Notes Isaiah 24-25
24:1-3 The earth devastated The Lord
lays waste the earth, but this section does not say why. By repeating contrasts like ‘master &
servant,’ it shows everyone is affected in this judgment by the Lord. It is also the earth that suffers, not just
man who lives on it. When man sinned the
ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17-19). The
creation still waits for redemption (Romans 8:18-25), because man’s sin affects
man’s environment. The inhabitants are
scattered, the same word used of the scattering at
24:4-6 The curse on the earth The earth withers because it is polluted by man whom God made to be lord over it (Genesis 2:8-20; Psalm 8). Man has defiled the earth 1) by rejecting truth (God’s torah, i.e. instruction); 2) by altering God laws, (making his own morality); and 3) breaking covenant. Sadly, moral pollution is not the kind the world complains about.
24:14 A different kind of song In the midst of this desolation and despair there is music. In the former section the music was chiefly instrumental. Instruments can play even if the heart is sad. But here the song is the human voice! It is even loud because the heart is in it. There is joy. This is a tremendous contrast. The background is one of a complete destruction of the earth and its inhabitants (vv.1-3). In Noah’s day the flood was on all mankind, yet Noah and his family found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So here judgment on the entire world does not stop the saving grace of God reaching into all the earth.
24:13-16 Gleaning (v.13) always follows harvest. The gleaners do not get the harvest, only what is left. Here the gleanings represent a worldwide song of joy from east and west. In the days of Solomon they had a fleet of ships which brought from distant places shipments of ivory, apes and baboons (1 Kings 10:22). They were aware of distant islands, which they referred to as “the ends of the earth” (NIV) or “coastlands” (ESV). (See 42:4). One does not naturally expect gleanings to be a large quantity. But God turns this expectation around. We find an earth ringing with the praise of God from west to east. From the ends of the earth it can be heard. Out of a lifeless formless earth of vv. 1-12 comes a new creation. God has said again, “Let light shine out of darkness” to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). In Isaiah 24 they sing, “Glory to the Righteous One”. (It is an important evangelistic environment that the world should hear Christians sing glory to the Lord.)
24:16c-18d Isaiah’s suffering It is good to see again that the man of God does not take God’s judgment on others lightly. He too feels the weight of it, even using the same woe language he did of himself in chapter 6. The first woe was for his sin, the second he felt for the sins of others. He grieves over one repeated example, treachery, which results in a judgment from which men cannot escape. (See also 21:3,4 and 22:4.)
from above and below In Noah’s day, the windows of
heaven opened to express God’s wrath. This is coupled with an earthquake. The
combination is deliberate wrath from above and destruction from within. The hut
is blown by external forces; the drunkard stumbles from internal lack of
equilibrium. This is the result of sin. Sins’ effects are internal and lead to
death as in James 1:13-15. Sin’s judgment is also external from the judicial
hand of God; as in Romans 6:23, sin’s wages are meted out by God. The guilt of
sin in v.20 is simply rebellion, so the earth will fall never to rise again.
The end of Jeremiah’s very long oracle against Babylon was that it would sink
to rise no more (Jeremiah 51:64). In chapter 24 Isaiah
will speak of a city without using the word
24:21-23 A new day coming This is the first time in this section we read of “in that day”. It appears some 7 times in Isaiah 24-27 – here and 26:1; 27:1,2,6,12,13. The prophecy is moving toward the end, and the end is good. To reach a true resolution, the spiritual powers of evil in the heavens are put down. They are the original rebels and instigators of our rebellion. Never forget Satan was a rebel who tempted our first parents to become rebels like him. See Ephesians 2:2; 6:11,12.
The exact time, as is the case so often, is not specified. It is “in that day” and also “after many days” in v.22. But God has hidden (Acts 1:7), so we submit. He has spoken, so it is sure. Even now some wicked angels are bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day (Jude 6).
does not mind placing the glory of God’s just judgment beside the glory of His
rule over all the earth in
rebellion of all those nations that hated
1) The restoration of everything (Acts 3:21).
presence among them in
All nations living joyfully under His king in
4) Christ’s enemies as His footstool (Psalm 110:1) or, to use the language of v.22, “prisoners”.
again will a shameful idol replace the true glory of
In the New Jerusalem there is no need for the sun; its place will be taken over by the Lord Himself (Revelation 21:22-27). The sun and moon will hide their face humbled by the glorious presence. The wicked “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed (2 Thessalonians 1: 9,10).
Isaiah 25 Rejoicing in Salvation
25:1-5 The section begins
with individual confession and praise of the Lord, “You are my God.” In v.9,
it will be the praise of all in unison.
God’s marvelous wonders are supernatural just as the word “wonders” is
used for miracles in the New Testament (Hebrews 2:4). This power and the
emphasis on God’s faithfulness show that salvation is of the Lord. God sets out a wonderful banquet (v.6), but
the first praise to Him is for deliverance from a foe. The other city is in
ruins. Yet strong and ruthless people in this world, such as
25:6-8 Now for God’s
city – whatever God does is related to this mountain,
salvation is not merely from a human enemy, or from the spiritual powers in the
heavens above (24:21); it is also from death. Isaiah looked forward to the time
when our Lord would swallow up death. Isaiah contrasts locales, people and
results. In this text he is not making a prediction as to the place of the
crucifixion. It is still the case that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection
happened on that same location, on this mountain. There and then, just outside
25:9-12 Each one will say the same confession, “This is our God.” It is a confession of faith, “We trusted in Him, and He saved us.” Thus the work of salvation was all God’s. This trust is not turned back to the one with faith; it looks to the Lord to save. Faith does not look in. This salvation is the real thing and so there is joy rather than uncertainty. Any time we add anything to faith for God to accept us, such as our obedience, there is a serious distraction from and contradiction of the gospel. If anything other than a receptive faith is made out to be the faith required for justification, it will bring on doubt and remove joy. A loaded-up faith in contrast to a simple unassuming faith replaces boasting in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31) with boasting of self (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Notice the hand of the Lord rests on His mountain. His hand is down, at rest, no longer raised in judgment (10:4). God’s hand was raised against Christ on the cross, and so for His own it is now at rest (v.10). Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).