Isaiah 24



The Lord’s Devastation of the Earth (24:1–23)

1–3 In the preceding eleven chapters, Isaiah has prophesied about the judgment that will fall on particular nations; in these next four chapters he prophesies about the judgment which will come upon the entire earth at the end of history, on the final day of judgment.

4–13 Here Isaiah gives the reason for the Lord’s terrible judgment: the earth has been defiled by its people; they have . . . broken the everlasting covenant112 (verse 5). Therefore, they must bear their guilt (verse 6); they are without excuse (Romans 1:18–23; 2:12–16). And yet God will not destroy everyone; a very few will remain, like the gleanings . . . after the grape harvest (verses 6,13).

In these verses Isaiah presents a picture of what God’s final judgment will be like. He mentions a ruined city that lies desolate (verse 10); this “city” represents all cities—human society in general. In the book of Revelation, John calls this representative city “Babylon,” the symbol of all worldly power that sets itself up against God.

14–20 Suddenly the scene changes. They—the remnant, the very few that re main (verse 6)—will shout for joy (verse 14). They will give God glory from the west to the east (verse 15); they will come from the ends of the earth (see Mark 13:26–27).

Inverse 16, Isaiah says: “I waste a way.” He is speaking as a representative of the godly few who will be spared; they too will suffer right up to the end. But the ungodly people of the earth will not be spared; they will not escape God’s judgment (verses 17–18).

In verses 18–20, Isaiah describes the “shaking apart” of the earth. Not only will the earth’s inhabitants be burned up (verse 6), but the earth itself will be destroyed (see 2 Peter 3:7,10; Revelation 6:12–14).

21–23 God’s judgment will even extend beyond the earth; He will punish the powers in the heavens above (verse 21)—Satan and the spiritual powers under his control (see Ephesians 6:11–12). Once the powers of evil are subdued and the earth is destroyed, a new heaven and new earth will take the place of the old (2 Peter 3:11–13; Revelation 21:1). There the LORD Almighty will reign (verse 23)—in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2–5). In this new holy city God’s light will be so bright that the sun and moon will not be needed (Revelation 21:22–24); they will be abashed and ashamed in the light of God Himself (verse 23). God’s reign on the new Mount Zion will be glorious, even as Isaiah has prophesied earlier (Isaiah 2:2–4).