Isaiah 24 - Outline of Isaiah (MENU page)
I.D. Tribulation and Kingdom Blessing (Isaiah's Apocalypse), 24:1-27:13
1. Universal judgment upon universal sin, 24:1-23
1. Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste,
and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the servant, 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 taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled:
for the LORD hath spoken this word.
the LORD maketh the earth empty... waste... spoiled...-
The word for earth, HB=eretz (used 16 times in this chapter), can refer to either the land of Israel, or to the whole world. Some interpreters see only Israel in this chapter. However, v.4 indicates that the land of Israel and the entire world are fully involved in the troubles described here. The preceding chapters (ch. 13-23) pronounced judgments upon individual nations, including Israel. Although each of those 'burdens' of judgment have seen historical fulfilment, each also foreshadows elements of judgment yet to come. Chapter 24 summarizes the future judgment that will overtake all nations.
as with the people, so with the priest...- This future judgment will overtake all people,
regardless of rank or role in life. It will not be a respecter of persons. Six categories of persons are mentioned. In scripture, the number six is regarded as the number of 'man,' in that man falls short of God's perfection (symbollized by the number seven).
4 The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world {HB=tebel} languisheth [and] fadeth away,
the haughty people of the earth do languish.
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;
because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate:
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
the earth... is defiled under the inhabitants thereof... therefore hath the curse devoured the earth...-
The cause of earth's desolation is the sinful condition of mankind.
because they have...
...transgressed the law {torah}...- ie., God's moral law, the standard of righteousness before God.
Whether written on tablets of stone or on the heart, the Law convicts men of guilt before God (Rom 2:11-16). Those who 'transgress' the Law, by pass it, disregarding it as irrelevant for them.
...changed the ordinance {choq, statutes, civil decrees of God}...- God's governing principles
which ensure justice between men (eg. Ex 21:1; Deu 6:1). Those who 'change' the ordinances seek to find loop-holes or make amendments favorable to their own agenda.
...broken the everlasting covenant {olam- everlasting, perpetual; berith- alliance, pledge} -
God's sure promises which separate men who trust Him, unto Him, and from other men.
Although God's promises cannot be broken, those who believe a lie will seek to disinherit God's children.
- - The phrase 'everlasting covenant' is applied to various covenants. Which is in view here?
The discussion below includes all of the passages containing this phrase (which are shown in bold.):
  • The Lord's promise to Noah (Gen 9:16), that He would never again destroy all flesh with a worldwide flood (Gen 8:21,22; 9:15).
  • The Lord's promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Gen 17:7,13,19; 1Chr 16:14-22; Psa 105:6-15).
    Since this is an unconditional covenant, secured by God alone, it cannot be broken by the unfaithfulness of Abraham's seed (cp. Gen 15:17-21; 22:16).
  • The Lord's promise to David (2Sam 23:5; Isa 55:3) of a son who would reign forever.
    This covenant is also unconditional and cannot be broken by the unfaithfulness of David's seed (2Sam 7:12-16). However, worldly rulers will attempt to break it (Psa 2). Although men will attempt to disannul God's promises to Abraham and to David, they are secured by God Himself (Jer 33:20-21,25-26).
  • The continual presence of the Shewbread, in the Tabernacle, signified 'an everlasting covenant' (Lev 24:5-8).
    The bread speaks of the One who is the Bread of Life (Joh 6:35,41). The twelve loaves declare that He is sufficient for all who are in Him, each tribe and each believer.
  • The New Covenant with Israel (and all believers) secured through Christ's blood (Isa 61:8; Jer 32:40; Eze 16:60; 37:26; Heb 13:20). This covenant will be established with Israel at the time of their future restoration (although the blessings of this covenant are available now to all who believe).
    - - It is helpful also to observe two points about the Lord's introduction of the New Covenant, in Jer 31:31-37.
    1. He contrasts it with the Mosaic covenant which Israel broke. (The Mosaic covenant is never called an everlasting covenant, since it was broken almost immediately. cp. Ex 19:3-8).
    2. He links it to His unbreakable promises to "the seed of Israel" (ie., to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
Taking all of the above together, the term 'everlasting covenant' is applied to God's promises which He secures for those who trust Him. The unbelieving world will seek to undo those promises: robbing Israel of the land which is their inheritance, installing a king in Jerusalem to supplant the King from David's line, persecuting to death those who own Christ as their Life. In these ways, the antichrist will lead the world in violating God's everlasting covenant (cp. Dan 7:25).
therefore hath the curse devoured the earth... - cp. Deu 11:26-28; 27:26; Eze 18:4; Rom 3:19,20; Gal 3:10
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.- cp. Mal 4:1
7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.
8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.
9 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.
10 The city of confusion is broken down:
every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
11 [There is] a crying for wine in the streets;
all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.
12 In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction.
the new wine mourneth...- Wine is often associated with joy. But joy has ceased.
the city of confusion {HB= tohu, without form} is broken down...-
- - The word used for 'confusion' is used in Gen 1:2 ('without form {tohu} and void {bohu},' describing the earth's condition prior to God's creative activity) and in Jer 4:23 (describing the effects of judgment upon Jerusalem).
- - Therefore, some identify 'the city of confusion' as Jerusalem, which has fallen to such a state because they turned from the LORD to serve false gods. Yet, for similar reasons, the world system of gentile dominion (Babylon the Great) is also in 'confusion' (the meaning of 'Babel'). Jew and gentile are together in their fallen state and in the resulting desolations of the Tribulation. It may be that both cities are viewed here in their confusion, but with differing end states. The Lord will restore and reign in Jerusalem (v.23), while Babylon, in its final form, is destroyed without hope of restoration (cp. Isa 25:2,3,12).
13. When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people {lit., peoples},
[there shall be] as the shaking of an olive tree,
[and] as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.
14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD,
they shall cry aloud from the sea.
15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires,
[even] the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
16. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, [even] glory to the righteous.
But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!
the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously;
yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.
the shaking of an olive tree... the gleaning of grapes... - Few will survive the struggles of the Tribulation (cp. v.6).
they shall lift up their voice...- 'They' include the believing remnant of Israel ('in the midst of the land,' v.13, Rom 9:27)
and of the gentile nations ('from the sea,' v.14,15).
...glorify the LORD... even the LORD God of Israel...- In the midst of the Tribulation fires,
they sing praises to the God of Israel, whose Word is rejected by the world.
from the uttermost part... have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous {ie., the Righteous One}.-
They yearn for the coming of the Messiah, the King of Righteousness. Meanwhile, they praise God for His righteous judgments poured out upon the earth (Rev 18:20 - 19:6).
But I said, my leanness {ie., wasting}...- Foreseeing the terrors of the Tribulation,
Isaiah's spirit is emaciated within him.
...for the treacherous {deceitful} dealers have dealt treacherously {deceitfully}...-
Israel dealt treacherously with the Lord (Jer 3:20). The nations of the world have dealt and will deal treacherously with Israel, especially when led by the antichrist (Isa 21:2; 33:1; 2The 2:9-12).
17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, [are] upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall come to pass, [that] he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit;
and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare:
for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage;
and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it;
and it shall fall, and not rise again.
...upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth...- Three dangers:
  • fear {HB=pachad, terror, dread} - cp. Luk 21:26
  • the pit {HB=pachath, pit, hole} - ie., the grave, the imminent danger of death, cp. Mat 24:21,22; Rev 6:8
  • the snare {HB=pach, trap, snare} - ie., deadly deception, cp. Mat 24:4; 2The 2:8-12
the earth shall reel to and fro...- cp. Rev 6:12-17
removed like a cottage {ie., a flimsy temporary shelter, cp. Isa 1:8}
21 And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones [that are] on high,
and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, [as] prisoners are gathered in the pit,
and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
...the host of high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth...- cp. Eph 6:12; Rev 12:7-9
Observe the order of their judgment.
  1. they shall be gathered... as prisoners gathered in the pit...- Spirit entities and human kings will be imprisoned in the pit (Rev 19:20; 20:1-3).
  2. after many days... (ie., after the Millenial Kingdom, Rev 20:4-9).
  3. shall they be visited (ie., with final judgment, Rev 20:10-15).
23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed,
when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
then (ie., after the tribulation of the preceding days)... when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion...-
With the Lord in His rightful place as King, and with Jerusalem as the place of His throne, the world will no longer be in a state of confusion. v.10; Isa 2:2-4; Mic 4:1-5
the moon shall be confounded... the sun ashamed... -
During the Tribulation, there will be signs in the sun and the heavens (eg., Isa 13:10; Joel 2:31; 3:15). However, this verse is describing things that will come after the Tribulation. The glory of Christ on His throne, in His Millenial Kingdom, will put the sun to shame, and, in His eternal Kingdom, will displace the sun entirely (Isa 60:19; Mat 24:29,30; Rev 21:23).

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