Isaiah

Chapter 36

"Historical Events and Prophecies: King of Assyria,

Rabshakeh (the first embassy), Reception of Message."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org

Isaiah 36 takes a look at history as it relates to us living in this final generation. We will see also prophecy that has already been given and as shall come to pass in our generation. The lesson that we are to learn for this small segment of history is that if the first lesson of history came to pass exactly as God foretold, then the prophecy dealing with the end times shall also be fulfilled just exactly as it is written.

Isaiah 36:1 "Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them."

To those living in Isaiah's time this is prophecy that was fulfilled about 603 B.C. The detailed story of the events spoken of here is recorded in II Kings 18:13-20:19. This record of history is proof of Isaiah's prophetic mission and gifts. History and Prophecy are thus combined: for we are given prophecy that shall occur at two different times so that when the prophecy came true in the first case, you can count on it being fulfilled in the latter time also. Each of these accounts are independent of each other.

Remember that the House of Israel, the ten tribes to the north with their capital city Samaria, had been taken by Shalmaneser in the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign. Those ten tribes had been removed from their land to another area in northern Iraq. The house of Judah thus had to stand alone with her "defenced cities", those cities that were walled with armed guards on the wall.

Reference: II Kings 18:9-11 "And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes...."

Sennacherib's Assyrian army has moved against those defensed cities, and took them, and is here standing at the walls of Jerusalem. According to "Sennacherib's hexagonal cylinder in the British Museum", there were forty-six of these walled cities that fell to this Assyrian army before they arrived at the walls of Jerusalem.

Reference: II Kings 18:13 "Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them."

Isaiah 36:2 "And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to the king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field."

"Rabshakeh" means "chief cup bearer", which meant chief officer, and servant, and in all probability (as we will learn) able to speak in three languages. Rabshakeh stood right were Isaiah gave this prophecy, with this great Assyrian army standing behind him.

Rabshakeh - 7262 Rabshaqeh (rab-shaw-kay'); from 7227 and 8248; chief butler; Rabshakeh, a Bab. official: KJV-- Rabshakeh. A chief cupbearer, a chief of the officers?

In this chapter we will see king Hezekiah send 3 men to confer with Sennacherib's forces, they are:

Eliakim ("God is setting up") - A son of Hilkiah (who was a high priest) and an overseer of the household of king Hezekiah of Judah.  

Shebna ("vigor") - the scribe (equivalent to secretary of state for king Hezekiah of Judah)

Joah ("Yehovah is brother") - A son of Asaph (one of the three families given responsibility for music and song in the temple), the recorder (who's job it was to recount the event, to make a memorial, to keep in remembrance)

Isaiah 36:3 "Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder."

As Rabshakeh is standing before the gates of Jerusalem, these three officials of Jerusalem came out to meet him. The son of the Mayor, the recorded the events, and the census taker came out of the gate to see what Rabshakeh had to say.

Isaiah 36:4 "And Rabshakeh said unto them, "Say ye now to Hezekiah, 'Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, 'What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?"

After the other fortified cities had fallen to the Assyrians, Rabshakeh is asking king Hezekiah on behalf of king Sennacherib, just what are you basing your confidence in that you can resist my army? Bear in mind that Judah has gone down to Egypt and made agreements with Egypt for their protection against the Assyrians. However the Assyrians knew that the agreement was worthless, because the Pharaoh cared for no one but himself. Sennacherib knew that whatever arms were promised by Pharaoh would not be given when the chips were down.

The only One that Hezekiah should have been leaning on should have been God.

Isaiah 36:5 "I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) `I have counsel and strength for war': now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?"

Rabshakeh is reminding king Hezekiah that those agreements that were given to him were nothing but empty words. He is saying, take a look out the gate and see the mighty army that I have with me, and just who do you think will support you at this time?

Isaiah 36:6 "Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him."

The one sure thing about a broken reed is that once it has been broken, it shall never stand again. That is what Rabshakeh is comparing the Egyptian forces to. Once the reed is broken and you lean on the stub that is left, the only thing that will happen is that it will cut right into your skin. Sennacherib knew exactly who the House of Judah trusted in, for they had sent spies into the land, and he was prepared to go against Egypt and the Pharaoh. Sennacherib knew the prophecies that Isaiah had given in reference to the Assyrian.

Isaiah 36:7 "But if thou say to me, `We trust in the Lord our God': is it not He, Whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'Ye shall worship before the altar' ?"

Now even Sennacherib knew the power of the Lord our God, and he also knew that Hezekiah had stripped Jerusalem from the altars of God, and had turned to other gods. How in the world would God protect them when they have turned their backs to Him? Remember also that it was God that revealed this to Sennacherib, and sent the Assyrians against the House of Judah in the first place. The message was given by Isaiah himself. It is because of their neglect of God and His ways that the Assyrians are now at their doorstep.

Isaiah 36:8 "Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them."

Keep in mind that this is the Assyrian king speaking through the interpreter Rabshakeh. This is said in irony, and Sennacherib is jesting with them. In this joking with them, the Assyrians are saying that if you want to do battle with us, and have two thousand men that can even mount a horse, I will provide the horses for them to ride against us. I just don't think that you even have two thousand men with the courage to charge us. Sennacherib is very sure of himself because the reports that come back from the spies assured him that it was impossible to get the men with that kind of courage.

Isaiah 36:9 "How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?"

Sennacherib is asking king Hezekiah, how could you be so stupid as to put your trust in Egypt and their chariots, when you knew the strength of my horsemen?

Isaiah 36:10 "And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it?' the Lord said unto me, `Go up against this land, and destroy it.' "

This is the Assyrian speaking to Hezekiah and telling him exactly who has sent him to march his armies against the house of Judah and Jerusalem. It is the very God of Israel that gave the order to the Assyrians to march against Jerusalem. It is God that said, "Go up against this land and destroy it." Lord, as given here in the Hebrew manuscripts is all in the upper case, it is YHVH that has given the order. This is the God of Israel, and not the Assyrian gods that is bringing this curse upon Judah.

Remember from Isaiah 10 that it should be no secret that God told the Assyrian to go and do this thing. Let's go back and see exactly when God made this prophecy through Isaiah. This prophecy was spoken some thirty years before Rabshakeh stood at the gate, and made these statements.

Isaiah 10:5 "O, Assyrian! the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation."

God is saying that He is going to use the Assyrians as His punishing stick for the correction of His displeasure, and anger at their [the House of Judah's] idolatry.

rod - 7626 shebet (shay'-bet);from an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, i.e. (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan:KJV-- X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

the staff - 4294 matteh (mat-teh');or (feminine) mattah (mat-taw'); from 5186; a branch (as extending); figuratively, a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (figuratively, correction), ruling (a sceptre), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; figuratively, a support of life, e. g. bread): KJV-- rod, staff, tribe.

Isaiah 10:6 "I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the People of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets."

This was a prophecy given by God through Isaiah, after the house of Judah had turned their backs on Him, and turned to heathen gods of all sorts.

Isaiah 10:7 "Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few."

It is the Assyrian that will do the cutting off, with God's power behind him.

Isaiah 10:8 "For he saith, "Are not my prices altogether kings?"

This is saying that God is the one that brought the Assyrians against Jerusalem. We know from Isaiah 14 that this Assyrian was a type of what Satan would be like when he comes in the role of the Antichrist. What happened in the first case against Hezekiah is only a type of how it shall be when Satan brings his army of fallen angels against God's people at the end of this earth age.

Friend, just as Sennacherib knew what his mission was, and by whom it was given; so also Satan [the Assyrian] knows exactly what he can do, and to whom he can do it to. It is no accident that Satan will have the supernatural powers that he comes with, and God will allow him to deceive all the people on the face of this earth. Satan knows the scripture, just as Sennacherib knew the prophecies of Isaiah, and what Hezekiah had done.

Isaiah 10:9 "Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?

Isaiah 10:10 "As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;"

Isaiah 10:11 "Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?"

This is exactly why God allow this to happen to His people. Because they had fallen into such a state of idolatry, of graven images, and the worship and mixing with heathen gods, that God turned His back on them. They had turned to all the other filth of religious practices and traditions for their salvation, rather then the Word of the Living God.

This is exactly what is happening today. God's people are turning to false doctrines, and fly-away theories for their salvation, rather then taking the Word of God into their minds to prepare them for the deceptions of the false messiah that is coming first, before the True Christ. They think that the first taken from the field is taken to heaven, however they are wrong. The first taken from the field are taken as the harlot that shall give service to the false christ.

This is the same thing that happened in Hezekiah's day, they put their hope in everything except what God had said through the prophets. So God ordered the Assyrians to go and make war with them. He has also ordered Satan to come to this earth and do what he shall do, and every event that he shall do is recorded in God's Word. Those that have put their trust in God are going to be prepared and not taken by him.

When Satan comes he does not come war-like, but offering peace and prosperity to all that will trust him. Daniel 8:24; "And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the might and the holy People."

Satan will come teaching and preaching all the way to Jerusalem, saying "I am the Messiah;" and most Christians will believe him. This will certainly be before you have gathered back to Christ at the seventh trumpet, as Paul taught in II Thessalonians 2:3.

II Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,"

Paul is warning you to not be deceived when Satan, the "man of sin", also called "the son of perdition" comes to earth first, before Jesus Christ's return.

II Thessalonians 2:4 "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."

God ordered our enemy to attack his people when they turned their backs on Him. They were bold in their actions, and what they could claimed because they knew that our Heavenly Father would allow it to happen.

Isaiah 36:11 "Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, "Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall."

These three servants of the city of Jerusalem could speak in the Assyrian tongue, and they knew also the prophecies of Isaiah. They knew that Rabshakeh was speaking the truth, only they did not want the men on the wall to understand what Rabshakeh was saying. These three men knew that God had turned on them, only they did not want the soldiers of Hezekiah to know that, for then there would be real trouble. It would have taken away their will to fight.

Isaiah 36:12 "But Rabshakeh said, "Hath my master sent me to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?"

The whole question that Rabshakeh is asking is obvious. Rabshakeh had been sent to Jerusalem to speak these words, and that those words were to be understood by everyone. Rabshakeh is reminding these three scribes of Jerusalem that he and the Assyrian army is in a position that they can starve every man on the wall to where they would eat their own dung and drink their own urine, and you want this to be kept from them?

God is warning us of today to watch out for our leaders, both religious and political as they place a mask over our faces to disguise what they are doing to us. How they are trying to play games with the enemies of God, and lead you into the same position that these men on the wall are in. You talk about a bunch of hypocrites; who is the enemy, those that led them into the trap knowingly, or the ones doing the slaughter?

Isaiah 36:13 "Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, "Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.' "

The word "Jews" in the Hebrew manuscripts is "Yehuwdiy, yeh-hoo-dee'; Judaite, of the tribe of Judah." That language is Hebrew. Rabshakeh turned to the men on the wall and shouted out the words from king Sennacherib, so there would be no misunderstanding by these Hebrew men.

Isaiah 36:14 "Thus saith the king, 'Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you."

Rabshakeh reminded them that he is present with this massive army, and there is no way that Hezekiah can deceive you any longer. Again this is a type of the false messiah and his angelic army that is cast out onto the earth with him.

Isaiah 36:15 "Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, 'The Lord will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.' "

Rabshakeh knew that God had already delivered the city into his hand, because their own prophet Isaiah had prophesied as such. Now he is telling these soldiers not to allow their king to deceive them any longer.

Isaiah 36:16 "Hearken not to Hezekiah': for thus saith the king of Assyria, 'Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;"

Friend, this is the exact type of message that the Antichrist, who is Satan will make to you and all that is here on the earth when he comes appearing to be Jesus. This fake Christ is going to promise a blessing to each household. This is why he will come in prosperously and peacefully, promising what ever it takes to win you over to him.

Isaiah 36:17 "Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards."

Rabshakeh is promising to the men on the wall that he will satisfy every one of their needs, if they will just throw down their arms and come out to this army, All they have to do is submit themselves completely to the Assyrians, and become part of that kingdom.

Remember from Isaiah 35 the kind of land and blessings that God said He would give to you if you remained true to Him. The deserts would flow with clean pure water, and even the deserts would bear much fruit. Are you going to listen to what the Assyrian of our day says when he arrives with all his promises? Are you willing to sell out an eternity for five months of empty promises?

God told us in Isaiah 14 who this Assyrian is, he is the false Christ that comes at the end of this age. God told us how Satan would even be cast into the pit during the thousand year Millennium age. People will then look upon him and say, "is this the one that deceived the whole world"?

Friend, this is not only going to be a promise, because God will allow him and his one world system to bring peace on the whole earth. However the spirit that does cause this to happen is an "abomination" to God and to the whole earth. This is what is called the "abomination of desolation" by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, and Satan is the "desolator" that shall cause it.

Isaiah 36:18 "Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, 'The Lord will deliver us.' Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?"

At this time Assyria was an world empire, and every land on the face of the earth had fallen to Sennacherib. Rabshakeh is bringing some of these nations and their gods to mind.

Isaiah 36:19 "Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?"

Hamath was the fortress of the Kenites, the merchants to the world. He saved the mention of the nation of Samaria, the house of Israel to the last, for they had already been overthrown and scattered and removed from their lands. This is the same Assyrian that took the ten tribes into captivity, and every man on the wall knew the power of the army that accomplished it.

Today the common cry is that when the Antichrist comes, the Christians will all be gone. Wake up; that kind of idle talk is going to lead those that will listen to it right to the Antichrist, for they will not be expecting the peace and prosperity. The destruction that is the minds of the ones placing their hope in the fly-away theory, is all in the physical realm, and the creatures that are pictured in the book of Revelation are creatures of their imagination. They just can not picture the type of warfare that is coming and that it is a spiritual battle in the minds of men and women. It is fought with words and ideas right out of the Bible, twisted to make them even believe a lie.

They have placed their traditions over the Word of God, and lost sight of the guide posts or signs that Christ has given us in all of His Word. Jesus Christ comes at the seventh trumpet, and Satan comes at the sixth. They both look alike to those that do not expect it, for when Satan comes with his supernatural powers, it will be so outstanding that if God had not shortened the time to five months, even the elect would be deceived. God gave us the chronological order of events that would take place in Matthew 24, only people are blinded by their leaders and false doctrines and traditions.

Romans 11 7-10 tells us that God will send a stupor or slumber upon them to where they will all believe the lie when it comes upon them. It shall happen exactly as it is written for their protection.

Isaiah 36:20 "Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?"

Isaiah 36:21 "But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, "Answer him not."

They answered him not, because they did not have an answer for Rabshakeh. The Assyrians knew the people on the wall had heard what Rabshakeh had said, and they knew that what he had said was the truth, according to the prophecies of Isaiah, and they kept their silence.

Isaiah 36:22 "Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh."

The word is out and the shame of God turning against them has driven these three to great shame and madness, as they returned to give the report to king Hezekiah. Prophetically speaking, what happened at the time of this conflict was foretold thirty years before by Isaiah, if the House of Judah did not turn from their idolatry and back to the ways of God. They refused and continued with the idolatry and vain traditions, and God kept His Word. The time has come to pass, and the Assyrian is right on their doorstep; right at Jerusalem. It is wake up time in Jerusalem, and the king and all the people had better understand what this means.

These people shut their eyes to what Isaiah said would happen just before the coming of the Assyrians, just as the people that call themselves Christians today have shut their eyes to the chronological order of events that would come before the false Christ arrives. God has made it very clear throughout all His word that just before His day of vengeance comes to pass and Jesus Christ returns to this earth, certain things would happen. This false Christ is coming, and the events that God said would happen is taking place right before our eyes today. We are at the place that Hezekiah was in, when these three servants returned to him and gave the report of the king of Assyria.

There is going to be a great testing as to who has done their studying, and who has not. It is definitely an exciting time to live in, for we are given the privilege of observing those signs, and seeing the supernatural things that Satan and his fallen angels will bring with them. Will God's elect be deceived by Satan's bag of tricks? Of course not, for they know who he is; the fake that must come to deceive the people of the earth before the coming of Jesus Christ at the seventh trumpet.

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