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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, May 17 2023

Contributor: Alex Kokobili


The previous study (Isaiah 17-20) reminded us about how Assyria came against Ashdod which is a Palestinian city and seized it and then further led captive of the Egyptians and Ethiopians (Isaiah 20). Isaiah had to take off the sackcloth worn by prophets walking around barefoot as he declared the humiliation of Egypt. This signified the shame of Egypt and Ethiopia and how they would be in captivity of the Assyrians. This was also a deterrent to Judah to depend on God or else they also will fall into the hands of the Assyrians.
The discussion today is on Isaiah’s burdens which is revealed in chapters 21, 22 and 23. The prophecies in chapter 21 were burdens against the desert of the sea also referred to as burden of Arabia which became the destruction and fall of Babylon, then Dumah the offspring of the Ishmaelite and also the Assyrians. The other burdens were the besiegement of Jerusalem (chapter 22), and later the destruction of Tyre in chapter 23.

Part A. Isaiah 21: 1-17. (The fall of Babylon)
This emphasizes on the wilderness of the sea refers to Babylon with different prophetic warnings which were also described in Jeremiah 50 warning the habitants of Babylon to flee the land that it will be captured. Burden of the desert of Arabia or desert of the sea (See Jeremiah 50 – 51:42 talks about the drowning of Babylon (destruction), The fall of Babylon, and Dumah (the descendant of Ishmael).

- Isaiah 21: 1-10

Explains the destruction of Babylon which was eminent as God was going to use the Elamites and the Persians to bring judgment on Babylon for using the Medes to besieged its people. Babylon was known to have dealt treacherously with other nations and captives but now it will also face treacherous judgement. Isaiah’s prophecy at this point links us to Daniel 5:1-4 which reminds us of the consequences of the actions King Belshazzar who used the holy utensils to host a feast which was looted by King Nebuchadnezzar from the temple in Jerusalem.We then noticed (Isaiah 21:4) that Isaiah was shocked and dismayed about the judgment that will come on the Babylonians which will make it loose its advantage as a powerful. Bible scholars believed that this great fall of Babylon was actualized about two hundred years from the time Isaiah’s prophesy was released. Isaiah doesn’t seem to be happy about this message, he then speaks in agony (Isaiah V3-6) but regardless in this vision he had to be set as a watchman on a watch tower to declare what he saw. In v 6, Isaiah stands on the watch tower as he saw the vision of that Babylon is falling. Two chariots of animals – one of donkeys and the other of camels which is applicable of the meddle Persian empire which will be responsible for the demise of the people of Babylon. Then V9, Isaiah exclaimed, Babylon is fallen. Isaiah cries at the fall of Babylon saying “Babylon is fallen and its carved images”. We noticed in the Old Testament, it was not called Babylon the great! However, see a slight difference in Revelations 18: 2 “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal”) This tells us the Babylon would eventually fall at the apex of his glory. Babylon was known for its worship of idolatry and political grip and such narrative meant oppression of God’s people. This great fall thus signified the end of a Gentile rule that had a religious and political grip over God’s people, and also an end to evil that will user reign of God’s righteousness.

- Isaiah 21: 11 -12

Focuses on the prophecy against Dumah which is Edom, the cousin of Israel the descendants of Esau. The bringing of night, when is it going to end? The message comes that morning will come, but however more night will also come again. More nights coming, so the Edom will still suffer more persecutions for its actions against Israel and Judah its brethren. We also see this situation as repercussion for the way Esau dealt with his brother (Obadiah 1: 10-11) “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever”. This continued with further emphasis (Obadiah 1: 18-19, “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken.19 The South shall possess the mountains of Esau”. Eventually Dumah shall be taken over and but Zion referring to the house of Israel shall be elevated as that which spring forth salvation (Obadiah 1:21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion. To judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the LORD’s).

- Isaiah 21: 13-17

These verse puts our attention on fall of Arabia because it was centered on the Ishmaelite’s with a focus on Kedar which is the second son of Ishmael (Gen 25:13 “These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam”). Kedar was a trading pattern of the people of Tyre (Ezekiel 27:21) and they were also known for the worship of false gods. From Isaiah’s prophecy we understand that the people of Kedar were mighty, glorious and had skilled men that shot bow and arrow on target (Isaiah 21:16-17) but God’s judgment on them means that they will be diminished.

Part B. Isaiah 22: 1-15 (Declaration Against Jerusalem)
The besiegement of Jerusalem was the burden of the valley of vision. Despite the fact Jerusalem is on the mountain, it was called the valley of vision because it was surrounded by its enemies.

- Isaiah 22: 1-7

Shows us God’s judgement against Jerusalem (The valley of vision). Isaiah in this narrative is agonized by what will become of the city and how it will be invaded with its city wall levelled. The description of city of hill which signified glory and honour of Jerusalem was exchange for that of a valley with a similitude in Jeremiah 21:13 “Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?”.

- Isaiah 22: 8-14

Jerusalem is faulted here for focusing on fortifying itself from external intrusion instead of repentance before God. Despite warnings they partied and were confident in themselves. So therefore God held them accountable for their sins and they will be vulnerable to attacks from their enemies.

- Isaiah 22: 15-24

This section tells us about Shebna who was the head of the treasury in the reign of king Hezekiah (2Kings 18:26). He had influence in the economy of Babylon while Jews where in exile. He was prude and exalted himself like a king building himself expensive tombs. His punishment would be in captivity in a strange where he shall die in shame (Isaiah 18-19 “He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball Into a large country; There you shall die, and there your glorious chariots Shall be the shame of your master’s house. 19 So I will drive you out of your office, And from your position he will pull you down”. Shebna would then be replaced by Eliakim (V20-21), “That I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; 21 I will clothe him with your robe). We however noticed that Eliakim was described as a type of Christ that will emerge (V22) “a key to the household of David”.

Part C. Isaiah 23: 1-18 (The Proclamation Against Tyre)
This is the burden of the Lord against Tyre of the Phoenicia (todays Lebanon) which was an Island and they were known commerce and shipping.

- Isaiah 23:1-7

Tyre will be destroyed because of its pride which is due to its success in commerce and wealth from shipping (Ezra 3:7) “They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia”). Then we also notice that the people of Tyre at some point will join the Edomites’ against their brethren Israel. The ships of Tyre were used for slave trade (Isaiah 23:2-3) which brought them huge revenues, Ezekiel 27: 25 “The ships of Tarshish” here are deep-sea ships, great ships trading to the most distant coasts”. We then see the consequences of their pride here in Isaiah 23:4-5 that that Sidon will be ashamed and Tyre in anguish and will be a laughing stock.

- Isaiah 23:8-18

The people of Tyre were called the merchant princes and were proud of their success (V8-9). The destruction of Phoenicia (Lebanon) which includes Tyre and Sidon will be likened to Assyria and Babylon which means it will become deserted and even if they find refuge with their neighbor in Cyprus they will have no rest. The fortress of Tarshish will also be destroyed making it difficult for Tyre to find a safety for its ships and therefore described as a forgotten prostitute (V14-15). Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years and at the end of the seventy years God’s judgment will be manifested upon it. The prophet Ezekiel also explained the judgment of Tyre for their disregard for Israel “Ezekiel 26:3B Behold, I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves”. The implication will be that Tyre will not benefit from its enterprise (shipping businesses) which is now likened
to prostitution because of how it turned them away from God into pride. Isaiah 23:17 tells us, although Tyre will return to her commerce, it will not be profitable but however, Tyre’s wealth will be restored through a life of concentration to God which is holiness (V18 “Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes”).

The five burdens were prophecies were weighty revelations and were enough to be a burden (Isaiah 21-23). We noticed that the Babylonian kings crossed their boundaries by having no regard for God or his chosen people (Isaiah 21), then also how Jerusalem on its part relied on the strength of the walls instead on the salvation of God (Isaiah 22). The consequences of pride in the case of Tyre (Isaiah 23) due to its prosperity of commerce cannot be overemphasized as God will puts our complete adherence to holiness. Unfortunately, so many people including Christians trivialize prophecies without analyzing the consequences (Hebrews 10: 31 For it is a fearful thing to fall into the anger of the living God). We must act with action when we are being directed or redirected by God because it is better than we ending up in self-destruction which was the case of these nations which eventually in great repercussions. We can meditate on this with these scriptures; (Mathew 6: 33 Seek for the kingdom of God and His righteousness all other things shall be handed over to you), (2 Timothy 3: 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works).

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