Something leaped off the page at me this morning. In the context of the final steps in the full restoration of Israel (at least a remnant of it), to full faith in their own Messiah, Y’Shuah, Christ Jesus, Isaiah writes, in chapter 49:
22 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. 23 Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” 24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? 25 For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We may interpret this prophecy in a number of non-exclusive (i.e., different but compatible) ways.
First, there is the literal-historical. Scripture (as well as extra-scriptural historians, such as Josephus) write of various sieges of Jerusalem wherein the inhabitants were reduced to killing and eating their own children. This is ‘flesh’ in the familial, hereditary sense. E.g., my daughters are my ‘flesh’. Scripture also makes clear that that which is done to God’s people, even though it is under the sovereign control of God, for their (our) discipline and refinement, is brought back onto the heads of the perpetrators, often in larger proportion.
Second, there is the symbolic-spiritual, wherein people get so caught up in themselves and their own fleshly desires that they ‘eat’ (take-in, gain nourishment from, live on) fleshly things. They are ‘carnal’ — of the flesh. (We don’t have space to delve into this any more deeply, but there is a hint, in this line of reasoning, of the strangeness of the Roman Catholic insistence on literal transubstantiation, i.e., cannibalistic, dead-Jesus, flesh-in-the-mouth. Going back to the Isaiah text, we must keep in mind that the Romans were later some of the Jews most direct ‘oppressors’ and that the Roman Empire was never really overthrown, just fragmented, outwardly transformed and sent into hibernation.)
Those who ‘eat’ their own fleshly desires are spiritually filled up with themselves. As such, they fail to ‘eat’ the spiritual manna which Jesus provides, the daily ‘bread of life’ which is made freely available, amply nourishing those who follow Christ. They fail to come into bread-breaking (regular, life-on-life, intimate/ordinary fellowship with His body, the church universal) and so are left ‘eating’ only that which is sensual and therefore passing away, i.e., that which is of the flesh.
Third, (and this relates to both previous points) there is a grand-present/future application to Jacob and the land of Israel and to their opponents. Those nations which rage against God, His Anointed, and the people through whom His Chris, Jesus came to be born, i.e., the Jews will, to an increasing degree (and this need not be thought of as a process of instantaneous transformation) “eat their own flesh”.
What does this mean? Several things, I believe.
Those who oppose Israel (and thus God, and Christ Jesus, and His return to reign in power, with Jewish eyes opened) will be fixated on ‘eating’ the things of the flesh. They (we) will look like Babylon. In their natural, human (i.e., non-Biblical, antichrist) worldview they will see no reason to recognize Israel or treat her differently, because they have no faith and give no practical deference to the God of Creation and His Sovereign spelled-out-in-advance plan and promise.
One can start anywhere with this argument and end up at the same place.
It’s essentially saying the same thing Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3: that which is born of flesh is flesh. By extension, therefore, flesh eats flesh. It is carnal — the very opposite of what Jesus says when the disciples urge him to ‘eat’ in John 4 and he replies that he has food they don’t know about and that that food is to do the will of His Father. Those who are carnal — i.e., those who have not experienced radical regeneration, in Christ, with His Holy Spirit — cannot see any reason to ‘eat’ the things of the Spirit, the bread of life, instead.
It’s another way of expressing the thought that the love of many will grow cold in the end times and that people will be lovers of money, self, sensual pleasures (of the flesh), etc. They will have an appetite for the things of the flesh and none for the things of God. They will also ‘drink’ their own blood — an act which I will not treat in detail because it is probably meant to be parallel to all of the arguments we’re making here about flesh — i.e., both literal and symbolic, not only in Satanic ritual (relatively rare, though not unknown) as well as consuming their own life-force, focusing in on themselves without any external source of nutrition or renewal. It is not irrelevant to reflect on the fact that ticks, mosquitoes and leeches are all blood-drinkers. When we think of a person or company or government which does this we sometimes call them a ‘leech’ — a parasite — one drawing sustenance from another without permission.
One thinks also of Daniel and his compatriots, whose first (and life-riskingly brave) act of public faith on being brought into Babylon was to refuse the king’s meat and wine and insist on a tee-totalling, vegetarian diet. I have nothing against vegetarianism, or tee-totalling. For the Christian, these are matters of preference, even as gluttony and drunkenness are condemned. In light of the revelation to Peter in Acts 10, it would be taking the text much to far to view it as prescriptive in a dietary sense; it’s main thrust is symbolic: look to God alone and eschew what is carnal. (On this basis, one could critique the RCC practice of foregoing meat on Fridays or the literal trans-substantiation of blood, but for today we’ll hold back from going down that particular bunny-trail.)
Some of you are probably ahead of me on this one…
The Isaiah text may also mean that, as nations grow in boldness in their final rebellion against God and all which He has set in place, including the first re-gathering (not in faith yet) of the nation of Israel, they will begin to experience more and more episodes of literal cannibalism, in their midst. E.g., that which occurred last weekend in Florida, where ‘drunkenness’ (‘high’ on the drug ‘bath salts’) was involved, or Maryland, or Montreal, where the self-confessed perpetrator seems ‘drunk’ his own perverted sexual exploits — and those of a form with a tie-in to male blood-essence, the same problem which led to the AIDS epidemic. That’s as far as I’m going to go on that one today. And let’s not forget the ‘drunkenness’ of this nation on a prosperous and ‘free’ lifestyle in which killing babies is justified out of all manner of appeals to the ‘urgent’ interests of the adults involved.
The point: the position of the reigning U.S. government vis a vis Israel, and vis a vis the body of Christ and its full and true practice of Biblical Christianity makes it possible that we are seeing the fulfillment of Isaiah 49:26. (I know a lot less about Canadian or UK politics, however it has been my strong impression that they are at least as hostile to Biblical Christianity — probably more — and not exactly stalwart, God-fearing friends of modern Israel.) It’s hard to separate cause and effect.
This constellation of conclusions line up with other more familiar texts such as the rest of Psalm 2 or Zechariah 12, among others. I suspect other heinous acts of literal cannibalism will be discovered as this news ‘meme’ leads editors to assign more reporters to search out and cover such stories. Both the literal-spiritual cannibalism and the oppression of God’s people are symptoms — the natural and expected out-workings of those who ‘rage’ at God. They are synergistic with one another.
One aspect we haven’t even touched on, of course, is the meteoric rise in popularity of vampire movies and books, especially among the young and impressionable. Do these lead to literal cannibalism? Probably not. Or not often. I take them more as a symptom of an age in which the God of the Bible, already relegated to the back seat in the West these last few hundred years or so has now been tied up and gagged in the trunk if not kicked out and left to bounce down the street.
Mankind was made by our Creator, with a natural spiritual hunger and thirst. Both of them need to be fed. If they’re not fed on the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, washed down with the overflowing clear spring of the water of His Holy Spirit, then they will be fed with carnality and violence (flesh and blood).
Is it any accident then, that in the wake of these awful news stories, ‘Madonna’ the queen of Babylonian carnality herself (see various analyses of her Satanically-inspired Superbowl show) kicked off a new show in Israel (Tel Aviv) just last night (Thursday, May 31st) in which,
“she showcased grim dance routines depicting violence and bloody gunmen… trussed up and hoisted into the air by four male dancers, [she was] lowered onto a platform as though into a volcano – a virgin sacrifice. For ‘Gang Bang,’ Madonna wrestled with armed intruders whom she then dispatched with a pistol – their ‘blood’ spattering across an enormous video backdrop. In a routine for ‘Revolver,’ she wielded a Kalashnikov rifle…”
Make no mistake, brethren and sistren, as well as spectators and scoffers: The only blood which will save us from the bloody mess of this world and its raging schemes is the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Will you accept Him?