Our small liberal arts institution, Herbert W. Armstrong College, recently received recognition for an exciting archaeological discovery at the Ophel excavation site in Jerusalem. It was a small clay seal belonging to one of the greatest kings in Judah’s history: King Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:5 says this about him: “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.” What a commendation!
And what a message this small clay seal has for the world, if people will listen!
The head archaeologist who unveiled the find, Dr. Eilat Mazar, called the bulla “the closest as ever that we can get to something that was most likely held by King Hezekiah himself.” Hebrew University wrote in a statement that the discovery “vividly brings to life the biblical narratives about King Hezekiah and the activity conducted during his lifetime in Jerusalem’s royal quarter.”
The bulla was actually found in material excavated back in 2009. It takes time to wet-sift and process what you uncover in those digs. At the time it was found, the excavating was being done by three people, two of whom were our Herbert W. Armstrong College students: Brent Nagtegaal and Harley Breth. So we were directly involved in what turned out to be a massive discovery!
Dr. Mazar and her team didn’t realize it until 2015, but this bulla has an inscription reading: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.”
Other seals of King Hezekiah have been available on the antiquities market since the 1990s. But their origins are suspect. The bulla Dr. Mazar unearthed in 2009 is the first seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king that has ever been found in a scientific archaeological excavation.
However, there is something far more important about this find. Hezekiah sat on David’s throne and helped to fulfill God’s promise to David. “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually” (Jeremiah 33:17-18; also see 2 Samuel 7:12-17).
This is a promise from God that there will always be a human descendant of David sitting on that throne until the Messiah comes. Jesus Christ will then share it with those saints who do His Work before He comes.
David’s throne is really the living God’s throne (1 Chronicles 29:23). Hezekiah was honored to be one of the kings who sat on that throne.
God also promised that there would be a man to proclaim the message about that magnificent throne.
It is a twofold promise from the Almighty God.
I proclaim that message to the world—backed by supporters of God’s Work.
We must thunder this message about the Hezekiah bulla to the largest audience possible. We also must teach the other truths about that throne. But that is only a small part of the message about David’s throne that we teach.
Even secular sources corroborate the existence of King Hezekiah and, by extension, the veracity of the Bible. Assyrian King Sennacherib, who invaded Israel and surrounded Jerusalem, wrote about Hezekiah in his annals.
Still, uncovering this bulla right in the royal quarter of Jerusalem adds exciting proof and detail to what we know about this king—and God’s Church was directly involved in its discovery.
The history of King Hezekiah is deeply inspiring. It is actually extremely prophetic for us today! This seal has a message for this world that it desperately needs to hear.
A History With Bullae
The Hezekiah bulla is not the first seal impression of a Judean noble that we have been interested in. In 2005 and in 2008, Dr. Mazar’s team unearthed bullae belonging to Jehucal and Gedaliah, respectively. These were two Judean princes who persecuted the Prophet Jeremiah. Both are named in the very same verse of the Bible: Jeremiah 38:1. These two seals powerfully corroborate the record Jeremiah wrote.
Miraculously, the first place these two bullae were publicly displayed was 6,856 miles away, in Edmond, Oklahoma. Dr. Mazar agreed that Armstrong Auditorium would be an appropriate place to display these amazing archaeological finds, and the Israel Antiquities Authority approved. The “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered” exhibit was on display to more than 4,000 visitors and thousands more concertgoers who visited Armstrong Auditorium (in addition to hundreds of members of God’s Church) for over three years.
On the very day we packed up the Jehucal and Gedaliah bullae to ship back to Israel, Dr. Mazar announced an even more notable artifact: the Hezekiah bulla. In many ways this is an even greater find, with more historical significance, than the bullae of the two evil princes who tried to have the Prophet Jeremiah killed. It is certainly a much more inspiring find, with a spectacularly uplifting message!
The find was widely reported in international media. The Hebrew University statement described how “students and alumni of Herbert W. Armstrong College from Edmond, Oklahoma, participated in the excavation.” Several media reports, including Haaretz and Arutz Sheva, included this detail. Dr. Mazar drew attention to us. Many reports also pointed to our website www.keytodavidscity.com, where we posted a video that we produced about the find. That video has circulated around the Internet and has been viewed over 350,000 times on YouTube. It has a copyright of “Eilat Mazar and Herbert W. Armstrong College.”
How wonderful that God spotlighted His Work in this way. Isn’t it remarkable that our college would be involved in something like this? Why would a tiny college with roughly 60 students gain such worldwide recognition? God is opening doors for us as we obey Him (Revelation 3:8).
King Hezekiah accomplished many fantastic things in his life. There was a point where God revealed that he was going to die, and he cried out to God for mercy, asking for healing. God agreed to give him 15 more years of life. Sadly, during that 15-year period, Hezekiah turned away from God. But in looking at all the evidence, I strongly believe that before he died he repented and turned back to God!I believe that makes it even more important that we understand the significance of this bulla and of Hezekiah, the king of Judah.
As I explain in The Book of Chronicles(request a free copy if you do not have one), the biblical book of Chronicles is very positive history. Its author, Ezra the priest, left out nearly all the lowlights of Israel’s and Judah’s history. In the original ordering of the Bible, Chronicles is the last book of the Old Testament. Ezra wanted to end with an inspirational message about the royal line of King David—which would transition right into the New Testament and the first coming of Jesus Christ.
In the period of rebuilding Jerusalem after Judah’s return from captivity, Ezra really wanted to inspire the people and get their minds on a positive vision. Chronicles covers the history from the time of David (11th century b.c.) to Judah’s captivity in Babylon (604-585 b.c.) to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the second temple 70 years later. It has a “key of David” theme: Ezra devoted 20 chapters to the great King David and nine chapters to King Solomon, who repented toward the end of his life, as the Song of Songs shows. The fact that Solomon is so prominent in the book of Chronicles seems to me another indication that he repented.
Near the end of Chronicles, Ezra also included four long chapters about King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29-32). Would he have done that if Hezekiah had fallen away and not turned back to God after all he did? Wouldn’t that have made it a negative message? Wouldn’t it be sad to read that history, knowing that this great king ended up losing everything? I believe the fact that Ezra featured him so prominently in Chronicles indirectly communicates that Hezekiah didn’t lose everything. It is one of a number of reasons why I think Hezekiah did repent.
Again, this makes it all the more important that we learn all we can from this prophetic history.
The namesake of our college, Herbert W. Armstrong, said years ago that King Hezekiah of Judah is a type of God’s Work through us today. That is even truer of the Philadelphia Church of God—that history is directly prophetic of what we are doing today!
Hezekiah and the Temple
Look at what Hezekiah accomplished when he was king. 2 Chronicles 29 shows that when he took office at age 25, he began his reign the right way. “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done” (verse 2). King Hezekiah refused to follow the idolatrous path of his father, King Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:22-25). He saw the spiritual filthiness of his nation and immediately began to purge all pagan practices.
Hezekiah immediately went to work cleansing the temple of God, which had fallen into disuse and disrepair—a sign of the terrible spiritual state of Judah at the time. He put a prod on the Levitical priesthood—which had been invisible during Ahaz’s reign—to purify themselves and serve God once again (2 Chronicles 29:11-17). He got rid of the idolatry. He single-handedly put the nation back on course to properly worship the true God! How impressive! It’s amazing what one man can do when he zealously commits himself to God.
All those events anciently are a type of what is happening in this end time. They were not primarily for the unconverted people in the Old Testament. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:11, what happened anciently is an example for us. It is especially for those of us who have the Holy Spirit, which most of them did not.
The temple God is most concerned about is His spiritual temple, the Church (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22). That temple has been desecrated in this end time, during the Laodicean era (Revelation 3:14-22). The work of the Philadelphian remnant is one of raising the ruins and working to cleanse the temple of God in every way we possibly can! This effort requires constant vigilance and self-examination. We take great spiritual lessons from Hezekiah’s example.
The story of Hezekiah also applies to the end-time nations of Israel: America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. God hates how they have become the modern Sodom and Gomorrah. He is going to remove all the filth in these lands.
Sacrifices and Singing
Hezekiah did all he could to restore proper worship in Judah. He resumed the temple sacrifices. “Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 29:20-21).
Though many of the Jews didn’t realize it, they were offering sacrifices that pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God wants us to understand the agony that He and Christ went through to cleanse the entire planet, and everyone who has ever lived, of sin.
Hezekiah also pointed the nation back to King David. “And he set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets” (verses 25-26). Hezekiah reestablished the beautiful, uplifting, inspiring music service of the temple.
These Jews praised God with all their might! (verses 27-29). The nation returned to the basics, following great examples like King David and obeying God. This is a blueprint we all need to follow!
Like Hezekiah, Mr. Armstrong took special pains to cleanse God’s end-time temple with music. He wrote this about godly music: “Did you know that the Eternal has inspired the words of the songs and psalms (hymns) that His people ought to sing? But do the churches today sing them? No! They sing words written by misguided men—flowery words that say just the opposite of the truth of the Bible—words that are lies if the Bible is the truth! Isn’t it as wrong to sing a lie as to tell a lie?” (co-worker letter, Sept. 19, 1958).
Mr. Armstrong cleansed the music offered in worship to God. Because of him, this Church has a songbook better than any other. The pcg produces powerful, wonderful, uplifting, stirring music. Through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation concert series, we sponsor the highest-quality music the human spirit can produce. We continually sing God’s praises and shout for joy because God helps us purge the filth and raise the ruins in a marvelous way!
Offer in Abundance
King Hezekiah inspired the people to establish a habit of cheerful giving. “Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings” (2 Chronicles 29:31).
The Jews gave offerings in such abundance that “the priests were too few” to process them all (verses 34-35). This is a good problem to have! God’s Church always has too few ministers. Ask God for ministers, laborers and helpers in abundance. We need more people who will give their lives to God’s Work.
Hezekiah also commanded the people to resume tithing of their income. “And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly” (2 Chronicles 31:5). Hezekiah encouraged giving, and the people responded abundantly!
God’s Work is always in need of people who give and serve in abundance, as these Jews did. Do you serve in abundance? Do you offer financially, as you are able, in abundance? Do you pray in abundance? We must do God’s will in every aspect of our lives—and do it in abundance. God truly blesses His Work as His people do so.
How to Have True Joy
Hezekiah led the people to resume keeping the holy days. He wrote letters to all of Judah and Israel to convince them to attend the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread services at the temple in Jerusalem. “For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him” (2 Chronicles 30:9).
Sadly, many of the people refused to follow Hezekiah in this righteous cause (verse 10). But there were some who humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem to keep the holy days (verse 11).
Look at what happened to those who obeyed! True joy began to flow in their lives. Verse 21 says they “kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness”—or “great delight” (Moffatt).
This is how to have joy in your life! “So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem” (verse 26). If you don’t have this joy in your life, check your dedication to serving God. Follow Hezekiah’s example, and serve God with all your might!
Those who didn’t humble themselves and obey didn’t enjoy this happiness. Is there any way those scoffers could have been truly happy? Look at this world. Do you see great joy in America and Britain and Judah? No—you see terrible problems, fears, anxieties and stress-induced sickness. There is a cause for every effect. The cause for the problems that plague our peoples is sin.
Obey God! What joy it gives us when we do things the way God wants them done!
A Monumental Trial
Setting the kingdom of Judah back on track spiritually was courageous, arduous, difficult work for Hezekiah. And after that came a monumental trial.
“After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself” (2 Chronicles 32:1). Assyria was a fearsome superpower at the time. The armies of King Sennacherib were massive. They could not be beaten by any physical army, and they struck terror in nations! The Jews were greatly outnumbered and had no hope of withstanding this daunting enemy.
To understand how terrifying the Assyrian army must have been to the Jews, think about the modern descendants of the Assyrians under Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s goal was to exterminate every Jew in Europe and eventually the world. His fanatical anti-Semitism stemmed from his hatred for God! God entrusted the Jews to preserve His oracles and the Hebrew calendar, so Satan used Hitler to try to wipe them out. Hitler nearly succeeded, killing 6 million people in concentration camps and causing the deaths of 60 million people in World War ii. The Bible says the Assyrian war machine will be far more destructive the next time around. We can see that prophecy borne out in the proliferation and scale of the advanced weaponry that exists today.
Notice how Hezekiah responded in crisis. “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz” (2 Kings 19:1-2). Hezekiah took his problem to God!
This king had many problems, as we all do. But one thing he did right was that he became close friends with the Prophet Isaiah. Not many national leaders look to men of God as this king did.
Hezekiah was extremely close to Isaiah. Do you have the faith to go to God’s government structure, the ministry, for counsel and correction? When you aren’t conquering or dealing with sin, do you seek guidance from the men God uses to educate and help you? Hezekiah took advantage of his opportunity to learn from God’s man and reap the benefits.
“And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me” (verse 6). Sennacherib had sent messengers to taunt Hezekiah and threaten the Jews in their own language. He had the gall to compare the living God with the idols of pagan nations (verses 10-13, 17-18). God took this insult personally.
Hezekiah put this hopeless situation completely into God’s hands. He cried out to God for deliverance. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and gave a courage-building reply through the Prophet Isaiah. “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (verses 32-34).
Mr. Armstrong wrote about this history in a March 1985 Good News article titled “Let God Fight Your Battles.” The Jews facing the Assyrians “were helpless. They faced certain defeat—just as you may feel helpless in the face of your troubles today,” he wrote. “If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your own power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat!
“You must learn, as this ancient king did, that God stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you.”
We all face battles. We are in a spiritual war; we are spiritual soldiers. And this is simply a towering lesson from the life of King Hezekiah that we must learn! God must fight our battles—or we will not win! If we don’t rely on God, and the power of God and the Spirit of God, then we won’t win our battles. And if we are not winning battles, this is the reason! We are not using the power of God, which He makes available to us to conquer in those battles!
How do you achieve success in life? Here is how: Let God fight your battles for you! We all have to fight battles. But not only that, we have to win them. And we will win if we fight with God’s power and not our own.
Hezekiah believed God and acted swiftly. He cut off the Assyrian army’s water supply by diverting the spring through “Hezekiah’s Tunnel” (2 Chronicles 32:2-3). You can still walk through that tunnel beneath Jerusalem today. He also rebuilt and fortified the city’s defenses and produced a plethora of weapons (verse 5). This too is a crucial lesson: If we expect God to fight battles for us, we must do our part.
God wants to see how much we will sweat and strain and toil and even dig through rock to reach the pure water of the Holy Spirit. It takes an abundance of hard work to access this divine power. Sometimes, we just aren’t willing to put in the effort. But if we do, God will remove every last Sennacherib who opposes us.
The Gihon Spring, Jerusalem’s only pure water source, is a pulsating fountain that gushes forth intermittently. God pours out revelation on His people; then it stops for a while so that we can digest it; then He pours out more. He keeps reminding us who we are and what our calling is all about!
Hezekiah’s good friend Isaiah called the Gihon Spring “the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). If we drink deeply from this pure water source, God will give us eternal glory in His Family!
We have a spring-fed lake on our college campus in the plains of north Edmond, Oklahoma. This is wonderful symbolism. God wants the Holy Spirit to flow within us like rivers of living water.
Hezekiah’s Commander in Chief
Hezekiah also passed God’s encouraging words on to the people. “And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8). One godly leader can inspire an entire nation to trust God!
And what did God do? “So the Eternal rescued Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem from Sennacherib the king of Assyria as well as from all other foes, protecting them on every side” (verse 22; Moffatt). God sent a death angel into the Assyrian camp by night to slaughter 185,000 troops (2 Kings 19:35). He supernaturally wiped out the entire Assyrian force that had gathered against Jerusalem! Sennacherib returned home in disgrace and was eventually killed by his own sons (verses 36-37).
God is the ultimate soldier. He won an absolute, crushing victory.
Realize that this is written for you! We must trust the ultimate Soldier absolutely. It doesn’t matter what foe you have, or what worry or distraction or fear, or if you have a siege of troubles—God says you can solve it and conquer it! You still haven’t had any kind of troubles like Hezekiah had, and look how he solved the crisis! If you obey and trust God, you can solve the problems in your life. God wants us to understand and learn this: As we let God live in us, we will conquer those problems, no matter how big! You could have 10 million soldiers coming after you. That is something you can face and overcome if you just obey and trust in God. That is a wonderful truth, and we need to understand it deeply.
The deep lesson in what Hezekiah accomplished can also be applied to the physical nations of Israel today. These are times of grave national sins. Hezekiah shows how to save a nation! How could Jerusalem be saved today? Or America, or Britain? Hezekiah teaches us that.
God’s Protective Wings
Look again at the picture of that bulla. At the center is a small circle representing the sun. And Hezekiah had it depicted with wings, outspread and oriented down a bit. Today, more than 2,700 years later, one of his seals has made headlines around the world. People are studying its symbols closely.
What might a circle with downturned wings mean? It symbolizes the fiery, all-powerful God who is also a God of love! It shows that God shelters and protects us! When we face tribulation, God will simply wrap us up in His wings. God even told Hezekiah through Isaiah that He was like a bird flying over and protecting Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:5). He will rescue us from trials, whether they are related to health, finances, persecution or even invading armies! That is quite a symbol!
That symbol points to a statement Jesus Christ made in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” God wants to protect His people, just like He did Hezekiah. He would shelter them if they would just obey Him! But what do they do? They kill the prophets and stone those who come to help them!
What would it do for Jerusalem today if the Jews would turn to God the way Hezekiah did? What do you think would become of all the rocket attacks and stabbings that have been occurring there? What would it do for America and Britain?
Their problems would be solved! In this age of terror, the Hezekiah bulla should resonate with the Jews more than any election or policy or form of self-defense. The story of this great king shows the Jews, the other descendants of ancient Israel, and those of us in God’s Church how to solve our problems!
We don’t expect the nations of Israel to heed this wonderful message. These nations are already past the point of no return. But if they followed this example, God would do for them exactly what He did for Judah under King Hezekiah.
This world needs hope. We are in dark times that are getting darker. We are experiencing regular terrorist attacks. Incidents like those that killed people in Paris and San Bernardino are becoming a way of life! The Jews in the Middle East are facing nation-threatening problems—some are concerned they could lose Jerusalem! If you understand Bible prophecy, you know that the modern descendants of the Assyrian empire that threatened Hezekiah’s Judah are rising again—and they are going to deal a deathblow to America, Britain (the birthright nations) and the Jewish state (the scepter nation)! God is going to use that same empire to punish those three nations most of all, because of their rebellion against Him.
God will use Germany to purge America, Britain and Judah of sin (Isaiah 10:5). The Germans are subtly rearming and controlling more and more territory. They are moving their soldiers into the Middle East.
Our peoples have an inexplicable disdain for history. Just 70 years ago, United States President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged never to allow Germany to rise again. Just a few years ago, few people would have imagined Germany providing armaments to much of the world. Yet today, that is one of the most profitable sectors of its economy! Today, Germany is more powerful than ever.
The Germans are coming! The Assyrians are on the march once again. How can we save Jerusalem? How can we save the cities of Judah and Israel, these nations so steeped in sin? God is going to correct our people. The Messiah is coming soon, whether people heed the warning or not.
I am sure this is why God is putting Hezekiah’s bulla in the spotlight right now. That bulla has a message of tremendous hope, especially for those three nations!As our nations cower in fear under the threat of Islamic terrorism—while refusing to call it that—God’s Church sees a symbol of hope in the face of grave danger: the Hezekiah bulla. The story of Hezekiah really shows Jews and the other nations of Israel how to solve their problems. It shows us physically and spiritually how to win our battles! It is dual—and it is mainly for today.
“O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9; Jewish Publication Society translation). God commands His loyal remnant to warn Zion (the rebellious Laodiceans), Jerusalem (America and Britain primarily) and Judah. We must shout with all our strength, “Behold your God!” That is what the Hezekiah bulla is all about.
Hezekiah’s Health Trial
In the middle of this massive trial with the Assyrians, Hezekiah was going through another trial. Facing the threat of national extinction, Hezekiah experienced this: “In those days [that is, in the days that Jerusalem was under threat from the Assyrians] was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). He was about to die from a malignant boil, which was probably caused by the stress of staring death in the eyes. Sometimes, God will pile trials on top of each other to teach us lessons or spur more character growth.
Again Hezekiah cried out to God for deliverance from this trial. God answered immediately (verses 2-5), and actually turned Isaiah back as he was walking away from Hezekiah’s palace. Isaiah gave Hezekiah this message from God: “And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (verse 6). Basically God promised to deliver Hezekiah from both of these massive trials at the same time! (See also Isaiah 38:5-6.)
Hezekiah wanted a sign that this message from Isaiah was true. How God responded through His prophet is astounding. “And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees” (2 Kings 20:9-10).
Hezekiah asked God to turn back the sun, thus shifting the shadow of the sun backward 10 degrees. And God performed this jaw-dropping miracle!
Hezekiah really was a big thinker. He knew all about the power of the omnipotent Creator God. This same power is available to us if we obey and trust God! God—who inhabits eternity—can move the sun; He can definitely move the obstacle and trial that stand in your way!
Indications of Repentance
Hezekiah accomplished some fantastic things and witnessed some powerful miracles in his life. However, after God healed him, during the extra 15 years he was given to live, Hezekiah turned away from God.
The king of Babylon sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, wishing him a speedy recovery from his illness. In response, Hezekiah foolishly showed the king’s representatives all the riches of his house (2 Kings 20:13-15).
The Prophet Isaiah knew something was terribly wrong.
“And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord” (verses 16-17).
Hezekiah’s actions indicated a desire to please men more than God. God pronounced this terrible curse because Hezekiah had the wrong priorities!
Thankfully, however, there are indications that, ultimately, King Hezekiah responded to the correction from God and repented.
Notice how the account concludes: “And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?” (verse 20). It appears as if God was going to end the Hezekiah account with a dreadful sin, but then Hezekiah repented, so God recalled all of this man’s good works instead!
Sennacherib corroborates the biblical narrative of King Hezekiah digging a 1,700-foot tunnel 2,700 years ago for the Gihon Spring to enter the fortified walls of Jerusalem. This water is a type of the Holy Spirit. For God to mention this feat at the close of the story, Hezekiah must have returned to the Holy Spirit before he died. So the book of Kings concludes Hezekiah’s story positively.
King Hezekiah knew how to use God’s power. Even though he went astray, it appears that God helped him turn things around.
Speaking of the end of Hezekiah’s life, 2 Chronicles 32:25-26 read, “But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” This seems to be an explicit reference to Hezekiah’s repentance—that he turned it around at the very end.
Another reference might be Ezra’s comment a few verses down in verse 33: “And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death.” The Hebrew indicates this is a position higher both in elevation and in honor. The fact that he received such honor also strongly indicates the spiritual state in which Hezekiah finished his noble life, in service to the great God.
That only makes his story and the recent discovery of this bulla more important and inspiring! What a marvelous message is contained in this tiny piece of clay!
God gave us the special Hezekiah bulla announcement just in time for the 26th anniversary of the Philadelphia Church of God on Dec. 7, 2015. It was a wonderful, inspiring “anniversary gift” from the Messiah to His beloved Bride!
Through this tiny clay seal and countless other blessings, God is continually moving and stirring us to dedicate our entire lives to His Work!