ISAIAH 46:11: A Bird of Prey from the Sunrising

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Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Isaiah 46:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the sunrising,[1]
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

(Isaiah 46:10) Almighty God, our Creator of heaven, earth, and humanity has the ability to foresee the future, which is just more outstanding evidence of the existence of the Creator. However, it is one thing to have the foresight of what will happen but it is an even greater ability to move the pieces on the human chessboard to ensure the fulfillment of things that are foreseen. The declaration “my counsel shall stand” in verse 10 emphasizes the unchangeableness of God’s secured purpose. As Scripture tells us God’s power is unlimited, so there is nothing that can prevent him from carrying out his will and purposes. (Daniel 4:35) Therefore, we are guaranteed that all of his prophecies which yet in the future (great tribulation, Armageddon, the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous, thousand-year reign of Christ, the abyssing of Satan) are yet to be fulfilled will certainly come true.—Isaiah 55:11.

(Isaiah 46:11) As the one “declaring the end from the beginning,” (vs. 10) Jehovah God has the ability to fashion the events in human matters in order to carry out his will and purposes. In verse 11, Jehovah will call Cyrus “from the sunrising [east].” In other words, he will call Cyrus from Persia in the east of Babylon, which is where you would have found Cyrus’ favorite capital, Pasargadae. Cyrus was to be like “a bird of prey,” pouncing swiftly, abruptly, and surprisingly upon Babylon.

PERSIAN EMPIRE: The Fourth Great World Power in Bible History

BIRD OF PREY: The bird of prey used by God to administer judgment on Babylon, was Cyrus the Gret of Persian, who was holding his people captive was figuratively represented by “a bird of prey.” (Isa 46:11) According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, we arrive at the final year of Nabonidus’ reign (539 B.C.E.) in the month of Tishri (September-October), Cyrus engaged the Babylonian forces at Opis and destroyed them. The reads: “The 14th day, Sippar was seized without battle. Nabonidus fled. The 16th day, Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Gutium and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterwards Nabonidus was arrested in Babylon when he returned . . . In the month of Arahshamnu [Marchesvan (October-November)], the 3rd day, Cyrus entered Babylon.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 306)

* The last supreme monarch of the Babylonian Empire, who was the father of Belshazzar

God is INDIRECTLY responsible for ALL things and DIRECTLY responsible for SOME things

NOTE: God does not directly step into humanity for everything all the time. He is selective in his using some specific aspect of humanity to carry out his will and purposes.

Why has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering?

On Isaiah 46:11, John N. Oswalt  writes,

They are to remember that in “former” times God predicted what is taking place at this moment and that he has kept his promises in the past. Cyrus, “the bird of prey” coming “from the east,” will arrive in direct fulfillment of the prediction and purpose of God. These things show that Yahweh is God alone and that “there is none like” him. The issue now is whether the exiles will believe it and keep their faith[2]

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

Trent Butler writes,

46:11–13. Yes, even if God chose to call his ruler from a far eastern country rather than from Israel, he would still accomplish his purpose. Israel must quit being stubborn and get ready for God’s great new action in their history. They could get ready only though righteousness. Even though he was using a foreign king, his purpose was to provide for the salvation of his people Israel.[3]

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

J. Alec Motyer writes,

10–11. End … beginning … still to come: i.e. the whole sweep of history, from its inception to the things still in process, and on to the end, is under his sovereign rule. He does not await the turn of events and then wonder what to do about them: they all emerge in order on the stage of history (like the stars, 40:26) at the dictate of his word (I make known, lit. ‘declare’). From ancient times is just ‘from beforehand’. My purpose will stand: in a word, the Lord is a God who is truly God. As in creation (Ps. 33:9), so in history, he cannot be thwarted or gainsaid. Even when some particular in human experience bothers his people, it is still the unalterable will of God. Here, the Lord does not conceal or alter the Cyrus plan. He comes as a rapacious victor (bird of prey, 11) under the compulsion of the divine will (purpose). God has spoken (said), God will act (bring about); it is the product of divine wisdom (planned) and backed by divine action (do).[4]

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? Why Has God Allowed Suffering and Evil? Why God, Why?

[1] That is, the east
[2] John N. Oswalt, Isaiah (The NIV Application Commentary) (Kindle Locations 11414-11417). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
[3] Trent Butler, Holman Old Testament Commentary – Isaiah. B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[4] J. Alec Motyer, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 20, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 333–334.

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