120. Why does Isaiah pronounce judgements over all the gentile nations?

“But that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (Italics mine).  So says Revelation 10:17.

REV 00What does this verse teach us about the Old Testament prophets and men like Isaiah?

It demonstrates that even though externally it was a two bit tiny piece of real Estate called Judah, smaller than some of the shire counties in the UK, and even though it was a poverty stricken, and morally and spiritually bankrupt society, the message that these comparatively unknown men delivered in order to bring their comparatively tiny number of people in alignment with God’s plan and purpose, both individually and collectively, was not small minded parochialism or home spun yokels and philosophers that were quaint and fascinating to those who saw and heard them. It was not an eighth century BC “Carry On…” film as I have heard some Christians describe them, bungling their way through the days in which they lived. Neither were they religious eccentrics that were out to proselytize as many converts as they could.  As a matter of fact they probably lost more religious minded people than they gained spiritually hungry folks. They actually, quite literally slated the religious sacrificial system that was slavishly continued by some, but was practiced without any concept of faith whatsoever, without a proper hope, and definitely without love. These prophets were men who had touched God – or should I say God touched them. What they had taken hold of was whatever Father, Son and Holy Spirit in heaven were discussing, planning and executing in the earth at that moment of time and they courageously stood up to tell what they had seen and heard. They were seers and prophets. They saw the invisible world and what was going on there and they heard what was being discussed there, andmost of all, they entered into the mindset and worldview of God and heaven. And they all got killed for their possession of those insights. These men saw the universe as it truly is, and not only as men see it. These men saw the absolute reality of what governs the universe and they saw, heard and felt the exact same way that God saw, heard and felt. These men were after truth. They were in hot pursuit of God’s thoughts and declared them. That truth hurt and pained many, but they were not in any way trying to hurt anybody, in fact, quite the opposite. It is arguable that these series of men were the greatest men that ever lived, notwithstanding Christ Himself.


REV 01Jesus actually pronounced John the Baptist the greatest man that ever lived. As a prophet it is reckoned that the Baptist only preached for about 3 months before Herod put him behind bars. Men like Isaiah declared God’s immediate and contemporary word, in the context of the eternal and everlasting truth over three or four decades. It would seem that all the great prophets were the greatest of men. Meaning that the greatest of men all belong to the same “Trades Union.”


Isaiah and all the prophets saw God’s hand of blessing and/or judgement in everything that was happening on the face of the earth. They saw God’s purpose and plan in what had happened, what was happening and what was to happen in the future. Whether it was their nation, or nations all around the world that they knew. All nations were seen for what they were, and and what they are in the light of God’s eternal purpose for man, and for the nation and people of Israel. Some of their predictions were for the next year, some for the next decade, some for Christ’s first advent, some for His second advent and beyond. The prophets saw much that has not –as yet – been fulfilled at all. Isaiah saw the rise and the fall of nations, ethnic groups and empires; of those that were in existence as they spoke, as well as those that were not in existence at the moment he spoke.


Isaiah identified rampant sin, evil and iniquity that was governing those that governed the nations of the middle East, all of which had some interaction with Israel and or Judah somewhere along their time line, even if not directly, simply because of the geographical position of the Land that was given to Abraham. These men saw that the evil of men’s hearts, and the trickery f their motivations and scheming were bigger and larger than mankind could generally perceive.


REV 02Isaiah and the prophets of his time, right through to the fall of Jerusalem, were all painfully aware of the strategic nature of Israel and Judah’s geographical position. Nobody from the south, like Egypt or Ethiopia could interact with any other nation north of Canaan without travelling through Israel’s territory. Assyria and Egypt could not interact with each other without somebody having to walk on Israeli territory to get to the other. To Israel’s west was the Great Sea (The Mediterranean), and to the east was the scorching desert. This meant that all alien invaders or travelers had to march through the land that is Israel. Isaiah saw the evil of all the nations and he knew exactly what Yahweh was going to do about that evil. Isaiah saw earthquakes, drought conditions and political setbacks that were all a result of the conduct of the nations, their people and their leaders. They saw the coincidences of life that would cause dictator-like kings to miss a trick here, or fail to conquer there – and they stood up in full knowledge of the mind of God and declared, “This is what Yahweh says…” Their message contained material that was obvious, some of it strange, and some of it downright challenging to the understanding. We know full well that the Lord Jesus referred to the stuff they wrote continually. He argued from their statements, and rationally presented His worldview and conceptualization of life from the things that they preached and wrote.


REV 03Have you ever wondered why Abraham marched south after he had left Haran? He could have marched into Turkey and had a huge spread of the land of a vast sub-continent. He could have trekked north and become some kind of mountain dwelling race. But he was led southwards and was given the most vitally important stretch of real estate in the Middle East, if not, in the world. Every other city state, nation state or empire in the Middle East had to relate, to some degree, with that stretch of land the Bible refers to as Canaan, Israel, the Holy Land, or simply “His Land.” And that was the parcel of land chosen by God to be given everlastingly to Abraham and his descendants.


Every interaction that any nation had with Israel or Judah impacted their own future as well as the Jews.


Egypt were uncircumcised gentile people. (At least, if they were circumcised it was for hygiene reasons not for covenantal reasons with God) God had laid it on Isaiah to teach the kings of Israel and their advisors that faith in God was demanded from Yahweh, and the slightest inclination to ask for or to pay for assistance from Egypt was, really, to put some kind of curse on both Egypt and Judah, or Israel together. God was Israel’s Saviour, and to rely on anybody else, human, angelic or demonic, was a statement of their rejection of God and His promises.


But, there were never to be forgotten circumstances that impacted on God’s purpose for Egypt. A Pharaoh long previous to Isaiah had treated Abraham and Sarah favourably, even though Abraham had lied to him. A later Pharaoh had treated Joseph with great grace and kindness and raised him to be Egypt’s high and lofty second in command. For this fact, i.e. that Egypt had blessed Abraham himself, and in blessing Joseph had again blessed Abraham indirectly, according to Genesis 12:1-3, they themselves were to be blessed. That blessing has not yet been fully received and entered into, therefor we classify that blessing as unfulfilled prophecy. So in the midst of any judgement on Egypt, there was the future hope of His grace, and Egypt will be saved in the end days.


REV 04The Philistines had always been enemies of Israel, and later with Judah. Centuries of that kind of enmity finally filled their cup full of their condemnatory and idolatrous behaviour, and so final judgement was declared upon them. Sentence was declared upon them for their own idolatry as well as their crimes against Israel. Remember God promised Abraham that whoever blessed him would be blessed, and whoever cursed him would be cursed. The Philistines had spent every generation cursing Abraham’s seed and descendants. Heaven and earth passes away, but what God has spoken will never pass away.


Isaiah, along with other prophets, heard from God when various nations had reached critical mass in their immorality, sinful mindsets and evil conduct. The violence of the major empires of Old Testament times is a thing hardly understood today in our politically correct world, in which, half a dozen deaths in the armed forces while in full warfare requires analyses, court enquiries and public statements and apologies from the leaders of men in the armed forces. (I make no statement whatsoever as to the morality or immorality of such a thing) Isaiah was seeing through the eyes of God the various cultures and outlooks of nations where thousands upon thousands of men and women could die in armed warfare in a single day and their leaders would not so much as blink. The evil of those worldviews that counted human life so cheaply and unimportant were world views that even in such a ferocious and violent series of generations were ungodly and demanding of divine judgement. The prophets were raised up by God in the overflowing activity of the world in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. to state the facts of history before world affairs were taking place, so that the world would know evidentially that there was a God in heaven who rules the world and the kingdoms of men.


REV 05 Zechariah stoned

Zechariah slain between the porch and the altar.

The prophet Jonah preached in Nineveh, declaring that their cup of sin and evil was full and they were forty days short of divine annihilation. Nineveh repented at the very cusp of eternal damnation, and were saved, much to the chagrin of Jonah himself as it was equally to the pleasure of God. 150 years later Nineveh and Assyria had reached critical mass yet again filling their cup of iniquity as seen, observed and noted from heaven and were becoming ripe again for judgement. God will always accept the repentant heart, but once critical mass has been reached, folks have transcended, by their own choice, the potential within themselves to repent. They have literally chosen not to turn from evil or even consider that God speaking into their existence. The prophet Nahum pronounced their death sentence. The reasons Nahum gives us as to why God was about to overthrow Assyria are terrifyingly similar to the facts, figures and statistics of modern society in the west, and particularly in the UK where I live. Alcoholism was rampant in Assyria. Nahum said so. The men had become effeminate. The national leaders had become like grasshoppers.


How is it reasonable and logical to see, plainly, how Assyria could not escape God’s severest judgement because of these sins, and then we hopefully expect that we in our modern society somehow could be allowed to go free. As if God has changed his modus operandi for our modern “superior” democratic choices. The majority says that what was previously called sin could not possibly be anything but good and holy, so God must obviously bow his head and go with the votes of man. Prophets of peace and prosperity in the midst of such a cosmos seem to me to be like Nero fiddling, making merry and dancing while Rome was burning and people were dying.


History shows us that something like 20-22 civilisations have come and gone in the context of world history with the same classical cultural pattern of development followed by internal moral rot, and indeed, the same thing is happening again now even in the global village. Compared with the land mass of planet earth all empires that have arisen and peaked and collapsed were mere parochial small things. The prophets of both the Old and New Testament point towards a global empire, a world order that will cover ever nation on the planet, where the same idiosyncrasies will be present in its growth, maturation and fall. When that empire falls, how great will that fall be?

The one thing we have all clearly learned from history is that mankind does not learn from history.

REV 06

Jesus tells us that all the prophets were slain by the Jews.

Each one of these collapses and divine fells of  judgement were preceded by waves of prosperity that caused each civilization to be at rest in the evils that they sank into – evils that would finally see their culture die. God sees all and everything.


The Old Testament prophetic voice likened God’s judgement to a bow and arrow. Isaiah perceived it as the arrow of judgmental execution on the bow of God’s administrative right hand of power, and the bow string being pulled back further and further, ready to shoot that arrow of judgement at the heart of Assyria and later into the heart of Babylon.


The very night Babylon fell, the conduct of the Babylonian royal family is clearly seen in the fifth chapter of Daniel. Luxury, party, untrammeled wealth, blasphemy and a mindlessness that ignored the Medo-Persian army that was at their gates. Daniel himself listed 5 different civilisations that would rise and fall in this very same syndrome. When at their richest, nations, people groups and empires have tended to consider themselves immune to anything that even resembles God’s judgement. It happened with the Japanese empire, the Peruvian empire, and others. Growth. An outward mission that sent them conquering and to conquer. Wealth, affluence, ease – and then crash.  Financial chaos. Moral collapse. The arrow of God’s judgement finds the heart of an empire. If folks sin like Sodom and Gomorrah, they will undoubtedly pay the price of Sodom and Gomorrah.


REV 08Much of what the writing prophets said is pure revelation concerning the “mystery” of God’s plan and purposes worldwide. Is that why they are not read as much as other sections of scripture?

Revelation 10:17, the verse we started with, informs us that the prophets could see things down to the end of the time line that God has set for mankind, the world, and the whole of creation.  We seriously need to get to grips with the vastness of the horizon and the entire land of the future that Isaiah and the other prophets saw so clearly.





REV 10

119. Egypt and Ethiopia. Assyria defeats one and thereby defeats both

Isaiah 20

20 3 Representation of the Battle of Eltekeh.The Kushite attack on the Assyrians (8th century BC)

Representation of the Battle of Eltekeh.The Kushite attack on the Assyrians

Here endeth the lesson of Egypt and Ethiopia with the trilogy of Isaiah’s three chapters, 18, 19 and 20. (Not that Isaiah had a clue about three chapters. Nobody in the bible wrote in chapters and verses. That was a concoction of man to facilitate us learning, remembering and finding verses more easily.) Here we are, yet again, examining Egypt and Cush and their final collapse before the rampaging might and military force of an angry king Essarhaddon and the forces of Assyria who wanted so much to please their monarch.


713 BC is when the drama of Isaiah 20 commenced. 671 BC is the year his predictions explained within the chapter were fulfilled. That’s a 42 year gap between prediction and realization.


Let me spell out a little more of the history before we read the biblical text of Isaiah.


701 BC is definitely the year that Sennacharib, the king of Assyria lost 180,000 soldiers overnight. These were soldiers that were camped outside Jerusalem and ready to besiege the city of David. Isaiah and Hezekiah witnessed the event and walked through it. We will go into the details of that story when we get to the relevant chapters of Isaiah’s volume.


After that divine encounter with the Angel of Yahweh, Sennacharib returned home, and Assyria did not pester Judah again for twenty years or so, but when they did, my oh my, did they meant business! It took two whole decades for Assyria to sort out its rebellious vassal states like the Elamites, Chaldeans, Scythians and Babylonians. It must have been a desperate time when, believe it or not, religious beliefs got in the way of their heavy handed world conquering. I say that because, as I understand it, one of the main reasons why Sennacharib’s own sons killed him was the fact that in ransacking Babylon he defiled what Assyrians considered sacred and holy places, statues and priests. Esarhaddon assumed the throne of Assyria and was so fed up with the news he had been reported to over and over again concerning Egyptian interference with Assyria’s vassal nations around the Levant that he decided to end the nonsense once and for all.


20 2 end_antiqueRemember that while all this was going on, around 679 BC, Isaiah had probably been martyred by this time, Hezekiah was definitely dead, and Manasseh his wicked warlock of a son was ruling over and utterly destroying Judah spiritually, morally, and socially. Cush (Nubia cum Ethiopia) was still running and ruling Egypt.


So, we camp at 671 BC. We see Esarhaddon on the bloodiest of battlefields. Egypt has been thrashed on the filed of slaughter. Egyptians and Ethiopians were slaughtered alike, and they that did not die, were bound up and packaged for exile back in Assyria. Tuharka, the Nubian Egyptian Pharaoh that had led them into battle fled for his life. He fled not only to Egypt’s high walled cities, but down the Nile and back into the land of Cush. It was a total humiliation. From that moment on, Egypt was free of the Cushite twenty-fifth dynasty. In fact the twenty fifth dynasty was no more. The once mighty Egypt, which had receded in power and glory under the Nubian twenty-fifth dynasty for the last few generations, was now in tatters through the hateful Assyrian aggression, and even more powerless under its thumb. Huge numbers of both Cushites and Egyptians were chain ganged together and marched off to Nineveh and its environs. And let me tell you; walking from Egypt up along the Mediterranean coast to somewhere near Haran, and there making a sharp right turn and marching off to Nineveh or some other Assyrian metropolis is an awful long way to walk.


This Assyrian conquest ended the Nubian 25th dynasty in Egypt, and effectively destroyed the Kushite Empire. There you have the story. And Isaiah saw it all something between twenty to thirty years before hand.


Why did I suggest we also remember 679 BC? Because two years later Tirhakah tried a return bout with Assyria down south in Upper Egypt and was even more humiliatingly defeated by Assyria. Esarhaddon, after having returned to Assyria to celebrate his glorious campaign against Egypt, had set off to get rid of Tirhakah completely. Unfortunately for him he had fallen ill and died when he had hardly left home at Haran. Ashurbanipal, his son, succeeded him and was so confident of his generals that he did not even go himself to finish off Tirhakah. Instead, he sent a general and an elite army corps, a kind of Assyrian SAS corps who pursued Tirhakah out of Egypt never to return again. Tirhaqa died two years later in Nubia.


This is a further back cloth of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic word in Isaiah 18, 19 and 20.


  1. 20 0 isaiah20preaches20to20the20people

    Artist’s impression of Isaiah preaching to the people.

    Yahweh revealed the following message in the year that Tartan, the supreme commander in chief came to the Philistine city of Ashdod, sent by Sargon king of Assyria. He attacked it and took it. (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 1)


The bits and pieces that the Assyrian kings have left behind are priceless with statements that equip us to know when and where certain events took place in biblical history. We know quite well that Ashdod, a Philistine walled city, was besieged twice during the reign of Sargon II, he himself left inscriptions that tell us so. It occurred, according to Sargon, once in his ninth year of reign and then in his eleventh year of power. The first occasion was probably overseen by Tartan, and the second time is generally understood to have been “generalled” by Sargon himself. The capture then that is referred to in Isaiah 20:1 is the first one of his reign.


The word “Tartan” is not a name per se, but a title. A “Tartan” was equivalent to “Commander-in Chief.”


At the time this siege took place Egypt and Ethiopia were under the same monarch, namely Shabok, sometimes referred to as Shabatok. The Philistine inhabitants were seriously looking forward to being delivered from the big bad Assyrians, by the big good Egyptian cum Ethiopian forces. On this occasion, the one referred to in Isaiah 20:1, the king of Assyria placed his own puppet king in charge of Ashdod and left for home. Soon afterwards, however, Ashdod deposed the Assyrian “Yes man,” and put their own choice of king on their throne, and then hurriedly and immediately went scurrying around the nations that surrounded them asking Judah, Edom, Moab and the Egyptian cum Ethiopian empire to assist them. They knew full well that Assyria would beat the daylights out of them for their hasty rebellion.


Foreseeing all that was to come, Isaiah was given a message from God that was meant to warn Hezekiah and the whole of Judah not to entertain union with Egypt or Ethiopia in anyway whatsoever. What was to happen to Egypt and Ethiopia would be the same as happened to all their allies.


Rather than preach and declare, “Keep away from Egypt,” he brought a much more easily grasped message. The message was a strange, and a somewhat embarrassing message that one could not help but see, hear, and understand.


  1. At that very same time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Go, and take the burlap hassock (sackcloth) you have been wearing from your hips and loose it from off your body and the sandals from off your feet.” So Isaiah obeyed the Lord and went around stripped without clothes or sandals, in undergarments and barefoot.  (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 2)


This verse gives many commentators a need to justify the language. “Isaiah could not possibly have walked around 3 years stark naked,” they say. “It is just too immoral for a holy prophet to do such a thing!” There is a chasm of difference between those that say, “It means he walked around in an undershirt,” and those that answer, “But the showing of buttocks is clearly mentioned, indicating nakedness.” I leave the whole thing to my readers to judge for themselves. Slaves in Assyrian sculptures are commonly dressed in a short tunic. However, the word “naked,” is awkwardly and inexcusably unapologetic about its presence.


  1. Then the Lord said, “Like as my servant and bond slave Isaiah has gone without clothes or sandals for three years. This is a sign and a wonder, a veritable prophetic portent – a symbol, an object lesson and an omen of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt (Mizraim) and Ethiopia (Cush). (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 3)


Isaiah is God’s servant, God’s slave. With this epithet Isaiah joins the hall of fame with characters such as  Abraham (Genesis 26:24), Moses (Numbers 12:7), Caleb (Numbers 14:24), Job (Job1:8), Eliakim (Isaiah 22:20) and Zerubbabel (Haggai 2:23).


The three years, I reckon was something like 713 BC. To 711 BC, which was undoubtedly the period of time during which, Philistia (Ashdod), Edom, Moab and Judah were making representation to Egypt/Ethiopia for their military support against Assyria. 

20 1 naked

  1. So the king of Assyria will defeat and lead away the captive prisoners of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia. Assyria will take prisoners and lead them both away from their countries. The people, young and old, will be led away stripped without clothes and barefoot without sandals. They will be completely naked with buttocks bared to the public shame of Egypt. (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 4)


20 8 nubian_face1

Classic Nubian featured demeanour

In the royal Chronicles of Sennacharib for 701 BC, Twelve years, I believe, after this prophecy was given,we read the following dictated notification. “The kings of Egypt, and the archers, chariots and the King of Meroe, a force without number, gathered and came to the aid of Ekron. In the neighbourhood of Eltekeh their ranks were arrayed before me, and they urged on their soldiers. In the service of Asshur my lord, I fought with them, and I accomplished their overthrow. The charioteers and sons of the kings of Egypt, and the charioteers of the king of Meroe, alive in the midst of battle, my hand captured.” Meroe means Cush. There was I believe a district and a city in the heart of Cush that was called Meroe.


This, although it is clearly stated as in the days of Sennacharib, was merely a foretaste of what was to take place at the fall of Tirkah and the end of the 25th dynasty in 679 BC.


  1. Those Philistines and their allies who looked to Ethiopia (Cush) their hope, and trusted them for help, will be shattered and afraid. Those who were amazed by and boasted in the jewel of their allies Egypt’s (Mizraim’s) glory will be put to shame.” (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 5)


Those who will have resorted to Egypt/Ethiopia for aid shall be embarrassed and ashamed of their folly in having done so, and in deep fear as to the consequences of that policy pursuit.


  1. In that day, people living along the coast in that isle of rebellion, will say, “See what has happened to those countries we relied on, those we trusted to help us. We ran to them and clung to them so that they would rescue us from the king of Assyria.  Such was our expectation! But look at them. They have been captured, so how can we escape? ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have?”  (Lannon’s extended free translation and paraphrase Verse 6)


Sargon, talks of the four powers that attempted to defy him who “sought after Egypt” as “dwelling by the seaside.” They expected Egypt to have wone the day on their behalf. The defeat and the shame was much to bear.


Few things in life are more difficult than bringing people, whether individuals or nations, to a place of complete surrender and faith in God.


20 5 Nubian dynasty


At the points of time where (a) in 701 BC Isaiah made the prophetic drama with a choreography of nakedness, (b) 701 BC where Sennacharib defeated Ashdod and the neighbouring parts (except for Judah), and 769 BC where Assyria conquered Egypt and in so doing buried the 25th dynasty of Pharaoh’s, Judah  lay absolutely at the mercy of merciless Assyria. There was, at those points of time, no existing power that could contend successfully with those vast and countless bodies of military commandoes which kings of Assyria could hail to the battlefield with a click of the fingers. Nothing but nothing could maintain Jewish independence for more than a few days but a blatant, in your face, miraculous act of God – which, of course, they had in 701 BC. But for that to take place some people, or person, had to be in the place where Yahweh was their sole trust and defence. By leaning on Egypt, that concept and caliber of trust was just not present. The lesson of the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC which had trusted in Egypt (2 Kings 17:4), and then had been destroyed by Assyria, was lost on them. The greatest practical lesson that should have built faith in Judah was simply not even heard, never mind received.


In connection with Ashdod, they had actually sent envoys and ambassadors to Egypt asking for assistance (Isaiah 30:1-4). It was then that Isaiah obeyed the heavenly instruction. The whole of the Middle Eastern world knew of the humiliation of being captured and exiled by Assyria. People chain-ganged and walking stark naked excepting for scanty loin cloths to Nineveh and the like and being sold off to the Assyrian aristocracy. The sight of Isaiah willfully humiliating himself, and knowing the significance of what it meant was a line of communication that could not possibly be misconstrued.


It must have made an impression on Hezekiah and his advisors, even though the message was not heeded.  However, after the battle of Eltekeh and Egypt’s embarrassment, Hezekiah and Judah had a spiritual revival of faith, as it were, and Hezekiah made a desperate appeal to Yahweh (Isaiah 37:4).  The prayer of the king ended the siege of Sennacharib, his Rabshakeh and the death of 180,000 crack Assyrian troops.

20 9 Egypt,_Nubian

A genuine real time Nubian Warrior.


118. Egypt? It is! But its Pharaoh is Ethiopian!


Egypt 4 assyrian-warrior-of-the-assyrian-king-esarhaddon-fighting-against-a-nubian-warrior-of-the-nubian-pharaoh-taharqa-in-the-7th-century-ad

Assyrian warrior of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon fighting against a Nubian warrior of the Nubian Pharaoh Taharqa in the 7th century-ad

This prophecy must in its immediate context refer to the invasion of Egypt by Esarhaddon, king of Assyria in 672 BC. The last verses of the chapter, however, with the conversion to Yahweh of Egypt and the harmony between Israel, Egypt and Assyria has simply never occurred, and therefore must remain as a future prediction. Jesus Christ Himself declared that the scripture cannot be broken, and at another time said “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away.” On that basis, with the understanding that the text of Isaiah is indeed the word of God and as it is the most quoted of the Old Testament scrolls in the New Testament text, we would suggest that we stand on solid ground when we declare that if Isaiah predicted an event or a process which today, 2700 years later, has not been fulfilled, we refuse to scurry around the history books in an attempt to vindicate Isaiah and point out that something or other was the fulfillment. We have covered these kind of thoughts several times in earlier pages on this platform. Throughout my remarks of biblical prophecy, if I read anything predicted by scripture, no matter how early in the chronology of the Bible it is written, if it has not been fulfilled, I refuse to even think the prophet “overstated” a case, or that he spoke in metaphors or symbols, I am in full expectation of the prophetic fulfilment in the future.


I start with this statement simply because the last half of this chapter of Isaiah, has obviously never been anything near fulfillment anywhere in history.


Egypt 2 ethiopians-chained

Ethiopians chained and exiled by the Assyrian Conqueror Essarhaddon

Assyria were cruel and fierce as seen in Isaiah’s vision. The early part of this chapter is a prophecy – a vision – of what was to take place at a critical point of Egyptian history. It would be an important moment for the Ethiopians as well. The catastrophe here envisaged in the first half of the chapter reveals what was happening within Egypt for years prior to their defeat at the hands of Assyria. It sucked the strength out of the nation of Egypt, and they never again achieved the strength they once had as a great power in the Middle East.


The short-lived empire of Ethiopia (a minor empire when seen against Assyria, and, later, Babylon) was whittled down to almost nothing. Tirhakah did attempt to regain Egypt from the Assyrians, but that attempt actually finished him off. He died in Ethiopia while still licking his wounds for losing Egypt.


In this chapter, Isaiah saw clearly the fading away of what was once the great nation of Egypt. The story of what happened to the nation of the Pharaoh’s, according to Isaiah, is paralleled to what happened with individuals within the borders of Egypto-Ethiopia, or, Cushite-Egypt. It is a tragic story, with a happy ending.


The text reads with a tone of excitement.



  1. Nubia10 nubian-tribute

    Nubians paying tribute

    A message about, and a prophecy that came to me against Egypt. It is a divine revelation: Look! See! Watch out! Yahweh is coming. He advances. He rides on a thick, fast cloud. He will enter Egypt, and all the idols and false gods of Egypt will tremble, shake and be moved with fear before Him. Egypt’s courage within him will melt away like hot wax in fear. (Lannon’s own translated version. Isaiah 19:1)


For all the 150 or so years that Ethiopia ruled Egypt they never gave any hassle to the weird and wonderful religions that Egyptians indulged themselves in. Egyptian religiosity was embedded in and neurotically involved with the subject of death.  Assyria, however, being ultra-religiously demonic, always made it a primary action when they invaded countries to rid them of their idols, idols that were seen as the ruling gods of the nations they had conquered. Assyria seems to have belittled and made light of the Egyptian gods that seemed to do little but major on what happened on the other side of the grave. Assyrian religiosity was all about the strength, power and aggression to kill on the battlefield, and to be the mightiest killing machine that they could possibly be. They felt confident then, that the spirit of ant nation was near to be broken, when their idols and most high profile invented deities were publicly destroyed.


This was to be a catastrophe indeed. However it would be a catastrophe that would lead to relationship with God. Modern theological terminology would refer to it as a “salvific catastrophe,” or a “redemptive catastrophe.” The catastrophe that Isaiah perceived was about to overwhelm Egypt would, in the end, be declared to be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to the nation that, in Hebrew, is called Mizraim. The entire event of the death and resurrection of Egypt would be coming by the direct means of the immediate hand of God. It was to come mysteriously. It was to come quickly. It was to be the absolutely divine advance into the heart of the nationhood and the heart of Egypt. A thick and fast advent of divine power and words were to shake the land, the idols, and all the very many religious ideologies that Egypt had been marinating in for centuries. Something was to take place that would eject all the intentions of courage, bravery and aggression from the hearts of Egyptian men.


The address of the prophet is made to Egypt. But Egypt integrated and merged with Ethiopia means that one could not be impacted without the other. As with our previous thoughts on Isaiah 18, we need to note that the kingdom to which all the three chapters (18, 19, 20.) refer is the same merger of national identities, namely, the Egypto-Ethiopian kingdom, or the Cushite-Egyptian Empire, whichever way one wishes to term it. However, it is so dealt with that chapter 18 clearly refers to the ruling nation – Ethiopia, chapter 19 to the ruled society – Egypt, and chapter 20 embraces them both together in the shame of defeat by the hand of Assyria and the humiliation of exile. Those that were exiled are not recorded anywhere as having ever returned.


The reason why the prophecy occupies itself so particularly with Egypt is that firstly, no people of the earth were so closely interwoven with the history of the kingdom of God from the patriarchal time as Egypt were . Secondly, as a result of the occurrences and predictions with which Isaiah 19 and 20 is full of, Egypt became an enslaved vassal state of Assyria, while Ethiopia merely withdrew with their defeated king (Tirhakah) back to dwell south of the most southerly Egyptian border, in their embarrassed and smarting state of Ethiopia. The shame of Tirhaka would have been made much more acute inasmuch as when he was defeated by Assyria, he would have returned home without many of the sons of Ethiopia, decreasing very much his popularity in his native kingdom. This personal, literal invasion of Yahweh into Egyptian life and territory was to have severe ramifications on both Egypt and Ethiopia in their mutual immediate futures.

  1. The Lord says, “I will arm, stir up and provoke the Egyptians to civil strife and set them to fight against themselves. Brother will fight brother, neighbour will be against neighbour, city will be against city, and province against province. Kingdom will also be against kingdom. (Lannon’s own translated version. Isaiah 19:2)


Egypt 1 binding-prisoners

The manner in which Assyrians bound some of their exiled prisoners.

Ah! Homemade terrorism! Social unrest of a violent kind! Ideological implosion! I see the Egyptian citizens becoming violently opposed to both Egyptian and Ethiopian neighbours. I see provinces falling out as others would seem to be receiving greater tax breaks and food supplies than some. I see cities with food-banks feeding their own domiciles rather than those of other population centres. Confusion and mayhem will dominate the nation of Egypt and across the races that dwell within its borders. Isaiah has seen it by the Spirit of God. It surely came and is well documented in the history of the nation.


However, this is not normal human inter-action, this is civil unrest activated directly by the hand of God. This is Yahweh working out his purposes. God is neither embarrassed nor afraid of people complaining about the divine modus operandi. If we knew God correctly, and understood the revelations He gives mankind through the mind of faith, we would not be so quick to raise our voices against the providence of the Almighty. He gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Egypt will go through something in its future, the ramifications of which, it will never recover from. To approach a hitherto unforeseen happy conclusion, Egypt would have to go through deep intestinal discord, national cardiac arrest and governmental hemorrhage of the brain. It was to be a kind of national death, preceding a national resurrection that it seems was to be at least two and a half millennia in Isaiah’s future.



  1. The Egyptians will lose heart, and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be demoralized, disturbed and emptied out. I will confuse their plans and strategy, confound their counsel and bring them to nothing and they shall panic. They will consult and plead, enquiring of their idols for wisdom and call on the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists, the charmers, the sorcerers, and the necromancers. They will seek guidance from the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, and from the magicians.


The national morale would be broken. The Egyptian sense of self-esteem and respect would have disappeared. The demoralization, demotivation and destabilization of Egypt would be total. It will be as if the people of Egypt, from top to bottom, from kings to paupers, be they Egyptian or Ethiopian – would lose their common sense wisdom. The desperation of the nation would lead to an increase in dead and empty religiosity with their idols and spiritism coming to the fore like never before. The intelligence that is required by the professional academics in order for Egypt to make adequate plans for the future is seen by Isaiah as a liquid commodity that would be poured out and left to soak into the hot dry sand of the banks of the Nile. Necromancy and sorcery would rise in a high profile “occult revival” across the nation, making dark, spiritual, evil practices popular and normal. It will be a phenomenon, a supernatural phenomenon. The occult and necromantic religious inclinations that were fed by the Egyptian neurosis concerning death and the place of the dead would be a major force in the embracing of the social failures that are listed in these first 9 verses. The pyramids of Egypt are nothing but extra-large crypts, coffins and cemeteries. The obsession with death, though not mentioned here, was obviously a major contribution to their hitherto damnation in the eyes of the Almighty.


  1. “I will hand over Egypt and deliver them to the power of cruel and violent lords, a harsh and hard master. A mighty, powerful and fierce king will rule over them,” declares Adonai, Yahweh Commander in Chief of Heaven’s Armies.


Oh dear!  I have read that the Egyptians suffered only a little under the hand of the twenty-fifth Nubian dynasty. The Nubian Pharaoh’s were considered occasionally cruel, yet here, Isaiah predicts that a vicious rule is to hold them down. It cannot be escaped from. The cruelty of their future masters is not even compared to Ethiopia’s way of ruling. Assyria have always been infamous throughout all the annals of history as one of the cruelest empires that the world has ever seen. Essarhaddon, the king of Assyria that finally conquered Egypt, immediately after his victory over Nubian Pharaoh Tirhaka, treated the people with extreme severity. He divided Egypt into twenty different governments and actually changed the names of many of the cities. He then ordered his twenty governors to “slay, plunder and spoil” their subjects in their rule. Nice eh? He certainly deserved the divine epithet that God gave Isaiah to speak over him as a “cruel, violent and harsh master.”


Egypt -1Ethiopian heightsRockOfAges6_CNT_17jun10_LisaLimer_b_426x284

A photograph entitled, “The Ethiopian Heights.”

Plainly, Isaiah here sees the overthrow of Ethiopian led Egypt by the hateful might of Assyria. The nastiness of Assyria’s rule would lead the Egyptians to wish that Ethiopia were still masters of their nation.


  1. The waters of the sea will dry up and the riverbed of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields, and be parched and dry and disappear.


However! Worse things are on their way! As well as human problems, there will be natural catastrophes. Are such things linked, do you think? I absolutely believe that there are such links in much of the earthly phenomena we see around the world. In this particular circumstance and moment of history, the natural and the human situation are totally synchronized. Egypt depends on the cyclical rise and fall of the Nile for its economy and prosperity. They don’t get the rain, but the rain falls heavily at the sources of the Nile much more southerly than Egypt’s southern borders and it keeps the fishermen, the farmers and a bagful of related industries in business. The Nile is possibly the single greatest wealth creator in Egypt.  However, in the midst of the political, social, moral and spiritual catastrophe of this crisis that Isaiah is predicting, the Nile will actually dry up. For Egypt, things could hardly get any worse than this. Such deficiency in the waters of the Nile have often been the cause of terrible famines in Egypt. The picture Isaiah paints is, almost literally, the death of Egypt.


In verse 2 we have civil strife; verse 3, delusion; Verse 4 is bondage and verse 5, shrinkage. How sad! How terrible!


  1. All the rivers and canals will smell very bad and emit a stench. The tributary canals of Egypt will dwindle, thin out and dry up, and the water will be gone. All the reeds, cattails, rushes and water plants will wither and rot.


This is just a replication of the collapse of Egypt as seen in the days of Joseph in the latter end of Genesis. It is also somewhat similar to the collapse of the nation of Egypt after the ten plagues that were administered by the hand of Moses immediately prior to the release of the children of Israel from Egypt. The entire river bank vegetation that, of course, need the waters of the Nile to be sustained, simply fail, collapse and rot. Hence the stench that will  fill the atmosphere.


  1. All the bulrushes, the greenery in the meadows and the plants along the riverbanks of the Nile, at the mouth of the river, will die and blow away. There will be bare places.  Every sown field and all the cultivated areas along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. Even the plants at the widest part of the river will dry up, blow away, disappear and be no more.


We are not talking of a few months with a little less water resources, and the government asking if the public would kindly use less water. We are talking of a protracted, prolonged, severe drought. As I write, we in the UK are horrified to hear of the heatwave that has hit India where literally thousands of people, long used to the hot climate there, are dying because of the intensity of the temperature. It is a catastrophic social phenomena. That kind of merciless turns of nature, precipitated by the activity of the hand of God, is what will plague Egypt in these days prior to their defeat at the hand of Assyria.


  1. The fishermen, all those who cast hooks and catch fish from the Nile River, will become sad and groan, lament and pine away for lack of work. They will cry. They depend on the Nile River for their food, but it will be dry.
  2. Those who work with combed flax, who weave it into white linen and make cloth, will all be saddened and lose hope. There will be no flax for harvesters, nor thread for weavers. They will be confounded and ashamed.
  3. Those who weave cloth will be dejected and broken in the purposes thereof, and those who work for money, making sluices and ponds for fish will be depressed and sick at heart.


Egypt 00Ethiopia

Cush, also referred to as Nubia, also referred to as Ethiopia as it was in biblical days.

In these three verses we are given an in depth insight to the livelihood of the many millions who, hitherto, had maintained the buoyancy of the Egyptian economy, based on activities, sources and utilities of life that come from the Egyptian genius for utilizing the Nile. No Nile, no economy! No economic sustenance, no affluence, and the onset of poverty and unemployment! The nation is seen by the prophet Isaiah as being in a state of collapse on every social level.  But then there is even more to cap this horror.


To briefly sum up, Egypt is to become one of the worst areas of natural catastrophe and total humanity disaster that it is possible to conceive of. All stratas of society are equally devastated, and nobody knows what to do to alleviate the human distress.


  1. The leaders and officials of the city of Zoan (Tanis) are nothing but fools. Pharaoh’s “wise counsellors and advisors” give bad and senseless advice. How can they say to Pharaoh that they are wise? Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is brutish, stupid and wrong. They say they are “from the old family of the kings,” or, “disciples of the ancient kings.” However they are not as smart as they think. Will they dare continue to brag about all their wise ancestors? How dare they say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the sages, one well-versed in the writings of the ancient kings?”


The nobility and aristocracy of Egypt will also suffer from a severe lack of academic and intellectual ability and insight. The people that set up the national strategies and polices of maintenance will simply lose the plot. The pseudo caste system, or the pretended class system that was embedded in the culture of Egypt was also going to be proven to be its ruination. Strictly speaking, by western terminology there were no “tribes” in Egypt, much less what we would call “castes.” But there was employment distinctions marked by very firm and unbending lines of demarcation. Herodotus gives seven of them, i.e. Priests, Soldiers, Herdsmen, Swineherds, Tradesmen, Interpreters and boatmen. Isaiah gives us more, namely agricultural labourers, fishermen, artisans and official employees. The charge Isaiah indicts the Egyptian hierarchy with may, with some justice, be stretched to those in contemporary times who are everlastingly recapping to the ears of the world, directly or circuitously, of the self-worth of their lineages; and who, because they have no corporeal quality to boast of today, are ever shrouding themselves in the glories of their dead.


All these things are to fill the Egyptian atmosphere as the Lord of hosts, Yahweh Sabbaoth, comes quickly into Egypt on the thick cloud. This is the direct hand of God at work.


  1. Egypt! Pharaoh! Where oh where are your wise men now? They should learn what Yahweh of Sabbaoth (The Lord of hosts, God of the angel armies) has planned for Egypt. They should be the ones to tell you what will happen to Egypt.


Isaiah speaks plainly, not sarcastically. If the wise men of Egypt had really been wise, they would have spent time seeking God to discover what God was going to do with Egypt.


  1. The leaders of Zoan (Tanis) have been fooled, have acted foolishly and have actually become fools. The leaders of Noph (Memphis) have believed lies, so they lead Egypt the wrong way. The cornerstones of her people and tribes have led Egypt astray and caused her to stagger.


It is the silliness and lack of wisdom of the leaders that will have caused Egypt to go dizzy and stagger. The word picture of the prophet is radically graphic. It is a picture he expands on.


  1. The Lord confused them and has poured into them, and in their midst, a spirit of dizziness, distortion, perversion and confusion, making them positively undiscerning so that they wander around and lead Egypt the wrong way in all their deeds, thus making Egypt stagger in all that she does. Everything they do is wrong. They are like drunkards staggering around their own puke and then rolling in their vomit.


Egypt 6Assyrian_Archers

Assyrian Archers

This is a striking illustration of a comment on the coming state of Egypt. In his verbal graphics, Isaiah actually suggests that God has concocted a drink for the Egyptian race. The drink is, to draw some kind of human analogy, “spiked.” The point he is making is that this catastrophe is not just happening by a confluence of coincidences. All these blights coming together as some mammoth conjunction of tragic circumstances are coming to pass because of the direct control and unleashing of matters both natural and supernatural, human and geographical from Yahweh. He has poured down the throat of Egypt a spiked drink that will cause Egypt, comprised of both Egyptian and Ethiopian personnel at Isaiah’s point of time, to stagger and fall. The nation is drugged; drunk; in a kind of national social dementia. Like a drunken man that is reduced to losing his mind, his integrity, his wisdom and his employment, Egypt will utterly lose their way. They will be like the despised and contemptuous drunken man that has fallen in the street and is unknowingly rolling on the ground in his own vomit.


It is a practical manifestation of the truth that Amos declared when he said, “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord has not done it?” (Amos 3:6)


  1. There is nothing that Egypt, Pharaoh or his leaders can do. Head or tail, palm branch or reed. The heads and the tails.  The tops and the stalks of plants. The noble palm branch and the lowly reed. He that bends down, or that holds back. No one-leaders or followers, important or unimportant – will be able to do anything for Egypt. There will be no work for Egypt which its head or tail, its palm branch or bulrush, may do.


Isaiah closes his depressive run down of what was ahead for Egypt by explaining that the plug hole of catastrophe will end up at the bottom of the drain where nobody whatsoever has as much as a clue as to how resolve the situation.  It is the white flag of surrender after the onslaught of catastrophe after catastrophe. They are without hope.


  1. At that time the Egyptians will become weaklings like frightened women. They will shudder and cower with fear at the raising and shaking of the arm, hand and fist of Yahweh Sabbaoth over Egypt to punish the people.


At verse 16 Isaiah stops writing as poetry and returns to prose. What is the issue that causes the change of style and language?


Egypt 7Egypt_AssyriansThe point is that Egypt will, at some point on their descent into chaos and mob rule, realise that this is the hand of God. Their lack of understanding will not immediately lead to repentance and submission to God. The awe of being strapped to the maelstrom of divine judgement will reduce the mass of Egyptian humanity to a state of static trauma, like a rabbit that freezes when he realises that the headlights are about to kill him.


Whenever Egypt will think of Judah, they will think of their God and their knees will shake in fear. “The Lord. He is God.” Egypt will realise how Yahweh is Lord and Master over the whole earth, and they will wonder what it is that He will do next. What has caused Isaiah to change the tone and timbre of the word to Egypt?


  1. The land of Judah will bring fear and terror to everyone in Egypt and humiliate them. Anyone in Egypt who hears the name Judah will be fearful and terrified. This will happen because Yahweh of Sabbaoth, the Lord who commands armies (i.e. not just His own) has purposed and determined terrible things to happen against Egypt.


Suddenly, Isaiah takes a quantum leap into the deepest recesses of a future time. I say that because hitherto he has been referring to issues that, if not exactly contemporaneous with Isaiah’s immediate day, they were definitely less than half a century into his future, whereas what he now declares has not yet been fulfilled as far as anybody knows. It is, even now, still in the future.  On top of that thought, Isaiah’s proverbial, “In that day” usually means he is talking of the very last days immediately prior to Christ’s Second Advent, or immediately after into the Millennium itself.


Verse 16 seems to be the hinge of this leap in time. Verse 16 is the concluding remark concerning the collapse of Egypt prior to Assyria’s conquest in 672 BC. But the last phrase of that verse is the opening gambit of Isaiah’s explanation of Egypt’s conversion, submission to God as well as the period of total harmony and brotherhood of Arab, gentile Assyria and Egypt with Israel. That is, of course, an Entente Cordiale that has just never ever, yet, happened.


  1. In that day and at that time there will be five cities in Egypt where people speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be named “Destruction City.” The people in these cities will promise to follow the Yahweh of Sabbaoth.


From verse 18 through to the end of the chapter, we have the results that will bring us to a very glorious and righteous ending to the states of Egypt and Assyria.  Even though there may be a couple of thousand years between what has been predicted in the first half of Chapter 20, and what happens in the last eight verses, the strong inference is that what happens in verses 18 to 25 will not have happened if it was not for what happened in the early verses of the chapter.


We cannot come to any other conclusion when we read the end of Isaiah 20, other than that of Egypt’s spiritual conversion. In the plainest of language: Egypt get saved. En bloc. En masse. Matthew Henry quaintly declares, “Converting grace by changing the heart, changes the language, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Henry wrote that verse when commenting on Isaiah 20:18


When Isaiah talks of the five cities it is impossible to be clear as to whether these are cities in Egypt that are populated by Jews, or if it is five cities populated by converted Egyptians. In the days of Christ, Philo reckoned there was about a million Jews that lived in Egypt. Yet, on the basis of Isaiah’s “In that day,” I cannot see how this verse can possibly be legitimately construed as having ever been fulfilled. The Egyptian commitment to follow the Lord points to an explanation of conversion. I do not think such a phrase would be termed when discussing the Jews.


In all my research I have not yet read or heard of any idea concerning what the “City of Destruction,” or “Destruction City” means. I read lots of footnotes that the Hebrew word translated “Destruction” could mean “the sun” because it reads as a Hebraic transliteration of the word “sun.” (“Helios” and “Haheres.”) Many commentators make the same observation, but not one of them has the courage to put it in the main text of their paraphrase or translation. For that reason, I reject it as fully rational.


  1. In that day there will be an altar for Yahweh in the heart, the centre of Egypt. At the border of Egypt there will be an obelisk pillar of a monument to show honor to Yahweh.


Egypt 9 NubianMeroePyramids

Nubian Meroe Pyramids. Now geographically in the Sudan.

Yet again. Nobody knows of any historical reality of the fulfillment of verse 19. This again, suggests to this writer that we are here discussing the very last days of the end times. Christianity will be the normal framework for Egyptian worship when this verse comes to fulfillment.


  1. This will be a sign and a witness to show that Yahweh of Sabbaoth does amazing things when he is worshipped in the land of Egypt. Any time the people cry for help from oppressors the Lord will send help. He will send a Saviour, a leader and a great one, and defend the people to rescue them from those who hurt them.

Verse 20 seems to suggest that because of the catastrophic collapse of Egypt and the ensuing conquest by Assyria, if they had called on the name of the Lord and come to faith in the circumstances of verses 1-16, then they would have enjoyed a glorious deliverance from the hand of Assyria. Assyria did not conquer Egypt because Tirhakah and Egypt were the weaker army. They lost by the plan and purpose of God. In this distantly futuristic picture, Egypt calling of Yahweh and being delivered from all kinds of catastrophes will be the norm.


  1. At that time the Lord will reveal Himself and make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they really will know and acknowledge the Lord and His authority. They will worship and serve him and give him many sacrifices, oblations and food and grain offerings. They will vow vows to the Lord, and they will do what they promise.


In these future, possibly millennial days the masses of Egypt will walk in the revelation of the Lord. It will not be a nominal Christianity. It will be deep, spiritual and profoundly relevant to the whole life and culture of the nation.


  1. The Lord will punish and strike the Egyptians with a plague. He will strike them but then he will heal them. They will come back and turn to the Lord. The Lord will respond and listen to their pleading prayers and heal them.


Verse 22 brings us one of those strange interpolations of a wonderful ascent of Egypt. Just like Satan being released after the thousand year reign of Messiah, leaving the reader wondering, “Why? Why? Why?” Here we have a one liner by the prophet, having talked of an Egyptian conversion, then telling us that Egypt will be punished with a plague, followed by healing and repentance. It’s a strange one, but there it is.


  1. At that time there will be a highway connection from Egypt to Assyria. Then the Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians will go to Assyria, and it will all be done freely. Egypt will work and worship God together with Assyria.
  2. Then Israel, Assyria, and Egypt will join together and control the land. This will be a blessing for the land and in the earth.
  3. The Lord All-Powerful will bless these countries. He will say, “Egypt, you are my people. Assyria, I made you. You are my handiwork. Israel, I own you.  You are my inheritance, my special possession. You are all blessed!”


This is what God is moving towards throughout the process of all of history. A world where racial, tribal, historical religious and political splits and divisions are not covered over by grace and tolerance, but are veritably removed by world-wide conversion followed by a oneness of heart and spirit between nations that were hitherto vitreolically opposed to each other’s very existence. There will be some differences that will still be acknowledged, but divisions are gone. Israel will still be Israel. Egypt will still be Egypt and Assyria will still be Assyria, but unity will be a natural and deep-seated phenomenon.


Some scholars seem to think that this passage was all fulfilled for the days of the spread of the gospel in the early centuries of Christianity, but was reversed with the rise of Islam. Methinks that temporary fulfilment is no fulfilment at all. I could write a whole thesis on my reasons for that statement, but I leave it as a one liner.


Egypt 8In conclusion, the 25th dynasty was a line of rulers originating in the Ethiopian Kingdom of Kush who saw the land known as Napata as their spiritual homeland. They reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt from 760 BC through to about to 672 BC. The dynasty began with Piye’s invasion of Upper Egypt and culminated in several years of both successful and unsuccessful war with the Mesopotamian based Assyrian Empire. The twenty-fifth dynasty’s reunification of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush (Nubia/Ethiopia) created the largest Nubian empire ever, and the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom. They ushered in an age of renaissance by reaffirming Ancient Egyptian religious traditions, temples, and artistic forms, while introducing some unique aspects of Kushite culture. It was during the 25th dynasty that the Nile valley saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many still stand in what is today known as Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom. After the Assyrian kings Sargon II and Sennacherib defeated attempts by the Ethiopian kings to gain a foothold in the Levant, their successors Esarhaddon and his son Ashurbanipal invaded Egypt and defeated and drove out the Ethiopians, and that was the fulfilment of the first 15 verses of Isaiah 19.


War with Assyria resulted in the end of Ethiopian power in Northern Egypt and the conquest of Egypt by Assyria. They were succeeded by the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Pharaoh’s, initially a puppet dynasty installed by and vassals of the Assyrians. This would be the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest.



117. Ethiopian envoys? … but they speak for Egypt! Isaiah 18.

Isaiah 18

NUBIA 1. Piye. The first Nubian Pharaoh

Piye or Piankhi. The Nubian king who conquered Egypt and became the first Nubian Pharaoh

I don’t mean to be silly, and I would never even think of making light of scripture, but I see Isaiah 18, 19 and 20 as a definite trilogy. I am not even sure the text should be three chapters, more like one long one. 18 is all about Ethiopian people without directly mentioning their racial derivation. The envoys that Isaiah saw were Ethiopian, but Ethiopia is not mentioned. Why? Because the Ethiopians were running Egypt during Isaiah’s life time and during Hezekiah’s reign. The envoys that chapter 18 refers to were Cushites (Ethiopians cum Nubians the three epithets all refer to the same race at this point of history) but they were speaking as envoys for the nation state of Egypt. It refers to the “rivers beyond Ethiopia,” and all the other unique phrases about the strange language and the buzzing insects obviously refer to Ethiopia. But at the very point of time that this prophecy refers to, Ethiopia was also Egypt – if you see what I mean. They were two separate entities, i.e.: two distinct nations, but the man who was king of one was also the Pharaoh of the other. Chapter 19 refers to Egypt. But in referring to the powers that ran Egypt, the prophet is referring to the 25th dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs, which is known as the dynasty of the Nubian kings, that is…they were all Nubians, also known as Ethiopian. Chapter 20 is all about Isaiah’s three years of walking around naked in order to model how both Egyptian and Ethiopian exiles would be marched off to the north by the Assyrian forces for having the nerve to have fought against them in refusing to pay tribute money. The point being that when Assyria finally defeated Egypt, they killed two birds with one stone. Having defeated Egypt they defeated Ethiopia. The Pharaoh at the time ran back home to Ethiopia/Cush/Nubia with his tail between his legs and was left as a beaten and humiliated monarch. Egypt was left with a new foreign power on the Pharaohic throne, namely, Assyria. Oh, the swings and roundabouts of power in the world. Some things have been exactly the same since the fall of Adam. There never seems to be an end of the violence and the desire for world power.


Isaiah’s trio of visions was meant to express how Ethiopia would be defeated and driven out of Egypt, and in so doing, explain how Egypt would be then overtaken by another power, namely Assyria, before “Assyria the Mighty” would also, later, be taken by “Babylon the Mightier Still.”


Nubia 2King Shabaka Pharaoh Neferkare8

King Shabaka of Ethiopia, known as Pharaoh Neferkare. The second Nubian Pharaoh

Hezekiah was king over Judah between 716 through to 687 BC. We are also confident in asserting that his son Manasseh ruled as king between 687 and 643 BC.  Before any of my bible sharp readers email me to tell me that the scripture says Manasseh ruled 55 years and not 44, I quickly add that 10-11 years of Manasseh’s reign was as a co regent to his father Hezekiah. And if you want to know how I work that out, you would have to read a marvelous book entitled, “The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings,” by the late Edwin Thiele. He presents a very rational account of who reigned when and where and how long and how all the dates of the kings in the Bible fit together. It’s a marvelous if not intense and demanding requiring a huge amount of concentration. Thiele was a Seventh Day Adventist missionary whose Old Testament studies have left us a very healthy legacy.


Having stated that Hezekiah and Manasseh reign betwixt 716 BC and 643 BC, we need to enquire as to who the Pharaoh’s actually were during that period of history. There were three pharaohs during that window of time. 1. King Shabaka, the Nubian monarch was Pharaoh of Egypt and naturally (?) gave himself an Egyptian name for his Egyptian subjects, so he called himself Pharaoh Neferkare.  (I am only stating both names because some readers will check the history books and they use different names.) Shabaka reigned 721-707 BC. He was followed by 2. Shebitko (Pharaoh Diedkare) from 707-690 BC., and 3. King Tirhaka (Pharaoh Khunefertumre) reigned 690 through to 664 BC.


Are you still with me on this? The rise and fall, the ebb and flow, the victories and the losses of the Middle East at this period of time were frankly mind boggling. It is plain straight forward factual history. But Isaiah was a human being in this time space world and was therefore in this historical setting. He was part of this history. This bit of antiquity, explained above, clarifies the drift and gist of these entire three chapters, I believe – three chapters that I refer to as a trilogy. Three chapters with one complex narrative. Three chapters that cover the trauma of two nations, Nubia and Egypt.


This means, of course, that when Isaiah addresses these Ethiopian envoys in chapter 19, he is actually addressing them as representatives of the Nubian rulers of Egypt, and when he addresses Egypt in chapter 20, he is addressing them as being under the feet of the Nubian dynasty.  Oh dear! I hope I have not lost you dear reader?


Nubia 3 Shebitku.Pharaoh Diedkare

King of Ethiopia -Shebitku. Also known as Pharaoh Diedkare.

These ambassadors were long and sleek, tall and slim, speaking a strange language – that means they were Nubians, Cushites, Ethiopians – take your pick, each epithet is proper and correct. But, although they were Ethiopian in race and colour, they were envoys politically of Egypt. I believe that the above complexity is the very reason why Isaiah does not actually address the envoys cum ambassadors that came to Hezekiah’s court in Jerusalem, as neither one nor the other.


Okey Dokey! With all that stuff packed under our belts, we move on to the biblical account. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin!


Context is everything. I have read and read this chapter over and over. Flashes of light mixed with tons of questions ensue. What? Where? How? When?  My inner compulsive mental “movie film” studio that needs to produce an Isaiah 18 short movie to store in my head, heart and memory banks, is at a bit of a loss. My usually astute mind’s eye falters. I am not sure of what cultural or external backdrop to image in thoughts as I read the verses. Who is talking to who? Where does the narrative take place? Which English translation has “the goods” in this regard? The screenplay is not written or perceived in Isaiah 18 itself. The choreography of the actors is not clear. The backdrop is unknown – literally. When defining those to whom the inspired text refers, one requires a lot of contemplation in order to correctly attribute the text.


On top of that, when one sees bible footnotes saying, “This verse could be translated thus,” which then quote the same verse with a totally different and or opposite meaning to the verse as interpreted in the main body of the text, what is a poor humble “amateur translator” to do with himself? What is a person like me, who doesn’t know his Hebrew jots from his Aramaic tittles, to do with that kind of translator’s revelry? “Ethiopia are conquerors” say some translations. Then: “See note at bottom of page.” And what do I get?: “This could mean that Ethiopia is conquered.” Great! Not much difference or difficulty there then!




So how do I handle this? I go to as many “experts” as I can find. I have been reading hard back books, Calvin’s remarks, Leupold, Horton, Strong, Henry, Maclaren, Binford Hole, Martin, Sutcliffe, Gill and others. No wonder I have not blogged for a while. I have been steadily searching the brains of many men of God – yet I am no better off than when I first started. I found and examined how they expressed the context as well as how they translated the text. Then, having assimilated something like half a different takes on the passage as far as who is speaking to who and why, I make a plump for the one that seems to make the most sense in the context of what I know of Ethiopia in biblical history at this point of time referred to here, in Isaiah’s text. Next, I strive hard and make a few phone calls to Hebrew speaking friends to collate my own translation cum interpretation cum paraphrase.


As an amateur “lay person” at scouring the Hebrew and the Greek, I have to say that I have never encountered any passage of scripture that has so many sections with an “either” or an “or” in the side panel, or at the foot of the page. Is Ethiopia stated to be an aggressor, or a victim of an aggressor? Are they really vines that die before the full harvest, or are they soldiers that die? If they are soldiers, whose soldiers are they? Is it Assyria? Is it Ethiopia? Or is it even referring to Judah? Is the “fluttering” referring to wings of insects or sails on boats? Are the boats on the sea or on the river? Is it literal language or metaphorical? Does it mean the land is divided by rivers, or is it flooded by the rivers?  All the professors and Hebrew experts seem to have different opinions. I am not talking of interpreting what the text says once translated, I am talking specifically of the translation of the Hebrew text. Isaiah 18 must be one of the most difficult chapters in the entire Bible to translate.


Notwithstanding all this added complexity; I have read, mingled and merged something like twenty-five different translations, the results of which you can see below in the bold face font, that is, my own version. The plot and story-line that I use as the back drop to expose what is happening on each line is the one I consider the easiest, most plausible and the one that is most consistent with everything else that the prophets say about Ethiopia. It is the scenario painted most clearly by my old “friend” and study mentor H.C.Leupold. Egypt, conjoined to Ethiopia (also known as Cush or Nubia) had created quite a large empire, though not as huge as Assyria. The battles and wars between Egypt and the Ethiopians that finally resulted in Ethiopia’s defeat of Egypt began around 760 BC, with both sides winning some and losing some, finally resulting in “Ethiopia Rules O.K.!” Following which, being masters of Cush, Higher Egypt and Lower Egypt, they were naturally forced to strategise and take charge of facing up to Assyria on various battlefields. Why? Simply because Assyrian kings having chronic cases of megalomania, wanted to conquer as much of the world as they knew existed. To be extremely brief, much later, a long time after the storyline of Isaiah 18, Ethiopia was finally driven out of Egypt by Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. But that is for another day.


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Artistic take on Tirharkah

This generally unknown bit of history leads us to envisage that the story behind the seven verses that comprise Isaiah 18 took place within the time space window while the Ethiopian Pharaoh’s of the twenty-fifth dynasty were running the show in Egypt and were looking for help from all the nations in the geographical link between Egypt and Assyria. This meant that Edom, Ammon, Philistia, Tyre and, of course, Judah were all subjects of diplomatic approaches in an attempt to get them “on-side” with Egypt/Nubia’s rebellion against Assyria.


Here, then, we finally arrive at Isaiah 18:1 (I suppose you thought we would never get here). Sometime in the reign of Hezekiah, envoys were sent from the Ethiopian pharaoh, whoever he was at the time, to ask Hezekiah for help in facing up to Assyria. (Egypt had been subject to Assyria until Cush had conquered Egypt. It took Assyria several years to sort out the rest of the empire before they could drag themselves southwards to try and get Egypt back in their cage.


It would seem that at the point of time these envoys were sent, the long narrow sleek and shiny skinned Ethiopians were still a bit of a novelty to Semitic and Arabian eyes, together with their strange culture, strange language and strange dress sense. John Calvin seemed to think that these people were “Troglodytes,” that is cave dwelling people, who’s language consisted mostly of clicks and glottal noises between what we would refer to as normal oral language sounds.  Research of such things was totally negligible in Calvin’s day, for this reason, we are humoured by his remark, nod our caps gently to his genius, and move on. In contradiction to good Queen Victoria, “We are amused.”


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Artist Winifred Brunton take on Taharka pharaoh 25th dynasty, He initiated extensive building projects in both Egypt and Nubia

Whether these ambassadors of the twenty-fifth dynasty ever got to see King Hezekiah or not, we are not told, but we know that Isaiah met them and in a very diplomatic manner sent them back home.


There is no prophecy, per se, of Ethiopia’s forthcoming doom at the hands of the Assyrians. Indeed, in the same manner that we do not have a date for when these envoys came to Jerusalem, we also have no clue as to how far in the future Assyria’s victory over Egypt and Ethiopia was. A prophet knows when to speak and when not to. But he politely sends them home knowing what dreadful fate is to fall on the Pharaohs of the twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and the permanent recession of Ethiopia’s influence and power in the world (See Isaiah 20). The statements of Isaiah are cryptic and requiring of thought to see their substance. Perhaps the visiting Ethiopian envoys did not even hear it – and if they did, perhaps they could not understand it.


The story from Isaiah’s note book begins with a tone of surprise:


Ah! Woe to the land of shadowing whirring, buzzing insect wings, the land of fluttering sails along and beyond the rivers of Ethiopia (Cush), and even beyond the Sudan. (They are as good as dead).  (Isaiah 18:1 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

Please note that I have included the bracketed phrase, “They are as good as dead,” which is obviously a paraphrased inference from the opening interjection of “Ho” which – yet again – scholars argue over whether it means an ejaculated, “Look!” or as it is commonly translated, a portentous “Woe!” Translators of the NET translation, obviously concluding from Isaiah’s twentieth chapter that Ethiopia was set for the Middle Eastern divine cull of the nations that were anti-God, inserted this little line to let the reader know what the future held for the Ethiopian fascist pharaohs of Egypt.(See Isaiah 20:1-5, Isaiah 37:9. Isaiah 43:3 and Isaiah 45:14) I think it is helpful to understand where the chapter is going in its pronunciations, but the reader must know that the line, “They are as good as dead,” is inferred by extrapolation of the text, it is definitely Not part of the actual Hebrew text.

The translator’s nightmare continues in the first verse. The word for what I have translated as “whirring, buzzing” has at least four different meanings. The word for “envoys” has at least three varied connotations. It is the context of the whole that seems to whittle down what the scholars declare it to be informing us.

Isaiah seems to be surprised to be receiving these envoys. If traditional history informs us correctly the beautifully smooth skinned Nubians would have been a striking ocular novelty. Ethiopia was (and some say still is) rampant with loud buzzing, flying insect life. These messengers seem to have come up the Nile on their flimsy water crafts made of bulrushes. Scholars are divided as to whether the text suggests they continued up the shores of the Mediterranean on these craft or whether it is merely a reference to yet another “idiosyncrasy” of the Ethiopian culture.

Nubia 6 a 25th dynasty priest. aswan-nub02

A Nubian Priest of the 25th dynasty. This work found near Aswan.

2 That land has sent ambassadors and envoys gliding and skimming down the Nile River towards the waters of the sea in swift papyrus reed boats made from the bulrushes. Go swift messengers! Take a message to the people who are tall and smooth-skinned, who are scattered and peeled and feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction that metes out punishment and oppresses. Go to that powerful and aggressive nation of strange speech and language that are victorious over other countries and have been terrible from their beginning hitherto, whose land is divided, laid waste and spoilt by flooded rivers. (Isaiah 18:2 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

The scholars are yet again lost in the depth of the Hebrew language here. They are not sure whether Isaiah is talking about Ethiopia as the conquerors and the nation that has crushed Egypt, or whether, as a prophet, Isaiah is talking in the prophetic futuristic spirit and talking of Ethiopia as the nation that is defeated, i.e. talking from divinely gained prophetic insight, as if he is stood in a future moment looking back on defeated Cush. However, from our superior standpoint of having read the history books, and knowing how and when the international players were to collapse and fall, and rise and reign, we can honestly say that it doesn’t matter which is right. We fully grasp Isaiah’s point. As for myself, one can see from my expanded translation that I believe the verse to be referring to the victorious Nubians as they were at the moment that Isaiah had met these envoys.

Isaiah, it seems, interrupts the attempt at international diplomacy and he himself seems to be the one that sends them home. Perhaps he sent them away before they even met Hezekiah. That is my presupposition of the scene we have here. But I have to tell you that I hold my choreography of the chapter in very loose hands.

“Go swift messengers!” in modern street language, “Pack your bags and sling your hook.” In essence the prophet tells them bluntly, “You will get no assistance from us against Assyria or anybody else. We know who and what you are and we, as God’s people want nothing to do with you or any other nation in this matter!” I am told it is as blunt as that in Hebrew. “Go!” Judah wanted no tryst with Ethiopia or any other gentile nation.

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Stunning piece of work.

3 Like a banner, like flag on a hill, everyone who lives on the earth will see what happens. Like a ram’s horn shofar call, everyone in the country will hear it. (Isaiah 18:3 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

This is Isaiah at his prophetic best. Did he say this to the face of the Ethiopian envoys? Or is this something he declared after they had gone? We know that by history books, Ethiopia was to fall, and we know by Isaiah chapter 20 that they were to be exiled along with many Egyptians in their fall. But when we read Isaiah 18 those two facts throw a pejorative weight on the translation. No matter how unclear it is when we read Isaiah 18 as a stand-alone seven verses, we naturally have to see chapter eighteen in the light of chapter twenty – and vica versa. Ethiopia was to fall and that fall would certainly shock the world as to the sudden swing in power from one empire to another. Boldly, Isaiah addresses, “everyone who lives on the earth.”  Can you believe that one? No quaint, homemade mumblings here!. Isaiah was speaking to the entire world. The news will be as loud in the world’s psyche as is a shofar in the midst of a Jewish celebration, and as visible to the understanding of everyone alive as is a vivid high visibility pennant being waved from a mountain top. Ethiopia will fall, and how great will be that fall, and how great will be its impact on all known nations of the time. History’s story is being told before it even takes place. These are the Hebrew prophets.

4 This is what Yahweh says to me: “I will take my rest – and be in the place prepared for me (the Temple?). I will quietly watch these things happen. (My presence will be) like shimmering heat in the sunshine on a beautiful summer’s day, at noon, like a cloud of mist in the heat of harvest.”  (Isaiah 18:4 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

Isaiah is here intimating that the whole plan together with the pieces of the puzzle will run and play as Yahweh has predestined and foreknown. Yahweh has made his pronouncements through his prophet. Existentially the storyline, the plot, the battles, the wars, the winners, the losers, those that continue and those who grow stronger are all “set in concrete”, that is – the substance of God’s own timeline for planet earth and its people has been decreed. God will just watch the activity as nations, peoples, battles and wars bring forth the future fruit of change.

Nubia 8 nubia-the-other-egypt-4-7285 (Then something terrible will happen.) Earlier in the year, the flowers bloomed and the new grapes formed buds and began to grow. But before the crop is harvested, He will cut the plants. They will break the vines and throw them away. (Isaiah 18:5 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

Isaiah likens the whole to a farmer’s crops or a gardener’s horticultural efforts. I believe he is talking here of Ethiopia. I would be misleading my readers if I did not explain that commentators and translators differ from remark to remark on this issue. Some think it is a prediction of the fall of Ethiopia who were the invading and invasive twenty-fifth dynasty that was running Egypt at the time. Some believe it to be a repetition of the prophetic prediction of the fall of Assyria. I think not! The chapter, brief as it is, is concerning Ethiopia, though cryptically so. Assyria’s fate has already been dealt with in an earlier chapter. Some are even silly enough to think Isaiah is predicting the fall of Judah. I think that is silly. The chapter is referring to the political force of Ethiopia that was ruling Egypt – yet it has to be said that Ethiopia is only hinted at throughout the brevity of the text.

Whoever it refers to, and I personally am convinced that it refers to Ethiopia who, until their defeat, were looking hearty, strong, increasing and expanding. That is why it was to be a world-wide shock. Verse 5 tells us that it is while they were looking to be full of growth and settling into their role as Egypt’s conquerors and embedded rulers, that something absolutely shocking takes place and their plants and crops will be cut to the ground both literally as well as metaphorically referring to their soldiers in full bloom of their strength.

Nubia 96 Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields for the ravenous mountain birds of prey and the wild animals to eat. The birds will feed on the corpses throughout the summer. The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter. (Isaiah 18:6 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

Here is the statement that confuses the eggheads. Is it talking of the ruination of the forces of Ethiopia as they were confronted in their ultimate battle with Assyria? Or is it the forces of Assyria when the angel of the Lord slew 180,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night?

Because we know of the Assyrian catastrophe and the word picture that the Bible depicts of 180,000 cadavers that all needed clearing away it is easier and more convenient to say that Isaiah 18:6 refers to the huge volume of burials or cremations that were required to take place to clear the land. I take that account on board. However, I believe it refers directly to the Ethiopian deaths when confronted and defeated by the battles with Assyria and Babylon in the unknown and unmeasured future from when Isaiah published these words.


NUBIA1A unit-one-ancient-africa-8-6387 At that time, “in that day,” a special offering and gifts of homage will be brought to the Lord All-Powerful – the Lord of Heaven’s armies, from the people who are tall and smooth skinned, from those who are feared far and wide, from that aggressive powerful nation that defeats other countries and whose land is divided and spoilt by flooding rivers. This offering will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty, where the LORD of Heaven’s Armies dwells. (Isaiah 18:7 Lannon’s own translated, interpretational paraphrase)

Isaiah does not indulge our desperate desire for detail.  But verse 7 causes us almost to drop and cancel all I have said so far and simply to see the battle as something that has not yet happened in the whole of history. I believe, as is commonly the want of many of the prophets, to start a sentence discussing an event that is to take place in the near future, and then, without explanation, sometimes in the very same sentence to jump far into the eschatological future of the end days, the days of “Jacob’s trouble” or even the times within the context of the millennial reign of Christ itself.

The Ethiopians will bring gifts and offerings to the Lord? In Jerusalem? After their defeat? If it means after their defeat, does it mean that there will be a remnant of Ethiopia that will come to Jerusalem to worship? Or surely it is referring to some event that has not taken place yet, even to today, where the Ethiopian nation will be wholly converted and bring offerings to Jerusalem.

Lannon’s perspective is this: When the prophet says “in that day,” he is normally transported to the last of the end days possibly into the millennium. In other words, the first six verses are all about the near future of Ethiopia, and then as he sees them being defeated, so that he would not close with total negativity towards Ethiopia, he sees the far flung future time when a fully converted Ethiopian nation would bring their offerings to Jerusalem.

One commentator, whose name I shall not even mention, suggests that the Ethiopian Eunuch who came to Jerusalem in the book of Acts was the fulfilment of Isaiah 19:7. Oh dear! If I could stop laughing at such mental shenanigans, I might have found the keys on my computer keyboard to say “I disagree.” Some of the greatest eggheads do talk tosh sometimes.

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116. Hezekiah’s Passover. Isaiah’s Silence.

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Passover in Jerusalem today. The gathering for the priestly blessing.

The first ever Passover, that is the real substantial one, after which all others were symbolic and emblematic of, took place by the light of the silvery full moon on the 14th-15th day of Nisan in the Jewish calendar (Exodus 12). It was consumed overnight, immediately after which Moses and the two million or so children of Israel marched eastward, out of the land of Egypt. It was held the following year exactly 12 months later (Numbers 9). We are not told of any such feast being held during the rest of the 39 years wilderness wondering. How strange is that! I suppose it is vaguely possible that they held Passover 39 times without it even being mentioned in scripture – but I doubt it very much. This historic, earth shattering and destiny pointing emancipation from oppression and captivity was not remembered nor celebrated again until Moses had died and Israel was under Joshua’s headship (Joshua 5:10-11).


Thereafter, concerning the Passover, there is silence for centuries. It’s hard to grasp isn’t it?


We hear nothing further about Passover during the epoch of the Judges, the era Saul, the ages of David and Solomon or the eons of the reigns of the several kings of Israel/ Ephraim and of Judah until we read of the arrival of Godly King Hezekiah of Judah who reigned while Isaiah was ministering and strutting his stuff on the wet cement of Judah’s history.


However, we are camping with and meditating on a long haul through the thoughts and words of Isaiah. We have no hint that Hezekiah even invited Isaiah’s input to the Passover arrangements. In fact we only have Isaiah’s strong words that sacrifices and religiosity without humility of heart towards God and His word were an abomination to Yahweh and a stink in his nostrils. In the 66 chapters of Isaiah, Passover is not mentioned or alluded to. Did Isaiah despise it so? If so, why?


The general timbre of all the prophets is one of “Away with outward ceremony and religiosity. The whole purpose of the law is to drive us to softness of heart, humility of spirit, and faith towards Yahweh. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without ceremony, but with the heart and faith tender towards God and man, Yahweh is pleased indeed.” The classic lines of scripture that support this line of thought and action are exemplified with:


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Passover in Jerusalem recently. I do not think that Hezekiah would have seen anything like crowds like this on the Passover he called.

 “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

Samuel, the last judge and the first prophet to the nation in the Land set the standard. By the Word of the Lord, Samuel had asked King Saul to wait for him to come to where he was and make sacrifice. Because soldiers were deserting him, Saul made a sacrifice which was not at all in the brief of any king. Levites only were allowed such utility. Saul; claimed to be doing the right thing in the attitude of, “How can it be wrong when I am sacrificing to God.” Because Saul’s actions were birthed in deep fear, there was seriously no faith or worship in his action. It was empty religion. Samuel saw right through Saul’s motivation and spoke the words in 1 Samuel 15:22. God wants the cost of a surrendered heart to be paid, an action in which animal sacrifice is supposed to be naught but a symbol of the reality of the heart.


“O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. 16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:15-17

Here we see the Prophet King David uttering the extremely lucid thought that all the later prophets majored on. David, in an Isaiah like strain, actually declares that sacrifice and burnt offering are not at all pleasing towards God without the sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Even in David’s day it was true that without faith it is impossible to please God. That has been true since Adam’s creation. This is not David’s only line in that direction. Read Psalm 40:6, Psalm 50:8, Psalm 69:30-31.


“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”   Proverbs 21:3

This verse from Proverbs does not exactly negate the sacrificial approach, but it does state things in the spirit of what the prophets declared a century or so later. There was not the abuse of the sacrificial system in Solomon’s day as there was generations later. It was a gradual downward slide.


“The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.” Isaiah 1:11

Isaiah declares it as it is. Without the heart, God does not even acknowledge the sacrifices no matter how meticulously Moses set the rules. Isaiah’s generation was so full of godless, faithless religiosity that Isaiah set about tearing up the status quo in his very first chapter. He cuts the religious emptiness with the knife of his words.


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“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat flesh. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.

But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’” Jeremiah 7:21-23.

In most English translations Jeremiah here sounds as if he is being sarcastic. “Go ahead and carry on with more and more sacrifices. But the day I brought you out of Egypt I did not so much as say a word about sacrifices and burnt offerings. Faith, the hearing heart, and the obedient servanthood is all God wants in reality.


“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.

Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth – then my judgments go forth like the sun.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:4-6

Jesus Himself referred to Hosea 6:6 three times. See Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7, as well as Mark 12:33. Hosea literally explains that the prophets came to cut them in pieces in order to draw close to God. Burnt offerings are stated as being useless without a true acknowledgement of God.


“Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.

Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:22-25

Again and again, the prophets are virtually declaring New Testament gospel truth. “Keep you sacrifices. Stop the religious outlook that thinks as long as it is sacrificing expensively, nothing else matters. Stop the lot! Just give me your heart, and obedience.” The law was being completely abused. The law is not of faith. One could outwardly obey as many details of the outward sacrificial system as one could know about, but without faith it is sheer nonsense – and that nonsense is despised by God Himself.


“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8

The religious intensity and the costly sacrifices that are referred to in verses 7 and 8 and useless before God without the contents of verse 8 being resident in the heart.


“But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts.

“But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts.

“Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.” Malachi 1:8-10

Even as late in the biblical time line the same thing was happening and the prophetic message could not change. From Isaiah to Malachi is a stretch of something like 300 years. Israel was exiled. Judah was exiled. The return to Jerusalem was complete, and the Jews had become people of the word – nevertheless the emptiness of unbelief that was partnered by expensive sacrifices and time consuming religious meetings was still Continueing and Malachi laid into the situation just as all the prophets before him had done.


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A sanitised imaginative peek at the proclamation from Hezekiah’s message calling all Israel together.

This kind of evidence blows to bits the stuff and nonsense of people teaching that “the God of the Old Testament is different than the Christ of the New.” If a believer cannot see with the eyes of the Spirit that the same God who commanded the man in Numbers to be stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath is the same God who died on Calvary’s cross for the sins of the world, that person’s theology and understanding of the character of God needs a complete re-examination. Faith needs overhaul after overhaul until the unity of both Old and New Testament is clearly seen.


And so, it is because of these kind of statements from the prophets, statements which were lengthily repeated and elucidated upon by Isaiah, that this writer opines that he did not really want to link up with Hezekiah in the arranging of the Passover. Isaiah saw too much lack of broken heartedness, contrite spirits and practical faith to approve of it. Hezekiah clearly saw many social benefits within his kingdom that would accrue because of it. But social benefits and cohesion of society are serendipity’s and side issues that flow from such national celebrations – but the celebration itself is as far as the east is from the west as far as its primary function stands.


In Exodus 12:11, 12:27 and Leviticus 23:5 the feast is referred to as “The Lord’s Passover.” “Yahweh’s Passover.” In John 2:13, 6:4 and 11:55 it is referred to as “the Jew’s Passover.” The significance is striking. In between the two notions we have “Hezekiah’s Passover.” Whether or not the Passover that Hezekiah arranged was “Yahweh’s Passover,” I leave my readers to judge.


Even though it seems like a huge negative that Passover had never been held in Israel since Joshua’s day, it takes deep thought and profound judgement to decide whether one believes that the Passover here benefitted the spiritual life of the people of God in Hezekiah’s day. Godlessness and debauchery, idolatry and worship of demons had been rampant since Solomon. Hezekiah was only one man, no matter what rank he was in the pecking order of society. But did his call for Passover come out of his renewed self in God, or the political father of the nation wishing to rid his people of the Israel-Judah split, even after the exile of the north?


Things had drastically changed since Joshua’s day, by the time Hezekiah sat on the throne and called for Passover for the whole nation. You see, there were only two full tribes left in the land. Well … three tribes if we include Simeon who had been assimilated into the throngs of Judah and disappeared early on in the days of the Judges.  Judah and Benjamin were all present and correct to hold Passover and meditate on the deliverance from Egypt, but the remnant of all the other tribes were nothing but the odd families and small clans within what used to be the northern kingdom. The majority of the folks up in the north of what David and Solomon knew as Israel, weren’t even Jews. Oh dear! Hezekiah’s call to the nation to come and exult in Yahweh through the celebration of Passover has a little bit of a hollow ring to it to my ears.


I am not suggesting that Hezekiah was at fault. Far from it! Hezekiah was the godliest king since David and Solomon’s youth. He was making do with what he had. And he only had a fraction of the full count of Jews that were alive on the planet as he called for his subjects to gather in Jerusalem.


Even the historians thought it unique and bold of Hezekiah to venture forth with Passover. According to Josephus in Antiquities 9;13:2,3 the Passover festival had not been celebrated in Jerusalem – at least not in a memorable manner – since David had made Jerusalem his city and Israel’s capital.  So this would have been the very first Passover ever seen in Jerusalem. Hezekiah apparently wanted to make up for lost time and organised festivities on an unparalleled and incomparable measure and panache. The motives, as we shall see, show the true character of good king Hezekiah.


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An extremely sanitised view of Hezekiah’s Passover.

Royal couriers with formal invitations went south throughout Judah and north through the nearly deserted Israel/ Ephraim. The proclamation was read out wherever the messengers saw human beings, and there might have been a few thousand at the most over all the land. The announcement heard was:


“People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” (2 Chronicles 30:6-9)


The mission of the proclamation must have been seen as a successful one. According to the account in Chronicles and in Josephus, pilgrims came from the areas of Zebulun and Issachar in the north to join Judah in the south celebrating Passover. So it clearly was not just a Judah and Benjamin show. The worshippers from the northern tribal zones were certainly notable at this celebration in Jerusalem because that year would have been somewhere around 700 BC. 22 years earlier, the kingdom of Israel/Ephraim in the north had been devastated by the Assyrian Army and the whole ten tribes had been dragged away into captivity. Evidently there were enough people left to at least make a show and come to Jerusalem and the Temple for the Passover.


But there was an astonishing incongruity – nay – irregularity in relation to the timing of the festivities mentioned in the book of Chronicles. I am referring to an abnormality that is not even mentioned or even hinted at by Josephus. The truth is that the so called “Hezekiah’s Passover” was not held in the month of Nisan but in the following month of Iyyar. In the west one might not get hold of the significance of this point. It would be like the UK government deciding that we hold Christmas one day in June. It is an astonishing fact reported by the biblical text often glossed over by preachers and commentators.


So why did Hezekiah make such a radical change to the divinely ordained date for Passover?  Answers are given, but they still leave the spectator in a bit of a shock. According to the text not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:3). Could this be the only reason? I mean, seriously, Passover would have been the very high point of the year for the Levites as priests to the nation.  Unless Hezekiah the king left it right until the last minute to call Passover, why on earth would the priests not be ready?


Is this the real reason?  Perhaps Hezekiah called Passover days after the incredible account of the deliverance from Sennacharib had taken place. If so we may understand and give them grace for not being ready. What I mean by that is that we know with absolute certainty that Sennacharib’s army, along with the nasty old Rabshakah, were shooed away by Yahweh Himself overnight in 701 BC. No historian questions that as a fact. There were 180,000 corpses outside the gates of Jerusalem that had to be shifted and burned. If the Levites had got stuck in and helped rid the capital of the stench and terrible site of 180,000 cadavers, and if Hezekiah had called for Passover immediately afterwards as a celebration, perhaps we have a good reason why the feast was maintained at the later date and also why the priests were not ceremonially clean. Numbers 9:9-10 OK’s the “month later date” for priests, suggesting that those that were unclean could hold their own Passover later than the rest of the nation. So for Hezekiah to do what he did, perhaps the vast majority of the priests had somehow encountered a huge number of Cadavers. It sounds logical to this writer.


Passover 6Hezekiah’s grandson Josiah, who reigned some 75 years later arranged an authentic Passover rejoicing at the correct date, probably having announced its celebration well in advance(2 Kings 23:21-23. 2 Chronicles 35:1). Josiah was also, like Hezekiah, an especially godly man. He was seen as being so godly that he was even compared to Moses. See  2 Kings 23:4-6 in relation to Exodus 32:19, and then read 2 Kings 23:25 in relation to Deuteronomy 34:10


Or perhaps Hezekiah was expecting a few “overdue” fugitives from the displaced servitude in Nineveh or wherever else the people of the northern kingdom had been taken, to return just in time for Passover? This is the very thought that was in his mind when he sent the proclamation around the north of Israel. He may have expected some kind of mini exodus from Assyria’s capital because of his call to Passover. It is obvious from the proclamation that Hezekiah believed the national Passover held in Jerusalem would cause wonderful activity in heaven.


Or did he also use the unfortunately unclean priests as an excuse to wait for refugees from among the remnants of Manasseh, Zebulun, Asher who had not been taken by Assyria and remained in obscure caves and corners of Israel?


Or perhaps, after 200 years or so, of the people of the northern tribes having been banned from returning to Judah and the Temple in Jerusalem by the various dictatorial kings and Queen that had reigned over them through the generations, they were concerned about breaking the ban even though there was no reigning monarch to execute any judgement now, even if they chose to return to Judah and live there.


I believe Hezekiah had to delay Passover because of events that were utterly beyond his control. It was a willful executive decision that he made?


It seems also, to this writer, after several readings of the biblical account, that his reason was political. I am half convinced that it was a shrewd move to reunite the two kingdoms sundered two centuries earlier.  Judah was somewhat depleted, and the remnant of Israel would have been very small. Whatever, however, he wanted every Jewish man and woman that he could possibly contact, to gather as one in Jerusalem, the city of David that Sennacharib had belittled, and to celebrate Passover as an act of worship to the God of Israel that Assyria’s Rabshakah had so denigrated and blasphemed.


After the death of Solomon, the young “hothead” Rehoboam reigned in Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned in in Israel/Ephraim. At his accession to the throne, about 930 BC, Jeroboam reasoned that his kingdom could conceivably revert to Judah and be taken over by Rehoboam if his northerners partook in  sacrifices and religious festivities like Passover down south at the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:26 on). So Jeroboam the son of Nebat instigated a sinful yet cunning plan to keep the northerners under his reign.


In order to forestall a potential coup by disaffected northern citizens (see 1 Kings 12:27) Jeroboam made two golden bull calves (no doubt recalling the Apis bull-calf of the Egyptians) for worship, situating one in Bethel, near Judaea and the other in the far north, and then he arbitrarily appointed non-Levitical priests to administer to the religious needs of the people. He literally allowed any Tom, Dick or Harry who had an inclination for religiosity to act in a role that Yahweh had set aside for Levites only.


More than this, he instituted a festival of sacrifice in Bethel, which was only 12 miles north of Jerusalem, on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, and went up to the altar to make offerings. (1 Kings 12:32-33). This was the most seminal act of sin by any monarch in both Judah and Israel. Solomon’s marrying strange women for political gain, and building idolatrous temples for the demon gods they brought with them was huge enough, however, once these bull calves had been installed in Bethel and in Dan, the scripture repeats over and over again that what was rotting the northern kingdom of Israel was the adventures into deeper and deeper evil in Ephraim that kept on sprouting up, all because of “the sin with which Jeroboam the son of Nebat made Israel to sin.”  It’s a classic line of repetitive scripture.


Passover 7

Another artists impression of Passover in biblical days at the temple in Jerusalem.

Jeroboam chose the eighth month for his pseudo Passover. The eighth month was Iyyar. Perhaps it was a deliberately late feast he invented “like the festival held in Judah” (1 Kings 12:32) bearing in mind that the golden bull-calves he had set up were stated to be the gods who had brought them out of Egypt (1 Kings 12:28).


Clearly, Hezekiah knew something of the ritual festivities that had been in existence up in the north during the generations before he was born. Perhaps the times did not correspond with those current in Judah, especially in view of the fact that originally Jeroboam had chosen an arbitrary festival date. In order to accommodate northern religious sensibilities then, and to co-ordinate northern with southern celebrations, Hezekiah might deliberately have delayed arrangements for Passover festivities, and especially if he also anticipated the late arrival of some returnees from Assyrian captivity.


It was a shrewd political move, an effort of compromise and reconciliation, and it received some positive response from the north and resulted in a measure of reunification of the long cleaved northern and southern tribes – or at least what was left of them all.


Hezekiah’s diplomatic skill is further exemplified in the naming of his son, Manasseh, who was to reign after him. Such a clearly northern name was surely no accidental choice, but carefully thought out beforehand, calculated to soften the hearts of the separated northerners back to the Davidic dynasty. After all, Solomon and his rash son Rehoboam were long dead and gone.


Unfortunately, Manasseh carried on with the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had made Israel to sin. That was one “northern” bit of culture that rotted the very heart of Judah. In fact, it was even worse in Manasseh’s day, for he carried on the abominable practices down south, in Judah and … wait for it … even in the very temple.  It is for this reason that King Manasseh is castigated as paganish and evil (2 Kings 21:1. 23:26). Manasseh well plunged Judah into a place of non-repentance that the inspired writers explain as the final reason why the later destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and the exile of Judahites to Babylon fell with the anger of heaven.

Passover 10

Artist’s impressions of portraits and scenes of Hezekiah and his times with the overriding biblical statement as to his character.



115. The Spirit of Israel groaning in the Holy Spirit – Crying for Deliverance Psalm 83

83838351 Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP) 12th May 2015

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP) 12th May 2015

So, why are we looking at Psalm 83 when we have been negotiating Isaiah 17?

The point is that Isaiah in chapter 17 is telling us that Damascus will be wiped off the map (17:1-2). That is something that has not happened yet. Calculating that the fulfilment of Isaiah 17 is still a future event – simply because Damascus has never been evacuated fully throughout its entire history, never mind razed to the ground – we also assume that the rest of Isaiah 17 falls into the same category and is future. The narrative of the chapter suggests that some phenomena effected from Damascus has shrivelled the Jewish people in the Land that God gave them (17:4-6). The flow of the storyline implies it is Damascus that was the source of whatever shrivelled the Jewish people (17:1-6). I highlighted the possibility of nuclear fallout being described, something that Isaiah, of course, if he had seen it in a vision would not have known what it was. The fact that verses 14 to 16 are still contained under the heading of “The Burden of Damascus” suggests that whatever it is that Damascus did to the Jews in Isaiah’s prophetic vision was actually effected, sponsored or allied with the actions of many nations.” Woe to the many nations that rage, they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar, they roar like the roaring of great waters!  Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away.” (Isaiah 17:12-13a. NIV).


So Isaiah 17 leaves us with a misty outline of a vague picture of Damascus, in coalition with “Many nations” unleashing some devastating weapon upon the Jews, after which Damascus is razed to the ground along with the many nations allied within the coalition. All the nations are gone and blown away (17:12-14), as well as Damascus being laid a total waste (17:1-2).



Israeli Infantry

Having extrapolated all that from a face value cursory read of Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 (amongst one or two other passages of scripture) leapt into my mind as a passage of scripture that tells me the same story, yet from a different angle.


Terrorists, denying the right of Jewish people to live, and denying the right for Israel to exist are a remarkable demonic phenomena of the last century or so and particularly in the last 60 -70 years. However, organisations that Western governments label as “Terrorist Groups” are often clearly speaking on behalf of governments in the Middle East. Read, study and research and understand that the entire body of Arab leaders and governments of the Muslim Arab world also deny the right of Israel to exist, and Jews to even live. The fact that the governmental powers say it, yet do not do as much about it as the terrorists want done, is the very reason why there are terrorist groups. The only Arab voice that has soft pedalled on the “Annihalate Israel” philosophy is the Egypt. Sadat was assassinated for talking peace with Israel. The middle and reasonable, compromising line that so often dominates western politics is just anathema to most people on the streets in Arab countries. The radicals are only putting their feet where the mouth of their “respectable” leaders have gone. As an example, even the majority of Palestinian leaders were shocked and dismayed when Hamas assumed political power after a “democratic” election in Gaza. We have all Arab nations wanting Israel dismantled and every Jew dead, and they are not at all ashamed to make such desires known to the public world-wide.


Anti-Semitism is vomited from all kinds of hideous ideologies. Religious, political, social and even plain downright emotional “grounds” lead some Middle Eastern states to want Israel expunged from the map as well as from the history books. The majority of these “Jew baters,” of course, are obscenely wealthy in “oil money” The issue of oil is clearly a key factor in Middle Eastern political inter- action with the west, and Middle Eastern affairs impact on the politics of the entire planet. The denial of Israel’s right to exist is predicted in the Bible as being one of the key propositions that will bring to a conclusion the present world’s status quo of life as we understand it. In a nutshell, I am suggesting today that this mind-set is here to stay and will not in any way even recede until Christ returns. Oil rich Muslim nations of the Middle East have the money, the will, the technology and the persistence to act on their idea from hell to rid the world of the Jewish race. This philosophy and itemised ideology, I believe, will rise until, like the High Tide at Equinox it will reach a peak of fervency when Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 will become a physical and historical reality. The Arab world simply wants rid of Israel.


This phenomena is widely known as factual to anybody who pays attention to the mass media today.

Please let me know in writing if you can justify disagreeing with me as I make this proposition. Am I not being reasonable in my analysis of the unreasonable mentality of the Middle East?


83838320gen 15

As promised in Genesis 15:18

Can anybody contradict me when I suggest that, if a government or even an organisation in the world had a huge stockpile of nuclear armaments and missiles, and brashly declared that they denied the USA, or the UK or any of the nations I have mentioned above the right to exist; and then if these aggressors were to declare that the only good American, Brit, Russian or Chinese person “was a dead one”, that organisation or government would be the subject of a military attack almost immediately. No matter how small the body of people were who were to make such a statement, if the stockpile of weapons was as huge as that secreted by Hezbollah at the present moment, military action would be assumed and very quickly seen. The government’s action would be plainly for the safety of its citizens.


The world at large, however, does not in any way see things this way when they think of Israel. In World War 2, when faced with a far less dangerous problem, the USA locked up the ethnic Japanese population in internment camps. Spain even set up death squads to deal with its separatist terrorists. Most democracies have literally rubbished the very principle habeas corpus and treated any suspected internal fifth columnists as the very bridgehead of the enemy. There was no “pink and fluffy” talk of human rights in such a situation. Germans were expelled or imprisoned in England. Democratic Czechoslovakia and India undertook wholesale expulsions of millions of their internal ethnic minorities who had – or who were thought to have had – sided with the enemy. Greece and Turkey are other examples. As it is, so it ever has been.   Except for Israel!


Today I intend to give a cursory acknowledgement of the fact that the demonic manifestation of evil in the twenty-first century that demands the abolition of Israel and the death of all Jews, worded in a way that denies them the right to love, was foreseen by prophets in Old Testament days. My statement is that the prophet Asaph saw what was coming and actually listed the details of its manifestation when the “Let’s get rid of Israel and the Jews” brigade reaches its peak sometime still in the future. Or is that time about to burst on us?


A military parade of Hezbollah soldiers

A military parade of Hezbollah soldiers

And just to make my take on it all clear: Nobody in the world, no matter how huge their army or how powerful their weaponry will ever annihilate the Jews. On what basis do I make that statement? Israel will clearly be in existence at the return of Christ. Attempts to prove my words wrong here are actually attempts to knock God off His eternal, all powerful, all-knowing, ever-present throne. Nobody will ever get rid of the Jews. Israel will be in existence at the return of Christ.


I am, today, talking about Psalm 83, written by the prophet Asaph. Asaph was a Levite and the son of a man named Berechiah. Asaph’s work is seen in Psalm 50, and then in an entire series of psalms from Psalm 73 through to Psalm 83. This man was a choir leader in King David’s day (1 Chronicles 6:39).  He was distinguished as a seer (prophet) as well as a musical composer (2 Chronicles 29:30; Nehemiah 12:46).


Asaph, as a prophet, saw things that were way ahead of his own generation. He wrote the eighty-third Psalm somewhere around 1040 BC.  And here, today in the twenty-first century, I am suggesting that it is relevant and applicable to what is happening today in the time that we live and breathe, in the situation that Israel finds itself as well as in the frame of mind that all Israel’s immediate neighbours have taken upon themselves.  I believe Psalm 83 could possibly refer to our day, if not, sometime just a little into the future.


The ten-kingdom confederacy portrayed in Psalm 83 adumbrates, i.e. represents in outline and foreshadowing, a final gathering against Jerusalem on the part of all of its geographical immediate neighbours.


Let me present to you the whole psalm with my analytical headings, and then further below, my analysis of the text. The translation is my own; the headings are my own, as well as the remarks that accompany the text, with several lines here and there created by standing on the shoulders of great men who have gone before me and already seen what I see, whose shoe latchets I am not worthy to fasten. I have to add that none of the commentaries I have ever read look at Psalm 83 in the light that I am here doing. Not even the mighty Spurgeon remarks on the ten nations the way I see it and interpret it. I have heard sermons suggesting that Psalm 83 was the song that Jehoshaphat had the choir sing as he went to battle in 2 Chronicles 20. Nice thought! Good Sermon! Inspirational story! But, “No!” Jehoshaphat had three enemies, Asaph has ten in his prophetic eye. There are a couple of lines of the lyrics of the song that Jehoshaphat’s choir sang. None of those lyrics are in Psalm 83 (2 Chronicles 20:21).  There are indeed certain minor matches between the Psalm and the Jehoshaphat story. However, to even suggest that they are one and the same cannot be anything but an imagined figment. The inspired biblical text of Psalm 83 below is in black, my headers in red. My comments follow immediately afterwards.


Psalm 83

The Malevolent Accord of Nations to Annihilate Israel


A song. A Canticle of a Psalm written by Asaph.

The Unleashed cry from the heart of Israel (verse 1)

The Unbridled scream of the soul of the People of God.

The Hunger of Israel to see Yahweh honour His promise (1)

  1. O El, who is like you?  Do not remain quiet. Do not rest Let there be no silence with you; do not ignore us, turn a deaf ear or hold your peace and keep silent. Do not stand aloof and be quiet and idle, inactive and still, O God.

The Axis of Evil against Israel (verses 2-8)

The Gathering of Nations to see Israel Destroyed.

The Genocidal Plot in a unity of Hate and Aggression by Enemy Nations (2-3)

  1. For, look, your enemies make a tumult and growl in rage. Don’t you hear their uproar? They that hate you have reared their heads, exalted themselves and issued threats. Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up with hostility against you?
  2. They have taken malicious counsel, devised crafty schemes and with cunning they conspire and plot against your people, and have consulted against your treasured and cherished, hidden and holy ones and made plans to harm them.

The Murderous Contract immersed in Demonic Bitterness, Revulsion and Belligerence by Enemy Nations (4)

  1. They have said, Come, let us destroy and annihilate them as a nation, wipe them out and cut them off; that the very name of Israel may be erased from history and remembered no more.

The Harmony of Hatred enumerated and listed by the Enemy Nations (5-8)

  1. For they have consulted, plotted and planned together with one mind and heart and have agreed and consented to devise a unified strategy. They are unanimously confederate against you. They signed a treaty, formed an alliance and made covenant against you.
  2. The tents of Edom, and the Arabian Ishmaelites; of Moab, and Hagar (Hagarenes or Hagrites),
  3. Gebal (Byblos) and the borders of Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia (The Philistines) together with the inhabitants of Tyre;
  4. Even Assyria is joined with them: and have allied with them to reinforce and be the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah (Interlude –pause and calmly think of that).

The Prayerful Remembrance of Previous Deliverances of Israel (verses 9-15)

The Prayer of Israel to see God’s Enemies Destroyed.

May God’s enemies be confused (9-11)

  1. Do to them and deal with them as you did with Midian; as you did to Sisera and Jabin, at the Kishon river,
  2. Which perished at Endor: they became as dung on the earth and for the earth and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil.
  3. Let their mighty nobles, captains and influential leaders be cut off and destroyed like their princes Oreb, and like Zeeb: yes and let all their princes die as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

A Prayerful quote of the plans of the enemies of Yahweh (12)

  1. Who said, Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God and the houses of God meaning, “We will inherit for ourselves The City, habitation and sanctuary of God.”

May the threats and goals of the enemies of Israel be returned on the enemies of Israel and Yahweh (13-15)

  1. O my God (El), blow them away and make them like a rolling thing, like a wheel and the whirling dust, like tumbleweed and the dead and dried thistles; like the husks, stubble, straw and chaff before the wind.
  2. As the fire burns the forests, and as the flame setts the mountains on fire;
  3. So pursue and persecute them with your tempest, and make them afraid and terrified with your hurricane like whirlwind in your wrath.

The Eternal Purpose of God for Israel (verses 16-18)

The Prayer of Israel to see God’s Enemies Destroyed.

May God’s enemies be converted. (16)

  1. Smother their faces with shame so they blush with dishonour, utterly disgrace them; until they submit to you and that they may seek your name, O Yahweh.

May God’s enemies be convicted of their sin (17)

  1. Let them be confounded in their humiliation, ashamed, dismayed and terrified with trouble to an eternity of eternities; let them be put to disgrace, let them perish and be lost.

May God’s enemies be acquainted with Yahweh and His true and Holy Character (18)

  1. Let men learn and know that You, whose name alone is Yahweh, are the most high and supreme over all the earth, the sovereign king over all the earth.

For the Chief Musician on Gittith

83838398 scribe


Psalm 83

A Song. A canticle of a Psalm written by Asaph.

This psalm is a lyric, praying and fighting in the Holy Spirit against unspeakable and terrifying odds. It’s ten against one; and all ten wanted not just to defeat the one, but to be rid of the one, which was Israel and all the Jews. Yes! I think it would be true to say that this was a desperate moment that Asaph saw. (Understatement if ever there was one)


This prophetic singer was deeply absorbed in the potentially catastrophic dangers arising from a situation where all of Israel’s immediate neighbours were united for the sole purpose of annihilating Israel. He jumps into the deep end of faith. He sings and reaches a spiritual top “C” without a waver in the voice of his heart. It is not a rational, sedentary prayer as we generally witness prayer to be these days. This is a scream from the gut. This is a groan from a man that holds the presentiment of death in his most recent intake of breath that he concedes may be his last. This is an adventure into the spiritual unknown. He is entering the valley of death of his own volition, yet confident that he will have life and defeat the very person of death that he knows is coming to take him. He is wrestling with the invisible. This potential moment of death is the defining moment of his entire life.  This is the moment of time when all that he believes in has to surface to his consciousness. He combats fear and death with his high confidence in the imminence and alignment he has with Yahweh Himself. If his faith does not work here all those that survive him will doubt its reality.


Looking into the whites of the eyes of the angel of death, Asaph sings:


83838353 israeli_army_girls_18

Israeli army women.

The Unleashed cry from the heart of Israel (verse 1)

The Hunger of Israel to see Yahweh honour His promise.

  1. O El, who is like you?  Do not remain quiet. Do not rest. Let there be no silence with you. Do not ignore us, turn a deaf ear or hold your peace and keep silent. Do not stand aloof and be quiet and idle, inactive and still, O God.

Asaph prophetically leads the children of Israel of some generation far flung into what was to him, the future. At the point of time this catastrophe takes place, no matter how far in the future it may be, Israel is to be boisterous, raucous and frighteningly aggressive with their prayer. “O El, who is like you?  Do not remain quiet.” “One word of yours, Lord, can deliver and perform the impossible.” They implore Him to speak because Israel is on the cusp of complete annihilation. Israel is in anguish, profoundly. Asaph speaks with the broken heart of a divinely ordained and gifted intercessor. He does not ask for another David, or a Joshua. The thought of any human force is simply not on his agenda. In the face of death, and a violent one at that, people are real. Amidst all the tumult, which will be vast, emanating from the troops of ten different nations, Asaph will be asking for God to break all normal protocols; to shatter the delusions of grandeur in the idolatrous “natural religion” of the ten nations, and the “natural” Yahwehism, which is all that most of Israel will have entered into. “Lord, step out of invisible eternity right into this time/space world and speak. Do something Lord! And do it now!” Natural revelation helps the inner life. But this is asking God to move in the physical. This was Asaph pressing and reaching for special revelation. Supernatural revelation.


The psalmist asks God to speak (Do not remain quiet), to hear (do not … turn a deaf ear), and to move (do not be idle, inactive and still). In his desire for victory, as well as saving his own life, he wants the heathen antagonists to know that God is real and all-powerful. There is only one God, and that is Yahweh. Lord, save them or kill them! But save Israel!

The Axis of Evil against Israel (verses 2-8)

The Gathering of Nations to see Israel Destroyed.

The Genocidal Plot of a unity of Nations of Hate and Aggression (verses 2-3)

2 For, look, your enemies make a tumult and growl in rage. Don’t you hear their uproar? They that hate you have reared their heads, exalted themselves and issued threats. Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up with hostility against you?

The song is filled with the concept that all believers should grapple with and take hold of more than they commonly do.  The cry of Asaph is not because he is facing death and hated. His cry is, “You, Oh Lord, are hated by them! It’s against you, Oh Lord! Not us.” The reality is that the presence of the anointing of Yahweh that has always rested on Israel, deeply stirs the demonic nests that infest the nations that surround them. It has been like that throughout history, it is like that at the moment, and shall always be like that until Christ’s return. Guns and missiles in hands and at their bidding, yes! Order the troops and line up in battle formation, yes! But it is not merely flesh against flesh. This is a battle fought in the heavenlies. Archangels fight for Israel. Prayer was Asaph’s secret weapon. It is still Israel’s secret weapon today. The iron dome works. Its significance is remarkable, to a degree. The shield of faith, however, is greater.


“Look! Hear the uproar! Sense their rage! They arrogantly raise their heads to challenge you, oh Lord! This is ten nations, not of men but of raving rabid dogs. “They are so confident of defying you and believing their idols are greater than you, that they all give tongue to a victory shout before their Field Marshall’s have even shouted “attack!” They are so arrogantly sure of devouring us and you, Oh Lord, that they already shout over the feast.” This is Asaph’s dialogue as he looks heavenward. Many would accuse Asaph of being irreverent to pray like this. Make no mistake though, God takes pleasure in such straight talking prayer. This is Deep calling out to Deep. Read Elijah’s prayers and see what I mean. In curt, Asaph groans, “Move now Lord, or it’s too late.”



Israel’s foot soldiers.

There is a dimension here that the world does not know of. Israel and the Land, together, have God’s sponsorship and support behind it. No matter what shortcomings there are in the character of Israel, unless and until they flatly reject God, ethnic Israel and the Land are one. They can challenge the world in His name. This prayer of Asaph’s has the angels of heaven scrambling for their swords and means of battle. Angelic horsemen rush to their horses of flame, Seraphic hosts mount their chariots of fire to come to their rescue. The Hosts of the Lord are about to enter the physical world, seen or not. They will always be commissioned by Yahweh to answer the prayer of faith.


3 They have taken malicious counsel, devised crafty schemes and with cunning they conspire and plot against your people, and have consulted against your treasured and cherished, hidden and holy ones and made plans to harm them.

The fruits of Israel’s own intelligence services have fed them well. The Decalogue of enemy states have, in demonic unity, designed deviously, planned perniciously, met and manipulated maliciously. This is no spur of the moment knee jerk reaction of a war. This has been long in the planning. They have held conference. They have signed treaty on the demands and plans of their well thought out campaign, using treachery and circuitous cunning in arranging all their schemes. “Israel must die.” “The only good Jew is a dead one.” Oh my! They have absolutely no idea whatsoever concerning the divinely drawn red line they have crossed with those words, the lion’s mouth they have entered, or the chalice of cyanide they have just sniffed and sipped. They simply cannot conceive that every threat and curse, every machination and device they have invented will come back on their own heads. Like Haman the Jew bater in the book of Esther, they will have built a gallows upon which nobody but themselves will perish. The deeper the blasphemies, the more permanent the curse that comes back upon them. The angel of death, and the father of lies are at the centre of the deception, both hungry for their victims.


Israel in the Land are like Christians in the Spirit. Both are God’s treasures. Jesus died for the world as “King of the Jews” did He not? They are cherished in His love, hidden in the palm of His hand, holy and separated to His purposes. This is not pink and fluffy pie in the sky stuff that I am talking about. This is not groundless mutterings of assurance shrouded in superficial religiosity, or pretty talk with which to encourage the dying. This is faith staring death right in the eye and declaring, “Make my day, devil! Just try if you want! I am His own possession.” This is not Israel and Hezbollah, or Israel and Hamas. Neither is it Christian against godless and immoral legislation. This is God versus the devil in the ultimate sense, and, almost, the definitive battle.



The agony of prayer in the face of those that deny you the right to exist

The enemy is raucous. The volume of their screams and the language of their threats are empty of menace and danger when seen and understood by the eye of faith. They might as well scream at the angels that surround God’s throne and attempt to intimidate Yahweh Himself. They have entered a zone in the Spirit illegally where trespasses will be prosecuted in a manner of severity even they cannot imagine.


To the eye of unbelief, Asaph and Israel have as good as lost. The Jewish people have never been seen to be so vulnerable, weak, ineffective and mindless. But that is only what unbelief sees. That is merely the tip of a huge iceberg. 95% of their circumstance is being handled by the same forces that hold the entire universe together, and Israel is in total alignment with those forces.


The Verbal Murderous Contract of Demonic Bitterness, Revulsion and Belligerence (verse 4)

4 They have said, Come, let us destroy and annihilate them as a nation, wipe them out and cut them off; that the very name of Israel may be erased from history and remembered no more.

Oh! Here it is! The evil rubber hits the road. This is the crossing of the line that coordinates the Middle Eastern nations of today with the demonically predicted move of hell seen by Asaph a millennium before Christ arrived at Bethlehem. “Let us destroy and annihilate them as a nation, wipe them out and cut them off; that the very name of Israel may be erased from history and remembered no more.” Ah, my hateful friends! To your eternal detriment you are about to find that goal easier said than done. Shout the names of your idols and favourite demons all you wish. You beast, with ten heads, are about to die as you wilfully and deliberately step into the mouth of Sheol itself. It would seem that Asaph knows inherently that their plots and plans, as well as their motives and mind-sets, are all fully known to the people of Israel. Israel is living under the umbrella of the most horrendous threat. All thanks go to the grace of God that sustains them through such mental and psychological torture. History is replete with stories of people who have been inspired by hell to plot and plan the very same strategy against the Jewish people: “That the very name of Israel may be erased from history and remembered no more.”  My mind boggles that they would seriously attempt to blot them out of history as well as out of existence. Dream on devil. Do your worst. Yahweh rules!


Note my reader and let these remarks sober you up if nothing else in this article does. The ten nations hereafter listed as co-conspirators in this evil action are no more. They have not had a name in the world for many hundreds of years. Ethnic Israel, the Jews, are still a people and are preserved, in order to be called and saved, as all Israel will be in the latter days (Romans 11:25). The diaspora has not absorbed them. The Jews have been preserved for the moment of 1948 and thereafter. The nation of Israel is.


The Harmony of Hatred enumerated and listed by the Enemy Nations (5-8)

5 For they have consulted, plotted and planned together with one mind and heart and have agreed and consented to devise a unified strategy. They are unanimously confederate against you. They signed a treaty, formed an alliance and made covenant against you.

They are attacking Israel as one in heart. “But, Lord, it is you they are confederate against. They make a covenant, and ratify it with blood, resolutely banding themselves together to war with Almighty God Himself.” Strictly translated, the Hebrew has it as, “They have consulted together with one heart.” There is absolutely no division in their counsels on these issues. They have one desire only, one purpose solely.


Pilate and Herod were made friends together against Christ (Luke 23:12), and these ten come together with similar mind and plan as did Pilate and that “sly fox,” Herod. The hatred and the jealousy these ten have towards Yahweh through Israel is overwhelming to their character and national purpose. No matter what great chasms of differences of opinion each of them hold on religious matters, political issues, or social protocols, that antipathy towards Israel binds them together like intimate twin brothers. In the cause of demolishing Israel, they are as solidly one as it is possible for human beings to be.


“They have cut the covenant sacrifice.” They have slain an animal, divided him in two, and passed between the pieces of the victim; and have thus bound themselves irrevocably to accomplish their hellish purpose. They have bound themselves by blood. Their anti-God heart is set in covenantal “concrete.” They have made a deal with the very worst kind of evil.


6 The tents of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and Hagar (Hagarenes or Hagrites),

7 Gebal (Byblos) and the borders of Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia (The Philistines) together with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8 Even Assyria is joined with them: and have allied with them to reinforce and be the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah (Interlude – pause and calmly think of that).

Look at the first two maps shown below. A picture is worth a thousand words, or so it is said. So two pictures, or in this case, two maps should save me pages of writing, whether or not you agree with my proposition in this article. The illustrations explain what I hold concerning the ten nations united to try to rid the world of Israel and the Jews world-wide in the very last days.



Map 1 reveals the map and the incumbent nations of David’s day that surrounded Israel. Map 2 gives us the same lie of the land with the present national titles within exactly the same geography. The whole series of maps and graphics that are affixed to this article really tell the story of what Psalm 83 is all about. It also illustrates why even some extremely sober academics are raising their eyebrows and wrinkling their foreheads in answer to the question, “Are we there yet?”


Every single player in this group of nations and terrorist groups has stated publicly that (a) they deny the right of Israel to exist, and (b) They want all individual Jews whether in Israel or not, dead. Scour the internet, read the books and see if what I say is not the absolute truth.







Edom –            Today’s West Bank Palestinians together with South Jordan.

Jordan’s population is 60% Palestinian.  It is the fear of the state of Jordan that in the process of time they may evolve into a Palestinian state. Truly. They consider having Palestinians within their territory to be an unwanted circumstance, yet they hate Israel more than they hate those who call themselves, “Palestinian.” Their take on Israel is the same as the rest of the Arab world, yet they keep a low profile while they leave the Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank to do their dirty work for them.

Ishmaelites –    Today’s Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, like nearly all other Arab states refuse absolutely to allow Palestinian refugees any Lebensraum in Saudi territory. They just do not want them. In the Arab world, even, the Palestinians are just not trusted. Most commentators believe that the source of the Jordanian attitude towards them is a mixture of contempt for the Palestinian Arabs who, historically, have caused social unrest wherever they have stayed, and their need for the Palestinians to also do their active warfare against Israel for them.


In the 1990’s the worst waves of Palestinian suicide attacks were directly triggered by Israeli withdrawals and concessions of land. Every time Israel has conceded land to the Palestinians, they have danced with glee at having achieved “victory” and then proceeded to increase suicide bombings. Because of this historical phenomena, there can be no doubt in any analyst’s mind that a complete withdrawal from the West Bank, such as was part of the Saudi Arabian initiated “Road Map” would trigger a massive rocket and terror assault against the remaining areas of Israel that would be launched from the “liberated” territory of the West Bank. Exactly the same thing would clearly happen if Israel relinquished the Golan Heights to Ba’athist Syria. The Saudi’s carry the same hateful burden as the Palestinians as well as all other Arab states. Like Jordan, the Saudis keep a low profile but manipulate against Israel, using the Palestinians as expendable collateral.

Moab –             Today’s Palestinians and Central Jordan

Noting that Jordan is virtually already a “Palestinian state,” their concern of that fact is such that the children of mixed marriages, i.e. Palestinian men married to Jordanian women, are not legally Jordanian, but Palestinian according to Jordanian legislation. Their desire to be rid of all Palestinians, however, has to be seen in the light of them being the only Arab state that received Palestinians in the refugee departures after the birth of Israel in 1948. Jordan’s attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people is as hard as the terrorists. They were among the first who contributed to the Arab troops who attacked Israel from the very first day of Israel’s existence.

Hagar-              (Hagarenes or Hagrites) – part of, or perhaps even the whole of Egypt.

Things are slightly different in Egypt, but only inasmuch as they have had Presidents who have had the “nerve” to hold conferences with Israel, accepted their right to exist, and allowed them grace to live. Sadat was assassinated for that while Hosni Mubarak was sat next to him. Mubarak was a disciple of Anwer Sadat, hence his similar attitude to Israel. But look now! The uprising in Egypt has seen Mubarak sent to prison for abuse of power. The man on the streets of Egypt have risen up for a mixture of reasons, one of them being that he was too soft on Israel.


Gebal –            Today’s Hezbollah in Northern Lebanon

Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist militia designated as a terrorist organisation by most western countries. It receives all round support from both Iran and Syria. It possesses significant paramilitary and unconventional warfare capabilities. Because of the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, followed by the struggle between Hezbollah and rival Lebanese groups immediately afterwards, Lebanon’s political routine and process is now intensely focused on Hezbollah’s future role in the nation. They are viscerally opposed to what it views as illegitimate American and Israeli intervention in Lebanese regional affairs. They flatly deny the right of Israel to exist, and their attitude to Jewish people is equally as violent and hateful.

Ammon –         Today’s Palestinians and North Jordan

The Palestinian President has issued several statements declaring that “No Jewish state in Palestine can ever be recognised nor its legitimacy acknowledged, and “armed resistance” is still the strategy of choice for all Palestinian so called “moderates.” It needs to be noted that Palestinian Presidents are considered amongst Palestinians to be “ultra-moderate.”

Amalek –          Today’s Sinai

In addition to developing and deploying the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, Israel also continually seek U.S. and other international help to slow or stop the Palestinian smuggling network. These concerns have been heightened by the periodic attacks from Palestinians based in Sinai, including occasional rocket fire aimed at the Israeli Red Sea port of Eilat.

Philistia –         Today’s Hammas of Gaza

Hammas is merely a Shiite version of Sunni Hezbollah, and seemingly just as well funded. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza, the Strip has become nothing but a terrorist camp controlled by Hamas, allied with Al-Qaeda. Local Palestinians are tortured, oppressed and starved as Hamas steals all humanitarian relief that gets through to the area. Hamas “government” have actually voted for crucifiction (no! that is not a “typo”) for anyone who criticises their rule. If they are so inhuman to their own fellows, why should their philosophy of, “the only good Jew is a dead one,” shock us at all. The leaders of Hammas “state” repeat almost daily how they seek the death of all Jews around the world.  Fathi Hammad, one of their leaders, said in Gaza on January 2, 2009, “We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity.” That is referring to Israel, of course. Muhsen Abu ‘Ita the Hammas cleric said on TV, “The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid things for Palestine.” Even the Speaker for the Hammas so called “parliament” (?) in Gaza called for the death of both Jews and Americans while speaking on a Sudanese television broadcast.

Tyre –               Today’s Hezbollah in South Lebanon

In the mid months of 2000, Israel unilaterally ended its presence in the security zone of Southern Lebanon, abandoning that area to the domination of the Hezbollah terrorist militia, which immediately began preparing for the war that erupted five years later. They are stockpiled with nuclear missiles that nations ten times bigger than they do not have. Hezbollah, along with Hamas are two key players in the “Israel cannot be left to exist” groups.

Assyria –          Today’s Syria and Northern Iraq

It goes without saying to most folks that Syria funds, supports and sustains Hezbollah. Al Qaeda are thought to help fund Hamas. Syria is Damascus, of course, which takes us back to the relevance to Isaiah 17 in its links to Psalm 83. Syria puts the money up front, the knowhow and the arms, and the moral support directly to Hezbollah. A little like the Saudis and the Jordanians, their agenda is being meted out by the invented plight of the Palestinians.


8383833The obvious cause of the present Middle East conflict is the absolute refusal of the entire Arab world to come to terms with Israel’s existence within any set of borders no matter where. And that situation is made clear here in the eighty-third Psalm written circa a thousand years before Christ was born. Here we see the violent Arab anti-Israel genocidal aggressors in concert, just as we see them in the news reports and the huge library of intelligence that has been poured into the literary cosmos. All the Arab nation states and terrorist groups (the lines are clearly blurred between which is which in some cases) qualify to be counted amongst the ten that encircle Israel and threaten its extinction as seen in Psalm 83.


It is true that all of Israel’s immediate neighbours and beyond declared war on them on the very day Israel was founded, but it is only in these last few years we can see and say that all of Israel’s immediate neighbours, have a philosophy and attitude that equates them with the ten as listed in Psalm 83. Whether my assumptions as to the ten contemporary groups as mapped out above is right or wrong, my reason for raising the subject is that the real face of the modern status quo equates to the e-fit drawing that Asaph gives us in his psalm.  I find it something of a phenomena. If these ten are the criminals of Psalm 83, will this generation be the ones taking part in this bloody and horrific warmongering venture as depicted in the Bible? Or do we wait for another?


I am no political commentator, however my grasp of human nature leads me to venture reasons why these ten have not just decided altogether to coordinate an attack and attempt to wipe Israel out of existence. What are they waiting for? Laugh and snigger at me if you will but here are my thoughts on what hinders them. This list is NOT in order of importance or priority at all. These reasons are all I have to say as to how and why the war has not yet started.


The issue is stuttering to begin because:


  1. 8383830


    Sunni’s abhor Shiites, and vica verca. The differences between the two are deep. For 600 plus years the Ottoman Empire ruled, and they were Sunni’s. Their belief in a God who justifies killing means that their mutual attitude towards each other matches their attitude to Israel. In some sort of paradoxical manner, for Israel’s sake, I am glad for this demonic difference. The less collusion there is between the two Jew bating forces of Shiite Islam and Sunni Islam, the safer Israel and the Jews are. But I do believe that sooner or later that wall of separation will be demolished by their mutual deeper hatred of the Jews. Remember that even “sly fox” Herod made friends to crucify Christ with Pilate.

  2. I believe that the fact that the USA is supporting, arming, and paying for the best army in the world (Israel), the Arabs are careful not to cross the red line in order to start the mother of all wars. Israel were always seen to be the best in the world at doing “war,” until the debacle with Hezbollah, which was, to put it in sporting terms, “a tie,” no matter what Hezbollah called it. I believe that has caused Hezbollah to think they are even bigger and more efficient at war than Israel is. USA are behind the scenes players hitherto when it comes to Israeli warfare. Whenever the “big one” arises and the USA send soldiers as well as spend dollars, a line will have been crossed that may never be uncrossed this side of Christ’s return.
  3. God! Yahweh, the God of Israel is in charge. All nations and terrorist groups can only go as far as they are allowed. Number 3 is the umbrella that is over and above 1 and 2. In fact that umbrella covers the entire globe. God will halt everything and start everything when He wills. His timing and His purpose is everything. His timing is perfect.


This story has other untied ends and unanswered questions to each strand of news that is reported widely and believed by many. For instance, Israeli authorities have expressed concern that Palestinian militants might soon acquire longer-range rockets and precision targeting capabilities that would increase the danger to larger population centres, such as Tel Aviv. The possibility that a more dangerous rocket threat could emerge in the West Bank, especially in light of Iran’s apparent transfer of weapons production know-how to Palestinian militants is more than concerning. Have you heard that in your 6pm family News report. Clearly, the exact scene portrayed in Psalm 83 draws nigh. Were it not for the restrictions listed above methinks that the entire choreography and screenplay for the fulfillment of Psalm 83 is simply waiting for the curtains to open.


The genocidal axis players are in the stables, but thankfully not yet, at this moment, at the starting blocks.


838383The Prayerful Remembrance of Previous Deliverances of Israel (verses 9-15)

The Prayer of Israel to see God’s Enemies Destroyed.

May God’s enemies be confused (9-11)

9 Do to them and deal with them as you did with Midian; as you did to Sisera and Jabin, at the Kishon River,

10 which perished at Endor: they became as dung on the earth and for the earth and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil

The prayer Asaph leads us in is hardly a New Testament prayer of love, compassion and turning the other cheek. One does, however, have to understand that Israel, as a physical ethnic race of humanity, a nation in its own Land, had a whole different universe of priorities and how to be kept than the born again believer in the New Testament church. This is physical, violent, fight to the death warfare. The truth is that Asaph threatens nothing, sets himself to do nothing, but asks Yahweh only to do what He has already done in previous generations. The cry of his prayer is from the deepest recesses of the man’s spirit. “Deal with them as you did with Midian.” One can’t get more ruthless, and yet so blameless than that. In modern street language he calls for God to do what only He can do. “Do what you do best, Yahweh. Bring righteousness.”


It is in the very substance of veteran, applied and experienced faith to stir up reminiscences of previous victories and to mention those victories in God’s ears. Asaph knew his Bible history thus far up to his life time. “Do to them and deal with them as you did with Midian; as you did to Sisera and Jabin, at the Kishon River.” The situations in both cases were very similar, and the predicament of the Israelites was comparable to the graphics outlined here in the eighty-third psalm. Midian perished in that old piece of history, and the prophet was believing that Israel’s current antagonists would encounter a similar defeat by the finger and through the voice of God Almighty Himself. As to Sisera, and as to Jabin at the brook Kishon, the hordes were wiped away in the current by the suddenly distended flood, and they all perished. This was a second occasion of heavenly retribution upon allied groups of antagonists of Israel. Asaph’s memory of what he had read in scripture was clear. When God wants it to be, a stream can be as lethal as the wild oceanic deep. Kishon the river was to Jabin as the Red Sea was to Pharaoh. How easily can Yahweh smite the enemies of his people Israel? So Asaph cries – no! – screams, “God of Gideon, God of Barak, will you not again make judgement for your people on their murderous foes?  You never change!”


“They became as dung on the earth and for the earth, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil.” This was to be the heart of the bloodbath, where the stacks of the cadavers lay densest. They became as compost for the soil, manuring it with “dust to dust” and “ashes to ashes” sprayed over the fields. Warfare is painful, unjust and cruel. However, on this occasion, the sentence the combat dealt out was just. Those who would not see fit to give Israel a resting place above ground are themselves denied a resting place under the ground. Those who accounted Israel as no better than dung, became as dung themselves.  In the crisis of the moment, in the heat of the imminent attack, Asaph seems to be pleading for the identical providence to proceed upon his contemporary enemies of Israel whom he saw in his prophetic vision. This passionate prayer from the lips and pen of Asaph was a prophecy – a prophecy that is not yet fulfilled.


As a “By the way”: I read somewhere that in the year 1830, it is calculated that more than a million bushels of “human and equine bones” were imported from the continent of Europe into the port of Hull in the UK. The neighbourhoods of Leipzig, Austerlitz, and Waterloo, where the principal battles of a previous generation were fought some fifteen or twenty years before, were each swept free of the bones of the heroes, and the horses which they rode in their respective last battles. Thus the skeletal cadavers collected from every quarter, were shipped to Hull, and from there forwarded to the Yorkshire bone grinders, who, by steam engines and powerful machinery, reduced them to a dust-like state. In this condition they were sent mostly to Doncaster, one of the largest agricultural markets of the country, and were sold to farmers to manure their lands. The oily substance gradually evolving as the bone calcines produced by the heat and the grinding process, makes better manure than almost any other substance particularly human bones. Enough said!


11 Let their mighty nobles, captains and influential leaders be cut off and destroyed like their princes Oreb, and like Zeeb: yes and let all their princes die as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

By smiting the great ones in the high ranks as well as the privates on the field, the aggressive and violent culture of the defeated ones is subdued – at least for a generation or so. Asaph wants the ringleaders to perish as well as the followers. Asaph is praying that the desires, wishes and curses of their attackers will be reversed upon the heads of the enemy and that the catastrophe is fully theirs. If they had known who they had planned to annihilate, and what that plan meant in the sight and judgement of God, they would have done better to bring tribute to Jerusalem in place of threats of destruction.


 A Prayerful quote of the plans of the enemies of Yahweh (12)

12 who said, Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God and the houses of God meaning, “We will inherit for ourselves The City, habitation and sanctuary of God.”

Viewing the temple, and also the abodes of the society of Israel, as all belonging to God, these materialistic, covetous and jealous raiders single-mindedly determined to push out the population, massacre them, and come to be themselves property-owners and occupants of the whole. These were large voluptuous evil words and dark and dastardly designs. Assuredly, when this narrative, perceived through the prophetic Spirit in the mist of the distant future, draws nearer, clearer and then imminently upon the elected generation, it shall be seen how God can bring those plans that look assuredly certain to absolutely nothing. It is absolute vanity and foolishness for men to say “Let us take,” if God does not say “I will give.” He who robs God will discover that he has ill-gotten gains that are heavily coated and marinated with infectious curses and damnation. Without repentance and faith this side of the grave, it will plague the thief and his off-spring for ever.


8383838May the threats and goals of the enemies of Israel be returned on the enemies of Israel and Yahweh (13-15)

13 O my God, blow them away and make them like a rolling thing, like a wheel and the whirling dust, like tumbleweed and the dead and dried thistles; like the husks, stubble, straw and chaff before the wind.

Literally, “O my God, make them like a wheel. 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. The psalmist describes clouds of chaff blown from the threshing floors, chased away like the spherical masses of tumbleweed which course over the plains of Esdraelon and Philistia, flying with as much hurry and confusion as the wind presses it with. All that is vain, dry, fruitless and useless in the wild terrain is likened to the dark threatening clouds of the ten nations united in their devil inspired mission to kill. “Blow them away like hardly rooted rubbishy weeds before the wind. Disseminate them, oh God! Pursue them, Lord! Carry them to their divinely appointed place of destruction, Master!” All true loyalist to their natal land prays in this manner against the nemeses of their country. He would be no better than a traitor if he did not.


14 As the fire burns the forests, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire;

Asaph is not simply pleading with God for deliverance. The psalmist cum prophet wants for them what these hordes want for Israel, i.e. a total removal of any trace that they ever existed. The difference between Israel and the ten vitriolic nations is that Israel are leaving their self-defence requirements to Yahweh, and they are not unlawfully planning to destroy any others without a cause.


15 so pursue and persecute them with your tempest, and make them afraid and terrified with your hurricane, like whirlwind in your wrath.

Asaph is like a horse with the bit between his teeth and running the Grand National. He takes his prayer to its furthest and its ultimate. “Do it all Lord! Rescue us and set us free! Take the enemy! Make him fearful! Destroy him! Chase him! Let their cadavers be as dung on the ground.” OK! OK! OK! Asaph. We get the point.


The Eternal Purpose of God in Israel (verses 16-18)

The Prayer of Israel to see God’s Enemies Destroyed.

May God’s enemies be converted (16)

16 Smother their faces with shame so they blush with dishonour, utterly disgrace them; until they submit to you and that they may seek your name, O Yahweh.

Oh! Verse 16 has changed the direction of the song writer prophet. Shame them and then save them is his cry. Shame has often weaned men from their idols and sin, and turned them to God.

May God’s enemies be convicted of their sin (17)

17 Let them be confounded in their humiliation, ashamed, dismayed and terrified with trouble to an eternity of eternities; let them be put to disgrace, let them perish and be lost.

It was better that they perished than that Israel should be rooted up. What a terrible doom it will be to the enemies of God to be “confounded, and troubled for ever,” to see all their schemes and hopes defeated, and their bodies and souls full of anguish without end: from such a shameful perishing may our souls be delivered. It is not the will of God that any should perish. Yet, many put themselves deliberately and wilfully outside of the pale of His salvation.

May God’s enemies be acquainted with Yahweh and His true and Holy Character (18)

18 Let men learn and know that you, whose name alone is Yahweh, are the Most High and supreme over all the world, the sovereign king over all the earth.

Hearing of the Lord’s marvellous deeds in defeating such a numerous confederacy, the very heathen would be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of Yahweh. He who is self-existent is infinitely above all creation. All the earth is but his footstool. The godless race of man disregards this, and yet at times the wonderful works of the Lord compel the most unwilling to adore his majesty.


Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.


(Psalm 83. My own extended free paraphrase interpretation).


Looking at today’s geopolitical landscape, it’s not difficult to envision the scenario outlined in Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83. Syria has been adamant in its demand that Israel surrender the Golan Heights, threatening war if Israel fails to comply. Meanwhile, the summer of 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah has apparently convinced leaders in Damascus that Syria could conceivably be victorious in a conflict with Israel by simply overwhelming the tiny nation with rocket attacks. From a greater perspective, it has convinced the entire Islamic world that Israel isn’t the militarily invincible nation it was once thought to be.


Syria’s rocket technology is far more advanced than that deployed by Hezbollah, and Syria is known to possess chemical weapons, including the highly lethal VX and Sarin gases. If Syria miscalculates and attacks Israel with these weapons, the Israeli response will be swift and devastating. Israel is armed with nuclear weapons, and if its survival is put in question, it will not hesitate to use them. If this happens, a mortally wounded Israel will become an irresistible target for her enemies. The surrounding Muslim nations will see an opportunity to destroy her. The scene of Isaiah 17 will be upon us and on our TV screens.


Today, the most virulent enemies of Israel reside in the very places named in Psalm 83.


114. Keeping an eye on the Bible while listening to Middle East news reports.

The anti-Yahweh anti-faith and anti-Israel spirit that has pervaded the human atmosphere for millennia


Just saying!


It is my conviction that Isaiah 17 should be filed and remembered in our memory banks whenever we are listening to news reports that include Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and organisations like Hezbollah, and others. By reading biblical prophecy and listening to the Middle Eastern News, one would be quite rational to accept the fact that the return of Jesus Christ could conceivably be nearer than most people think.


No other state on the planet is confronted by such a grouping of existential threats as those that the nation of Israel defies every minute of every day in the circadian activities of hatred that flow from the many enemies that are so close to her borders. The globe’s only Jewish state is also its furthermost perilously threatened, existing constantly on the cusp of fatal attack and murderously intentioned advances from a whole wad of neighbours that have a sincerely hateful death wish for the state and all its population. Most nation states around the Middle East publish maps and routes that do not acknowledge that Israel is, or ever has been in existence.


Geographically minute as far as nations go (22,072 kilometres square including the Golan Heights as well as East Jerusalem. Belize is the next largest state in the world), Israel is delimited and surrounded by so called “theocracies” that deny and violently rebuff its very right to exist and its people’s right to live.  As far as the Arab and Muslim people of the Middle East are concerned, the physical fact of its existence is an obscene catastrophe and they do not only call for Israel’s dissolution, they want all Jewish people dead. Please don’t be concerned about the spirit with which I write these words. I am not writing from grudge, animosity, hatred or disdain towards anybody. I am merely repeating what is commonly stated and discussed on News programmes in all free nations in the world. I am also simply quoting stuff from the websites of Hezbollah, Hammas and other groups. I pray for the folks lost in Islam asking God to bring them to His love and Christ’s saving grace. I pray for the so called “extremists” also, both Sunni’s and Shi-ites. The fact that there are militant forces in the earth whose sole purpose is to eradicate Jewish people as well as the state of Israel off the map makes chapters of prophecy like Isaiah 17 (and there are others) very relavant to our observations and judgments of where the world is going. God is in charge and working out His plan.


T o accomplish and fulfill these malignant highly toxic aspirations, anti-Israel Islamists (both extreme and not so extreme) have spawned and hatched a concept that has brought into the slimy darkness of a murderous putrefying mindset  rocket shooting, bomb toting, murder carrying mobs that are sworn to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. They are indeed structured and militarised with order and precision, yet the mindsets that motivate them are truly mob like. We are talking of the motives of hell. Satan himself was a murderer from the beginning, so why should we be shocked at such an outlook. “Let’s get rid of all the Jews” is their perpetual scream. Heard that somewhere before? When will the people of hate in this world get to grips with the fact that such motives are literally defying the plan and purpose of God Almighty, and that peoples and groups that plot, plan and perpetrate activities to bring that goal about are actually signing their own death warrant as well as the ultimate death of their own purposes? I say these things with the entire and fullest authority of the scriptures. I also say them with the authority of History. Israel cannot be annihalated – and I do not say that because of any great virtue or Godliness of the secular state of Israel as it now is. It is God’s stated prerogative as seen in the Bible that causes me to assert that as fact.

For those that claim that the present state of Israel is secular  and man created and is therefore outside the pale of scripture and its promises to a nation called Israel, I say- “Read the Bible.” Israel was commonly godless and secular, if not secular then totally idolatrous.    The world is enriched and made wise by the writing Hebrew prophets, but they were only sent because of the secular, worldly, evil culture that developed amongst the Hebrew people. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was completely created by man. The murderous coups which replaced king after king in Ephraim were as far from godly as it is possible to be. The desire to befriend other idolatrous nations was far less godly than the present state of Israel. It is now New Testament times and the replacement Theology people who are convinced that God has finished with Israel have entered into a grave and serious error. God has not finished with Israel. It is Israel, and the anti-Israel vitreol from certain nations and races that will bring this present world system to a close with the return of Christ. God’s programme of promises for ethnic Israel, and the fulfilment of his purposes with ethnic Israel may have been to a certain degree suspended during the church age, but ethnic Israel will be grafted in again to the plan of God, and they shall be converted as a remnant en masse as Christ’s feet return to the Mount of Olives. The promise of the land, and the settlement of Israel throughout the millennial reign of Christ, all of which are mentioned in Isaiah, ensure the importance of the state of Israel in the land of Israel in the plan of God.

Just above Israel’s northernmost border in Lebanon is Hezbollah territory, the “Party of God,” which is busily hoarding and amassing tens of thousands of Iranian missiles in anticipation of the war of obliteration and extinction it has vowed to wage against the Jewish state. Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and was primarily formed to offer resistance to the “Israeli occupation.” Staffed by the mentality of Iran’s Republican Guard and fully supported by Iran, Hezbollah was the largest terrorist force in the world before the so called Islamic State emerged. The voices of Hezbollah make their revulsion for the Jews as publically explicit as possible at every chance and occasion they get to do so. They have actually proclaimed in public that their ambition is to “finish the job that Hitler started.” Its fanatical secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah leads thousands of followers chanting and screaming, “Death to Israel. Death to the USA.” His predecessor was assassinated by the Israel Defence Forces. Mr. Nasrallah has even said that he would be happy if every Jew in the world came to live in Israel, because that would save him the trouble of chasing them all over the world to kill them all after they have dissolved the state of Israel. Hezbollah are amassing their rockets for the one and only purpose of the obliteration of Israel. In May 2006 Nasrallah stated that, “Today all of Israel is in our range…Ports, military bases, factories … everything is within our range.” Their declarations are filled with the purest hate and vitreol known to man and demon. It is exactly the same vintage of poisonous hate for which many of the gentile nations were being judged, as we are seeing through chapters 13-35 of the prophet Isaiah.


Syria is part and parcel of the nurturing facilities as well as the funding capabilities to the growth and development of Hezbollah’s position opposing Israel. Thus my conviction that Isaiah 17 is intensely relevant to today’s Middle Eastern scenario and the prospective result.


Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist militia, cum- political party, and even cum-social welfare organisation. The United States, Canada, and Israel have categorized Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. It needs to be added that this year (2015) a recategorisation by the U.S. National Intelligence removed Hezbollah from its list of internal terror threats to the USA, while it still remains as a terrorist group. The European Union and New Zealand have banned and prohibited Hezbollah’s military wing without listing Hezbollah as a whole, a terrorist body.


The remarkable things is that Islamic State have arisen onto the scene of time, and because Islamic State are Sunni Muslims and Hezbollah are Shiites, we have the phenomena that the anti-Israel activities of Hezbollah have been ever so slightly distracted because of Shiite and Sunni arguments and differences in-house to the Muslim cosmos. In God’s great economy, the rise of the so called Islamic State is postponing the precipitous violence towards Israel that could bring about the scenario explained throughout Isaiah 17. I want to write that the so called Islamic State have come to this world’s kingdom for such a time as this – but it seems somehow a misuse of even a parody of scripture.


Islamic State is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and Terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of Northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria since 2013. They have threatened the security of both Iraq and Syria  and by their twenty-first century high tech propaganda and recruiting strategy via the Internet they have made themselves a  striking phenomena to the western world. There are, as I write, more than 60 countries directly or indirectly waging war against the so called Islamic State even as I write.

Syria with Damascus at its heart, Lebanon with Hezbollah, and Iran’s belligerence against Israel, and the threats of war and violence that are explained above seriously indicate that Isaiah 17 and the unfulfilled narrative of what is promised over Damascus, cause me to encourage my readers to keep one eye on the prophets while reading current Middle East news reports.