143. Yet another Rear Window Glance on Isaiah’s Plot Line and Story Guide so far.

Isaiah 1

Isaiah 1

In our long haul through Isaiah, every so often we have been stopping to examine the pathway and route of the prophet’s thoughts. It’s like an aerial view of the whole so far. I think we need to do this every time we discern a change of direction in the text of Isaiah’s writings. A kind of, “What has he just said? And where is he going now?”


Part of my rationale for this is on the grounds of reading so many commentaries, articles and volumes on Isaiah’s 66 chapters by “scholars” who are convinced that the whole book is a random collection of writings, and that it is not always written by the “original” Isaiah. Some think there were two Isaiah’s, others think there were several. This writer, however, is convinced that the very theory (and that is all it is) is unfounded and fictional. I contend that there is only one Isaiah who wrote the entire book that bears his name. To my mind there is a perfectly logical sequence of thought and message in the order of those 66.

Isaiah 2 Swords to Plowshares

Isaiah 2 “when swords are turned into plough shares”

We have ploughed through the first 24 chapters and are about to plummet the depths of chapter 25. Chapter 24 is shocking in its statements of some undefined spot on the world’s future timeline. It is dark, dismal and fearful to the faithless. The future, however, cannot be so described without an explanation as to the wonderful news that stops chapter 24 from being endlessly dark. Chapter 25 is as glorious and blindingly bright as Isaiah 24 is dark and depressingly dismal. Isaiah 24 through to the end of chapter 27, is a serious pivot in the prophet’s seismic Richter scale of insights and visions. Yet, without doubt, no matter how many, so called “higher critics,” hasten to point out signs of “discrepancy,” and “mix-up” in the sequential thoughts of the book, I beg to differ from the lot of them. Allow me to explain what I mean.


We start in Isaiah’s volume when the entire Hebrew people were still present in the Land, yet dwelling as two separate nations. It needs to be understood that there were serious national emergencies throughout the whole of the Hebrew tribes, and these watershed circumstances precipitated God raising up this marvellous cluster of prophets to guide the populace throughout the huge crises of spiritual identity, in order to bring the two nations into alignment with Yahweh’s purposes. Alas, they would not listen.

Isaiah 3

Isaiah 3


Nobody could reasonably or intelligently, in any way consider this ancient epoch and era of events that we are engaging with, without an intellectual and spiritual assessment of the seriously mammoth “starring role” that Isaiah played, along with his colleagues and friends in the “prophetic gifting and calling.”

This group of men ceaselessly and self-effacingly addressed themselves to the nationwide, spiritual, calamitous, upheaval that was driving both nation states towards a dreadful judgement and a shocking death. Just as western society today is being openly plunged into a dark freefall of purposelessness, so, in Isaiah’s day, the tiny nation of Israel, and the even smaller nation state of Judah were on an identical cliff edge of collapse and closure. In a nutshell, the Hebrew people needed to repent and have faith in God because their end was nigh! And the northern kingdom, in particular, had no idea how “nigh” their end was.

Isaiah 4 1 - 7 women

Isaiah 4:1-7. Seven women and one man. Read the chapter for the full story.

Isaiah and his contemporaries not only made a major contribution to the development of an understanding of what was God’s purpose during these years, but our twenty-first century knowledge of the historical scenario of these days is greatly enlarged by what we know and read of these Old Testament writing prophets. If we merely searched the Bible for its history, the prophets are of greater historical significance than any of the kings who ruled in their times. As contemporaries, Isaiah and Micah were huge in their influence.


Both Isaiah and Micah began to prophesy and preach as the shadow of the iron fist of Assyria fell over the Hebrew lands. This dark cloud put the accelerator on the decline of Judah, as the northern state tottered, stumbled and finally collapsed prostrate to its exilic grave.  Isaiah and Micah together lived on through the tragic years that followed the disappearance of the ten northerly tribes. Isaiah continued his priceless input, throughout the entire period until, extra biblical accounts tell us, King Manasseh sawed him in half whilst he was hiding in a tree.

Isaiah 5 vineyard-parable

Isaiah 5


But, how do we define these crises? How are we to outline their parameters and describe their nature? By describing what they were, we will see the character and stature of Isaiah and the other prophets, as they engaged with both God and the people in a spiritual combat that cost all their prophets their life. They each died in an attempt to save their nation from the darkness of their future, both in this life and the next. After all, one of the finest definitions of a prophet is that he is the divinely appointed interface between the seen and the unseen worlds.

It was not merely the external physical menace of Assyrian aggression, as suggested above, but a spiritual emergency coincident with and attendant upon the Assyrian fear creating fighting machine that threatened the national character and the Yahwistic religious practice with Judah. This was foundational to Hebrew existence. All the surrounding nations lived in deep and restless fear of Assyria and its modus operandi in seeking to conquer the entire Middle East – even though no Assyrian ruler ever had the ability to construct a governmental infrastructure to make that nightmare, “dream,” a sustainable reality.

Beyond fear of Assyria, and within the heart of the people, was a spiritual darkness, ever increasing and constantly in the process of being suffocatingly smothered over the minds of the population of Judah. This brought with it all the ramifications and corollaries of an infesting demonic culture, similar to those that they were first commissioned to annihilate in the days of Moses and Joshua.

isaiah 6

Isaiah 6

When I use this kind of phraseology, I feel I am in danger of over blaming the devil and the darkness, as well as the Assyrians that all brought Judah to this crisis. If the chosen people were simply innocent victims of a demonic onslaught. There would be no culpability on their part. However, the darkness that fell upon Judah (and Israel) was something the people literally invited, and thereafter warmly embraced. Indeed, if the people of Judah were innocent victims of this darkness, none of the prophets would have been required to correct them – for there would have been nothing to correct.  But life – and people – are never as simplistic or as passive as that perspective would suggest.


We have, earlier, in the very first chapter of Isaiah, discussed the socioeconomic ills for which the official Levitical sacrificial Temple religion had proved itself as possessing no effective rebuke or response. It was a lifeless set of faithless religious observances. This continued religious observance, without even the slightest spiritual reality was a major root of many social ills. These were ills which were only aggravated – as opposed to being created – by the Assyrian exactions, that is, their excessive and unjust demands, and also of their spiritually syncretic tendencies that were always endemic since Israel made their home in Canaan. This idolatrous and shamefully immoral mix of the divine and the demonic, which ran wild in the lax days of Ahaz’s recognition of the Assyrian gods, and seems to have peaked in the days of Manasseh, was indeed its darkest manifestation.

Isaiah 7

Isaiah 7

These sustained trends, at this particular point of time, indicated a certain ever weakening feebleness in the nation’s fundamental structure, and were certainly not calculated to assist the nation in its struggle for continued existence. Metaphorically speaking, it was a severe attack of satanic woodworm in the timbers of Judah’s society, religion, and political policy – like an acidic dissolution of moral fibre in all stratas of Jewish life. It was only a matter of time before the total collapse. It was a dark and socially painful decline that was deliberately and wilfully “self-inflicted” at its roots. The destructive fire of Assyrian armies and idolatrous worship may have come from external forces, however Judah had drenched the ground of their nation’s infrastructure themselves with the inflammable fuel of rejection of Yahweh. The conflagration that was to follow was to cause Judah to disappear off the face of the map in exactly the same manner as had, the northern kingdom. As The Northern State fell in 722 BC, Judah had only 135 years to wait for its own eradication.

In short, with the developing dissolution of familial, inherited, collective community patterns, the Mosaic Covenant, with its severe ascetic pious, ethical and societal requirements which had been the original basis of Israelite society, had been largely neglected and forgotten by the majority of Judah’s citizens, to whom Yahweh had become merely a symbolic “national guardian,” whose function it was, in return for meticulous religious cultic observance, to give the nation protection and blessing (Isaiah 1:10-20). In short, they perceived of the Almighty God of Sinai as a mere, insipid “Sugar Daddy,” whose sole purpose of existence was to keep Judah safe no matter what they got up to or where their heart was. It was a weak and effeminate lifestyle under a weak and effeminate image of a god. The populace hardly had a true grasp of life, never mind a firm grasp on God. The true nature of Yahweh was lost and buried – apart from the prophets.

Isaiah 8

Isaiah 8


This, however, was not the whole of it. While reading through Isaiah, it reads as if Judah was theologically embedded at this time, not in the ancient Mosaic covenant at all, but in Yahweh’s eternal covenant with David. So much of Isaiah is concerning the reign of the Davidic line, culminating in Messiah. This covenant, promised by God in 2 Samuel 7, had, in the national mind, largely superseded that of the original Sinaiatic covenant. It was obviously believed and affirmed by their religious practices and language, that Yahweh had chosen Zion as his dwelling, and promised to David an eternal dynasty, and also that each successive Davidic king, as Yahweh’s anointed “son” (Psalm 2:7), would be protected from his foes. The dynasty then would, ultimately gain a domain even greater than David had in his lifetime, with the kings of the earth fawning at its feet (Psalm 2:10. Psalm 72:8-11. ). Judah’s existence, in brief, did not rest in obedient response to the gracious acts of Yahweh in the past, with all its promises and corrective commands come down from Sinai, but in His unconditional promises of the future to David. The Davidic covenant was (and still is, of course) a totally eschatological expectation, that simply needs believing and waiting for. On top of that, it is easier to get excited and to build one’s life on a far flung future glory, than to spend one’s life struggling to match one’s conduct against Moses’ hundreds of laws.

This covenantal promise to David is remarkably profound, and somewhat neglected even by most Christian bible readers. It was in David’s fullest understanding of the promise made in 2 Samuel 7, when he wrote what was probably his last Psalm – the one we know as Psalm 72. It is beyond question David’s last prayer for the son whom he had just set upon his own throne before he died.


It seems absolutely transparent that the poet-seer, son of Jesse, with God’s promise in mind (2 Samuel 7), looks beyond the young Solomon to the fulfilment in a yet greater son, that is, Messiah, the king of all kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is so self-evident, one needs assistance to misunderstand it. It is this, exactly, that caused the people of Isaiah’s day to have a solid conviction of the future despite their godless lifestyle. Those that had even a tinge of faith, believed it. The majority of the population held this promise more as a legendary tale more than the solid promise that it truly was – and still is. Messiah will one day reign and the theocracy will be fully restored to Israel. The throne of David was in Jerusalem on planet earth, not in heaven. As it was, so shall it be.

Isaiah 9The official Temple sacrificial system was the servant of the nationally acknowledged belief system and paradigm. Its business was, by sacrifice and offering and by ritual affirmation of the Mosaic instructions, to assure the well-being of the nation. A certain internal “paganisation,” however, was inevitable, all the while nothing but a normative Yahwehism was merely externally maintained without any internal reality. Thus, the state religion corroded and became like all pagan religions, morally and spiritually corrupt. It could only ceremonially be an insipid and diluted spiritual support and defence of the existing order. It might conceivably, on rare occasions facilitate a priest to criticise an individual king, but it could not fundamentally confront the state or believe that the state could fall. Inevitably, as Micah and Isaiah show, the Levitical routine tended to offer little, if any, critique of idolatry at all.

The events of the late eighth century BC fell on Judah’s dead religious practices with all the force of a sledgehammer on an egg. With the very existence of state and dynasty being challenged, the national ideology was fundamentally called into question and was perilously rocking on a moral and spiritual cliff edge.

Isaiah.3As unbelief assayed the scenario, could it really rely on the promises to David? After all, if Assyria could treat the nation with contempt, and if Assyrian gods could be moved into Yahweh’s temple by the reigning member of the Davidic dynasty, what was to be said of Yahweh’s power to fulfill his promises? Judah’s response was twofold and utterly contradictory.

First, there was a blind and fanatical confidence in history and Yahweh’s protection.

Secondly, there was a cowardly deep unfaith, unbelief – better described as active paganism in the heart of the general public. Both were equally damning and destructive.

There were those who were quite sure that Yahweh would make good his promises to Judah no matter what folly she committed. They were foolishly arrogant with the mantra of, “We are the chosen people, and therefore Yahweh will not let us fall, no matter how bad we are.” These silly people must have simply chosen to erase the Northern kingdom from their memory, unless they believed that there were other reasons apart from their rejection of Yahweh and His word that led to their annihilation. No! No! No! This idiocy held by the foolish, was simply factoring out the truths that drove the northern Hebrew nation into headlong self-eradication. And there were others who, like King Ahaz, because they chose not to believe in the national constitutional ideology built on the word of God (like Isaiah 7:1-17), could see no way of saving Judah, except to make her a willing grovelling foot-licking vassal of Assyria.

Isaiah 13After submission to Assyria had brought Judah only misery, and after rebellion from Assyria had proved entirely futile, and even after wholesale, disillusionment with the national religion and its promises had set in and did not suggest any sound future, bringing an even more saddened and depressed expectation of existence, added altogether with the abandonment of even the pretext of Yahwehism – The prophets were a wonderful infusion of fresh air in the midst of the fetid toxic gas of unbelief and selfishness that pervaded the idolatrous atmosphere of Jerusalem and Judah.

The danger of this national widespread evil paradigm was acute, as events of the reign of Manasseh, to which we shall later highlight, indicate. That Judah did not collapse and fall at that moment of history must irrefutably be credited, humanly speaking, in no small degree to Yahweh, via His prophets – especially Isaiah – and to those willing to hear him. Isaiah was a giant character, and a clear voice in the midst of the fog of the opinions of the masses.

Isaiah 14Judging by the ease with which he approached successive kings (Isaiah 7. Isaiah 36. Isaiah 39), it seems that he must have been of a good, high and conceivably, even an aristocratic family, if not a member of the court itself. Yet, it was his lot through most of his life to stand in opposition to the policies of various kings and their courts and to fearlessly rebuke what was happening in no uncertain terms.

With uncompromising godly rage Isaiah assailed the scheming and devious upper class and the debauched judges who had conspired to rob the destitute of their rights (e.g. Isaiah 1:21-23. 3:13-15. 5:8. 5:24. 10:1-4.). The debauched aristocracy, licentiously cossetted, concerned only for material properties and wishes (e.g. Isaiah 3:16-4:1. 5:11.), sociable to foreign idolatrous ways and without moral standards or faith in God (Isaiah 5:18-21), seemed to Isaiah to be infinitely deserving of the divine wrath with which he was ordered to deliver.  Isaiah knew from the beginning, as stated in Isaiah 6:9,  that he was speaking to a people that were wilfully incapable of correction. Likening the nation to a well-tended vineyard which ought to have produced good grapes but did not (Isaiah 5:1-7), he declared that Judah, because of her failure to respond to Yahweh’s grace in righteous behaviour, would be turned over, like such a useless vineyard would have been, to the thorns and briars. Isaiah was introducing thoughts of exile, exactly as per the northern kingdom, into the warp and woof of Judah’s future.

Like Amos, Isaiah received a clear vision that revealed the day of Yahweh to come as a day of horrific judgement (2:6-21. Isaiah 24 the whole chapter). Isaiah also viewed the Assyrian as the instrument of the immediate judgement (5:26-29), just as he had further predicted that there would be a later pall of judgement from the Babylonians.

Isaiah17v1Isaiah saw the nation crumbling from within (3:1-12), plunged into ruin (6:11 on), reduced to a tiny remnant (10:22 on), and declared that even that small remnant would be plunged anew into the fires of catastrophe (Isaiah 6:15).


Isaiah’s first clash with the national policy came during the crisis of 735-733 when the Aramean-Israelite coalition moved on Jerusalem to compel Judah’s co-operation against Assyria. This was when Ahaz reigned in Jerusalem. By this time, Isaiah had a son to whom he had given the ominous name of “Shear-Jashub” meaning, “Only a remnant will return.”  The name is capable of a hopeful connotation (“A remnant will return. Isn’t that good!”), and this is developed in Isaiah’s thought (Isaiah 16:26). But here it seems to embody a warning to Ahaz, as in, “Only a remnant will return! Isn’t that shocking! (Isaiah 16:22) and so the ominous connotation to the name is probably the original point made.

Knowing that Ahaz was thinking to propose an appeal to Assyria for help, Isaiah accompanied by his son, confronted the king (Isaiah 7:1-9), and, assuring him that the northern confederation would never be allowed to carry out their purpose, urged him not to have any dealings whatsoever with Assyria, but to trust in Yahweh’s promises. While Ahaz wavered, Isaiah (Isaiah 7:10-17) offered a sign from Yahweh in order to prove that what he had said to Ahaz was true. When the faithless ungodly king refused this offer with pious cant, Isaiah in hot anger gave the famous sign of Immanuel. The birth of this child, presumably to the royal household, would signify that Yahweh’s promises were sure, but, since Ahaz had not believed it, it would also be a sign to the awful calamity that his cowardice would invite into the nation’s life and culture. Recurrently reprimanding the royal rule and dogma, and graphically depicting the dire consequences (e.g. 7:18-25. 8:3-8a), Isaiah summoned all who would listen to take a stand in opposition (8:11-15).

Isaiah 18

Isaiah 18

But Ahaz did not believe. Instead he volitionally sent cart loads of tribute to Tiglath-Pileser and surrendered his independence, and the security of his nation for the next, a subservience to Assyria that would continue for the following half century or so. He even had Assyrian religious accoutrements installed in Solomon’s temple and the Solomonic altars and lavers moved to the far corners of the temple grounds.  Isaiah, his advice scoffed at by the king, handed over to his disciples a record of what he had said as a witness for the future (Isaiah 8:16-18) and withdrew from addressing Ahaz, the king, any further.


I have always found it astonishing how Isaiah explained over and over again that what had happened to the northern kingdom of Israel was certainly bound to happen to Judah in the long run. Surely, one did not need to be a university professor or a Doctor of Divinity to see that particular projection as self-evidently certain. After all the predictions of doom and exile made by the prophets, speaking to both the northern and the southern kingdoms, together with the absolute disappearance of Israel in 722 BC,  it must have been a mental graphic of awful proportions for the remaining southerners. How on earth could they not conclude that what had happened to the ten northern tribes would indeed happen to them if they did not change?

The overall cataclysm of the emergency stemmed, in part, from the exact same internal sickness and practical dynamics that destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes – and, shockingly, was even more visibly present in Judah. It was a simple observation to make. “The north has disappeared Judah! Their response to Yahweh and their reception of idolatry was the same as yours. You are next on the list for the same treatment as they!”

But, as the old English proverb says: “There is none so blind as they that WILL NOT see.”  “After all,” they would answer, “We have the Davidic king! We have the Temple and the Ark! How on earth could we go the same way that the northern kingdom went?” And so, Judah’s decline continued.


Isaiah 19ISAIAH 9 -12

Isaiah did not, for all this, surrender hope. His doctrine, understanding and grasp of God was far too vast for him to suppose that the nation’s dereliction could frustrate or interfere with the divine purpose and cancel the promises. In spite of his conviction that Ahaz had betrayed his high office, perhaps because of it, Isaiah treasured the dynastic ideal as this had been perpetuated within the belief system of Judah, as in Psalm 72. He himself gave classic expression to the expectation of a scion of David’s line who would completely fulfil that ideal (Isaiah 9:2-7. 11:1-9) exhibiting the charismatic gifts, supposed by some, to have been secretly reposing within each generation of the dynasty (Chapter 11:2) establishing justice – as Ahaz so notably had not – and bringing the national humiliation forever to an end. Isaiah was convinced that Yahweh was in control of events and that His purpose to set up His kingly rule of peace over the nation was sure (Isaiah 2:2:2-4.11:6-9).


Isaiah 21 Shipwreck in the desert

Isaiah 21…..Shipwreck in the desert

He therefore viewed the present tragedy and crisis as a part of that purpose – a discipline, a purge, by which Yahweh would remove the dross of the national character, leaving a chastened and purified people (Isaiah 1:24-26. 4:2-6).  The ominous note in the name of his son Shear-Jashub began to give way to a hopeful interpretation (Isaiah 10:20 onwards). Perhaps only a remnant, but still, a remnant will return i.e. repent. Though repeatedly disappointed, Isaiah never surrendered the hope that the tragedy would purify Judah and produce that righteous remnant (Isaiah 37:30-32). Theologically, this aspect of Isaiah’s personal expectation is world-changing.

After his rebuff in the 735-733 crisis, Isaiah apparently made no attempt to influence the national policy as long as Ahaz reigned. We have no record that Isaiah ever spoke to Ahaz again after the Isaiah 7 confrontation.

ISAIAH 13 – 23

A close-up of a key moving towards the key hole.

Isaiah 22:22 The keys to the house of David

We next meet him after Hezekiah had taken the throne when (714-711) Judah was asked to join a revolt against Assyria led by Ashdod and supported by Egypt. As we have seen, ambassadors of the Ethiopian twenty-fifth dynasty (Isaiah 18) and probably of the Philistines (14:28-32) waited on Hezekiah, to enlist his cooperation. Isaiah (he who had opposed submission to Assyria) opposed the scheme emphatically. His position was that Yahweh had founded Zion and was its overseer and guide.

And so, we have from Isaiah 13 through to 23 the word of God concerning the future and destiny of all the surrounding nations that were local to Judah. Isaiah’s prophetic vision ever expanding. All these races and nation states were at Isaiah’s time occupying land that God had promised to Abraham, apart from Ethiopia and Egypt, of course. They were included because of anti-Assyrian plots that Egypt made with Philistia, Edom and Ammon. At that point of time the 25th dynasty which was an Ethiopian dynasty was ruling Egypt. We suspect they tried to enrol Judah in their plot as Isaiah sees them and tells them to go home in chapter 18.   This large plain of prophetic words, spoken concerning a huge plain of nation states is an amazing series of divinely inspired understanding of where the world was going in Isaiah’s day. The prophet starts with Babylon and their role in Judah’s judgement in this world, as well as their own demise (13:1 -14:23). Then in three short verses Assyria’s demise (14:24-27). The words concerning Philistia (what we would refer to as Gaza) (Isaiah 14:28-32), Moab (Isaiah15 -16), Damascus, to be razed to the ground – still unfulfilled really (Isaiah 17), Ethiopia (Isaiah 18), Egypt (Isaiah 19-20), followed by a return to thoughts of Babylon (Isaiah 21:1-10), followed by Edom (Isaiah 21:11-12), Arabia (Isaiah 21:13-17), Jerusalem itself (Isaiah 22), and finally, the fall of Tyre (Isaiah 23).


Isaiah 26The lifting of his eyes from Judah to all its surrounding neighbours, and God’s planned activities towards them, logically and plainly leads to a statement concerning the entire world.


ISAIAH 24-27

So we started with chapter 24 and the distressing scenes of tribulation, death, loss, famin and poverty that will sweep the earth, concluded by the next three chapters.


Again, I add, the sequential thought and direction of the whole, thus far seems perfectly logical and straightforward.  We move on to Isaiah 25.



Table Set with Selection of Starters --- Image by © P.Hussenot/photocuisine/Corbis

Isaiah 25— Image by © P.Hussenot/photocuisine/Corbis

142. The Death and Resurrection of Planet Earth.

Isaiah 24:14–23


2420I love to read and meditate on all the Old Testament prophets, both major and minor. Accept it or not, I love the bits I do not understand as much as those sections I believe I do have a smuttering of insight about. I read the mysterious sections just as much as the easier parts of scripture. I, perhaps, do not see everything as clearly in the first Testament as I see issues as explained in the later volume – I’m not sure about that one.


My spiritual eyesight, and whatever there is of a spiritual mind within myself, grasps the New Testament prophets much clearer than I grasp Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, but I read them often and thoughtfully nevertheless. Whether my readers think I am sharp or rather dull, what I hold and carry is the honest fruit of digging in the gold mine of scripture addum infinitum since my conversion back in 1968. Laugh at my perspectives and seemingly extreme presuppositions if you wish, but when I started reading this material I had no presuppositions at all. I plodded, and read, and thought and prayed and discussed and argued, and kept on reading. There were times when I debated against other perspectives before I would surrender to what others said, and there were times also when I refused to submit to anybody but my own voice. I have always sought to be teachable. My serious conviction is that the writing prophets have secrets of unfathomable depth that are absolutely and intensely relevant to New Testament believers and the New Testament faith. In fact, I would like to start a world revolution with a, “Read the Prophets,” mission. Oh to get to grips with these fellows. Oh that I could see what they saw and stand where they stood, and experience their vision of God Himself.


I know those last couple of chapters of Daniel are heavy on the senses, so much so that one feels like one is walking up to one’s waste in a thick mixture of quick drying cement – cement that has usually dried hard before one has finished reading through the battles and the attacks and the different kings and armies that those last pages of Daniel are full of, but it needs to be read and read, until the day comes when the Holy Spirit pierces our hard cased crusty and worldly thinking processes, to allow us to perceive what the scripture is saying to us. Then the quick drying dusty cement of scripture is transformed into fresh running water. I have a similar experience, wading through thick mud, when ploughing through the measurement details of Ezekiel’s temple, and Jeremiah’s gut wrenching laments. But the mountainous concepts they deal with are cosmic in their ramifications. “There’s gold in tham thare hills! Aha!” It is the call of God, I believe, that all Christians should be tirelessly mining in the Old Testament Hebrew prophets.


2414Another reason why we do not read them, even cursorily, is because we get confused and bored not knowing what some chapters are about at all. The fact that the food is not cooked, prepared and served up on a plate, deters us from negotiating their statements. It is part of the mentality of the, “instant,” generation, I believe. Coffee, food, computers and TV lead us to desire instant understanding and instant spiritual attainment in Christ. We need to wake up on that one and be real. There is simply no such things as a “Big Micah with extra cheese,” or a, “Chicken Haggai with extra Mayo,” or “Nahum flavoured French Fries.” With all this stuff, one has to expose oneself to the seed of the word, plant it, water it, harvest it, wash it, cut it, cook it and put it on your own plate before you can savour its life giving Manna that will feed you forever. To say, “It’s worth it,” is such an understatement it devalues heaven itself.


Sometimes we don’t read the prophets because we don’t even properly understand what prophecy is. There is a plethora of reasons why we do not get to even introduce ourselves to Isaiah. Modern translations do, occasionally, help the reader that wants to get to grips with them. There are tons of books out there that feed us with simple historical outlines to the context of these incredible men and their place in the chronology of this time space world. Did you know that the most commonly asked for version of an English Bible by readers who speak Hebrew as their first language is the King James Version? Just saying – as a by the way!.


2406We are in the twenty-first century. We are in the age of motivation and positive thinking. We live in days where the pillars of the gospel are being moved or dismantled simply because they are uncomfortable and/or they are said to be, “old school.” We are in a generation where church leaders are joining with a certain ex Archbishop of Canterbury who, because he “did not know” what to say to people dying in pain in their last hours (his words not mine) now supports assisted euthanasia. These are times when yet another, “high profile,” minister of the gospel who, because he has never felt comfortable at the biblical statements concerning homosexuality being a lifestyle that brings God’s condemnation, has denied those passages of scripture as so much, “out of date,” untruth. We are living in a spiritual climate where other ministers who once ran well and gained huge followings for their truthful declaration of scripture, are now saying how uncomfortable they have felt over the years, preaching, teaching or even discussing the subject of “hell. From this slippery incline, the curse of universalism once again raises its evil head from within the church of Jesus Christ. We are in the place where the potential of what we have in Christ is rightly majored on, yet, is commonly taught at the expense of the full story. Jesus died to save us from hell, and to give us all things that pertain to life and godliness. We are taught in the scripture to flee from the wrath to come.


If you are wondering, or asking yourself why this writer is starting with such heavy words today, let my readers understand that we have been sharing on Isaiah chapters 24 through to 27. In our, “long haul trawl,” through the divinely infused and enthused works of Isaiah, to maintain integrity and truth, it is necessary to fully and to our satisfaction, give an explanation of these four chapters and how they are part of the present truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


These chapters are words of heavy judgements and annihilations of people, states and the planet in general, as well as incredibly in depth remarks about the sacred truth that we as Christians cling to. This is serious. This section of Isaiah’s writings needs to be placed in a time-line of biblical history, or eschatology as it stands, and buried deep in the psyche of faith. It is cowardice in the face of the devil himself to assert and declare how we trust in scripture from cover to cover, and then reduce our voice to a pathetic whisper with more coughing and spluttering that in a TV advert for cough medicine, when we get to stuff like this.


Some of my readers may prefer to read the four chapters I am talking about before we go any further.


These are words of worldwide desolation. There is judgement on man for sin, and the clear dulcet tones of the prophet explaining the very destruction of the planet. There are obviously untold masses of humanity lying dead on the streets in the midst of this horrible visionary movie depicted plainly and unbearably in these lines. Isaiah must have been ill after what he saw in his 24th chapter.


2408However! There is the other side. Yes! As well as the doom and gloom, there is huge joy and victory highlighted also. But there is so much said by Christian academics and commentators who tell us that when Isaiah talks of “the earth” he is not necessarily referring to the planet, but simply the earth of places he has hitherto mentioned. Some explain how the revelation Isaiah gives here cannot mean the whole planet, no matter how many times he refers to “the world” for the simple reason Isaiah did not know how big the full size of the world is. They use a logic that suggests that Isaiah meant, “His world,” i.e. Isaiah’s own known world, as opposed to, “The world.” To dilute such text should be made a criminal offence.


What are we to make of this?


Having ploughed through the dark plume of black smoke with its aroma of last and final judgement within the lines of Isaiah 24:1-13, we move on with a distinctly different tone from verse 14 onwards, for a moment.

14. These people shall lift up their voice, and shout for joy. They shall exult and sing aloud concerning the majesty of Yahweh from the Sea (The Mediterranean – and therefore the West).


“These people!” Which people? Ah yes! There shall be a remnant among the survivors. By their faith and persistence they shall be preserved from the general ruin around the planet, though still living in the midst of it. For that reason it shall be a visibly devout and pious remnant. They shall shine in sharp contrast to the lack of joy, and abundance of suffering among those in anguish in the midst of the apocalyptic greyness, misery and depression. They will have great weight of conviction and the anointing to worship in the midst of survivors filled with unbelief, skepticism and hopelessness. Both worldviews and mindsets will live in the full tide of God’s judgment.


And this, seemingly tiny, godly remnant will shout and sing about Yahweh’s majesty. How strange that while randomly living nomadic lifestyles, at the very furthest point of remoteness, they shout joyously, “from the west” – “Miyyam,” translated, “West,” is quite literally, “from the sea.” The Mediterranean Sea was, of course, “The west,” to Isaiah’s perception of things.


Revelation 18:20 states while referring to the fall of Babylon the great city; “Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice, apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you.” These remnant few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves in the furthest corners of the orchard.


When the parties and the singing of the carnal world ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because His promises stand sure, and the foundations of their hope, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation – even this Great Tribulation that Isaiah is here talking about.


Any other conceivable interpretation of these lines suggesting that the devastation of Isaiah 24 is referring to Sargon or Sennacharib of Assyria seem ridiculous, irrelevant and trivial when the obvious face value of the whole section talks of something so final and so global. Isaiah is clearly seeing the end of the world as we know it. I cannot doubt that.

15. Therefore in the light of the fires give glory to Yahweh. Exalt the name of Yahweh, the Elohe of Israel, in the coastlands of the (Mediterranean) sea.


2402The shouts of joy erupting from the redeemed remnant, come, either from the west, or from the light of the burning smoldering world of fallen civilisation. Possibly from both sources. The scenario and vision causes Isaiah to call for people to respond, “In the east,” by glorifying Yahweh’s name in isles and coastlands, and in all parts of the inhabited earth. All humankind needs to praise and glorify the one true God, the God of Israel. The prophet encourages the praises  of God even in the midst of the darkest and meanest darkness.

16. From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: Even: “Glory to the Righteous (One).” But I said, “I waste and pine away. Woe is me! The treacherous betray treacherously! With deep treachery the treacherous betray!”


From “the ends, or the wings of the earth,” that is, from its outermost parts, the prophet hears music. From such distant realms the song of the redeemed remnant reaches his ears, no matter how faintly. It would seem that the surviving righteous remnant from the real time of the first thirteen verse are living in a uniquely distant place on the planet. Is it they that the song’s lyrics refer to, i.e. “The Righteous?” Or is it a song of “Glory to the Righteous One,” that is, to God who has revealed His righteousness both in judgment and in forgiveness and restoration. The latter, of course, would better suit our spiritual taste buds. The same term is used of the Suffering Servant in 53:11 (NASB). Christ is there referred to as, the “righteous (One), My Servant.” Isaiah exults in the songs of exaltation of God, but still feels something that is low and painful in his gut.


This breathtaking supernatural vision of the future does not cause Isaiah to rejoice. He knows enough to be aware that judgment must come before restoration and millennial joys as he had seen in those opening verses of chapter 11. However, he is shocked by what he sees coming further down the timeline. He will have seen the desolation caused by Sennacharib as he swept across Judah desolating “46 cities.” That would have broken the heart of any witness and reduced them to tears. But this catastrophe is clearly worldwide. The prophets were not compassionless pronouncers of doom. They were heartbroken and wearisome visionaries who saw what sin had wrought in the world and in people’s hearts, yet were compelled by the Spirit of God to accurately portray the divinely given scenes of horror they experienced as they ogled and stared at the forthcoming terrors. “I waste away,” and, “Woe to me!” are expressions of Isaiah’s deepest emotions and feelings. He finds it difficult to inwardly cope with the scope of the judgement required to cleanse and renew the cosmos.


Even though he foresaw and heard the future shouts of joy from the redeemed, the sins of the people and the terrible curse and judgment on the earth and its inhabitants were breaking his heart. Betrayal and treachery are indeed deserving of judgment. Nevertheless, the thought of judgment makes Isaiah feel his heart tearing and rending, bringing him intense sorrow. (Compare his reactions in Isaiah 6:5 and 22:4.)

17. Terror and the pit and the snare await you, O inhabitant of the earth.


To partly anglicize the Hebrew words in order to portray Isaiah’s alliteration, the verse reads:  “Pachad, pachat and pach await you, O inhabitant of the earth.”  It is not by accident that the results of sin will catch up with them.  These weren’t moments of, “Whoops! What an accident!” This was Yahweh’s own hand being the initial and primary cause of the judgement. No accidents or randomness here, at all.

18. And it shall come to pass that whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into the pit; and whoever climbs out of the midst of the pit will be caught in the snare. For the windows of the heavens are opened, and they shake the foundations of the earth.


2422There will be no escape from God’s judgment, apart from the redeemed. Amos 5:18–19 also depicts similar attempts at evasion that only go from bad to worse. Amos saw people attempting escape, yet bouncing from one catastrophe to another. Isaiah concludes this thought by describing “the windows of the heavens” being opened, and the “foundations of the earth” shaking because of the opened windows. This reminds us of what happened in Noah’s flood (Gen. 7:11; 8:2), as well as in the great earthquake of Uzziah’s day (Amos 1:1). It is truly a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Make no mistake, God’s judgment will bring a radical change to everybody who survives –all and sundry, and everything on the planet.

19. The earth is utterly broken down. The earth is cleanly dissolved and split. The earth is moved and thoroughly shaken.

20. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall tremble and be swayed like a cottage in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.


Five expressions emphasize the severity of the earth quaking: The earth splits, breaks down, reels, trembles, and sways—“like a cottage or a hut in the wind,” like the temporary structure (branches and mats or poles and awnings) set up by the farmer from which to guard his field crops. (See Isaiah 1:8).


Earthquakes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hurricanes will bring judgment. Rebellion weighs so heavily on the earth that it will “never … rise again,” which shows that the judgment is on humankind and the present evil world system. It also may picture the earth spinning off its orbit and being destroyed. God will create a new heavens and earth (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1).

21. And it shall come to pass in that day that Yahweh will punish the host of the powers in the heavens above and the kings of the earth on the earth below.

22. They shall be gathered together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and after many days they shall be punished.


A day of Yahweh’s judgment is coming when He will punish the source of all evil – the satanic forces, “the powers in the heavens” (See Ephesians 6:11–12; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7–9; 20:1–3, 11–15). The same judgment will fall on all in high authority in the physical world, “the kings on the earth.” They will be “herded and gathered together like prisoners” and kept in a prison pit, unable to control their own destinies. “After many days,” a long time, in prison, they will be judged and punished.

23. Then the moon will be confounded and abashed, the sun ashamed; When Yahweh of hosts shall reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancient ones, gloriously.


The full moon and sun will turn red “in shame” (see Matthew 24:29). Horton, almost humourously suggests that the sun and moon are ashamed because people worshipped them instead of Yahweh, who alone “will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.” It is, of course, Christ Himself who will reign on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. In the presence of the elders of His people, that is the saints who have lived and served in their lives, for the glory of the King and his Kingdom, they shall see His face and sit down to dine.  His glory will be manifest (see Exodus 24:9–10). This anticipates the vision of God’s glory that John saw in Revelation 4:4 where the elders – the Church, sing of being redeemed from every tribe and nation. What a glorious hope true believers have!


141. The Global Holocaust witnessed by Isaiah

Isaiah 24:1-13

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Manchester England Printworks

In the light of our last  observations of how the Old and New Testament flow in harmonious synchronicity throughout, fasten your seatbelts, as we immerse ourselves, briefly into the graphic story of God’s coming judgement on the earth and humanity, in the end times of the end times.  The entire biblical text of Isaiah 24 that I comment on in these articles is my own expanded paraphrase cum translation. Remember, nobody – but nobody on earth knows the calendar date for this stuff. The day, the hour and the moment for it all is in the heart, mind and knowledge of Heavenly Father.


Imagine, if you will, Isaiah dictating to his disciples, or even speaking to a group who are writing as the prophet preaches and teaches.


  1. Look! See! Watch out! Yahweh is going to strip and lay waste the earth, emptying and depopulating it, turning it into a wasteland, devastating it into a state of utter desolation. He will twist, distort and ruin its face by turning it upside down, and he will scatter abroad its inhabitants – (Isaiah 24:1 my own expanded translation)


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Post apocalyptic London as seen in Isaiah 24

Are these statements astonishing, or what? Isaiah starts his catastrophic visualization by calling our attention to the overall graphic of what he sees. The importance of this is that he is simply reporting what God has shown him. It is a “trance” like vision.  I am not saying that he was in a trance. I am suggesting that the depth and detail of his description of what he sees would have demanded time and contemplation to thoroughly see and understand the things he describes. He is creating an image with such lucid language, I find it hard to conceive of it being anything but the equivalent of a DVD. It is as if Isaiah is writing a newspaper critique of a movie he has just watched. Whether pleasant or nasty, whether beautiful or ugly, whether inspiring or depressing, he simply says what he sees. “Behold!” or, “See!” is his opening word – In Hebrew it is a startled, “Hinneh!”.


He witnesses four calamitous events happening right across the face of the earth. He intuitively knows and clearly sees that these incredible four courses of activity are set in motion, literally, by the action of God’s own hand. In other words, these four shocking news items will not, “evolve,” into happenstance, but are actively brought into history by God’s own direct movement and volition. People will not be able to say that it was because nation A attacked nation B, or that it was instigated by nation C betraying nation D. God Himself will bring these four horrors directly upon the earth. Christians will not be present when these things occur.


  1. God will first, empty the earth. He will, “strip and lay waste the earth, emptying and depopulating it, turning it into a wasteland.” By reading the rest of the chapter, we thus conclude that billions – yes! I said “billions” of people will be removed off the face of the earth. Revelation confirms this awe creating remarkable loss of the vast majority of earth’s population.
  2. He will then make the earth a waste. God will be, “turning it into a wasteland, devastating it into a state of utter desolation.” This is the earth, as well as the fruit of the earth – including the rivers and seas, becoming sterile and lifeless – almost. Isaiah expands on this as we plough through the chapter. Agriculture and the normal fruits of the earth cease to be harvested. Wormwood and bitterness that kills, permeates much of the water on the planet, killing many.
  3. “He will twist, distort and ruin its face by turning it upside down.” As a person would turn a soup bowl upside down to empty the bowl of its contents and distorting the purpose for which it was made, so God will turn the earth upside-down, meaning that all the horticultural, agricultural and humanly social blessings will be removed. We are talking of a holocaust type scenario that will be worldwide – global.
  4. Finally, He will “scatter abroad its inhabitants” that is the remnant of humanity that survives those first three calamities, driven into erstwhile inappropriate, unused and alien places. This is telling us that that the small number that is left on the earth will become nomadic. The entire picture is horrific.


2412aWars? Atomic bombs? Earthquakes?  Meteors? Aliens? Gravity changes? Global warning? Floods? No indication is given as to what, where or when, apart from the fact that the devastation is globally destructive, world-wide in its impact, and somewhere in Isaiah’s future. It is, clearly, still in the future as far as our generation is concerned. Whether anybody presently alive in the world will experience Isaiah 24 coming to pass, remains to be seen. It is impossible to be much more specific. As such a phenomenon has only ever taken place in pockets and patches throughout history, I am working on the express expectation that the picture the prophet paints must still be futuristic to us of the early twenty-first generation, and is still to impact the world, in the divine design, later in the human time line and metanarrative.


We know unequivocally that the prophet is talking of “the whole world,” and not just the devastation left by Sennacharib in 701 BC, and/or Nebuchadnezzar and the devastation he left in 587 BC?  Why? Simply because, land, earth (1, 3, 4 (x2), 5, 6, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19.) and world (4,) as well as “among the nations,” (13) are used interchangeably. The word, “earth,” could mean, “land,” this is true, however the parallelism with, “world,” (24:4) shows that this judgment involves an intrusive, invasive, distressing disordering of the whole planet. When one reads the full chapter and sees it as a complete unit, there is no mistaking that Isaiah is talking of something that will blanket the entire world.


I lay the basic foundation of our understanding of such a prophetic statement by affirming that all God’s judgement is relevant to, and in response to, humanities evil choices. I am not talking of moral relativism, but moral absolutes. God’s moral absolutes. Sin entered by man’s volitional choices of all that misses God’s desired standard of righteousness and holiness. In all the depths and breadth of evil that has been and gone since the days of Adam, what Isaiah 24 describes is the ultimate destination in time and space where sin and evil takes us. Only the grace of God in Christ, received and appropriated by faith will save people from this horror described by the prophet.

2.  Everyone will suffer. It will be the same for the lay people and the common man on the street as for the priest, as for the servant slave so for the master as well, as for the servant maid so for her mistress, as for the buyer so for the seller, as for the lender so for the borrower, as for the debtor who pays interest so with the creditor who calls interest.


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Post Apocalyptic Tokyo as seen in Isaiah 24

In plain language, no one alive will escape this judgment. It will affect all of society and each person impartially. From the highest to the lowest, all will suffer. The hunger, desolation, bereavement and thirst will hit all classes, all races, all nationalities and ethnic groups alike.

3. The earth will be completely and utterly laid waste and wholly plundered, for Yahweh has spoken this word.


The earth will be utterly devastated. Human activists will rob and plunder everything. Will they be military armies on the rampage? Or will it be plain mob rule by angry violent thieving gangs. I, myself, think the former. God, through Isaiah, has spoken. His word will be fulfilled. The crucial point that Isaiah is making is that this devastation is definitely not the normal entropy of natural catastrophes as is commonly experienced. This is God’s outstretched arm that is bringing this catastrophe about. Isaiah claims that this stuff is going to happen by the direct activity of God Himself.

4. The earth dries up and withers – fades away, faints and mourns. The world languishes, withers and fades away. The haughty and the exalted, the leaders of the earth languish.


Is this first phrase of verse four a metaphor, or something more? The earth, that is the physical planet, dries up, withers, fades away, faints and mourns. It may infer that the planets resources have dried up. But it definitely means that the normal routine of the spring, summer, autumn and winter ceases to function in a way that is perceived as normal. “The old girl “Earth” is tired and weary.” It withers and suffers from the blight of divine judgement.  But if the earth withers, the world withers. I am inclined to see this second phrase as referring to the surviving world’s population when it uses the word “world.” Some commentators suggest that the “exalted of the earth” refers to the Assyrians. Others even take the “exalted”to be the Israelites with the whole world suffering also because of their sin. Away with the very idea. The chapter is discussing judgement of the whole planet as seen by reading the chapters immediately following. Anything to ease the horror and pain of the world judgement and dilute the message is grasped too readily by students and scholars. This writer believes it is self-evidently speaking of the whole planet. Planet, population, Presidents and prime ministers are all in what we can only refer to as a state of chronic, clinical, profound depression. This thing is a global phenomenon.

5. It is because the earth, under its human inhabitants has become polluted, defiled, infected and bankrupt because they have sinned by transgressing and disobeying the teaching and the laws, twisted, changed, violated and falsified the ordinances and statutes, and have broken and rejected the everlasting, permanent covenant of promise of ancient times.


Isaiah 24

The judgment that falls on the earth is the result of defilement “by its people.” Isaiah then identifies their sins: They have disobeyed (abolished) and polluted the very concepts of God’s instructions. They have also violated His rules, and then changed and broken the regulations given to Noah (Gen. 9:1–16). They have refused to recognize any covenant relationship with God. They want no fellowship with Him (cf. 2 Thess. 2:9–12). This will become the condition of the whole world in these last days that Isaiah was talking about. When will we learn that evil practices and motives have a much wider impact than the chance of legal proceedings and a jail sentence? Sin impacts the cosmic physicalities, as well as the human spiritualities.

6. Therefore a curse will consume and devour the earth, and its inhabitants must bear their guilt and pay their penalty. Therefore the earth’s inhabitants will be burned up by fire, and very few mortals will be left.


Because of the people’s sin, a curse devours the earth. This is hard language. But it is the language of God’s inspired prophet. They will be reaping what they sowed (cf. Gal. 6:7). We need to affirm in the clearest of terms that this judgment is not arbitrary in the slightest. The people bear “their [own] guilt,” not another’s. God is just and cannot leave sin unpunished. The people “must” bear the burden of their guilt. God’s anger burns against them and few people are left (cf. Zechariah. 5:3–4; Rev. 19:11–21). Today, like never before, such worldwide destruction is possible by the simple giving of an order and/or the pressing of a button. God have mercy on this generation.

7. The new wine juice will mourn and dry up, the vine withers and languishes. And all the merrymakers, merry in heart will groan and sigh. 

8. The gaiety of the tambourines will be stilled and silenced. The noise of the revelers will cease and stop. The joyful harp will be hushed and soundless.


2421“New wine” (i.e., grape juice) will dry up after all the world calamities listed in the book of Revelation in the context of the seals and the trumpets. Grapevines are withered. Grape juice was a symbol of harmless pleasures. The change of climate, water, agriculture, eating habits and living modes will reduce those that live into spiritual, emotional and spiritual loss and confusion. Even light hearted trivialities will halt in the face of the global state of things. The rejoicing and laughter accompanied by tambourines and harps will cease.


This time of tribulation and horror will bring to an end anything that even suggests pleasure, pleasantries, and sociability. Oh the horror of human contrived evil. Or, as the apostle Paul expressed it, “Oh! The exceeding sinfulness of sin.

9. No more will people drink wine with a song. Beer will bitter, as will strong drink be to any who drink it.


“Wine” will not loosen them up and cause them to sing. “Beer” (and other alcoholic beverages) will make them feel bitter instead of exhilarated. My thoughts are that with poisoned waters as bitter as wormwood, the land polluted by cosmic invasions of “stars” falling to earth, etc, food will not taste right, and taste buds in the mouth will be defiled also. We are talking of serious misery.

10. The ruined, empty city will lie desolate and broken down. The entrance to every house will be barred so that none can enter it.


“The ruined city” (Hebrew: qiryath tohu, “city of nothingness” or “emptiness” is generic for the cities of the world, rather than a specific city) is without inhabitants and is broken down. (Tohu is the word used in Genesis 1:2 for the state of the earth before God created its inhabitants.) Every house is closed up against entry. It is a sad and grey picture of total desolation.

11. In the streets there will be an outcry, a scream for wine. All joy will reach its closing time, with doom and gloom, all gaiety and gladness in the earth will be is banished.  


Outside the homes, outside in the streets, and outside the city, there will be wailing because of a lack of wine. All the joy that delights merrymakers has darkened as when the day is done. “All gaiety,” including the joy of laughter, has gone.

12. All that will be left will be the city in a state of total ruin, and the gates will be battered to pieces.


“The city” is probably collective for cities in general (cf. v. 10). The devastation left in the city by God’s judgment is horrible. The desolate gates have been “battered to pieces.” The city is no longer livable and there is no protection. A preliminary fulfillment of this took place when Sennacherib destroyed forty-six cities of Judah.

 13. So and thus will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.


The remnant left after this judgment on the world will be small, like the few olives left on the tree after they beat its branches; or the few grapes left after the gleaners have gone through and picked what the harvesters left (cf. 17:6).



Post Apocalyptic Los Angeles as in Isaiah 24

The word picture – the verbal graphic that Isaiah paints with his words is both sublimely beautiful, and simultaneously the ugliest thought for a person to perceive. Sin calls out for judgement. The earth itself is ailing because of the evil in the world. People are sick, mentally, physically and spiritually because of the impact of sin. Unsettled and unjudged evil, and the makers of evil need to be recalled for God’s court of justice to straighten out every unfinished debt, argument, war and hatred. Judgement is needed. God is holy, just, impartial and infinite in knowledge and holiness. Like the unborn child in the mother’s womb, body stretching, muscle bracing, cries and screams of pain and dismay must fill the air on the way to the completion and birth of a new world order under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Yet we cannot escape the horror of Isaiah’s picture. Like all the “post-apocalyptic” movies such as, “The Road,” “Mad Max,” undoubtedly creatively inspired by reading chapters like Isaiah 24, they paint a dull and horrible picture too bright to be thoroughly matched with Isaiah. Even “The Road” does not paint the thorough horror and grayness of the days here grasped and described by the prophet.


What horror is this that is on its way to meet mankind!?

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Post apocalyptic Manchester -hacienda – as portrayed in isaiah 24

140. The end of the world as we know it?

Isaiah 24 – context

2406aTsunami’s are shockingly devastating and bring to an end huge numbers of human lives by taking them completely by surprise. One minute, happily playing with the children on the beach. Moments later – gone. Horrible!


However, in all Tsunami scenario’s, the vast number of animals that are free to move as they wished, flee to high ground, prior to the deathly strike of the murderous wall of water.  Somehow, by some divinely endowed extra sense, they are aware of the catastrophe that is approaching and run. Like the “Service dogs,” that somehow are completely knowledgeable that an epileptic fit is going to take its master or mistress minutes before it strikes. How do they know that? How evolutionists cope with that in their paradigm, I really don’t know. But animals – aware of impending doom, do what they can to stay safe.


2407aHow animal life will respond to the goings on of Isaiah 24 I know not. But in the scriptures we are clearly taught of a totally different kind of Tsunami. A World-wide global wave of human violence and devastation, together with the destructive movements of the physical and spiritual cosmos, fear, sickness, hatred and war will one day dominate the planet. It will indeed be the end of the world as we now know it.  Isaiah says it, as does the apostle John in the book that is commonly presented as the last in the New Testament. Its approach is as certain and as sure as anything can be. If there are any preparatory steps we can make, we would be wise to address them. The wonderful gift of free-will and intelligence that God gives us can make us bot remarkably wise, or incredibly foolish.  Good decisions or bad decisions, logically thought through with motivation and circumstantial knowledge should lift us above all animals. Sadly, often, it does not. The sin principle actually animalizes some people. The Bible gives us only an indication of the chronological era of these events. Whether we are on the cusp of it happening soon or in our lifetime, or whether it is as far distant as the year 2525, we still are required to be ready for our own sake and our eternal destiny.


We are not talking of the evolution of worldwide human relations, or simple progress of decline in human activity only, nor are we thinking of, so called, natural seismic occurrences like quakes, volcanoes and floods, even though they may seem naturalo to the mind and eyes of the natural man with no positive response to God. Hindu’s do not have any problem when stuff like this happen, they just say, “It’s Karma.” Islam shrugs its shoulders and rejoice in, “Inscrutable Allah.” The Christian’s explanation, however, is much more straightforward. The answer is not a cliché, nor is it a “one liner,” but a complete defining of a certain detail within the Judeo-Christian world view, as taught by both Testaments of the Bible.


2412aGod has a destiny and purpose for humanity, the world and indeed the whole of creation. It is a perfect plan and purpose initiated by God Almighty Himself. The evil of mankind has violated, and continues to violate and disrupt that plan and purpose. The violation is in thoughts, plans, words, motivations and actions. Cosmic evil is remarkably comprehensive in its strategy. The fulfillment, however, of the divine purpose can never be ultimately frustrated, no matter how much man’s sinfully utilized free will seeks to do so. God’s allowance of the evil makes the fulfilment of his purpose more glorious by the total removal of all evil at the end of the world as we know it at present. The ongoing repercussions and results of this violation is something that mankind agonizingly lives with. Its result is the moral and spiritual climate that man will experience throughout the progress of time and geography and overflows constantly with internal shattering and brokenness, together with a self-inflicted human inability to heal that brokenness or to correct the devastation. This seeming cosmic anarchy impacts us to the degree that no matter how broken and destroyed man is, millions consider the status quo of the universe to be the norm as God created things. The whole world lies in the wicked one. Satan has given a delusion to mankind in its entirety. The world has been lied to in this dimension. There is also an external brokenness instigated by man’s violation of God’s linear purpose. This interruption into the perfection of God’s creation invites unwholeness and sickness of body, soul and spirit, as well as brokenness to the very substance of the planet upon which we live. In a one liner: sin in heart, mind and activity, has utterly ruined the ground, the air, the sky and the direction of mankind. The entire universe was made by God, marred by sin, and mended by the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.


There is a veritable present brokenness injected into the very elements that consist and exist in the atmosphere on the planet, and the natural and supernatural powers that surround us all. We are talking of a brokenness that we all see and know about, yet we minimalize it in our perception of life. Some even trivialize it completely, calling the world as we now know it as the way God made it.


Malcolm Muggeridge once wrote that the depravity of man is simultaneously the most evidential fact of life, and the most vehemently denied reality that exists.


God has warned us of where things are going. In fact the entire scenario has been explained in considerable depth in various sections of the Bible. This twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah is part and parcel of that warning and explanation of where this ruination finishes up. We are told by the prophets, and by Christ Himself, that the rapidity and violence of the symptoms of this brokenness would increase in volume and impact as time passes. This is a self-evident fact.

The whole activity of the finalizing of the cosmology of planet earth will become more and more intense, violent and murderous as the final days approach. The earthquakes, the wars, the famines and the rumours of wars are so specified that the apostle Peter actually tells us that the elements will melt and dissolve.  To my mind, Peter, in the last half of the first century, is describing nuclear destruction to a tee. Elements melting is, surely, exactly as it would be described if a man had a literal vision of the films of the Manhattan Project experiments conducted in the USA during the Second World War, or had even the slightest view of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The apostle John also talks of one army of two hundred million soldiers moving from the East in order to conduct a major war in the Middle East. What John saw, in the book of Revelation was more soldiers in a single army than there were people alive on the planet in his day at the close of the first century. There are an amazing number of specifics given by God in the Hebrew Scriptures together with the New Testament teaching. Both Testaments are in complete and thorough harmony with each other.

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Manchester England?

So God has made everything with purpose and design. This purpose and design has been, and is continually being violated, and we reap the consequences of its brokenness all around us. Paul talks of all creation groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God. It is part and parcel of the restoration of the cosmos to wholeness, that these catastrophes are termed by Christ as the labour pains of creation in the process of giving birth to perfection as a result of Christ’s return and rule.


In the light of this paradigm, the judgement that Isaiah reveals in his twenty-fourth chapter is not in any kind of isolation, as if it was ome random action of God that the prophet reveals, like some weird and unknown “Other side,” of the divine character. This is, “the beginning of the end,” of the divine fulfillment of God’s eternally conceived purpose for planet earth, the whole of humanity both righteous and unrighteous, and evil forces in the invisible world as well – meaning demons, fallen angels, and perhaps even other beings of which we know not.


This chapter of Isaiah is a section of the reality of life to come to pass in our future that is so horrific, it has been made the butt of jokes and the archetypal reason for worldly and secular ridicule of the Christian message and the Bible. “Oh yeh! Are you one of the, “hell and damnation,” brigade. You nutcase!” If information frightens a person, and is willfully and deliberately completely misunderstood, that person normally makes fun of what it is that they do not understand and scares them.




By browsing through New Testament futuristic statements of judgement and cosmic termination, as well as the conclusion of the world as we now know it, we quickly refer to the gradation of God’s anger and wrath as presented in the New Testament book of Revelation. I am not in any way suggesting any particular interpretation or eschatology, but simply referring to numbers and occurrences predicted in the future, given in the biblical text, concerning references to what Isaiah saw and describes in his twenty-fourth chapter.


a. Isaiah talks of the world being shockingly sparse in it human population. A fiery red horse with an angelic rider is released upon the earth with the purpose of removing peace from the planet, so that people would slaughter each other. There is no numbers, or fractions of population given here, but the suggestion is that a world-wide removal of spiritual restraints would lead to global inter-racial and national Genocide, Democide, Politicide and just plain mass murder. The results of which clearly match Isaiah’s vision. ( See Revelation 6:3-4)

b. A Pale horse is released with a rider who has authority to kill by sword, famine, plague and/or wild animals, a quarter of the earth’s population. (Revelation 6:7-8)

2409aBy contemporary figures that would suggest that the present six billion people on the planet would be reduced to four and a half billion. That would indeed leave many cities completely empty of life.

c. Righteous people on the earth are to be killed off. Again, numbers here are not given, but it must suggest an immense count. (Revelation 6:9-11)

d. When the sixth seal of the scroll was broken by the Lamb who was also a Lion, there was a single remarkable earth-quake, the sun turned black, stars fell to earth, and the sky separated and rolled up (however one cares to interpret that line) and every mountain and island was removed from its place.(Revelation 6:12-14). No numbers or deaths are even mentioned yet again, but the incredible catastrophe is hard to imagine without considerable human desolation taking place on the face of the earth.

e. In Revelation 8:7 there is hail, fire and blood sent on the earth and a third of the earth was burned up by that judgement. Are we to logically remove a third of the remaining four and a half billion still alive at this point? If so, we are down to a world population of 3 billion. That is half of the present population.

f. In Revelation 8:8, after the blowing of the second trumpet, a third of all the sea becomes blood, a third of all sea creatures and a third of all ships are gone. Ships need people to sail them. The numbers are decreasing constantly throughout the real-time storyline of the Apocalypse.

g. In Revelation 8:10-11 stars from heaven fall to earth embittering water and rivers, and John records that so many people died without any number being specified.

h. In Revelation 9:12, angels are released to kill a third of the human race. Which, by my makeshift figures would mean that there is, at the very most, only 2 billion people left alive. And in the context of a straight read through Revelation, Christ will not have arrived at earth at this point. There was even greater horrors of tribulation on the way.


2408a Post-Apocalyptic-cityThere is a famine like shortage of food, and changes in its taste and relish for those that will be the surviving remnant.

i. Food becomes remarkably expensive because of global shortages. Seen here in verses Isaiah 24:7 and 11. (Revelation 6:5-6)

j. The world’s water supply is to be turned bitter and poisonous after the third trumpet is blown changing tastes and appetites and common favourite staple diets globally.


The earthly cosmic disasters will be plentiful and fearfully invasive.

k. Revelation 6:15, after the opening of the sixth seal, talks of people world-wide hiding in caves and rocks. What could cause such a shocking phenomenon.

l.  After the fourth trumpet a third of everything is turned dark and black.

m.  After the fifth trumpet hell is opened and its putrid smoke and fumes covers the earth, and beings with stings like scorpions attack everybody.


The misery, depression and animalistic sorrow that the surviving remnant have to live with is horribly graphic also.

n.  The whole world hides in nooks, crannies, caves and potholes because of the circumstances that have arrived. The people still alive are convinced that the day of God’s wrath has arrived. (Revelation 6:15) Something quite horrific must have precipitated that behaviour and belief.

o. John talks of people being in such a state of mental and physical and spiritual breakdown that they will be wanting to die but, for some reason, can’t. (Revelation 9:6)

This breakdown of John’s revelation synchronizing with Isaiah is not exhaustive. There are remarks made by the Saviour and even by the apostle Paul that are global in their shocking graphic description. As a single sample:

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  (1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 NIV. Italics my own.)


2404Paul is clearly talking of wrath and judgement against unrepentant and sinful mankind, and therefore cannot be referring to true Christian believers. Why not? Because 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states:


For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:9 NIV)


Make no mistake! We need to continue as we began. Just as we hung on Isaiah’s every word and nuance as he painted portraits of the coming Messiah, His life and His ministry, and just as we drunk in every word and accepted his meaning as it was uttered in plain language, we continue in exactly the same perspective as we strain our eyes into the dark sobriety of Isaiah 24. And, “Ouch!” It is dark.


Isaiah’s statements re the coming Christ, His place of ministry, His deity, His grace, and the anointing of the Spirit that He lived under, when seen in the light of the four gospels and the teaching of the apostolic writings, and placed as a template on the teaching of the New Testament, we have to unarguably conclude that as far as we can read of Isaiah’s rule and custom – he sees literal actions, place names and characters, and talks as if they are so. In street language, it’s a “no brainer.” Isaiah talks literally and straight.


2405aThe judgements he predicted that have been fulfilled, were literal. Yes, we are still waiting for the razing of Damascus, but there is unfulfilled prophecy in the twenty-first century scattered throughout the Old Testament with most of the Hebrew prophets, just as there is, as yet, unfulfilled expectations in the book of Revelation.


My point is, that if we see how plain and literal the son of Amoz was about the glory and wonder of the person of Christ in His first Advent, and the awful judgements executed over the nations that encircled the accepted borders of Israel and the Promised Land, how illogical is it to even hint that because Isaiah 24 is desperately scary for the unsaved multitudes, we therefore need to change the spectacles with which we read and interpret it as if it was some vague mystic poem or dirge that has no literal significance in the slightest?


With the same clarity, the same process and the same source  of inspiration which revealed the glorious wonder of Jesus Christ to Isaiah, that same organic process derived from heaven through the Holy Spirit, reveals the horrors of some future point of the cosmic metanarrative in our time, space world. What we read in Isaiah 24 is real, and is going to take place. We need to read these lines in this light.


Methinks that we search around for particular diluted interpretations and meddle around with flowery elucidations at our eternal peril.


139. Is it really “Repent for the End of the world is near” in Isaiah’s day?

2400a Post-Apocalypse-London

Could London really look like this in the real-time days of Isaiah 24?

“Now for something completely different” – Isaiah 24

This is where we hit the thick and slimy mud! I do not, and could not in any way mean it with any disrespect to the lines of Isaiah. Scripture, I hope, is the plumb-line for all my thought discipline and understanding. All Isaiah supplies us with is pure clean water. We are indeed, “cleansed by the washing of the word,” as Paul termed it, and Isaiah’s writing is part of that pure clean water.  I definitely mean it sarcastically and almost disrespectfully to a wide spread, common theological thought process of the generation in which I live that is forced to suddenly cry, “poetry,” “analogy,” and even, “spiritual mysticism that cannot be real or actual,” when we hit, what is to many, the violent turbulence of Isaiah 24, where almost any use of the word, “Judgement,” and especially, “Final Judgement,” is responded to on the same terms as if I had screamed out loud with some foul expletive obscenity.  I contend that the teaching of grace without judgement, ans universalism without faith lacks integrity, biblical intelligence and interferes with the entire arc of truth as presented in the Bible. “God cannot judge us after He has forgiven us,” say some. “God cannot judge anybody on the planet, because Christ has answered every wrong ever committed,” say others. I have even been accosted with, “Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, even Hitler is free.” “Because God loves us, and because He is love – how is it possible for Him to judge us?” – I was told by a man in charismatic leadership.


2400So when I refer to mud, slime and sludge of mind thought and perception, I am talking of undisciplined and superficial approach to even the most general outline of the teachings of the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible. I am talking of the mental and academic mire of the shallow, ill-informed perspective of God and His dealings with mankind, and the issue of God as the great judge of all.  The entire issue that believers throw up against the final judgement lacks logic and biblical grounding.


My basic one liner to make my position clear on the entire issue is this: If one cannot equate the judgement of God in the Old Testament by condemning a man and his family to death for collecting sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32), with the Christ that died on the cross, and the apostle’s statement that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8), then one needs to stop, think, share and think things through in order to resolve the whole matter before one entertains anything further. God is Judge of all. End of story. We need to understand. As it is with one man in the book of numbers, the same principles need to be applied to the judgement of the entire world.


I thank God that I was converted in a church that had weekly bible studies of a profoundly challenging nature, as well as two meaty gatherings every Sunday, where a simple, yet Apologetic type approach to the Bible was presented. The man of God who pastored me taught not only the nice and comforting things of Bible truth, but the awful and terrible aspect of God as the universal judge of the cosmos, and all the warnings of that judgement that will result from any ignoring of the word of God. I was converted and stabilized in an Elim Pentecostal Church.


I honour my spiritual roots. I feel nothing but warmth and glad thanks and affection for Pastor J.T. Glass (Jacob Troughton – commonly known as “Jack”) and his son John James Glass (recently left the office of General Superintendent of the Elim Pentecostal Churches), both of whom received me kindly and taught me solidly. Their thorough instruction and drill-like tuition imparted to me while earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, grounded me so solidly, that in the face of catastrophes that victimized me, and especially the moral catastrophes that were initiated by this writer, I knew solidly and clearly how to repent, encourage my own heart, and get back to basics. There are some basics that we can never outgrow.


2401However, the weak and insipid theology that claims that Christians will not stand before any judgement is a spiritual disease I have encountered far too often in the years I have spent in “non-Pentecostal,” yet charismatic churches. I am aware that “Charismatic Christianity” means something quite different in the USA, and my words refer to the general world of charismatics in in the UK as I write these words. There is a huge hidden undercurrent of difference between the general reality of Pentecostal churches, and charismatics. In an oversimplified diagnosis I have experienced a lack of propositional biblical teaching once away from the Pentecostal praxis. Not always, but commonly. Thus I have had chats and friendly discussions with leaders who had no eschatology whatsoever – meaning,  being given remarks like, “Christ’s return? What’s that? Where have you got that from?” I have shared with Universalists who were in authority, and a total ignorance of the significance of any Old Testament scripture and its bearing on a New Testament believer. Anyone who chooses to submit to the epithet of being a “Charismatic,” who is shocked by what I have written above I humbly ask to forgive me. I am referring to definite, truthful and honest interaction and relationships I have had with Charismatic leadership and members over the years and I remember dates, names and places where such “mud “ was shared.


I do not perceive this stuff as just a different opinion, I consider it dangerous to the fire of the Spirit and even grieving to Him be whom we are Born again.



According to Isaiah 24, the great Metropolitan centres of the world will be like this one day.

It is a toxic virus I believe, that springs from a wishy-washy and characterless understanding of sin, the atonement and the nature of God’s forgiveness. I stand solidly on the expectancy that I as a Christian will surely be presented before the Judgement (bema) seat of Christ. I am convinced that all Christians will be judged concerning how they have lived and what they have done for the kingdom of God since they have been “in Christ.” I find it difficult to perceive how the thought of being judged righteously and fully by Him who died for me and rose again for my justification can in any way interfere with my status of being “free from sin,” and “free in Christ.”


Sadly, I have found well respected members (including leaders) in the new streams within the charismatic movement, as well as those in and amongst charismatics within traditional denominations, turn emotional and even tearful as they respond, “in shock,” to the thought of being thus treated. “How obscene! Christians? In judgement? Don’t be ridiculous!” The Fire of God’s judgement exposing our activities as a Christian to be wood, hay, stubble or, hopefully, gold, silver or precious stones, I find to be not only a morally obligatory tenet of my faith as per the Bible, but philosophically and logically an imperative aspect of my belief system and world-view. God, in the person of Christ, is my judge, as he was Paul’s (1 Corinthians 4:4)! I have several times been accused of negatively shaking people’s faith by having the cheek, the nerve and the “lack of love,” to air these thoughts to several contemporary charismatics. These people who claim that I had “victimised” them or ruinously shaken their comfortable place “in Christ,” accuse me of holding a heretical and deficient view of God’s love.


2402 isaiah reading scroll giovanni francesco barbieriIn one church, one of the leadership team even had taken this idea further and had joined the ranks of the so-called, “Universalists.” He had got to the point where his emphasis on the love of God was so narrow and extreme, that he discounted the idea of judgement altogether. And according to his new, “revelation,” the entire human race will finish up in heaven anyhow. His particular brand of universalism plays a funny game of illogicality by asserting that we all have a second chance to believe on the other side of death, and because, “nobody in their right mind,” would remain unrepentant on the other side of the grave, obviously, those that die unrepentant will surely correct their error of unbelief on their conscious arrival “on the other side.”  He called it “Post-Mortem salvation.” Thus, according to this brother, “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” will be fulfilled by a voluntary act of absolute universal subservience to Christ after they have died. They willfully choose to ignore that demons bowed their knee and confessed the character of Christ even in His own pre-resurrection lifetime, and were still damned. The whole point of preaching and New Testament philosophy of soteriology becomes utterly unnecessary. The unsaved will still have to bow the knee before the Master, whether they like it or not.


This is mud, dirt and slimy sludge of a faith that I refuse to simply ignore. I believe it is eternally toxic and damning. It requires confronting.


Christ will judge the believers, whether they live post or pre Christ’s atonement and resurrection. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Note that in the epistles, “we,” refers to the members of the body of Christ. It is not a judgement of “Heaven or hell.” How can it be if one is a justified believer? It is a judgement of rewards, and the crown received in the kingdom of God.


God the Father will judge the unsaved, the nations of the world, at the Great White Throne judgement. “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day” (John 12:48). Here, Jesus plainly infers that the judge of those that reject Him is not Himself.



One day?

For those who want to get down and serious about the matter, the Great White Throne Judgment is the final and ultimate decree of God, set to take place in the future, for all people who have rejected Christ. Every human being who has lived and has refused to accept God’s way to redemption from sin, will kneel before their Creator at this time, and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. People who have not been saved by acceptance of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross will not escape this horrifying judgment against sin.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)

The whole of humanity, saved and unsaved alike shall have to give account of themselves. “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16). “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27)  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

2403The fundamental basic concept of these errors comes from an incorrect extrapolation from the fact that God’s everlasting love is focused on us. It is based on the lie that God cannot love us as He says He does, and still be our judge. My parents loved me unconditionally and extravagantly as anybody could – yet they still judged any mischievous action or motive I ever had – and I promise you, I had many such actions and motives. I would even suggest that the concept of God judging man occasionally in this life as well as definitely in the next is so densely implanted throughout the text of the entire Bible that one needs serious and forcefully incorrect and deceptive tuition in order to avoid the idea of Divine Judgement. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that she he also reap, be it in this world, or the next.


But why am I prolonging this “heavy” introduction, as we stand on the cusp of the high diving board, ready to plunge into the deep end of Isaiah 24?


Simply because, of all the passages of scripture concerning judgement, and doom for the planet and the lost, at the end of life “as we know it,” Isaiah 24 must be one of the darkest descriptions of the manifest judgement of God in the earth in the end times. If one can face the judgement of God, and the fact that, “Our God is a consuming fire,” the contents of this chapter won’t shake anybody, but cause a believer to stand more solidly and firmly on the rock that is Christ. If, however, a person – Christian or otherwise – has any fears or trepidation concerning the thought of world judgement, be prepared to have a prayerful friend to sit with you and coach you through the chapter. I am very serious.


2403aI promise my readers, I am not being facetious. One has to, at least have a slight clue as to where, how and when these predictions of Isaiah are placed in the biblical prophetic timeline. Isaiah here talks of the population of the planet being incredibly diminished. Cities being razed to the ground and/or just emptied of life. The prophet talks of music and party life just ceasing – absolutely, commonplace pleasures of life being impossible to enjoy. No wonder some commentator’s refer to this as, “Isaiah’s Apocalypse.” It is Isaiah seeing Revelation 4 through to chapters 18 or 19 before Messiah’s first advent had even taken place. Isaiah is herein discussing the entire planet’s condition at some point in the future, and the only place to parallel it with are the global scenes graphically portrayed in the book of the Revelation of John the Apostle.


Be sure! It’s coming! But when? No man knows, no matter who says what.  My thoughts are that it will be discussed and argued about by all and sundry until it becomes a reality, and then in the middle of the collapse of the social and political life of planet earth, people will suddenly sit up and say, “Hey! This is exactly how Isaiah and John described this situation!” We won’t know it until it has taken place, whether it is next week or a thousand years hence.


This is about end-times (Eschatology). This is where the sin of mankind is taking us – seriously. This is a time with a hugely contracted populace on the earth, dying and perishing. This is all about global judgement stated in the broadest possible brush strokes. It is filled with graphic word pictures of horrific and epic proportions. It talks of judgement in the invisible world as well as in the visible cosmos. It is about a series of circumstances that will factually empty the world and plunder all its goods. The world is likened to a dish full of goodies that will simply be turned upside down and emptied. It is gradual, but finishes in a most climactic horror for some, yet giving glory to God throughout for the believing remnant of humanity that will remain through it all. There is nothing whatsoever of an arbitrary nature in God’s actions. All will declare that His judgements will be, are and were, perfect, right and true. The Lord is good, and everything He says and does is good.  God’s judgement will rectify the wrong and grievous moral disorders throughout the globe- indeed , throughout the entire cosmos. It will remove the curse brought upon the planet by man’s sin. The blast of the judgement will dry up the vegetation, changing the taste of man for his food and nourishment. The cities of the world will be as we westerners now see downtown Beirut in the news.


And in the midst of all this will be the remnant redeemed and giving thanks to God at the end of it.


2404Jesus talked of the birth pangs of the planet at the end of time. Isaiah describes the actual process of labour in giving rebirth to the regenerated planet. Yes! Final Judgement issues are vast and seemingly incomprehensible to many. Isaiah simply shares what he sees. It is intended to strengthen us and clarify our understanding. It is not intended to drive us into our polarized corners while we defend our own theological positions. It is definitely not intended to give is nightmares. This is real. This is God at work.


We need to thoroughly stare into the eyes of Isaiah and his 24th chapter. This is a serious bit of scripture than we need to incorporate into our understanding of God, His love, His righteousness and His justice. If we cannot incorporate the nice comforting pieces of revelation, with those sections that drill us, discipline us and cause us to stand to attention, we will finish up misinterpreting Him, and worst of all misrepresenting Him to the world. Let’s all “man up” and get to grips with this stuff!


By closely reading Isaiah 24, is it possible to argue that this is not the picture Isaiah paints of the world at some future date?

138. ISAIAH SO FAR –Twenty Three Chapters in





  1. Uzziah’s Reign (Chapters 1-6).       The king that ruled invisible to the masses. (BLOGS 1-40)


Ch1.   Jerusalem and Judah were terminally ill – as was their king.

  • Uzziah was dying with leprosy. Isaiah states clearly that the whole nation of Judah was sick from head to toe, like leprosy in its final stages.


Ch2.   Jerusalem and Judah wanted to copy other nation’s cultures – as did their king.

  • Just as Isaiah was sick whilst attempting to be a Priest-King like gentile nations and heathen kings did, so the nation of Judah and the people of Jerusalem were sick by being infiltrated with other godless cultures that were in opposition to God’s culture.


Ch3.   The rampant spiritual disease of Judah was publically obvious – as was the king’s leprosy.

  • The chaos and moral insanity that drove Judah was parallel to the chaos of King Uzziah running the nation from an outhouse somewhere in Jerusalem.


Ch4.   The prospect of radical change and resolution of wrongs was understood, as there was with the prospect of the next king.

  • Changes of a dramatic nature were promised for the future.


Ch5.  God’s Kingdom on earth (Samaria) was about to be torn down in the face of godless prosperity.

  • The same thing was about to happen to all the surrounding gentile nations.


Ch6.  All injustices and future hopes were resolved by a visitation of God and Isaiah’s dissolution.

  • In the same way that the new king brought change after Uzziah’s dissolution of death.


The opening 6 chapters show us how deep Judah (and Israel of course) had dropped into sinful lifestyles.


  1. Ahaz’s Reign (Chapters 7-12). The king that ruled faithless and fearful (BLOGS 41-94)


Ch7.  Apathy, fear and hardness of heart ruled over the king, and through him to the people.

  • But take heed a child is coming (Christ)


Ch8.  People think that judgement is so slow in coming that it will not come at all

  • But take heed – a child will come. (Maher Shalal Hashbaz)


Ch9.  Darkness and gloom will rule over heart and head

  • But take cheer, “Unto us a Child is born. Christ will come (9:6)


Ch10. Judgement will come on Leaders, Assyria and Borders.

  • But take cheer Israel will return.


Ch11. Messiah will come. The whole world will be new.

  • The Holy Spirit will rule Him.


Ch12. Salvation and Blessing will fill the earth after His coming.

  • Singing and celebration will be the norm.


  1. The Surrounding Nations (Chapters 13-23). God of all Nations –and Israel.  (BLOGS 95-94)


Ch13 & 14:23. The Judgement on Babylon.

  • The Warriors on assault (13). Israel exults, as does the folks in Sheol in Babylon’s fall (14).

Ch14:24-27.  The Judgement on Assyria.

  • God’s set purpose concerning Assyria.

Ch15- 16:14. The Judgement on Moab.

  • Cruel Invasion and drought in Moab. Refugees to be made welcome in Jerusalem.

Ch17. The Judgement Damascus & Ephraim.

  • The imminent fall of both nations predicted. The saved remnant. The fall of their conqueror.

Ch18. The Judgement on Ethiopia over Egypt.

  • Ethiopians from the strange land with the strange tongue sent back by Isaiah.

Ch19. The Judgement on Egypt.

  • Civil strife and Tyranny. Crop and wisdom failure of Egypt. Restoration in late days.

Ch20. The Judgement on Egypt. (The Exile)

  • Isaiah wals naked predicting the exile of many with Egypt..

Ch21:1-10. The Further Judgement on Babylon.

  • The vision of the seer re Babylon.

Ch21:11-12. The Judgement on Edom.

  • The Watchman on the tower.

Ch21: 13-17. The Judgement on Arabia.

  • The vision of the fleeing Caravans.

Ch22. The Judgement on Jerusalem.

  • The madness of the roof party. The demotion of Shebna. The replacement of Eliakim.

Ch23. The Judgement on Tyre.

  • The shock of Tyre’s downfall. 70 year death of Tyre. Restoration in evil. Millennial help.



Random Points to observe:


  • 7-12 show us how Assyria was very much the hand of God in judgement over Israel.


  • The glory of Israel’s future was plainly delineated.


His earthly millennial reign


  • John 12:39-41 makes it clear that there is only one Isaiah.


  • The means of interpreting scripture. “Historical-grammatical” principles are the only way forward.


  • Isaiah’s physical and open access to Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.

137. Pride goes before the Fall of Tyre – But which Tyre?

tYRE 00

Artists impression of Tyre as was in the days of Isaiah.

Isaiah 23

O.K! O.K! O.K!

Now it’s Isaiah’s last remarks concerning burdens and visions for foreign parts. Isaiah 23 is all about a city state called Tyre. Slightly more than twenty miles north of present day Israel, off the southern coast of Lebanon. There is a small peninsula that is all that remains of the once powerful and opulent island of Tyre, once referred to as the most beautiful city in the world. It was at various times in history hailed as the undoubted richest city of all nations on the planet. It reached its peak round about the time of Samuel, David and Solomon. Tyre is referred to seventy times in the Bible. In fact there are seven chapters that talk of nothing else but this city.


David had a good relationship with Hiram, king of Tyre. Tyre supplied both skilled craftsmen and materials for the building of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 5:1–12, 18). Tyre’s influence was not always good, however, especially in the spiritual realm. Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, was the daughter of the king of Sidon. She eventually used Ahab to introduce Baal worship. She even tried to root out the worship of the LORD and substitute the worship of the Baal of Tyre (1 Kings 16:31–33; 18:19; 19:2).



Tyre – As in the bigger picture

In New Testament times it had become a Greek-speaking city and a Christian church was established there (Acts 21:3–6).


So, who and what was Tyre?


Tyre was unique. Like Babylon, Tyre was both a city, and a nation state. Tyre was less than one square mile in size. The Old Testament tells us how Tyre was part of the land given to the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19:29). In Isaiah’s day, Tyre was in two parts. There was Tyre on the coast of the mainland. This came to be known as, “Old Tyre.” Then, half a mile out to sea was, “the Island of Tyre.” Strange eh? Would you believe it, that at one point of history the two sections of Tyre were at war with each other?  That’s even stranger! Tyre was one of the greatest leaders of trade and commerce for, quite literally, thousands of years (2700 B.C. to 1300 A.D.). It was the Silicon Valley of the ancient world, the original stock exchange, Wall Street and International Monetary Fund. It was, commercially, the world’s hub.


Tyre 02 and SidonThe Island of Tyre had walls that were 150 feet high surrounding the city that was built there. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the huge walls that were interspersed with turrets for watchmen and archers, the population of Tyre considered themselves safe, secure and impossible to be accessed by any enemy force. Outside the walls were the harbours, One harbour was at the north of the Island facing Sidon and referred to, appropriately, as “The Sidonian harbour.” The other harbour was in the south of the island facing Egypt, and strangely enough, was referred to as “The Egyptian harbour.” The two harbours, clearly, served different ports in different parts of the Mediterranean. Tyre was the hub and stockpile of the entire Mediterranean world – and even beyond. Yes indeed! It was commonly understood that the vast bulk of the commerce of the ancient Mediterranean world was stored in the warehouses of Tyre. The cultural, commercial and to a great degree, the political atmosphere and forum of Tyre impacted the whole world. Tyre controlled the wealth of Phoenicia. The shipping that carried the freight of the world deposited its huge stick at Tyre as a wholesale market, which then retailed everything it had to anyone who could afford it.


Tyre and Sidon were linked together as sister ports. They were part of Phoenicia. The Phoenicians conquered more by dominating trade, than by ravaging and pillaging on the battlefield. At first Sidon was the big brother of the two, however, in the process of the years, Tyre’s double location, double harbours and protective walls that were double the height of any others in existence, gave them kudos and an edge to be the superior centre. They were both world dominating in their status as the centrifugal hub of commerce, opinion, news – and most of all the money exchanges and transfers throughout a huge part of the known world at the time. And, wow, did Tyre get rich on this business? (That sentence should be read as a sarcastic rhetorical query). Tyre was like London, or Tokyo today. All shipping lanes led to and through Tyre. Anything that needed to be sold abroad from any state around the Mediterranean and beyond was warehoused at Tyre and sold or exchanged from there. We are talking Mega bucks – or should I say, “mega shekels?”


Tyre 03 Monumental entrance to ancient Tyre

Monumental entrance to ancient Tyre

The obsession with and culture of trade so dominated the Phoenicians that they actually planted cultural colonies about the Mediterranean coast. Historical place names like Carthage, Cadiz, Tarsus (in Spain) Corsica and Sicily all had Phoenician trade colonies based there that created sustainable trade and wealth gains for Tyre.


The wealth, and the ease by which the wealth was maintained made them prime targets, of course, for any megalomaniac king that happened to be passing on their way to ravage and pillage and gather tribute money from vassal states in the same geographical district. Assyrian (Shalmaneser) and Babylonian (Nebuchadnezzar) kings wrought havoc on the Island of Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar built walkways to reach the island. Alexander the Great razed Old Tyre to the ground, and used the rocks and stones of the ruins to build a 200 meter broad roadway to get to the island. Today, the actual ground that comprised, “The island of Tyre,” is simply part of the mainland peninsula.


Tyre 04Isaiah mentions no particular sin of Tyre, apart from extreme and extravagant arrogance and pride, spawned from the wealth gained from the financial “killings” absorbed from all over the known world.


In the midst of this word picture, Isaiah took to the platform and says something shocking:


Tyre 07This is a message about Tyre: Ships traveling from Cyprus heard this message: “Cry, you ships from Tarshish!  Your harbour has been destroyed.” (Isaiah 23:1)


Imagine, if you can, getting up one morning and hearing on the seven a.m. news that London had been razed to the ground and its 9.17 million inhabitants were feared dead. Instead of the vast sprawling concrete jungle of the UK’s capital, there was simply a huge gaping plain of ash and skeletal remains. It’s hard to picture, it’s hard to even conceive of such a thing. Think of the human loss, the business loss, the historical records loss. Try to get your head round all the plans, arrangements, businesses, visitors and the profound arrangements of human existence that were simply taken out of existence overnight, and nobody was able to escape the mess.


Then go a step further. Think of all the links of all of life that were left alive. If 9/11 shook the world in the USA, and 7/7 left Britain in a state of shock, how difficult is it to assess the shock and damage done world-wide if such an event took place.


Go back to 700 B.C. and it was about to take place in a place called Tyre. With huge amounts of tonnage of food, clothing, spices, animals, gold, soft goods, trinkets and items of great wealth, while picking up more stock at various ports around the Mediterranean, countless numbers of ships captains, crews and passengers, were informed that their itinerary was off. Their world had literally stopped. Every ship that was linked with Tyre in any way shape or form, were told that their sponsor and indeed their funding sponsorships were defunct.


“Cry you people from Tarshish in Spain. You have just stopped here in Cyprus. If you hadn’t stopped here you would have contributed to the conflagration in your home base. You yourselves would have been cadavers scattered about the once proud harbour city.  Your harbour home is no more.” It was as if the world had ended.


Tyre 082 You people living near the sea, mourn in silence. The merchants of Sidon sent traders across the sea and filled the city with riches.


Tyre had always been a thriving multinational anchorage once filled by the seafaring merchants of, among others, Sidon, merely twenty-two miles to the north. Sidon’s merchants and relatives are told to “grieve in muteness,” implying Sidon’s trade with Tyre has by logical necessity, utterly ceased.  All business was to come to a complete standstill. Tyre dominated Sidon in Isaiah’s day, and many of Sidon’s people contributed to Tyre’s growth by moving there after Sidon was destroyed by sea raiders about 1200 B.C.  The wealthy were now on par with the beggar.


TYRE 093 They traveled the seas looking for grain. The men from Tyre bought grain that grows near the Nile River and sold it to other nations.


Tyre’s ships on the “great waters” of the Mediterranean Sea transported crops and goods from Shihor and other places in the Nile Delta as well as from the fertile valley of the Nile, bringing huge amounts of revenue to Tyre through international trade.


4 Sidon, you should be very sad, because now the Sea and the Fort of the Sea say, “I have no children.

I have never felt the pain of birth; I have never given birth to children. I have never raised young men and women.”


Sidon, the mother-city of Tyre, is to receive shame because of the silence, the disappointing cessation of business. Isaiah sees the waters of the Mediterranean personified and hears waters of the middle of the earth speaking. The sea had been the complete livelihood of both Tyre and Sidon. The fortress of the sea was Tyre. The island of Cyprus, after submitting to the Assyrian monarch Sargon II could not contribute to Tyre and Sidon’s business, nor could Tyre to theirs


Tyre 016 Lebanon's south map.jpg. Here one can see the impact the island had on the shoreline.

The Peninsula as now is

5 When Egypt hears the news about Tyre, it will feel the pain of sorrow.


Egypt will squirm in agony and torment when they receive the news of the downfall. Their grain was carried by Tyre’s ships to ports around the whole of Mediterranean. Egypt, dominated by Cush (Ethiopia), was against Assyria. This Assyrian takeover of Phoenicia and Cyprus would almost kill their trade, and thus their income. They would lose their source of timber. They would have no resin for the mummification of their dead, as was normal. It was a deep and hard body blow to all the norms of society.


6 You ships, try to escape to Tarshish!  Cry out, you people living near the sea!


The destruction of Tyre caused its people who survived to become homeless refugees seeking asylum anywhere and everywhere. This line seems to suggest that by reputation, Tarshish in Spain was the utopia second to what Tyre had been, and so survivors with sailing ships would try to escape to Spain. There was to be a deluge of the homeless scattered all over the Mediterranean world. The world would wail for the situation.


Tyre 017

Drawn 1848

7 Can this be that happy city that was founded so long ago? Is it that same city whose people traveled so far to settle other lands?


Tyre had been in existence round about two millennia in Isaiah’s day. It was known as a happy, luxuriant and affluent city in all that time. It was later, even the city that challenged Rome for the universal commerce. People would find it hard to perceive of the death of Tyre, just as we would today if Moscow, or Shanghai was removed off the map in the same way as Tyre had been.


8 This city produced so many kings and leaders. Its merchants were like princes. Its traders had the whole world’s respect. So who made these plans against Tyre?


Tyre founded colonies that were in Isaiah’s day ruled by kings. That is why Isaiah could call them kingmakers. Not only did royalty of the day contribute to Tyre’s wealth, but some of its entrepreneurs were more affluent than princes. It was inconceivable how something so obviously self-sustaining by its world-wide interaction could fall. So, who was it that made the plans and plotted Tyre’s downfall?


Tyre 0199 It was the Lord All-Powerful. He decided to destroy the great things they were so proud of. He wanted to disgrace those who were so highly respected.


The Lord Almighty was against their “magnificent,” “outrageous,” and “pompous,” pride (adverbs used by various translations). Murder, theft. Adultery and gratuitous violence are sins that can be easily measured and weighed by human beings. Pride, however, is not properly measurable by human observation, even though – and this needs to be said – it is a huge wickedness in the sight and measure of the Bible. Self-exalting human glory was the sowing. The fall of Tyre was the reaping of their spiritual mindset.


Isaiah is here answering a question that millions might never even ask. “Who on earth would plot against a city that did so much “good” for everybody? Isaiah’s answer is simple. Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart. The heart of Tyre was proud beyond description. God moved directly against the city.


10 Till your land as long as the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish, for you no longer have a harbour.


I interpret this as; “Till your land all the way down the banks of the Nile now you Egyptians. You can now feed your own people and are set free from the domination of the merchants from Tarshish that bough everything you grew.” Or even, “You ships of Tarshish you will have to sail down south with what you buy, and sell it within Egypt, for up here in the Mediterranean, there is nobody to sell to.” It’s a hard line of Hebrew to interpret precisely. Check all the translations. Even the translators who know Hebrew as their first language have difficulty with this one.


Tyre Castle Lebanon

Tyre Castle Lebanon

11 The Lord raised his stretched His arm over the sea to make the kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed.


The point of it all is that it was Yahweh that stretched out his arm in severe judgement which will incredibly agitate and aggravate the kingdoms of the world.  Believe it or not, the word “Canaan” in this verse means, “merchant city.” Translated many as the meaning of Phoenicia. Phoenicia was also, originally, part and parcel of Canaan – the land that was given to Israel. Tyre was part of Asher’s inheritance.


God’s judgement was to destroy all fortresses and human places of refuge. It was Yahweh that initiated this downfall.


12 He said, “No more of your revelling Daughter of Sidon, now crushed and hurt so badly. Up! Cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.”


It is only because, at the beginning of Tyre’s existence, it was Sidon that assisted Tyre to establish itself that Tyre could be referred to as “The daughter of Sidon.” People of Tyre could not even run over to Cyprus as it was in Isaiah’s day fallen under the forceful grip of Assyria.


Tyre 012 Tyre Hippodrome

Tyre Hippodrome

13 As for Babylon, look at the land of the Chaldeans! It is not even a country now. Assyria built war towers to attack it.  The soldiers took everything from the beautiful houses. Assyria destroyed Babylon. They turned it into a pile of ruins and made it a place for wild animals.


This verse merely assists us in clarifying some comments we have made earlier in Isaiah’s series of burdens. Isaiah here looks at the weakening, and finally the razing of Babylon. In 710, Sargon demolished the Babylonian city of Dur-Yakin and took with them 90,000 Babylonian slaves. In 703 BC Sennacharib took over 200,000 slaves from Babylon, and later, in 689 BC razed Babylon to the ground until it was a swamp. Isaiah in verse 13 is strengthening what he said in verse 12. In a Lannon nutshell: “People of Tyre! Do not even think of looking for rescue anywhere where Assyria is in charge. They have an obsession that despises anything to do with Tyre.” Why? Because Tyre had the cheek to get wealthy and filthy rich without telling or aiding Assyria in the least.


14 So be sad, you ships from Tarshish. Your place of safety has been destroyed.


This is simply a repetition of verse 1. Tarshish! You people need to wail and be miserable, for you have no safe haven, and no fortress like Tyre was to provide security for your ships.


15 People will forget about Tyre for 70 years—that is, about the length of a king’s rule. After 70 years, Tyre will be like the prostitute in this song:


Isaiah declares that Tyre will collapse and be forgotten for seventy years. It is likely that the seventy years were fulfilled between Sennacharib’s 701 BC campaign and its recovery in 630 BC shortly after Assyria’s waning power. However, the use of the word, “prostitute,” in this verse suggests that no lessons were learned by the shocking disappearance that caused a seventy year, “loss of business.”


16 “Oh, woman who men forgot, take your harp and walk through the city. Play your song well and sing it often. Maybe someone will remember you.”

17 After 70 years, the Lord will review Tyre’s case, and he will give her a decision. Tyre will again have trade. She will be like a prostitute for all the nations on earth.


The vivid lyrics of the song Isaiah suggests Isaiah should sing concerns a prostitute who has long been out of business, but returns to her trade and goes around singing the music of seventy years previous, in order to rekindle memories and cause her clientele to return. The point being, that the businessmen of Tyre 70 years later were exactly the same as seven decades before. Anything that would turn a profit, and make them rich was all they thought about. No lessons were learned at all.


18 But Tyre will not keep the money she earns. The profit from her trade will be saved for the Lord. Tyre will give that money to the people who serve the Lord to buy good food and nice clothes.


Looking far into the future, Yahweh promises that after judgement, the restored city of Tyre will be able to provide food and clothing for the people who “live before the Lord.” This will be, I believe, the restored, regenerated, renewed people of the Millennium. Because God will do the enabling, Tyre’s earnings and profits will be set apart for the Lord, the King of all Kings.


This suggests that Tyre will be separated to the Lord the way the Levitical priests were.


Since all in the Millennial Zion will be called holy (Isaiah 4:3) this could very well be seen as Tyre feeding Israel and Jerusalem in the Millennium. Tyre’s money will not be hoarded but be plentiful and made available to the people of Millennial Israel.

Tyre 08