Isaiah’s Prophecy to a Distant Nation – A Study of Isaiah 18
In this second review of Isaiah 18, we are focused on the thought that the seven verses found in this prophecy are not only addressing one single nation, but that this particular one is both unknown and that it is a distant land in a far-off time, unknown to the prophet himself. It is my personal conclusion that the nation being addressed is, indeed, the United States of America in the last days. In this limited study here, we hope to prove that.
First, we quote from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible the eighteenth chapter of Isaiah in its entirety to set the framework behind this review:
18Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,
2 Which sends ambassadors by sea, even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying, “Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward;A nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide.”
3 All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when he blows a trumpet, you hear it.
4 For so the Lord said to me, “I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
5 For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower,He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches.
6 They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey and for the beasts of the earth; the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
7 In that time a present will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward; A nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide — To the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion.
An Unusual Nation Focused on “Noisy Wings”!
The first thing we notice in this passage is the word “Woe”! Right off the bat, this is not a “user-friendly” prophecy! This is not a prophecy to be taken lightly or ignored. We will address this further in this brief study.
“… to the land shadowed with buzzing wings” is the first identifier of this unusual nation. The King James Version notes it as a “land shadowing with wings.” The New American Standard Version (NAS) calls them “whirring” wings. What kind of wings is the prophet trying to describe and why are these important?
Online dictionaries describe this term to mean: “sound of something in rapid motion, like the sound of rapidly vibrating wings … whir of a bird’s wings or the whir of propellers.” The word “whir/whirring” is picked up by Bible translators here to replace the word “shadowed,” as presented in the King James Version of the Bible. Since the word “whir/whirring” didn’t come into existence, according to definition sources, until 1400AD in Scandinavia, the suggestion here is that the wings being referred to are large, noise-making wings, not of natural sources or of nature itself. The suggestion is that these sounds would be man-made, “unnatural” in source, such as what would be found in today’s modern aircraft. This prophecy dates to around 600BC. The thought that the prophet would have written about a technology that would not exist for another 2,000 or more years is both mind-boggling and unfathomable.
Of special note: this particular nation’s identity is, according to these opening words, connected to this one trait that apparently sets it apart from other nations … or else, why mention it … and why open with it? It has to be significant to that nation’s identity and character.
U.S. air traffic radar, peek day flights 2015
The Land of ‘Whirring’ Wings
According to MIT’s Global Airline Industry Program, “In the US airline industry, approximately 100 certificated passenger airlines operate over 11 million flight departures per year, and carry over one-third of the world’s total air traffic – US airlines enplaned 745 million passengers. US airlines reported over 31,000 flights per day in 2015.”
In 2016, the United States showed the highest per capita air miles of any nation with over 823 million people per year flying. China, by comparison, was a distant second with its 488 million per year, and Britain’s third place 145 million.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there is an average of “5,000 aircraft in the sky at any given time” over the US. There were “42,700 average daily flights handled by the FAA in 2016.” All told, over 25 million “general aviation flight hours” were logged with the FAA in 2016.
Indeed, that is what you could call a nation under the “shadowing” of “noisy … whirring wings”!
ISAIAH 18 Manuscript
In this format, space limits how deep we can carry this particular review. We encourage you to secure your own copy of our manuscript, ISAIAH 18: To a Mystery in a Distant Time through this link to our website: