AND THE LAST DAYS
The record of the great
invasion of Judah by a huge Arab confederacy in Jehoshaphat's time, has
so many links with other Scriptures which speak of the last days, either
directly or through typology, that it is clear that this event is to be
read as a type of the final Arab defeat at the hands of Jesus and a repentant
Israel. The record in 2 Chron. 20 has undeniable links with
other 'last days' prophecies:-
(" Tekoa" = 'blowing of trumpets')
The careful student
will also pick up a number of connections with passages which relate to
the Assyrian invasion during Hezekiah's time. Jehoshaphat's
prayer for deliverance includes the imprecation " our eyes are upon
thee" (2 Chron. 20:12), which is quoted in Ps. 123:1,2 - one of the
Songs of Degrees written against the background of the Assyrian invasion,
pleading for deliverance by God. At the battle front he also
exhorted the people: " Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye
be established...so shall ye prosper" (2 Chron. 20:20). This is quoted
in Isa. 7:9 to teach that Israel should have a stable faith in God, rather
than being frightened by the Assyrian threat.
Judah " looked
unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth,
and none escaped" (2 Chron. 20:24) is the language of the Assyrian
defeat outside Jerusalem, probably in the same location as this Arab confederacy
was also destroyed. The stripping of the spoil from the dead
was also repeated in Hezekiah's time (Isa. 33:4; Mic. 4:13 cp. 2
Chron. 20:25). The returning to Jerusalem with joy and God
giving Jehoshaphat " rest round about" (2 Chron. 20:27,30) is
the language of Isaiah's prophecies of how Israel would be restored after
their Assyrian trauma, returning to Zion with joy upon their heads (Isa.
The Assyrian invasion
being the basis for that of Eze. 38 (note the many similarities between
'Gog' and Assyria), it is definitely typical of the invasion of the last
days. Therefore that of 2 Chron. 20, which alludes to it,
must be likewise interpreted.
There are a number of
other links with passages which are typical of the last days:-
2 Chron. 20
Deut. 1:29,30 (the Arab tribes
initially in Canaan and the Egyptians
= the Arab confederacy).
1 Sam. 17:47 (David and Goliath)
7:21 (Gideon and Midian)
Ex. 14:13,14 (the exodus deliverance).
The Jericho scenario.
Jud. 8:24-26 (Gideon and Midian).
:27 A.V. mg.
Jud. 11:6,9 (Jephthah as Israel's head)
- Jehoshaphat is
Similar praise after the victories over
Pharaoh and Goliath.
1 Sam. 17:46; Eze. 38:23.
The sheer number of
all these connections indicates that the invasion of 2 Chron. 20 is to
be read as a summation of passages which speak of the final invasion of
Israel. There is good reason to believe that 2 Chron. 20 typifies
the very last part of the invasion, with its crushing by Jehoshaphat/Jesus
as an immediate prelude to the establishment of the Millennium ("
rest round about" , 2 Chron. 20:30).
The invasion is set
against a background of apostate Israel having been punished by an Arab
invasion, and Judah having set about a serious spiritual revival.
Jehoshaphat set about implementing a 'back to the Bible' reformation,
enforcing a return to " law and commandment, statutes and judgments"
(2 Chron. 19:10), lest " wrath come upon you...from the Lord"
(2 Chron. 19:10,2). This is all reminiscent of Elijah's work, to
make Israel " remember the law...with the statutes and judgments...lest
I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Mal. 4:4,6).
This suggests that Jehoshaphat's revival of Judah after Israel's apostacy,
typifies the work of Elijah in the last days. As with the
judges, Jehoshaphat typifies the work of both Elijah and Christ in the
The repentance of Israel
will be brought about by their sufferings at the hand of the Arabs, according
to the typology studied so far. It follows that the invasion
we read of in 2 Chron. 20 points to a final Arab onslaught against Jerusalem
in particular, which will come after a period of Arab downtreading and
the work of an 'Elijah' prophet among them. It is almost as
if this final invasion is to test the depth of Israel's new faith and
repentance. Whether Christ will have returned before this
is purposefully ambiguous - Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem, as Hezekiah in Jerusalem,
may typify the presence of the Elijah prophet among the newly-faithful
remnant, or that of Jesus. Jehoshaphat being in the "
forefront" (Heb. 'head') of the people as they return from the spoil,
certainly echoes Christ rather than the Elijah prophet. Likewise
Israel chose Jephthah/Jesus as their 'head' after their repentance (Jud.
The many Joel allusions
in 2 Chron. 20 support this general outline. Joel 1 describes
the desolation of the land by a succession of Arab invasions, followed
by a call to repent which leads to the invading army being called off,
and then all Israel's enemies coming up again to " the valley of
Jehoshaphat" to be finally destroyed, followed immediately by the
establishment of the Millennium. The events of 2 Chron. 20
concern Jehoshaphat's destruction of the Arab invaders, showing that they
typify the final stage of Israel's redemption in the latter day "
valley of Jehoshaphat" .
" The children
of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites,
came against Jehoshaphat to battle...and Judah gathered themselves together"
(2 Chron. 20:1,4) again shows the emphasis on how the Arabs will gather
themselves together to make this final onslaught, perhaps implying that
during the desolation of Israel just prior to it by various Arab incursions,
there will be no unity of the type which will then be seen.
Time and again this 'gathering together' of Israel's enemies in order
to attack them is highlighted, clearly showing how Arab disunity can only
be solved by their concentration on capturing Jerusalem.
This 'gathering together'
is spoken of in latter-day passages - Zech. 14:2 and Rev. 16:14.
The previous Arab invasions which typify those of the future, also mention
this 'gathering together': Sisera's forces did this (Jud. 4:13),
as did those of Ammon (Jud. 10:19; 1 Chron. 19:7), the Amorites
(Jud. 11:20), the Arab powers with Assyria in Hezekiah's time (Mic. 4:11),
Gog's forces (Eze. 38:7), the Arab-Canaanite tribes (Gen. 34:30) and especially
the Philistines (Jud. 16:33; 1 Sam. 13:5,11; 17:1; 25:1;
28:1; 29:1; 2 Sam. 23:11).
This is quite some emphasis.
Thus while we can expect to see greater potential Arab unity developing
around the Israel issue and perhaps a common allegiance to charismatic
'Nebuchadnezzar' figure for a brief period, their complete meeting of
minds will not be until the final push against Jerusalem.
It is significant that
this gathering together of Israel's enemies in the incidents typical of
the last days, produced a parallel 'gathering together' of Israel in response.
They 'gathered together' in response to the threatened Philistine invasions
(1 Sam. 14:20; 17:2; 28:4), those of the Ammonites (Jud. 10:18);
1 Chron. 19:7,12), the Babylonians (Jer. 6:1) and during their deliverance
from Egyptian persecution (Ex. 4:29). Their 'gathering together'
under Jehoshaphat to fast and seek God's help (2 Chron. 20:3,4) is therefore
typical of their doing so in the last days; indeed Joel 2:15-19 prophesies
that this will happen. The implication is that a new spirit
of unity develops among the Jews as they realize their common need for
salvation. A like desperate awareness among the new Israel
would have the same happy result.
Relevant to this theme
is Mal. 4:6, which speaks of 'Elijah' reconciling the fathers to the children
among latter-day Jewry. Recall, too, how we suggested that
Deborah, arising as a " mother in Israel" typified the inculcation
of a spirit of unity and familyhood among the faithful in Israel due to
their sufferings (Jud. 5:7). Isa. 11:13,14 also speaks of
how Ephraim and Judah sink their differences before devouring their surrounding
We have shown that the
language of 'gathering together' is frequently used about the gathering
of Israel's Arab enemies against her, which will be matched by her 'gathering
together'. This will occur both within Israel, and may also
be matched by a 'second exodus' of the diaspora, being gathered together
to Israel. This could easily take place during the holocaust
period within the land, which will doubtless be associated with Jewish
pogroms world-wide. With this understanding of 'gathering',
at least three passages repay careful study:-
" In that day will
I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people (i.e. all around Israel,
as this often means): all that burden themselves with it shall be
cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together
against it" .
The Septuagint renders
the first phrase as " a stone trodden down by the Gentiles"
, clearly alluded to by Jesus in His description of Jerusalem being captured
by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). Those who are 'gathered together'
against Jerusalem must be the Arabs, according to the other uses of the
phrase outlined above. These Arab peoples will take Jerusalem,
and suffer for it (" burden themselves with it" ). The
rejected likewise will be burdened with a heavy stone (Mt. 18:6), showing
that they will share the judgments of Israel's enemies. Zech. 14:1,2 also
indicates that we must expect the Arabs to 'take' Jerusalem in some sense
during their latter-day invasions. " All the people of
the earth" who are gathered against Jerusalem referring to the Arabs,
indicates that " the earth" must be the area around Jerusalem.
Alternatively, it may be read as 'the land' - of Israel. The
'people of the land' would then refer to the Canaanite tribes who originally
lived in the land, who are the forefathers of many of the present Arab
peoples. They are called " the people of the land (earth)"
in Gen. 23:7, 12,13; Deut. 7:6; Josh 4:24. Another possibility
is that they are 'people of the land' in the sense that at the times they
gather themselves against Jerusalem they are present within the land of
This and Rev. 19:19
appear to be based upon the ideas of the 'gathering together' of Israel's
Arab enemies previously outlined, and also upon Zech. 12:3 just considered.
" The spirit of
devils...go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world,
to gather them to the battle of that great day...into a place called in
the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" . " The kings of the
earth" can be interpreted as in Zech. 12:3; " of the whole
world" may refer to the world in relation to Israel (as in Dan. 2),
or possibly to the fact that all nations literally will be incited to
attack Israel. 'Armageddon' meaning 'the valley of Megiddo',
takes us back to Zech. 12:9,11: " I will seek to destroy all the
nations that come against Jerusalem...in that day shall there be a great
mourning in Jerusalem, as...in the valley of Megiddon" .
The conclusion from
this is that although Israel have repented before their victory in the
valley of Jehoshaphat (the same area in terms of prophecy), according
to the typology of 2 Chron. 20 and other passages, their full realization
of the enormity of their sin of crucifying Jesus only comes home to them
on seeing His complete rout of their enemies. Thus their returning
to Jerusalem with joy (2 Chron. 20:27) will be preceded by, or mixed with,
tears of pent-up emotional release. The similarity of the 'gather together'
language has led us to associate the following:-
- The gathering
together of Israel's Arab enemies against her at various times
- The gathering
of the Arab nations into a valley near Jerusalem (2 Chron. 20:16, A.V.
mg.) for destruction in Hezekiah's time
- Joel's prophecy
of all nations being gathered into the " valley of Jehoshaphat"
- The gathering
together of the Arab nations into the 'valley of Megiddo' (Rev. 16:16)
to fight Israel in the last days.
It could be objected
that the valley of Megiddo is in the North of Israel whilst that of Jehoshaphat
is in the South, near Jerusalem. However, the other similarities
of language and context are so great as to suggest that they must refer
to the same place. It may be that Megiddo having been the
scene of many previous Arab battles in Israel's history, it is being used
symbolically in Rev. 16:16 rather than as a literal geographical reference.
Back in Rev. 16, the
sixth vial has described how the nations will be gathered to their place
of judgment in Armageddon. The seventh vial then records the
destruction of Babylon, who receives " the cup of the wine of the
fierceness of his wrath" in the form of huge hailstones (Rev. 16:19,21).
This equates the nations who are gathered to Armageddon with Babylon,
which we will see is primarily a symbol of the Arab powers.
The cup of the wrath of God alludes to Zech. 12:2,3, where the Arab nations
also are " gathered together" and have burdened themselves with
Jerusalem are made to drink " a cup of trembling" by reason
of doing so. The punishment with giant hailstones recalls
how Israel's Arab enemies were destroyed in the time of Joshua/Jesus (Josh.
20:11). This confirms our interpretation of 'Babylon' as having
an Arab context.
" The beast, and
the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war
against him that sat on the horse (Jesus, v. 11), and against his army"
. The connection with 2 Chron. 20 and the other references to Israel's
Arab enemies 'gathering together' invites us to see the beast as a primarily
Arab organization. If there is a detailed allusion here to
the 2 Chron. 20 scenario, Jehoshaphat (against whom the Arab kings initially
gathered together) would represent Jesus, and Jehoshaphat's army would
tally with the resurrected saints. In this case, the final
Arab onslaught will be after the return of Jesus. In passing,
note the differentiation between the leaders in this conflict and their
armies: " The kings of the earth, and their armies...him that
sat on the horse (Jesus) and against his army" .
This would suggest a
specific Arab hatred of the Lord Jesus which is separate from, although
in addition to, their antipathy towards Israel and the saints.
It may also be possible to see in the separation between " the kings
of the earth, and their armies" a certain degree of coercion, or
difference of motivation, between leaders and people. It may be that an
Arab-dominated U.N. or similar organization controlling some kind of global
army will fulfill such requirements.
Back in 2 Chron. 20
a number of other details serve to confirm the general picture presented
by other prophets:-
- The invaders
approached Jerusalem from the South (2 Chron. 20:2) - as the final push
will do in the last days?
prayed, " Rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and
in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand
thee?" (2 Chron. 20:6). The implication is that by God's
victory over the Arabs, they would be made to see the truth of this.
The language of Dan. 4:17,32 appears to look back to this in that through
his fall Nebuchadnezzar and his people of Babylon learnt the same lesson.
This is yet another connection between 'Babylon' and the Arab tribes.
- " They...come
to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit"
(2 Chron. 20:11) shows that those Arabs were using the same argument against
Israel as they do today: 'God gave us the land, not you - we are
the real seed of Abraham, so, shift!'
- " Then
upon Jahaziel...a Levite (like Elijah)...came the Spirit of the Lord"
- to give an inspired message of encouragement (2 Chron. 20:14).
The role of the word of God spoken forth by prophets or Angels to encourage
Israel in their final suffering is a repeated theme in the Judges and
other passages typical of the last days. 'Elijah' and his
school of prophets who fill this role could be:-
- we who are living just prior
to the second
- the resurrected saints
- natural Jews given the
spirit gift of
prophecy just prior to the final
of Israel's enemies (Joel
Compare this with the comments
on the two witnesses in
- " The wilderness
of Tekoa" (2 Chron. 20:20) means 'blowing of trumpets' - associated
with the rallying of natural Israel, and also the resurrection and judgment
of the saints. This could be another hint that the final Arab
invasion occurs after Christ's return. The feast of Trumpets may be the
time for some significant event in the last days (see Chapter 12).
- The Arab invaders
massacred each other: " every one helped to destroy another"
(2 Chron. 20:23). This seems to have been sparked by their
ambushing the wrong group: " The Lord set ambushments (amazingly,
the Hebrew word for this is 'arab'!) against the children of Ammon, Moab,
and Mount Seir" (2 Chron. 20:22). Truly, Arabs against
Arabs! This is a theme in the latter-days passages: Zech.
14:13; Jud. 7:22; 1 Sam. 14:22. Whilst such confusion
is easily possible given modern high-technology warfare, it would seem
more likely that a few initial mistakes of this sort could open up old
rivalries which are then fought out to the death. Indeed,
we could sensibly look for even more rifts to occur between the Arabs,
e.g. over oil.
It would appear that
they pick on one particular group of Arabs first: " when
they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy
another" (2 Chron. 20:23). The prophecy of Seir's destruction
in Eze. 35 should be read as being executed by fellow Arabs.
The prediction of the
Philistines' destruction by Babylon in Jer. 47 may also have its latter-day
fulfilment at this time. Amos chs. 1 and 2 describe how apostate
Israel and six Arab nations will meet their end by fire. This
complete (seven-fold) destruction points forward to the last days, when
apostate Israel will share the punishment of the Arabs. The
emphasis on fire is understandable if the Arabs unleash their missiles
on each other.
- " They
were three days in gathering of the spoil" (2 Chron. 20:25) inevitably
suggests our Lord's three days in the grave in order to provide 'spoil'
of spiritual riches for the people of God. This is one of
many examples of Christ's victory over the political manifestation of
sin in the last days, being described in terms which are reminiscent of
His conquest of sin through His sacrifice.