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Zero 10 – an ancient parallel

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.    [Isaiah placing on record the LORD’s viewpoint c. BC 710 Jerusalem, the city of David – 22: 8-11]


Did you know that a major proportion of the teaching of Jesus Christ in AD 30-33 was done using parallels? Immediately after he rose from the dead, he again used parallels to demonstrate to his disciples that all the books in the national archives of Israel from 2000 BC to 400 BC had foretold that unprecedented event.


The super thing about using parallels is that folk who “get it” truly “get it”.  Also, folk who don’t want to get it are able to remain ignorant of the message. They aren’t forced to know what they don’t want to know.


The folk who truly “get it” (who discover the parallel) will experience a remarkable transformation. They become convinced – from the inside.


But what is this BC Jerusalem parallel for AD Jersey? Please read the BC 710 words of Isaiah in bold above. And think.


The history is this. King Hezekiah is on the throne in Jerusalem. Judah is his kingdom and is a tiny player upon the world canvas. That canvas is dominated by Assyria.  (Yes, the same as Assyrian as in Lord Byron’s poem: The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold...) How will it survive this huge onslaught?


Unlike virtually all world cities today, Jerusalem has never had a river flowing through it.No life without water. In BC 710 Jerusalem’s water came from a source outside the city walls – the Gihon Spring. It was brought inside on an open viaduct. Hezekiah knew that the Assyrians would arrive, capture the water and cause awful loss.


As bad if not worse, Jerusalem’s walls weren’t in good order.


King Hezekiah tackled this two-pronged problem – with a two-pronged answer. First, he called in those who could count – they made an inventory of people’s houses and decided to break down as many as were necessary so as to have enough stone to repair the walls. Tough – for the residents.


Second, the Gihon Spring – the source of life they couldn’t do without – and a reservoir to store reserves. Fortress Jerusalem wouldn’t be much good unless both spring and reservoir were made secure. The Gihon Spring was covered over, concealed from outsiders, subject to self-protective confidentiality. Water was for the sole use of city dwellers. Thirst was for those outside.


King Hezekiah’s water tunnel is still there in today’s Jerusalem. In 1880 a stone inscription was re-discovered by Arab boys playing in the water. It commemorated at the time the amazing achievement of the time.  


Well done, Hezekiah. But you’ve forgotten something. Something enigmatically contained in Isaiah’s words “But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.” In BC 597 Jerusalem was overthrown, not by Assyria, but by the Babylonian Empire.


That’s the problem. King Hezekiah, you don’t realize that God is sovereign in this world, that He has plans over which you have no control – plans which will accomplish His purposes. And, Hezekiah, please listen to Isaiah “The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity [the water and the houses] will not be atoned for you until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts.” Hezekiah’s iniquity awaited a later atonement. When was that?


In AD 33, the LORD would send His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to die on behalf of those who would turn from such self-sufficiency and omni-competence. King Hezekiah did just that. God’s Son would, by dying a criminal’s death, destroy death forever. But only for those who place their trust in Him and not in themselves. Jersey, take note.

‘There is no room for God in him who is full of himself.’ (Anon.)
‘The most effective poison to lead men to ruin is to boast in themselves, in their own wisdom and will power.' (John Calvin., French Pastor and theologian, 1509-1564.)
Richard Syvret

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