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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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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 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.

Wild rage

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.

The remnant

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 time.

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.