A Voice in the
"Lo, Jehovah empties the land and makes it bare, and distorts its face, and scatters those living in it. And as it is with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with the 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 creditor, so with the debtor. The land shall completely be emptied and utterly stripped, for Jehovah has spoken this Word." (Is24:1-3)
This describes the earth "in that day". (Is4:1,2,12:1,4,26:1,etc) What day is that? The day of God's judgment and wrath upon the world. "For God's wrath is revealed from Heaven on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, holding the truth in unrighteousness.." (Rom1:18)
How is it that man is holding down the truth, suppressing it? God says to Israel, "The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's manger, but Israel does not know; My people have not understood.." (Is1:3) What was said of Israel then is the verdict upon the Church today. Animals know their 'masters', or those who are their 'friends'. If I walked down the block to visit with neighbors of a summer's eve, my cat would come looking for me, meowing for me. If I came to the door of a friend and knocked, the dog would come barking ferociously, but as soon as I would call out her name, the barks turned into squeals of glee, glad that I was there, impatient for her owners to come and open the door for me. The same cat, every day when I would come home from work, would come to the garage, meowing, greeting me. And yet, Israel strayed from God. Rather than obeying God, they said to Jeremiah, "As for the Word that you have spoken to us from Jehovah, we will not listen to you. But we will certainly do what we have said...to burn incense to the queen of heaven..." (Jer44:16-17)
Today the "church" is doing as Israel did. There are voices of lone prophets here and there proclaiming, "Repent...turn to God...do not be associated with today's 'queen of heaven' as the united religions worship her." But they say, 'we don't need to repent'. In fact, they have perverted the Scriptures into claiming that Scriptures 'don't teach' repentance. Repentance would indicate a 'change'. Change of heart; change of life style. But they are much too busy proclaiming a gospel of 'prosperity'. Of sensuality. Of demon worship. (1Tm4:1) They can "become a christian" and continue on in their worldly ways, because, "God accepts us JUST AS WE ARE." That is 'graeeeesss'.
Notice God's verdict. "Woe, sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons who corrupt! They have forsaken Jehovah; they have scorned the Holy One of Israel. They are estranged backward." (Is1:4)
When a people forsake God, their ways are corrupt. They look for 'signs and wonders'. Who say, "Let Him hurry and hasten His work, so that we may see; and let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, so that we may know!" (Is5:19) While Paul exhorts that we "walk by faith, not by sight" (2Cor5:7), and Jesus had said, "Blessed are the ones not seeing and believing" (Jn20:29); these people rely on their 'miracles'. They get these tingly feelings flooding their bodies, causing them to writhe around in ecstasy, becoming 'slain' on the floor, uttering often-blasphemous gibberish. These things are 'proof' to them that they have been 'filled' by spirits. They call them the "Holy Spirit". But they are spirits of demons.
Of course, if they are following a different God, being filled by different spirits than God's Holy Spirit, the outworkings of their faith are also different. And God's verdict, again, "Woe to those who say to evil, good; and to good, evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those wise in their own eyes, and discerning in their own sight! ..who justify the wicked for a bribe, and turn aside the righteousness of the righteous from him!" (~Is5:20-23) The person who defends his property and life, and the lives of his family, and in the process kills the criminal, is often on trial. Society abhors "killing" a criminal in the execution of justice; but it upholds the 'right' of a woman to 'choose to kill' her unborn baby! A baby who has had -NO- 'choices', nor has had opportunity to seek the good or evil. What was the baby's 'crime', for which it is being slaughter?? Only one... "Inconvenience"!!
God's verdict.. "Make haste to plunder! Hurry to the spoil!" (Is8:1) Discipline against Israel is promised. As a person progresses through the book of Isaiah, there are also various "burdens" against other nations. Against Babylon. (ch13) Moab. (ch15) Damascus. (ch17) Egypt. (ch19) Tyre. (ch23)
When judgment is complete, what is the condition of the world? "The land mourns and languishes; the world droops and languishes; the proud people of the earth droop." (24:4) Why is this? "..the earth is profaned under those living in it, because they transgress laws and violate a statute, and break the everlasting covenant." (vs5) Environmentalists might seize upon this verse and make a case for 'protecting the environment'. That we are 'polluting the environment'. There are so many things we could address at this point, but space is limited.
One primary "covenant" mankind has broken, "But you shall not eat of flesh with the life in it, or the blood of it. And surely the blood of your lives will I require. At the hand of every animal will I require it, and at the hand of man.. Whoever sheds man's blood, his blood shall be shed by man; for He made man in the image of God." (Gen9:4-6) When Cain killed Abel, God said that Abel's blood "cried..from the ground." (Gen4:10) Jesus speaks of generations of unjust murders, "so that should come on you all the righteous blood poured out on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Berechiah whom you murdered between the Holy Place and the altar." (Mt23:35) From the insignificant-seeming love of many in society for rare steaks (1Sam14:33-34), to its unprecedented refusal to execute murderers (Ex21:12), kidnappers (Ex21:16), or rapists (Deu22:25); and that which we have already addressed, the slaughter of the unborn (Ex21:23)... the world is guilty of breaking God's covenant of blood.
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for through these the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience." (Eph5:6)
The plenty (prosperity) of the earth will have ceased, as "those living in the land are consumed, and few men are left." (24:6) Perhaps this is why, "..in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothing, only let your name be called on us; collect our shame." (Is4:1) With the final great battles, 'all' the men will be wiped out, and the only way children will be able to be propagated will be for several women to be with any given man?? In this human annihilation, even of Israel, two thirds will have been decimated. (Zech13:8-9) There will be mourning instead of joy. There is nothing but "desolation". (vs12) "..it shall be as the shaking of an olive tree." (vs13) Those who try to flee from the dread "shall fall into the pit" (vs18) There will be massive astrological upheavals as the "foundations of the earth quake." (vs18) Notice the wording, "The earth is breaking, breaking! The earth is crashing, crashing! The earth is tottering, tottering. Like a drunkard, the earth is staggering, staggering! And it rocks to and fro like a hut. And its trespass is heavy on it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall be in that day, Jehovah shall punish the army of the high place on high, and on the kings of the land on the land." (24:19-21) And there are other pictures of this in Joel ch2, Mt24, and the whole book of Revelation, etc.
But notice in the midst of this, "They lift up their voice; they sing for the majesty of Jehovah; they cry aloud from the sea. On account of this, glorify Jehovah in the flames, the name of Jehovah God of Israel..we have heard songs from the end of the earth, Honor to the Righteous." (vs14-16)
You see, when all this destruction is going on, "..then you shall know that I am Jehovah.." (an expression found throughout Ezekiel) When God metes out judgment the 'angel of the waters' proclaims "You are righteous, Lord, the One who is, and who was, and who will be, because You judged these things, since they poured out the blood of the saints and of the prophets; and You gave blood to them to drink, for they were deserving." (Rev16:5-6) Yes... -DESERVING-. "Give back to her as also she gave back to you, and double to her double, according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. By what things she glorified herself, and luxuriated, by so much give back to her torment and mourning." (Rev18:6-7)
But God does not leave things hanging in such a state; in 'limbo'. Notice in this context, "O Jehovah, You are my God. I will exalt You; I will thank Your name; for you have done a wonderful thing: counsels from afar; faithful faithfulness." (25:1) Why? Because God has made me 'feel' wonderful, and given me prosperity? No. "Because You have made a heap from a city, a fortified city into a ruin.." (vs2) As the world comes to know that "..I am Jehovah.." "For this the mighty people glorify You, the city of the ruthless nations shall fear You." (vs3) God's people praise Him -because- of His wrath poured-out to destroy wickedness. And those so-judged, fear Him.
God will bring restoration for His people, who up to this point have yet been in unbelief. "..Israel My elect, I entitle you. I name you, but you do not know Me." (Is45:4) "Then will take place the word that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory'." (1Cor15:54,Is25:8) "And the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from all faces. And He shall reprove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for Jehovah has spoken." (25:8) And we know from Jeremiah that God will "cut a new covenant with the house of Israel". (Jer31:31-34) God's Laws will be in their hearts. This is a work which God will do to/for Israel. As a result, Israel will become what God had intended for her all along, thousands of years ago. She will be a light to the nations, (Is60:3) as "many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the Law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Mic4:2)
"In that day this song shall be sung in the land of Judah: A strong city is ours; He sets up salvation as our walls and rampart. Open the gates, and the righteous nation shall come in, keeping faithfulness." (26:1-2) And notice the state of the one thus trusting in Jehovah, "You will keep in perfect peace the mind stayed on You, for he trusts in You." (vs3) Notice that God "ordains peace" for His own. (vs12)
But Israel is yet being disciplined for her unfaithfulness. "As a woman with child draws near to bear, she writhes and cries out in her pangs. So are we before You, Jehovah." (vs17) Israel's state right now is that "..we have not worked salvation for the earth.." (vs18) Yes, there is judgment coming. The world will be decimated. Israel will be "refined". (Mal3:2-3) God says, "Come, My people, go in your rooms and shut your doors behind you. Hide for a little moment, until the fury passes" (vs20) as God provides "two wings of a great eagle" to "nourish" her for 3 1/2 years. (Rev12:14)
"For, behold, Jehovah comes out of His place to visit his iniquity on those dwelling on the earth (Rev3:10b). The earth shall also reveal her blood, and shall no more cover over her slain ones." (Is26:21)
The Child of God, whose "robes" are not "defiled" (Rev3:4), will be "kept" from this "hour of trial" which is for the purpose of judging the world because of its wickedness. (Rev3:10a) Until that day comes, it behooves each Believer to...
"..not become partakers with them; for you then were darkness, but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light." (Eph5:7-8)