The event of Moses leading ‘Israel’s exodus from Egypt, from the oppressive grips of the hands of Pharoah, is somewhat representative of a last days exodus for God’s people required for them to return to their homeland and to be regathered. Future passages of mine will discuss more about this regathering that will take place prior to or at the beginning of the establishment of God’s Millennial heavenly Kingdom.
Meanwhile, if this kind of exodus event is to be repeated in the future, then this “picture” implies that God’s people may be held in some kind of captivity prior to the event. In this passage, I will examine a little more about what the scripture says about the oppression and captivity of God’s people in the last days. It is important to keep in mind a broad understanding that, wherever oppression and injustice is, captivity is usually also present in some form.
Worldwide captivity of God’s lost sheep
Prophetic scripture tells us that God’s people will be oppressed and held captive (worldwide) in the last days. God, through the prophet Joel, says that oppressive treatment of his people will be a reason for his final judging of the nations (Chapter 3). Ezekiel’s prophetic vision (Chapter 34) discusses how God’s sheep have been scattered worldwide, and are without a shepherd. As a result, God’s sheep have been vulnerable, and have been “plundered,” become “food for all the wild animals” (Ez 34:8), and have been sold into captivity. Here are a few scriptures directly related to the last days captivity of God’s people:
- “For they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink.” (Joel 3:2-3)
- “…they ravaged and hounded (my people) from every side so that you became a possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people’s malicious talk and slander.” (Ez 36:3)
- “They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations nor will wild animals devour them.” (Ez 34:27)
In Ezekiel (Chapter 34), the Lord is speaking not only about how his people will be freed and delivered out of captivity, but how he will bring them back into their land and will be their Lord. His servant David will be their prince and shepherd among them; so they will finally have a shepherd of their own to lead them again.
End times ‘Babylonian’ captivity of God’s lost sheep
In addition to Babylon’s obvious application during Jeremiah’s time, Jeremiah tells a story about the last days ‘Babylonian’ nation or kingdom (Chapters 50-51). God refers to his people again in scripture here as “lost sheep” whose shepherds in ‘Babylon’ have “led them astray.” In fact, ‘Babylon’ has wielded the “sword of the oppressor” and “pillages (the Lord’s) inheritance,” meaning that God’s people- his lost sheep- are again on the receiving end of this oppression in the last days:
- “The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go.” (Jer 50:33)
- “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out.” (Jer 51:44)
End Times ‘Babylon’ will suffer God’s destruction and judgment, at the hands of an “alliance of great nations from the land of the north” (Jer 50:8). We are told in scripture that ‘Babylon,’ and the “wall of Babylon” (Jer 51:44), must fall because of Israel’s slain (Jer 51:49). (Recall my prior passage- God’s People Silenced– about an and end-times “type” of Egypt with a “wall of sin” that collapses suddenly; Is 30:13). Modern-day ‘Babylon’ is a land of idols and sinful practices. God ultimately says, “Flee out of Babylon” (Jer 50:8); “Come out of her, my people!” (Jer 51:45)
Any guesses as to which country, nation or land might be modern day Babylon? (I’ll discuss more on this in a future passage). There is a slight clue above, I believe.
Also, related to last days ‘Babylon’ is the king of ‘Babylon,’ and most likely the “Assyrian” as well who God refers to (Is 10:5-6) as his “rod of anger.” God uses the “Assyrian” against this “godless nation,” to “seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets” (Is 10:6). These are a couple of real-life end times kings, likely living in our current day. (I’ll address these figures more in a future passage).
Israel itself oppresses, and even oppresses its own
It is important to remember that God’s people are not innocent themselves. Recall that the reason they end up in situations of oppression and captivity (as described above) is because God gives them over because of their own disobedience and practice of serving other gods (Is 42:24, Jer 5:19, Jer 15:14, etc.). In the book of Jeremiah (Chapter 6), God announces the coming attack on Jerusalem that will leave it desolate as a severe punishment for its rampant oppression that goes on internally. Here, God says, “violence and destruction resound in her”; “all are greedy for gain”; “prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit”; etc. Also in Jeremiah (Chapter 34), we learn how Israelis disobeyed their own covenant with God and their king Hezekiah by not freeing their own Hebrew slaves on every seventh year, which was another key reason for bringing about God’s eventual judgment on Judah at the hands of the Babylonians.
Additional scriptures via the prophets show us how Israel oppresses its own, with prophecies that are applicable to, and being fulfilled in, these last days.
- “You trample on the poor” (Amos 5:11); “You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.” (Amos 5:12)
- “Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, when will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain…skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals…” (Amos 8:4-6)
- “Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.” (Mic 3:11)
- “Woe to the city (Jerusalem) of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!…Her officials are roaring lions, her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. Her prophets are arrogant, they are treacherous men. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.” (Zeph 3:1, 3-4)
The above demonstrate how the nation of Israel oppresses others, including its own people. But in the book of Ezekiel, we see how Israel’s people also become part of the oppressive forces in other countries where they are scattered. In Ezekiel (Ch. 36), God reminds how he scattered his people among the nations after they defiled the land of Israel. He further observes that, wherever his people went, they continued to profane his holy name. In Ezekiel (Ch. 36), God’s people are accused by the nations of “devouring men,” “making nations childless,” and God even says, “No longer will you cause nations to fall” (Ez 36:15).
So, no one people-group is without blame in joining in among today’s anti-Christ Chaldean oppressors who, by definition, deprive the poor, fatherless, widows, and aliens, etc. of justice. The issue is one of the heart. When God restores his people back in their land, he says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…” (Ez 36:26)
Recall that Jesus made a point to read a particular passage from Isaiah (Ch. 61) in the Nazareth synagogue, in which he proclaimed freedom from oppression for the captives (Luke 4:18-19):
- “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…” Then he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Is 61:1)
Only Jesus Christ, who is coming again soon, can free a world that is in the grips of modern day oppression and slavery due to a massive, global anti-Christ Chaldean army. Even if we are living in some kind of bondage or slavery in the current time, we can always be spiritually free and comforted through our faith in him alone.
Jesus Christ will return again to set his people free worldwide. Many, including myself, believe that he will also fulfill the very next line in the Isaiah passage above:
“and (to proclaim) the day of vengeance of our God.” (Is 61:2)
Grace and Peace,
Lion’s Lair (LL)