Islam from a Biblical Perspective XVII
The theme of the Assyrian is primarily found in the books of Isaiah and Micah. The theme that runs through the prophecies of both Isaiah and Micah is the final conflict between Jesus the Messiah and the Antichrist, who throughout these prophecies is referred to again and again as the “Assyrian”.
The historical context of Isaiah relates to conflict in the prophet’s day between the two Hebrew kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom, often referred to as Israel or Ephraim, and the Southern Kingdom, referred to as Judah. The fuller context, of some of the most famous messianic prophecies in all of scripture, revolves around the theme of the conflict between Jesus and the Antichrist.
Everyone knows that part but rarely do they keep reading.
Isaiah says that before the child grows up, the king of Assyria would invade the northern kingdom of Israel. The point in citing this passage is to show that as soon as the famous Messianic Immanuel prophecy is introduced, the Assyrian, or the king of Assyria, is also brought into the picture. The events described in this passage refer to real historical events that occurred in Isaiah’s day. Yet the historical king of Assyria was merely a type of the Antichrist – the ultimate prophetic invader of Israel.
Nearly all of chapter 8 centers around the coming invasion of Israel by the Assyrian:
In chapter 9, once again, we are informed of God’s ultimate solution.
This passage declares that the Messiah will deliver Israel from the Assyrian in the same manner that Gideon in Judges 8 delivered Israel from the Midianite armies.
The fascinating section to notice is that the “ornaments” of these Ishmaelites and their camels were shaped like crescent moons:
We are told that the Messiah’s final victory over the Assyrians would be similar to Gideon’s historic victory over the Ishmaelites. When we examine this victory, we see that Gideon, a type of the Messiah, is seen stripping crescent moon ornaments off of the kings. The crescent moon, of course, is the symbol of Islam.
A second interesting connection here is seen in the word used for crescent ornaments, the Hebrew sa-ha-ro-nim. This word is closely related to sa-har, which is used later in Isaiah 14, a passage wherein the Lord refers to Satan as Lucifer, son of the morning star (sa-har).
Then, only a few verses later, we see that He “will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down”. The same picture is given in Revelation as crushing the Antichrist, “the great winepress of the wrath of God”.
In other words, the picture painted is of God gathering the armies of the Assyrian into one location, where He will squish them like grapes. Isaiah’s theme of the coming Messiah who would destroy the Assyrian is a reference to the future when Jesus the Messiah will deliver the Israelites from the invading armies of “the Assyrian”.
Throughout Isaiah’s prophecy, God is repeatedly calling on His people not to place their trust in natural political alliances, but rather to simply trust in Him. The Israel of the future, like ancient Israel, will rely on political alliances, treaties, and false promises of peace.
Because of this treaty, the Lord rebukes Israel through Isaiah, which He calls a “covenant with death”. The result will be their being invaded and beaten down by the Assyrian:
Whether it be the prophecy of Immanuel in Isaiah 7, or the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9, in both of these passages, the fuller context is the coming of the Messiah to break the Assyrian.
The chief priests and scribes consulted this very verse when King Herod gathered them together to inquire as to where the Messiah was to be born. Their answer was unequivocal; He would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. Why did the Jews of Jesus’ day so look forward to this passage?
The wording is clear that Israel would no longer have to fear their enemies. The greatness of this Messiah would reach to the ends of the earth. But, it is the next verse that is so essential to consider, for there we are told that this very Messiah will deliver Israel from the invading Antichrist, whom this passage refers to as “the Assyrian”:
Scripture uses a historical king from the ancient Assyrian Empire as a type of the coming Antichrist. This is not insignificant, as whichever nation one may point to within the former Assyrian Empire, today they are all Muslim majority. The Antichrist’s title, “the Assyrian”, confirms the general locations that we have seen repeated in previous passages.
Ezekiel’s “Gog” was a ruler from the region of Turkey and Syria. Isaiah’s “Assyrian” controlled much of Eastern Turkey, as well as parts of Syria and Iraq. Likewise, Daniel’s “king of the North” ruled over the territory of the former Seleucid Empire, which also included Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Whether Ezekiel’s “Gog”, Isaiah’s “Assyrian”, or Daniel’s “king of the North”, these different terms all point to the same man, from the same region, with the same motivations. These are all references to the Antichrist.