Isaiah 33 – The Distress of Judah & Is History Repeating Itself?

Wow!  I believe that Jesus will be coming back, but I didn’t think it would be in my life time.  Now after reading all of this and re-reading Revelation I think I’ll be seeing Him soon.  That will be so cool.  

King Hezekiah
Hezekiah (or Ezekias) was the thirteenth king of independent Judah in the Bible. The son of King Ahaz, who is portrayed in the narrative as a notorious idolatrer, Hezekiah reversed his father’s policy and became an ardent monotheist who repressed Canaanite religion and attempted to centralize workshop of Yahweh in Jerusalem. He reigned 29 years and is praised by the biblical writers as one of the very best of the kings of Judah. In Christian tradition, Hezekiah is specifically mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Biblical historian William F. Albright has dated Hezekiah’s reign to 715-687 B.C.E. Hezekiah ruled the southern Kingdom of Judah during the conquest and forced resettlement of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon of Assyria. Judah absorbed many refugees from the northern kingdom during Hezekiah’s reign. Hezekiah then faced the conquest of nearly all of Judah except Jerusalem itself by Sargon’s successor, Sennacherib.

Hezekiah is particularly remembered for his monotheistic religious reform, which not only campaigned against idolatry but attempted to centralize the formal worship of Yahweh exclusively in the Temple of Jerusalem.

At the end of his life, Hezekiah was cured of a life-threatening infection by the prophet Isaiah. Later, he unwisely showed his treasure stores to visiting Babylonian diplomats, an act which the prophet condemned, predicting that Hezekiah’s treasures and descendants would be taken to Babylon. His son, Manasseh, reverted to the idolatrous practices of Hezekiah’s father.

Tomorrow we’ll look at…

1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

“Spoilest…dealest treacherously” – probably Assyria – depicted as a deceitful destroyer (see 10:5-6; 16:4, 21:2, 24:16 and notes).

2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

33:2-9 –  a prayer asking the Lord to bring about the promised destruction of Assyria.

3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.

“Lifting up…scattered” – an allusion to Num 10:35, cf Ps 68:1.

4 And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.

5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.

6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

“Wisdom and knowledge…fear of the LORD” – terms linked with Messiah in 11:2 (see 9:6; Prov 1:7).

7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

“Their valiant ones” – the men of Judah, during Sennacherib’s invasion of 701 B.C. (see 10:28-34).

“Ambassadors of peace” – perhaps the three officials who conferred with the Assyrian field commander (see 36:3, 22).

8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

“Highways lie waste” – travel and trade were impossible, creating economic hardship (see Jdg 5:6).

“Covenant” – perhaps the agreement made when Hezekiah paid large sums to Sennacherib (2 Kgs 18:14).

9 The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.

“Earth…languisheth:” – farmland and pastures were ruined by the invaders (see 24:4 and note.

“Lebanon” – renowned for its cedars (2:13) and beasts (40:16).

“Sharon” – a plain along the Mediterranean coast north of Joppa, known for its beautiful foliage and superb grazing land (see 35:2, 65:10; 1 Chr 27:29).

“Wilderness” – desert land associated with the Jordan River and the Dead Sea (see Deut 1:1, 2:8).

“Carmel” – means “fruitful field” as in 29:17, 32:15, or “plentiful field” as in 16:10 and is also associated with lush pasturelands (see 35:2; Mic 7:14; Nah 1:4).

10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

“Be exalted” – through the judgment He brings on His rebellious people (see v 14 and note).

11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you.

“Breath, as fire” – they only produce what results in their destruction.

12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

“Burning of lime” – the burning will be complete (see Amos 2:1).

“Thorns” – they burn very quickly (see 27:4; 2 Sam 23:6-7).

13  Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.

14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

Stamped Bulla
Stamped bulla (front/seal side) of a servant of King Hezekiah formerly pressed against a cord surrounding a papyrus document.
Hezekiah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the son of Ahaz and the 13th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is considered a very righteous king by the author of the Books of Kings. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Bible and is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

According to the Bible, Hezekiah witnessed the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon’s Assyrians in c. 722 BC and was king of Judah during the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC. Hezekiah enacted sweeping religious reforms, including a strict mandate for the sole worship of Yahweh and a prohibition on venerating other deities within the Temple of Jerusalem. Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign.

“Devouring fire” – the presence of the God of judgment (see 29:6, 30:27, 30; Ex 24:17; Deut 4:24, 9:3; 2 Sam 22:9; Ps 18:8; Heb 12:29).

15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

Similar requirements are found in Ps 15:2-5, 24:4.

16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

“Rocks” – symbolic of the security found in God (cf Ps 18:1-3).

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

“King” see 32:1 and note.

“In his beauty” – reflecting on the splendor and majesty of a Davidic king; probably a foreshadowing of the Messianic kingdom.

18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?

“Terror” – the Assyrian invasion (see 17:12-14).

“The receiver” – of the forced tribute collected by the Assyrians (see note on v 8.

“Towers” – Judah’s fortifications were probably under strict Assyrian control (see 2:15).

19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue that thou canst not understand.

“Shalt not see a fierce people” – Assyria will no longer be a feared nation.

“Deeper speech…stammering tongue” – the Assyrian language was related to Hebrew but was different enough to sound strange to Israelite ears (see 28:11; Deut 28:49).

20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.

“Look upon Zion” – the redeemed city, in contrast to the city described in vv 7-9.

“Solemnities” – religious feasts.

“Tabernacle…not be taken down:” – her exile will be over and she will be completely secure.

“Stakes…cords” – cf the similar description of Jerusalem in 54:2.

21 But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.

“Broad rivers” – to prevent easy access to her borders – thus like Tyre (23:1) or Thebes (see Nah 3:8).

22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

Cruelty: The Instrument of Assyrian Control
The New Assyrian Empire was the most powerful kingdom that dominated the Middle East during the early 1st millennium BCE. For four hundred years they illustrated power and control like no other. Their border stretched from Mesopotamia to parts of Asia Minor, Egypt, and Iran. Under their rule were numerous various people with different languages and culture. A secret to their success was their distinguished guts for brutality and cruelty.

Many Kings of Assyrian had displayed proudly their cruelty towards their enemies. Sometimes in reliefs or in their annals, New Assyrian gave detail of their gory exploits against their opponents.

King Ashurnasirpal laid out many of his sadistic activities in one of his annals. He liked burning, skinning, and decapitating his enemies. When he defeated a rebelling city, he made sure they pay a huge price. Disobedient cities were destroyed and razed to the ground with fire, with their wealth and all material riches taken by the king. Their youth and women were either burned alive or made into slaves or placed into the harem. In the City of Nistun, Ashurnasirpal showed how he cut of the heads of 260 rebelling soldiers and piled it together.

Their leader named Bubu suffered horrific punishment. He was flayed and his skin was placed in the walls of Arbail. In the city of Suri, rebelling nobles were also skinned and were displayed like trophies. Some skin were left to rot but some were placed in a stake. Officials of the city suffered decapitation of their limbs.

The leader of the Suri rebellion, Ahiyababa, underwent flaying and his skin was then placed in the walls of Niniveh. After Ashurnasirpal defeated the city of Tila, he ordered to cut the hands and feet of the soldiers of the fallen city. Other than that, some soldiers found themselves without noses and ears. But also, many defeated soldiers had their eyes gouged out. The heads of the leaders of the Tila were hang in the trees around the city.

Ashurnasirpal was not alone in having a psychotic mind. Many of his successors followed his brutality towards enemies. Shalmaneser III had 20,500 enemy soldiers killed by arrow fire. Rebelling cities were “dug up” and burned with fire. Usually, surrounding towns of the unlucky city also suffered the same fate.

Shalmaneser III also illustrated in his relief and carvings how he burned the children of defeated cities. Moreover, he ordered the beheading of the soldiers of disloyal cities and made a pyramid from the heads at the gates of the defeated cities. One time, after he defeated the rebelling city of Arzaskhu, he fastened people alive in the pyramids of heads alongside with pole, which had also alive captured soldiers dangling.

23 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.

“Tacklings” – Jerusalem is pictured as a ship, unprepared to sail into battle against Assyria.

“Then” – when God strikes down the Assyrian army (see 10:33-34, 37:36).

24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Looking beyond Isaiah’s own day to the physically and spiritually whole Jerusalem of vv 17, 20-22.

Is History Repeating Itself?

Unfortunately that very lifestyle is now being massively repeated in the United States, Britain and other Commonwealth and modern Western countries.  Unless there is genuine national repentance, the horrendous consequences are certain.

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Rev 13:5-6).

At a time when frightening trends in world conditions require awareness, alertness and the most sober contemplation, millions are dozing all over the globe. The masses also slept serenely at the time of Noah’s Flood—apparently unaware of an impending calamity. Is history repeating itself?

A sleepy male student did not know the answer to a simple question in a history class at the University of Texas in Austin on a lazy summer afternoon in 1956.  The professor calmly waited.  Finally an answer came forth . “I think you’ll find sir,” he blurted out, “that history repeats itself.”  The whole class erupted in laughter.

You’ve probably heard that all your life.  Like a proverb or truism, people haul it out to sum up a strange turn of present events that parallels what occurred in bygone days.

But does history indeed repeat itself?  The question bears some deep thinking and sober analysis.  It forces us to consider the past and to consult reliable sources.  And most importantly it forces us to ask, what does the Bible say about this question?

God is meticulous in all things, and He wants us to be the same:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”(Gen 1:26).

God likes things done and kept in order:

“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.  And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die and not live” (2 Kgs 20:1).

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people?  And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them” (Isa 44:6-7).

 The first chapter of Genesis shows God bringing order out of chaos.  Although He is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33), God did make humans with independent minds who could and did think for themselves.  They were even able to make decisions contrary to His will and against their own best interests.

Understanding Repetitive Patterns

We should take careful note of how the nations are behaving on the world scene.  The Bible itself sets great store in understanding the repetitive character of human behavior.  Jesus Christ understood it very well. He soberly reflected on trends and conditions before the time of Noah’s Flood and plainly stated:

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt 24:37).

As New Testament scholar William Barclay expresses it in his translation,

What happened at the time of Noah will happen all over again when the Son of Man comes.

But exactly how will history repeat itself before Jesus Christ returns to earth?  Are we to experience another disastrous flood that will wipe out humanity?

No, we have a solemn promise from God that no flood will ever again occur on such a gigantic scale (Gen 9:8-17).

So what then did Jesus Christ mean?  Let’s continue reading what He had to say:

“For in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt 24:38-39).

Christ was talking about an all-too-common pattern in human nature which is often evident just before disaster strikes:

It tries to shut out the possibility that things could go wrong. It sticks its head into the sand like an ostrich. It blinds itself to telltale trends and events. It says, “This is not happening.

Human beings behaved just like this before Noah’s Flood.  Today we are following the same patterns.  It is all too easy to witness emergency after emergency and crisis after crisis on television without natural concern while sitting at ease in our living rooms.

The Bible clearly warns that at the very time when the second coming of Jesus Christ would be imminent, vast numbers of mankind will have drifted into lethargy and apathy, sleepily going about their own day-to-day affairs while shoving alarming trends into the back of their minds.

Attitudes really don’t change much, even with the passing of millennia.  Centuries went by between the time of Noah and the days of Lot.  Yet human behavior in the face of impending tragedy was substantially the same.  

Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III was king of Assyria (859–824 BC), and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II. His long reign was a constant series of campaigns against the eastern tribes, the Babylonians, the nations of Mesopotamia and Syria, as well as Kizzuwadna and Urartu. His armies penetrated to Lake Van and the Taurus Mountains; the Hittites of Carchemish were compelled to pay tribute, and the kingdoms of Hamath and Aram Damascus were subdued. It is in the annals of Shalmaneser III from the 850s BC that the Arabs and Chaldeans first appear in recorded history.

Although he conducted campaigns on the southern and eastern frontiers, Shalmaneser’s main military effort was devoted to the conquest of North Syria. His progress was slow. In 853 bc he fought a coalition formed by the kings of Hamath, Damascus, and Israel in a huge-scale, but indecisive, battle, and he did not penetrate the west until the coalition had broken up.

In 841 bc he defeated Hazael and, after failing to capture Damascus itself, marched to the Mediterranean coast where he received tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Samaria. The submission of the latter is shown on the “Black Obelisk” (from Nimrūd, now in the British Museum) where “Jehu, son of Omri” bows before Shalmaneser.

By 832 Cilicia had been invaded, Tarsus captured, and the region made an Assyrian dependency. The remaining campaigns of Shalmaneser’s reign were led by Shalmaneser’s army commander against Sardur I and the Mannai. Before the king died in 824 bc, civil war broke out between a son, Ashur-danin-apal, and his heir, Shamshi-Adad V. Shalmaneser rebuilt a palace and ziggurat at Nimrūd. His wars were commemorated both on palace reliefs there and on the gates of the temple at Balawat.

The people of Noah’s day ignored his warnings.  Centuries later Sodom paid little or no attention to Lot and the paid with their lives in a very painful way.

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked (2 Pet 2:6-7).  See (Gen 10:1–29).

And most will apparently choose to ignore the stern biblical warnings facing this modern age.  People are often unconcerned and unaware in the face of impending disaster.  That’s the paradox of human nature.  

People simply get on with their lives and hope these appalling trends and conditions will go away, ignoring God as they did before the flood.  It’s like carelessly walking through a minefield or flying serenely toward a menacing thunderstorm.  Such behavior really doesn’t make good sense.

Christ Will Come Again

The biblical book of Hebrews says:

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation” (Heb 9:28).

Scripture says that history will repeat itself.  Jesus Christ will come again.

Most have little trouble believing He appeared on earth the first time as the humble carpenter of Nazareth.  But do they really believe He will return just as the Bible plainly predicts in many, many passages?

Notice that Hebrews says, “…and unto them that look for him…,” will not be surprised. These people are obedient to Jesus Christ, continually watching and praying for His reappearance on earth:

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Lk 21:36).

But to those who continue to behave like the men and women in the days of Noah:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angles of heaven, but my Father only.

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt 24:36-37, 44).

You can’t afford just to get on with your life.  You can’t risk being apathetic in a time that demands awareness, alertness and commitment.  You need to recognize the direction of world affairs and their connection to biblical history.

Jesus soberly warned us to “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17:32).

When the angels brought Lot and his family out of Sodom and Gomorrah prior to it being burnt to a crisp they told them not to look back, but Lot’s wife did and the results were fatal (Gen 19:17, 26).

Unfortunately that very lifestyle is now being massively repeated in the United States, Britain and other Commonwealth and modern Western countries.  Unless there is genuine national repentance, the horrendous consequences are certain.

Yet God often delays His judgments in the hope of true repentance.  The apostle Peter wrote:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

There was a time when I was a non-believer.  I thought it was all hogwash and I even ridiculed those that preached the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I remember back in 1983, I was in jail in Tacoma, Washington, waiting to go to prison for the first time.

A guy in my jail tank spoke of Jesus frequently and he annoyed me.  He kept telling me that I needed to read the Bible.  I told him that I didn’t read fiction and I told him to leave me alone or else.  

He did leave me alone after that, but before he did he told me that if I believe in Jesus and He isn’t real I’ve lost nothing.  If I don’t believe in Him and He is real which he said he knew He was then I’m in a world of hurt in the end.  He also told me to at least read the Book of Revelation.

I don’t know if it was out of curiosity or the Holy Ghost prompted me to read it because I read it.  I couldn’t understand it so I read it over and over until I was blue in the face.  Months afterwards, in prison, I don’t remember what happened or anything but I somehow realized that Jesus Christ is real.  The first scripture I memorized was:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13).

Don’t misunderstand me, my walk with Jesus did not being in 1983.  I believed in Him at that time, but I had been one of the bad seeds that the sower planted.  The following parable is about why some believe and others done, and it is directly at the end of the world.

“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

“And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Black Obelisk
Shalmaneser III had built a palace at Kalhu (Biblical Calah, modern Nimrud), and left several editions of the royal annals recording his military campaigns, the last of which is engraved on the Black Obelisk from Calah. The upper end of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, from Nimrud, Mesopotamia.

The Black Obelisk is a significant artifact from his reign. It is a black limestone, bas-relief sculpture from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), in northern Iraq. It is the most complete Assyrian obelisk yet discovered, and is historically significant because it displays the earliest ancient depiction of an Israelite. On the top and the bottom of the reliefs there is a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III.

It lists the military campaigns which the king and his commander-in-chief headed every year, until the thirty-first year of reign. Some features might suggest that the work had been commissioned by the commander-in-chief, Dayyan-Ashur.

The second register from the top includes the earliest surviving picture of an Israelite: the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel. Jehu severed Israel’s alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and became subject to Assyria. It describes how Jehu brought or sent his tribute in or around 841 BC. The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated:

“The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”
It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846.

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable?  And how then will ye know all parables?

The sower soweth the word.

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mk 4:1-20).

From 1983 to 2007 I had been  the seed on the way side, the seed on stony ground, and even the seed within the thorns.  I had tried for years to get right with God, but I wasn’t willing to fully change my ways for Him.  I wasn’t until July 29, 2007.

History repeats itself, so as Jesus said, get ready!

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Like the Pope, the Catholic Church, Islam, Obama, etcetera, etcetera).

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

A Neo-Assyrian “feather robed archer” figure, symbolizing Ashur. The right hand is extended similar to the Faravahar figure, while the left hand holds a bow instead of a ring (9th- or 8th-century BC relief).
Ashur ,also Assur and Aššur, is an East Semitic god, and the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion, worshipped mainly in the northern half of Mesopotamia, and parts of north-east Syria and south-east Asia Minor which constituted old Assyria. He may have had a solar iconography.

Aššur was a deified form of the city of Assur, which dates from the mid 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom. As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence, he later came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur, which was the most important god of the southern pantheon from the early 3rd millennium BC until Hammurabi founded an empire based in Babylon in the mid-18th century BC, after which Marduk replaced Enlil as the chief god in the south. In the north, Ashur absorbed Enlil’s wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullissu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa—this process began around the 14th century BC and continued down to the 7th century.

During the various periods of Assyrian conquest, such as the Assyrian Empire of Shamshi-Adad I (1813–1750 BC), Middle Assyrian Empire (1391–1056 BC) and Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), Assyrian imperial propaganda proclaimed the supremacy of Ashur and declared that the conquered peoples had been abandoned by their own gods.

When Assyria conquered Babylon in the Sargonid period (8th–7th centuries BC), Assyrian scribes began to write the name of Ashur with the cuneiform signs, the ideograms for “whole heaven” in Sumerian, which may have been pronounced similarly to Aššur in Akkadian, the language of Assyria and Babylonia.

The intention seems to have been to put Aššur at the head of the Babylonian pantheon, where Anshar and his counterpart Kishar (“whole earth”) preceded even Enlil and Ninlil. Thus in the Sargonid version of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian national creation myth, Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, does not appear, and instead it is Ashur, as Anshar, who slays Tiamat the chaos-monster and creates the world of humankind.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel (Dan 9:27, 11:31, 12:11) the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:

Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

For there shall arise false Christs, and FALSE PROPHETS, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Behold, I have told you before.

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

But know this that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 24:1-52).

Next we’ll look at the Judgment on the Nation.