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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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8-4 The Assyrian Invasion As A Type

Money for time

" And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord...and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria" (2 Kings 16:8).   This might correspond with Israel offering oil exploration rights within her land (where there is oil - Deut. 33:24), or allowing oil or water pipelines to be built to the Mediterranean across her land.   However, Is. 10:13 indicates that the Assyrians " robbed their treasures (a word usually used about the temple treasures)...(their) hand hath found as a nest (" the house of the Lord") the riches of the one gathereth eggs that are left" after the previous Assyrian demands for money (2 Kings 15:19,20).

Thus the Assyrians clearly showed that it was their long-term intention to destroy Israel without mercy.   The Jews must have realized this, but short of a whole-hearted repentance their only alternative was to trade what meagre wealth they had left for time, in delaying the massive Assyrian onslaught which was clearly inevitable.  

At the time of the end Israel will be in a like predicament.  2 Kings 17 goes on to relate how Israel were invaded and carried away when this great Assyrian invasion came, and then 2 Kings 18 jumps ahead to the next Assyrian invasion, this time of Judah.   It was this which was ultimately unsuccessful in taking Jerusalem, and was dramatically ended by God's direct Angelic intervention, clearly typifying the work of Christ through His second coming.   Thus at least four waves of Assyrian invasions are recorded:-

- under Menahem (2 Kings 15:19) - bought off

- under Pekah (2 Kings 15:29) - northern Israel affected

- under Hoshea (2 Kings 17:3) - Israel carried captive

- under Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:9) - took fenced cities of Judah. 

The typology of Assyria alone therefore indicates that it is surely over-simplistic to think of the invasion of Israel in the last days as being just one major attack which is crushed by Christ.   The Babylonian and Roman invasions having similar sequences teach the same thing.

Israel and Judah

The juxtaposition of 2 Kings 17 and 18 concerning the destruction of Israel by Assyria, followed by their failure against Judah, implies that the ten tribes typify unfaithful Israel in the last days who refuse to be spiritually reformed during the period of Arab downtreading, while 'Judah' represent those Jews who make at least some effort to show faith in God, or who somehow associate themselves with this group.

Whilst in this book, and in many cases Biblically, 'Israel' is used in general terms to describe God's people, it is possible to see in some latter-day passages a conscious differentiation between the usage of the terms 'Israel' and 'Judah' along the lines suggested.   This does not mean that all those in Judah at Hezekiah's time and at the time of the Assyrian invasion were members of the faithful 'remnant' category.   Is. 33:14 speaks of the " sinners in Zion" during the Assyrian siege, implying that they were punished with the same " devouring fire" which the Assyrian host were consumed by (2 Kings 19:35 cp. Ps. 104:4).

This may suggest that there are two categories of unworthy in latter-day Israel - those who are destroyed or 'carried captive' by the Syrian and Assyrian invasions, and those who take refuge in Jerusalem as figurative 'Judah', although lacking a true faith.   These will be destroyed along with the 'Assyrian' Arab confederacy, perhaps in the same valley of judgment.   Thus Is. 33:14 calls these Jews 'hypocrites', seeing they are pretending to have faith.   Zech. 14:2 speaks of half those in Jerusalem ('Judah') as going into captivity - i.e. suffering the fate of 'Israel'.

The period of the Syrian raids would have brought more suffering to Judah than Israel, seeing the ten tribes were confederate with Syria (Is. 7:2).   However, the Assyrian invasions were initially directed against Israel rather than Judah, so both had their share of suffering, as well as the awareness that soon they must be in line for a full blooded Assyrian onslaught.   In the run up to this was a period of unparalleled prophetic activity in both Judah and Israel:  " The Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers" (2 Kings 17:13).   Isaiah, Micah, Joel, Amos and Hosea were all within this period, and at least Isaiah had a school of prophets (Is. 8:16,18).

There will be a similar intense appeal to Israel, either through the preaching of the old prophets' message to Israel, or through spirit-gifted prophets of the 'Elijah' ministry, speaking inspired messages provoking repentance. As a result of Israel’s sufferings at the hand of the latter day Assyrian, her teachers [perhaps an intensive plural, indicating her great teacher, i.e. Jesus] shall not be hidden from her any more (Is. 30:21 RV). The veil will be taken from their eyes through their experience of tribulation.

The Isaiah type

It must be significant that Isaiah, the paramount prophet of this period (Is. 1:1) is a confirmed type of Christ, and his school of prophets typical of the saints.   " I (Isaiah) and the children (prophets - Is. 8:16) whom the Lord hath given me" (Is. 8:18) is quoted in Heb. 2:13 as referring to Christ and His brethren.   These " children...are for signs and for wonders in Israel" (Is. 8:18), suggesting that in addition to speaking forth the word of God after Christ's return, they perform miraculous signs and wonders with the Spirit gifts to validate their message, after the pattern of Joel 2:28-32, which may well have had a primary fulfilment in the times of Hezekiah and the Assyrian invasion.   Elijah and Elisha's schools of prophets seem to have had similar powers.

Other instances of Isaiah being a type of Christ can be found by comparing Is. 6:10 with John 12:39-41 and by appreciating that " The spirit of the Lord God is upon preach good comfort all that mourn" (e.g. Hezekiah) is primarily concerning Isaiah's message of hope to Israel during the Assyrian invasions, although it is quoted concerning Jesus (Is. 61:1,2 cp. Luke 4:18).

The important role of Isaiah and his associated prophets in bringing Judah to an acceptable level of faith in God during their Arab downtreading prior to the final invasion, must be typically significant in a latter-day context.   It may be that they represent the Elijah ministry, or that the " sons of the prophets" refer to the believers,  indicating that it will be us who go forth to preach to Israel during their holocaust.  This possibility is investigated further in Section 2.   Isaiah being a type of Christ, it may be that Christ will be back on earth, even in the land physically, pleading with Israel during their tribulation.   However, this is too large a conclusion to safely rest on just this one piece of typology.

" The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea:  for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year" (2 Kings 17:4).   This regular paying of tribute was a feature of Israel's domination by the Philistines (Jud. 3:15), which we earlier demonstrated was typical of the future period of Arab domination of Israel.   Hoshea's failure to get out of giving tribute contrasts with Hezekiah being ultimately successful in doing so (2 Kings 18:7), perhaps indicating that the faithful remnant in latter-day Israel refuse to be dominated by the Arabs in terms of commercial monopoly as well as religion, although these two things will probably be related as they were under the ancient Assyrian domination.

" Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years" (2 Kings 17:5).   The emphasis on him going throughout all the land rather than just 'to Samaria', may imply a conscious effort to destroy the land physically, which we have seen was a major theme of many Arab invasions.   This three-year period of domination rings bells with the three and a half years of the (latter-day?) Elijah ministry, and the same period spoken of in the 1,260 days, the 42 months and " a time, times, and an half" (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2,3;  12:6).   The subsequent colonization of the land after Israel's defeat by the neighbouring Arabs may be briefly repeated in the last days (2 Kings 17:24).   The terrible living conditions and lack of fertile land to support ever large populations in many Arab countries, makes such a suggestion feasible.   These Arab settlers were eventually taught the fear of Yahweh (2 Kings 17:28), as those also will be in the Kingdom who survive the final carnage in Israel.