Hezekiah and a minority
within Judah took the prophets' call for reformation seriously.
The detailed records of his reform given in 2 Kings 18 and 2 Chron. 29-31,
recall those of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chron. 19:5-11, which we have shown to
be typical of how Israel's latter-day Arab tribulations make a minority
among them take a firm spiritual grip upon themselves. Hezekiah's
campaign against idolatry may be matched by an effort in the last days
to wrench Israel away from the worship of Islam (the present god of the
surrounding Arab nations), which some of them will have adopted.
This would explain the religious motivation which we have seen will underlie
the rage of the final Arab invasion.
Hezekiah sent envoys
throughout Israel with the message, " Turn again unto the Lord...and
he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand
of the kings of Assyria" (2 Chron. 30:6). This confirms
our previous comment that some who survive the earlier Arab invasions
will still not have a true faith - otherwise this call to repentance would
The language of Israel
turning, and God returning, provides a definite link with Joel 2:12-14:
" Turn ye even to me...turn unto the Lord your God...he (God) will
(then) return and repent" . Like the typology of 2 Chron.
30:6, this passage is speaking of the final call for Israel to repent
after the prolonged Arab devastation described in Joel 1.
Both Joel (2:17) and the record of Hezekiah (2 Chron. 30:17) show the
important role of " the priests and Levites" in bringing about
this repentance. They either typify the Elijah ministry
(he was a priest), or they may point to the revival of some kind of spiritual
leadership system from within natural Israel.
" The priests and
the Levites arose...and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up
to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven" (2 Chron. 30:27) uses
the language of 1 Kings 8:37-39, which is in turn alluding to that of
Lev. 26 and Deut. 28, describing how, after having suffered great plagues
and invasions due to their sins, Israel are brought to offer powerful
prayers of repentance. This must all have some reference to
the last days.
During this time of
reformation, Hezekiah (epitomizing the repentant remnant) " smote
the Philistines even unto Gaza" (2 Kings 18:8). We have
shown from Is. 9:12 that the Philistines were successfully invading Judah
and Israel at this time. Hezekiah's victory against them would
therefore indicate that the faithful remnant which develops among latter-day
Israel may literally fight off the Arab marauders or, alternatively, be
spared their ravages in some way, once they have experienced enough of
their venom to develop an acceptable level of reformation.
By contrast, the rest of faithless Israel will be left to suffer from
Section 2 provides significant
evidence to show that while natural Israel suffers persecution, so, too,
will spiritual Israel. However, it may also be true that their
sufferings will last only as long as is necessary to produce the required
reformation. We have also seen that both in Hezekiah's time
and in the last days, some of natural Israel will associate themselves
with 'Judah', the righteous remnant in Jerusalem, purely to escape the
tribulations, whilst in their heart they are unreformed. Thus
Is. 33:14 calls them " hypocrites" .
There will also be a
tendency for this to happen among the new Israel. We commented
in the study on 'Lot and Sodom' that Lot's wife was typical of this class;
she associated herself with her righteous husband and thus started to
escape the judgments on the world around her, but was eventually destroyed
with the same destruction that came upon them - as the " sinners
in Zion" probably were in Hezekiah's time (Is. 33:14).
Compare, too, how the spiritually dozy of the last days try to enter the
Kingdom on the backs of their righteous friends (Matt. 25:8).
The faith of Hezekiah's
righteous remnant was by no means as robust as it might have been.
There certainly seems to have been a hiccup in Hezekiah's own faith when
he " sent to the king of Assyria...saying, I have offended; return
from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear" (2 Kings
18:14). This suggests that the faith of the latter-day remnant
(in both natural and spiritual Israel) may be in a similar state.
" I have offended" has a definite religious connotation - 'I
have sinned'. This would fit into the scenario of the
Arab invaders saying that Israel should be subject to them for religious
reasons; any rebellion against this would then be a sin.
" Hezekiah gave
him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the
treasures of the king's house" (2 Kings 18:15) is an exact quotation
from 2 Kings 16:8, concerning Ahaz of faithless Israel doing exactly the
same. " Hezekiah cut off the gold (faith) from the doors...which
Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of
Assyria (2 Kings 18:16). The apparently needless repetition
of the name " Hezekiah" in this verse serves to show that we
are now dealing with a different spiritual man to the previous "
Hezekiah king of Judah" , typifying, as he then did, the faithful