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Book of Isaiah
THE LAST TIMES OF THE WORLD IN GENERAL, AND OF JUDAH AND THE CHURCH IN PARTICULAR.
Isaiah chapters 24-27 predict events of the future Tribulation Period and Millennium, and have no parallel in the Old Testament, except in Zechariah chapters 9-14.
A number of certain statements prove the last day fulfillment of this entire section. I will try to emphasize them as we come to them. In some parts it is clear that the language is highly symbolic; but if we follow the most basic principle of Biblical interpretation, we should take everything literally if we possibly can, and then carefully observe from the rest the literal truths conveyed by the figures of speech.
Chapters 13 through 23 pronounce the destiny of several cities and nations as being condemned: Babylon, the Philistines, Moab, Damascus, Egypt, Tyre. After Isaiah foretold the destruction of the foreign nations, the enemies of Judah, Isaiah now declares the judgments to come on the people of God (Israel) themselves for their wickedness and apostasy, and the desolation that shall be brought on their entire population, Jews and Gentiles!
Chapters 24 through 27 seem to have been delivered by Isaiah about the same time . . . before the destruction of Moab by Shalmaneser (Isa.25:10), therefore before the destruction of Samaria; probably in the beginning of Hezekiah's reign. Not all commentators agree on this.
Some refer it to the desolation caused by the invasion of Shalmaneser; others to the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar; and others to the destruction of the city and nation by the Romans. Another applies it to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. Quite possibly, it may refer to the three great miseries of the country, by Shalmaneser, by Nebuchadnezzar and by the Romans; especially the Romans, for some parts seem more fully to apply. Isaiah the prophet chiefly uses general images (symbols); such as set forth the greatness and universality of the ruin and desolation that is to be brought upon the country by these great revolutions, involving ALL orders and ALL degrees of men, who bring about the changes, that entirely alter the face of things, and destroy the entire society, both religious and civil.
THEME: Coming of the Great Tribulation.
Chapter 23 concluded the judgment against the nations. We have seen God's judgment snowballing from nation to nation, and now it comes down to the final judgment that is coming upon the entire Earth, which our Lord Jesus Christ labeled the Great Tribulation period (Mat.24:21). I believe that this section refers to the final judgment from God which will come upon the entire world. In contrast to the judgments upon the nations in chapters 13-23 which have generally been fulfilled, this final judgment is entirely future of the world, that of the last days.
Worldwide Judgment from God (24:1-6)
Isaiah 24:1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. (KJV)
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty . . . Some believe that the earth here means only the land of Israel or Judea, and interpret the prophecy of the captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, others think it is the destruction of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar . . . while others say it also includes the neighboring nations who suffered by the same princes at the same time.
Vitringa interprets this entire times of the Maccabees, as also the three following chapters (ch.25, 26, 27). I think it is best to understand it of the Papal world, and all the antichristian states; and there are some things in it, at the close of it, which seem to mean the destruction of the whole world. Maketh the earth empty . . . the whole world, the emptying of it is the removal of the inhabitants of it by wars and slaughters, which will be made when the seven vials (bowls) of God's wrath will be poured upon all the antichristian states (Rev.16:1). This being a most remarkable and astonishing event . . . it is preceded with the word "behold".
And maketh it waste . . . deserted, uninhabited, for the inhabitants of it being destroyed.
And turneth it upside down . . . perverted or warped the face of it so that it no longer had the form it had, and does not look like what it was, but is reduced to its original chaos, to be without form, and void (Gen.1:2); cities being demolished, towns ruined, fields laid waste, and the inhabitants slain (Isa.64:1-2; Jer.4:24-26; Mic.1:3-4; Nah.1:5-6; Hab.3:6; Zec.14:4; Rev.6:14; 16:20; 21:1); especially what a change of the face of things there will be in the destruction of the city of Rome (Rev.18:8) . . . because they have transgressed the law. All of this Isaiah speaks in the present tense, although yet future, because of the certainty of it.
Isaiah 24:2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, 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 taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. (KJV)
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest . . . NO order or rank of men will fare better than another, for ALL are guilty in the eyes of Almighty God! Their self-worth, fame and power in things civil or religious will NOT secure them from ruin. It will be the same with princes and priests and the common people; they ALL shall share the same in the common destruction to come. Not Jeroboam's priests, but rather the Roman priests, I think are meant here, who have led the people into superstition and idolatry, as it still is today as well . . . blind leaders leading the blind, and so both fall into the ditch together (Mat.15:14;Lk.6:39).
As with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress . . . there will be NO distinction of superiors and inferiors . . . not of princes and subjects, not of master and servant, not of mistress and maid . . . there will be absolutely NO respect of persons (Jam.2:9) by God at this time! Every one shall be treated the same, NO one shall be treated better than the other.
As with the buyer, so with the seller. . . the one that bought an estate, and thought to enjoy it, will be no better off than he that sold it. The one will possess no more than the other, for what the one had bought and the other sold, will now be in the possession of a third party.
As with the lender, so with the borrower . . . their condition will be equal . . . he that was so poor that he was obliged to borrow to carry on his business, or for the necessaries of life, and so too, he that was so rich that he was capable of lending, now the one will be no richer than the other, but both on the same level; for the substance of the lender being taken from him.
As with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him . . . loaning money at an interest rate was forbidden the Jews by a law (Deut.23:19-20), wherefore the land of Judea is not meant here, but the antichristian states, among whom this practice has greatly prevailed.
Isaiah 24:3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. (KJV)
The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled . . . entirely emptied of its inhabitants, and totally spoiled (damaged, ruined) of its riches and substance. This is repeated but with greater strength, to confirm what was said before, and which receives a greater confirmation by what follows.
For the Lord hath spoken this word . . . Almighty God is well able to perform what He promises! He is completely faithful to fulfill what He threatens! His Promises . . . be they blessings OR condemnation . . . NOT one Word of His shall ever fail! The judgments threatened to the antichristian world are His true and faithful sayings; and the ruin of Rome is certain, because strong is the Lord that judges her. Revelation 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (KJV) . . . My friend, please believe God!
Isaiah 24:4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. (KJV)
The earth mourneth and fadeth away . . . the Earth mourns because its inhabitants are being destroyed; and it fades away, because stripped of its wealth and riches. The kings of the Earth, and merchants of it are represented as weeping and mourning at the destruction of Rome, because of its judgments, and the loss of its trade and riches (Rev.18:9-17).
The world languisheth and fadeth away . . . the inhabitants of it are like a sick man, that is so faint and feeble that he cannot stand, but trembles and falls, like the leaves of trees and flowers of the fields whose strength and beauty are gone, they fade and fall.
The haughty people of the earth do languish . . . the proud kings and merchants of the earth before mentioned grow sick and faint through fear of what is coming upon them.
Isaiah 24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (KJV)
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants of it . . . by the wickedness of its people; see (Lev.18:25, 27; Num.35:33). The Earth is defiled is the reason why it is emptied and spoiled, because it is polluted and corrupted with the fornication of the whore of Rome (Rev.17), with her idolatries and superstitions, with which the inhabitants of the Earth is defiled; or with her rapine (violent seizure of property) and viciousness, cruelties, bloodshed and murders; for blood defiles a land (Num.35:33), all of these which are committed by the inhabitants of the Earth . . . or in other words, because of their wickedness and sins (Rev.11:18; 18:24; 9:2). They were deceitful and what they lusted after would never be realized by them because of their sins (Rev.18:24).
Because they have transgressed the laws . . . the laws of God revealed to them, called simply the laws, as the Word of God is often called the Word, by way of eminency. The laws of God and man are transgressed, as Antichrist and his followers will do; who is that Wicked, that lawless one, that sets up himself above laws, and takes upon him to dispense with the laws of God and man (2 Thes.2:4, 8). In countless instances they have transgressed both, casting all their contempt upon them, as they thought they were not at all bound and obligated to obey them.
Changed the ordinance . . . God's ordinances concerning His worship and service; the singular being put collectively for the plural.
Broken the everlasting covenant . . . the covenant made between God and Abraham, and all his posterity, renewed with the Israelites at Sinai, which was everlasting, both on God's part, who, upon the conditions therein expressed, engaged Himself to be a God to them and to their seed for ever; and on Israel's part, who were to submit with constant and perpetual obedience through all their generations.
And too, by the ordinance may be meant the Scriptures, which are the rule of judgment, which the antichristian spirit in the world (1 Jn.4:1-3) has most miserably perverted, and has changed and altered the logic of them; taking upon him to be the infallible interpreter of them, and judge of all controversies, forbidding the reading of them to the people, and setting up his own decrees, definitions and determinations. Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (KJV)
Isaiah 24:6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. (KJV)
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth . . . the curse of God threatened all transgressors (Deut.28:15; 29:20), and the curse would be called down on themselves, if they would not persist in their obedience to God (Deut.27:26). Whenever a covenant is violated, curses follow (Deut.26 - 28).
They that dwell therein are forsaken . . . rejected, deserted by God because of their sinful disobedience.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned . . . are consumed by the wrath of God, which is commonly compared to fire. Their cities burnt with fire, and particularly the city of Rome; or their persons, their bodies burnt with burning fevers, and pestilential diseases; and their minds burned with envy, fury and madness. This could possibly be the same as the fourth vial poured upon the sun, when men will be scorched with fire and great heat, and blaspheme (Rev.16:8-9). One version here renders it, shall be mad; through the wrath of God poured out upon them.
And few men left . . . few shall there be that are not consumed by fire or sword, by famine or pestilence, or by one or other of the vials. And those that remain shall be frightened, and give glory to the God of heavens (Rev.11:13). For they that dwell therein are guilty, of idolatry, bloodshed, perjury, thefts, sorcery and all other abominations (Rev.9:20-21).
Isaiah 24:7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. (KJV)
The new wine mourneth . . . because there is either none, or none but the enemies of God and Israel, to drink it, or the inhabitants of the land mourn for want of it, not having their vintages as usual.
The vine languisheth . . . either because there are no people left to dress it, or gather its grapes; or because it is broken down and damaged by the enemy, or is sickly, and barren and unfruitful, and does not bring forth its clusters of grapes as it used to do; there being none to prune it, and take care of it, and being trodden down by hostile forces. So the Roman harlot, and those that have drank of the wine of her fornication, and have lived deliciously, shall have, in one hour, death, and mourning, and famine (Rev.18:7-8).
All the merryhearted do sigh . . . those that made their hearts merry with wine (Ps.104:15), are such, whose hearts wine has formerly made glad, shall now complain for lack of it; and such who have lived deliciously with the whore of Rome, and have had many a merry bout with her, shall now bewail and lament her, when she shall be utterly burnt with fire (Rev.18:9-10).
Isaiah 24:8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. (KJV)
The mirth of tabrets ceaseth . . . tabrets were musical instruments, used at happy feasts. So when Babylon is fallen, the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more therein (Rev.18:22).
The noise of them that rejoice endeth . . . the joyous noise of persons celebrating at feasts and banquets, at marriages, etc. And so it is said, that when Babylon is destroyed, the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all therein, or the joy expressed on such occasions by their friends and companions (Rev.18:23).
The joy of the harp ceaseth . . . the harp was an instrument of music used on joyful occasions; the voice of harpers is particularly mentioned in (Rev.18:22).
The noise . . . the word properly means a roaring noise and confused clamor, such as drunken men make (Ps.78:65; Zec.9:15).
Isaiah 24:9 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. (KJV)
They shall not drink wine with a song . . . they that have wine to drink shall not drink it with the pleasure they had before, nor shall their drinking be attended with merry songs, such as are sung by drunkards, who, while they are gulping down, are chanting to the sound of the viol, or other musical instruments (Am.6:5-6).
Strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it . . . they shall have no desire for it, or enjoy it, as they formerly had; either through bodily diseases upon themselves, or because of the calamities upon the nations and states in which they dwell: this will be the case of her that says, "I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow" (Rev.18:7).
Isaiah 24:10 The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. (KJV)
The city of confusion is broken down . . . the city is Rome, and other cities; for the singular word may be here taken jointly. Of confusion . . . or of vanity, or emptiness, or desolation; for this Hebrew word signifies all these things. And the city may be called confusion either, #1. In regard of the judgments of God coming upon it, as if he had said, a city devoted to desolation or destruction, to be emptied of its goods and people; Or, #2. For its sin, a city of confusion or disorder, breaking all the laws and orders which God had established among them; or #3. a city that walketh with or after vanity, as the Scripture speaks (Job 31:5; Jer.2:5), that loveth and speaketh vanity, as they did (Ps.4:2; 12:2).
Every house is shut up, that no man may come in . . . not for fear of the enemy, and to keep him out; but because there are no inhabitants in them, being all destroyed by one means or another, by fire or sword, or famine or pestilence, so that there is none to go in or out.
Isaiah 24:11 There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. (KJV)
There is a crying for wine in the streets . . . not to them that have wine, but for want of it. There shall be a howling and lamentation in the streets of Rome, during the siege of it, when there will be a famine of bread and of wine (Rev.18:8), by those who used to drink wine, and make glad their hearts; but now shall be without it. Wine is here put for all desirable things, which their souls lusted after; but now will be departed from them (Rev.18:14). Instead of crying for their sins, and humbling themselves under God's judgments, they only howled for their corn, and wine, and oil (Hos.7:14).
All joy is darkened . . . the light of joy is turned into the darkness of misery and distress; this will be when the fifth vial is poured out on the seat of the beast, and his kingdom will be full of darkness; and men will gnaw their tongues for pain, and yet not repent of their sins, but blaspheme the God of Heaven (Rev.16:10-11).
The mirth of the land is gone . . . not only Jerusalem, but the joy of the whole Earth (see vs.8).
Isaiah 24:12 In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. (KJV)
In the city is left desolation . . . palaces, houses and temples burnt, and inhabitants destroyed; none but devils, foul spirits, and hateful and unclean birds, inhabiting it (Rev.18:2, 8).
And the gate is smitten with destruction . . . none passing and repassing through them, as formerly, and themselves utterly destroyed. This, according to some, shall be in the days of the Messiah, in the times of Gog and Magog.
Preservation of the Saints (24:13-15)
Here we see that the saints are preserved through the Great Tribulation period.
Isaiah 24:13 When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. (KJV)
When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people . . . when the judgments shall be executed, the city of Rome shall be destroyed, and the vials of God's wrath are poured but on all the antichristian states, on all the followers of the beast, throughout the whole Roman Empire. There shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning of grapes, when the vintage is done . . . it shall be as when an olive tree is shaken or beaten with a staff, which was the usual way of gathering olives, and which the word here signifies, there are a few olives left on the highest branches, which cannot be reached; and as, after the vintage is gotten in, there are always some grapes to be gleaned and gathered from the vines (Isa.17:6), so it is here indicated that there would be some, although just a few, a remnant, according to the election of grace, that should escape the above calamities, and be preserved as a seed for the church of God; and so it will be, that just before the destruction of mystical Babylon, the Lord's people will be called out of her (Rev.18:4), that they partake not of her sins, and of her plagues. One version says: “for now shall be left alone the righteous in the midst of the earth, among the kingdoms, as the shaking of olives, as the gleaning of grapes after the vintage.” To olives and grapes are these gracious persons fitly compared, for the goodness, loveliness, and fruitfulness of them, through the grace of Almighty God.
Isaiah 24:14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. (KJV)
They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing . . . they are the preserved remnant. One version adds to this clause, “they that are left upon the earth.” These shall lift up their voice, in singing the praises of God, for His judgments on Babylon, and avenging the blood of His saints (Rev.16:6; 17:6; 18:24); and for their deliverance and salvation, and the immeasurable blessings they are now in the possession of; these are they, who, having gotten the victory over the beast and his image (Rev.15:2), sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev.15:2-3; 19:1-2).
For the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea . . . cry aloud in exultation and thanksgiving to God for His glorious power and goodness manifested in their deliverance. From the sea . . . from the isles of the sea, as this is explained in the next verse; from the places beyond the sea, into which they were carried captive, and in which they were miraculously preserved.
Isaiah 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. (KJV)
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord . . . these are the words either #1. Of the remnant, who being themselves delivered, encourage and urge their brethren to glorify God with them; or #2. Of the prophet, directing and exciting God's people to glorify God in their afflictions, because of that deliverance which He had promised, and would certainly give them.
In the fires . . . or in the furnace of affliction; although this word is never used in Scripture in this sense. God would confer upon them; light being frequently taken both ways in Scripture. This part of the prophecy seems to apply to the days of the Gospel, and that light which the Jews would then receive by the Messiah. And so this is could be an exhortation to the converted Jews to bless God for His goodness.
In the isles of the sea . . . in remote places beyond the sea, which in Scripture are commonly called isles, where it seems to imply that Isaiah here speaks not so much of a temporal happiness which the Jews would receive and enjoy in their own country, but instead as a spiritual (eternal) advantage which they would have by the Messiah in the places where they were dispersed, whose Name will now be known, not in Israel, or among the Jews only, but in all distant and foreign countries (Gentiles), which are sometimes meant by the isles of the sea; and in all islands, even the most remote, who will have reason to join with them on the continent to glorify God, whose Name will now be great in all the Earth.
Universal and Unparalleled Suffering (24:16-18)
Isaiah 24:16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. (KJV)
From the uttermost part of the earth . . . from all parts of the Earth or land in which the Jews are or shall be . . . have we heard songs, songs of joy and praise.
Even glory to the righteous . . . or, glory be to the righteous, which seems to be the words of the song. By the righteous may be understood either #1. The generation of righteous and holy men, who formerly were despised, but now upon this eminent deliverance shall be highly honored; or #2. The Lord, whom they were urged to glorify in the foregoing verse, and who may well be called the Righteous One, as He is often called the Holy One (Hos.11:9; Hab.3:3). Almighty God is called Holy One over 40 times in the Old Testament, 31 of those times is found in the Book of Isaiah. #3. The Messiah, to whom this title of just or righteous is frequently given (Isa.53:11; Jer.23:5; Zec.9:9). The believing Jews call Him righteous ardently, partly to agree that He is the Author and Procurer of all true righteousness, and partly in opposition to their unbelieving brethren, who rejected and condemned Him as a malefactor; all which Isaiah
foresaw by the Spirit of prophecy.
But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me . . . but in the midst of these joyful words, Isaiah senses something which interrupts his joys, and gives him cause of bitter objection and lamentation.
The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously . . . the Jews who have often been guilty of great deceitful and disloyal actions and feelings towards God, are now acting out the part; which Isaiah speaks either of #1. those who lived in his time; or #2. those who should live when the Messiah was upon Earth, of whom Isaiah foresaw by the Spirit that they would forsake God, and reject their Messiah, and thereby bring utter destruction upon themselves. For even the Hebrew doctors illustrate the treachery of some Jews in the times of the Messiah. It is not at all strange that so sad a sight made the prophet cry out, My leanness, and The treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously! He repeats it to show just how horrid their crime, and how deeply he was affected with it. The prophet Isaiah may be thought to be thrown into this distress, because he fore saw the blindness that would happen to Israel, and continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, which the apostle Paul calls a mystery (Rom.11:25), and of their utter rejection, because of their disbelief of the Messiah, and their treacherous treatment of Christ Jesus and His followers, dealing very treacherously with Him, and betraying Him into the hands of wicked men (Mat.16:21; 20:17-19; 26:2).
Isaiah 24:17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. (KJV)
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee . . . great and various judgments, some actually inflicted, others expected and rightly feared, as the punishment of their treachery. I think that this is to be understood not only of the land of Judea, and the inhabitants of it, but of all the Earth. One commentator interprets it of the nations of the world, particularly the Greeks and Turks; but the whole world, and the inhabitants of it, are meant, as the following verses show. Before the last day, or Second Coming of Christ to judge the world (Zec.14:1-4; Rev.19:11-21), there will be great perplexity in men's minds, great dread and fear upon their hearts, and much distress of nations; and the Coming of the Son of Man will be as a snare upon the Earth (Lk.21:25-26, 35).
Isaiah 24:18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass . . . this phrase is found in 131 verses in the Bible, 27 of those are in the Book of Isaiah. To me this means that what is said . . . shall indeed come to pass . . . it shall happen just as recorded. When God says something . . . BELIEVE that He will follow through and fulfill what He said! God cannot lie (Tit.1:2).
He who fleeth from the noise of the fear . . . upon the report of some terrible evil coming towards him; the fear being the object or the thing feared. Flees from the fearful noise that will be made, the voices and thunderings heard in the heavens above, the sea and waves roaring below; or from wars, and rumours of wars, and terrible armies approaching and pursuing (Mat.24:6-7; Lk.21:9, 25). Or it could be at the report of something to be feared and dreaded by wicked men, the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven (Rev.1:7). I think that the meaning is, that he that escapes one trouble should fall head first into another, so that there will be no safety anywhere.
Shall fall into the pit . . . when one plans to avoid one danger, by so doing he plunges himself quickly into another and a greater trouble (Job 15:21; Ps.94:13).
The windows from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth do shake . . . both Heaven and Earth conspire against him. Isaiah refers to the deluge of waters which God can pour down from Heaven, and to the earthquakes which He often causes below.
And the foundations of the earth do shake . . . very possibly this may refer to the dissolution of the world that may be attended with a general earthquake (Isa.29:6; Zec.14:6; Rev.16:18); or this may mean the dread and terror that will seize the inhabitants of it, or both.
Tribulation Saints Are Raised From the Dead (24:22-23)
This marvelous Passage of Scripture speaks of the resurrection.
Isaiah 24:19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. (KJV)
The earth is utterly broken down. . . this is repeated again, partly to show the dreadfulness and certainty of these judgments, and partly to awaken and affect the unbelieving Israelites, who greatly needed to hear it. This is still referring to the earthquake.
The earth is clean dissolved . . . it will be a complete dissolution, nothing shall remain; all these things, as Peter says, the heavens and the earth, and all in them, shall be dissolved (2 Pet.3:11-12).
The earth is moved exceedingly . . . out of its place and form, and shall fall into its original chaos and confusion. One version says: “moving, the earth shall be moved; agitating, the earth shall be agitated; breaking or dissolving, the earth shall be broken or dissolved;” which seems to express a more gradual and natural dissolution of the world. This is stated and then repeated, to declare the certain and complete destruction of it. It shall happen!
Isaiah 24:20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. (KJV)
The earth . . . the people of the earth . . . shall reel to and fro like a drunkard . . . they shall be greatly confused and distressed, not knowing whether to go or stay, nor what to do.
And shall be removed like a cottage . . . or a tent; either of soldiers or shepherds, which are easily taken down and moved; or like a lodge, as the word is rendered (Isa.1:8). To Jewish writers, it signifies a booth or tent, in which the keepers of gardens or vineyards watched in the night; which some say was built on the top of a tree or on a hill; and being made of light wood, was easily moved to and fro with the wind.
And the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it . . . meaning the punishment of sin, which is like a talent of lead (Zec.5:8), shall crush it, and the inhabitants of it to pieces.
And it shall fall, and not rise again . . . in the form it now is . . . for there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which the righteous, who will share the first resurrection, will dwell. As for the first Earth, the present one, it shall pass away, and no place be found for it (Rev.20:11; 21:2).
Isaiah 24:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass in that day . . . in that day, either when God shall punish the apostate Jews, or about or after that time, or in a time known to God; for this phrase is often used indefinitely, and without any respect to the time designed in the foregoing passages. Not at the precise exact time the Earth shall be dissolved, but previous to it, within that dispensation that is called the last day.
That the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high . . . meaning the proud and potent enemies of God and of His people, who possess the high places of the Earth. I think this means the Antichrist and his dignified clergy, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, who are the host or army of him that exalts himself above all that is called God, sitting in the high place in the Temple of God, as if he were God. It shall be him, with all his mighty ones, that Christ, who is the TRUE God, shall destroy with the breath of His Mouth and the brightness of His Coming
(2 Thes. 2:4, 8; Rev.19:15-21).
And the kings of the earth upon the earth . . . this is either #1. The great monarchs of the world, who now scorn and trample upon God's people; or #2. The princes and rulers of Israel or Judah; for the name of king is frequently given in Scripture to mean and inferior rulers (Judg.1:7; 1Ki.20:1, 12; Ps.119:46), and elsewhere. It is the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome; who will make war with the Lamb, and shall be overcome by Him (Rev.17:2, 14; 18:9).
Isaiah 24:22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. (KJV)
And they shall be gathered together . . . by God's special providence, in order to their punishment, as the following words show. And so it was when the unbelieving Jews were generally gathered together at Jerusalem, to their solemn feast, when Titus came and besieged, and after some time took and destroyed them; which was at the very remarkable Hand of God, as Josephus and other historians observed. There is nothing to the contrary, but that this very thing may be meant in this place, it being stated in different Passages of this chapter that it concerns the times of the Messiah.
As prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison . . . as malefactors, which are taken in several places, are usually brought to one common prison, where they are reserved in order to their trial and punishment. First to the battle of the great day of God Almighty at Armageddon (Rev.16:14, 16, 19), and there being overcome and taken, they shall be gathered together. The captives are held until such a time when something is determined and ordered what was to be done with them.
And after many days shall they be visited . . . or punished, that is, after the thousand years are ended (Rev.20:1-4), when the wicked dead will be all raised (Dan.12:2), after the battle of Gog and Magog, when Satan, the beast and the false prophet, and all their followers, shall be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev.19:20-21; 20:5, 8-10. 15). Shall they be visited . . . either #1. In judgment, as visiting is often used. So the sense is, after they have been punished with long imprisonment, and tormented with expectation and fear, they shall be brought forth to receive their well-deserved or adequate punishment. Or #2. In mercy. So the sense may be either #1. After the Jews shall have suffered many and grievous things from the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, and others, at last their Messiah and Deliverer shall come into the world, or # 2. after the unbelieving and apostate Jews shall have been shut up in unbelief and in great tribulations for many ages together, they shall finally be convinced of their sin in crucifying their Messiah, and brought home to God and Christ by true repentance.
Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (KJV)
The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed . . . the sun and moon are here considered either #1. As they were abused in idolatry; for these two were most eminent idols, and most generally worshipped, especially in those Eastern countries (Dan.4:19; Deut.17:3; Job 31:26), and so may be put for all idols, which were confounded by Christ at His Coming, as was foretold in Scripture, and verified by the testimony of ancient, and even of heathen historians. Or #2. As they were the most well-known and glorious lights of the world, and were oft used, both in Scripture and other authors, to signify the great kings, and potentates, and glories of the world, as hath been formerly noted. So the sense is, that all earthly powers and glories should be obscured with the far greater splendor of Christ, the King of kings, at who’s Feet even the greatest kings of the Earth shall fall down and worship, as we shall see in other parts of this prophecy.
When the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem . . . the Lord of hosts is the Messiah, who, although Man, yet is also God, and the Lord of hosts (Zec.2:8, 11). The prophet uses this term 60 times in Isaiah. He is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the TRUE God, the Lord of hosts or armies, of the sun, moon, and stars, the host of heaven, and of the heavenly host of angels, and of men on earth; who was King from eternity (Jn.1:1-5), and reigned during the Old Testament dispensation. He came a King into this world, although His Kingdom was not this world (Jn.8:23; 18:36). Upon His ascension into Heaven, He was made and declared Lord and Christ; and now rules in the hearts of His people by His Spirit and grace (Rom.8:9) and whose spiritual reign will more manifestly appear in the last day; but here it is to be understood of His reign on Earth, which will be personal, visible and glorious, and in a different manner from what it now is, when He will be King over all the Earth. Zion (Jerusalem), where He will reign, may be literally understood as the chief place of His residence during this time, the same place where He was most despised and ill-treated (Zec.14:4-5, 9), or spiritually in the church in the New Jerusalem state (Rev.2-3), where He shall reign, Shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem . . . He shall return in the flesh, and set up His Kingdom (Millennium Rev.20:1-4), first in Jerusalem, and afterward in all other nations.
And before his ancients gloriously . . . before His ministers, who are followers and supporters of this King of glory (Ps.24:7-10), as being continually attending upon Him, and enjoying His awesome Presence, and executing the powers and offices of His Kingdom; and especially before His apostles, who were the witnesses of His Divine Words and Works, and in particular, His resurrection and ascension, by which He entered upon His Kingdom; and of the exercise of His royal power, in subduing BOTH Jews and Gentiles to Himself. The word ancient or elder is not a name of age, but of office, as it is in many texts of Scripture. Before his ancients who are in glory; for they shall appear with Him in glory, both in soul and body, having the glory of God upon them (Col.3:4; Rev.21:11).
Special Comments for Isaiah Chapter 24
Millennium in the Old Testament?
Isaiah 24:21-23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (KJV)
This prophecy fits in to the section in Isaiah's collection of messages known as the "Little Apocalypse" or "Little Book of Revelation" (Isaiah chapters 24-27). Here Isaiah tells of a time designated as "that day." This "day" is probably the same as the "day of the Lord," referred to so often in the Old Testament (in 358 verses) . The "day of the Lord" is a period of time that shall close our present age. It is the time period of the Second Coming of Christ, in judgment for all who have rejected Him and refused to accept Him, and in deliverance for all who have persevered in their faith in Him, and have overcome (Rev.2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Rev.12:11; 21:27) and believed in Him. How do we overcome?
In many ways Isaiah 24:21-23 agrees with what we know from other Passages about our Lord's Second Coming, mainly from the New Testament. What, and where is the "prison" into which the celestial powers and the kings of the earth are to be held? And why would they be "punished," or "released," after "many days"? I think that this “prison” could very well be God’s restraining Hand.
The image of Chapter 24 includes the entire Earth, and is here enlarged to include the powers of Heaven and Earth. The term translated "powers" is sometimes used only of heavenly bodies (Isa.34:4; 40:26; 45:12), but at other times it is used of armies of angels (1 Ki.22:19; 2 Chron.18:18). It seems to refer here to the fallen angels who rebelled along with Satan and were thrown out of Heaven.
Isaiah chapter 14 portrays the king of Babylon descending to Sheol itself in an act of rebellion. Here, both the heavenly and the earthly rulers have rebelled against God, and as a result they are to be confined to a prison (also see 2 Pet.2:4; Jude 6; Rev.20:1-3). The time of shutting out Satan and his hosts from access to the heavenly regions is also mentioned (Rev.12:7-17), where the dragon, in great rage, makes war with the woman and “the remnant of her seed,” which is all those who obey God's commandments and stand firm in their testimony of Jesus.
There are disagreements about “after many days” in Isaiah 24:22. Some say it refers to the same period of time in Revelation 20:1-7, which labels this time the “thousand years.” According to the apostle John in the Book of Revelation, Satan will be released from his prison at the end or close of the thousand years (millennium), but only for a very brief time. This seems to agree to the "shutting up" or "visiting" of Isaiah 24:22. The "visiting" is a visitation for judgment; the word is used in the same way in: Jeremiah 27:22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place. (KJV) . . . So . . . the loosing of Satan is simply an introduction to his total destruction. Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (KJV)
In Isaiah chapter 24 reveals four judgments: #1. the judgment on the Earth and the plagues that will come on humankind in the end time (consistent to the opening of the sixth seal in the book of Revelation); #2. the judgment on the world-city, or Babylon of the future; #3. the final judgment on Jerusalem and all who have dealt treacherously with Israel's remnant; and #4. the judgment that God will hold "in that day" of His Second Coming to the Earth for all the powers of Heaven and Earth that have opposed Him. It is this fourth judgment that is dealt with in the Isaiah 24:21-23.
The heavenly and earthly powers that have deceived mortals into apostasy will be visited with punishment in one and the same "day" (Judgment Day in the last days). They will be cast into the pit, only to be "visited" once more "after many days" (the Millennium). Their release will not last long, for after a very brief conflict, the eternal Kingdom of God will come in its full glory. The Millennium that will preceded this eternal Kingdom will only have prepared men and women in it for its majesty and glory.
Commentaries on Old Testament Books
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
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Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
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