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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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8-5 Hezekiah's Reformation

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 be unnecessary.  

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 these attacks.

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).

Fragile faith

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 remnant.