Class Notes: 10/4/2020
Jonah, Nineveh, and Nemesis part 7
2Chron 7:13-14; "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Jer 17:5; Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
Isaiah 40:28-31; Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks strength He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
We are presently in a study of Jonah, Nineveh and Nemesis where we see God's policy of grace before judgment. God always provides the opportunity for repentance before he executes judgment.
Some principles we can derive from of our brief study of Jonah, Israel, Judah, Assyria and Nemesis is that anyone can repent, because God extends His mercy even to the merciless and help to the helpless but judgment is always waiting in the wings because ultimately the truth wins because God is truth and He cannot deny himself. 2Cor 13:8; John 17:17; 2Tim 2:13;
Last time we noted that Sennacherib is the ruler of a heathen nation who God is allowing to assault client nation Judah because its leaders and its people have gone into reversionism resulting in their choice to trust in alliances with other nations rather than the Lord God.
Sennacherib's political and military staff are unbelievers who represent one the most brutal and evil regimes in all of ancient history.
They don't realize that they are spokesmen for the devil, the father of lies, and as these officials approach the people of Jerusalem they will convey a demonic message.
They envision the eminent fall of Jerusalem either by capitulation or military conquest since The Egyptian army has been defeated at the Battle of Eltekeh making the Jews' alliance with Egypt useless.
This situation was prophesied to Hezekiah's father, Ahaz, by Isaiah while he was still king of Judah. Isaiah 7:3; Then the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the laundry.
Isaiah 7:13; "The Lord will bring on you, on your people, and on your father's house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria."
When the Assyrian Rabshakeh arrived at Jerusalem it immediately became apparent that he was prepared because he made his way to the conduit of the upper pool and stood in the exact location where Isaiah had stood when he prophesied of the invasion of the Assyrian army.
The Assyrian Rabshakeh will remind the people of Jerusalem of Isaiah's prophesy which he will reiterate in no uncertain terms. Rabshakeh makes a political application of what Sun-tzu wrote about four hundred years later in his book, The Art of War, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
As the Rabshakeh took his position at the conduit of the upper pool, three members of Hezekiah's staff came out to meet him. Isaiah 36:3;Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to him.
These are the same advisors who had previously counseled Hezekiah to enter into a mutual defense treaty with Egypt indicating their failure to trust in God through the application of the faith-rest drill.
It is God's mandate that the citizens of a client nation depend exclusively on His protection and provision. Confederations with other governments and nations comes from cosmic viewpoint so while it appears to be strong it is actually fragmented so it is weak.
Failure to apply the faith-rest drill combined with the human-viewpoint conclusion that a coalition with heathen nations is better than dependence upon God indicates that Hezekiah's cabinet made its decision motivated by their fear rather than doctrinal reality. Jer 17:5; Heb 10:38;
The principle is that weak and frightened people are easily deceived by psychological warfare. This is the same situation we have in the USA at this time. Too many doctrineless believers have enslaved themselves satan's propaganda because of their fear of death. Heb 2:14-15;
This principle has been confirmed by our nation's continued involvement with and attitude of self-depreciation and self-persecution that inspires the guilt complex of "the blame America" crowd.
This attitude is the direct result of a weakness of soul from fear of death combined with the idea that our culture is too authoritarian and that we must become egalitarian and atone for the wrongs we have committed.
This kind of attitude is ripe for the propaganda of psychological warfare where agents infiltrate the cities and spread defeatism and fake news to the people.
We will see that Rabshakeh will use these same concepts in his attempt to propagandize Hezekiah's delegation and the people of Judah.
Isaiah 36:4; Then the Rabshakeh said to them, "Now you tell this to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria,' "What is this confidence that you have?"'"
The Rabshakeh is trained in the tactics of bullying and doesn't waste any time. His first comment is an imperative mood directed toward Hezekiah's representatives, "You tell this to Hezekiah!"
The Rabshakeh thinks he has the Jews right where he wants them. They do appear to be in a very compromised position because the defeat of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Eltekeh makes their alliance with Egypt moot and the Assyrian army is presently poised at Lachish preparing to besiege Jerusalem.
The principle we see deployed here is that when your enemy in a compromised position there is no need for diplomacy so you can just demand what you want and get it.
The Rabshakeh doesn't bother with political niceties. He not only starts out with an intimidating imperative mood but he also insults Hezekiah. He does this by refusing to recognize Hezekiah as king while at the same time referring to Sennacherib not just as the king of Assyria but the "great king" of Assyria.
The people of Jerusalem who have gathered on the walls to listen to the discourse between the two groups of men are aware that the Assyrians are bivouacked at Lachish about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem.
They know that this army is renowned for its brutality, terrorism, and wanton cruelty, and they know that their army cannot defeat it.
By refusing to refer to Hezekiah as king and applying the title to Sennacherib, Rabshakeh intends for the people to conclude that the Assyrian ruler is for all practical purposes already their king because their defeat is a fait accompli.
The message is that Hezekiah's days as king of Judah are numbered and the great and powerful king of Assyria is about to depose him. The Rabshakeh is counting on the fact that the people of Judah will lose faith in their leaders.
He then attempts to create doubt in their God. Isaiah 36:5;NET "Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me?"
The Rabshakeh is using a very condescending tone to Hezekiah's delegation. He is deriding the king's motivational speech to the people as nothing more than hot air.
He is referring to Hezekiah's speech in: 2Chron 32:7-8; NET "Be strong and brave! Don't be afraid and don't panic because of the king of Assyria and this huge army that is with him! We have with us one who is stronger than those who are with him.
He has with him mere human strength, but the Lord our God is with us to help us and fight our battles!" The army was encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.
His intent is to erode the confidence of the people in their government and their God. Hezekiah had encouraged the people to place their faith in the God of Israel and the power of His Word of truth.
Hezekiah had recovered from his reversionism. He had rebounded and sought forgiveness and another chance from God and God had granted it. He had implored the people to join with him and unite behind the Lord God as their first line of defense.
The only true source of security for a client nation is for the believers within its borders to place their total faith in God's power and His grace policy to defend and deliver them. Rabshakeh is using propaganda to break down public confidence in the duly appointed establishment authority and in the immutability and veracity of God's Word.
Propaganda uses symbols that are calculated to detach the affection of the masses from the existing symbols of authority and to attach their affections to challenging symbols (of authority and then) to direct hostilities toward existing symbols of authority.
These are the same tactics that the left is using against the leadership, the founders and the founding documents of our free nation in an attempt to overthrow the existing symbols and authority and replace it with a tyrannical communist authoritarian regime.
Isaiah 36:6; NET "Look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him!
Rabshakeh is using a reed staff that has broken to illustrate how foolish it was for Judah to depend on Egypt for help. Rabshakeh describes Egypt as a reed staff that has splintered. What he has is in mind a bamboo like plant that grows in the marshes along the Mediterranean Sea.
Trusting in a reed staff is foolish because it is not strong enough to provide support but to rely upon a splintered reed staff is even worse because it can't provide any support at all and it will break and pierce your hand and injure you placing you into a worse situation.
He is making the case that trusting in Egypt was worse than trusting in nothing. The Rabshakeh is using a fragment of truth to set up a lie.
It is true that the Egyptian army has been neutralized but, the Rabshakeh also knows that Hezekiah has given an inspirational speech to the people and encouraged them to place their trust in the God of Israel not in Egypt.
However, he is counting on a large number of the population remaining in reversionism being susceptible to anxiety and fear.
He hopes that by reminding them of Egypt's defeat they will consider it to be a predicate for Judah's defeat. Using a reed as an illustration is excellent because it grows in abundance throughout the region and are often used as walking canes
He is saying We have defeated your allies and we will defeat you and in the face of reality your faith in God is nonsense. It is, therefore, better to willingly submit to the Assyrian army and live as slaves rather then face certain death in battle.
Isaiah 36:7; NET Perhaps you will tell me, 'We are trusting in the Lord our God.' But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 'You must worship at this altar.'
One of the tactics of the demonic principalities and powers who invisibly rule the world behind the scenes is to use religious differences to create tension and divisions in a client nation.
Rabshakeh is confused about Hezekiah's program of ridding the land of all the sites and idols of Baal worship. 2Kings 18:1-6; documents this but Rabshakeh misinterprets it as an affront to the Lord God.
It's possible that the syncretism of Baal worship with the worship of the true God of Israel has confused the Rabshakeh but his convolving of the two could be effective if there was a large enough number of reversioinist Baal worshipers in the land who were involved with the syncretism.
Both the Baal cult and Judaism were ritualistic. One of the problems with ritual in Christianity is that ritual is a large part of heathen worship systems.
When Christian denominations or independent churches emphasize ritual over doctrinal reality then their parishioners tend to place primary emphasis on the ritual rather than the Word.
Lazy and unprofessional, clergymen become disreputable because of their failure to study God's Word and properly exegete it. When caught without an explanation for biblical passages they attempt to place restraints on their parishioners' access to Scripture.
They insist that knowledge of Scripture must be left to them and they will issue mandates for the people to follow and enable them to become spiritual. Therefore, being a good Christian is defined as doing what the clergy says without reference to biblical accuracy.
Rabshakeh is implying that Hezekiah is guilty of doing away with the ritual that is required to please the God of Israel. He hopes to create doubt in the thinking of any reversionists who buy his lie.
One of the tactics of the devil's proponents is to demand that when spiritual things are discussed they must be defined in satan's terms rather than God's and they also redefine the terms to perpetuate their lie.
Religion is satan's fake misapplication of God's Word of truth. If you discredit the messenger, you can discredit the message. This is one of the objectives for attacking legitimate authority. If the authority figure can be discredited then the message can be rejected even if it is true.
Rabshakeh scoffed at Hezekiah's attempt to gain an advantage by trusting in Egypt or the Lord God. He goes on to employ sarcasm by making a fake proposal to Hezekiah's delegation.
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