Prophecy of Isaiah – Isa 20:1-6 How Shall We Escape From The King of Assyria?

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 Isa 20:1-6 How Shall We Escape From The King of Assyria?

Isa 20:1  In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;
Isa 20:2  At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Isa 20:3  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;
Isa 20:4  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Isa 20:5  And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.
Isa 20:6  And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

We now have the king of Assyria right back in his voracious ways, in this next chapter after the Lord Himself called Assyria the "blessed... work of My hands".

Isa 19:24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:
Isa 19:25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

And what is 'the king of Assyria doing here in this chapter? He is conquering and plundering "the Egyptians... and the Ethiopians", Israel's only hope of being saved from the king of Assyria.

Assyria and Egypt will both be saved through the lake of fire. But in the mean time both are used as instruments in the Lord's hand. Egypt symbolizes our flesh, the world within us which wants us to depend upon her for our well being, while Assyria, symbolizes the rod of the Lord's indignation against both Israel and Egypt. (Isa 10:5)

That is the message of our study today. Our old man is sacrificed for the salvation of our new man:

Isa 20:1  In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;
Isa 20:2  At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Isa 20:3  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;
Isa 20:4  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

The first thing to notice is that God always first warns us, then admonishes us to repent, before He pours out His judgments and His wrath upon the kingdom of our rebellious old man. Just as He first warned Adam and Eve of the consequences of disobedience, so also the fall of Ashdod was a warning to Judah and Jerusalem, the Old Testament types of you and me, the Lord's rebellious apostatized people, that their own judgment was very near.

Spiritually Egypt and Ethiopia symbolize and typify the rebellious Adamic flesh into which we are all born. Egypt and Ethiopia, in these verses, typify "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." It is our own flesh and our own wisdom and  our own understanding upon which we just naturally depend to get us through every trial of life. For this reason we are told:

Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Pro 3:7  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Leaning on our own understanding and being wise in our own eyes is symbolized by our hope in the Ethiopians as our expectation and Egypt as our glory. It is a recipe for disaster because "The inhabitant of this isle" in verse six symbolizes apostate Israel, who as "types of us" (1Co 10:6), has turned her back on her true and only Savior and is now depending upon her own flesh and the things of this world for deliverance and for salvation.

The first Christian martyr, Stephen, just before his stoning, tells us this about ourselves:

Act 7:41  And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
Act 7:42  Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?

1Co 10:6 Now these things became types of us, for us not to be lusters after evil things, (CLV)

Deu 4:19  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Before we come to know The True Shepherd we are "the nations under the whole heaven". It is we to whom the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, has been divided.  The worship and service we render to those heavenly bodies is accomplished by keeping the "days, months, times and years [of] the traditions of men" in every society on earth. Societies absolutely insist that their citizens participate. The pressure to partake is irresistible. Never mind, they insist, these holy spirit inspired words:

Gal 4:9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Gal 4:12  Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him" (Pro 3:6) means that we should have His word directing our every move, and His Word does not sanction the observance of the traditions of men:

Col 2:7  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Col 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

"As you have been taught" tells us that Paul spoke the same thing to these Colossians that he had taught to the Galatians. The Greek word translated "rudiments of the words" here is the same Greek word translated as "weak and beggarly elements" in Galatians 4. It is the Greek word 'stoicheion', and this is how Strong's defines this word:

G4747
στοιχεῖον
stoicheion
stoy-khi'-on
Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4748; something orderly in arrangement, that is, (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): - element, principle, rudiment.

The way 'stoicheion' is used in Galatians 4 and Colossians 2 speaks of the "basal, fundamental arrangement" of the "elements of this world". This pull of  our flesh to fit into society is symbolized by "Egypt [our] glory".

When we look at the base G4748 this what we see:

G4748
στοιχέω
stoicheō
stoy-kheh'-o
From a derivative of στείχω steichō̄ (to range in regular line); to march in (military) rank (keep step), that is, (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety: - walk (orderly).

This base of 'stoicheion' is 'stoicheo', and of the five times it appears in the New Testament, it is always translated with the English word 'walk' as in:

Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk [stoicheo] in the Spirit.

So both words mean the same thing. They both mean to conform to the accepted principles we are expected to uphold, whether it is the principles of the doctrine of Christ or the principles of "the elements of this world [and] the traditions of men".

It always helps us to better understand a word when we see it used in both its positive and its negative applications. Galatians 4 and Colossians 2 both demonstrate the negative application of this Greek word 'stoicheion'. Both of those scriptures admonish us against conforming to the world's accepted principles of submitting to, conforming to, and participating in the observance of the days, months, times and years of the traditions of men.

Here is an example of its positive application:

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles [G4747: 'stoicheion', basal, fundamental...arrangement] of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Romans 14:1 tells to bear with the weak in faith who can "eat [only] herbs" and who "esteems one day above another". We are told "let every man [weak and strong in the faith] be fully persuaded in his own mind." Romans 14 also lets us know that it is those who are:

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Any "weak in the faith... babe in Christ" (1Co 3:1-4) can esteem birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, Easter and Halloween, and fit right in with the traditions of men. It requires being very strong in the faith to "regard not the day... unto the Lord".

So what are the strong in the faith to do with the weak in the faith? These are our instructions for how we are to treat those who are not yet given the strength to "regard not the day... unto the Lord":

Rom 15:1  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Rom 15:2  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Rom 15:3  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Rom 15:5  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 15:7  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Christ died for us "while [we] were yet in [our] sins" (Eph 2:1-5). The least we can do is to be patient with those who are "weak in the faith... esteem[ing] one day above another". Nevertheless, nothing said in Romans 15 contradicts Romans 14:1, and it is incumbent upon "We which are strong" never to permit "them that are weak in the faith... to [engage in] doubtful disputations" about already established discernments and already established Biblical doctrine, such as Galatians 4:1-10 and Colossians 2:8-22.

The vast majority of ancient Israel's history was spent desiring to be like the nations about them and living in total rebellion against their own marriage covenant which required fidelity to their Husband, Christ, and to His laws. Here is how Christ portrays Israel's history:

Mat 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

The martyr Stephen said this just before he was stoned to death:

Act 7:51  Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Act 7:52  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

In this chapter of Isaiah Christ is telling Israel, a type of us, that the time has come for them to be punished for their infidelity. As we have seen, Assyria is the symbol for "the rod of [His] indignation".

Isa 10:3  And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
Isa 10:4  Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Isa 10:5  O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
Isa 10:6  I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

"The people of [Christ's] wrath" is us, if we are "the house of God" in this age, because His judgment "begins at the house of God" (1Pe 4:17). This judgment begins with Christ revealing our own nakedness to us. Let's put Isaiah's words together with the words that say the same thing in the book of Revelation.

Here again is Isaiah:

Isa 20:2  At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Isa 20:3  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;

And this is the book of Revelation:

Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The fact Isaiah was instructed to expose his own nakedness for three years tells us the process of judgment has begun at the house of God. [Link to the study on the number three.]

The phrase "At the same time" refers to the time that the king of Assyria fought against and took Ashdod. The king of Assyria had already come up against King Ahaz and had placed him and his people under tribute.

2Ki 16:8  And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.

Babylon, the king of Assyria, is called "the great city wherein our Lord was crucified", revealing that Babylon is the Lord's own people (Rev 11:8). Israel, as a type of us, was already naked and yet refused to acknowledge her own nakedness, telling herself:

Rev 18:7  How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Rev 11:8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

It is the blindness and stubbornness of His own people, you and me, which gives the Lord the excuse He is seeking to destroy the kingdom of our old man within us, and to show us our own spiritually naked condition.

Isa 20:4  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

If we think this twentieth chapter of Isaiah is simply a history lesson, then it has no personal application. This is not just a history lesson, rather:

1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

At the appointed time, we are brought to see our own nakedness, and we are made to acknowledge that there is no way to avoid the destruction which is staring us in the face:

Isa 20:5  And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.
Isa 20:6  And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

"This isle" is us, those whom the Lord is judging in this age. This all happened to Israel, to Ethiopia and to Egypt, as a "type of us", and it is all "written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come."

1Co 10:6 Now these things became types of us, for us not to be lusters after evil things. (CLV)

Up to this time our own pride, our own flesh, has been our "expectation" and our "glory", and we have indeed been "lusters after evil things". We actually think we can deliver ourselves from the judgment of the kingdom of our old man. It is our old man, the beast within us, who is symbolized in this passage by Ethiopia and by Egypt, both of which had been very formidable powers at their own appointed times. "Their expectation [and] their glory" is our own 'expectation... and... glory', as the Lord's apostatized people. But now "the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?"

Rev 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Revelation 17 portrays our beast within us, and all of his allies within us, as "ten kings" who will agree to give their power to the beast and to go to war with the Lamb. The number 'ten' in scripture signifies the epitome and the perfection of our corruptible, dying flesh: Link to the study on the number 10.

Rev 17:12  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Rev 17:13  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Rev 17:14  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

"These shall make war with the Lamb" tells us that judgment has come upon us and that the destruction of the kingdom of our old man is at hand, because "the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful." They are not just called and chosen, but those who are with the Lamb are "called, and chosen, and [they are also] faithful [to the end]", which is required of those who will rule with Christ in His kingdom:

Mat 10:21  And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

The fact that we are now granted to be "ashamed of Ethiopia [our] expectation, and of Egypt [our] glory", and the fact that we now are saying, "Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?" tells us that we have been brought to accept the fact that our old man has no way of escaping from, or being delivered from, the king of Assyria. We have been brought to accept the destruction of the kingdom of our old man and to see that allying ourselves with our own flesh was a very dear mistake because:

2Ki 18:21  Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.

Isa 36:6  Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

King David tells us the same thing in these words:

Psa 146:3  Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
Psa 146:4  His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Psa 146:5  Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Egypt and its king, Pharaoh, symbolize our corruptible flesh. It is inevitable that we will seek to Egypt as our ally against the judgment the Lord has placed in "the rod of His indignation... the King of Assyria." When we do so, we become the enemies of Christ, and we are actually going to war against Christ. But "the Lamb... is Lord of lords, and King of kings", and He will judge us and He will send us into Babylonian captivity, before He brings us "out of her" and before He will overcome and utterly destroy the kingdom of our old man. It has proceeded out of the mouth of God, and we will live by these words:

Hos 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Hos 11:2  As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
Hos 11:3  I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
Hos 11:4  I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
Hos 11:5  He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
Hos 11:6  And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.

But it is all "working together for good to them who [have been dragged to] love God, and who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ really is good news for all men because He came into this world to judge it:

Joh 9:39  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
Joh 9:40  And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Joh 9:41  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Only a "few... firstfruits" are given to be faithful to the end in this age, but in the Lord's time "all in Adam [will] be made alive... in Christ" (1Co 15:22), and then all mankind will say together:

Isa 26:8  Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

We will stop here for now, and we will cover these verses in our next study:

Isa 21:1  The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.
Isa 21:2  A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.
Isa 21:3  Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.
Isa 21:4  My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.
Isa 21:5  Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.
Isa 21:6  For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.
Isa 21:7  And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:
Isa 21:8  And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:
Isa 21:9  And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.
Isa 21:10  O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.

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