"Deception at the Door"; Isaiah 36-49
January 1, 2015

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


January 1, 2015

"Deception at the Door"
Isaiah 36-49


          Our New Year's study brings us to a grouping of chapters that shows the King of Judah and Jerusalem being threatened by an army of Assyrians. Political pressure is clearly understood in these passages, as well as threatening castigations against the God of Israel. The use of Propaganda is tested by the enemy and results in anxious moments for the people of God. Seemingly, theirs is a hopeless scenario and they appear to have no "way out." With desperation looming inside the walls of Jerusalem, God summons the prophet with a message of hope and love.

           There are principles to be learned during this distraught period of Israel's history, lessons about how God deals with the nations and His people. (To Israel, He is the rescuer with deliverance "in His Hands.")

          2015 will be a year when the tools of discernment will be used very frequently by the saints. Deception will continue to drop from the lips of liars, but the saints will know the truth. This will be a great year for deliverance from the façades that have been theatrically raised to intimidate and spread vitriolic propaganda. Like Hezekiah, deliverance comes through prayer in the house of God. Many will "re-find" their spiritual roots.

Chapter 36 Official Deception: The use of Propaganda

           This entire chapter is mostly discourse between officials of Jerusalem and the invading army of Sennacherib.

Isaiah 36:1-2
Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. Then the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.

"The Rabshakeh" rises up like a demon, to reason and threaten the Jews, ordering them to capitulate and take "the easy way out." "The Rabshakeh" was the highest ranking diplomat in the Assyrian King's court-he was the cupbearer who tested all the food and drink going to the King's Table.

As the scene unfolds, various scriptures will be referenced to show this "devil's advocate" at work. Like the devil in Jesus' temptation, he advises, "Just bow down and take the easy road." (No wonder Proverbs said not to "trust your own understanding.")

          l. "The Rabshakeh" positioned himself by the aqueduct; there is significance in his posturing. Often the enemies of God position themselves in places of power. (This aqueduct was built by Hezekiah as a resource for water in case of Assyrian invasion.) So, "The Rabshakeh's" position created a strong affront because one of the defense provisions, thought to sustain Jerusalem against siege, was compromised.

           2. The king's emissaries, Eliakim, Shebna and Joah met with "the Rabshakeh," who used a propaganda technique when he said, "Tell Hezekiah what the Great King, the king of Assyria says." In other words, "Our Great King is greater and more powerful than your puny leader." (He doesn't refer to Hezekiah as King.)

           3. "The Rabshakeh" continued his tactics. He claimed complete knowledge of Hezekiah's war plans. So, he tells the king, "Don't depend on your contract with Egypt. They can't deliver." Propaganda claims greater advantage than actually exists. Notice how he attacks each of the defense avenues including religious ones. He claims to have a spiritual mandate from the Lord to conquer them.

           "Also, don't plan on your God saving you," for your God is no better than the other gods we have conquered. Besides this, The LORD said to me, "Go up against this land, and destroy it."

           4. "The Rabshakeh" presented "a deal" to the king. Just bow down now and he will give you a gift of 2,000 horses, "if you have enough men to ride them?" Intimidation through numbers is a form of propaganda.

           5."The Rabshakeh" used the native language of Hebrew in making his threats. The emissaries requested him to speak in Aramaic, in order for the watchmen on the wall not to understand what was said. Arrogantly, he refused and declared his desire for all Jerusalem to know what was being said. The Assyrians planned to lay siege until all supplies were exhausted and they could easily have victory over an emaciated citizenry. To predict dire circumstances, if a matter is not settled as the aggressor determines, is a form of propaganda. (Politicians use this one all the time.)

Isaiah 36:12
2 But the Rabshakeh said, 'Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?'

          6. Verses 13-20 comprises an affront to the people of God and seeks to intimidate their faith. Each sentence begins with "The Great King" of Assyria and continues with "don't listen to Hezekiah."

Isaiah 36:13-14
Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and said, "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!"

Persuasion is a form of propaganda along with the repetition of "untruth" as if it were truth.

Notice below a listing of the use of this technique:

1. Isaiah 36:14
'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; 15 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'

(Note: These words are exactly the words of the Lord through the prophet.) Notice how God answers with the opposite of The Rabshakeh's threats.

Isaiah 37:33-35
'He shall not come into this city,
Nor shoot an arrow there,
Nor come before it with shield,
Nor build a siege mound against it.
34 By the way that he came,
By the same shall he return;
And he shall not come into this city,'
Says the LORD.
35'For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'
2. Again "the Rebshakeh" offers a "way out." (Church, you are being offered man's "way out." That offer must never be enough to forsake waiting on the Lord. No circumstance of life is so dire that taking the Mark is justified.)

Notice the offer starts with "give me a bribe (present)."
Then he promises "nothing will change immediately."
Then, He says, "I will take you away to a land as good as this one, if not better." (Of course slavery was never mentioned and second class citizenry did not occupy their discussion. Judah was an anointed land; no other is as "good.")

Isaiah 36:16-18
'Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: "Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and everyone from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards."
3. "The Rabshakeh" discredited their faith. (One of the techniques of propaganda is to discredit one's opponent and his rationale.)
Isaiah 36:18-20
'Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, "The LORD will deliver us." Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?'

(The inclusion of Samaria [The northern 10 tribes of Israel] was a reference to Jehovah. The Rhetorical question is now complete, "what's so special about Jerusalem?" The answer hoped for was, "nothing." We have heard from officials, "America is not special." Sound familiar?) Satan often asks the question, "What makes YOU so special?"

The three emissaries did not answer the questions. This took discipline, especially when he denigrated the Lord.

Isaiah 36:21
But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, 'Do not answer him.'

Chapter 37 Seek out the prophet

           Hezekiah humbled himself, by tearing his garments and donning sackcloth before going straight to the house of God. He told his emissaries to go to Isaiah and have him seek the Lord. (Any national figure who does this will receive an answer from God. The problem is the world's leaders are acting more like the king of Assyria and The Rabshakeh than Hezekiah.)

Isaiah 37:2-4
Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3 And they said to him, 'Thus says Hezekiah: "This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left."'

Notice: Hezekiah adds "the elders" to the group, with no mention of Joah. Wisdom seeks Revelation. Notice the King's appraisal of the day: "trouble, rebuke and blasphemy." (He is pretty well depressed.) Notice further: Hezekiah's confession of his "inability" in the passage, "there is no strength." Hezekiah then endowed Isaiah with the power of spiritual intervention, "(Perhaps) it may be the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh." Hezekiah wants Isaiah "to lift up prayer for the remnant that is left." The prayer of the prophet outweighed the words of the Blasphemer. Oh, it is time to hear the prophet's prayer!

Isaiah was ready with a word from God.

Isaiah 37:6-7
Thus you shall say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: "Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."'

The first words out of the mouth of God were, "don't be afraid of the words which you have heard." Wow! Fear is never an answer. God said He would do two things to Sennacharib.

l. He would send an evil spirit upon him and he will hear lies.
2. He will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. (Two of his sons murder him while he is worshipping his false god.)
Isaiah 37:38
38 Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place. .
3. "The Rabshakeh" made his last threat. The propaganda technique used here declares, "The matter is not over until I say it is over." He seeks to draw fear by enumerating the "kings" that are no longer in power for they have been conquered by Assyria. The roll call is daunting. He sends messengers to Hezekiah with a written word emphasizing, "We are not done with you yet." Up to this point, he has not used emissaries. Now he is positioning himself as one "removed" from the mundane court of Hezekiah.
a. Isaiah 37:10
'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, 'Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'

b. Isaiah 37:12
'Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed?'

Since these are blasphemous words against the God of heaven, Hezekiah does not answer. He goes to God's House and spreads the matter before the Lord. His prayer is a model for national leadership (worldwide) for every generation.

(His example was followed strictly by the early founders of the U.S.)

Isaiah 37:15-20
Then Hezekiah prayed to the LORD, saying: 16 'O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 18 Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands - wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD, You alone.'

Observe the confessions in this prayer. He exalts the Lord and comes to His Throne. He invites the Lord to hear the words of threat and blasphemy. (Hezekiah is jealous for God.) He acknowledges the facts. He separates the half truths from the threats. These gods Assyria described are not gods. Hezekiah cries out "O LORD our God, save us." (The strength of the prophet has bolstered his faith. Strengthening the saints should be the work of modern prophets.)

God's answer is prompt and supportive.

Isaiah 37:21
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel, "Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him.' (The Lord answers him completely for "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.")

Observe, as God scatters seeds of defeat over the land, the people and the king of the Assyrians..

God's Answer:

          His answer can be divided into three parts, (1) addressing the blasphemy of the Assyrians in the first third, and (2) then in the middle, He comforts His People. In the final third (3), He lays out the terms of His intervention to the Assyrians. There are no options!

          Before entering this passage too deeply, I wish to call attention to two references to "the daughter of Zion." Speculation runs rampant as to the interpretation of these two symbols. The Catholic Church, long ago, ascribed the reference, "the virgin, the daughter of Zion," to Mary and her elevated position. Others just make the terms a quick reference to the children of Israel residing in Jerusalem (References in Kings and Lamentations lend to their argument.)

There is, however, one reference in the Song of Solomon to the palanquin of Solomon being lined with love by the Daughters of Zion. The number in the Song is plural. In this Isaiah passage, the number is singular. Who is this "virgin daughter of Zion?"

I believe the first reference makes her the true child of God who has kept herself Holy and Righteous and who is vexed, like Lot, at the surrounding scene. She is a virgin, which implies she is not like the wife of Hosea. She is a virgin, therefore unstained by the world similar to the five wise virgins in the New Testament. She is not a group, she is solitary in scope. If she represents more than one, it is at least a small number. She is referenced again as "the daughter of Jerusalem," which could imply a grouping, but likely a small group of spiritually alive intercessors.

Isaiah 37:22
'The virgin, the daughter of Zion,
Has despised you, laughed you to scorn;
The daughter of Jerusalem
Has shaken her head behind your back!'

Her response is laughter, based on what she knows about her lover, He will protect her from harm. She takes no alarm in the threats or the words of the enemy. She wags her head and probably in modern parlance, "sticks out her tongue," in defiance.

The Lord summarizes "the Rabshakeh's" verbiage. God listened when he blasphemed the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 37:24
By your servants you have reproached the Lord,

Then, the Lord enumerates the body of his reproach.

l. You claimed your power was in the multitude of your chariots.
2. You bragged how you "walked through" the fortified cities of Judah.
3. You strutted about with swagger as you recounted your victories.
4. You sneered at the defense system of Israel and said, "I dried that up with the soles of my feet."

Now, the Lord introduces Himself to "the Rabshakeh."

          In essence, God recounts His own accomplishments, beginning with verse 25.

1. I made all this earth. I made the forests of Lebanon. I formed all this.
2. I even made you powerful enough to conquer those cities you brag about.
Isaiah 37:26-27 Now I have brought it to pass, That you should be For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins. 27 Therefore their inhabitants had little power; They were dismayed and confounded…
3. I know everything about you. I know your house where you live. I know when you leave and when you return. I know where you go when you leave. I know your rage against ME. I know everything you say and everything you do.

Then, the Lord tells "the Rabshakeh" what His plans for the Assyrians entail.

Isaiah 37:29
'Therefore I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back
By the way which you came.'

The Lord then turns to Hezekiah and comforts him. It is as if the Lord stops talking about Sennacharib and addresses the people of God (verses 30-32). They will eat at their current level, then year by year their crops will return and they will prosper. The reference to their "roots" means they will not be leaving Israel. They will establish roots and they will flourish.

Swiftly, the Lord turns back to the subject of the Assyrians. In this final portion of the chapter, "He lets the hammer down." Hezekiah is shown the "Plan of God." Nearly everything "The Rabshakeh" said would not happen is what the Lord plans to happen. God is ready to show the Assyrians who He is.

Isaiah 37:33-35
'He shall not come into this city,
Nor shoot an arrow there,
Nor come before it with shield,
Nor build a siege mound against it.
34 By the way that he came,
By the same shall he return;
And he shall not come into this city,'
Says the LORD.
35 'For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'

God said, "I will defend this city." What a great defense it was, for in a few hours 185,000 lay dead outside the walls. The Angel of the Lord slew them (Note: one angel, one army). The enemy fled. Their leader was slain, and from that time forward, they faded into history as a "nobody" among the nations.

Somehow, the People of God must return to dependency on Him and not government. They must return to prayer as the answer to the problems of world chaos. They must regain their confidence in Him to defend them. The church must be holy and virginal once again! It must become the virgin daughter of Zion!

Chapter 38 Extended Life.

          I personally know what it is like for God to extend your life. Without going into detail, I attest a time of near death when He said, "Choose life." Hezekiah didn't want to die and asked God for more time. The Lord gave it. But, he saw his kingdom shatter about him.

The Lord did three miracles for Hezekiah, other than his deliverance from Assyria.

l. He healed him of his sickness.
2. He extended his life fifteen years.
3. As a surety, He turned the sun dial of Ahaz back ten degrees. He changed time and altered the planets for one man. What love He bestows on us.

The Lord heard the fervent prayer of a righteous man. Indeed, Hezekiah was an upright saint. The "get your house in order" prophetic word was not the final order for his life. He knew God listened to the appeal of His saints. Hezekiah found favor with God-grace was extended him. Can God change His mind and direction? Yes! He, who said for us to "command mountains," can go beyond all that we ask or think. He changed time for His beloved. Do we know the extent of God's love for His own? I do not believe we have the beginning knowledge of what He can and will do for those who ask Him. He definitely is the "Re-warder of them that diligently seek Him."

Isaiah 38:5
I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years

(This rhymes in English.)

Out of the darkness of oppression, Hezekiah sang unto the Lord a new song. Yes, the king knew his condition and described it in the opening of this Psalm. He knew the desperation and despair that gripped his being. He acknowledged the tremor of his soul and his brokenness, but he did not abandon His faith. He cried to the Lord and the Lord heard. (What a wonderful message for today's gloomy terrain.)

Notice Hezekiah's renewed hope (as his awareness of the answer from God found place in his spirit).

Isaiah 38:15-20
15 "What shall I say?
He has both spoken to me,
And He Himself has done it.
I shall walk carefully all my years
In the bitterness of my soul.
16 O Lord, by these things men live;
And in all these things is the life of my spirit;
So You will restore me and make me live.
17 Indeed it was for my own peace
That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back
18 For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19 The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day;
The father shall make known Your truth to the children.

20 "The LORD was ready to save me;
Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments
All the days of our life, in the house of the LORD."

Notice verse fifteen, where Hezekiah emphasizes that the Lord not only spoke and declared, but He also carried through and did what He said. O' let us not forget the faithfulness of the Lord. In this verse, the King admits his state of mind in saying "the bitterness of my soul." BUT, he didn't dwell there-he did not stay bitter and embrace despair.

Notice verse sixteen, "You will restore me and make me live." David's "restore my soul" reverberated through the halls of his mind. Ahh! What the destroyer seeks to take away, God overrides and restores to His saints.

Notice verse seventeen, 'You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.' When Jesus said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee, rise up and walk," He was expressing the right order for healing.

Notice verse twenty, "The Lord was ready to save me." God is ready! This confidence in the omniscience of the Lord and how He stands in preparedness for those who attack His flock offers strength to His people. Daniel had a similar testimony, so did Job.

Deliverance always has its song! In the case of Hezekiah, the last lines tell of a grateful heart pouring out the libation of HIS song. Solomon had a song. Moses' sister, Miriam, had a song. There is a swelling up on the inside when deliverance comes that lends itself to praise and worship. Commitment to service in the house of the Lord is the natural response to a heart filled with gratitude.

(Personally, during my affliction, I chose Psalm 116 because it echoed my heart. Based on that Psalm, I determined the first time I could hobble down a church aisle I would give an over and above offering for missions-which was carried out with a strapped-on oxygen tank while pushing a walker. I am sure I looked like a wreck, but I was a living breathing one! Nothing felt better than the moment I could personally fulfill my vow.)

Chapter 39: Foolish Ego

It is amazing how short a distance there is between praise and surrender and foolish activities. Hezekiah received envoys from Babylon and was vulnerable to the flattery of a distant king. He guffawed over the conciliatory letter that arrived. He did not consult the Lord; he opened the treasury and gave them a grand tour of his whole house, never thinking he was making himself vulnerable and a target for attack.

Isaiah confronted him and declared the day when all of it would be gone and Hezekiah's offspring would be conscripted as eunuchs and servants in Babylon (in 586 BC it happened). What was the King's response? In essence, he said, "Well, at least God spared me and it won't happen in my lifetime." No repentance, no running to the Temple, just a selfish retort came from a heart whose clock was set.

What is the lesson gained from this?

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


          Zadok Publications
          P.O. Box 132874
          The Woodlands, Texas 77393

          (936) 230-3543

          Email: zadokbookstore@zadokpublications.com
          On The Web: ZadokPublications.com


Paperback volumes may still be ordered through our website.

To see the currently available books from Amazon, click on the cover images below.

The Sons of Zadok HR The Regal Pair Solomon's Secret Called to be Saints

Consumed By His Fire Double Grace En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

Study Guide - The Sons of Zadok Study Guide - Called to be Saints Study Guide - The Road To Captivity

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos de Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

To see the currently available books from Barnes & Noble, click on the cover images below.

Sons of Zadok Double Grace HR The Regal Pair Consumed By His Fire

Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/04/2019