If God is Just when will He say, “Enough is Enough?” One of the things that gives us hope is that people will be held accountable for the evil things they have done on this earth even when it seems they are getting away with doing evil. Christianity can be maddening to some people, because through Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, someone can have all the wrath and judgment of God removed from themselves. Jesus the Passover lamb was about God’s wrath passing over us because of Jesus death on the cross but for those who do not turn to Jesus Christ there is a day that is coming that will be a day like no other when God decides to Judge the earth and all of its inhabitants. Some people say “ Only God can Judge me” which is not true as a Christ follower but the fact that you believe that should change your actions. Today we will see that Isaiah has a vision of the future that is an end times vision that matches what John saw and wrote about in the book of Revelation and this passage of scripture is referred to as the “Isaiah Apocalypse” because of its end time’s prophecies that are in it.
24:1-3 Behold, the Lord
will empty the earth[a] and make
it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. 2 And
it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, 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
creditor, so with the debtor.
3 The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.
1) God Judgment is for everyone
“Behold” or “See” means we are called as followers of Christ to be forward lookers and especially to the time we will see God Himself who will judge the earth. It is easy for us to get wrapped up in the everyday struggles and all of the problems and not remember that one day all these things are going to pass away and God is going to empty the earth and judge the people. As believers we must remember that one day God is going to right the wrongs that are taking place and hold people accountable.For Christians our judgment is different than the rest of the worlds because we will not be judged for our sin but for what we did after we accepted Christ free gift of salvation.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Once we have the foundation which is Jesus Christ, we then build on the foundation by doing the things He calls us to do. Wood, hay and stubble are worthless when revealed by fire only gold silver and precious stones will last. Wood, Hay and stubble are things that have no eternal value to them, or the right things done for the wrong reason like the religious leaders in Jesus day who did the right actions but only to be noticed by others. The fire is an analogy that will separate the real from the fake and Hebrews 4:12-13 Says our Thoughts and intentions will be judged. Matthew 12:36 Says our words will be judged and 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 Says our motives will be judged.
We live in a society that plays favorites and we all have seen politicians and actors break the law that do not see any jail time because of who they are or who they know. On this day it will not matter if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, powerful or weak because God is going to judge everyone no matter who they think they are and He will compare them to His Holiness. When God shows up to judge the earth will shake violently simply because of His presence.
“Christ will untangle the disputes that baffled us on earth. He will bring to light “the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts”(1 Corinthians 4:5) . Justice can only triumph if the participants see injustices addressed and resolved. The judgment seat of Christ will be the place where God will satisfy our cravings to have masks torn away, lies exposed, and reality prevail. The wrongdoers will finally admit the truth, and the victims will be vindicated; forgiveness among believers will be both given and accepted.” (Your Eternal Reward, Erwin W. Lutzer, PG. 65)
Isaiah was warning his people that the judgment of God was not just for their enemies but would be for followers of God as well. It’s easy to think other people need to get God’s judgment and think somehow, we do not deserve it but God will judge all mankind. We believe in the grace of God and that we receive salvation by faith and not by works but we have to be careful about cheapening grace to think that we will not give an account for our lives lived as followers of Christ. Romans 14:12 says each one of us will give an account to God for our lives. How we treat others, how we react when we are treated bad and how we spend our time and money will all be things we stand before God for and although we will be saved from Hell we will not be rewarded in Heaven. Matthew 25 shows us that those who are not about their masters business do not really belong to Him and will be thrown out.
Isaiah 24:4-6 The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. 5 The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.
2) God’s Judgment because of Sin
They have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. There is no doubt for the reason for the judgment of God and that is sin. The earth was defiled because of the inhabitant’s peoples sin and so God sends a drought as part of His judgment against them. How fragile we really are when disasters come and especially when there is no more water to drink. We tend to think we are in control until we no longer have a water supply. The Moral corruption that Isaiah sees is so bad that the language goes back to the days of Noah.
Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.
The end times will be just like the time of Noah when God destroyed the human race except Noah and his family, and the physical earth will suffer the consequences of God’s judgment just like it did when God flooded the earth. They were defiling or polluting the land which included murder (Numbers 35:33) worshiping other gods (Jeremiah 3:9) and a twisting of the commands of God (Romans 1). The laws of the Ten Commandments are boundaries God gave to His people (Exodus 20) but even those without those laws know them because God has written them on everyone’s heart and mind.
Romans 2:14-16 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
We live in a society that does not want the laws of God and they ignore the restrictions God has placed on us and Isaiah saw the day when people will change them out for their own set of laws and standards. When you see videos of people stealing everyone knows those things are wrong because God has designed us to know they are wrong but the more you ignore the things you know are wrong the more hardened your heart comes to the things of God.
Matthew 13:14-15 14 Indeed, in their case
the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but
never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart
has grown dull, and
with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
We want to be whoever we want to be instead of who God created us to be and we want to marry whoever we want instead of how God designed us to be in relationships. Even Churches are twisting the word of God today in the name of being accepting but what they are doing is ignoring the boundaries that God has established for mankind. The people in Noah’s day ignored the signs (A Giant Boat) and they ignored the preaching of truth (Noah who preached every day) and they lived their lives as if they were the rulers of their own destiny. The people in Noah’s day did not see it coming and the people at the end of time will not see it coming because they will ignore every warning sign God sends. (See Matthew 24:3-12)
They suffer because of their guilt (Vs 6) The people that suffer the judgment of God do so because they have chosen to ignore God and live their lives as they want by twisting and perverting the way God created us. This is written as a legal punishment as if a rule breaker finally gets caught and the punishment fits the crime “They are scorched” Means they feel the anger of God not necessarily that they are burned up. Millions and billions of lives will be lost during this time as God’s judgment is poured out upon the earth and everyone in it. Christianity is all about having our sins taken away and our guilt removed by the free gift and work of Jesus Christ who took our punishment upon Himself. Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah says his sin and guilt were removed. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation in Christ. Romans 5:1-2 says we have peace with God because of Jesus Christ.
Every person will stand before God and they will either try to prove that they were good enough by their works (Matthew 7:21-22), which will not work, or because they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ who paid their price. Yes, we all will give an account of our lives, but Christians will lose out on Eternal rewards but not their Eternal salvation because that is not based on anything they can do to attain only through placing our faith in Christ.
Isaiah 24:7-17 The wine mourns, the
vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8 The mirth
of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the
mirth of the lyre is stilled. 9 No more do they drink wine with
singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The
wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter.11 There
is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the
gladness of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the
city; the gates are battered into ruins. 13 For thus it shall
be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is
beaten,as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done. 14 They
lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.[b] 15 Therefore
in the east[c] give
glory to the Lord; in the
coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 From the ends of
the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.
But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.” 17 Terror and the pit and the snare[d] are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
3) God’s Judgment brings Joy and sadness
The wine mourns the vine languishes The parties and the celebrations will end and there will be groaning, silence and gloom. They no longer will have their alcohol to get them through life and what they can get will not be enough to help them forget all the pain they are going through. The Joy of life will literally stop as people, who are still alive, will look upon the destruction with disbelief and try and cope with the pain of the loss of loved ones. Their city is literally without form the destruction is so bad leaving them in a state of confusion. People who live without God live in a state of moral confusion and they watch their lives get destroyed because of the sins they want to hold onto. This will take place because of war or earthquake in this instance because the destruction of their gates (12) is a term for military conquest but it could also be a plague or something else that brings such destruction.
as when an olive tree is beaten at the gleaning Isaiah now uses a harvesting term to show that the number of people left at this point are very few because God’s judgment will decimate the world . There will be very few left but those who are will break forth and “They will lift up their voices and sing for joy”(14) These people will witness the awesome power of God at the end of history and respond in praise and adoration toward Him. Joy and praise is a natural reaction for anyone who focuses on what God has done. The people living in this time will know what God has done and praise Him for it. For the people in Isaiah’s day and for us as well it is a reminder for us to focus on the fact that God is an all-powerful God that can be depended on and who deserves our worship.
But I say Waste away, Waste away Although the people will be rejoicing Isaiah interjects that it is a time of sadness because that day is not here yet. Isaiah realizes what he sees in the future devastates him because of all the destruction and loss of life as he sees terror, the pit and being caught in a snare for those who do not put their hope and trust in God. It is the destiny of others that grips Isaiah and he is saddened that they will not turn to God. Are you burdened for the fate of those who do not accept Jesus Christ? Isaiah calls the ones destroyed traitors or treacherous people which are those who act in a way to only benefit themselves no matter what it does to other people. Even the people who are easy to hate because of their treatment of others Isaiah feels sorry for because of the Judgment that awaits them. The terror and the pit is just saying that there is nowhere to hide when God decides to judge because as they try and flee they will be trapped. The earth will shake and nothing will be able to stand
Revelation 6:12-17 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Isaiah 24:18-22 He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken, 20 The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.
4) God will judge the evil forces
The Lord will punish the Host of Heaven The Host of Heaven can mean the stars in the Heavens (Jeremiah 33:22) but here it is referring to enemy angelic beings (Daniel 8:9-11) God takes the evil forces the Kings of the earth and all who were in rebellion against Him and throws them into a pit for a time ridding the world of their evil influence. In a pit was a hole in the ground they were unable to escape from until the final judgment of God. Isaiah saw this as many days but John shows us that this is for 1000 years which many call the Millennial Reign when Christ comes and sits on His throne in Jerusalem and rules the world.
Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit[a] and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
One day God will judge the demonic forces in our world that lead people astray but until that time we are to be on our guard making sure we are not being led astray (1 Peter 5:8)
Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
One day it will be God who will brighten the earth and the sun and the moon will not be needed as the Elders (who represent the church) will be singing and praising God