Isaiah's Little Apocalypse, Chapters 24-27, Part 1 (of 6 Parts)
by Karl Kemp 11/20/2012 / Bible Studies
I am taking this paper on Isaiah chapters 24-27 from the internet version of my paper titled "Verse-by-Verse Studies of Selected Eschatological Prophecies from the Book of Isaiah: Most of These Prophecies Deal with God's Salvation Plans for the Remnants of Israel and of the Nations After His End-Time Judgment of the World." The paper was originally published in 2000, and the internet version of that paper, which was very similar to the original version, was put on my internet site (karlkempteachingministries.com) in 2007. The original version and the internet version are both 112 pages. I was able to use bold, footnotes, italics, and underlining in the original and internet versions of the paper. I am modifying this study of Isaiah chapters 24-27 in October, 2012 (including making improvements and updating the references to my other writings) to put it on this Christian article site in six parts.
All Bible quotations were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless noted otherwise. Sometimes I will use double brackets [[ ]] and (( )) to make them more obvious.
I am including the Contents of the version of the paper on my internet site, which includes a listing of the passages discussed in that version, and the Introduction for that version:
CONTENTS (of the internet versions of the paper):
Isaiah Chapter 2
Isaiah Chapter 11 (Isaiah 13:6-13)
Isaiah Chapter 14
Isaiah Chapter 17
Isaiah Chapter 18
Isaiah 19:4, 16-25
Isaiah Chapter 24
Isaiah Chapter 25 (including A Study of Isaiah 65:17-25)
Isaiah Chapter 26
Isaiah Chapter 27 (including a study of Isaiah 10:20-23 and Romans 9:27-29;
Isaiah 59:19-21 and Romans 11:25-27)
Isaiah Chapter 29
Isaiah Chapter 42
Isaiah Chapter 49
Other Verses that Are Discussed in this Paper:
Exodus 3:13-15 and the names "Yahweh" and "I AM"
Genesis 32:28 and the name "Israel"
INTRODUCTION for the 112 page version of the paper on Isaiah that is on my internet site:
I consider it a great privilege to be able to study the Bible, very much including the book of Isaiah. There is a reason that Isaiah is sometimes called the "Prince of the Prophets." The prophecies of Isaiah are full of important revelation. The prophecies regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, by themselves, and there are many of them, would suffice to make this a very significant book of the Bible. For one thing, the prophecies regarding Christ that have already been fulfilled suffice to confirm that the Bible is a very special book, a unique book, the Word of God. Also, there are significant prophecies in the book of Isaiah that don't directly deal with Christ that have already been fulfilled (cf., e.g., Isa. 44:28-45:7; 36:1-39:8).
The book of Isaiah deals a lot with eschatology (the study of the last things; for example, end-time judgment, resurrection, and glorification), and every passage we will study in this paper deals to a substantial extent with eschatology. The book of Isaiah deals extensively with mankind's one great problem, the sin problem, including God's ultimate solution to the sin problem in the unbelievable sacrifice of His Son, the Messiah ((see Isaiah 52:13-53:12 [I had a footnote here: Many key verses from this very important passage are discussed in my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."])). It prophesies of the ultimate glorification of God's people (the elect of true Israel and the elect of the nations) and the glorification of His creation through the Lord Jesus Christ, but it also speaks of His end-time judgment of the world through Him. (("True Israel" embraces all the believers from the Old Testament days (back to the time of the creation of man) and all true Christians (whether from Jewish or Gentile backgrounds), very much including the end-time remnant of the people of Israel (e.g., "all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26). Gentile Christians have been grafted into God's true Israel (Rom. 11:17-24). From the time that the end-time remnant of Israel submit to the Lord Jesus and become Christians, I don't believe there will be any more distinction between Israel and Christians. Both will be part of God's true Israel, the woman of Revelation chapter 12, forever. (Revelation chapter 12 is discussed in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture" and in article #s 7-12 in my "The Mid-Week Rapture" series on this Christian article site.) God will keep all the promises He made to Israel, and Jerusalem - eventually new Jerusalem - will be His city and the city for the people of true Israel.)) Almost every prophecy that we will study in this paper includes God's end-time judgment of the world.
In my eschatological paper dated November 1998 (that paper was split up into several papers on my internet site: "Matthew Chapters 24 and 25"; "1 Corinthians Chapter 15"; "Revelation Chapters 20-22"; and "More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations"), I dealt rather extensively with the important, but controversial, topic of God's salvation plans for the nations (the nations being distinct from true Israel). There is rather widespread agreement (but many Christians disagree) that God will leave a remnant of the nations after His end-time judgment of the world to enter the millennial kingdom. ((I had a lengthy footnote: A large numbers of prophecies in the Old Testament, including many of the prophecies of Isaiah that we will study in this paper, demonstrate this point (see section 1 of my paper, "More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations," which is available on my internet site [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching]; the other three papers are available on this Christian article site), but most such prophecies don't differentiate between the millennial kingdom and the eternal state that will follow the millennial kingdom.
The New Testament doesn't have much to say regarding God's salvation plans for the nations (Matt. 25:31-46 being one important exception) until we get to the last book, the book of Revelation. That book, which is so very important for the study of eschatology, makes it clear that God will leave a remnant of the nations (again, the nations being distinct from true Israel) after His end-time judgment of the world to enter the millennial kingdom (especially see Rev. 15:3, 4; 20:3). It also makes it clear that there will be a millennial kingdom before the eternal state with its new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem that are pictured in Revelation chapters 21, 22.))
In that paper ("More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations"), I also opted for the viewpoint (without being dogmatic) that the names of some of the peoples of the nations who are resurrected at the end of the millennial kingdom to be judged at the great-white-throne judgment (Rev. 20:5, 11-15) will be found in the book of life. (I'm not including any people who have been adequately confronted with the gospel and rejected it.) In other words, they are elect of God for salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 21:27). They will have a place in God's glorified new earth in the eternal state as part of the nations (see Rev. 21:2-4; 21:24-22:3). (My paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 is available on this Christian article site.) True Israel will reign with the Lord Jesus Christ, which includes reigning over the nations throughout the millennial kingdom (e.g., Rev. 20:4, 6) and probably in the eternal state (e.g., Rev. 22:3-5). Revelation 22:5 makes it clear that we will reign forever and ever.
In sections 1 and 2 of my paper, "More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations" (which is on my internet site), I leaned rather heavily on some of the prophecies of Isaiah, but I didn't discuss those prophecies in much detail; some of them I just listed. One primary purpose for this present paper (the internet version of the paper on Isaiah) is to take a more detailed look at some of those prophecies. The book of Isaiah is literally packed with important eschatological prophecies. Many of the prophecies center in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. I'm not attempting to discuss all the eschatological prophecies of the book of Isaiah in this present paper, but we will study some of the most important prophecies that deal with God's salvation plans for the nations. Having studied these prophecies in more detail in this paper, I still believe (without being dogmatic) that what I said in the November 1998 paper is correct, as far as it goes; but I don't believe we have all the answers yet on this rather important topic, or the fully balanced truth. We don't really need to have all the answers on this topic; God will take care of the details.
The most important part of Isaiah regarding God's salvation plans for the nations is chapters 24-27, which is often referred to as "Isaiah's Apocalypse" ((especially regarding His apparent plans to ultimately save some of the peoples of the nations; peoples who lived on the earth throughout the history of mankind; peoples who were not, and never will become, part of God's true Israel [I had a footnote: I'm speaking of the elect among those who will be resurrected to stand before God at the great-white-throne judgment, who will have their names found in the Lamb's book of life, assuming that there are such people, which I do assume. The majority view among evangelical Christians is that none of the people resurrected to be judged at the great-white-throne judgment will have their names found in the book of life, but the trend has been changing.]))
I suppose it could be said that Isaiah chapters 24-27 are at the heart of this paper (referring to the version on my internet site), but the other passages included in this paper include very much important eschatological information relevant to the topic of God's salvation plans for the nations (and relevant to other important eschatological topics), and they help interpret Isaiah chapters 24-27. For one thing, there is widespread agreement that Isaiah chapters 24-27 build on chapters 13-23. I have included at least most of the relevant portions of chapters 13-23 in this paper. Also, the content of Isaiah chapters 24-27 is closely related to most of the content of the other passages dealt with in this paper.
This paper is not at all limited to the topic of God's salvation plans for the nations. In these verse-by-verse studies we will deal with many other eschatological topics, especially God's salvation plans for true Israel. And we will study some of the most important Old Testament prophecies regarding the Person of the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Isaiah 9:1-7; chapter 11; 15:9; 16:5; chapter 42; chapter 49; and 59:19-21 [Some other verses are listed under Isa. 59:21].)
Even though I deal with quite a few important eschatological passages from the book of Isaiah in this paper, the book of Isaiah is so filled with such passages that I didn't begin to cover all such passages - I didn't even cover half of them. Some of the passages I'm skipping in this paper are discussed to some extent in my paper "More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations." Also, other key passages from Isaiah are discussed in my two books. See the listing of the passages of Scripture discussed at the front of the books, "The Mid-Week Rapture" and "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."
BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR ISAIAH CHAPTERS 24-27:
There is widespread agreement that Isaiah chapters 24-27 prophesy about God's end-time judgment of the world. These four chapters are frequently called "Isaiah's [Little] Apocalypse." (The Greek name for the book of Revelation is "Apocalypse [Revelation, Unveiling] of John.") A primary feature of these prophecies (as with the prophecies we have already studied in the 112 page paper on Isaiah on my internet site) is the remnant of Israel and the remnant of the nations that will be left after God's end-time judgment of the world. These chapters build on the prophecies already studied in the 112 paper, and they help confirm the interpretation given for those prophecies. For one thing, they help confirm that many of those prophecies deal with the end of the age. As we have discussed, some of those passages deal exclusively with the end of the age, and some of them will have their primary fulfillment at the end of the age.
I'll quote a short paragraph from what Geoffrey W. Grogan said regarding Isaiah chapter 24 ("Expositor's Bible Commentary," Vol. 6 [Zondervan, 1986], page 151). "This chapter is fundamental to the three that follow it. It speaks of a judgment that is universal. Not only does it make no reference to particular nations or specific historical events, it does not even restrict the judgment to the earth. This means that it sums up all the judgments on the particular nations, as predicted in chapters 13-23, and goes beyond them."
Now we will start with Isaiah 24:1.
"Behold, the LORD [Yahweh] lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. [The end-time judgment pictured here is worldwide (cf., e.g., Isa. 2:12-22; 13:6-13; and 24:12-21).] (2) And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. [[Judgment will fall on sinful mankind worldwide ((I had a footnote: The day of judgment will begin (in most senses) when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Those Christians who are ready for His coming (and all Christians are required to always be ready for His coming) will be raptured from the earth at the time of His return.)); no class will be spared, whether people or priest/minister, servant or master, maid or mistress, buyer or seller, lender or borrower, creditor or debtor, etc. The only ones left will be the remnant spared by God.]] (3) The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the LORD [Yahweh] has spoken this word. (4) The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. [As Isa. 2:11-22 show, a major aspect of God's day of judgment will be to remove everyone (including the devil and his angels and demons) that is proud and unrepentant.] (5) The earth is also [This last word (also) is not included in the Hebrew, and I wouldn't include it; the NIV does not have it.] polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. [[Sin pollutes. One of the major sources of pollution (one the Bible frequently mentions) is the shedding of innocent blood. The "everlasting covenant" apparently refers to the covenant that God made with all mankind after the flood (Gen. 9:1-17). I refer the reader to the discussion regarding the everlasting covenant when discussing Zech. 11:10 (see under Zech. 11:10 on pages 211-213 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." That discussion also deals with polluting the earth by shedding innocent blood; some important cross-references that deal with shedding innocent blood are included there.); that verse (Zech. 11:10) apparently speaks of this same covenant with the words "my covenant which I had made with all the peoples."
All people know quite a bit about God's laws/statutes in their hearts, minds, consciences. Compare, for example, Rom. 1:18-32; 2:14-16.]] (6) Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. [[The Bible frequently speaks of God's use of fire in His end-time judgment of the world, but it also speaks of His use of shaking/earthquakes, large hail, etc. It is very clear that all men will not be "burned" (with fire) and suffer death by literal fire. Being "burned" with fire is apparently used here as a symbol that covers all forms of judgment. On the eternal fire of God's judgment, see under Isa. 66:24 in the 112 page paper on Isaiah.
The "few men" left after God's end-time judgment (about the time of the end of Daniel's 70th week) can be called the remnant. We see this same remnant in Isa. 24:7-16a (especially see 24:13-16a) and in many other verses that we are studying in this paper (and in many other verses we are not studying in this paper). Regarding the extremely pessimistic "few men" that will be left as a remnant, see under Isa. 13:12 (in the 112 page paper). Also, there is another very important fact that I didn't mention under 13:12: At least most of the prophecies of Isaiah (like the Old Testament prophecies in general) know absolutely nothing of the existence of the Christian church as an entity separate from the nation Israel. ((I had a footnote: By the time we get to the millennial kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ will have saved all the end-time remnant of the nation Israel. I assume that from that time on (throughout the millennial kingdom and on into the eternal state), there will be no distinction between those who are citizens of the nation Israel and other members of God's true Israel. All will be glorified; all will be reigning; all will be members of God's special kingdom that can be called true Israel.)) It is not surprising, therefore, that these prophecies know essentially nothing of the rapture that will remove all true Christians from the earth when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week to judge the world. When we add that large number of people (who will be kept out of the hour of testing [Rev. 3:10]) to the picture given here it looks a lot more optimistic.
I'll make a few comments about those who will become Christians after the rapture of the true Christians in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (I had a footnote: The end-time remnant of Israel will become Christians in the last days, but not in time to be taken in the rapture. And many Gentiles will become Christians after the rapture.) Many verses make it clear that many of those Christians will be martyred during the second half of Daniel's 70th week (cf., e.g., Dan. 7:21, 25; Rev. 12:12-13:18; and 20:4). Technically speaking, those martyrs will not be part of the remnant left alive on the earth at the end of Daniel's 70th week. Dying as a martyr for Christ, however, is not defeat, it is victory, and those who are put to death during that period will be glorified and reigning with the rest of the members of true Israel when the millennial kingdom begins (see Rev. 20:4).
I'll quote a short paragraph from what Geoffrey Grogan said under Isa. 24:4-6 ("Expositor's Bible Commentary," Vol. 6, page 152). "These verses are characterized by a strong moral tone. The true and living God carries out his judgments on moral principles, not as the expression of an arbitrary will. If human kings [and people in general] experience his righteous wrath, it is because their actions and their way of life are contrary to his will." When God determines who will be left as a remnant, or when He judges people according to their works, He does not make mistakes. He knows what is in the hearts of all people (including attitudes, motives, and priorities); He knows who will repent and submit to Him; He knows whether faith is genuine and if it will persist; and He knows those who would not want to be in His eternal kingdom (heaven) on His terms (not that they will want the alternative). Many verses, Isa. 11:1-5, for example, point out that God's judgments are always fully informed and fully righteous.]] (7) The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh. (8) The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. [[Compare Rev. 18:21-24. All the things that people who are not living for God are doing will come to an end when He judges the world at the end of this age. All the things listed here in verse 8 and in Rev. 18:21-24 are not wrong in themselves, but there is no basis for blessing or joy when God is left out of the picture and people are living in sin and rebellion against Him (cf. Isa. 24:5, 6; Rev. 18:23, 24).]] (9) They do not drink wine with song; Strong drink [The NIV has "beer."] is bitter to those who drink it. (10) The city of chaos is broken down [[The NIV has, "The ruined city lies desolate." The BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under "tohu," the Hebrew noun translated "chaos" by the NASB) has, "city of chaos (of ruined city)." Compare Isa. 34:11. (I had a footnote: The word translated "desolation" in Isa. 34:11 is "tohu." In the margin of 34:11, the NASB has, "or, formlessness." Also, the word translated "formless" in Gen. 1:2 is "tohu.") I assume ruined is the right way to understand chaos here, but it would also be accurate to say that God judged the city because it was a city of chaos (a city of confusion, unreality, formlessness, and emptiness; a city that had rejected God and His divine order, truth, and reality). The city of chaos can be understood here as a symbol for the world (as in Isa. 25:2; 26:5; and as with "Babylon" in the book of Revelation), or it can be understood as a city representative of all cities; it doesn't make much difference.]]; Every house is shut up so that none may enter. (11) There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine ["In the streets they cry out for wine" (NIV).]; All joy turns to gloom [literally, "is darkened"]. The gaiety of the earth is banished. (12) Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. (13) For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples ["So will it be on the earth and among the nations" (NIV).], As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. [Compare Isa. 17:6; 27:12. This is the worldwide remnant left after God's end-time judgment of the world. This humbled, repentant remnant raise their voices/sing to the glory of God in Isa. 24:14-16a.] (14) They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the LORD [Yahweh]. (15) Therefore glorify the LORD [Yahweh] in the east, The name of the LORD [Yahweh], the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea. (16) From the ends of the earth we hear songs, 'Glory to the Righteous One [cf., e.g., Isa. 25:3; 42:10-12; 51:4, 5; Mal. 1:11],' But I say, 'Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.' [[After speaking from the point of view of the day of judgment being over in 24:6-16a, with the emphasis being on the humbled, repentant remnant, Isaiah now speaks from the point of view back before the day of judgment begins (24:16b), during the day of judgment (24:17-22a), and then after the day of judgment is over (24:22b, 23 and on into chapter 25). Isaiah 24:16b reminds us why a day of judgment is needed.]] (17) Terror and pit and snare Confront you [In the margin the NASB has, "literally, are upon you." Compare Jer. 48:43. As the next verse shows, the "pit" and "snare" symbolize God's judgments.], O inhabitant of the earth. (18) Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster [literally, "sound of terror"] will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. [The last line of this verse (starting with "For") pictures the day of judgment with words reminiscent of God's judgment of the flood (cf. Gen. 7:11; 8:2; and Matt. 24:37-39). See above under Isa. 24:5.] (19) The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. [[Compare Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; and 24:1. See under Isa. 2:19 in the 112 page paper on my internet site. It is clear that there will be literal earthquakes in the last days, but more importantly, the shaking of the earth in the day of judgment has a strong symbolic component.]] (20) The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack [or, hut, speaking of a very feeble, unstable structure], For its transgression [The emphasis here is on the "penalty for transgression." The Hebrew noun used here ("pesha") includes within its range of meaning the "penalty for transgression." See Extended Note A in my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."] is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. [[This present world system will be destroyed, and God's worldwide kingdom will be established. After the millennial kingdom, God will bring forth the new heavens and new earth with its new Jerusalem, having totally and permanently removed all unrepentant transgressors (very much including the devil and his hosts).]] (21) So it will happen in that day, That the LORD [Yahweh] will punish the host of heaven on high [The NIV has, "the powers in the heavens above." Compare Isa. 13:13; 27:1.], And the kings of the earth on earth. (22) They [[This word "they" apparently includes both the "host of heaven on high" and the "kings of the earth on earth" just mentioned in 24:21. Although the kings of the earth are singled out in 24:21, the Bible makes it clear that God will deal with mankind worldwide in His end-time judgment of the world. Only a remnant of mankind will be left alive on the earth when Daniel's 70th week is over (e.g., Isa. 24:6, 13-16a).]] will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. [[This verse rather strongly confirms the existence of an intermediate kingdom (or a preliminary stage of the eternal kingdom) before the eternal state (cf., e.g., Isa. 65:20, 22; Dan. 7:12; and Zech. 14:16-19). Revelation chapters 20-22 make it clear that the millennial kingdom will precede the eternal state.
The devil (who is the primary leader behind all the rebellion taking place on the earth) and his angels will be cast down to the earth (from their privileged position in heavenly places) at the time of Christ's mid-week return (Rev. 12:4, 7-12; cf. Eph. 6:12); at the end of Daniel's 70th week, the devil will be cast into the abyss for the duration of the millennium (Rev. 20:1-3); at the end of the millennium, he will be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Satan's evil hosts will certainly be restrained along with him throughout the millennial kingdom (cf. Luke 8:31), and it is clear that they will end up in the eternal lake of fire with him (e.g., Matt. 25:41; Matt. 8:29).
As discussed under Rev. 20:4 (in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22, which is available on this Christian article site), I opt for the viewpoint that all the members of God's true Israel will have been glorified and begun to reign by the time the millennial kingdom begins. The "rest of the dead" (Rev. 20:5), very much including those who will be put to death during God's end-time judgment of the world, will continue to dwell in Sheol/Hades until they are raised/resurrected at the end of the millennium to stand before God at the great-white-throne judgment. (Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire before the millennium begins [Rev. 19:20].) Those whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:5, 6, 11-15), which is the ultimate punishment. This is not to say that they don't experience any punishment while being "confined in prison" in the days before the great-white-throne judgment (cf., e.g., Luke 16:23-26).]] (23) Then [It probably would be better to translate the Hebrew "w" as "And" (instead of "Then"), or to leave it untranslated with the NIV (both are common translations for the Hebrew "w").] the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem [cf., e.g., Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 14:8-11], And His glory will be before His elders. [[Revelation 21:23 (cf. Isa. 60:19) informs us that the sun and moon will not exist in God's eternal kingdom, with its new heaven and new earth. Here in Isa. 24:23 the idea just seems to be that the sun and moon (which will apparently still be here during the millennial kingdom) will be ashamed in the sense that the glory of God will shine so much brighter than they will. God's "elders" apparently speaks of, or at least includes, His angelic elders in heaven. On these elders, see under Rev. 4:4, 6 in my paper on Revelation chapters 4 and 5 on this Christian article site. It is also true that all the members of God's true Israel will be glorified and will be reigning with God the Father and God the Son (e.g., Rev. 2:26, 27; 5:10; 12:5; 20:4; and 22:5).]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Isaiah chapters 24-27 in Part 2 of this paper, starting with Isaiah chapter 25.
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.