A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
This time we begin a very descriptive four chapter passage devoted to the destruction coming upon the Earth at the End of The Age. Before we’re finished we’ll see the Earth judged, Babylon destroyed, the Messiah revealed, the Church Raptured, Satan judged, Israel restored, and we’ll even get a glimpse of Eternity.
Isaiah 24, The Lord’s Devastation Of The Earth
LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants-it will be the same for priest as for people, for master as for servant, for mistress as for maid, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. (Isaiah 24:1-2)
No one will escape this coming judgment. It will be world wide and will impact everyone. In Jeremiah 30:11 we learn that one of the Lord’s objectives in the Great Tribulation will be to completely destroy all the nations among which His people have been scattered.
The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word. The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:3-5)
The cause of this judgment is the disobedience of the people of Earth. The everlasting covenant is the agreement whereby the Son (Jesus) agreed to die for our sins and in exchange the Father (God) agreed to forgive us. Mankind is not party to this agreement, we are only its beneficiaries. The Hebrew word translated broken here means to frustrate the intent of the agreement. The Father and the Son have done their part and kept their word, but the people of Earth refused to accept its provisions and be saved. It’s this disobedience that will ultimately bring God’s judgment, because He offers no other provision for their escape.
Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all gaiety is banished from the earth. The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces. So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest. (Isaiah 24:6-13)
We’ll see a reference to Babylon in a few verses. I think these verses speak of a typical city on Earth. Throughout the age of man, cities have always been more corrupt than the small towns of the country side. It makes sense that they would all be totally destroyed.
They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the LORD’s majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.” (Isaiah 24:14-16a)
Tribulation believers will be the only ones on Earth who understand what’s going on. They will see God’s righteousness in these judgments and will praise Him for them.
But I said, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!”
Terror and pit and snare await you, O people of the earth. Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare. The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken. The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls-never to rise again. (Isaiah 24:16b- 20)
Jesus said that the judgments of the Great Tribulation will exceed anything the world has ever seen or will see again.(Matt. 24:21) That means Isaiah’s use of language reminiscent of the Great Flood is actually an understatement. When it’s over, no building will be left standing, every mountain will have fallen. Earthquakes will open up huge gaps in the surface of the Earth.
I believe that one purpose of the Great Tribulation will be to prepare Earth to be made new, to be put back into the condition it was in when Adam arrived. That means everything that man has done to defile and pollute the planet will have to be reversed. I believe it will also have to be straightened on its axis, brought back onto a 360 day rotation around the Sun and have its world wide sub-tropical climate restored as well.
In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. (Isaiah 24:21-23)
This summary statement of the End Times judgments says it all. The powers in the Heavens refers to Satan and his horde. The Kings on the Earth below are those leaders who lined up with Satan against God. (Can you name one who hasn’t?) As we saw in Isaiah 14 they’ll all wind up in hell together, while the Almighty God will finally take possession of that which is His, and will rule in glory among the elders of Israel.
The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. (Ezekiel 43:4-5,7)
Isaiah 25, Praise To The LORD
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. (Isaiah 25:1-3)
By his description we can tell that the city Isaiah is referring to here is Babylon. Tribulation survivors who enter the Millennium will remember what a powerful city it was and how totally it was destroyed. They and their children will honor the Lord if for no other reason than knowing he could easily do the same to them.
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. (Isaiah 25:4-5)
The Psalmist said that the Lord is a shield for us, (Psalm 3:3) our refuge and our fortress. (Psalm 91:2) The Lord’s protective power will keep the ruthless at bay during His 1000 year reign, and at the end of it He will destroy them like He destroyed Babylon.
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”(Isaiah 25:6-9)
In Isaiah 65:17-25 the prophet made it clear that the people of Earth will not be immortal during the Millennium, although average lifespans will increase dramatically. Here Isaiah is pointing to the end of the Millennium when God will grant all His people the same blessing of immortality that He will have granted the Church at the Rapture. And the first order of business to celebrate this blessing will be a great feast of rich foods, choice meats, and fine wines.
This may be the only real glimpse into eternity in the Bible. How fitting that it should involve gourmet food and drink. It shows that we’ll be physical beings enjoying some of the same interests and desires that we have here, but without the negative after effects. Imagine sitting down to a huge feast with the entire family of man, prepared and hosted by the Creator Himself. We’ll intuitively know each other, with everyone expressing the perfect love that the closest brothers and sisters have for one another. As the Church we’ll have experienced this sort of thing before, and we’ll take special delight in knowing that now the entire human race will finally be of one accord forever. Watching the amazement of our newly perfected brothers and sisters from the Millennium will remind us of the days just after the Rapture, now over 1000 years in the past, when we first felt that way.
In verse 9 the Hebrew word for God is Elohim, His creator name, by which our earliest ancestors knew Him. The word for LORD is the tetragrammaton, JHWH. These are the four initials that stand for God’s Old Covenant name, spoken reverently and fearfully by Israel. And the word for His salvation is Yeshua, the name of Jesus, mediator of the New Covenant, the name above all names. From the first man to the last, We’ll shout the names of God in praise and thanksgiving.
The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain;but Moab will be trampled under him as straw is trampled down in the manure. They will spread out their hands in it, as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust. (Isaiah 25:10-12)
Since the nation called Moab disappeared from Earth when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it in the 6th Century BC, commentators view this reference to Moab as being symbolic of the Lord’s enemies at the end of the Millennium. Before He can lead mankind into his eternal destiny, the Lord has to destroy all of His enemies. Speaking of the Lord’s responsibilities at the End of Time, Paul wrote, For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:25-26)
Once He has put down the final rebellion at the end of the Millennium, death will be the only enemy left. Rev. 20:14 says that death and Hades will be thrown into the Lake of Fire after the Great White Throne judgment. When that happens mankind can be made immortal, and eternity can begin. This tells us that Millennium believers will receive perfected bodies at that time, because no one possessing a sin nature can be made immortal.
Next week we’ll take chapters 26 and 27 and see the Rapture of the Church, Satan’s defeat, and Israels’ deliverance. Stay tuned. 02-14-09