8-10 The Latter Day Remnant
That the destruction
of the remnant will be high on the list of Arab objectives in taking Jerusalem
(as the destruction of the temple was so important to Sennacherib) further
indicates that the motives for the final attack on Jerusalem will be more
religious that materialistic. The incursions of the previous period
will have probably used the 'religious' motive as an alibi for indulging
in greedy plundering of Israel's wealth.
Isaiah encourages the
remnant that Sennacherib's victory over the surrounding nations and the
" fenced cities" of the rest of Israel was because God had sent
the Assyrians to do these things as a punishment for sin (2 Kings 19:25
cp. 18:13). " Therefore their inhabitants...were as the
grass of the field, and as the green herb...as corn blasted before it
be grown up" (2 Kings 19:26). Ps.90:5,6 and Is. 40:6-8
speak of apostate Israel as blasted grass, the latter passage being
written against the Sennacherib background. The righteous
remnant within Arab-occupied Jerusalem in the last days will have reason
to reflect much upon this, seeing that the implication of this (and Zech.
13:8-14:2) is that whoever is killed by the 'Assyrian' in this final period
is not among the righteous in God's sight.
Isaiah assured the remnant
that God knew Sennacherib's " rage" or (Hebrew) 'trembling'
(2 Kings 19:27). As literal vibrations spread, so the 'trembling'
of his rage had affected Israel - he had made the whole land of Israel
to tremble, too (Is. 14:16 - the same word for " rage" is used
here and cp. Deut. 28:65). Yet Joel, writing in the context
of the Sennacherib invasion, exhorts the people of the land to "
tremble" instead before the Lord in repentance (Joel 2:1).
The temptation in the last days for Israel, as in all our trials, will
be to become so swamped with the immensity of their suffering, that they
find it impossible to concentrate their faith upon God. Yet
Babylon/Assyria will be made to tremble at God's judgment of them (s.w.
Is. 13:13) as Nebuchadnezzar literally trembled (s.w. Dan. 3:13).
God describing Sennacherib's
rage " ...and tumult" as rising " up into mine ears"
(2 Kings 19:28), is the language of the flood, Babel and Sodom, where
the sins of God's enemies came to His notice with the result that He 'came
down' in judgment upon them in a way which typified the second coming
(Gen. 6:5,12; 11:6; 18:21). The same word for "
tumult" occurs in Is. 13:4 concerning the " tumultuous noise
of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth
the host of the battle" - of Armageddon (cp. Rev. 16:14.16). By all
means compare this with the rage of the Arab beast in the final phase
of persecution of God's people in Rev.12:12,17.
Because of Sennacherib's
rage and tumult, " I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle
in thy lips, and I will turn thee back" (2 Kings 19:28).
This is one of the clearest links with the prophecy of Gog's invasion
(cp. Eze. 38:4; 39:2), showing how this is modelled upon that of
Sennacherib. Latter-day Egypt will receive the same 'hook
in nose' treatment (Eze. 29:4), and Israel will be bound with " chains"
(s.w. " hook" , Eze. 19:4,9). This not only shows
how the apostate among God's people will receive the same judgment as
their Arab enemies, but encourages us that all elements of the apparently
crazy scenario of the last days will be under God's clear Angelic control,
moving the nations round with hooks.
Isaiah went on to speak
of how the righteous remnant would be preserved. " The
remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah...out of Jerusalem shall
go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion" (2 Kings
19:30,31). These are " the residue (remnant) of the people
(that) should not be cut off from the city" during the Arab capturing
of it (Zech. 14:2). Note again how there is a difference between
'Judah' and 'the remnant'. This would divide the people within
the land into three categories:-
1. 'Israel' -
the unrepentant wicked who are destroyed by the Arab invasions during
the period of desolation.
2. 'Judah' - those
who make a superficial repentance, but are later massacred during the
final Arab invasions and capture of Jerusalem.
3. - 'The remnant'
- those who are left as the only Jews alive in the land. Once
this is the case, the Lord will openly intervene to save them.
A similar sub-division
of 'spiritual' Israel will also occur in the same period.
The description of "
the remnant" being saved out of Jerusalem and mount Zion, the temple
mount, may mean that they go into the temple area to seek safety, and
this is where they are at the moment of the Lord's intervention.
Joel 2:32 must have had its primary fulfilment in the redemption of this
remnant, and it therefore has an application to the salvation of the latter-day
Jewish remnant out of Arab-occupied Jerusalem: " Whosoever
shall call on the name of the Lord (i.e. truly pray for deliverance in
faith, perhaps through calling upon themselves the Lord's name through
baptism into Christ) shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in
Jerusalem (cp. 2 Kings 19:30,31 for the mention of those two terms)
shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said (through Isaiah and his prophets),
and in the remnant..." .
This passage is quoted
in a different context in Acts 2:21 and Rom. 10:13, but this does not
preclude its application to the faithful remnant in Jerusalem in the last
days. This New Testament usage is regarding how a convert
should eagerly call upon himself the Lord's salvation/deliverance from
sin in Christ. This should therefore be done with the same
sense of urgency and desperate intensity as the persecuted remnant of
the last days will do, like their counterparts within Jerusalem in Hezekiah's
Isaiah's final assurance
that Sennacherib " shall not come into this city" (2 Kings 19:32)
seems to be in purposeful contrast to Zech. 14:2 " the city shall
be taken" . This is to teach that the final Arab invasion,
which Zech. 14 undoubtedly speaks of, will have many similarities with
that of Sennacherib,but with this significant difference.
The triple reference to Assyrian military technology may teach that Arab
plans to use this in the last days will likewise come to nothing:
" He shall not...shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield,
nor cast a bank against it" as he had planned, doubtless in some
detail (2 Kings 19:32).
" The zeal of the
Lord of hosts shall do (all) this" (2 Kings 19:31) is a phrase picked
up in Is. 9:7 concerning how God would achieve His purpose in the birth
of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom. Thus again
we see how the language of Christ's spiritual conquest of sin is used
concerning His supreme political destruction of it in His victory at Armageddon.
A fine appreciation of this will enable us to eagerly await and desire
the victory for this ultimate spiritual reason, rather than just to see
the final redemption of Israel from their Arab enemies.