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The Mark of a Prophet? This May Be the Signature of Isaiah

The Mark of a Prophet? This May Be the Signature of Isaiah


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Back in 2009, archaeologists working near Temple Mount came across a collection of clay seals. It seems to read “belonging to Isaiah the prophet” – but there is something missing.

The discovery is an exciting one for biblical archaeologists. As Robert Cargill, an archaeologist and professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, told Live Science it could “be the first archaeological and the earliest extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah ever discovered.”

The Isaiah seal was found at Ophel, the location marked on this map, near Temple Mount in Jerusalem. ( Eilat Mazar/Biblical Archaeology Society )

An interesting prospect, but it is important to note that the seal has not be confirmed as definitely linked to the prophet. One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of that is the fact that the artifact is damaged. There seem to be some letters broken off, which means that the Isaiah referred to on the seal may just be a regular person.

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Eilat Mazar, an archaeology professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, has written her report on the find in the Biblical Archaeology Review magazine. She describes the seal as divided into three registers; the upper section of the artifact is mostly missing, and the lower left side is damaged. What remains of the top register appears to be a grazing doe, which Mazar explains was “a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem.” The second line of script is said to read “leyesha‘yah[u]” – meaning “[belonging] to Isaiah.” One letter is apparently missing from the beginning of the line, but according to theTrumpet the letter can only be the Hebrew letter vav’ (thus completing ‘Isaiah’).

However, it is the third line of the seal impression which could make or break the link to the prophet. It now reads ‘ nvy’, but there is the possibility that damaged portion of the seal may have had the letter aleph – turning the word into the occupation name for prophet. Missing the aleph, it would simply be a surname of a man named Isaiah.

No indication of a missing aleph has been found as of yet, but Mazar ponders on the possibilities :

“Could it therefore be possible that here, in an archaeological assemblage found within a royal context dated to the time of King Hezekiah, right next to the king’s seal impression, another seal impression was found that reads “Yesha‘yahu Navy’ ” and belonged to the prophet Isaiah? Is it alternatively possible for this seal NOT to belong to the prophet Isaiah, but instead to one of the king’s officials named Isaiah with the surname Nvy?”

Left: Drawing of the clay seal with the possible missing letters. Right: The seal of Isaiah. ( Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie/Eilat Mazar )

The seal of Isaiah was found at the Ophel, a site located between the City of David and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was one of 32 clay seals found in an Iron Age debris pit. It has been suggested the seals were once used in a royal bakery.

Many seal fragments were found during excavations. ( Eilat Mazar/Biblical Archaeology Society )

The seal of King Hezekiah was unearthed just 3 meters (about 10 ft.) from the artifact – something which Mazar believes further suggests an association with the prophet. As Newsweek points out, the prophet Isaiah was close to the king. He was the one who “advised the king following the conquest of the northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians.” Prophet Isaiah is also said to have foreseen the coming of the Messiah, the Virgin Birth, and the death of Jesus.

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This clay bulla featuring the seal of King Hezekiah was found in the same excavation area, just 10 feet from where the 'Isaiah' seal was discovered. ( Ouria Tadmor/Eilat Mazar )

Mazar admits that the seal may not have belonged to the well-known prophet, but writes that the discovery holds significance either way,

“Whether or not the bulla we found in the Ophel excavations is the bulla of the prophet Isaiah, it remains, nevertheless, a unique and fantastic discovery. Finding this bulla leads us to consider the personality and the proximity of the prophet Isaiah as one of the closest advisors to King Hezekiah—not only with regard to the events of his time, but also in assessing them from an informed perspective and foreseeing their influence over future events.”

‘Prophet Isaiah’ by Antonio Balestra.


    2,700-year-old clay seal found in Jerusalem bears 'signature' of the Prophet Isaiah (PHOTOS + VIDEO)

    JERUSALEM - A 2,700-year-old clay seal found in Jerusalem may bear the 'signature' of the prophet Isaiah.

    Researchers believe the Hebrew script impressed into the clay once read 'Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.'

    A piece of clay dating back to 2,700 years ago and bearing a seal of the name 'Isaiah' has been discovered in Jerusalem. If the clay seal was for the Prophet Isaiah, it would be the first archaeological evidence of the prophet's existence.

    Archaeologists discovered the damaged clay seal during excavations at the Ophel, an area in East Jerusalem in between the 'City of David' archaeological site and the 'Temple Mount'.

    Iron Age ruins of a massive palace. While the dating remains controversial, Prof. Eilat Mazar believes this could be the remains of King David's palace Olivier Fitoussi

    Ruins of the Ophel or Ophlas mound, upon which ancient Jerusalem was founded, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. This is the site where the ancient clay seal, containing the impression 'Isaiah,' was found.

    Excavations in the Ophel &ndash an area just below the Temple Mount &ndash found the seal mark, called a bulla, in undisturbed Iron Age remains, just 3 meters (10 feet) from where the bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah was found in 2015.

    The extraordinary object, which is estimated to be around 2,700 years old, was found by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University. She reported on her discovery on Thursday in the Biblical Archaeology Review magazine.

    "We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation," lead archaeologist Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem&rsquos Institute of Archaeology said in a statement.

    The clay seal was discovered in Jerusalem in 2009, during excavations at the Ophel in East Jerusalem. It contains the word, Yesha&rsquoyahu, the Hebrew for &lsquoIsaiah.&rsquo

    It&rsquos been damaged over time, making it more of a challenge to determine which Isaiah it refers to. The upper part is missing while the lower left part is damaged.

    The seal has a second word which isn&rsquot legible as a letter is believed to be missing. If that missing letter was the Hebrew letter aleph, it would read &lsquoprophet&rsquo in Hebrew and could be the first evidence of the prophet&rsquos existence, aside from the Bible. However, if the letter isn&rsquot an aleph, the word could be a location or a father&rsquos name.

    "The critically important letter that would be needed to confirm that the second word is the title &lsquoprophet&rsquo is an aleph,&rdquo Christopher Rollston, professor of Semitic languages at George Washington University, told National Geographic. &ldquoBut no aleph is legible on this bulla [clay seal], and so that reading cannot be confirmed at all."

    Rollston also pointed to the fact that the Bible commonly refers to &ldquothe prophet&rdquo rather than simply &ldquoprophet,&rdquo casting further doubt on the archaeologists&rsquo theory. "In short, if this were the word 'prophet,' I would have liked to have seen the word 'the,' as in 'Isaiah the prophet,&rsquo&rdquo he said.

    Ophel archaeological park, with the al-Aqsa Mosque in the background, Jerusalem, Israel.

    Archaeologists discovered the damaged clay seal bearing the name 'Isaiah' during 2009 excavations at the Ophel, and area in East Jerusalem in between the 'City of David' archaeological site and the 'Temple Mount'.

    Isaiah advised King Hezekiah, who ruled the area between the eighth and seventh century B.C. The seal was found 10ft (3 meters) from a seal impression belonging to King Hezekiah at an excavation site in the Old City of Jerusalem, at the base of the southern wall of Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif. The area is a holy site for Christians, Jews and Muslims, and is home to the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

    The site contained a number of impressions stamped on clay, Dr. Mazar explains in Biblical Archaeological Review. The bulla, each measuring about 0.4 inches (1cm) in diameter, had been stamped with a seal bearing the name of its owner.

    Archaeologists discovered the damaged clay seal during excavations at the Ophel, and area in East Jerusalem in between the 'City of David' archaeological site and the 'Temple Mount'. Researchers believe the Hebrew script impressed into the clay once read 'Belonging to Isaiah the prophet'.

    The excavation site included a number of seals belonging to a family named Bes, a name which isn&rsquot known from the Bible.

    This isn&rsquot the first time two seal impressions of people mentioned together in the Bible have been found near one another. During the City of David excavations which took place between 2005&ndash2008, seal impressions of Yehukhal ben Sheleḿiyahu ben Shovi and Gedaliyahu ben Pashḥur, high officials in King Ẓedekiah&rsquos court (Jeremiah 38:1), were found only a few feet apart, Dr. Mazar said.


    Definition of a prophet

    Most dictionaries agree—a prophet is a person who receives a divine message and speaks to other human beings on behalf of a deity.

    Read more about Understanding Prophecy in the Bible

    The Bible’s definition, based on how prophets are described throughout Scripture and what they are tasked to do, isn’t much different than what the dictionaries say. It’s like being God’s spokesperson for a given time and place.

    “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant’” (Jeremiah 1:9-11, NKJV).

    However, the word “prophet” does have connotations that can distract from the original meaning. For example, if you look at a thesaurus, “prophet” often gets lumped in with words like “seer,” “astrologer,” “fortune teller,” “soothsayer,” or even “witch!”

    But before this starts to sound too eerie, this is where the Bible’s definition strongly disagrees. In fact, several Bible verses describe how things like sorcery or divination are forbidden. God specifically instructs His people to stay away from such practices and the people involved in them (Zechariah 10:2 Isaiah 8:19-20 Acts 8:9-24).

    The definition of “prophet” is simple, but the significance is powerful. Being chosen as a prophet is considered an honor, and it demands courage, diligence and selflessness—not easy things for imperfect humans to consistently maintain. Fortunately, one of the perks for prophets was God was with them every step of the way, so they didn’t have to rely on their own human strength or confidence.


    Isaiah

    The book of Isaiah is best understood through its characters. The key players in its saga loom large: the LORD, Israel , Isaiah, King Ahaz, King Hezekiah, Assyria, Sennacherib and Babylon .

    The whole book functions as a covenant lawsuit. The LORD brings suit against Israel for its infidelity to the covenant he made with the nation in the time of Moses. In chapter one, the prophet calls witnesses and begins leveling accusations against Israel . Isaiah himself functions as the LORD's mouthpiece in the trial.

    Isaiah is the court prophet and chronicler in the times of these kings of Judah : Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Ahaz plays the largest role of the four kings. His unfaithfulness to the LORD centers on the trajectory of his political decisions. The LORD wants Israel to rely solely on His providence, but Ahaz seeks foreign alliances. This is where a few other key characters sneak into the story. Assyria was the dominant political power in the Near East in the 8th century BC. Since Assyria's dominance threatened surrounding nations, Syria and Ephraim (Ephraim is the name for the ten northern tribes of Israel.) decide to make an alliance and they threaten to take over Judah . Ahaz is afraid, but Isaiah prophesies that he should remain calm and trust in the LORD (7:7). Instead, Ahaz sends tribute to Assyria calling himself the "servant" and "son" of the king of Assyria (2 Kgs 16:7). Ironically, in 732 BC Assyria does save Judah from Ephraim and Syria by attacking their capitals, Damascus and Samaria (2 Kgs 16:9, 17:6). Yet Ahaz's failure to trust in the LORD draws a sharp rebuke from the prophet and Isaiah prophesies Judah 's demise at the hands of the Assyrians.

    Now things get sticky. The LORD did not want the alliance, but can't bear to destroy Jerusalem just yet. Assyria under the leadership of Sennacherib sweeps down from the north in 701 BC and destroys all the towns of Judah except Jerusalem while Hezekiah is king of Judah . By the LORD's miraculous intervention, Jerusalem is saved, handing a defeat to the mighty Assyrians (37:36). Sennacherib even gets assassinated by his own sons. Yet the LORD is still displeased with Israel 's unfaithfulness.

    Hezekiah blunders by showing the envoys of the king of Babylon all his treasure. They had sought political alliance with Judah , but after seeing the treasure, opt for conquest of Judah instead. Isaiah gives an ominous prophecy of impending doom to Hezekiah for his foolish ostentation (39:5-7). Later on (605 BC), Babylon does conquer Judah and takes the Jews as captive slaves.

    So, how does the contemporary reader learn from Isaiah? Two simple lessons come to mind. First, God fulfills his word. In Isaiah, the LORD foretells many events and they come to pass. Through Isaiah, the LORD speaks of destruction and judgment, but also of salvation and redemption. On all counts, he delivers. Therefore, we can trust in his word for he is always faithful. Second, God's plan incorporates all mankind. Many times in the book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of a jubilant day when all nations will come to worship the LORD at Jerusalem , on Mt. Zion (cf. 25, 66). This awesome day of feasting and celebration is the goal toward which all history tends. In the end, God wins and we share in his victory. From a Christian perspective, this goal is won by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the true son of David and root of Jesse (11:1).

    Isaiah's prophecies are so important for the NT that some of the church fathers referred to him as the first evangelist. The key passages regarding Jesus are about the virgin birth (7:14), the coming of Immanuel (9:1-7), the sprouting of the root of Jesse (11), the suffering servant (53-55) and the mission of the Messiah (61).


    Conclusion

    As the saying goes, prophets were both foretellers and forth tellers. Although they are usually thought of as being announcers of the future, they spent most of their time proclaiming God’s words about the age in which they themselves lived.

    But as the prophets delivered God’s message about the present, it naturally spilled over into the future as they threatened punishment or promised blessing.

    There may not appear prophets today as in the Old and New Testament periods. However, it must be noted that God can still speak through people in whatever way He chooses to reveal certain information at certain times. And this information will not contradict what God has already revealed about Himself in His written word, the Bible.

    The end times have seen a great amount of interest in the last two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive overview of biblical prophecy and eschatology for more than five decades.

    Mark Hitchcock’s book is a comprehensive resource for the twenty-first century. The End will do for eschatology what Randy Alcorn’s Heaven did for people’s understanding of heaven. It provides a solid biblical foundation for Christians to explore the essential truths around the topic of the end of the world.

    The End lays out Biblical prophecy in a clear and understandable way explaining how to interpret Bible prophecy, pointing out key passages, events, and characters. It also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the different views on the Rapture, the Millennium, and the chronology of end-times events.


    Isaiah’s Prophecy of Global Communism

    WRITTEN over 2700 years ago, Isaiah is the preeminent prophet of the coming Era of Peace. The Early Church Fathers often cited his works when speaking of a coming “period of peace” on earth—prior to the end of the world—and as also prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima.

    Yes, a miracle was promised at Fatima, the greatest miracle in the history of the world, second only to the Resurrection. And that miracle will be an era of peace which has never really been granted before to the world. —Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, October 9th, 1994 (papal theologian for Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) Family Catechism, (Sept. 9th, 1993), p. 35

    The Church Fathers also understood this period Isaiah spoke of to be one and the same as that of the “millennium” that St. John foretold in the 20th chapter of Revelation—what the Fathers also called the “Day of the Lord” or “Sabbath rest” for the Church:

    Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years. —Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15

    They interpreted both Isaiah’s and St. John’s symbolic language to refer to the end of a wicked global reign, after the “beast” and “false prophet” are cast into Hell (Rev 19:20), and a Judgment of the Living takes place. Then, the Scriptures will be vindicated, peace will reign for a time, and as Our Lord said:

    This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:14)

    Most significantly, the words of the “Our Father” will be fulfilled at last when Christ’s Kingdom will come in a new modality, and the Father’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This hope was beautifully expressed by St. Louis de Montfort who said the saints during that time “will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.” [1] Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Art. 47 cf. The Coming New and Divine Holiness

    Your divine commandments are broken, your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even your servants… Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will you never break your silence? Will you tolerate all this for ever? Is it not true that your will must be done on earth as it is in heaven? Is it not true that your kingdom must come? Did you not give to some souls, dear to you, a vision of the future renewal of the Church? —St. Louis de Montfort, Prayer for Missionaries, n. 5 www.ewtn.com

    This renewal, Isaiah foretells, involves a certain restoration of creation through a triumph over evil, sickness, and division, for a time.

    These are the words of Isaiah concerning the millennium: ‘For there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the former will not be remembered nor come into their heart, but they will be glad and rejoice in these things, which I create… There shall no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that shall not fill up his days for the child shall die a hundred years old… For as the days of the tree of life, so shall be the days of My people, and the works of their hands shall be multiplied. My elect shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for a curse for they shall be a righteous seed blessed by the Lord, and their posterity with them. —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage cf. Is 54:1

    So, what is coming then is the chaining of Satan (Rev 20:4). But then that also means…

    We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through… We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel, of Christ versus the anti-Christ… It is a trial… of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA August 13, 1976 cf. Catholic Online (confirmed by Deacon Keith Fournier who was in attendance)

    This final battle is steadily progressing toward its peak—a Clash of Kingdoms. Indeed, just as St. John foretold the rise of global totalitarianism under a “beast” before an Era of Peace (Rev 13:5), so too did Isaiah. And just as St. John emphasized how the beast would dominate through the economy by controlling who could “buy or sell” (Rev 13:17), Isaiah reveals how this Antichrist will likewise dominate over the world’s wealth.

    A PROPHECY OF GLOBAL COMMUNISM

    In this past Wednesday’s first Mass reading, Isaiah warns a stubborn and unrepentant Israel (which is a type of the Church who is the “new Israel” cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 877) how a king will come from Assyria to purify their nation.

    Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger, my staff in wrath. Against an impious nation I send him, and against a people under my wrath I order him to seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread them down like the mud of the streets. But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind Rather, it is in his heart to destroy, to make an end of nations not a few. For he says: “By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd. I have moved the boundaries of peoples, their treasures I have pillaged, and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned. My hand has seized like a nest the riches of nations as one takes eggs left alone, so I took in all the earth no one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!”

    According to some Early Church Fathers such as Hippolytus, [2] “…lo, the Lord brings up upon you the water of the river, strong and full, even the king of Assyria. By the king he means metaphorically Antichrist…” — “On Christ and the Antichrist”, n. 57 newadvent.org Victorinus [3] “There shall be peace for our land… and they shall encircle Assur [Assyria], that is antichrist, in the trench of Nimrod.” —Commentary on the Apocalypse, ch. 7 and Lactantius, the Antichrist may originate from present day Syria (Iraq), which was ancient Assyria.

    Another king shall arise out of Syria, born from an evil spirit… and he will constitute and call himself God, and will order himself to be worshipped as the Son of God, and power will be given him to do signs and wonders…Then he will attempt to destroy the Temple of God, and persecute the righteous people and there will be distress and tribulation such as there never has been since the beginning of the world. —Lactantius (c. 250-330 AD), Divine Institutes, Book 7, ch. 17

    To be certain, the Antichrist is an actual person, [4] “…that Antichrist is one individual man, not a power—not a mere ethical spirit, or a political system, not a dynasty, or succession of rulers—was the universal tradition of the early Church.” —St. John Henry Newman, “The Times of Antichrist”, Lecture 1 but he also comes to reign through a global empire—a “beast with seven heads”. [5] Rev 13:1 What is most notable in Isaiah’s passage is what this “him” whom God sends to chastise the nations does: he seizes plunder, carries off loot, moves boundaries, and snatches the riches of the nations. In other words, this is precisely what Communism does: it seizes private property, confiscates wealth, stifles private enterprise, and annihilates the boundaries of nations.

    In her 1921 book exposing the plot for a Communist “world revolution,” author Nesta H. Webster tackled the underlying root philosophy of the secret societies of Freemasonry and Illuminatism who are driving today’s present upheaval. It is the notion that “Civilization is all wrong” and that salvation for the human race lies in a “return to nature.” Not only is this clearly nuanced in the United Nations’ 17 “sustainable development” goals, [6] cf. The New Paganism-Part III but it was also highlighted—and condemned—by Pope St. Leo XIII:

    At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself …that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into view—namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere naturalism. —POPE LEO XIII, Humanum Genus, Encyclical on Freemasonry, n.10, Apri 20th, 1884

    The philosopher François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, was one of the most powerful French Masons whom one man described as “The most perfect incarnation of Satan that the world ever saw.” Voltaire supplies the vision and reason why so many popes condemned and warned about their plot for a global revolution… which, clearly, is well underway:

    …when conditions are right, a reign will spread across the whole earth to wipe out all Christians, and then establish a universal brotherhood without marriage, family, property, law or God. —Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, Stephen Mahowald, She Shall Crush Thy Head (Kindle Edition)

    Former USSR president, Michael Gorbachev, who founded Green Cross International to promote the UN’s initiatives and who remains an avowed atheist and communist, stated on the PBS Charlie Rose Show:

    We are part of the Cosmos… Cosmos is my God. Nature is my God… l believe that the 21st century will be the century of the environment, the century when all of us will have to find an answer to how to harmonize relations between man and the rest of Nature… We are part of Nature… —October 23, 1996, Canada Free Press

    Webster emphasizes how the elimination (ie. plundering) of private property is key to a new world order. Quoting French philosopher and Freemason Jean-Jacques Rousseau, she summarizes how the philosophy behind these secret societies is the idea that private possession is the root of discord.

    “The first man who bethought himself of saying ‘This is mine,’ and found people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society. What crimes, what wars, what murders, what miseries and horrors would he have spared the human race who, snatching away the spades and filling the ditches, had cried out to his fellows: ‘Beware of listening to this imposter you are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one.'” In these words [of Rousseau] the whole principle of Communism is to be found.World Revolution, The Plot Against Civilization, pp. 1-2

    Of course, the best deceptions always have a kernel of truth, if not a lot of truth. This is why the young today are being so easily drawn into Marxist principles once again. But Webster exposes the insanity of this sophistry for what it is:

    Destroy civilization in its entirety and the human race sinks to the level of the jungle in which the only law is that of the strong over the weak, the only incentive the struggle for material needs. For although Rousseau’s injunction, “Go back into the woods and become men!” may be excellent advice if interpreted as a temporary measure, “go back into the woods and remain there” is a counsel for anthropoid apes… As to the distribution of the “fruits of the earth” one has only to watch two thrushes on the lawn disputing over a worm to see how the question of food supply is settled in primitive society. —Ibid. pp. 2-3

    Which is why Our Lady appeared at Fatima to beg for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, lest the errors of Russia (Communism) about to take hold there through the Bolshevik revolution, would begin to spread throughout the entire world. Our Lady was not heeded. As Pope Pius XI pointed out in his powerful and prophetic encyclical, Divine Redemptoris, Russia and its people were usurped by those…

    …authors and abettors who considered Russia the best-prepared field for experimenting with a plan elaborated decades ago, and who from there continue to spread it from one end of the world to the other… Our words are now receiving sorry confirmation from the spectacle of the bitter fruits of subversive ideas, which We foresaw and foretold, and which are… threatening every other country of the world. —POPE PIUS XI, Divini Redemptoris, n. 24, 6

    Indeed, this radical agenda for “the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world” is proceeding as planned. A proposed United Nations blueprint called Agenda 21, pushed by radical but influential environmentalist Maurice Strong and signed onto by 178 member nations, has been absorbed and retooled under the current plan: Agenda 2030. Its predecessor called for the abolition of “national sovereignty” and the dissolution of property rights.

    Agenda 21: “Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.” — “Alabama Bans U.N. Agenda 21 Sovereignty Surrender”, June 7th, 2012 investors.com

    I’m sure the prophet Isaiah would be blowing a very large trumpet were he alive today. Especially when you consider what is happening in plain sight under the cover of COVID-19 and radical quarantine measures for the “common good”: one of the greatest wealth transfers in history. Market analyst, Jim Cramer, notes that corporations and the stock market are suspiciously thriving while small businesses are “dropping like flies.” [7] June 5th, 2020 markets.businessinsider.com The reason is that the Federal Reserve and other central banks are “printing money” in order to buy up government and corporate debt thus hiding what is really happening—the collapse of the global economy and a steady flow of assets to the Reserve. In April, Bloomberg reported that the Fed is “buying $41 Billion of assets daily” Morgan Stanley analysts estimate that the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and Bank of England will expand their balance sheets by a cumulative $6.8 trillion when all is said and done. And stock analyst Greg Mannarino of Traders Choice claims:

    We have not seen anything yet. In order for the Federal Reserve to finish it’s plan [to own the planet], which we’re in the heart of it right now, they’re funnelling trillions of dollars around the world to other central banks to buy assets. —July 16th, 2020 shtfplan.com

    In other words, the worlds wealth is quickly being concentrated into a handful of powerful banking families, who are Freemasons. [8] cf. “Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve” by James Corbett Consider the words of the prophet Micah (this Saturday’s first Mass reading):

    Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches in the morning light [ie. “broad daylight”] they accomplish it when it lies within their power. They covet fields, and seize them houses, and they take them they cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance… (Micah 2:1-2)

    That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved… all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature. Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. —Lactantius, Church Father, The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 17

    Perhaps this is the saddest tragedy of the present hour as we watch rioters burning buildings, looting, toppling statues, attacking police officers, calling openly for Marxist rule to reign: they are essentially handing power over to a banking cartel who are increasingly calling the shots. The irony of this revolution was not lost on Benedict XVI:

    A new intolerance is spreading, that is quite obvious… a negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow. That is then seemingly freedom—for the sole reason that it is liberation from the previous situation.Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 52

    As I have written before, war and division are from the playbook of Freemasonry: stoking international tensions, funding both sides of a war, fomenting racial and gender divisions, breaking everything down in order to eventually build it up again… Ordo ab chaos (order out of chaos”) is the secret society’s modus operandi. Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Wayles Eppes Monticello:

    [T]he spirit of war and indictment… since the modern theory of the perpetuation of debt, has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating. —June 24, 1813 let.rug.nl

    We think of the great powers of the present day, of the anonymous financial interests which turn men into slaves, which are no longer human things, but are an anonymous power which men serve, by which men are tormented and even slaughtered. They [i.e., anonymous financial interests] are a destructive power, a power that menaces the world. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour this morning in the Synod Aula, Vatican City, October 11, 2010

    THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

    One could not end this meditation on Isaiah’s prescient words without noting one other key aspect by which Communism is spreading again throughout the world: “Green” politics. As an official on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) quite candidly admitted:

    …one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth… —Ottmar Edenhofer, dailysignal.com, November 19th, 2011

    This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years—since the industrial revolution. —Chief Climate Change official of the United Nations, Christine Figueres, November 30th, 2015 unric.org

    Just listen to one of the architects of the “new world order” (whose mission is to promote precisely what Isaiah prophesied: “open” borders of nations):

    This is the crisis of my lifetime. Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary. And then came Covid-19, which has totally disrupted people’s lives and required very different behaviour. It is an unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination. And it really endangers the survival of our civilization… we must find a way to cooperate on fighting climate change and the novel coronavirus. —George Soros, May 13th, 2020 independent.co.uk.

    This is the same Soros openly funding these violent revolutionaries, according to an undercover exposé by Project Veritas. [9] https://www.thegatewaypundit.com

    Indeed, we are entering what the United Nations-backed World Economic Forum calls the “Great Reset” and “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” According to their website, it is…

    …a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society. —January 14th, 2016 weforum.org

    But did we ask or vote for this? Here, the latter part of Isaiah’s prophecy is also remarkably coming to fruition over “all the earth… no one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!” No, this revolution is happening with our full co-operation as we all connect to the “internet of things”—and surrender our privacy and freedom at the same time. Yes, it’s remarkable how quickly countries, one by one, confined their healthy populations to virtual house arrest with barely any resistance. How no one has asked how those trillions in free government cheques are going to be paid back. And what a strange silence from the hierarchy of the Church as they closed parishes without a peep. The narrative on social media is tightly controlled as tech giants go into hyper-censorship mode. Even mayors and governors have been strangely quiet as rioters occupy and destroy their streets in the name of fighting “racism.” And rather than denounce their Marxist tactics, many have quietly joined them out of cowardice, fear, or ignorance. Indeed, people are increasingly afraid to “flutter a wing” or “open a mouth” for fear of being banned, shamed, or even fired. Isaiah seemingly foresaw this in stunning accuracy.

    But so too have several popes and members of the hierarchy. The Vatican’s study on the New Age called “Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life” is a critical prophetic work that explains in more detail the warnings a century earlier of previous popes: of a “global vision”—minus Christianity—based on a blend of environmentalism, technology, and playing with the DNA of life altogether.

    Deep ecology’s emphasis on biocentrism denies the anthropological vision of the Bible, in which human beings are at the centre of the world… It is very prominent in legislation and education today… in the ideological theory underlying population control policies and experiments in genetic engineering, which seem to express a dream human beings have of creating themselves afresh. How do people hope to do this? By deciphering the genetic code, altering the natural rules of sexuality, defying the limits of death.Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 2.3.4.1

    In other words, it is a revolution that will culminate exactly in how Isaiah, St. John, Our Lord and St. Paul said it would: in man putting himself in the place of God.

    …that day [the Day of the Lord] will not come, unless the rebellion [revolution] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thess 3-4)

    But it will be a short reign. The Lord will break the wicked, says Isaiah, and for a time, there will be a period of peace and justice:

    He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb… In days to come, The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it… For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again… for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:4-6, 2:2-5, 11:9)

    Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, there will certainly be no more need for us to labor further to see all things restored in Christ… And then? Then, at last, it will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion… “He shall break the heads of his enemies,” that all may know “that God is the king of all the earth,” “that the Gentiles may know themselves to be men.” All this, Venerable Brethren, We believe and expect with unshakable faith. —POPE PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical “On the Restoration of All Things”, n.14, 6-7


    The Mark of a Prophet? This May Be the Signature of Isaiah - History

    The Immanuel Prophecy (7:1-12:6), introduces the hope of the future in spite of pending judgment. Ahaz ruled Judah from 736 to 720 B.C. He was an ungodly king who refused Isaiah’s words of encouragement. Rezin was the last king of Syria to reign in Damascus. He was later killed by Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria. Pekah was the king of northern Israel from 740 to 732 B.C. He usurped the throne by assassinating his predecessor, Pekahiah, and was later murdered by his successor, Hoshea, the last king of Israel.

    Syria is confederate with Ephraim refers to the fact that they had formed an alliance against Ahaz to force him into an alliance with them against Assyria. This event is generally dated at 734 B.C. What Ahaz fears is an invasion of Judah by Syria and Israel.

    Isaiah 7:1 "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, [that] Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it."

    An unsuccessful invasion of Judah by Aram or Syria and Israel, i.e., the northern 10 tribes, led to a continued presence of King Tiglath-Pileser’s Assyrian forces in Israel. Shortly after Ahaz assumed the throne, this threat to Judah’s security brought great fear to the king and the people of Judah (see 2 Chron. 28:5-8 17-19).

    Ahaz was a wicked king. Jotham, his father, was a better man. He rebuilt the temple gates. Uzziah did what was right, as well. We find in this a desire to change rulership over Jerusalem. Jerusalem is God's, so they did not overthrow Jerusalem, and Ahaz remained as their ruler.

    These two, Rezin and Pekah, did not overthrow Ahaz.

    Isaiah 7:2 "And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind."

    This expression, house of David, refers to the Davidic dynasty, personified in the current king, Ahaz.

    It was told to the descendent of David that these two evil groups, Israel and Syria, had made an agreement to overthrow the king of Judah and rule in Jerusalem their selves. Notice in this, that Ephraim is actually speaking of Israel at this point.

    The blowing wind shakes the tree. The news of the confederacy of these two caused Ahaz to fear in his heart.

    Verses 3-9: Isaiah is sent by the Lord to warn Ahaz not to form an alliance with Assyria, but to trust Him to rid the land of its enemies. Accompanying the prophet was Shear-Jashub (“A remnant Shall Return”), his son, whose name was indicative of hope. The location at the end of the conduit of the upper pool is the same place that the Assyrian Rab-Shakeh would later defy Hezekiah (36:2). The invading kings are described as smoking firebrands (literally “smoldering sticks”). The prophet predicts that the threatened invasion will not succeed and that within three score and five years (65 years) the northern kingdom will fall into captivity.

    Isaiah 7:3 "Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field"

    The presence of Isaiah’s son is an object lesson of God’s faithfulness to believers among the people.

    The son of Isaiah was named Shear-jashub, which means a remnant shall return. The fact that Isaiah took his son with him to meet Ahaz could have been to encourage Ahaz that truly a remnant would return even though they were overtaken.

    This conduit was a way to gather water and bring it underground to the city. Water was caught in the high places and funneled into pools for use, especially when they were under siege.

    Isaiah 7:4 "And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah."

    Isaiah’s message to Ahaz is one of reassurance the two invading kings will not prevail.

    The two tails were Pekah and Rezin. Notice, that Ahaz was not to panic, but have faith. Ahaz was to be strong in the Lord, not fainthearted. In this instance here, there was a great deal of smoke, and very little fire. At best, their confederacy was shaky.

    Pekah was the general of Pekahiah. Pekah had killed him and taken his job. Both men were very evil. It is only fair that Pekah's successor killed Pekah, as well.

    Isaiah 7:5 "Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,"

    The son of Remaliah was Pekah. They are against Ahaz, of course.

    Isaiah 7:6 "Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, [even] the son of Tabeal:"

    We see from this, they were not as interested in destroying Judah, as they were of overthrowing Judah's king and putting a king of their own liking in Judah. Tabeal seems to be a Syrian name. "Tabeal" means pleasing to God.

    The "breach" could be a break in the wall, or it could be a break in the confidence of the people in Ahaz.

    Isaiah 7:7 "Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass."

    This particular conspiracy against Judah and its king will not be successful. Jerusalem will remain in the same hands for now.

    Isaiah 7:8 "For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people."

    “Ephraim be broken”. This tribe represented all the northern 10 tribes. The prophet predicted the coming demise because of idolatry (Hos. 4:17). In 65 years they would cease to be a people, first through the captivity of most of them in 722 B.C. and then with the importation of foreign settlers into the land.

    All of this is just saying that Syria is headed up by a mortal man who is no match for God, who is the head of Judah. The overthrow of Ephraim as a distinct race of people was accomplished in 65 years after this prophecy is spoken.

    Ephraim is later on spoken of in a spiritual sense.

    Isaiah 7:9 "And the head of Ephraim [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established."

    The choice belongs to Ahaz. He could trust the Lord’s word or fall into the enemy’s hands or, even worse, experience a final heart hardening (6:9-10).

    The Samaritans had inner-married so much, that they nearly destroyed the entire race of people. This is a call for Ahaz to stand firm in the faith. To doubt would bring destruction, but faith would remove this mountain of problems the evil neighbors had brought.

    Ahaz (like us), should have faith in God's ability, not his own.

    Verses 10-13: As the spokesman of the Lord (Yahweh), Isaiah urges Ahaz to ask thee a sign (miracle). However, the king responded with a surprising pious ploy announcing that he would not ask for such a sign nor tempt the Lord. Instead, Isaiah announced that God Himself had chosen a miraculous sign addressed to the house of David.

    Isaiah 7:10-11 "Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying," "Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God ask it either in the depth, or in the height above."

    Since the Davidic line, and hence the messianic line, was at stake, the prophecy was directed to all generations. It was a prediction of hope: though Israel and Judah may be cut down, a Child will spring forth as a Branch out of its roots.

    God is trying to encourage Ahaz by offering to give him a sign. The fact of the depth and height above shows that nothing is impossible to God. Look at "thy God". The Lord is trying to let Ahaz know that He is Ahaz's God.

    It is not always the correct thing to ask the LORD for a sign, but in this particular case, God told Ahaz He would show him a sign to help him have faith.

    To encourage his faith, the Lord offered Ahaz a sign, but Ahaz feigned humility in refusing the sign (verse 10).

    Isaiah 7:12 "But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD."

    Even though God offered Ahaz a sign, Ahaz refused, believing he might be tempting the LORD. We know that Gideon asked for a sign from God and got his sign. It helped Gideon have enough faith to believe God could use him.

    Gideon's lack of faith was in his own ability. He just wanted to be sure that God had truly called him. He had no lack of faith in God's ability, just his own. Ahaz would have been better off to handle this as Gideon did.

    Isaiah 7:13 "And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David [Is it] a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?"

    Upon hearing Ahaz’s refusal, the prophet broadened his audience beyond Ahaz (see verse 2), to include the whole faithless house of David. The nation was guilty of wearying God (1:14).

    "House of David" was mentioned here, because God had promised that there would be a ruler from the house of David on this throne. Also, this message is not just to Ahaz, but to all of the house of David as well.

    Refusing God is a very dangerous thing to do. This is not a man that Ahaz has said no to, but to God.

    Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

    Since Ahaz refused to choose a sign (verses 11 and 12), the Lord chose His own sign, whose implementation would occur far beyond Ahaz’s lifetime. A virgin: This prophecy reached forward to the virgin birth of the Messiah, as the New Testament notes (Matthew 1:23).

    The Hebrew word refers to an unmarried woman and means “virgin” (Gen. 24:43 Prov. 30:19 Song of Solomon 1:3 6:8), so the birth of Isaiah’s own son (8:3), could not have fully satisfied the prophecy. Immanuel, the title applied to Jesus (in Matthew 1:23).

    This, of course is the promise of the Messiah. This is the One we call Jesus Christ being prophesied to be born of a virgin. The name "Immanuel" means God with us. In fact, God the Word became God the Son, when He was born of the Virgin Mary and the Spirit of God.

    His flesh was as a man, but the Spirit within that flesh was of God. The prophecy of Messiah being in this particular place, seems to be awkward. We must remember the terrible things, mentioned here of Judah, come to an end.

    Messiah, the Son born of the virgin Mary, is the hope for their future. It gives them something to look forward to in this time of gloom. It is a promise that God will visit Judah again. I do not believe it is out of place at all. This is a little glimmer of hope that God has not forsaken them.

    Isaiah 7:15 "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."

    Curds result from coagulated milk, something like cottage cheese. This diet indicated the scarcity of provisions which characterized the period after foreign invaders had decimated the land.

    Butter and honey was not all that Jesus ate, but is a symbol here to show that He would be in a humble family here on the earth. Jesus always knew right from wrong, He did not have to be taught that. In fact, He is the Truth. He alone is righteous in His own behalf.

    The righteousness of a Christian is because we have taken on His righteousness. This is speaking of time, and not the personality of Jesus.

    Isaiah 7:16 "For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."

    “Refuse evil”: Before the promised son of Isaiah was old enough to make moral choices, the kings of Aram, or Syria, and Ephraim were to meet their doom at the hands of the Assyrians.

    Verse 16 happens even before the birth of Jesus, so you can see it is not speaking of a condition of Jesus, but a time. Of course, the land that he abhorrest is Syria and Samaria. They became overthrown spiritually, as well as physically.

    Verses 17-25: The day that Ephraim departed from Judah refers to the division of the kingdom between the northern and southern tribes after the death of Solomon (in 931 B.C.). The king of Assyria is named as the source of the coming destruction of northern Israel, which was fulfilled (in 722 B.C.).

    The fly symbolizes Egypt and the bee symbolizes Assyria. Within two years after Isaiah’s prophecy to Ahaz, Syria fell to Assyria (732 B.C.), and Pekah no longer ruled Israel. Within another 10 years, Israel, (Ephraim), had also fallen to Assyria.

    Isaiah 7:17 "The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah [even] the king of Assyria."

    Not only did the Lord use the Assyrians to judge the northern kingdom, He also used them to invade Ahaz’s domain of Judah. This coming of the Assyrian king was the beginning of the end for the nation and eventually led to her captivity in Babylon.

    Since Ahaz will not use God's help, destruction will come. He is comparing the time with the time when the 10 tribes broke away from the twelve, just leaving the two, of which Judah was one.

    This terrible happening is not just on Ahaz, but all of his people. This is speaking of terrible times to come. This will happen prior to the birth of Jesus.

    From here to the end of this chapter, the desolation prophesied in this section began in the days of Ahaz and reached its climax when the Babylonians conquered Judah. Its results continue to the time when the Messiah will return to deliver Israel and establish His kingdom on earth.

    Isaiah 7:18 "And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the LORD shall hiss for the fly that [is] in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that [is] in the land of Assyria."

    “Fly … bee”: Egypt was full of files, and Assyria was a country noted for beekeeping. These insects represented the armies from the powerful countries which the Lord would summon to overrun Judah and take the people into exile.

    Isaiah 7:19 "And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes."

    Not even inaccessible areas of the land were free from the invading armies.

    Please notice that God just has to hiss (call), the fly and bee, and they will come. They are subject to God. It does not matter how far away they are, they must obey the voice of God. Satan is not the ruler, ultimately, God is.

    Isaiah 7:20 "In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, [namely], by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard."

    The Assyrians were the Lord’s hired blade to shave and disgrace the entire body of Judah (1:6).

    This is not a man being shaved, but a land. It speaks of the utter destruction and barrenness.

    Isaiah 7:21 "And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep"

    The foreign invasion would cause a change from an agricultural economy to a pastoral one.

    This is just saying that the remnant, which is left, will live a very meager life, sustained by, perhaps, one cow and two sheep. Poverty has overtaken those who are left, and they wander with their families just barely getting by.

    Isaiah 7:22 "And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk [that] they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land."

    Milk, butter and honey will be their food. We see from this, that it is possible to get by on just a very little bit. God will bless the cow, and it will give an abundance of milk to help them survive.

    This will not be a prosperous life, but one of survival. The honey will be found wild. This is the land God had promised them, when they came out of Egypt. He had said it would be a land of milk and honey.

    Isaiah 7:23 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall [even] be for briers and thorns."

    The presence of these uncultivated growths was a sign of desolation (as in 5:6).

    “Silverlings” means pieces of silver.

    The vineyard with 1000 vines would have been very valuable. God has stricken the vineyard, and all of the vines have died. Nothing but briars and thorns grow where the vines used to flourish.

    Isaiah 7:24 "With arrows and with bows shall [men] come thither because all the land shall become briers and thorns."

    The "arrows and bows" speak of a hunter out to kill some wild game. The land that is grown up with briars is a good place for wild game to hide. It is no good for cultivation, and the farmers have moved.

    Isaiah 7:25 "And [on] all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle."

    A "mattock" is a hoe. This is, possibly, speaking of an area that had been cultivated with a hoe in the past. This is, possibly, saying that it would be a place the cattle could go into to find something to eat, but would not be fit for man.

    The lesser cattle could be speaking of wild animals similar to a deer. They like to hide in briar thickets. A person navigating the same briars and thorns would probably get stuck.

    Isaiah Chapter 7 Questions

    2. Which of them was the better man?

    3. Who was king of Syria at the time mentioned here?

    4. Why were they not able to overthrow Jerusalem at this time?

    5. Who was confederate with Syria?

    6. His heart was moved as what?

    7. Who is Ephraim speaking of in verse 2?

    8. What was the name of Isaiah's son?

    10. Why did Isaiah take his son with him to meet Ahaz?

    11. What instruction from God did Isaiah give Ahaz in verse 4?

    12. Who were the two tails?

    13. There was a great deal of _______, and very little ______.

    14. Who was the son of Remaliah?

    15. What could the breach in verse 6 be?

    16. What were these enemies really interested in doing?

    18. The head of Syria is __________.

    19. In how many years from the time Isaiah spoke the prophecy, will Ephraim be broken?

    20. Whose ability should Ahaz have faith in?

    21. What unusual thing did God tell Ahaz to do?

    23. Ahaz would have been better off to handle this as ________ did.

    24. Why was "house of David" mentioned in verse 13?

    25. What sign did God give them?

    26. What is this prophetic of?

    27. What does "Immanuel" mean?

    28. Why does the author believe the promise of Messiah, here, is not out of place?


    Did Archaeologists Just Prove the Existence of Prophet Isaiah?

    A stunning article published Thursday announced that archaeologists have stumbled upon the first physical evidence of the existence of the prophet Isaiah.

    Candida Moss

    DeAgostini/Getty

    If you asked people whom their favorite biblical prophet is, there’s a strong chance they would answer Isaiah. Sure, Moses gets all the accolades, received the tablets, and is the most important but Isaiah is the prophetic book most quoted by authors of the New Testament. For Christians, Isaiah predicts the coming of the Messiah, the death of Jesus and the Virgin Birth. So, it is particularly auspicious that in a stunning article published today in Biblical Archaeology Review archaeologists announced that they have stumbled upon the first physical evidence for the existence of the prophet Isaiah.

    The evidence itself comes in the form of a small piece of clay (an impression left by a seal), a mere 0.4 inches long, which appears to bear the inscription “Isaiah the prophet.” It was unearthed as part of excavations of a previously undisturbed pile of debris at the Ophel excavation in Jerusalem. The dig is headed by Eliat Mazar, who provides a description of the discovery, significance, and translation of the seal in an article published in this month’s issue of BAR. The debris contained figurines, pottery fragments, pieces of ivory, and some clay seal impressions, known as bullae. These impressions were created when the owners of the seals stamped their seals into the soft clay and include the mark of King Hezekiah, previously reported here at The Daily Beast.

    Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar

    According to Mazar, “alongside the bullae of Hezekiah… [were] 22 additional bullae… among these is the bulla of “Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?],” which is most straightforwardly translated as “Isaiah the Prophet.” Given the importance of Isaiah to religious history, this seal impression is of great significance to Jews and Christians alike.

    According to the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah was an eighth-century BCE prophet during the reign of King Hezekiah (one of the few “good kings” who ruled Judah before the Babylonian conquest. In the book of Kings, Hezekiah is described as second only to King David). Isaiah began prophesying during the reign of King Ussiah and appears to have lived through the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and the first 14 years of the reign of Hezekiah. He is responsible, among other things, for the earliest biblical description of heaven, which he saw in a vision (Isaiah 6). Many scholars think that Isaiah’s vision of God enthroned in the heavens laid the groundwork for subsequent descriptions of heaven.

    Isaiah is influential in Christian circles for his prophecies about the birth of the messiah and the necessity of the messiah’s suffering. Christians liked him so much that they composed the Ascension of Isaiah, an account of his ascent into heaven and martyrdom (by being sawed in half by a wooden saw, which sounds dreadful). The fourth-century Christian theologian Gregory of Nyssa wrote that the prophet Isaiah knew “the mystery of the religion of the Gospel” more perfectly than any of the other prophets. The biblical translator Jerome describes him as an “evangelist,” a term that implies that he is on a par with the authors of the Gospels, and the famous Christian orator John Chrysostom wrote that “the mouth indeed was Isaiah’s, but the oracle was wafted from above.” Andrew Davies, director of the Edward Cadbury Centre at Britain’s University of Birmingham, told The Daily Beast that “without Isaiah we’d be missing some of the most sorrowful but also the most hopeful of all religious poetry and some of the greatest theological innovation of all time.”

    Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie/© Eilat Mazar

    Even in his own day, Isaiah was important. Not only did he reside in Jerusalem and have a close relationship with the kings of Judah, but subsequent generations added to his words and work. The majority of scholars believe that the Book of Isaiah should be divided into two if not three sections, with each being attributed to a separate author. The author of the second segment, Second Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55), is thought to have written during the exile and predicted the return of the Jewish people from Babylon to Jerusalem. What the incorporation of these later sections in to the book shows is that Isaiah was important enough that others wanted to use his memory to spread their message.

    Now, for the first time, we have an example of what might be his signature. Not only is this proof that Isaiah existed (not something scholars truly disputed), but, arguably, evidence of his role in eighth century BCE Jerusalem society. Not everyone who had a seal was of elevated high status (as they were a means of solidifying identity), but the Bible does describe Isaiah as a counselor of the king to whom the monarch would turn for advice. The discovery of his seal impressions in close proximity to that of King Hezekiah confirms the picture of a court prophet that we get from the Bible.

    There are, as Mazar acknowledges in her article, some problems with the seal impression. Some of the letters that comprise the wording of the seal appear to have broken off. Additionally, most seals identify their owner with reference to their father “X, the son of Y.” On Mazar’s reading, the Isaiah seal doesn’t follow this format and instead identifies him by profession (i.e., prophet). Mazar weighs these options in her article and begins by considering all of the alternative explanations for the seal.

    Robert Cargill, a professor at the University of Iowa, self-described skeptic, and the editor of BAR, told The Daily Beast that this was a “carefully written, responsible article” and that the magazine was careful not to claim definitively to have found the seal of Isaiah. “I appreciated Dr. Mazar’s methodical, responsible approach to this discovery, suggesting critical alternatives to the inscription rather than simply sensationalizing it.”

    The discovery itself, Cargill noted, appears pristine: “There is no evidence to suggest that the scientifically excavated and provenanced material from the Ophel excavation was tampered with and/or mixed while it awaited wet-sifting.” He added that while he has personally spent much of his career debunking false archaeological claims, he thinks that Mazar has indeed discovered a seal impression of the prophet Isaiah and “the first archaeological and extra-biblical reference to the prophet.”

    The ramifications of the discovery remain to be seen. Excavations in Jerusalem are inevitably politically charged because of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Mazar herself has been criticized in the past both for her involvement in excavations in Silwan (East Jerusalem) by Zionist organizations. The Ophel is, as Cargill noted, especially controversial “because of its proximity to the Temple Mount, and specifically to the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the past, any discovery speaking to a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount has been immediately seized upon by Israeli politicians for political purposes, touting it in support of their claims of the sovereignty of Jerusalem vis-à-vis the Palestinians. This, in turn, often leads the Palestinians to respond by claiming that any discovery is a fake, or by protesting the very presence of Israeli or Jewish archaeologists in what they understand to be Palestinian territories. Thus, excavating in Jerusalem, especially near the Temple Mount, is not for the faint of heart it is intrinsically political, whether the archaeologist wants it to be or not.”

    As politicized as all of this might be, the seal impression establishes in concrete terms something that scholars never really doubted in the first place: that a prophet named Isaiah served as adviser to King Hezekiah. What it is does not prove is the authenticity of his prophetic vocation, the accuracy of his predictions, or the truth of the Bible’s message.


    THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

    Isaiah, one of the greatest of the prophets, appeared at a critical moment in Israel’s history. The Northern Kingdom collapsed, under the hammerlike blows of Assyria, in 722/721 B.C., and in 701 Jerusalem itself saw the army of Sennacherib drawn up before its walls. In the year that Uzziah, king of Judah, died (742), Isaiah received his call to the prophetic office in the Temple of Jerusalem. Close attention should be given to chap. 6, where this divine summons to be the ambassador of the Most High is circumstantially described.

    The vision of the Lord enthroned in glory stamps an indelible character on Isaiah’s ministry and provides a key to the understanding of his message. The majesty, holiness and glory of the Lord took possession of his spirit and, at the same time, he gained a new awareness of human pettiness and sinfulness. The enormous abyss between God’s sovereign holiness and human sinfulness overwhelmed the prophet. Only the purifying coal of the seraphim could cleanse his lips and prepare him for acceptance of the call: “Here I am, send me!”

    The ministry of Isaiah extended from the death of Uzziah in 742 B.C. to Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C., and it may have continued even longer, until after the death of Hezekiah in 687 B.C. Later legend (the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah) claims that Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, executed Isaiah by having him sawed in two cf. Heb 11:37. During this long ministry, the prophet returned again and again to the same themes, and there are indications that he may have sometimes re-edited his older prophecies to fit new occasions. There is no evidence that the present arrangement of the oracles in the book reflects a chronological order. Indeed, it appears that there were originally separate smaller collections of oracles (note especially chaps. 6–12), each with its own logic for ordering, that were preserved fairly intact as blocks when the material was finally put together as a single literary work.

    Isaiah’s oracles cluster around several key historical events of the late eighth century: the Syro-Ephraimite War (735–732 B.C.), the accession of Hezekiah (715 B.C.), the revolt of Ashdod (714–711 B.C.), the death of Sargon (705 B.C.), and the revolt against Sennacherib (705–701 B.C.). In 738 B.C., with the Assyrian defeat of Calno/Calneh (Is 10:9 Am 6:2), the anti-Assyrian league, of which Judah may have been the ringleader, collapsed, and both Israel and the Arameans of Damascus paid tribute to Assyria. By 735 B.C., however, Rezin of Damascus had created a new anti-Assyrian league, and when Ahaz refused to join, the league attempted to remove Ahaz from the throne of Judah. The resulting Syro-Ephraimite War was the original occasion for many of Isaiah’s oracles (cf. chaps. 7–8), in which he tried to reassure Ahaz of God’s protection and dissuade him from seeking protection by an alliance with Assyria. Ahaz refused Isaiah’s message, however.

    When Hezekiah came to the throne in 715 B.C., Isaiah appears to have put great hopes in this new scion of David, and he undoubtedly supported the religious reform that Hezekiah undertook. But the old intrigues began again, and the king was sorely tempted to join with neighboring states in an alliance sponsored by Egypt against Assyria. Isaiah succeeded in keeping Hezekiah out of Ashdod’s abortive revolt against Assyria, but when Sargon died in 705 B.C., with both Egypt and Babylon encouraging revolt, Hezekiah was won over to the pro-Egyptian party. Isaiah denounced this “covenant with death” (28:15, 18), and again summoned Judah to faith in the Lord as the only hope. But it was too late the revolt had already begun. Assyria acted quickly and its army, after ravaging Judah, laid siege to Jerusalem (701). “I shut up Hezekiah like a bird in his cage,” boasts the famous inscription of Sennacherib. The city was spared but at the cost of paying a huge indemnity to Assyria. Isaiah may have lived and prophesied for another dozen years after 701. There is material in the book that may plausibly be associated with Sennacherib’s campaign against Babylon and its Arabian allies in 694–689 B.C.

    For Isaiah, the vision of God’s majesty was so overwhelming that military and political power faded into insignificance. He constantly called his people back to a reliance on God’s promises and away from vain attempts to find security in human plans and intrigues. This vision also led him to insist on the ethical behavior that was required of human beings who wished to live in the presence of such a holy God. Isaiah couched this message in oracles of singular poetic beauty and power, oracles in which surprising shifts in syntax, audacious puns, and double- or triple-entendre are a constant feature.

    The complete Book of Isaiah is an anthology of poems composed chiefly by the great prophet, but also by disciples, some of whom came many years after Isaiah. In 1–39 most of the oracles come from Isaiah and reflect the situation in eighth-century Judah. Sections such as the Apocalypse of Isaiah (24–27), the oracles against Babylon (13–14), and probably the poems of 34–35 were written by followers deeply influenced by the prophet, in some cases reusing earlier Isaianic material cf., e.g., 27:2–8 with 5:1–7.

    Chapters 40–55 (Second Isaiah, or Deutero-Isaiah) are generally attributed to an anonymous poet who prophesied toward the end of the Babylonian exile. From this section come the great oracles known as the Servant Songs, which are reflected in the New Testament understanding of the passion and glorification of Christ. Chapters 56–66 (Third Isaiah, or Trito-Isaiah) contain oracles from the postexilic period and were composed by writers imbued with the spirit of Isaiah who continued his work.


    Joshua

    The Book of Joshua takes its name from the man who succeeded Moses as the leader of the Hebrew tribes—Joshua, the son of Nun, a member of the tribe of Ephraim. In post-biblical times Joshua himself was credited with being the author of the book, though internal evidence gives no such indication. According to the views of the German biblical scholar Martin Noth, which have been accepted by many contemporary biblical critics, the Book of Joshua was the second of a series of five books (Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) written by a Judaean oriented historian after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 bce . This writer (called the Deuteronomist and designated D) constructed the history of Israel from the death of Moses to the beginning of the Babylonian Exile (586–538 bce ). The Deuteronomist, according to this view, used sources, both oral and written, from various periods to produce the history of Israel in these five books. The Book of Joshua probably contains elements from the J and E documents, as well as local and tribal traditions, all of which were modified by additions and editing until the book assumed its present form. The main theme of the Deuteronomist historian was that under the guidance of and in obedience to Yahweh, Israel would persevere and conquer its many enemies.

    This theme is especially and dramatically presented in Joshua. Under the guidance of Yahweh, the people of Israel entered and conquered Canaan in fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis, chapter 12. Joshua is interpreted as a second Moses—e.g., he sent out spies, led the people in crossing the Jordan River on dry land as Moses had crossed the Sea of Reeds, and ordered the males to be circumcised with flint knives as Zipporah, Moses’ wife, had earlier circumcised the son of Moses (and probably Moses himself). He was obedient to the will of Yahweh, and because of this obedience he was able to lead the Israelite tribes in their battles against the Canaanites. As long as they were faithful to their covenant promise, the land would be theirs as a trust.

    The book may be divided into three parts: the story of the conquest of Canaan (chapters 1–12) the division of the land among the tribes of Israel (chapters 13–22) and Joshua’s farewell address, the renewal of the Covenant, and Joshua’s death (chapters 23–24).


    Watch the video: Welcome To The Rebirth u0026 Regeneration of The Prophet Isaiah Pt 9 (June 2022).


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