Is Isaiah 9:21 a Prophecy or Has This Already Happened?
Here is the verse:
“Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh; Together they shall be against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.”
Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah are names mentioned often in the Old Testament, but their prophetic significance is found in events now occurring and those about to take place in the United States (modern Manasseh), the United Kingdom (modern Ephraim) and the State of Israel (modern Judah). This prophecy in Isaiah 9:21 applies to the end of this age—just before the return of Jesus Christ!
Further proof of Old Testament prophecies being given by God for our time can be found in our publications:
Q&A–You teach that the Bible contains end-time prophecies, involving many modern nations and peoples, referring to them with ancient names. Would you please explain the identity of major modern nations, as mentioned in Biblical prophecy?
Q&A–Numerous Scriptures in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel address the house of Israel with dire warnings. Do any of those prophecies apply to us today?
Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph specially blessed by Jacob with a double portion of blessings (Genesis 48:22). Joseph received the birthright from Jacob (1 Chronicles 5:2), because Reuben, who was Jacob’s firstborn son (Genesis 46:8), lost his birthright:
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel–he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright” (1 Chronicles 5:1; compare Genesis 35:22).
It was in the days of King Solomon’s reign, when he turned away from God, that a division occurred in the tribes of Israel—one which has endured to this day:
“Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen’” (1 Kings 11:11-13).
Judah was preserved as a separate nation and became known as the House of Judah, while ten tribes became known as the nation or House of Israel. Nevertheless, both of these nations turned from God and went into captivity—Israel in 721 BC by Assyria; Judah in 606 BC by Babylon.
However, the Bible reveals in Genesis 49:1-28 a time when national blessings would come to Jacob’s descendants, and the fulfillment was to occur “‘in the last days’” (Genesis 49:1). Moses also blessed the children of Israel, giving prophetic statements about each of the twelve sons of Jacob and their future heritage (Deuteronomy 33).
True to Jacob’s prophecies about Joseph’s sons, Ephraim (the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth) became “‘a multitude of nations’” and Manasseh (the United States of America) became a “great” nation (Genesis 48:19). In recent history, each of these “world powers” has played a vital role in the establishment of a modern Jewish nation.
Out of the fledgling Zionist movement in the nineteenth century, Jews once again sought to re-establish their Jewish homeland. During World War I, the British government came to the aid of the Jewish people with the Balfour Declaration (1917)—which stated:
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
This support from Britain opened the door for Jews to establish themselves in the Palestine territories—including Jerusalem.
Next, following World War II, the most powerful nation in the world, the United States, cast the decisive vote approving the formal establishment of the State of Israel (1948). President Harry S. Truman recognized the proclamation by David Ben-Gurion of the State of Israel:
“This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.
“The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.”
The tumultuous history of the State of Israel has seen the establishment of a nation which now sits in the cross-hairs of world attention. Against the backdrop of hostile nations and the call for a Palestinian State, the United States has given its support to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This came about on December 6, 2017, in an announcement by President Donald J. Trump. He also indicated that the American embassy would be re-located from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The prophetic implications of this decision are momentous! Consider this prophecy which faces imminent fulfillment:
“‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it’” (Zechariah 12:2-3).
In the previous chapter of Zechariah, the prophet symbolically foreshadows something which will soon take place:
“Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” (Zechariah 11:14).
In spite of the “brotherhood” shown by the birthright nations of the United Kingdom and the United States toward Judah, that support will be ended! The former “special relationship” enjoyed between America and Britain is being torn apart even at this time. These are the events described in Isaiah 9:21.
America is devouring Britain and Britain is devouring America—and they both will turn against Judah—leaving the State of Israel alone against the world. In spite of the strong support given to the modern State of Israel by America, events will take place which will make their relationship adversarial. Already, there are mounting calls in Britain to stop the financial and military aid being given to the State of Israel.
On the heels of these dramatic changes, national captivity will fall on the United States, the United Kingdom and the State of Israel! This is the meaning of the second part of Isaiah 9:21, which states, “For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.” It will be at this time that God will intervene to help His people. Jesus Christ will return to the earth, and note this promise from God for His people:
“Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass Ephraim… There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria [modern Germany], As it was for Israel In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt” (Isaiah 11:13, 16).
Also, note this end-time prophecy and promise:
“Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: “For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.” Then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.” Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.
“…say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand”’…
“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again”’” (Ezekiel 37:15-17, 19, 21-22).
Present world conditions will rapidly change for the worse, and new alliances will be formed—all in opposition to the USA, the United Kingdom and the State of Israel. But as we have seen, even these three allied powers will become antagonistic towards each other. It will require the return of Jesus Christ to usher in a peaceful world, without strife, contention and envy.
Lead Writer: Dave Harris