Saturday, September 27, 2014

Islamic State (5) Isaiah’s Prophecy

Isaiah 10 records a prophecy against Assyria. This was not Isaiah’s prophecy against Sennacherib when he led the Assyrian army to besiege Jerusalem. That prophecy was different and is recorded in 2 Kings 19:20-34 and Is 37:21-35. Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 10 seems to be directed more generally against the Assyrian Spirit, wherever it works. I think it relates just as well to our time. Isaiah describes how the Assyrian Spirit operates. It sounds just like the Islamic State.

  1. The Assyrian Spirit arises at a time when God’s people are passing unjust laws that deprive the poor of their rights and rob oppressed people of justice.

    Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,
    to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
    making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.
    What will you do on the day of reckoning,
    when disaster comes from afar? (Is 10:1-2).
    God’s justice requires that aliens in the land get the same justice as other citizens. His justice forbids the shifting of boundary markers. Those who pass unjust laws will get their day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar. There will be no place to hide.

  2. The Assyrian Spirit will seize loot and snatch plunder (Is 10:6). Wealth will be destroyed, as if it were mud being trampled in the streets.

  3. Their intention was not to seize wealth. Their plan is to put an end to nations. Nations have no place in a caliphate. Their plans are to bring some existing nations to an end.

    But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind;
    his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations (Is 10:7).
    Shia Islam has generally been a persecuted minority, so they have historically avoided political power. The development of the Islamic state by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran was a significant innovation in Shia theology.

    Sunni Moslems have a more positive view of political power, but there is no equivalent of the separation of “church and state”. Sunni Islam is a state religion in which the supreme authority is a political/religious leader. This leaves no room for nationalism, and no place for a modern nation state. More radical Sunni Moslems see the Sunni nation states like Saudi Arabia as a blasphemous idol.

  4. The Islamic State is destroying those century old boundaries.

    I removed the boundaries of nations (Is 10:13).
    At the end of the First World War, Britain and France divided up the remnant of the Ottoman Empire according to the Sykes-Picot plan. They believed that local winners of the war had the right to do this. They ignored geography and tribal groupings. Promises of independence that had been made to the local people who fought with them were broken. They divided the land to increase their economic power. Iraq was put together from three religiously mixed provinces, so Britain could keep control of the oilfields that had just been discovered. France cut Lebanon out of Syria to create a Christian enclave. Kuwait was peeled off to safeguard its oil for Britain.

    The artificial nations established by squabbling British and French bureaucrats will disappear, and new ones will emerge. Boundaries drawn on maps that had no connection to people or geography will be wiped away.

  5. The Assyrian Spirit says that there will be local leaders, but no kings.

    My princes are kings together (Is 10:8).
    This points to the caliphate, where kings and nations disappear and all Moslem people come under a single political/military leader.

  6. The Assyrian Spirit conquers nations and smashes their idols (Is 10:10). When the Islamic State gained control of cities in Iraq, it destroyed Christian Churches and Shia shrines, because it considered them idols.

  7. The Assyrian Spirit is described as a sharp razor (Is 8:20). It will cut quickly through opposition with terrible destruction.

  8. All opposition will fall away before the Assyrian Spirit without offering resistance.

    As one reaches into a nest,
    so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
    as people gather abandoned eggs,
    so I gathered all the countries;
    not one flapped a wing,
    or opened its mouth to chirp (Acts 10:14).
    This is what happened in Mosul. A few Islamic State soldiers reached into this nest, and the military commanders fled. Many Iraqi soldiers swapped over to the other side and joined the invaders.

  9. The Spirit of Assyria uses an axe as a weapon.

    Does the axe raise itself above the person who swings it,
    or the saw boast against the one who uses it (Is 10:15)?
    This is an interesting sign. The Islamic State has been beheading Western journalist to boast of its power and create fear.

  10. This power will not be defeated by war. It will be weakened when God sends wasting disease against it.

    Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors (Is 10:16).
    The Islamic State destroys economies. It does not create productive economic activity. When its plunder runs out it will collapse into poverty. Sickness and disease will spread. However, this event is well into the future.

  11. Pestilence and disease will not end the Islamic State. The gospel of Jesus will become a fire that burns through the land.

    The Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    will kindle a fire under his pomp,
    like a blazing flame.
    The Light of Israel will become a fire,
    their Holy One a flame;
    in a single day it will burn and consume
    his thorns and his briers (Is 10:16-17).
    The gospel of Jesus will spread through the Islamic State in the power of the Spirit. Christians will go through the land healing the sick and proclaiming the good news. Some of those who carry the gospel will come out of the land of Israel. The gospel will destroy the power of the Assyrian Spirit forever. His power (thorns and briars) will be destroyed forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shi'ism actually has a long history of empires and strong dynasties. A few examples: The Fatimids controlled North Africa and much of the Middle East for nearly three centuries in the Middle Ages. The Safavids held a large portion of western Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Buyids controlled a substantial tract of Iran and Iraq for more than a century. Shi'ites are actually quite accustomed to political power and eager to wield it. They are much like left-wing university professors: they go on and on about how everybody's out to get them and they might be extinguished at any moment, but it's mostly paranoid rhetoric, and it makes them unlikable, and not being liked makes them more paranoid, and on the cycle goes.