Isaiah 24 (ESV)
Isaiah chapters 24 through 27 are sometimes called an “apocalypse.” The prophet holds before sinner and godly the clear teaching that the day of the Lord bring judgment on creation and the fullness of salvation for the saints. God’s plan of redemption includes restoration from exile, the blessings of Christ in the church, and the establishment of God’s kingdom in all nations. Ch. 24 focuses on God’s overthrow of the corrupted earth; ch. 25, on the praise that comes to Him in response; and chs. 26 and 27 on God’s interaction with His people. Brilliant assonances, incapable of translation, enhance the prophetic message.
–notes from The Reformation Study Bible
Judgment on the Whole Earth
A world-wide global wave of human violence and devastation, together with the destructive movements of the physical and spiritual cosmos, fear, sickness, hatred and war will one day dominate the planet. It will indeed be the end of the world as we now know it. Isaiah says it, as does the apostle John in the book that is commonly presented as the last in the New Testament. Its approach is as certain and as sure as anything can be. If there are any preparatory steps we can make, we would be wise to address them. The wonderful gift of free-will and intelligence that God gives us can make us both remarkably wise, or incredibly foolish. We must ask to make good decisions, logically thought through with motivation and circumstantial knowledge, which will guide us in the best way. The Bible gives us only an indication of the chronological era of these events. Whether we are on the cusp of it happening soon, or whether it is far distant, we still are required to be ready for our own sake and our eternal destiny.
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
God will judge everyone, without making social distinctions.
3 The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the Lord has spoken this word.
4 The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
5 The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.
The earth was created for God’s glory. People were placed on the earth to tend the garden that God had made. But sin changed everything. The prophet begins to describe a world in which joy and gladness are changed into silence and sorrow:
7 The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
8 The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
9 No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.
Yet there remains a remnant, a few who have served the true and living God.
14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
The new song is in response to God’s act of salvation.
Click HERE to join Hillsong as they sing for joy and give glory to God: “Shout to the Lord.”
Again the prophet sees the calamities to come. There is no escape. The judgment will be as universal and destructive as the flood in Noah’s day.
But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”
17 Terror and the pit and the snare
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit,
and he who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,
Genesis 7:11 (ESV)
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is split apart,
the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man;
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.
21 On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded
and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts reigns
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and his glory will be before his elders.
As those in Noah’s ark found rest on Mount Ararat, so the remnant will find rest on Mount Zion. And after all the disaster — God still reigns! Jesus Christ is still the victor!