will reel to and fro like a drunkard, be removed like a cottage. Now those physicists who talk about the polar axis shift say that before the earth goes into the polar axis shift, that it goes into a wobble. Much like a top. You spin a top and as long as the momentum is going, it stands up straight. But as the momentum begins to slow down, then the top begins to wobble. And as the momentum continues to slow down, it begins to go into a violent wobble. And then what happens? The top flips over. So they say the earth is like a top spinning. But that as the earth’s rotation seems to slow down that it goes into a wobble state and then it flips on its axis. And you have a polar axis shift.
Well, it has been interesting. They have been measuring the earth wobble lately. And, of course, it moves in cycles every seven years. It comes to its peak and then it seems to sort of straighten up again and then it begins to increase and increase and increase. But the wobble of the earth is increasing more all the time.
Now here is Isaiah knowing nothing about earth wobbles, knowing nothing about polar axis shifts or anything else, talks about it. He says the earth is going to be moving to and fro like a drunken man, and then it’s going to be moved out of its place. So it would appear that there is going to be tremendous cataclysmic changes that are going to transpire upon the earth.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones (24:21)
Now who is he referring to here? “The host of the high ones,” that is when God brings into judgment the angelic forces of evil. You see, when Jesus comes again, “in that day, the Lord will punish the host of the high ones.” When Jesus comes again, the antichrist and the false prophet will be cast into Gehenna. Satan will be bound with a great chain and cast into the abusso. And those that follow with him. So that God is going to judge these spirit entities that, as Paul the apostle said in Ephesians, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against these spiritual entities in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). So,
in that day the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth (24:21).
The twofold judgment of the spirit beings. Those demonic forces, also the evil men. The day of judgment, day of wrath.
And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit (24:22),
Now you remember the demon said to Jesus, “Hey, don’t throw us into the pit before our time.” They were pleading with Jesus that He wouldn’t throw them into the pit. They know that their time is coming when they are to be cast into the abusso with Satan. Satan is bound with a great chain and thrown into the pit. And so they will be gathered as prisoners and be put in the abusso in the pit.
and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited (24:22).
After a thousand years Satan will be released for a short period. And then he and his followers will be cast into Gehenna, a place of outer darkness. A place that is out beyond the furthest galaxy. Out into space and to the darkness beyond the light of any galaxy. Outer darkness, where there’s weeping and wailing.
The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously (24:23).
But O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth (25:1).
In other words, “God, I’m going to worship You and praise You. These are things that You’ve determined long ago, but they are faithful, they’re true.” Jesus said, “I am faithful and true witness” (Revelation 3:14). Jesus confirmed these things are going to come to pass. He that is faithful and true saith. And Jesus, saying much of these same things as Isaiah, declares Himself as the faithful and true witness declaring these very things. God said to Daniel, “Seal up the prophecy for it is sure.” It shall surely happen. And so here is Isaiah praising God for His faithfulness. Here is Isaiah praising God for His name and for the wonderful things that He has counseled of old, that He shall bring to pass.
For thou hast made of a city a heap; of a defensed city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the awesome nations will fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall (25:2-4).
God has been and is always a strength to the poor. He is a strength to the needy. He is a refuge from the storm. How many times have we sought and found refuge in Him from the storm. He is a shadow from the heat. He is praising the Lord for being the refuge and the shadow from the heat and the blast from the awesome ones.
Now this could very definitely be a reference to the things that will be taking place at the Great Tribulation and how that God will be the refuge to His children. “Come ye apart, my children, for a while, until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:20). I cannot believe, I do not believe that the church will be here when this horrible devastation that Isaiah speaks about takes place upon the earth. I do not believe that. I am so deeply convicted of the fact that the Lord has better plans for me.
Jesus said, “Pray always, that you’ll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are coming to pass upon the earth, and to be standing before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36). He will be a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat.
Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the awesome ones shall be brought low. And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all the faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it (25:5-8).
Now if I just had read you that Scripture and we weren’t going along in Isaiah and I said, “Where is this Scripture found?” And “He will swallow up death in victory.” You’ll say, isn’t that in Corinthians? First Corinthians 15? “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55) You see, Jesus has triumphed over death, hell and the grave. And in speaking of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which brings to us the hope of our resurrection, for Paul said:
Now is Christ raised from the dead, and it has become the firstfruits of those who rise from the dead. But some of you will say, How are the dead raised? and with what body will they come? Don’t you realize that when you plant a seed into the ground it doesn’t come forth into new life until it first of all dies? And then the body that comes out of the ground isn’t the body that you planted. Because all you planted was a bare grain, by chance, wheat or some other grain. And God gives to it a body as pleases Him. So is the resurrection from the dead. You are planted in weakness and you’re raised in power. You’re planted in corruption; you’re raised in incorruption. You’re sown in dishonor, you’re raised in glory. You’re planted as a natural body, you’re raised as a spiritual body. For there’s a natural body, there’s a spiritual body. And even as you’re born in the image of the earth and have been earthy, so shall you bear the image of the heaven. And of course, the glory of the celestial is one, the glory of the terrestrial is another” (I Corinthians 15:20,35-38,42-44,40).
And he goes on and speaks about these things and then he said, “But behold, I’m going to show you a mystery. We’re not going to all sleep, but we’re all going to have a metamorphosis, a change of body. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trump of God shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).
And then shall be brought to pass this saying, “O death, where is thy string? O grave, where is thy victory?” For the sting of death was sin but it has been removed through Jesus Christ. Oh, thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And so this glorious Easter proclamation. It all hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has brought to us this glorious hope. And in that day, the death will no longer be victorious. It will be swallowed up. It was swallowed up in victory in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “And the Lord will wipe away all tears.”
Now if I read that to you, you’ll say, “That’s in Revelation, isn’t it?” Yeah, seventh chapter. “And God shall wipe away all tears.” And then Revelation chapter 22, again, “And God shall wipe away all tears.” The glorious day of the kingdom. “And the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” I like that. God spoke it. You know it’s going to be.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him (25:9),
You’ve been waiting for the Lord? He will come. Surely He will come.
and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust (25:9-12).
So the devastation of chapter 24, the Great Tribulation, and then the glorious triumphs of the Kingdom Age in chapter 25, and then God’s restoration of His work on Israel in chapter 26. It’s unfortunate that they’ve made chapter distinctions because these things all flow together. And really we should go on and take chapter 26, but we’re not going to until next Sunday night. But we hope that you can remember the sequence that we have here. The Great Tribulation, the beginning of the Kingdom Age, the Lord’s victory and glory, and then God’s glorious dealing with His people Israel. And it’s always exciting. God is faithful to His promises and as we get into chapter 26 and all, we’ve got God’s glorious work in restoration of His people. As the prophets have all foretold when once again God begins to work in their midst.
Shall we stand.
I love the Bible, because you know that it’s true. You know that what God has said He has done. And if He has done what He said you know that He will also do what He said He is going to do. You can read it with such confidence, such assurance knowing that it shall indeed be. “Heaven and earth,” Jesus said, “will pass away, but My Word will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35). The sureness of the Word of God. And so you can read it and you can map out your life by the Word of God and always be on safe ground. God’s Word cannot fail. God’s Word will not fail. You can bank on it. May the Lord be with you and may the Lord strengthen you through this week. And may the Word be as a fire burning within your heart as God ministers to you His truth. And may your life be purged through the Word, cleansed. And may you walk with the Lord in beautiful fellowship. And may God grant to you opportunities of witnessing and serving Him. In Jesus' name.