Freed from the Assyrian Yoke

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In Isaiah 14:24-25, we read —

“The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”

What does it mean “Assyrian yoke”? And how are we to be free from it? In this post, we shall look at what the message says about this yoke and how it is affecting us today and our glorious deliverance.

THE CHURCH’S LIBERATION FROM “ASSYRIAN” YOKE.

Nahum 1:12, 13. “Thus saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through.  Though I have afflicted thee, I will  afllict thee no more. For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.”

This person (“thee”) whom the Lord has already chastened, obviously cannot be the Assyrian king or nation aforementioned, because the Lord is delivering this one, while He is beating the Assyrians to their knees at the hands of him “that dasheth in pieces.”  Just who this third character (“thee”) here introduced may be, is immediately established by Isaiah in his correlative prophecy concerning this same Assyria:

“And it shall come to pass in that day,” declares the prophet, “that his [Assyria’s] burden shall be taken away from off thy [Judah’s] shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Isa. 10:27.

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Immediately we see that in the revealing light of this scripture, the one (“thee”) who, in both cases, is set free in the time of Assyria’s fall, proves to be the church (Judah) liberated from Gentile (Assyrian) rule.  Conclusively, therefore, Isaiah clarifies Nahum’s prophecy as referring to the church’s liberation from the last-day Assyrian yoke.  The fact, though, that the church, as Nahum says, is not only to be relieved from affliction and freed from bondage but is also to be sentenced to death (Nah. 1:14), creates a paradox!  Inspiration, however, quickly clears it, again through Isaiah.  Speaking of the church, he declares:

“And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name.” Isa. 65:15.

Plainly, therefore, in the time when Assyria crumbles, the Lord is to perform a dual work among His professed people, some of whom will be made free because of their faithfulness, and some of whom will be slain because of their wickedness.  The delivered ones will then be  called by another name.

The time of this “work” is termed “harvest.” Matt. 13:30.  Therefore, up to this separation, the tares (those who are to be slain) and the  wheat (those who are to be delivered) together comprise the

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membership of Laodicea (the last of the seven churches — Rev. 3:14-18), the church just before the “tares” are forever separated from the “wheat” (Matt. 13:30).  Very obviously, then, the penitent Laodiceans are separated from the impenitent ones during Assyria’s fall, and then are liberated from her rule.

Nah. 1:14. “And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.”

Thus, at this time, forever perishes the idolater and his idols.

A detailed demonstration of this purification of the church is projected in Ezekiel’s prophecy.  There the Lord commands him who records the life history, the angel with the writer’s inkhorn, to go through the city and to set a mark (seal) on those only who sigh and cry for the abominations that are therein.  Then five others go after him to slay all who have not the mark. (See Ezekiel 9; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445; Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266, and Vol. 5, p. 211.)

“The city” is figurative of Judah and Israel, the church in which are to be found the 144,000 servants of God (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445) those who are to be called by another name after the unworthy servants are slain.  And as

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the 144,000 are the first fruits (Rev. 14:4) of the harvest, they are the “escaped” of the Isaiah 66:19 and of Ezekiel 9.  This separation of the tares from the wheat in the church is to signalize the beginning of the final harvest of earth — the end of the world.  Then will have come the time for the denominational name to cease, for all her idols to be cut off, and for a new name (Isa. 62:2) to be given to those who escape.  Then will these escaped ones proclaim God’s glory and His fame to the Gentiles, and  bring out of all nations all their brethren (all that will be saved) to “the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:16, 19, 20.

For such judgment to be averted, the entire church will have to repent of her erroneous thinking, begin to feel discomfort in her  lukewarmness, become either cold or hot (dissatisfied), and emptied of self and filled with the Spirit. (Rev. 3:14-18).

Nah. 1:15. “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!  O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”

The term, “Judah,” attaches to the Christian church not only because of antitypical significance but also because of hereditary factor.  This will be seen as we review Judah’s history:

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The ten tribes (the Kingdom of Israel) were by ancient Assyria dispersed throughout the cities of the Medes, and assimilated by the Gentiles of that day, but it was not until years later that the two tribes (the Kingdom of Judah) were carried into Babylon, remaining there until the expiration of the seventy years of Jeremiah’s prophecy, then returning to their homeland.  Thus it was only the descendants of the Kingdom of Judah who became so unfaithful that they rejected and crucified the Lord.  But the faithful from among them accepted Him, and became the Christians, the founding members of the New Testament church.  The church herself therefore, is the daughter of the Kingdom of Judah.  Hence she is appropriately still called Judah.

While she is by virtue of parentage, faithfulness, and purity (absence of tares) entitled to be called “Judah,” still because of their last-day lukewarmness and the resultant infiltration of “tares” into her membership, she is, of  necessity, additionally termed “Laodicea.”

Applying the “eyesalve” (Rev. 3:18), they shall “behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!”  And beholding Him, they shall accept His message and know the truth and the truth shall make them

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free, and shall save them from being spued out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16).

Therefore, only as they awake and give heed to the voice of the True Witness, and turn their steps toward the gates of the Kingdom, may they ever hope to participate in the divine eventuality: “O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”

Here in prophetic utterance is not only a promise to purify the church when modern Assyria is being crushed, but also a suggestive statement as to what constitutes “meat in due season” for men today; and as to what movement they are to enlist in if they would make sure of salvation.  They are enjoined to fix their vision upon the feet of him who brings “good tidings” (message from the Lord), who publishes “peace” (the peace of Christ’s Kingdom), and who declares that while the powers of earth are engulfed in a gigantic war, the wicked in the church shall be cut off, no more to pass through her. Specifically, the prophet exhorts all penitently to turn unto  the house of Judah (the latter-day Kingdom of Judah — Mic. 4; Ezek. 37:16-22), the church in the purification of which are to be sealed 12,000  out of each of the 12 tribes, as firstfruits.   And he urges the subjects of the kingdom to perform their religious duties and to keep their

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promises to the Lord.  In short, he admonishes them to give heed to the message of the hour — the message which announces the imminence of the church’s purification, after which, as the promise is, “the wicked shall no more pass through” her, for “he is utterly cut off.” (See also Matt. 13:30, 47-50, Isa. 66:16, 19, 20).

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