Isaiah 24

Isaiah 24  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The last of these cities, upon which a “burden” rested, being disposed of, the prophetic strain moves on to make known in a more general way what would be the state of things at the end of the age. It is a dark and sorrowful picture: the whole earth turned upside down and the inhabitants scattered, no matter to what class they belonged. And not only Israel is in view, for though the closing accusations of verse 5 may have special reference to them, since laws and ordinances were specially given to them, the covenant of law, given at Sinai, could not be termed “everlasting”. The reference here is rather to the covenant established with Noah and the new world of nations of which he was the head, according to Genesis 9:99And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; (Genesis 9:9).
The first 12 verses of the chapter are filled with the gloom of earthly judgments, but when we reach verse 13 light begins to break, for a remnant of God-fearing ones is indicated, under the same figure as was used in chapter 17:6. So that, even in the darkest hour, a note of praise will be sounded and God will be acknowledged and honored; and that in all parts, for “the fires” is a poetic expression for the east and “isles of the sea” for the west.
Thus God will have His witnesses in all parts, though in the presence of abounding evil and the judgments of God they may only be conscious of their leanness. Thus indeed it ever is and must be with God’s true servants. It is the false who speak of their fatness, as “rich and increased with goods”. God may empower His servants by His Spirit, but they are conscious of nothing but leanness in themselves.
Verses 17-20 give us a graphic description of the terrible overturning of all human order and institutions that lies ahead. Six times in these verses is “the earth” mentioned, referring rather to the established order and world system of things than to the actual earth crust on which we live. All will be violently shaken before they are removed by the presence of the Lord.
The three verses that close the chapter show the effect of His presence. Not only will punishment fall on the kings of the earth but also “the host of the high ones... on high” will be judged and “shut up in the prison”. What this means comes out more fully in the book of Revelation, where we learn of Satan and his angels being cast out of the heavens, and then Satan himself bound in the abyss, when the kings of the earth, under the leadership of the beast, are consigned to their doom. God will judge not only the nations but also the Satanic powers behind the nations. We get a glimpse of these powers in Daniel 10:13,2013But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:13)
20Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. (Daniel 10:20)
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Then shall be established a new order of things in the presence of which the very institutions of heaven will be confounded, for Jehovah of hosts will reign in glory “before His ancients”. This is a remarkable word. He does not reign over His ancients when He reigns in Zion and Jerusalem, but before them. They are witnesses of His glory, and remind us of the “elders” of Revelation 5. The word here might be translated “elders”, we understand, which confirms the thought.
And, who is this Jehovah of hosts? He is evidently “the King of glory”, but, as Psalm 24 asks twice, “Who is this King of glory?” We know He is the One who bowed His sacred head in death for our sakes, according to Psalm 22. So our chapter ends with the power of evil both in its fountain head and in its ramifications smitten from the earth and the Lord Jesus enthroned at earth’s center and reigning before the delighted eyes of His ancients.
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