Day of Jezreel

Hosea 1:11. “Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”

Jezreel is both a valley and a city, situated between Mt. Megiddo and the Jordan River. The next photo is an aerial view of the top of Mount Meggido, where the Jews made their last stand when Rome finally managed to build a ramp that carried their horses, chariots, and their army to the top of the mountain. That’s an exciting story!

The beautiful Valley of Jezreel, in the top photo, lies south of the Sea of Galilee. It is also called the valley of Armageddon, and it includes both Mount Megiddo and the city of Megiddo. There is so much history in this area that it would take a whole book just to write it, and I’m sure someone else already has done so. Many believe that this area is where the Battle of Armageddon will be fought.

In today’s verse, God makes a wonderful promise. After Israel has suffered under Assyrian captivity, Israel would return to God. So great would be the restoration that the division between Israel and Judah, which lad lasted about 170 years, would be healed. Israel and Judah would once again exist as one nation, and they would once again be His people.

In this promise includes the redemption of the names of Hosea’s children. Jezreel, once judged by God and found wanting, would become great once again. Loruhama would be changed, redeemed, to “Mercy is Shown.” and LoAmmi would be redeemed to become “My People.”

God used Hosea and Gomer and their children as an object lesson to Israel. It is the picture of a merciful father who redeems his his wayward wife time after time, and still she chooses to go back to her sinful ways. Israel had been warned repeatedly that if they did not turn back to God, they would be judged; they would suffer; they would die.

Confusion and Desolation

(I took a week off from Isaiah while we vacationed last week.  Back home now, ready to dig in again, so here we go!)

Isaiah 34:9-10. “And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day: the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall be waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.”

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One commentator I read says these verses are metaphoric.  They are not. There is nothing in the text to tell us that God is speaking in metaphors here.  This is going to be a terrible time for Israel’s enemies. If you look at the tiny print along the bottom of this graphic, you’ll see other scripture references that bear out this prophecy in Isaiah.

Edom is singled out for particular punishment for its close association with Antichrist in his efforts to destroy Israel.  It is very clear that those who stand against Israel, against God Himself, will come to a terrible end.

 

Doom of the Nations

Isaiah 34:3-4. “Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.  And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig three.”

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The death toll will be terrible as Antichrist gathers his armies against Israel, against God Himself. We are told in Ezekiel 39:2, Joel 3, Zech. 14:1-15, and Rev. 19:11-20 that all but a sixth part of the vast armies of the nations under Antichrist will be destroyed in one day as the forces of heaven are hurled against them.

The numbers of the dead will be so vast that it will take Israel seven months to bury them, and in the meantime their bodies will be left in the open. The stench will be  be horrible.

The mountains shall be melted with their blood: In Ezekiel 38:17-21, God says that there will be a mighty, destructive earthquake that will bring the mountains to the ground.

Verse 4 refers to the rolling together of the clouds and their moving on as if they had dissolved and passed away, and to the falling of meteors like leaves and figs–something like that under the 6th seal (Rev. 6:12-17).  Stars or meteors will fall also at the second advent of Christ (Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 16:17-23).

These events are not easy to imagine, or to write about. The only way for us to understand them is to understand the full power and sovereignty of God; to understand that He will finally end the evil of Satan and Antichrist, and that in their resistance, they will be destroyed.  God will bring all the power of heaven and earth against them, and very few will survive.

Why?  Because God will have had enough of the evil and rebellion in the hearts of man.

Armageddon: Nations Mobilized

Isaiah 34:1-2. “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein: the world, and all things that come forth of it. For  the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.”

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The nations who hate Israel, and who have cooperated with Antichrist, will be called to account.  This entire chapter is far future, unfulfilled until after the Great Tribulation and Armageddon, when God will pour out His wrath on those nations who have persecuted Israel.

Here are some other scriptures passages that talk about this same event:

Joel 3; Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:13-16; 19: 11-21.

Some may ask, “How can a loving God be so angry, and destroy so many people?”  The answer is clear all through the prophecies of the Old Testament. Over and over, God used the prophets to warn His own people, the Jews, to turn from their idols and repent, and be restored.  The Gentile nations were also warned that those who harmed His people, Israel, would suffer His wrath.

Finally, after so many thousands of years, God will have had enough. The time will come for  His plan and purpose to take place.  He is neither unloving nor unjust. He has been patient, but the nations have ignored Him and persisted in their efforts to destroy His people.

 

Lawgiver, Judge, and Savior

Isaiah 33:22-24. “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: He will save us. Thy tacklings are loosed: they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided: the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”

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Once the Battle of Armageddon is over, and Jesus Messiah claims His rightful throne in Jerusalem, there will be no more need for human government.  Jesus will not be a tyrant, but He will be the One Who is our lawgiver, judge, and savior.

Verse 23 describes the complete disarray of Israel’s enemies after Armageddon. They will be helpless against the power of Messiah, and the persecuted people of Judah will easily divide the spoil among themselves.  Even the lame will be able to take spoil from the defeated enemies of Judah.

For the first time ever,  Jerusalem (Zion) will be free of threat. The people will be healthy,  and they will be forgiven by Messiah for their sinful idolatry, and will be restored to Him.

And there WILL be peace on earth.

Eightfold Restoration

Isaiah 32:16-20. “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; When it shall hail, coming down on the forest, and the city shall be low in a low place. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.”

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Then:  When the Spirit is poured out upon Israel from on high, and the land is fully restored to fruitfulness.

There are eight specific blessings mentioned:

  1. Judgment will dwell in the wilderness
  2. Righteousness will remain in the fruitful firld
  3.  The work of righteousness will be peace
  4. The effect of righteousness will be quietness and assurance forever
  5.  My people will dwell in a peaceable habitation
  6.  In sure dwellings
  7.  In quiet resting places
  8. My people will be blessed with security and prosperity

The last two verses in this passage speak of the defeat and overthrow of enemies when Jerusalem is brought low at Armageddon (v. 19; Zech. 14);  the Jews will be delivered and made secure after this (v. 20).

 

 

Antichrist Judged

Isaiah 30: 30-33. “And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”

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The Assyrian is another title for Antichrist. What we’re seeing in this passage is Armageddon and the final, complete destruction of Antichrist, which will be accomplished by the glorious voice of God Himself. His voice alone will put a final end to Antichrist. That’s something to think about!

Antichrist’s doom has been set from the very beginning.  He knows it, and he is powerless to prevent it. His goal is to take as many souls as possible with him .

His judgement will include the power of God’s mighty arm; the indignation of His anger; the flame of a devouring fire, with turbulence and tempest, and a mighty hailstorm.  Every place in which Antichrist has placed his rod of power will experience release and relief from his rule, and there will be the music of rejoicing when he is destroyed.

Tophet has a history near Jerusalem.  The word itself means “that which  causes loathing, abhorrence, and vomiting.” Just as Tophet was to be a place of great destruction and a burial ground for multitudes in the ruin of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 7:31-32), so it was appointed by the Lord in this prophecy to be a place of slaughter when Jerusalem will be surrounded by the armies of the Antichrist. It is a deep valley on the southeast of Jerusalem, celebrated as the place of idolatry and worship of Moloch. Here a large brazen image with hollow trunk and arms was heated: and children were offered as sacrifices to it. To drown their cries as they were being put into this red hot idol, drums were beaten, which were call Toph or Tophim; and so the name Tophet was given to this part of the valley-the valley of the son of Hinnon (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; 23:10). Fires were kept going in this place to burn the refuse of the city and to purify the atmosphere and prevent contagion. Because of this it became a symbol of eternal hell, among the Jews ; therefore, the name Gehenna was coined to denote the place of eternal torment.

 

 

 

Millennial Judgment on Israel’s Enemies

Isaiah 30:27-28. Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire. And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.”

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God’s wrath is something to be feared.  Sadly, too many people want to focus only on His love, His grace and mercy. Those are also important attributes, but they are not the ONLY  attributes. Primarily, God is holy.  His holiness contains all His other attributes, which include grace, love, and mercy.  And justice. We must never forget that He is a God of justice, and the nations who persecuted Israel will experience the justice meted out by and angry and all-powerful God.

It was customary for captives from defeated nations to be led away with nooses, or bridles, around their necks. The bridles made it easy to control them.  I’m not sure if this last sentence in today’s passage is a reference to the people of Jerusalem being led into captivity, or if it is descriptive of Judah’s enemies when they are defeated. Nothing I read was completely convincing or definite. I tend to think, though, that it refers to the half of Jerusalem that will be led into captivity just before Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-5).

The Millenial Kingdom

Isaiah 18:5-7. “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.”

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What you see is a classic pruning hook, used to trim the vines and harvest the grapes.

Jehovah will destroy the Ethiopian nation that is persecuting Israel, like a worker uses a pruning hook to trim the vines and take away branches before they bear a crop. The nations destroyed at Armageddon will become food, literally meat, for  the fowls and beasts of the field to eat for many months (Ezek. 39:1-24; Luke 17:31-37; Rev. 19;17, 21).

“In that time,” when Antichrist’s armies are destroyed and the Millenium begins following Armageddon the Ethiopians will submit to God and bring a present to the Lord of hosts Who will then be in Mount Zion and Jerusalem establishing the Kingdom of David over Israel and all other nations (Zech 14; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15: 10:1-10).

Woe on Israel’s Enemies

Isaiah 17:12-14. “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters: The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold, at eveningtide trouble: and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.”

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These verses have an end-times fulfillment because:

            1.The picture is of the gathering of many nations against Israel

2.  It will be at the time when God will rebuke them and fight for Israel. This could not be the time spoken of in previous verses, when God sends judgment on Israel. This is more the judgment of God upon the many nations gathered against Israel, as pictured in Ezek. 38-39; Joel 3; Zech. 14; Rev. 19.

3. The mighty armies of the nations will flee like chaff and rolling things before a whirlwind (Is. 13:14)

4. During the battle of Armageddon, on the day when Christ comes to earth, is the only time in the future when, as predicted, the night will be as light as day in order to provide time enough to destroy such great armies that will be gathered against Jerusalem and the Jews. The whole night will be like it was in Joshua’s long day (Josh. 10:13-14). Zechariah plainly predicts that at evening time when it should be getting dark, as on ordinary days, it will become light (Zech. 14:1-8) and here it reveals how long this light will continue-a full night, for by morning the fleeing armies will be destroyed. Such will be the judgment or “portion of them that spoil us.”–Israel.