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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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8-2 Assyria And Gog

Arabs on the bandwagon

Not just the Syrians were involved in these raids.   Speaking of this time, Is. 9:12 speaks of the Syrians and Philistines as being the mouth of a huge beast, closing around Israel:  " The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind;  and they shall devour Israel with open mouth."    This image of an Arab beast devouring Israel is repeated in Joel 1:6 concerning the later Assyrian invader, showing how the period of invasions by Israel's smaller Arab neighbours is a prelude to the final invasion by Assyria/Babylon.   These larger powers are symbolized by the lion (Jer. 50:17), as were the Philistines in the typology of Jud. 14:5,6, cp. Jud. 15:14 (" Vineyards" = Israel, the young lion roaring and shouting = the Philistines).

More detail concerning these Syrian raids which heralded the major Assyrian invasion is found in Is. 7:3-8, which we will now analyse.   Remember that these raids typify the period of prolonged (3.5 years?) Arab downtreading of Israel which must occur before the final invasion.

" Syria is confederate with Ephraim" may suggest that the Arab invaders associate themselves in some way with the spiritually weak among Israel (those who have accepted Islam?) in order to terrorize the rest of Israel.

Isaiah the prophet then appears, inspiring the faithful in Judah to trust God.   This would continue the theme traced previously, notably in Judges, of a prophet appearing when Israel is fearful (Is. 7:2), and under Arab attack.   We have suggested that this typifies the work of the Elijah ministry.   He encourages them:  " Fear not, neither be fainthearted" (Is. 7:4), recalling the inspired encouragement to Israel at the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:15).   Whilst the Jehoshaphat context typifies the final invasion rather than the period of preliminary raids which Is. 7 refers to, it seems largely true that those preliminary raids have a number of similarities with the final invasion. Thus Is. 7:4 speaks of " the fierce anger of Rezin" and the Syrians, echoing the rage and fury of Sennacherib and the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:27,28).   This great Arab fury is hard to understand if they are only motivated by a desire for material betterment at Israel's expense. It would therefore seem due to some form of massive religious excitation." The two tails of these smoking firebrands" (Is. 7:4) recalls Samson's use of this method to destroy the Philistines' corn (Jud. 15:4), perhaps hinting that the Syrian raids aimed to destroy Israel's agriculture - something which seems likely from the typology of the Judges account of Israel's previous Arab invasions.

" Let us go up against Judah" (Is. 7:6) sounds like Gog deciding, " I will go up to the land" (Eze. 38:11).   Note that Rezin is twice called " the head" (Heb. 'rosh') of Syria and Damascus (Is. 7:8) - cp. the 'rosh' of Eze. 38:2.   This all indicates that Rezin is being framed in the record as a mini king of Assyria, seeing that Eze. 38 is clearly based upon the Assyrian invasion:-

Eze. 38 / Gog

Assyria (Isaiah)








28:2; 8:9,21; the Assyrian “strong one” of Is. 28:2 is the ‘Gog’ figure








29:6 RV; 30:30


29:6; 30:25



It is noteworthy that the rebuke of Sennacherib's Assyrian invasion is celebrated in language which alludes to that used about the destruction of Gog and Pharaoh (e.g. Ps.76:6=Ex.15:1; Ez.39:20), suggesting that the final invasions of Israel will summarize those of all her old enemies. And God's final deliverance of her will have been typified by scores of like interventions in time past. Note too the King of Babylon is described as taking counsel and conceiving a purpose (Jer. 49:30)- the very language of Ez. 38:10 about Gog conceiving an evil thought. Gog simply has to be read as a latter day Assyrian / Babylonian. The Assyrian is to be “broken in pieces” (Is. 30:31 RV), just as the whole image of Daniel 2 is to be. That image symbolizes a latter day confederacy of nations under the leadership of Babylon / Assyria, which will dominate the land / earth of Israel in the last days.

Rezin's invasions were a result of 'taking evil counsel against' Israel (Is. 7:5), just as Assyria and her Arab supporters were to do:  " They have taken crafty counsel against thy people" (Ps. 83:3).   Rezin's plan was to " set a king in the midst of (Judah), even the son of Tabeal" (Is. 7:6), meaning 'pleasing to God'.   This supports the suggestion that the " fierce anger" of the invaders, both then and in the future, will be fuelled by quasi-religious reasoning - in this case 'You Jews are so displeasing to God, we're going to put a truly God-pleasing Muslim ruler in the holy city of Jerusalem.'   The double emphasis on " Damascus" as being the nerve centre of Rezin's operations (Is. 7:8), may also be significant in that this very city is now a centre for Arab terrorism against Israel.