About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Lord's Devastation Of The Earth (ch 24:1 - 23)
Chapters 24 through 27 of
Isaiah form a unit of prophecy within Isaiah.
If you are a Prophetic Biblical Futurist you will most likely
understand these chapters to be in reference to what we see at the end
of the book of Revelation; at the end of the thousand year rule of
In the book of Revelation
we see that at the end of the thousand years of Christ's rule on earth,
the devil is let lose for a while before he is thrown into the Lake
of Fire. That's all Revelation says
about this time of history. We
do not know what the devil does; how much damage he does on earth; who
will follow him; and how bad things get.
It's my thinking at present that what we see in this chapter
clues us in on this part of history.
We see the damage done to the earth and those dwelling on the
earth that's caused by satan. God
uses satan here as a form of judgment on those who give into satan at
the end of the thousand years.
After the devil is thrown
Verse 1 tells us that the
Lord will lay waste to the earth. It
is God Himself who will eventually destroy the earth.
Mankind is beginning the process as we are not taking care of the
earth God gave us, but we will not finish this process of destruction.
It's not climate change or anything else that brings humanity and the
earth down. It is God alone
that brings an end to all things.
When the text here says
that the Lord "will lay waste to the earth and devastate it and
ruin its face", this suggests to some the there is a parallel
between this verse and Genesis 1:1.
In Genesis 1:1 we note that the earth became formless and empty.
Some believe in what is called the "Gap Theory" that
states the earth became empty and formless because God judged a
pre-adamic race. Those
holding to the gap theory use Isaiah 24:1 as evidence that the same took
place in Genesis 1:1.
The scattering of the
inhabitance of the earth as seen in verse 1 tells us how chaotic the
earth will become in the last days.
Men will be so scared, they'll run here and there attempting to
avoid all the things that are coming upon them, but as the book of
Revelation makes clear, there is no place to run.
Verse 2 tells us that it
doesn't matter who you are, the judgment that comes on the earth will
affect all mankind living on the earth at that time. This is not a
regional event. It's a world
Again, verse 3 suggest a
similarity to Genesis 1:1 when it says the "earth will become
completely laid waste and totally plundered".
Verse 4 begins with the
destruction of the earth but it continues by giving us the reason for
its destruction. It says
that the earth is defiled by its people, they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant".
We need to ask, "What laws, statutes, and convents are being
talked about here"? There
are a number of covenants in the Bible.
Right off the bat, many will think of the Mosaic Covenant, but
it's not the Law of Moses which is being spoken of here.
That covenant was temporary.
The Abrahamic Covenant was an everlasting covenant, as this
particular one is, but this verse can't be talking about that covenant
either. The Abrahamic Covenant, like the Davidic Covenant, concerned
different matters than what is being talked about here.
I believe the covenant
that Isaiah is speaking of is the Adamic Covenant.
When God created Adam He gave him responsibility to care for the
earth, which he subsequently handed over to satan.
Subsequently, satan became the custodian of the earth. From the
fall of Adam until now, mankind is subject to how satan is looking after
the earth, the responsibility that we in fact gave him, not God.
For this reason, the earth will be judged and come to an end.
We the people have not cared for the earth as we should have, and
we forfeited our God given responsibility.
All of the above being
said, there are creditable scholars who believe Isaiah is speaking of
the Noahic Covenant that God spoke to Noah.
Verse 6 makes it clear
what I've just said. The
people of the earth are guilty. God
will curse the earth. We're
not just talking about Israelis here, or any other specific ethnic
peoples. We're talking about
all cultures; all peoples of the earth are guilty.
One ethnicity is not more or less guilty than another.
Note the word
"curse". When it
comes to any of God's covenants, there are blessings and curses
associated with it. If we
obey, we're blessed. If we
disobey, we're cursed.
Part of the curse is the
burning of the people of the earth.
Verse 6 also says that "very few will be left".
Very few suggest to me a remnant of people.
It doesn't matter what judgment God brings on a society, a
civilization, or a nation, it seems that He always has a remnant of
people He keeps for Himself, and it appears He does here as well.
It's debatable who this remnant is.
If indeed we're speaking of the end of the thousand years, then
the remnant might well be those redeemed from the present age who rules
with Jesus in His thousand year rule, or those who don't fall to satan
at the end of the thousand years. Those
who are destroyed would be those who satan conquered for himself at the
end of the thousand years.
We need to realize that
the destruction of the earth spoken of here is not at the end of this
age when Jesus returns to set up His thousand year rule of the earth
from Jerusalem. The earth is still in
existence then. This
judgment takes place after the thousand years, when satan is let lose
for a short time as we see in the book of Revelation.
After this short run of satan on earth, this destruction takes
Verses 7 through 9 speak
to the end of the partying. As
our world moves on, more emphasis is being place on the good life, the
life of luxury, self indulgence, partying, and the rest.
All this will come to an end.
All the self indulgence will end in judgment.
Verses 10 through 12
continue with the partying atmosphere.
The verse speaks of a city as if it's a specific city, and it
might well be an unnamed specific city, although I feel as many scholars
think, the singular word "city" represents all cities of the
Verse 13 uses
agricultural terminology. It's
painting a picture of a farmer reaping his fields and then totally
cultivating his fields once the crops are in.
This paints the picture of God being the farmer.
It's His field, His crops, and He will cut it all down and dig up
the whole field.
Verses 14 and 15 bring a
sudden shift of mood in this chapter as prophecy often does.
From the doom and gloom of destruction we now move to joyful
praise and singing, giving the acclaim properly due to the God of
Israel. It's a bit debatable
just who is rejoicing here. It
might be the remnant of people on the earth who have not given into
satan's last attack. It
might be those on the new earth rejoicing because of what the Lord has
done. At the moment, I lean
to this being the remnant of those on the earth when satan is thrown
into the Lake
Note it's the God of
Israel. Those who hold to
Replacement Theology who believe that Israel has no more relevance in
both human history and prophetic history should note that here at the
end of this present earth, we see God as being "the God of
One" spoken of in verse 16 is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the midst of this
glorious singing of praise seen in verse 16 are the words "but I
said'. The pronoun
"I" refers to Isaiah. He
is overwhelmed by the destruction he has seen, destruction that is a
result of the treachery of mankind.
Verses 17 and 18 speak of
"terror and pit" await the people of the earth.
Many scholars understand the word "pit" here to be the
bottomless pit as seen in the book of Revelation.
When verse 18 speaks of
the floodgates of heaven opening and the foundation of the earth
shaking, this is exactly what happened in the flood in Noah's day.
The judgment spoken of here is being compared to the judgment of
the flood of this world. This
is partly why some feel the word "covenant" that we saw
earlier in this chapter refers to the Noahic Covenant.
Verses 19 and 20 continue
with how devastated the earth will become. Verse 20 seems to suggest
that the earth itself is guilty when it speaks of "its
rebellion". The KJV
doesn't make it sound exactly like the earth was the one in rebellion.
How you view this verse depends directly on how you translate it.
My suggestion is that the guilt should be placed on mankind, as we've
already seen in this chapter. Romans
8:20 tells us that the creation waits and groans with eager expectation
for the manifestation, or, the revealing, of the sons of God.
This is so because it was mankind who brought the curse on all
creation as seen in Genesis 3, and when the remnant of mankind become
the sons of God, then all creation will be released from the curse. Mankind
is the guilty one, not the earth.
Note in verse 21 that God
will punish both the powers of the heavens above and the kings below.
I believe the powers of the heavens are the satanic powers that
rule over and behind the nations of this world.
We need to understand that there is a whole spiritual world in
another dimension around us. That
satanic world will fall in judgment at the same time as this earth falls
in judgment. The judgment
here of the satanic world is probably when satan and his demonic forces
are thrown into the Lake
Verse 22 speaks of the
punishment of both the rulers of the satanic world and the rulers of the
earth. Note the word
"dungeon" in the NIV.
The KJV uses the word "pit", which I believe is the
bottomless pit seen in the book of Revelation.
Note also the words "after many days".
This might be in reference to satan and his demons being throne
into the Abyss or bottomless pit as seen in the first few verses of
Verse 23 speaks to the
destruction of the sun and
moon. We know from
Revelation and other passages that both the heavens and the earth will
be destroyed, not at the end of this age, but at the end of the thousand
year rule of Christ on earth.
The chapter ends on a
glorious note. The Lord
Almighty will rule from Mount in
Note the words ruling
"before the elders" in verse 23.
I believe these are the 24 elders we see in Revelation 4:4.