Archive for September, 2013

Isaiah 10:5-7 Assyrian Empire and Modern Day Geography

Posted in Isaiah, Mosul/Nineveh, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 10:5-7 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend, nor does it plan so in its heart, but rather it is its purpose to destroy and to cut off many nations.

Nimrod founded Nineveh as noted in Genesis 8:10-12. Assyria lay along the middle Tigris between the Kurdish Taurus Mountains and Jebel Hamrin and formed an area about the size of the state of Connecticut (modern day northern Iraq; Iraq, Turkey, and Iran mountainous borders). On the west bank of the Tigris lay a single plain, while on the east bank the country was divided into three sections: the area between the mountains and the Great Zab River, the sector between the Great and Lesser Zab rivers, and the region between the Lesser Zab and the mountain Jebel Hamrin (modern day Kirkuk Oil Field in Iraq).

The land is fertile and undulating and has enough rainfall to support dry farming. Assyria had abundant supplies of limestone and alabaster and some marble. This region of real estate was recently in the news with the Civil War taking place in Syria (September 2013). A major oil and gas pipeline runs from the Kirkuk Oil Field north to the border of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Once in Turkey, the pipeline runs to the west before stopping in the Mediterranean Sea where oil and gas are exported primarily to Europe. The security of this pipeline is constantly being challenged by multiple groups.

The major cities were Asshur (son of Shem and Hebrew people, Genesis 10:22, modern day between Mosul and Bagdhad, Iraq) on the west bank of the Tigris and Lesser Zab River; and Nineveh (modern day Mosul, Iraq), and Calah to the southeast on the Tigris a few miles from Nineveh.

The height of power of the Assyrian Empire was during the seventh century BC. The Assyrians built an empire that stretched from Egypt on the southwest to Persia (modern day Iran) on the east and from the Persian Gulf on the southeast to Anatolia (modern day Turkey) on the north.

Resources: New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Holman QuickSource Bible Atlas, Holman QuickSource Bible Dictionary,

Assyria had specific directions from God. Go get Israel. But that was not enough. Assyria wanted more. Their attitude and plans were the conquest of multiple nations. Assyria’s punishment crossed the line and exceeded the expectation God had set. If Assyria would have followed directions and stuck to Israel, Assyria would have avoided judgment themselves. With their actions, Assyria is as good as dead.

Isaiah 10:3-4 No Place to Run, No Place to Hide

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , on September 21, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 10:3-4 Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives or fall among the slain. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.

The day of punishment is a day of visitation. The Hebrew word for punishment is paquddah.

The visitation will come from afar or a distant country in the original Hebrew.

There is no place to run or hide. There will be nobody to help. Israel will be isolated as a nation.

There will be no place to store or hide their assets. As a reminder, these assets were gained illegally by Israel’s leaders. The wealth was acquired by theft. Assyria is on the verge of stealing these possessions from Israel’s leaders.

The devastation is complete. The only place to hide is among the dead or hide with the prisoners. The verse foreshadows Israel going into captivity.

The phrase His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out is noted for the fourth time in Isaiah 10. The fourth judgment is coming at the hands of Assyria. The series of judgments will come to a close when completed.

The next verse identifies who the instrument of God’s judgment will be. This prophecy was fulfilled with the Assyrian captivity.

Isaiah 10:1-2 Corruption in Government, Woe

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 10:1-2: Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans.

It is not a good day if God proclaims “Woe” in your direction. Woe can be translated many ways. Woe can mean: dead, as good as dead, poor, those doomed, judged, sure to be judged, danger awaits, grave danger, or sinful. These two verses are God’s reminders to Israel of their guilty charges. Translation, the legal system is in trouble.

The Hebrew grammar describes legislators who write laws for their benefit. Laws could be understood as troublesome or wicked. These laws were crafted and written in a corrupt manner over and over. This was taking place in Isaiah’s day. As you can see, American legislation has not changed or evolved to a higher standard in the early 21st Century. God did not approve of legislative corruption in the past and He does not approve of it now. His character does not change.

The judges are simply stated as “trouble”. They rob the poor, low, afflicted, wretched, and the weak of justice.

The legal system takes advantage of the weakest in society: widows and orphans. Culturally, God calls on the people to take care of orphans and widows. Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.


Isaiah 9:19-20 Cannibalism and Civil War

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , on September 8, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:20-21 They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; each of them eats the flesh of his own arm. Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they are against Judah. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.

Scholars debate whether verse 20 is figurative or literal language in regards to the topic of cannibalism. The point (whether figurative or literal) being made is that people are hungry and food is scarce.

The Hebrew word for eat is ‘akal. It is the verb used for the consumption of humans. The context of the verse is humans.

There are other verses in the Bible where cannibalism is discussed and it is literally humans eating other humans. In some cases, it is a judgment proclaimed by God. In other cases, people are acting independently out of hunger.

Leviticus 26:29 is a series of judgments being proclaimed by God for disobedience to His commandments. ‘Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.

In 2 Kings 6:28-29 hunger and famine were in Samaria due to military conquest. And the king said to her, “What is the matter with you?” And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow, so we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” 

Draw your own conclusions, literal or figurative cannibalism.

Ephraim and Manasseh were members of the northern kingdom. They were fighting against each other. There was civil war in the northern kingdom. But they did manage to get together to fight Judah. Judah is the region in the south of Israel. It is the southern kingdom. There was civil war throughout all of Israel.

The phrase His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out is noted for the third time in Isaiah 9. The third judgment has been completed. Israel still has one more remaining judgment before completion.

Isaiah 9:18-19 Humanity Impacts the Environment

Posted in Egypt/Nile River, Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:18-19 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briars and thorns; it even sets the thickets of the forest aflame and they roll upward in a column of smoke. By the fury of the LORD of hosts the land is burned up, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no man spares his brother.

Isaiah uses idiomatic language to describe wickedness. The wickedness can be in civil relations, moral, ethical, and religious connotations. The people’s wickedness is like a destructive fire. A fire burns vegetation and wood.

As God sees it, the people’s actions are like a fire. God’s judgment in return is a fire. So the logic goes, the people’s actions (wickedness) result in a consuming fire of the land. In the idiomatic language, briars, thorns, and woods are the fuel. In reality, the people become the fuel in their judgment.

God’s word says that people’s actions can affect the environment. I realize in today’s “scientific” world that seems pretty far-fetched in some circles. This concept leaves the “global warming community” and the “environmental left” in a tight spot. These two groups would agree that man has negatively impacted the environment. This position would also be in agreement with God. This does not mean these left leaning organizations are in agreement with the Bible. If you read their beliefs, they are not consistent with God’s precepts.

The greatest environmental disaster of all time was due to man’s actions and sins. That disaster was the flood in Genesis.  Genesis 6:13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

Genesis 7:4 “For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” The wickedness of humanity resulted in forty days and forty nights of rain. Incidentally, this is the first time in history it rained according to the Bible. Genesis 7:4 is the first mention of rain being caused. Genesis 2:5 indicates that God had not sent rain on the earth. Genesis 2:6 indicates there was a mist from the ground that watered the surface of the earth. God originally used His own misting sprinkler system to water plant life.

Man’s actions have impacted the environment in the past and in today’s world. Man’s actions and wickedness will impact the environment in the future Tribulation. Revelation 8:7 talks of hail and fire. Revelation 16:21 talks of the plague of hail.  The sun is progressively impacted until there is darkness in Joel 2:10, 3:15, and Revelation 16:10.

Matthew 24:37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.