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Bible verses about Assyria-Rod of God's Anger
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ecclesiastes 3:5

“Gather” and “scatter” make a couple frequently encountered in the Scriptures. In Matthew 12:30, Christ clarifies that, from His viewpoint, gathering and scattering are opposites and are therefore mutually exclusive: “Anyone who is not for Me is really against Me; anyone who does not help Me gather is really scattering” (Good News Translation [GNT]; see also Luke 11:23). You cannot do both at once.

However, as Ecclesiastes 3:5 avers, it is possible to scatter and gather at different times. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God announces that He does just that—scatters today and gathers tomorrow: “I scattered My people, but I will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock” (Jeremiah 31:10, GNT). God “scattered over the whole earth” the descendants of Ham, Japheth, and Shem (Genesis 9:19, New International Version [NIV]). Later, He scattered the House of Israel, using the Assyrian as His agent (II Kings 17:7-18). Still later, He employed the Babylonian to scatter the folk of Judah—all but the “poorest of the land” (II Kings 25:12), a pitiful remnant.

Finally, He hired the Romans to disperse the Jews from Jerusalem and surrounding territories. In doing so, they “destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matthew 22:7). They carried at least some of the accouterments of the Temple service to Rome. Someone disassembled the altar. The blood sacrifices ceased. The diaspora commenced in earnest. Yes, indeed, yesterday, God did plenty of scattering.

Charles Whitaker
Scattering and Gathering: Images of History and Prophecy (Part One)


 

Isaiah 10:27-34

The prophet Isaiah, living in the eighth century BC, spoke against the moral decline and idolatry of the people of Judah and those of the northern kingdom of Israel. His tenth chapter begins with a "woe" against those in government—princes, judges, administrators—who use their power to crush the needy, pervert justice, and line their own pockets. God promises shameful and painful judgment as their end.

The next "woe" falls on Assyria (Isaiah 10:5). God calls it "the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation," meaning that He would use Assyria to punish Israel for her terrible sins. God gives Assyria a free hand to slaughter and burn from Dan in the north to the wilderness in the South. However, it is clear that the Assyrians begin making more of themselves than is due them; God describes them as arrogant and boastful, thinking that they had conquered the people of God by their own power. God can take only so much of that kind of pride. So He says, "Therefore it shall come to pass, when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, 'I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks'" (Isaiah 10:12).

The chapter goes back and forth, sometimes revealing the thoughts of the "arrogant heart" of the Assyrians, and sometimes predicting how he would punish them and how the remnant of His people would turn to God. As the chapter nears its end, God comforts His people, telling them, "O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. . . . For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction" (Isaiah 10:24-25). Yet, Isaiah then records just how much of the land of Israel the Assyrian army will destroy and occupy before it meets God's wrath. (God Himself takes care of it outside the walls of Jerusalem, slaying 185,000 of Sennacherib's troops by disease, and having Sennacherib himself assassinated by his own sons after he returned home; see Isaiah 37:36-38.)

Isaiah 10:32 appears in this section. The "he" is the Assyrian army, perhaps more specifically the headquarters of the king and his staff, shown remaining at Nob, shaking a fist at the capital city just across the valley. Nob, known as a dwelling place for priests, is a city located on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus opposite the Mount of Olives and just a mile or so northeast of Jerusalem. Isaiah's prophecy shows how close the Assyrians have encroached upon the City of David, treading the houses of the priesthood underfoot, defying the city of the Temple in which they served.

The good news is that the prophecy indicates that the Assyrians will get no further—in other words, to the city walls and no further. While He used them to raze and plunder and kill throughout the whole of the country, God would not allow them to touch Jerusalem and His Temple. Not yet. For their forsaking of God and the covenant, Israel would go into Assyrian captivity (see II Kings 17:1-23), but Judah would be spared for another century or so, when God would raise Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldeans to finish what the Assyrians started.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh


 

 




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