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Assyria in Old Testament prophecy

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posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:02 PM
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The power of Assyria is the subject of many of the Old Testament prophecies.
The key to understanding them is to realise that Biblical prophets, in the first instance, are always writing for, and addressing the concerns of, the people of their own time.

So for the prophets of the eighth century B.C., Assyria is paired with Egypt, as the two dominant powers of the world.
Israel is warned against looking for allies in those countries;
“Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria” (Hosea, ch7 v11.
“They make a bargain with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt” (Hosea ch12 v1).
But this is like “herding the east wind”, and they would be better off looking to their God.
Ezekiel complains about the alliance retrospectively, because “playing the harlot with the Assyrians” was also attracting them to the Assyrian gods (Ezekiel ch16 v28).

Either power is a danger as a possible enemy, and so God can threaten to bring them both down against his people;
“Proclaim to the strongholds in Assyria, and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say ‘Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressions in her midst…’
An adversary shall surround the land, and bring down your defences from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered” (Amos ch3 vv9-11).

“In that day, the Lord will whistle for the fly which is at the sources of the streams of the Nile, and for the bee which is in the land of Assyria.
And they will all come and settle in the deep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thorn bushes, and on all the pastures” (Isaiah ch7 vv18-19).

Hosea warned the people of the northern kingdom that the Assyrians would take them into exile, if they did not change their ways;
“For behold, they are going to Assyria (ch9 v6)… The thing itself [the calf of Bethel] will be carried to Assyria (ch10 v6)… and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me (ch11 v5)”.

Hosea’s warning began to be fulfilled when the kings of Israel and Syria launched a joint invasion of Judah, in the time of Ahaz.
Ahaz responded by calling for help from the Assyrians.
Isaiah promised that this policy would work in the short term;
“Call his name Maher-shalal- hashbaz, for before the child knows how to cry ‘My father’ or “My mother’, the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria” (Isaiah ch8 vv3-4).
But the consequence would be a greater peril for Judah than the original invasion had been.
“The Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria in all his glory, and it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks; and it will sweep on into Judah… and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel” (vv7-8).
[See also A child is born called Immanuel]

Both parts of this prophecy came true in Hezekiah’s time.
First Shalmanezer, losing patience with the rebellious kings of Israel, brought the kingdom to an end and took its people into exile.
Ten years later, Sennacherib brought his armies into Judah and threatened Jerusalem.
Thus the Assyrian power was acting ambiguously as the agent of God’s wrath and also as the enemy of God’s people.

“Ah Assyria, the rod of my anger, the staff of my fury!
Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him to take spoil and seize plunder…
But he does not so intend, and his mind does not so think;
But it is in his mind to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few” (Isaiah ch10 vv5-8).
The Assyrian believes he is acting in his own strength, and he can do whatever he likes; “Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to her images?” (v11)
Here he goes beyond his commission;
“Shall an axe vaunt itself over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?” (v15)
Therefore he will be dealt with;
“When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem he will punish the king of Assyria and his haughty pride” (v12).
“I will put my hook in your nose and your bit in my mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came” (ch37 v29).
After this prophecy, “the angel of the Lord” intervened, and the Assyrian army went home again.
[See also Why should the axe be boastful?]

Nevertheless, the Assyrians were still dominant in the world, exercising control without mercy, as we see from the complaints of Habakkuk;
“For THOU makest men like the fish of the sea, crawling things that have no ruler.
HE brings all of them up with a hook, he drags them out with his net… for by them he lives in luxury and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and mercilessly slaying nations for ever?” (Habakkuk ch1 vv14-17)
The Lord’s answer is “Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and founds a city on iniquity… Woe to him who makes his neighbours drink of the cup of his wrath and make them drunk, to gaze on their shame… The cup in the Lord’s hand will come around to you, and shame will come upon your glory” (ch2 vv12-16)

Nahum’s “oracle concerning Nineveh” carries the same theme.
The first chapter warns them that “The Lord is a jealous God and avenging… the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies” (ch1 v2).
The second chapter describes the invading army (of the Babylonians) which is the agent of his wrath.
While the third chapter exults in the destruction of the city;
“All who hear the news of you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil?” (ch3 v19)

These oracles were fulfilled by the grand coalition of Babylonians and other peoples which rebelled against Assyrian power in Josiah’s time.
The outcome was that Nineveh was left “ a desolation, a dry waste like the desert… a lair for wild beasts” (Zephaniah ch2 vv13-15).
The kingdom of the Assyrians came to an end.

The main value of these prophecies for believers living in our own time is the testimony they provide of God’s determination to protect his people against their adversaries.




posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:03 PM
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Anyone who studies the prophecies of the Old Testament should be careful to keep an eye on the relationship between the prophets and the history of their times.
This thread will assist;
Timeline; The kings and prophets of Israel

It is noticeable that prophecies are no longer made about Assyria once the kingdom has disappeared from the public scene. There is nothing in Jeremiah, nothing in Deutero-Isaiah, nothing in Malachi, though Ezekiel has an image of the corpse of Assyria among the other dead nations in Sheol (ch32 v22).
In other words, the subject of prophecy is the contemporary community of Assyria, not their land or the future occupants of their land.

Passages in some of the earlier prophets seem to take Assyria into the more distant future, but in those cases it is probably better to take Assyria as representing the Gentile world in general.
Promises are made to Israel of a general return from exile;
“They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes” (Hosea ch11 v11).
“The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt… and will smite [the river Euphrates] into seven channels that men may cross dryshod.
And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant which is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt” (Isaiah ch11 vv15-16).
The Exodus comparison confirms that the predicted “highway” will not be the product of human engineering.
The highway and the image of the dry river-beds are metaphors about ease of travel and removal of obstacles.
There is a similar promise in Zechariah ch10 vv10-11, though by that time the references to Egypt and Assyria are out of date.

Different prophets speak about a future and final invasion from the outside world, which will see the outside world themselves being overcome by God’s people.
Ezekiel names “Gog of the land of Magog”, and Joel speaks of “all the nations”, but Micah uses the name of the chief enemy of his own time;
“And this shall be peace, when the Assyrian comes into our land and treads upon our soil, that we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; they shall rule the land of Assyria with a sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword, and they shall deliver us from the Assyrian” (Micah ch5 vv5-6).
“This is peace”; that is, this will set in place the final “peace” established by God.
Seven is the number associated with God, so “seven shepherds” means the leadership and power that God will provide.
Circumcision takes place on the eighth day, so the number “eight” may be regarded as a more completely consummated version of “seven”.
For that matter (while we are on the subject of more complete consummation), references in the New Testament associate the number eight with Christ. As the later church observed, he was raised from the dead on the “eighth day” of the week, the day following the seventh. He was pre-figured by Noah, who commanded his ark of salvation as “an eighth man”.
From the Christian viewpoint, then, we might associate the “eight princes of men” with Christ, and even see the prophecy as partly fulfilled in the Christian mission to the Gentile world.

“In that day Israel will be a third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord has blessed, saying “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage” (Isaiah ch19 v24).
Of course “Egypt and Assyria” is a shorthand phrase meaning the Gentile world at large- those two dominant nations are given as representing all the others.
So the message in this verse is that the knowledge of God will fill the world as a whole, and all the earth will become “God’s people”.
The complete fulfilment of this prophecy still awaits the scene of the final chapters of Revelation.

Finally, we ought to consider the story of Jonah, which points in the same direction.
Jonah was summoned to “cry against the wickedness of Nineveh”.
He tried to evade the task, but was brought back to it in dramatic circumstances.
He preached a warning about judgement, and succeeded in winning the people over to repentance.
This is a fable about the possibility and necessity of taking the knowledge of God into the outside world.
Once again, Assyria simply represents the Gentile world in general, being chosen as an example (and feared by Jonah), because of their notorious intransigence.
The message is this; If Nineveh, of all places, can be won back to God, then so can anybody else in the world.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:38 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


The Assyrians were the most hated and feared because they were the most adept in terrorism and torture! They openly displayed their victims, caging them and parading them through the streets to send a message to anyone thinking they could challenge authority and get away with it.

impaled alive, vicitms were prominently mounted for all to see.






“Nabû-ushabshi, their king, I hung up in front of the gate of his city on a stake. His land, his wife, his sons, his daughters, his property, the treasure of his palace, I carried off. BitAmukâni I trampled down like a threshing (sledge). All of its people, (and) its goods, I took to Assyria.”


They certainly earned their reputation and hatred!




“I cut their throats like lambs. I cut off their precious lives (as one cuts) a string. Like the many waters of a storm, I made (the contents of) their gullets and entrails run down upon the wide earth. My prancing steeds harnessed for my riding, plunged into the streams of their blood as (into) a river. The wheels of my war chariot, which brings low the wicked and the evil, were bespattered with blood and filth. With the bodies of their warriors I filled the plain, like grass. (Their) testicles I cut off, and tore out their privates like the seeds of cucumbers.”



At one point, Israel, already but a shadow of its former self and crushed by the burden of the annual tribute to Assyria, decided to revolt. Shalmaneser V (726–722 B.C.), who reigned after Tiglath-pileser III, marched into Israel, besieged its capital at Samaria and, after three years of fighting, destroyed it ( 2 Kings 18:10 ). This probably occurred in the last year of Shalmaneser V’s reign (722 B.C.). However, his successor, Sargon II, later claimed credit for the victory. In any event, this defeat ended the national identity of the northern kingdom of Israel. Sargon II deported, according to his own records, 27,290 Israelites, settling them, according to the Bible, near Harran on the Habur River and in the mountains of eastern Assyria ( 2 Kings 17:6 , 18:11 ).

Later, in 701 B.C., when King Hezekiah of Judah withheld Assyrian tribute, Sargon II’s successor, Sennacherib, marched into Judah, destroying, according to his claim, 46 cities and besieging Jerusalem. Although Sennacherib failed to capture Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 19:32–36 ), Hezekiah no doubt continued to pay tribute to Assyria.


faculty.uml.edu...



The main value of these prophecies for believers living in our own time is the testimony they provide of God’s determination to protect his people against their adversaries.


It took God hundreds of year for the Assyrian Empire to fall. I wonder why he didn't just "Sodom and Gomorrah" them!



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:41 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
Either power is a danger as a possible enemy, and so God can threaten to bring them both down against his people;


"God can threaten", "his people". And you wonder why they crucified Jesus:

Luke 6:27
But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Jesus told the Jews the king is not speaking for God. Jesus told the Jews everyone is God's chosen people. What else does love your enemies mean?



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:42 PM
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a reply to: windword

How chosen could the chosen people be if they are getting the butts kicked all the time?



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:44 PM
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originally posted by: windword
It took God hundreds of year for the Assyrian Empire to fall. I wonder why he didn't just "Sodom and Gomorrah" them!

Direct action seems to be very rare in the Old Testament, with action through other people preferred about 99% of the time.
The job was done, of course, by that grand coalition of rebels.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:48 PM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
"God can threaten", "his people".

They are being threatened with a possible disciplinary measure.
It's the old "carrot and stick" approach. A combination of rewards and punishment has always been a standard training technique.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


According to Joel Rosenberg:

Damascus is the capital of Syria and one of the oldest cities in the Middle East.

The prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah have not yet been fulfilled.

Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth. It has been attacked, besieged, and conquered. But Damascus has never been completely destroyed and left uninhabited

Yet that is exactly what the Bible says will happen. The context of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 are a series of end times prophecies dealing with God’s judgments on Israel’s neighbors and enemies leading up to — and through — the tribulation.

The Bible indicates clearly that Damascus will be utterly and completely destroyed at some point in the future — it will be a great cataclysmal event and it will be part of God’s judgment.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
Syria and Assyria are different areas (though the names have obviously got the same roots).
If you look at historical maps of the region, Assyria is in Mesopotamia, the area which we now know as northern Iraq.
I intend to look at Damascus another time.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Gotcha.

One interesting theory is that Assyria will be the nation of Antichrist. Pretty good article:

www.prophezine.com...:assyria-the-nation-of-the-antichrist



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
I note the article's comments, but you've seen that I have a different way of interpreting the same passages.



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 06:34 PM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: windword

How chosen could the chosen people be if they are getting the butts kicked all the time?


That's the catch, God does not appreciate sin.
Sin will have to b reckoned with
Judgement is necessary, it's a choice thing
The Old Testament is teaching christians that even though they think they are chosen, constant sin will mean judgement, even for the chosen
Show me your faith and I will show you my works, the book of James



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 07:42 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Hi Disraeli I highly recommend the book, the rescue of Jerusalem by Henri aubin, it deals with the era you are concerned with.
Actually it didn't take hundreds of yes for them to fall,they had their clocks cleaned first by the, neo Babylonians, then out of the picture completely by emergent Persia circa 610 b.c.

edit on 28-4-2017 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 07:45 PM
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a reply to: Spider879
Thank you for the suggestion.
As an old student of history, I've already got the relevant volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History.

P.S. Yes, I thnk Windword's intended meaning was that they had hundreds of years of power before falling.


edit on 28-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 09:18 PM
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Why is everything in these ancient religious texts so eff up with killing and immorality in the name of God?



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 09:37 PM
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There is a good lesson to be learned by the Assyrians and King Hezekiah.

Jehovah raised up the Assyrians to met out punish to a lot of the nations round about him. Even Samria and the 10-tribe-kingdom of Israel.

A good drama about when he attacked Judah...steppping out of line. In one night Jehovah sent his angel and one angel killed 185,000 of Sencarib's soldiers.

.
Hezekiah and Sennacherib
edit on 28-4-2017 by XeloE because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 28 2017 @ 10:45 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: windword

How chosen could the chosen people be if they are getting the butts kicked all the time?


That's the catch, God does not appreciate sin.
Sin will have to b reckoned with
Judgement is necessary, it's a choice thing
The Old Testament is teaching christians that even though they think they are chosen, constant sin will mean judgement, even for the chosen
Show me your faith and I will show you my works, the book of James


Sometimes I wonder if God really cares about sin at all and it was something just made up by church leaders to create cash flow. An omnipotent God needs nothing from us. You would think God would use his infinite powers of forgiveness to allow everyone through the gates of heaven to experience eternal bliss regardless of our earthly sins. It's no skin off God's back to love even the most undeserving of forgiveness. For some people it might take ALL of God's omnipotence to forgive them. But I would think a God of love would be forgiving all the way until the end without question. I think sin in the Bible was probably the word of man added to the Bible because revenge is popular with the low brows.


edit on 28-4-2017 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2017 @ 02:52 AM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

Even modern day courts take into consideration a persons attitude to the wrong they have committed, remorse in court is important to the sentence
Someone steals your car, says stuff you, I don't care, really, that's ok?
God calls for repentance, a person to be truly sorry and change

Please, if you want open gates, join another faith with an open gate policy
We didn't write the rule book, we try and live what Christ called us to

Why are you so hung up on money, christians don't HAVE to give, if they have a personal reason. You don't understand our beliefs

An omnipotent God created humanity for relationship, He wants relationship.



posted on Apr, 29 2017 @ 03:09 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


Not to be negative, but Jewish authorities on the subject date the entire Tanakh no earlier than 600BC roughly, all after Babylon and Assyria captured the 2 and 10 tribes, respectively.

It can't properly be called a prophecy if written after the fact now can it?

And if it takes place in Babylon it means that the story is a pseudepigraph and Isaiah didn't write Isaiah.

Another thing missed a lot is the mistranslation of "alma" in the Tanakh to "virgin" when an alma could hypothetically refer to a young girl who is a prostitute.

The child predicted, called "Immanuel" doesn't refer to Jesus (pbwh) at all, an error of the anonymous first Gospel attributed pseudepigraphally to "Matthew" the Judahite tax collector who would not have been unaware of such a poor translation of the LXX and would likely​ not have used it at all, definitely would have omitted the Isaiah prophecy knowing it applied to Cyrus, King of Persia, redeemer and "God's Annointed" or Messiah.


Not trying to be negative, again, just telling the facts.

Jews don't care about this, they say it's still "inspired."

I doubt that very much. It doesn't inspire the reader to feel that God loves his children, if you read it is is blood and guts, and God is doing much of it, ordering the rest.

It dishonors Solomon, I would say slanders him by making the most important King and wisest man of all time an idolater, which allows for Judah to war with the north and the reader to believe that it was the north and descendants of Solomon who were evil idolaters.

Although his "Seal" the hexagram is the symbol of Israel today and Judaism so one wonders...regardless they call it, inappropriately, the "magen David" to distract from the fact it is the Seal of Solomon and a representation of the #666 using geometry.

Solomon received 666 talents of gold as a tribute from one nation, mentioned twice in the Bible, that's the connection to Solomon. It's not his only symbol he also is associated with a ring with a pentalpha on it in the T. of Solomon that gave him dominion over spirits/djinn.

They never returned from Assyria to tell their side of the story and the Babylonian Jews were not free of idolatry so I like how the Qur'an clears Solomon of the charge of idolatry. I will find the verse.
edit on 29-4-2017 by Disturbinatti because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2017 @ 03:59 AM
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originally posted by: Disturbinatti
Not to be negative, but Jewish authorities on the subject date the entire Tanakh no earlier than 600BC roughly, all after Babylon and Assyria captured the 2 and 10 tribes, respectively.
It can't properly be called a prophecy if written after the fact now can it?
And if it takes place in Babylon it means that the story is a pseudepigraph and Isaiah didn't write Isaiah.

I think you are confusing two different issues- the time when the texts were written, and the times when the texts were edited and collected together. Look again, and you will find that the date you are quoting is a possible date of collection. No modern academic scholars will give such a late date to the original writing of all the texts.


Another thing missed a lot is the mistranslation of "alma" in the Tanakh to "virgin" when an alma could hypothetically refer to a young girl who is a prostitute.

If you read my thread on the text, which is linked in the OP, you will see that I am not depending on the "virgin" translation. I deal with the original purpose of the prophecy, Isaiah's assurance to the king of a besieged city facing starvation. That is why I refereed to it in this thread dealing with historical issues.

This thread is not about Solomon, and I am not interested in the Koran as an authority.

edit on 29-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



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