Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Understanding Isaiah in South Sudan

* - This was originally posted January 9, 2011. That post had too many visits from spam engines, so I have reposted it hoping to clear my cache a little.

The referendum on Southern Sudanese independence is today. It is a good day to pray, for all sides.

For those who are unfamiliar with Biblical geography (as I was until I did some searching) when Isaiah was speaking about the land of Cush, he really was thinking about the same neighborhood - Eastern Africa, south of Egypt, Ethiopia in particular which is next door in our modern maps. Chapter 18, which the video cites, speaks mostly of the woe on the "land ... beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" until the last verse, which speaks of their suffering and finally being gathered "to mount Zion." Chapter 11, which references Cush more explicitly, speaks of a second, Millennial gathering of God's people out of Cush and assorted lands to Zion. Zephaniah 3 similarly speaks of people beyond the rivers of Ethiopia being gathered (vs. 10) and bringing offerings to God (vs. 12) in the last days. Any other reference to Ethiopia I find is about it being smitten by Assyria or getting ready to join Egypt in afflicting Israel. So I see a lot more about a gathering out of the area, rather than divinely ordained political independence, but it can't be denied that it's a regular theme of the Old Testament prophets for God's people. [Quick bias check: do you think of them as 'God's people' because the south is mostly Christian or because they could have intermingled with Ethiopian Jews, or can you see the Muslim north as also part of God's people who accept Isaiah as a prophet and are living in the same area?]

Hat tip: Poverty News Blog

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