Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants. (
Earth is on a countdown to catastrophe. As in the days of Noah, when the world’s population gave itself over evil, leading a heartbroken, yet holy God to rain down judgment in a flood, so the world is careening toward calamity again, when the Lord will rain down wrath in fire. It is described in Scripture as a time of tribulation—seven years of judgment, with the last half so horrific as to be called the Great Tribulation. With a broad brush, Isaiah—in chapter twenty four—paints a portrait of doom in dark colors.
The judgment will be universal in its scope (v.1-4). There are none exempt because of high position or vast possessions. In that time, one may live as a prince or pauper, dwell in a shack or a mansion—it will not matter, for judgment will blanket the globe in blood. There will be no place to hide—all have this in common—they have proudly set themselves in defiance of God. That never ends well.
This judgment is just in its application (v.5-6). It is the law of the harvest—you reap what you sow. While everyone is born estranged from God and deserving of judgment for the evil that we do, there is grace and mercy available now. Yet, if we do not throw ourselves on the mercy of the court today, in that day lawbreakers will receive justice.
The time of tribulation will be a time of tears in its experience (v.7-12). The pleasures of sin will be supplanted by the pain of judgment—with mirth yielding to mourning. Our world loves to party hearty, and be while the wine flows, the music blares. There will be a time when the wine glasses are empty and the music is silenced. Bitter tears will fill the glasses and wailing will drown out all other sounds. The party is over.
That day will have a refining quality in its intent (v.13-16). Remarkably, there will be those saved out of great tribulation. From among the Gentiles, comes a vast blood-washed throng, and all
(spiritually as well as racially) shall be saved. After two-thousand years of Great Commission
responsibility, the church has failed to carry the Gospel to all tribes and
tongues, but finally all peoples will have a chance to hear. The result will be that many will glorify the
Lord. Fire purges the dross and purifies
the gold. Israel
The judgment Isaiah describes will be unprecedented in its nature (v17-20). This old world had known much sorrow—fearful events and catastrophic eras—still nothing comparable to this—so much so that Jesus said there has never been anything like it, neither ever will be again.
The judgment brings an end to wickedness and the establishment of righteousness (v.21-23). The Lord Christ will come in power and glory. He will reign on the earth. Every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. The only way to miss judgment is willing submission to Christ. Today He will be your Lord and Savior, if you receive Him. Should you reject Him, then He will still be your Lord, but also your Judge. The choice is yours.