14-4 Latter-day Sennacherib
As in the prototype with Sennacherib, the destruction of Gog at the second coming will be by Angelic means under the command of Christ. The enigmatic Mic. 5:5 maybe refers primarily to Hezekiah's influence of Angelic forces in leading to the destruction of the Assyrian invader. This would point forward to Christ's use of the Angels to destroy Gog: "This man (Hezekiah/ Jesus) shall be the peace, when the Assyrian (Gog) shall come into our land. . . then shall we raise against him seven shepherds (an Angelic title in Ps. 80:1 and Is. 63:9-11; cp. the seven eye-Angels of Zechariah and Revelation), and eight princes of men"- another Angelic reference, seeing that "the prince of Persia" in Daniel was an Angel. Maybe this implies that the Angels will use other nations as a means of defeating Gog. The primary reference may be to Rabshakeh hearing a rumour of foreign invasion (e. g. by Tirhaka of Ethiopia) and having to return to his own land (Is. 37:8,9). This will be repeated in the last days by the northern invader hearing disturbing tidings from the east and north (Dan. 11:44). It seems hard for these tidings to be about Christ and the saints, who will have come to Jerusalem; in any case, how can the body of Christ be in two places at once? It would be more fitting if they referred to tidings of human armies; perhaps those of the Western bloc? Some schools of prophecy have seen similarities between Britain and Ethiopia (the particular nation mentioned as creating bad news for the original Assyrian king of the north).
The natural Jews in Jerusalem will mirror those in Hezekiah's time exactly- they will have experienced the humiliation of past defeats, will be prone to the taunts of the invaders about not trusting in their unproven Messiah (as they were taunted about Hezekiah), and they will be torn between the temptation of capitulating to the offers of a part in a new communist state of Israel (cp. Is. 36:16,17 and the Assyrian policy for conquered areas), and having total faith in Christ. Due to the spiritual effect of their previous trials at the hands of the Arabs (Zech. 13:8,9), they will make the right decision. The description in Is. 63 of the natural Jews looking warily out of Jerusalem to the saviour Angel coming to save them now falls into place. The saviour that comes up from fighting in Edom and Bozrah, having judged (the figure of the winepress, v. 3) both the saints and the enemies of the Jews, is defined in v. 8-13 as the Angel that led Israel through the wilderness. In the same way as the Angel's kindness and unjustified love at that time was so glorious, so Is. 63 captures the same spirit of supreme thankfulness that will be amongst the Jews as they witness such great salvation yet again.
As the Jews of Hezekiah's time went out of Jerusalem to a revitalized land and started to receive the tribute of the surrounding nations (the primary application of Isaiah's Kingdom prophecies), so the saints will pour forth from Jerusalem to establish the Kingdom worldwide. "Ye shall go out (from Jerusalem) with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing. . . " (Is. 55:12). After the surrounding of Christ in Jerusalem and the defeat of Gog, Ps. 2 describes the establishment of the Kingdom worldwide: "I shall give the heathen for thine inheritance. . . kiss the son, lest He be angry. . " (v. 8,12).
Thus we can summarize our findings chronologically:
- Arab invasions of Israel- Jerusalem ravaged (Zech. 13); destroy land; unless this is part of the early Gog invasions (see next item).
- Angels "visit" Gog to inspire first invasion of Israel (Ez. 38:4; Is. 24:21 AVmg. ) and then turn him back (cp. Assyria's several invasions). It is at this time that the "King of the north" successfully invades Israel and takes Jerusalem, erecting a blasphemous system of worship in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:40-45).
- Second Angelic visiting of Gog some years (? "many days") later to provoke another invasion. It could equally well be at this time that Gog and her Arab nations make the invasion just described.
- Return of Christ; responsible gathered to Jerusalem
- Angels come physically to Jerusalem to minister judgement in conjunction with Jesus
- Rejected punished in Gehenna
- Kingdom conditions evident around Jerusalem- the little stone of Dan. 2 has landed
- Angels inspire the "evil thought" of Gog invading this colony of the redeemed (Ez. 38:10,11)
- Natural Jews in Jerusalem area win battle of faith to believe in Christ in face of the biggest onslaught yet
- Angel appears from Edom/ Bozrah area having executed judgements (the figure of the winepress, Is. 63:3) there, provoking comparison with the love and pity of the wilderness Angel for reprobate Israel (Is. 63)
- Angel destroys Gog with help from Christ within Jerusalem. Micah 5:5 implies that the Angels will use other nations to effect this, perhaps the actions of the western bloc causing Gog to retreat from Jerusalem to his final destruction.
- Saints and Jews pour out of Jerusalem to establish the Kingdom worldwide.
Therefore the key to reconciling the two different schools of thought regarding latter day prophecy may be to recognize that some prophecies are concerning Christ and the saints, whilst others are concerning the Angels, who are operating in geographically separate areas to Christ. Thus the concept of a march of a rainbowed Angel may not be totally wrong; the main error seems to be in thinking that the Angel is Christ and the saints, rather than a literal Angel. Once this is grasped, there is no need to argue for a judgement of believers in Sinai.
One final question; both the prototype in Hezekiah's time and the descriptions in Dan. 11 and Ez. 38 require there to be a personal leader of the northern invasion. Rabshakeh and latter day Sennacherib equate with Daniel's "King (not 'power') of the north", and Ezekiel 38's specific reference to a "rosh" [might one, chief prince] and use of the personal pronoun "thee": "turn thee back. . . thy jaws. . thine army. . be thou prepared. . thy company" etc. All this emphasis needs some explanation. If the prototype of latter day Sennacherib Rabshakeh is to be closely followed, this individual need not be a nation, but a young, headstrong, powerful army commander that mirrors Rabshakeh. To make the clues more exciting, remember that Rabshakeh was probably an apostate Jew (note his references to the covenant name, and evident knowledge of conditions inside Jerusalem). "The man of sin" that is to sit in the temple of God in the last days would seem to have reference back to the "abomination that maketh desolate" and to the planting of the king of the north's tabernacles "between the seas in the glorious holy mountain"- i. e. in the temple area of Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45). This "man of sin" points to an individual.
As a footnote to all this, the following familiar latter day prophecies also have Angelic connections:
- Christ's approach to Jerusalem is described in Ps. 24:10: "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of Hosts (Angels), he is the King of glory". Thus Christ, the Lord of glory, will be especially clearly associated with the Angels as He approaches Jerusalem. He comes with all the Holy Angels with Him, with “saints”, i. e. Angels, to relieve the invasion of the latter-day Sennacherib.
- "Thither cause Thy mighty ones (cp. 'Elohim') to come down" (Joel 3:11) speaks of God manifestation through Angels to destroy the latter day invader, the latter-day Sennacherib.
- "God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens. . his brightness was as the light, he had horns. . . burning coals went forth at his feet" (Hab. 3:3-6) is full of Angel-cherubim language, implying that the people of Israel were led by the Cherubim through the wilderness, even if not fully visible to them. Thus the Angel leading Israel out of Egypt is a type of Christ's second coming, as the sun of righteousness. This passage is painting the picture of a sunrise (see NIV)- which fits in with the picture of Christ's return in Mal. 4:2.
- "I will encamp about mine house because of the army of him that passeth by [the latter-day Sennacherib], and because of him that returneth. . . the Lord of Hosts (Angels) shall defend them" (Zech. 9:8,15) is all the language of Jacob under threat from Esau, being Angelically camped around.