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Thread: Awkward questions, especially for preterists

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    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faber View Post
    Actually that was a Mormon that suggested Sennacherib. But they can't always be wrong.

    Take another look at Isaiah 14:25. It didn't say anything about the king being destroyed on the mountains of Israel. It said that the Lord would break (לִשְׁבֹּ֤ר, or crush) Assyria (אַשּׁוּר֙, or Asher) and trample (אַשּׁוּר֙) him (pronoun implied) on God's mountains.

    This actually took place during the lifetime of Isaiah and King Hezekiah. Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, where he was eventually assassinated by two of his sons. Read 2 Kings 19:20-36.

    Unless you believe that "the Assyrian" is symbolism for the king of Assyria. Just remember that carelessness with accurate interpretations can be a source of error.
    Assyria, like Babylonia, contained zikkurats - temple-towers that were artificial mountains of the gods. That might give extra point to Isaiah 14.25.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    3. Nothing is said in Isaiah 14 about anyone "be[ing] destroyed on the mountains of Israel" - Ezekiel is no more Isaiah than Billy Graham is John Knox. It would be endlessly confusing to treat Billy Graham as though he were John Knox - and the same goes for the Prophets. We have to respect the individuality of each, and not treat them as though they were interchangeable.

    2. Three possibilities at least:

    a. an unnamed world-conqueror. I think that is too vague to be likely to be who is meant.

    b. Cyrus the Great (559-29). He has the advantage of being killed in battle, as the text requires. There is a difficulty in that he is well-spoken of elsewhere in Scripture, though this objection is not insuperable. There is also the difficulty that the oracle would then be 150 years later than Isaiah - though that is not insoluble either.

    c. Sargon II (721-05). He was Assyrian, which fits the anti-Assyrian tone of parts of Isaiah. He was killed in battle. He was a great conqueror. He was king of Babylon, in that he was the overlord of the kings of Babylon, who were under Assyrian control from the 720s to the fall of Assyyria in 609. I think he is a much more impressive *Helel ben Shachar* than Cyrus the Great. Another detail in favour of c., is that the Assyrian war-goddess Ishtar was associated with the planet Venus; so if *Helel* = Venus, the oracle might then contain a dig at the goddess of war.

    3. I think the passage is adequately accounted for if it is an oracle directed against a fallen Assyrian king. I don't see that this understanding of it makes it any less Holy Scripture. As for its being eschatological, I see no hint of that.
    Scripture Verse: Isaiah 14

    24 The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned , so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. 25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down.

    © Copyright Original Source



    What was that you were saying about nothing being said about the oppressor being destroyed in Israel? When God says "my land", where do you think He means?

    Sargon did less to oppress Israel than both his predecessor Shalmanesser and successor Sennacherib. And he did not die in Israel. And the world did not rejoice at his death. Try again.

    I also note that you have no problem with Cyrus fulfilling the prophecy two centuries later, but there is "no evidence" for a future, eschatalogical fulfillment. We contradict ourselves when we are being stupid.

  3. #73
    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darfius View Post
    Scripture Verse: Isaiah 14

    24 The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned , so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. 25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down.

    © Copyright Original Source



    What was that you were saying about nothing being said about the oppressor being destroyed in Israel? When God says "my land", where do you think He means?

    Sargon did less to oppress Israel than both his predecessor Shalmanesser and successor Sennacherib.
    What I said was: "Nothing is said in Isaiah 14 about anyone "be[ing] destroyed on the mountains of Israel". Nor is anything said about "the oppressor being destroyed in Israel". Not even in verses 24-27, though they come close. A defeat can be "crushing", yet be survived, even reversed.

    Are we entitled to think that Isaiah took the same view of Sargon II as we might ? We, with the advantage of hindsight, know he was, in fact, less of a danger than those two were - it need not follow that his Jewish contemporaries did not see him as a threat.
    And he did not die in Israel. And the world did not rejoice at his death. Try again.
    ##The only references to Israel in Isaiah 14 that I can see occur in verses 1 and 2, 25 and 32 - the last of these being a reference to "Zion". Not in the oracle against Helel/the king of Babylon - and certainly not as descriptions of him. So why does it matter that Sargon II did not die in.Israel, when Isaiah 14 nowhere says the "king of Babylon" did or would do so ? Nothing is said in Isaiah 14 about anyone "be[ing] destroyed on the mountains of Israel", or anywhere else in Israel - so Sargon II's failure to do so is not an objection to the identification of him as the "king of Babylon" - not, that is, unless v. 25 is referring back to the "king of Babylon"; but does it, and what grounds are there to think that it does ? "Destroyed" is a stronger term than "crushed". One allows for no recovery, the other leaves some room for the possibility.

    The chapter seems to be divided into 4 parts: Verses 1-2 - an oracle of comfort to Israel

    Verses 3-23 - a lament over the "king of Babylon"

    Verses 24-27 - an anti-Assyrian oracle

    Verses 28-32 - an anti-Philistine oracle of woe. Part of the difference between is that we divide the text differently.

    More importantly perhaps, the Philistines no longer exist. The Assyrian Empire, like that of Babylon, is no more; those great cities that Isaiah may have known of are not only no more, they are utterly desolate. But in Isaiah's day, and later, they were formidable threats to Israel & Judah. So it makes sense for Isaiah to have lifted up his voice against both Assyria & Babylon. How would it make sense for the Prophet to denounce a king of Babylon who has neither kingdom nor throne, nor armies nor kingship nor even existence ? It is the Prophet's text that speaks of the "king of Babylon" - so what else would he mean, if not a king of Babylon ?

    Is 14.25 part of the same oracle as the lament over Helel ? Do the words "I will crush the Assyrian in My land" refer to the "king of Babylon", "Helel" ? ISTM that the words are unspecific. Verse 24 is: "The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand" - this looks like the beginning of a different oracle from the preceding; if that is correct, verse 25 need be no objection to the identification of "Helel", the "king of Babylon", with Sargon II. "[T]he Assyrian" is translated "Assyria" in the commentary of Hans Wildberger (Isaiah 13 to 27, p.78).

    "And the world did not rejoice at his death." That is from verse 26 - so, is the passage about a named Assyrian ruler ? No; all the text says by way of identification is "the Assyrian", which is not very helpful. There is also the question of whether this oracle refers to the lament over the "king of Babylon".

    That part of the world that mattered for the purposes of the four compositions that make up Isaiah 14 - IOW, the region of the Middle East affected by Assyrian attempts to expand the Assyrian Empire - probably did rejoice. That the Maoris & Eskimos did not did so, does not matter; Isaiah's world - like that of Homer, & of the Assyrians themselves - was much smaller than that familiar to modern cartographers. If a Near Eastern text of the OT period refers to "the whole earth", "the four quarters", or uses similar expressions, such expressions ought to be understood according to the meaning the first readers would have taken them to have; not according to the meaning that we moderns might take them to have. Isaiah's ministry was not passed among us, but among the Jews of the 8th & 7th centuries BC.

    It needs to be shown that the oracles in Isaiah 14 has anything to do with eschatology - IMHO, such a reading of it is unnatural. A passage may seem unfulfilled from our POV - but is our POV the right one ?
    I also note that you have no problem with Cyrus fulfilling the prophecy two centuries later, but there is "no evidence" for a future, eschatalogical fulfin llment. We contradict ourselves when we are being stupid.
    ## Yes, that's what I said. What do you mean by "eschatology" ? AFAICS, the word refers to events at the end of the world, like the Last Judgement. The death of Cyrus took place as an historical event, over 2,500 years ago, and the world went on as before - so how his death can with any propriety be called eschatological, I don't see. And where is the contradiction ? So why not explain what his death has to with eschatology ? I wish you would, because if we are using the same word in different senses, without knowing we are doing so, the only result will be confusion and misunderstanding. At the same time, perhaps you could explain why the passage is to be understood eschatologically; I don't suppose I would be alone in appreciating an explanation. The only appearance of any support for such an idea that I can see, is that parts of the oracles in Isaiah 14 have not been fulfilled. That STM rather weak support for the inference that the entire (?) chapter awaits a future fulfilment. I think the idea creates more difficulties than it solves. Given that Isaiah 13 is an oracle against Babylon, it would make a lot of sense if the editors of the book annexed the equally anti-Babylonian oracles of 14 to it.

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