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Isaiah 17–18: The Root, Shoot, and Fruit of Jesse (Part I)

As many of you have witnessed over recent years, the drawn-out conflict in Syria has resulted in monumental changes in the Middle East. While atrocity after atrocity makes the headlines and day after day the casualties increase, the average citizen of the world looks on helplessly and waits for someone in power to do the right thing. And just when we think it can’t get any worse, it does (see here).

For those of us who are keen on Bible prophecy, we are able to see how the events in Syria are setting the stage for the end-times. We are also able to see the glimmer of hope in these dark days, because we know the King of kings (and King of Israel), Jesus the Messiah, will crush the tyrants currently in power and set up His everlasting kingdom on earth in the not-so-distant future.

Thus, with all of the focus on Syria these days, it’s no wonder that Isaiah 17 keeps cropping up in prophecy circles:

An oracle against Damascus: Look, Damascus is no longer a city. It has become a ruined heap (Isa. 17:1, HCSB).

Now, I don’t have a problem with using this text to establish the relevancy and truthfulness of God’s word as it shows us, indeed, just how close we are to the time of the end. The way I see it: The more who are aware of the signs of the times, the merrier. But whenever Isaiah 17 surfaces in discussion of the end-times, why do we rarely hear mention of verses 3, 4, and 6? After all, Damascus [Syria] isn’t the only nation under judgment in this oracle:

The fortress disappears from Ephraim...[o]n that day the splendor of Jacob will fade...[o]nly gleanings will be left in Israel (Isa. 17:3-6, HCSB, emphasis mine).

So then, I begin this two-part post with a plea: We who know the Lord and teach His word should know better than to isolate one verse or passage without considering the surrounding context and crucial literary markers that arrange the material into a cohesive whole.

While some are waiting for Isaiah 17:1 to be fulfilled at any moment (and some think it has already been fulfilled), I will propose an alternative way to look at this popular passage based on the unity of Isaiah 13–23 (a consistent, thematic arrangement of the LORD’s final judgments against Israel and the nations that carries on through chapter 34). Also, we should consider the book of Isaiah as a whole and, most importantly, the entire biblical narrative.

Therefore, I am hesitant to say that Damascus will be destroyed and completely uninhabitable before or even at the beginning of the Tribulation simply because the timing isn’t clear. The “woe oracles” of Isaiah 13–23 are broad, sweeping overviews of the Day of the LORD, so I tend to question the usefulness of trying to pinpoint the exact time or placement of Damascus’ destruction on the 7-year timeline of the 70th week.

That being said, I am confident that the prophecies of Isaiah 17 ultimately concern the Time of Jacob’s trouble (the 7-year Tribulation period to come) and both the annihilation of Damascus and purging of Israel will surely come to pass—without fail.

If you’re up for the challenge, then I’d like to explore some uncharted territory and let you be the judge of the conclusions drawn from an in-depth study of Isaiah 17–18. For starters, these two chapters should be seen together, because there are thematic elements that unify them. Gary Smith of the New American Commentary series provides four points to support this tight-knit connection (pg. 339):

1) There is no introductory announcement of a new oracle [Heb. massa] in Isa. 18:1; therefore, the next oracle picks up at Isa. 19:1

2) These two chapters are linked together by the extensive use of harvest imagery and metaphors (Isa. 17:4-6, 10-11, 13; 18:3-6)

3) Each oracle in the Isa. 13–23 series includes a reference to the name of Yahweh [the LORD] and His personal involvement in world events. In the case of “the oracle against Damascus,” YHWH’s direct involvement is not shown until Isaiah 18:3-6.

4) The land beyond the rivers of Cush (Isa. 18:1) is representative of all the nations of the earth that are seen in a positive light (Isa. 18:3, 7) in direct contrast to the “raging nations” of Isa. 17:12-14, who are rebuked and driven away by the Holy One of Israel. Thus, it is a misunderstanding to see this as a separate oracle for, or against, Cush.

With the thematic interrelationship between chapters 17 and 18 in mind, I’ll first attempt to untangle what I believe is a rich, albeit obscure, messianic passage in 17:10-11 (Part I). In the next post, I’ll show how chapter 18 helps to explain the events of chapter 17 and link these findings with further developed passages in Isaiah related to the root, shoot, and fruit of Jesse (Part II).

Ready to dig deep? It might help to grab some coffee, nestle into your favorite study spot, and, of course, pray on these things to see if they ring true.

The Messianic Backdrop to Isaiah 17: The Seed of the Woman and the Righteous Branch

First, in order to set the tone for what follows, let’s revisit a couple of key verses in Luke’s gospel that should shape the way we view the Old Testament scriptures:

Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures...[t]hen He told them, ‘These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Lk. 24:27, 44-45, HCSB, emphasis mine).

I love these passages. They confirm that a lifetime of academic study in the ancient Near East won’t be able to bring you any closer to understanding the Old Testament without the God of the Bible opening your mind and heart to see the full picture of Messiah. And despite past and present attempts to “demystify” or debunk the inspiration of the Scriptures (especially predictive prophecy), liberal theologians and field experts haven’t impeded the Holy Spirit in the least from revealing the Messiah to every humble heart who continues to ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7).

Not every scholar is a skeptic, thankfully. Every generation has produced gifted, educated believers who help to clarify the Scriptures for those who aren’t able to devote a chunk of their life to the academic grind. However, as a note of caution, there is always the danger of overemphasizing ancient facts and figures, which can lead to an interpretation that isolates the text from the overarching biblical narrative and strips the passage of its messianic force.

In other words, when we major on the background and supplemental information to support an interpretation, we might become adept at explaining the history of ancient Israel to someone, but we could miss the overall thrust of a passage that communicates the revelation about Christ.

Michael Rydelnik, a scholar who advocates a canonical, or holistic, way of interpreting the Hebrew Bible, writes in the preface of his book, The Messianic Hope:

In their struggle to determine the meaning of biblical texts, some evangelical scholars have adopted a historical reading of the text that often minimizes direct messianic prophecy (xv).

Later on in the book, he adds:

Too often it is present-day interpreters that fail to see the true meaning of Old Testament texts by limiting themselves to their historical rather than their literary sense. Therefore, it is contemporary readers that need to adjust their lenses to see the Hebrew Bible as the New Testament authors did, as a messianic book written with a messianic intention (pg. 111).

Indeed, it’s not enough to know that the Assyrian king, Shalmanesar V, invaded the Northern Kingdom and forced Israel into exile around 722 BC (the historical backdrop to the prophecies in Isaiah 17). More importantly, we should also ask: How does Isaiah’s composition within the final, canonical form of Scripture teach us about the Messiah and what He will do?

Interwoven throughout the Hebrew Bible (OT) are rich messianic passages with grand implications for not only Israel, but also Christ’s ruling body, the Church. It takes a trained eye, and you have to know what you’re looking for, but it is worth the pursuit to try and piece the whole puzzle together.

So before we get to Isaiah 17, let’s survey the beginning chapters of Isaiah and see how the references to Messiah drive the narrative forward and reveal the underlying hope of the believing remnant. And remember, the messianic hope began with the promised seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15:

Isaiah 1:1 – Crucial first words that address the immediate audience (Judah and Jerusalem) and highlight the royal, messianic line of David: the “kings of Judah” (cf. Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:11-16).

Isaiah 4:2 – The first botanical metaphor of the Messiah in Isaiah, “...the branch of the LORD...”

Isaiah 6:13 – The hope for all Israel will come through a surviving remnant, “...the holy seed is the stump.”

Isaiah 7:14 – The virgin will give birth to a son, Immanuel (cf. Matt. 1:23; Lk. 1:30-35), the ultimate seed of the woman. Notice Isaiah’s frustration with the people of the covenant promise, “Listen, house of David!” (7:13a).

Isaiah 9:6-7 – The eternal son of David will reign forever, “...He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom...forever...”

Isaiah 11:1 – The shoot comes from “the stump of Jesse” (refer back to 6:13) and will bear lasting fruit.

And, lastly, a pivotal text for this study:

On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner [Heb. nes, “signal, flag”] for the peoples. The nations [Gentiles] will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious (Isa. 11:10, HCSB).

*See also Numbers 21:8 for the first usage of this term, nes, in a highly messianic text (cf. Isa. 49:6, 22; Jn. 12:20-36, especially verses 20 and 32 which emphasize outreach to the Gentiles).

These messianic verses reveal the backbone and undercurrent of the book of Isaiah. We get the impression that those who hear Isaiah’s message should never place their hope in anything or anyone else but the coming Messiah—He is the ultimate promised seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent and deliver God’s children. Given that the Messiah is also eternal, He is both David’s offspring and the root of David’s father, Jesse (cf. Rev. 5:5; 22:16). Amazing!

Additionally, the plant metaphors that depict the Messiah are consistent and will spring up here and there throughout the rest of the book. And so, at this point in Isaiah we have a lot to build on: The coming Messiah is the root, shoot, and bearer of all the choice fruit of Yahweh’s future harvest (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-23).

Isaiah 17 and the Syrian Connection to a Great Gentile Harvest

All right. Here’s where things might get a little technical, so please forgive me (or not, if you’re a language geek like me). There is no other way to show you the intricacies of the Isaiah 17 messianic connection without diving into the original language, and so a close examination of the Hebrew text is required if we’re going to catch the deliberate wordplay.

Before we dive in, here is the bird’s-eye view: When we observe Isaiah 17–18 as a complete unit, notice the central, pivotal verse:


After listing out all of the verses from Isaiah 17–18 in an unbroken sequence, my initial hunch about the significance of 17:11 has been confirmed. As we’ll soon discover, this verse (17:11) builds on prior revelation in Scripture concerning the exact consequence for Israel’s disobedience and rejection of “the God of their salvation” and “Rock of their strength” (Isa. 17:10).

While it appears that Damascus doesn’t have a prayer, the inclusion of Aram (modern-day Syria) in this oracle is striking. After the Tribulation runs its course, Damascus will have been destroyed, but there will be surviving Syrians along with the remnant of Israel (Isa. 17:3). Thus, we have in this account another example of the LORD showing mercy in the midst of His wrath and climactic judgment, and note: His mercy is not only for Israel but the Gentiles as well.

Here are some key points to glean from each section of Isaiah 17 leading up to the hinge verse (17:11).

Isaiah 17:1-3 – Damascus, Damascus, Damascus (written three times in this text). Woe to Damascus because it is going to be destroyed, but also woe to the northern tribes of Israel because they will not come out unscathed. The survivors of Aram (Syria) are equated with the survivors of Israel (see Gen. 10:22; we can trace the lineage of Jacob and Aram back to Shem).

Isaiah 17:4-6 – The term “splendor, glory” [Heb. kabod] links to the previous verse. Jacob/Israel will endure a shaking and diminish in size and strength. Isaiah prophesied as much at the outset, where the children of Israel are labeled pejoratively as “Sodom and Gomorrah” and told only a few will survive the coming desolation (Isa. 1:7-10).

Isaiah 17:7-9 – For this section it would be good to refer back to Isaiah 2:5-22. The repetitive phrase “in/on that day” [Heb. preposition + noun, bayom] is used in 2:11, 17, 20 and repeated throughout the rest of the book, including our chapter of study (Isa. 17:4, 7, 9, 11). We should view the “day” in the loaded phrase “in/on that day,” not in a narrowed sense, but broad in scope (i.e. the Tribulation events described in Isaiah that begin with the phrase “in/on that day” will not all occur within the same 24-hour span of time).

Isaiah 17:10-11:

(a) Verse 10: This verse explains why devastating judgment comes not only against Damascus but Israel as well, “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and you have failed to remember the Rock of your strength.” Deuteronomy 32 is the primary point of reference when looking for other passages that label Israel’s God as a Rock to be remembered (see Deut. 32:4, 18, 30-31, 37). There are amazing similarities between Deut. 32:18 and Isaiah 17:10 especially.

The second part of this verse also strongly echoes Deuteronomy 32, and here is where things get interesting. Most English translations will paraphrase this verse with the assumption that Isaiah is speaking about Israel planting literal plants (or some specific form of idolatrous act in defiance of God’s commands). However, I don’t believe that is an accurate understanding of the words being used in this text. Rather than describing a historical, literal act of idolatry in Israel’s past, the second part of verse 10 actually depicts (and predicts) the future consequence for Israel’s disobedience and rejection of their Rock in figurative language (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4).

Here is a word-for-word translation of 17:10b derived from the Masoretic Text (MT):

“...and so (as a result), you will plant plants, delightful ones (Heb. naamanim), and a foreign (strangebranch (vine), you will sow him (or, sow it)” (my translation).

If I transliterate one of the Hebrew nouns in this text, does anything jump out at you (especially given the immediate context of Aram/Syria)?

“...and so, you will plant plants, Naamans, and a strange branch, you will sow him.”

Naamans! I kid you not. That’s exactly what is written in the Masoretic Text. If we paraphrase what is written, then we miss out on the subtle, yet powerful message being communicated. Also, Isaiah 17:10 is the only place in the Hebrew Bible where the plural form of Naaman is found.

The connection to Aram (Syria) in Isaiah 17 makes this find all the more compelling. This is a good time to revisit 2 Kings 5 and read through the narrative about Naaman, the commander of the army for the king of Aram. The God of Israel, YHWH, showed great favor on this Gentile who was highly regarded “because through him, the LORD had given victory to Aram” (2 Kgs. 5:1). Naaman had a skin disease that was healed because he listened to Elisha, the prophet of Yahweh.

After being healed by washing in the Jordan river (dipping himself in the water seven times according to God’s instruction), Naaman proclaimed in the presence of Elisha and other Syrians:

...I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel... (2 Kgs. 5:15, HCSB).

Wow. This stunning discovery in Isaiah 17 further confirms the profound implications of Deuteronomy 32:21. As a direct consequence of Israel forsaking their Rock, the God of Israel will graft in Naamanim, delightful plants—people like Naaman the Syrian, a Gentile, who trusted in the Word of God, was baptized by the washing of water, and healed of his disease (cf. Eph. 5:25-27; Titus 3:4-7).

Is there any other passage in Isaiah that adds weight to interpreting 17:10 as both messianic and figurative? Yes! And I had to do a double-take on this one:

“For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the man of Judah is a delightful plant... (Isa. 5:7, my translation).

In the second line of this verse, the noun “man” (Heb. aish) is singular and so is the word “plant” (Heb. neta). The LXX (Greek version of the OT) also confirms this translation with an interesting twist, “...and the man of Judah is a beloved new plant.” The beloved is a title for Christ in the New Testament (see Matt. 3:17; Eph. 1:6; Col. 1:13).

This term for “plant” (neta) is only found twice in Isaiah—here in 5:7 and in 17:10. And so, there is early precedent in Isaiah that supports the use of metaphor in 17:10; i.e. the “plants” and Naamanim (Naamans) of 17:10 are figurative. Curiously, in the second line of 17:10, the nouns are all singular, whereas the nouns in the first line are plural:

17:10a, “and so you will plant plants, Naamans...” (2 plural nouns as direct objects)
17:10b, “and a strange branch, you will sow him/it“ (2 singular nouns as direct objects)

Maybe if we lay out 17:10 in a chiastic structure, the interrelationships will be clearer (see here for more on chiasms in the Bible):

(A): you will plant plants
    (B): Naamans
    (B): a strange (foreign) branch
(A): you will sow him/it

So, in 17:10b we find corporate representation by use of a singular term. This “branch” is strange, because it is imported (Gentile) and not native to Israel; the connection to Naaman, the believing Syrian Gentile, emphasizes this point.

Now then, let’s see if the following verse has anything to contribute to our overall understanding of this immense prophetic passage.

(b) Verse 11: This verse begins with the same Hebrew phrase found in many of Isaiah’s “Day of the LORD” passages, bayom (“on that day”). See also, in the same chapter, Isa. 17:4, 7, 9.

Here is my word-for-word translation of 17:11 based on the Masoretic Text (MT) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS):

On that day you will help your plant to grow, and in the morning you will help your seed to sprout forth (or, bloom)—the harvest will disappear (or, flee, escapeon that day of disease and incurable pain.

In a few English versions, there has been a misunderstanding about the root of the word translated “to grow,” which is found only here in the Hebrew Bible. Some translations have “you will fence it in,” or something to that effect. However, the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has cleared up the confusion and confirmed the parallelism of 17:11a, “you will help your plant to grow...you will help your seed to bloom...”  See especially, the ESV, NET, HCSB, NIV, etc. The root word is not sug (to fence in; encircle), but sagag (to grow). The specific Dead Sea Scroll discovery which confirms the true root is called 1QpHab (Cave 1, Qumran, pesher, Habakkuk, see here).

Next up, there is a minor textual corruption in the Masoretic Text (MT) that has huge implications. Many English versions have rightly emended this error from “the harvest will be a heap,” to “the harvest will flee, or disappear.” The difference is a single Hebrew letter, dalet. Without the added consonants, the word translated “heap” is nd, and the word translated “flee, disappear” is ndd. Therefore, it’s easy to see how a scribe could accidentally omit a dalet down through the years of transmission (for more on this crucial textual issue, see the NET Bible comment here).

Let’s break verse 11 down:

(a) “On that day” — A reiteration that this specific prophecy will ultimately take place at the time of the end, on the Day of the LORD.

(b) “you will help your plant to grow” — We’ve already seen in Isaiah 5:7, “...the man of Judah is a delightful plant.” The “plant” in 17:10 is also figurative and represents a person, and/or possibly a group of people. Another reference to Messiah as a plant is found in Isaiah 53:2.

(c) “and in the morning you will help your seed to bloom” — This is an epic, messianic reference that I believe has been buried and overlooked. The exact same Hebrew phrase “your seed” is found in the preeminent messianic text of Genesis 3:15 (and shows up repeatedly in the Abrahamic/Davidic covenant passages of the OT; e.g. Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 28:14; 2 Sam. 7:12-13; 1 Chron. 17:11-14; cf. Gal. 3:16).

(d) “the harvest will vanish” — The mention of a harvest indicates that the “plant,” “branch” (v. 10), and “seed” are all singular terms that represent a corporate entity. At the appointed harvest time, this foreign branch is taken away; it “flees, escapes, disappears,” and the one who helped it to grow, Israel, suffers the loss.

(e) “on that day of disease and incurable pain” — Tribulation language: A time of trouble, pain, and distress for Jacob (cf. Jer. 30:5-7; Mic. 7:1-2). This also appears to be dramatic irony given that Naaman was healed of his disease, but notice what immediately follows the account in 2 Kings 5:1-9. In 5:20-27, Gehazi, not accepting that YHWH could be so gracious to a Gentile without paying for it first, tries to pull a fast one on Elisha. Much to greedy Gehazi’s dismay, he is exposed and cursed with Naaman’s skin disease.

Summary of Part I

Ok. Given the numerous botanical metaphors of Messiah surveyed in the early going of Isaiah, and after taking an in-depth look at the text of 17:10-11, our spiritual antennae should be primed for picking up any messianic signals at this point. If you can accept that Isaiah is not speaking about literal plants in 17:10-11, then who could this grafted-in, imported branch be? Who are these Namaanim, connected with Israel’s seed, and those who sprout up into a fully-ripe harvest that disappears into thin air at the end of the age?


Let’s put it all together now. Here’s an interpretative/paraphrase translation of 17:10-11:

And so, Israel, as a result of rejecting your Rock—the God of your salvation—you will plant plants, ones like Naaman, and you will graft in a Gentile branch. At the time of end, you will help your plant to grow, and in the morning, when the Day dawns, you will help your seed to bloom, yet the harvest will vanish on the day of plagues and great pain.

The correct interpretation of Isaiah 17:10-11 yields a theology that is consistent with what we find in Deuteronomy 32:21 and the New Testament writings of the apostle Paul:

I ask, then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin...by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous...if the root is holy, so are the branches...you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree...the root sustains you...a partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of Gentiles has come in... (Rom. 11:1, 11, 16-18, 25, HCSB, emphasis mine).

And does Paul know anything about a so-called vanishing harvest? You bet:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16-17, HCSB, emphasis mine).

Stay tuned for Part II...
Post A Comment


  1. Mind. Blown.

    And yet even further confirmation of God's promises to the Church that WE. WILL. ESCAPE.

    1. Mine is partially blown. Sitting outside by a fire and taking all this in. Looking forward to some intense Bible study on Part I where I’m sure more will be revealed to me. I needed this today as the waiting is making me very anxious.

    2. Mine's blown too! So, so good, Jeff!!!

  2. Thank you Jeff, its really very great! Be blessed very much with all others of your team! Eagerly awaiting continuation! Maranatha!

  3. Awesome read Jeff! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. Thanks Jeff for your indepth study of Isaiah 17, 18. Very glad as a believing gentile to be grafted into God's special olive tree. Very exciting to be alive in these last days and see God's prophetic words come to life. We are truly blessed beyond measure by our loving God and Saviour.

  5. This was timely and a true blessing to me. This passage has been "unsealed". Thank you Lord Jesus for revealing this to Jeff and for his showing it to us. Amen

  6. Oh man, that scripture would have been perfect for Gary's article on the Israeli flag flying on the temple mount, particularly in light of it being the gentiles (Chinese), not the Israelites flying the banner...

    On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner [Heb. nes, "signal, flag"] for the peoples. The nations [Gentiles] will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious" (Isa. 11:10, HCSB).

  7. I never would've understood this correctly if you hadn't shared such a great insightful article. Thank you for putting the time in. God bless you brother. Time to read Isaiah more thoroughly.

  8. I need your prayers and advice! My pastor and I have many discussions on eschatology, and we don't see eye to eye, which is ok as long as he isn't feeding the flock an outright blasphemous teaching. I'm in line with the dispensational, literal, futurist, pre-trib interpretation, he is a "partial preterist" who allegories and spiritualizes much of eschatology. He has invited a bible teacher with the same views to speak on revelation at our church. He has also asked me to sit in on his Q and A (with a $5 entry fee might I add) and I'm conflicted as to how I should respond to heretical teaching. I'm praying about it, and I'll appreciate it if anyone has a word of wisdom.

    1. Don't get involved.........

    2. Rob - I had a similar issue a few years back at the church we had been attending for a number of years. When they did a full few weeks on why they believed in the partial preterist view (which was espoused at the time by one of the bethel church folk - Kris Valloton). I was horrified and emailed the pastor outlining my concerns (particularly the bit where the pastors wife rubbished pre-mid-trib perspectives in front of the congregation, getting many a hoots and clapping from the church folk), however he totally ignored them. Suffice to say, that was enough for us to say our goodbyes.

    3. You are the sheep of His Pasteur and come to His House to be fed. If what is being served in that house is not in keeping with the Food YOUR Master is Calling you to eat, then what are you doing there? Maranatha!

    4. Experience says,just leave that church. You are just wasting your time. Shake the dust off your feet.

  9. I must add, that many of these scriptures are incredibly telling...from a 'water' perspective:
    - Rock of my strength cf striking and speaking to the rock to bring forth water in the desert.
    - sowing, planting, root growth etc all has as its foundation the need for water...
    - Israel is in the middle of a protracted drought, and should be reflection by Israel as to why their stump continues to dry up spiritually while the sky refuses to offer up its rain.

    Isaiah 17:11 - what a perfect descriptor of an intra-seal/pre-wrath rapture! When do we see 'disease and incurable pain' in the tribulation? Right when the boils/malignant sores etc all break out on mankind from the first bowl in Rev 16:2! Incredible!!!!

    1. Through and Through ... My ESV does say in a 'day of grief' rather than 'day of disease' ... I see this as the totality of Jacob's Trouble which is that final 70th week (7 years). Once the 70th week begins it is a time of trouble and there is no escape. The age of grace is over. Those who then come to believe are known as the Tribulation saints and are not the bride of Christ, his church. They are in a different dispensation.

    2. Hi Cathi - original hebrew is 'sickly/sickliness'. I was actually being a little flippant with my comment sorry, and I need to stop it...:)

  10. Thank you for taking the time to bring us along into one of the deep corners of God's word. Confirmations abound.

  11. Blew. Me. Away.

    I belong to a small bible study and prayer group on Facebook. Just last week, I made a post saying that we all know Isaiah 17:1 by heart and are watching for it, but what about the rest of Chapter 17? I pointed out that I believed it was referring to the rapture and the tribulation. While some thought it was pointing to the tribulation and consequences to Israel for forsaking their God, no one saw anything relating to the rapture. I just couldn't accept that because I felt the Holy Spirit was revealing something to me.

    THANK YOU! I can't wait for Part 2!

    1. Norman Labelle11/11/2019 5:01 AM

      DO YOU SEE PROPHETIC LINK BETWEEN (Acts 9:1-18) and (Isaiah 17:1)?
      On the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-18), Paul saw a light and was struck blind for 3 days. He was taken to Damascus where the veil was lifted from his eyes, and the age of grace began.

      When Damascus will be totally destroyed and cease to be a city (Isaiah 17:1), the road leading to it will also be destroyed and cease to exist. This very road which led to GRACE, WILL ALSO CEASE. Does the complete destruction of this “Gentile” city, signify that the scripture; “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” Romans 11:25) will end or complete this “age of Grace”?

      Similarly, will the veil over our carnal eyes be lifted, when Damascus is destroyed. Will we meet and see our Messiah spiritually in all His light and glory in the clouds? The termination of Damascus (the termination of the age of grace) will leave us no exit road out - our only exit will be up.

      At the end of this age of grace, it's the rapture of the Body of Christ. Is this event, (the destruction of Damascus), the trigger signaling our departure?

      We, the Body, are children of the Light (Eph.5:8, Philp.2:15, 1Thess.5:5). We are the only light that is left to illuminate the world. We will be taken out of harm’s way, snatched away, caught up, to be with our Messiah. The world will no longer have light – Darkness will reign. The Anti-Christ will be introduced and Jacob’s trouble (the 7-year tribulation) will begin.

      Look up, our redemption is at hand. Our blessed hope is about to become reality!

      LET THE ABOVE SINK IN FOR A MOMENT This is a maranatha “come soon” moment. Rejoice!


      Also to consider - God insisted that the story about Paul's "road-to-Damascus" experience be recounted 3 times, (in the same book no less). See Acts 9:1-18, then in Acts 22:1-18 and then again in Acts 26:1-18.

      THREE (3) is a very significant number to God. To my knowledge, Acts is the only book in the Bible that has the SAME STORY recounted 3 times within it. And to reaffirm how significant this truly is, also consider the story of Peter and his 3-fold vision of unclean meats, wherein God tells him to eat thereof and his 3-fold refusal to eat as God had commanded. Remember, this whole story revolves around the “unclean”- gentile, Cornelius. (Acts 10 & 11).

      Why would the limited pages of the Bible use up so much precious real-estate in just one book? This is not happenstance. It was intentioned by God Himself, for a specific reason.

      Concerning the number 3, E.W. Bullinger so aptly notes that, ”three marks completeness and perfection of testimony” and ”marks Divine completeness or perfection”.

      SPECIAL NOTE: We are told that after Peter’s refusal to eat of the “unclean” food (representing God cleansing the Gentiles, rendering them clean and acceptable), we are told that this “unclean” food (Gentiles), laying upon the 4 corners of the sheet were all immediately "taken away" to heaven. This is reminiscent of the “Gentile” BODY of Christ being "taken away" (raptured away) from the 4 corners of the earth.


      Also to consider - Methuselah was the oldest recorded person in the whole Bible. His name in Hebrew/Aramaic prophetically means destruction will come” or ”his death shall bring” or something to that effect.

      Damascus happens to be the oldest known inhabited city in the world. Is it possible that just as Methuselah's death was foretelling the destruction of the world, that the destruction of Damascus might also be foretelling the coming destruction that God is about to bring on this present world?

    2. Norman Labelle11/11/2019 5:12 AM

      AS A SIDE NOTE: The only other cities to be completely destroyed like Damascus is Sodom & Gomorrah. They became a ruinous heap (of ashes), by fire and brimstone, just like the fire and brimstone that God will rain down in (Ezk.38:22). When the alliance of armies coming from the north, marching towards the south, for the spoils in the Golan Heights (oil & gas), they must go through Damascus. God can fulfill 2 prophecies at the same time, both the destruction of Damascus (in less than 12 hours) AND the destruction of the attacking enemy armies (in less than 12 hours), by fire and brimstone.

      Scripture/God claims that “they” (and the whole world) will know that I Am God. If fire & brimstone fall from the sky, everyone will see the hand of God. If Damascus and the attacking armies are destroyed by a nuclear bomb (as some have suggested), then the world would not have a reason to believe God Himself intervened. Think about this!

  12. Wow. Literally blown away. Thank you so much for all your insight, Jeff. Oh how I long for the return of our Savior!

  13. Jeff, just awesome... Will take me a while to chew on this. May I suggest that you will nevertheless focus on the Assyrian kingdom and exile to further explain WHO "Ephraim" in fact is (= the British Commonwealth nations) and how the "lost 10 tribes" of the Northern part of Israel are adressed as the HOUSE of Israel in contrast to Judah (= physical / political Israel today)? Might be fitting into the 2nd part then. This is important to discern, otherwise you will not understand which nations are involved in all these passages.

    The "Cush" people of Isaiah 18 I have identified as the migrant flooding from Northern Africa into Europe today but it is a personal interpretation. Make with it what you like. Blessings, brother! :)

    1. PS: Genesis 10 is the clue to all this = Nimrod came from Cush (Hamite) whereas Asshur came from Shem (Semite) and "by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood" (v. 32).

    2. PS2: Naaman was from Aram which is a a SEMITE nation just like Asshur (Genesis 10:22). I find it very important to clearly discern who is from Shem and who is not - to look upon Naaman not as a "Gentile" but as a Semite being blessed by Noah in Genesis 9:26 and what about the "mysterious" blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh much later in Genesis 48:19-20 which are barely covered nor discussed in church by bible scholars today. Instead, these blessings are so important to understand for the relationships and alliances of nations regarding "physical Israel" which is in fact Zionist JUDAH nation (and not! the "House of Israel").

      I recommend watching the latest video of 'Shaking my Head Productions' YT channel on "Donald Trump false Messiah?" because this might be a key of understanding for the importance to discern the HOUSE / CHILDREN OF ISRAEL term used in scriptures from the people of JUDAH. As God does clearly discern them so should we. MARANATHA!

  14. One of the most astonishing articles I’ve ever read. Will be going through it again but wow... the Holy Spirit has blessed you. Thank you for sharing the fruit of your passionate study, wisdom, education and love for God. Can’t wait for part 2! God bless you!

  15. Fitting into Joel 3:3 (the partitioning of the land) and the 'covenant with death' of Isaiah 28:15-18:


    "US Jewry no longer in Netanyahus pocket" J Street has introduced a new type of pro-Israeliness into the Jewish-American discourse, which sees its main mission as advancing a two-state solution even if it contradict the Israeli government worldview.


  16. Finally got the kids outside in the sunshine so I could take a breath and read this, with that cup of coffee in my favorite reading nook. :)
    Blessed and excited as usual by everything here. Much looking forward to part II.
    God bless and Maranatha!!

    1. Dear Gail, beware of harmful UV-C radiation in the "sunshine", just saying... This is all going down on us now, it's endtimes! (If you're interested, check " Planet X Physicist " YT channel video #204 for more information) Blessings to you! MARANATHA :)

    2. Annabel, is the simulator able to deliver Vitamin D or is the entire planet working on a Rickets Pandemic? Maranatha!

  17. Thank y'all for your feedback. This took some time to piece together, and I'm so glad to see that it has been a blessing. I'm motivated to power through on Part 2!

  18. Great work, Jeff! I know a lot of good teachers (J.D. Farag, to name one of my favorites) who invariably talk as if Isaiah 17:1 could be fulfilled any day now, and how it will lead to this and trigger that and so on and so forth. This always bugged me slightly, but I never knew why. It's as if a little voice kept telling me "Check the context...check the context." I tried...but sadly, my OT boots don't come up quite high enough.

    I'm glad yours do.

  19. Jeff, thank you for this article and the research you undertook. It was amazing! Uplifting! Every time I think of what 'harvest' means and 'flee away' in Isaiah 17:11, I am amazed. And, I appreciate your explanations even moreso as my ESV bible does say flee away but has a footnote 'or will be a heap'! This opened up the passages, too, for me on making Israel jealous because I could never see it before.
    I believe it was J Vernon McGee who mentioned the Jews were not pleased with Naaman being healed! A part of that jealousy spoken of. From the Jewish Enclopedia I read they considered Naaman the leper a proselyte.

  20. BRILLIANT!!!

    Will review several more times in anticipation of Part II!


  21. Oh, Jeff, this is absolutely marvelous. Language Geek here, so I couldn't be more pleased and blessed. Such amazing insights Holy Spirit has given you and they resonate absolutely with me. It made me feel as though I was having a preview of us all sitting by the River of Life and learning about the correct understanding of the things we misunderstood or overlooked. This one completely went by me until today! I think this was a tiny preview of our future time together at His feet and I am so grateful. I shall await patiently, as much as possible, Part 2! Blessings - Sherry

  22. Jeff - when reading this, I was reminded about an unsealed article a while back which talked about messiah - nazarene - netzer branch etc from Isaiah 4. Cannot find it however, so if you can recall, please put a link to it in here as it would accompany this one really well, and I would like to read them together.


    1. Hey Ryan,

      Nothing is coming to mind right now. I don't recall a past article with a Messiah/Netzer/Branch focus. Gary, Greg?

  23. Interesting - reading Keil and Delitsch on vs 11, they note that previous exposition had the word 'ned' to mean 'flee away', however K&D noted that it is not written in the third person, but that the meaning cumulus should be 'a heap', and they referenced Romans 2:5 'storing up wrath in the day of wrath', which would fit well considering the context of the chapter/verse concerning harvest heaps (store) and an unrepentant israel...in the day of distress/incurable pain (day of wrath).

  24. Very good article. I look forward to the number II.
    Many may know this but to those who don't, consider this:
    Isaiah has 66 chapters. The Bible has 66 books. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah deal with judgements and woes on Israel and the world. The first 39 chapters of the Bible have to do with Israel, the law and the judgements on Israel. The last 27 chapters of Isaiah have to do with grace, comfort and coming salvation. The 27 books of the New Testament, as we know, have to do with the salvation of the Messiah, and God's grace. What a coincidence....
    If you don't know this, I hope it is an encouragement.

    1. How lovely and there is no Hebrew word for coincidence. God is precision and He misses nothing. I dare say we have seen maybe 20% of what he shared with us in the Scriptures and the other 75% is waiting to be discovered, to build on what we know and understand. There are so many more confirmations of His Goodness and Love for us - Just like the ones Jeff has shared. Beautiful - we are excavating a treasure field! Blessings - Sherry

    2. Phil, did you already check out the latest 'Parable of the vineyard' YT channel lecture on the CEPHER bible with guest speaker Dr. Pidgeon? This was amazing and worth watching all along 2 hours... Everything that has been hidden so long must come to light now, to be examined by the endtimes generation! MARANATHA! :)

  25. Annabel, thank you sister, you are so right I know. I’m very careful as I’ve had several skin cancers removed myself over the past 10 years! My kids get layered with sunscreen before they go out(which also may not be the healthiest, but all in moderation). But we live in the northeast and this is the first they’ve been able to get out after this long winter. It’s a risk balance thing. Also need a little vitamin D from the sun, but yes, not too much sun!! God bless!!

    1. Yes Dear I hear you... It's just so disgusting what these monsters do to us by frying and spraying, I so much pray that we might be outta here soon... Much love, stay blessed and protected, MARANATHA!

  26. Seeing reports that Russia may have delivered the S300 missiles to Syria.

  27. Another day...another week...another month....
    Expectations were so high. Now it's more treading water...hoping that the previous expectations fade.

    1. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

    2. Something I find helpful is to imagine what Messiah is watching while we’re watching for Him. The phrase that sums it up for me is ‘those that love His coming.’ I’m convinced that He is not mocking those who rush to the door in anticipation when they hear a faint knock, or perk up their ears when they hear a train whistle that sounds a little like a shofar, or look up to the stars at night. He’s watching for eager hearts. We need to be both ready to serve and willing to wait on His Good Pleasure.

    3. @CY and Cry, that's a sweet thought and I second it!

    4. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose HEART is perfect TOWARD HIM. (2 Chron 16:9a KJV, emph mine).

      Note the present-perfect tense. He has never Stopped looking for such as us Watchers, nor will He, until the Time of Watching is done, Maranatha1

  28. Thank you for posting this bible study. Lord Bless you This clears many of the questions about the timeline for Damascus. We are quickly approaching the time written in Isaiah 17.

  29. WOW Jeff! Just Wow! I just love how the OT shows rapture hidden.

  30. Thank you, Matthew! Wait, I thought John Nelson Darby invented the Rapture? You mean to tell me there are OT passages that preview the Rapture of the Church?


  31. Jeff, thank you for a wonderful article. I've been listening to Jonathan Cahn teaching the Mystery of the trees, where he discusses the law of the trees from Leviticus. I usually keep Mr. Cahn at a distance, but very interesting teaching. The grafting in to the olive and fig tree, remembering that Jesus is the true vine. A living tree takes life and a dead tree gives life, amazing. Can't wait for part 2. God bless.

    1. Oh, Brent, thank you for mentioning Jonathan Cahn. Like all of us, he's not perfect, but I have gotten so many nuggets from the Hebrew from him I would never have known to even consider if he hadn't made them known. He loves Yeshua and preaches the gospel so everything else I can filter out. If you have not read his latest book - The Paradigm - you should do so. It take Ahab and Jezebel and their compatriots and shows you the stunning similarities to those who fit those descriptions in American politics today. I thought there would be a few coincidences, not so, the parallels are astounding. Just as Jeff has shown us, we can never know enough about the Culture, the Context, the Agricultural references to fill in the gaps we have in our modern understanding - but what a treat it is to chase them! Blessings - Sherry

    2. Sherry, I almost purchased his book on Amazon a day ago. Guess I better read it. I you get a chance check out his teaching on the Mystery of the trees. It ties in very well with this article of Jeff's. I've only gotten halfway through it and it's full of great insight. And blessings to you.

  32. Wow...just wow. The depths of His Word, unfathomable.



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