8-7 Assyria And Daniel 11
Isaiah was able to give
explicit assurance concerning their survival against Assyria.
He accurately foretold how the Assyrian army would begin to retreat due
to rumours of other neighbouring Arab armies threatening his own security:
" I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall
return to his own land" (2 Kings 19:7). Thus at the very
time of Assyria's destruction by God, her previous allies turned against
her, exemplifying how Arab in-fighting will be one of the means which
God will use to finally destroy them (Zech. 14:13, etc.).
" A blast"
(Heb. 'ruach', a spirit/angel?) being sent upon Sennacherib is the same
term used about Pharaoh's destruction (Ex. 15:8) and that of Babylon (Jer.
51:1), both of which are typical of the final Arab defeat.
Babylon also hears 'rumours' at the time of her destruction (Jer. 51:46).
It is to these 'rumours' of Arab wars which Christ may allude in Matt.
24:6, speaking of " rumours of wars" in the very last days.
The smaller Arab nations associated with Babylon/Assyria also hear
" tidings" (same word as " rumour" ) in Jer. 49:23,
showing that they meet the same judgment as 'Assyria' to some extent.
The same word is also
translated " tidings" in Dan. 11:44. Close analysis
of Dan. 11:40-44 reveals that it is couched in terms of the Eze. 38 invasion,
which is based upon that of Assyria. However, it is also full
of direct allusions to the Assyrian invasion:-
" The king of the
north" (Dan. 11:40) - Assyria (cp. Zeph.2:13).
" Shall come against
him like a whirlwind" (Dan. 11:40), as God will against the Arabs
in response to this (Zech. 9:14; Is. 28:2). God comes
up " like a storm...a cloud to cover the land" in a similar
way (Eze. 38:9). A whirlwind attacks from all sides.
The combined typology of the previous Arab invasions has shown them coming
from all points of the compass. The final combined 'Assyrian'
invasion will also have this feature, as it did in Hezekiah's time.
" With chariots,
and with horsemen" (Dan. 11:40), for which the Assyrians were famous,
and Gog likewise (Eze. 38:4).
" He shall enter
into the countries" (Dan. 11:40) as Assyria did en route to Israel,
" And shall overflow and pass over" (Dan. 11:40), as Assyria
under Sennacherib (Is. 8:8; 43:2) and Babylon (Jer. 47:2) are said to
have done. The Hebrew root for " overflow" means
" to cleanse" , occurring in Eze. 16:19 concerning God 'thoroughly
washing away' Israel's sins in the last days, as a result of their Arab
tribulations. Thus the 'Assyrian'/Arab 'overflowing' of the
land in the last days will result in Israel's spiritual cleansing.
" The consumption decreed (the Arab/Babylonian invasion) shall overflow
in righteousness" (Is. 10:22). " He shall enter
also into the land of delight" (Dan 11:41 A.V. mg.).
At the time of Sennacherib's destruction, God termed the land 'delight'
This could indicate
that this invasion comes after the return of Christ and the establishment
of the Kingdom. The ambiguity is because of the 'variable'
timing of Christ's return, seeing this is related to Israel's spiritual
reformation - at least it appears this is how God wishes us to see it.
" Many countries
shall be overthrown" (Dan. 11:41). 2 Kings 18:34 lists
these countries in the Sennacherib context. This confirms
that there will be inter-Arab conflict immediately prior to the final
'Assyrian' attack on Israel.
" But these shall
escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief ('rosh')
of the children of Ammon (Dan. 11:41). These areas were not
meddled with by Sennacherib. There is a triple emphasis on
how the other nations fell into his " hand" in 2 Kings 18:33-35.
" He shall stretch
forth his hand also upon the countries, continues this " hand"
connection, " and the land of Egypt shall not escape" (Dan.
11:42). There is a possible allusion here to Moses stretching
out his hand upon Egypt (Ex. 9:15), which would show that the latter-day
" king of the North" will claim that he has received Divine
guidance to judge Israel. Assyria's invasion of Egypt was
associated with that of Israel, further demonstrating that Dan. 11:40-43
was Sennacherib's battle plan.
" He shall have
power (the Hebrew signifies political power) over the treasures of gold
and silver" (Dan. 11:43). This is the Assyrian extraction
of gold and silver from Hezekiah's Israel (and other countries?) by their
political bullying (2 Kings 16:8; 18:15,16).
" The Libyans and
the Ethiopians shall be at his steps" (Dan. 11:43) may appear to
contradict Ethiopia suddenly becoming opposed to Assyria during the final
attack on Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:9). This can be reconciled
by realizing that Dan. 11 speaks of two phases in this final invasion.
Ethiopia is with Assyria during the blitzkrieg towards and through Israel,
but is not necessarily with her in the final 'going forth with great fury'
against Jerusalem (Dan. 11:44).
There were these same
two phases in the Assyrian prototype - the " great fury" of
the king of the north is modelled upon Sennacherib's rage of 2 Kings 19:27,28.
The fact that Ethiopia is described as being with Gog in the Ezek. 38
invasion may be an indication that this prophecy is not concerning the
final push on Jerusalem, but rather the Assyrian/Arab pillaging of the
land for " a spoil and a prey...cattle and goods" (Eze. 38:12)
after the pattern of the Arab raiders in the Judges period.
Ethiopia being mentioned
in tandem with Libya in both Eze. 38:5 and Dan. 11:43 could suggest that
the North African Arabs break ranks with those of 'Assyria' during the
attack on Jerusalem, as evidently occurred in Hezekiah's time (2 Kings
19:9). At the very moment, the Angel slew the Arab invaders
(2 Kings 19:35), typifying how God's destruction of the latter-day Arabs
will be partly by their turning against each other (Zech. 14:13 etc.).
Someone hitting the wrong button could so easily spark this off.
Is. 20:4-6 records how
Assyria was at war with Egypt and Ethiopia some years before Sennacherib's
invasion; it is not surprising that even though those nations initially
support Assyria's invasion of Israel (Dan. 11:43), they will easily turn
against them. Thus major Arab wars should not lead us to think
that the invasion of Israel is far off.
The rampant spread of
Islam in black Africa may mean that African Moslem troops will be among
'Libya and Ethiopia' mentioned in these latter-day prophecies.
In this case racial tensions would never be far below the surface, and
could easily rise during the confused house-to-house fighting for Jerusalem,
which we earlier reasoned the Arab forces will have to engage in.
According to the prototype,
Ethiopia will turn against Assyria specifically. This may
be part of the process whereby the horns " hate the whore" of
Babylon/Assyria during the final stage of their persecution of God's people
(Rev. 17:16 cp. Hab 2:8). Nah 3:9 points out that the real
strength of Assyria against Israel was on account of the support she received
from the smaller Arab powers. Similarly no one Arab nation
presently has any likelihood of dominating the Middle East in terms of
military power. Iran and Iraq (geographical 'Assyria') will
need the assistance of the other Arab nations to realistically invade
out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him" (Dan. 11:44)
uses the same word translated " rumour" in 2 Kings 19:7, concerning
the 'rumour' Sennacherib heard of his Ethiopian allies turning against
him. These 'tidings' can be interpreted in a last-days context
as referring to news reaching 'Assyria' of her smaller Arab allies turning
against her - the horns hating the whore (Rev. 17:16). "
Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to
make away many" (Dan. 11:44) is a commentary on Sennacherib's rage
(2 Kings 19:27,28). Rabshakeh boasted immediately after the
receipt of the " rumour" that Assyria would 'utterly destroy'
Israel still (2 Kings 19:11). This is matched by " to
destroy, and utterly to make away" in Dan. 11:44.
The fury of Assyria against Jerusalem because of their recognition that
they only had limited time to destroy it before having to turn their attention
against the Arab rebels is the basis of the Arab beast of the last days
going forth against God's people with " great wrath, because he knoweth
that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:12,17).
" He shall plant
the tabernacles of his palace...in the glorious holy mountain" of
Zion (Dan. 11:45) is the language of Is. 14:13,14 concerning both Sennacherib
and Nebuchadnezzar desiring to take Jerusalem. Thus Dan. 11:45
is saying that the latter-day Assyria/Babylon will do this, seeing that
Jerusalem will be taken by their final invasion (Zech. 14:2).
Dan. 12:1 says that it is at this time of the latter-day Assyrian/"
king of the north" being in Jerusalem, that Israel will suffer "
a time of trouble such as never was" , out of which the righteous
remnant will be delivered (" every one that shall be found written
in the book" ) by God's intervention, which will be associated with
the resurrection (Dan. 12:2).
The structure of this
aspect of the prophecy appears to be purposefully ambiguous as to whether
this salvation of the remnant out of Arab-occupied Jerusalem will be due
to Christ's return and resurrection of the dead, or due to Christ's intervention,
having already returned to earth. The exact timing of Christ's
coming appears impossible to dogmatically slot into the sequence of events
which the latter-day prophecies present.