Description
Israel is rebuked for trusting in an alliance with Egypt, whose protection proves useless when Antichrist invades. The Jews have to flee from Israel, but when they cry to God for help, Jesus steps in to save them. Antichrist ends up in the Lake of Fire.
Commentary
Whereas the previous chapter addressed Jerusalem saying, "Ariel is as good as dead", this chapter addresses the people of Israel in general with a similar warning, "The rebellious children are as good as dead". Israel is rebuked for making political alliances, in this case with Egypt, rather than trusting in God's protection (v1-7). Envoys are pictured travelling through the Negev (in southern Israel), carrying riches from Israel to Egypt to buy her protection. But God says that Egypt will be totally incapable of helping her (v7). He regards Israel's trust in Egypt as rebellion against himself (v9). Verses 13 to 17 make clear that the invasion Israel fears will happen, and Egypt's protection will be useless. This prophecy may have been partially fulfilled during Isaiah's time when Assyria conquered the northern kingdom in 722 BC and deported the northern tribes to Assyria. But verses 18 to 33 place it within an end-time context, describing God's end-time deliverance of Israel in ways that have never been fulfilled in history. Perhaps when Antichrist rises to power, Israel will hope that its 1979 peace accord with Egypt will guarantee her protection of Israel. However, according to Daniel 11:42, when Antichrist starts invading other countries, Egypt is one of those that will fall.

Having prophesied Israel's end-time downfall in verses 13 to 17, Isaiah then prophesies God's mercy to Israel. God sits on his throne, indicating that he is still on control of world events, and he is ready to have compassion on Israel. When he hears their cries of despair, as in chapter 29, God will then respond (v19). Although God will give them distress to eat and suffering to drink, a turning point comes when God comes out of hiding, so-to-speak, and starts to teach and guide the people of Israel (v20-21). According to Zechariah 14, while the Jews are fleeing from Jerusalem, Jesus will appear on the Mount of Olives, divide the mountain, and create an escape route for the refugees, before then turning to fight Israel's enemies. At that time, the Jews will be guided by God, "This is the correct way, walk in it” (v21). Verses 27 to 32 picture God coming down as Jesus, engaging in battle like a mighty warrior against Israel's enemies. These verses describe various weapons that Jesus uses, whether metaphorically or literally, to destroy his enemies. These include his words that are like a destructive fire (v27), his battle cry that overwhelms like a flooding river (v28), a driving rainstorm and hailstones (v30), his shout that will shatter Assyria (the empire of the Antichrist) and a club or cudgel (v31-32), and breath like a stream flowing with brimstone (v33). Psalm 29 similarly describes Jesus using his voice as a weapon against Lebanon. Verse 32 speaks of musical accompaniment to Jesus' acts of war. It is like some great Hollywood movie in which Jesus shows off his victorious defeat of Antichrist, with symphony orchestra playing in the background.

Verse 33 speaks of the burial place (Hebrew: Topheth) having already been prepared. Topheth was in the Valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, and is a place where Israel sacrificed children in the fire to Molech, the god of Ammon, before King Josiah desecrated it (2 Kings 23:10). The implication seems to be that God has prepared a fire in which to burn up the Antichrist and his armies. It is therefore an Old Testament description of the Antichrist being thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

According to verse 26, at the time when Jesus is delivering Israel, the sun becomes seven times stronger. This corresponds to the 4th bowl judgment in Rev 16:8-9, "Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was permitted to scorch people with fire. Thus people were scorched by the terrible heat, yet they blasphemed the name of God, who has ruling authority over these plagues, and they would not repent and give him glory" (NET). The time when Jesus fights Isreal's enemies corresponds with the bowl judgments of Revelation 16. Verse 25 describes this as "the time of great slaughter when the fortified towers collapse". During the sixth bowl judgment, the nations are gathered to Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). The Battle of Armageddon is the day of great slaughter, and occurs during the seventh bowl judgment. It coincides with a great earthquake. Revelation 16:18-21 tells us, "Then there were flashes of lightning, roaring, and crashes of thunder, and there was a tremendous earthquake – an earthquake unequaled since humanity has been on the earth, so tremendous was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. So Babylon the great was remembered before God, and was given the cup filled with the wine made of God’s furious wrath. 20 Every island fled away and no mountains could be found. 21 And gigantic hailstones, weighing about a hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people, but they blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since it was so horrendous." Babylon is associated with Arabia in Isaiah 21. If the cities of the nations collapse, this will surely include the skyscrapers in the Arabian Peninsula, including all those in Dubai such as Burj Khalifa, the Clock Tower in Mecca, and the Jeddah Tower that is currently under construction in Jeddah and intended to reach a height of 1 kilometre, like a modern Tower of Babel.
Tags
Places: Israel, Assyria, Egypt, Topheth, Negev
Symbols: Topheth
Tags: Armageddon, Armageddon to musical accompaniment, Antichrist as the Assyrian, Bowl judgments, Weapons of Jesus, Fall of Jerusalem, Antichrist invades Israel, Jesus fights muslim nations, Voice of Jesus, Day of great slaughter, Towers fall, Lake of fire, Hell, Antichrist thrown into the lake of fire
Egypt Will Prove Unreliable
30 “The rebellious children are as good as dead,” says the Lord, “those who make plans without consulting me, who form alliances without consulting my Spirit, and thereby compound their sin.
2 They travel down to Egypt without seeking my will, seeking Pharaoh’s protection, and looking for safety in Egypt’s protective shade.
3 But Pharaoh’s protection will bring you nothing but shame, and the safety of Egypt’s protective shade nothing but humiliation.
4 Though his officials are in Zoan and his messengers arrive at Hanes,
5 all will be put to shame because of a nation that cannot help them, who cannot give them aid or help, but only shame and disgrace.”
6 This is an oracle about the animals in the Negev: Through a land of distress and danger, inhabited by lionesses and roaring lions, by snakes and darting adders, they transport their wealth on the backs of donkeys, their riches on the humps of camels, to a nation that cannot help them.
7 Egypt is totally incapable of helping. For this reason I call her ‘Proud one who is silenced.’”
8 Now go, write it down on a tablet in their presence, inscribe it on a scroll, so that it might be preserved for a future time as an enduring witness.
9 For these are rebellious people – they are lying children, children unwilling to obey the Lord’s law.
10 They say to the visionaries, “See no more visions!” and to the seers, “Don’t relate messages to us about what is right! Tell us nice things; relate deceptive messages.
11 Turn aside from the way; stray off the path. Remove from our presence the Holy One of Israel.”
12 For this reason this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “You have rejected this message; you trust instead in your ability to oppress and trick, and rely on that kind of behavior.
13 So this sin will become your downfall. You will be like a high wall that bulges and cracks and is ready to collapse; it crumbles suddenly, in a flash.
14 It shatters in pieces like a clay jar, so shattered to bits that none of it can be salvaged. Among its fragments one cannot find a shard large enough to scoop a hot coal from a fire or to skim off water from a cistern.”
15 For this is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: “If you repented and patiently waited for me, you would be delivered; if you calmly trusted in me you would find strength, but you are unwilling.
16 You say, ‘No, we will flee on horses,’ so you will indeed flee. You say, ‘We will ride on fast horses,’ so your pursuers will be fast.
17 One thousand will scurry at the battle cry of one enemy soldier; at the battle cry of five enemy soldiers you will all run away, until the remaining few are as isolated as a flagpole on a mountaintop or a signal flag on a hill.”

The Lord Will Not Abandon His People

18 For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy; he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God; all who wait for him in faith will be blessed.
19 For people will live in Zion; in Jerusalem you will weep no more. When he hears your cry of despair, he will indeed show you mercy; when he hears it, he will respond to you.
20 The Lord will give you distress to eat and suffering to drink; but your teachers will no longer be hidden; your eyes will see them.
21 You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left.
22 You will desecrate your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away as if they were a menstrual rag, saying to them, “Get out!”
23 He will water the seed you plant in the ground, and the ground will produce crops in abundance. At that time your cattle will graze in wide pastures.
24 The oxen and donkeys used in plowing will eat seasoned feed winnowed with a shovel and pitchfork.
25 On every high mountain and every high hill there will be streams flowing with water, at the time of great slaughter when the fortified towers collapse.
26 The light of the full moon will be like the sun’s glare and the sun’s glare will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, when the Lord binds up his people’s fractured bones and heals their severe wound.
27 Look, the name of the Lord comes from a distant place in raging anger and awesome splendor. He speaks angrily and his word is like destructive fire.
28 His battle cry overwhelms like a flooding river that reaches one’s neck. He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction.
29 You will sing as you do in the evening when you are celebrating a festival. You will be happy like one who plays a flute as he goes to the mountain of the Lord, the Rock who shelters Israel.
30 The Lord will give a mighty shout and intervene in power, with furious anger and flaming, destructive fire, with a driving rainstorm and hailstones.
31 Indeed, the Lord’s shout will shatter Assyria; he will beat them with a club.
32 Every blow from his punishing cudgel, with which the Lord will beat them, will be accompanied by music from the tambourine and harp, and he will attack them with his weapons.
33 For the burial place is already prepared; it has been made deep and wide for the king. The firewood is piled high on it. The Lord’s breath, like a stream flowing with brimstone, will ignite it.
(NET)