Letter To The Jews / Chapter 11

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11: A Remnant Return To The Mighty God

Shortly after, Isaiah gives us another riddle about this “Mighty God.” Speaking on behalf of YHWH, he says: “Woe! Assyria, club of my anger, and rod of my indignation in their hand.” 1

But then he says: “And it will be, when my Lord completes all of his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, 'I will punish the fruit of the proud heart of the king of Assyria, and over the beauty of his lofty eyes.'” 2

And again: “The Lord YHWH of hosts will send leanness upon his fat ones, and instead of glory, he will burn - burn like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel will be for a fire, and his holy one for a flame, and it will consume and devour his thorns and thistles in one day. And the glory of his forest and fertile land will be consumed, from soul to body, and will be as a banner-bearer wasting away. And the remnant of his forest will be numbered so a boy could write them.” 3

During that time, YHWH would also bring about a conclusion: “A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For though your people Israel are as the sand of the sea, a remnant will return to him. A conclusion has been reached: flooding justice. For my Lord YHWH of hosts will bring about a conclusion that has been reached in the midst of the whole land.”4

And before a siege, Isaiah says: “And now, do not mock, so that your bonds are not tightened; because I have heard from my Lord YHWH that a conclusion has been reached on all the land.” 5

Now, the prophecy may have had a partial fulfillment when the angel struck down 185,000 Assyrians. The king of Assyria returned to his land and was killed while bowing down to his god, and his son reigned in his place.

The prophecy of a remnant was also confirmed in the book of Kings: “And the remnant that has escaped of the house of Judah, will take root downward and produce fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and those that escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of YHWH of hosts will do this.” 6

But this was not truly fulfilled in the days of the king of Assyria, for there was no destruction of Judah or Jerusalem in those days, and therefore no remnant who came out of Jerusalem. Later on, the exile to Babylon preserved a remnant, but by then the king of Assyria was already long dead.

Thus, the prophecy concerning the king of Assyria, must surely have an application beyond the events recorded in the book of Kings; and since Isaiah's sons were symbolic of events to come, it is not unreasonable to say that the “king of Assyria” is also symbolic of a king to come later.

The desolation of Jerusalem by the Romans fits the time of a “conclusion” that was brought about “in the midst of the whole land,” and the time when the Lord “completes all of his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.” In that case, Caesar Nero would fit the description of “the king of Assyria,” by his actions, his attitude, and his demise.

He is known to history as one who, in his later years, became proud and arrogant. In the ashes of the great fire of Rome, which he blamed on Christians and whom he burned alive in his own garden, he built a palace for himself, along with a great statue of himself.

It was he who came with fury against your ancestors, until the whole land was flooded by his armies bearing standards with eagle wings. But just as the tents of his army were near to Jerusalem, he came to an inglorious end, with nobody to help him. He was declared an enemy of the people by the Roman Senate, and he fled and killed himself.

Upon his death, the unbroken bloodline of Caesars from Julius came to an end. Five of those Caesars had fallen before him: Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. Nero was the sixth, and the last in this line of Roman emperors. The remnant of his “forest” was limited to a number that even a boy could count.

And so it seems that Nero suffered, in some sense, the divine punishment foretold by YHWH upon “the king of Assyria,” while a “conclusion that has been reached” came upon the land of your ancestors.

1 Isaiah 10:5. 2 Isaiah 10:12. 3 Isaiah 10:16-19. 4 Isaiah 10:21-23. 5 Isaiah 28:22. 6 2 Kings 19:30,31.

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