Friday, January 21, 2011

Isaiah 18-22 (1/21/11)

S: In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
(Isaiah 19:19-25)

O: Assyria is on the Northeast border of ancient Israel, Egypt is on the Southwestern. Both Assyria and Egypt were oppressors of Israel, so this is a dramatic turn of events, that Egypt should repent and turn to God with the Assyrians. The altar to the LORD in the midst of Egypt and the pillar to Him at the border has raised much discussion. I've heard it said that both of these statements refer to the Great Pyramid. Someone asserted that the Great Pyramid is both in the midst of Egypt (in Giza) and on the border of "Upper and Lower" Egypt, which I can't verify. "Lower Egypt" is (surprisingly) Northern Egypt, the fertile Nile region, but it looks as if the border would be somewhat south of Giza. At any rate, I found this page (http://bit.ly/eQwerR) which states,

"In the Hebrew language the letter symbols of the language are also the same symbols as numbers. The 30 words of Isaiah 19:19 in Hebrew have a sum total of 5,449. This is the total numerically of Isaiah 19:19. The distance between the north and the south poles boring through the earth divided by 500 million equals 5,449. The number of pyramid inches from the base of the pyramid to the summit platform of the pyramid is 5,449."

It's fascinating to think that the Great Pyramid might have been originally constructed by Enoch as a testimony to the One True God, might have survived the flood (locals call it the Pillar of Enoch and salt deposits found in the so-called "Queen's Chamber" may indicate it was once under ocean water). Many people get so into this that they dedicate much time and effort to solving the riddle of the Pyramid.... but the passage itself is an intriguing riddle. Israel was captive and became a nation in Egypt, the first world empire, then ten tribes were captive to Assyria, the second world empire, then the nation of Judah was captive to Babylon, the third world empire. Babylon figures prominently in the end times as symbolic of spiritual fornication and the source of all idolatry, the Antichrist is called "the Assyrian" (See Micah 5:5-6, Isaiah 10:5-12) - yet for all this, God looks for a future day when the ancient enemies, oppressors and terrorists of God's people for virtually all of human history will be the highway and the people for worship of the true and living God.

A: One of my passages for today's reading likewise is said by many to possibly refer to the United States (18:1-3) but I'm unconvinced. However, if God's ancient enemies could be redeemed to the degree that they are called his people, the work of his hands, is there not great hope for America? 2 Chron 7:14 is often leveraged out of context, with the implication that God will be obligated by that passage to heal America if only Christians will humble themselves, pray, seek his face and turn from their wicked ways. As born-again Christians increasingly become a minority in my country, I don't know if it can be made to apply in such a cut-and-dried fashion. But there is certainly hope for America if there's future hope for Egypt and Assyria.

P: Father, I lift up my country to you in the hope that you will again revive us, so that your people may rejoice in you. It's not wise to speak of former days being better than now, your Word says; but to long for another great revival like the first and second Great Awakening, like the Welsh Revival, this is surely something you would desire as well. May my children grow up in a more righteous society than mine.

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