In my last post, we completed our examination of A Prophecy Against Tzor (Tyre) ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 23:11-18. In this post, we begin to learn about The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 24:1-13.
Chapters 24 thru 27 deal with the time known as the Day of the Lord. It speaks of a time when the Lord will intervene in history in a way that will be obvious to all the world. Presently, the Lord works in strange and mysterious ways. That is, the kingdom of God – righteousness, peace, and joy – is within us (see Romans 14:17; Luke 17:21). But there’s coming a time when God will intervene physically. When His people are taken up, God’s wrath will come down, and for seven years, this world will experience the judgment of God.
Since this topic covers four chapters in Yesha’hayu, there will be multiple parts of this topic. Let’s begin our journey through Yesha’yahu’s revelation of that future time.
1 Look! Adonai is stripping and destroying the land, turning it upside down and scattering its inhabitants — 2 cohen and commoner, slave and master, maid and mistress, buyer and seller, lender and borrower, creditor and debtor.
The list of pairs of opposites in verse 2 is a striking way of saying that all human inhabitants of the earth will be judged without regard for social standing.
When we read Revelation 6 through 19 (see my series on the End Times), we realize this world is going to experience events of such magnitude that it will seem as if the world is turned upside down. Spiritually, the world has already been turned upside down by Believers, so on fire for the Lord that the whole world was impacted (Acts 17:6).
The Tribulation period will be a great equalizer. No one will care who lives in the most prominent house or who has the fanciest car when fifty-pound hailstones fall from heaven. In that day, when God’s judgment falls on this planet, everyone will be equally distressed. Even the rich and mighty will ask the rocks to fall upon them and kill them (Revelation 6:15, 16). Concerning these times, Yeshua said, “Stay alert, always praying that you will have the strength to escape all the things that will happen and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.” ~ Luke 21:36 (CJB)
3 The land will be completely stripped, completely plundered, for Adonai has spoken this word. 4 The land fades and withers, the world wilts and withers, the exalted of the land languish. 5 The land lies defiled under its inhabitants; because they have transgressed the teachings, changed the law, and broken the everlasting covenant.
The cause of this horrific judgment is human sin. The people have broken the covenant between God and Isra’el (Exodus 19-24). The reference to the everlasting covenant reminds the reader of the Noahic covenant between God and all the inhabitants of the earth (Genesis 9:16).
6 Therefore a curse is devouring the land, and its inhabitants are punished for their guilt. It is why those living there waste away, and the people left are few.
The covenant called for a curse if the law was broken. Revelation 16:8-9 tells us that, in the Tribulation, there will be a burning that ignites this planet. But when the scorching of the sun falls upon men, rather than repenting and humbling themselves before God, they’ll curse His name. The remnant theme is seen here in the fact that a few will survive.
7 The new wine fails, the vines wilt, all the reveler’s sigh, 8 the happy sound of tambourines ceases, the shouts of merrymakers are stilled, the joy of the lyre ends. 9 They no longer sing as they drink their wine; strong liquor tastes bitter to those drinking it.
God’s judgment brings joyful singing and drinking alcoholic beverages to an end. Both of these involved celebrations. Wine and beer were the two main types of alcoholic drinks in the ancient Near East.
10 The city of chaos is shattered; every house closed up; no one can enter.
The city of chaos is not a specific city. It represents evil men and women who are subject to God’s judgment.
11 In the streets they are crying over the wine; all joy has faded, cheer has left the land.
Wine production will decline, so the people will cry for wine but go unsatisfied. Wine is associated with joy and celebration; the judgment of God will bring such festivities to an end. Wine also blunts pain. This may be another reason the people will cry out for wine – because of the suffering that God’s judgment will produce.
12 In the city, only desolation, its gates are battered beyond repair. ~ Isaiah 24:1-12 (CJB)
Joy will have no place in the Tribulation period. At the beginning of the Tribulation, Revelation 6 tells us one-fourth of the world will be wiped out by war. Revelation 9 tells us one-third of those who remain will be wiped out by scorpions.
Why would a God of love do this? Because year after decade after generation, this God of love has been speaking to mankind – extending grace, love, and compassion. But humankind has, by and large, rejected it all. So God, in His wisdom, will pour out His wrath to shake up the world. Some who would not respond to grace and love will turn to the Lord in that day. But most will die in their sin.
In my next post, we will continue to explore The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Pat 2 in Yesha’yahu 24:13-23.