Isaiah 24:1 - 25:12
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Apocalypse as it was revealed to Isaiah.
[Prayer concluded] ….trusted Jesus Christ, we can let each one present to Thee in Jesus’ name Amen.
[Message] Tonight our subject is the first of a two-part series on Isaiah’s little apocalypse. And I have put on my notes, a new title which is different from the title which was in the schedule and it is not significant, but the title that I have is “The Moral Universe in Judgment” and the title you have has to do with the kingdom and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah chapter 24 and 25.
The ultimate overthrow of the kingdoms of this world is one of the great and certain truths of the Bible. There are four unconditional covenants that are given in the Old Testament, and out of these unconditional covenants there has given, and has been given by God, the promise that the kingdoms of this world shall be overthrown and shall ultimately become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Messiah.
Political and religious liberals will not believe this in spite of the clearest testimony, not only the testimony of the word of God, but the testimony of human experience. The political liberal hates the truth of the second coming and the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world because it proclaims his incapacity to set the world in order. If you listen to the political leaders of our day, you will notice that all of them talk about peace, all of them talk about plans for world peace, all seek, by their political expediencies and plans, to set the world in order. They think, and they have thought for centuries that they can do this. It is one of the most pathetic things in the world, if you know the Scriptures, to hear our political leaders speak so confidently with so little of reason of the solutions that are proposed by men. They do not like to be told that the second coming of Jesus Christ is the only way for the world to attain peace. It is not so much that he consciously thinks he opposes the second advent of Christ, but deep down within, he realizes, that this says, you cannot do it. And consequently, he does not like the biblical solution.
The religious liberal hates the second coming because it says that all his social, ecumenical, ecclesiastical plans are useless. It says that all of his attempts to bring the church, as he knows it, together in order to have a strong testimony in the world, is useless. It says that Jesus Christ must do it. And again, that offends him. It is just the way that that the cross offends the man who thinks he does not need to be saved by Jesus Christ in order to get to heaven. He thinks that he is good enough. He thinks that by his religion, by his good works, by his education, by his attainments, by his family, by all of the things that the world measures is good; he thinks that by these things, he shall attain the everlasting life.
When he is told he must be born again, he is offended. That is why the New Testament speaks of the offense of the cross. It says, all of your human attainments are worthless. You must be born again by God. You must come as a beggar and receive, from God, the righteousness; that means life. So whenever we read in the word of God, or whenever we proclaim that the kingdoms of this world are going to be overthrown in the coming of Jesus Christ, then God is going to set up his own kingdom. That offends the political liberal and the religious liberal.
I do not think that it is possible for a man to be more hardheaded than some are to; blindness of course, is the biblical term. I think of that story which I told some of the people a few months ago about the man who thought he was dead. All of the arguments of his family would not convince him. He thought he was dead. And so did what most people do. They called in the friendly neighborhood psychiatrist. And the psychiatrist was a wise man. He said, “I think I am going to try to convince this man that he is not dead by pointing him what the characteristics of dead men.”
And one of the characteristics of dead men, is this: that their blood does not flow, they do not bleed. And so the first think the psychiatrist did was to get some medical books and have this man read them, and he read. Dead men do not bleed. Then he brought him in and let him observe some autopsies. And he pointed out to him, “Dead men do not bleed.” And finally, after a series of experiments like this, he finally got the fellow to admit, “Well I guess you are right. Dead men do not bleed.” And with that, the psychiatrist took a pen and stuck him in the arm and he began to bleed. And he looked down and he said, “Good Lord, dead men bleed after all.”
Now that man, of course, is blind to the facts. It seems to me that this is precisely the attitude that many have to the truths of the word of God. If there are any truths among human beings that do measure up to the task of experience, it is the truth of the word of God. It is the truth that we cannot set our house in order after thousands of years of seeking to do it. We are in the same mess that we have always been in. It is only blindness that turns us away from holy Scripture.
Now we are going to see, as we look at chapters 24 and 25, Isaiah describes the final catastrophic desolation that is going to take place when the Lord Jesus Christ comes the second time, and also the kingdom that is going to be set up upon the earth so that we shall have in truth a kingdom of God.
Now liberals, when they speak about the kingdom of God, stress the word kingdom. The Bible emphasizes the term of God, that kingdom of God. Isaiah 24 and 25 is called, by Bible students, Isaiah’s little apocalypse. Apocalypse is another word, of course, for revelation. Like some people call the word of the Bible, The Apocalypse. Apocalypsus, in Greek means an unveiling. So that an apocalypse is an unveiling. And this has been called Isaiah’s little apocalypse, chapters 24 through 27. These four chapters, 24, 25, 26, 27 because in these chapters, we have material that is very similar to the book of Daniel, which is the primary Old Testament Apocalypse, and the book of Revelation in the New Testament, or the Apocalypse which is the great New Testament apocalyptic section.
Now this section is difficult. You probably have found it so in your reading; and I hope you have been reading. You probably have found it more interesting however, than chapters 13 through 23 in which we have the auricles of the nations. Now this is difficult: 24, 25, 26, and 27. But while it is difficult, it is also, as Gavlan had said, “a marvelous chapter.”
A couple of years ago, we had a Dallas Theological Seminary Professor Edward J. Young of Westminster Seminary. He is now with the Lord. And Professor Young, when he was living, was one of the experts on the Book of Isaiah. And he has written a commentary on that book. Now when he was here, he was studying Isaiah 24, 25, 26, and 27, and Bruce Waltke, our Professor of Old Testament at Dallas Seminary, told me of their conversation. And he said that Professor Young asked him if in his studies, he had come to these chapters. Now Mr. Waltke said, as I remember, that he had not come to them yet in his studies and then Professor Young, an expert on the book of Isaiah said, “Well you know, I had been studying these chapters for a long time, but to tell you the honest truth, I cannot make heads nor tails of these chapters.”
Now Professor Young was an amillenialist. He did not believe in a kingdom of God upon the earth upon the earth for a period of time. And I think that is one reason why he found these chapters difficult chapters. If he had regarded the Old Testament as teaching that there would come a time when God would have a kingdom upon the earth, I think he would have a great deal more ease in interpreting Isaiah 24 and 25.
Delitzsch, in his commentary, has called these chapters, “The finale of the great catastrophe.” And that these chapters, he says, “These chapters stand in the same relationship to chapters 13 through 23, the oracles against the nations, as chapters 11 and 12 stood to the prophecy of Immanuel in chapter 7, 8, 9, and 10.”
Now, if you’ll remember, in Isaiah chapter 7, it was prophesized as “about to be born.” Now, if you remember in Isaiah chapter 7, remember the Messiah was prophesied as about to be born. In chapter 9, he was prophesized as born and scheduled to take the throne of David, chapter 9 verses 6 and 7. Then in chapter 11, it was prophesied that he should reign. In chapter 12, was a great hymn in praise of the God who has accomplished this great salvation. And so in chapters 13 through 23 we have had the prophecies against the nations Moab, Philistia, Babylon, and others.
And now as we come to 24 through 27, we have the gathering together of all of these fragments of prophecy into one great final prophecy of the ultimate catastrophe that is the fall upon the nations and which is the issue in the kingdom of God upon the earth. The conversion of the nation Israel and through them, the conversion of the nations and their entrance into the kingdom when the solutions that God has for men’s problems shall be saved.
Well, let us take a look now at chapter 24 first in which we have the catastrophic desolation, chapter 24 verses 1 through 20. Now chapter 24 sets this first point forth very succinctly. It first of all states that this catastrophe has been determined in verses 1 through 3. It is determined by the word of God. Now listen as God says:
“Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with people, so with priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest to him.”
Now, the reason for this is that Isaiah is trying to let us know that this desolation is a desolation that falls upon everybody everywhere. That is why he lists all of these various occupations and callings. Verse 3 concludes: “The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled for the Lord hath spoken this word.” In other words, this catastrophic desolation is determined because the word of God has spoken. I wish we all knew Hebrew because there is a great deal of play on words in these verses. Isaiah writes as a prophet and he writes as a prophet who uses words for effect and the message, of course, is everything, everywhere is going to come under a final judgment from God. There is going to be a great catastrophic desolation in which the earth is emptied. Now, the reason of course for this is that God is making preparations for his kingdom.
Now, in the second part of this section he describes the desolation that he has just stated is going to come past by the word of God. So, let us begin reading with the fourth verse in which we have now this fuller description of the preceding of what he does is a common device of writers of prophecy. He, first of all, states his truth and a few carefully chosen words, and then he spells out the details of it very much as if you are going to buy a new Mark IV or whatever it is you want to buy. And you went down and you took a look at it and the salesman took you around the car like this and you went around at it two or three times, and then you said: “That is a beautiful car.” He said: “It certainly is. That is the most beautiful car you can buy.” And then you said: “I think I am interested.” And then he begins with the motor and all of the other features of the car going into details.
Now, that is what the prophet is done. He has stated that the earth is going to be emptied. There is going to be a catastrophic desolation of the earth because the word of God has spoken it. By the way, you notice how the prophets believe that when God speaks it is going to come to pass? And that has great practical ramifications for the believer’s life. When God says something in the Bible, you can be sure it is going to come to pass. You may think you can beat God with your little game, but you cannot do it.
If he says, for example, that without faith it is impossible to please God, you can be sure if you are not going to please God, then you do not exercise faith. You may satisfy all of the requirements of the elders of the church or the deacons. You may have a very satisfactory relationship in your local church in which you regard it as “a work up”. And everybody looks up to you. But if the principles of the word of God are not found in our service for the Lord, now you can be sure, He is not pleased with it. They may be pleased, but He is not. When He speaks his word, it comes to pass.
Now he is going to describe this desolation and the details. And so, let us read verses 4 through 9 because here we have the earth under the curse. He begins with the earth and He says:
“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languiseth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, change the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry-hearted do sigh. The mirth of timbre ceaseth, the noise of those who rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to those who drink it.”
Now what he means by this is simply that this desolation that is to come is to touch all of the earth and its life. What in effect he means is that man has so corrupted his way upon the earth that God cannot stand it any longer. Do you remember that when man sinned in the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 3, God pronounced a curse upon the earth. He said in Genesis chapter 3 in verse 16: “Unto the woman, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow.” Verse 17: “And unto Adam he said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and has eaten of the tree, which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat it: cursed it is the ground for thy sake; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” Finally he states in verse 19: “and unto dust shall thou return.”
Then you will remember in Romans chapter 8 and in the passage that we looked at one time and I will put on the board: “In which the apostle sets forth to groaning of the creation because of man’s sin.” Groaning because of the past. Groaning looking forward to the deliverance of men from the bondage of creation. What he is saying, you see is that man, by his life upon the earth, has brought conditions to such a past that it is now necessary for God to execute the judgment that their actions have deserved. And He says why? He says: Because you have transgressed the laws, verse 5: Because you have changed the ordinance. And then I want you to notice this clause particular: “broken the everlasting covenant.”
Now all of the covenants with one exception are called everlasting covenants. Did you notice that in the reading of the word of God? What is the everlasting covenant that has been broken here?
Well now, it so happens that in the 18th verse he talks about the wonders on how being opened and the foundations of the earth shaking and if I had only read that I might suspect that he is talking about the Noyes covenant and the flood because remember that is what happened. God opened the heavens from above and the great fountains of the deep from below are broken up and waters came from below and above and the whole earth was drowned in the flood. Now God promised that there would never, after that, be a flood. And every time you see a rainbow in the sky, you can just say it that is God affirming again his promise. That is the token, the rainbow but while it is true that we shall never be destroyed by flood. We are to be destroyed, the earth. As a matter of fact, Peter says it is by fire. This passage does not give us great details.
This passage does not give us great details but I am convinced that what is referred to here is the everlasting covenant, there is the Noahic Covenant and what has man broken about that covenant? Well, he has just corrupted man’s way upon the earth in such a respect that human government has completely collapsed and the earth is now full of the vilest form of wickedness. Now if it is true, and I think this interpretation is the true interpretation, by the way I wrote a thesis on this once.
It was in the dark ages of my past and that was the theological seminary, and I took it out today and read it. I first blew out the dust and I took it out and read it because I was interested in what I said about this verse, this fifth verse, back there over 20 years ago. And I was pleased to see that I referred it to the Noahic Covenant because I know that someone might think that what I am going to say is called out by the present conditions that exist but if there is one thing that exist today, it is obviously this: that law and order is breaking down.
We have violence in the United States. I know that some of our sociologists say that we have always had violent and that the United States had been known as a violent nation from the beginning and there is a great deal of truth in this, just like every nation is for that matter but I do think that there is an increasing intensity of violation of the principles of law and order, and remember human government was instituted in the Noahic Covenant. That is, its basis and so the breaking of the Noahic Covenant has direct reference to the rise of violence, the rise of simple disobedience, and the rise of the new left. Isn’t it interesting that we have such a thing as a new left today, and more people involved in the new left than are in the communistic movement in this country now. That is outwardly.
Now universities as you know, are full of those who are followers of that New Left. Now, basically, they believe simply this: that the life in the Unites States which we know, the culture of the United States is altogether wrong, altogether wrong. They referred to the culture of our day as the establishment and it is rolling from top to bottom and it should be completely swept out, and that is what they mean precisely. They mean to completely overthrow the society that we know in the United States; completely overthrow it, and set up a society that is right (their society).
Now I think that what we see is just the kind of thing that will reach its fulfillment in the days that are just before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, God will speak because he is responsible for government ultimately. Human government as government under God always and so, finally, we read that they have broken the everlasting covenant; therefore hath the curse devoured the earth and God is going to really allow the curse to fall upon man.
Now if you think that men about under a curse today, just wait; just wait until the time of the tribulation when they have pouring of the seal judgments, and the trumpet judgments, and finally the inmost intensified form of judgment in those judgments of revelation chapter 16: The judgments of the bowls are poured out. Then we shall really now what it is to be in great tribulation.
Now he says not only is the earth to be cursed but earth’s city is to be judged in verses 10 through 12. Take a look there. The city of confusion is broken down. Now most commentators feel that when Isaiah speaks about the city of confusion he is not speaking about any special city and perhaps it would be wisest for me to say to you I think that is probably the safest interpretation. He does look at all of our cities in a collective way and he calls them the city of confusion and he says that the city of confusion is broken down and my house is shut up that no man may come in.
Perhaps, it would be safest to say that it is the interpretation, that I am not going to be saved. I want to tell what I think this is, and it is only what I think. I think and of course Isaiah does not spell out all the details because no prophet knew all of the facts. Remember in the Bible there is such a thing as the progress of revelation. Now that means, of course, that in the Old Testament times, truths were not so explicitly set forth as they are now. The Old Testament, of course, looked forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus and onto the second coming of our Lord Jesus to the earth.
Now the prophets and others wrote in the Old Testament and each adds some facet to the truth; he was given truth so that, as the writer of the epistle of the Hebrews puts it, “God, who had so many times and in diverse manners, hath spoken unto the fathers by the prophets. In other words, each in his own day had his message for his own day. It pointed to his day and it pointed on to the future, and each one added something else.
Now it is only natural that we should not, therefore, find Isaiah with all the truth. He may refer to the city of confusion which in the rest of the Bible is given more careful delineation and I think that is what happened. The city of confusion, ultimately, is epitomized and also identified in the city of Babylon. As a matter of fact, Babylon means “confusion.” Now this word, however, is a little different word and I do not want to lay too much stress on it. This word, the city of confusion, is the word that we hear as the chaos in Genesis 1 and 2. In the beginning, God created the heavens in the earth and the earth was without form and void, tohu mabuwhu; and that is the word, tohu; the city of Tohu, the city of confusion, the city of emptiness.
Now that city is ultimately the city of Babylon, which should be the capital of the antichrist and the headquarters of the kingdom of man before the overthrow by the Lord Jesus Christ. So here, I think the city that is to be judged, the earth’s city, is the city of Babylon; it is to be left in desolation because in Babylon was the beginning of the attempt to overthrow the divine order. I wish we had time to go back and read Genesis 11, 1 through 9 but you read if for yourself. Collective rebellion first occurred at Babylon, and Babylon all through the Bible, remember, is the standing symbol of opposition to Jerusalem, the city of God.
Now next, in verses 13 though 15 we have the remnant spared. Verse 13 “When thus, it shall be in the midst of the land among the people there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree and as the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.” Now you have to understand ancient customs to understand this and to tell you the truth, I did not understand it until I read in books because I am not used to shaking an olive tree to get olives, nor am I used to gleaning grapes after the vintage is done. But it was the customs in those days for the pickers, I guess, to go through and pick the olives off of the trees and some would be left. They would be left for the poor of the land; and the same with the grapes. The grapes would be picked but some would be left; only a few here and there that were overlooked in the vintage.
Now this is used by Isaiah as an illustration of the remnant that shall be left in the earth, from the judgments of God that are poured out upon the earth during The Great Tribulation period that precedes the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus to the earth. There is going to be great judgment, but some remnant shall pass through that time. Verse 14, “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry loud from the sea; therefore glorify the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord, God of Israel, in the coastlands of the sea.”
Now here is a very interesting thing and I want you to notice it carefully. You would not get it from your Authorized Version, unfortunately. Verse 14 says, “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.” Notice that. Now that is undoubtedly a reference to the Mediterranean Sea and is a reference to the fact that Israel was right by the sea. So those who cry aloud here are the remnant from Israel. They say, “Therefore glorify the Lord in the fires.” Now that word fires also means light; it is the word uwr’im. Now uwr’im is the word for light. You remember the priests had lights and perfections upon him somewhere. No one knows exactly what the uram and thunen were, but they were lights on the breast plate of the high priest which enabled him, at times, to find the will of God. In some way, we do not know the details of that. By the way, we do not need such a thing today. Now, we go down to Niemans and try to buy it; it won’t help you. You can get better guidance from the Holy Spirit, who is much better than the uwr’im and thunen [phonetic] but uwr’im meant lights. And so, the meaning of this expression here in verse 15; “Wherefore glorify God in the fires” means from the land of the lights.
And, of course, this is reference to the East, so that here we are told there is going to be a remnant in Israel. There is a remnant in the East. Now let us read on, verse 16:
“From the outermost part of the earth, or outset.” (The point, verse 15.) “Even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea.”
Now the “Isles of the sea” is the expression in the Old Testament that referred to the West. So what we are told here is that there shall be a remnant, but it will be composed of Israel in the land together with some from the East and some from the West, and so through The Great Tribulation period that precedes the Second Advent, while the great majority of the inhabitants of the earth shall be swept off under Divine Judgment, a remnant of Easterners, Westerners and, of course, Israelites shall be preserved through it to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. And they shall shout the praises of the Lord in judgment and mercy. They will be glad over the fact that he has judged sin and they will be glad over the fact that God has shown them mercy.
Now, I like to think that I will understand the grace and mercy of God as few men do. That is only natural, all Christians ought to feel that way. You know you look at it at your own experience and your own study of the word of God and if you do not have something deep down in your heart that says “Oh boy! I think I understand the grace of God, and the mercy of God as few men do”, then I feel a little sorry for you, because that is one of the joys of Christian life, is to realize how much God has forgiven us. But you know, in the days of The Great Tribulation, we are going to have some great saints who shall proclaim the wonders of God’s grace and mercy. Perhaps that since no men have done since the days of the Apostle Paul and Augustine and Calvin.
Now, verse 16 through 20, I just added that last couple of lines just to stay up a little bit. Verse 16; “From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.” I think that is probably the righteous one, the Lord. “But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” Oh, Isaiah is very miserable because he knows this. He knows that before the remnant comes through to the salvation of God at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, there is this great period of suffering that Israel must face.
Now of course Isaiah did not know the time as we know it here. He did not have the privilege of being able to see himself in, say, 740-700 B.C. He did not know that was where he lived. He had no idea. He was like a man, who every night, listened to a clock tolling, but he did not know the time. Have you ever awakened at night in a house that has a clock that tolls? And you awaken and, suddenly, you here the clock that strikes once, “You say, It is one o’clock.” It strikes again, “It’s two o’clock.” And then you say, “I wonder what time it is? Is it three, four, five, six.” You cannot know until it stops. That is the way the prophets were you see, they can never know. They did not know this time, and they did not have any idea of this time at all. But they did know where they were and they did know that this was coming. And so, so far as Isaiah was concern, this could have happened right here, and then immediately the tribulation. And so far as he was concern, he might have lived to the coming our Lord. But he knew that great suffering preceded the advent. And so when he saw Israel’s sin and wickedness and knew that they must suffer. That is why he speaks as he does, “All my misery, my misery woe unto me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.” Now I think that here ultimately, he refers to the Covenant that Israel’s leader shall make with the anti-Christ. But his language goes far beyond him.
Now then, let us move on to roman II because we have to hurry, it is quarter to nine, “The Coming Deliverer.” Chapter 24 verse 21 through chapter 25 and verse 8: “Against this dark background of desolation, Isaiah now sets forth the prophetic vision of restoration.” And of course, the dark background makes this wonderful picture of the coming deliverer that much brighter. Verse 21, “Here we have visitation upon the Epistles.” Again notice that characteristic expression, “In that day, in that day, in that day.” Verse 21: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.” Now notice, judgment upon the angelic world, the host of high ones, and judgment upon mankind, the kings upon the earth. Let us stop for a moment.
Now you can see from this that what Isaiah is talking about is judgment that touches not only the earth but the places where the angels dwell too. In other words, this is moral judgment upon the universe, not just the earth itself. But it actually touches the angels in that sphere of life, “the host of high ones”. Now what does he really mean by this, so what is involved in this? Well of course, we know from the Bible that the Angelic Sphere is a well organized sphere. We read of the good angels for example, that they are principalities, powers, thrones, dominions. We read of the elders, “the living creatures in the book of Revelations.” They are all types of individuals within the Angelic Sphere. Next term, when we study Angelology in our Theology, we will study some of these things. So we know there are all types of Angelic beams, and apparently each has its own type of activity and work. But Satan also has his angels, they went with him and failed. And the Bible speaks about those wicked principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Now we know from the Book of Daniel that these principalities and powers. These Angelic beings are well organized under Satan; he is a very intelligent person. He is not disorganized, like we are here at the present moment. He is very well organized and he has the Prince of Graecia, the Prince of Persia and the prince of this and the prince of that, and they have authority there. He may have a Prince of Dallas, I do not know, I am sure he must have a Prince for Texas, a great territory like that. It is all very well organized, all under his authority. Because remember, Satan is not omnipresent. If he is here, he is not in for it were, like God. He is not omnipresent. He might be here; I hope he is not. “But he might be here with us.” But since he cannot be everywhere he has organized his kingdom.
Now the host of the high ones has reference to his Kingdom and God is going to judge them ultimately. We read in the Book of Revelation of course that Satan is finally kicked-out of heaven into the earth. And he knows that he has a short time, it is during this period of time right here, The Great Tribulation period. And as far as we know, his own angels go with him. And then remember at the conclusion of this period of time, “What happens to Satan?” At the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom, “Do you remember?” He is bound for a thousand years. Well now his angels are bound with him. And so when we read, “And it shall come to past in that day that the Lord shall visit the host of the high ones that are on high and the kings of the earth upon the earth.” He means that he is going to visit all authority that is opposed to God whether in the heavenly places, the angelic sphere or upon the earth.
There is a rabbinical saying “God never destroys a nation without having first of all destroyed its prince, its angelic leader.” You know every one of us who are Christians. We have our angels, there are guardian angels, the Bible teaches. Of course I am not sure it teaches that we each have a special one. Perhaps it does. It says, are they not all ministering spirits sent forth the minister for those who are the heiress of salvation? I would like to think I have my own. I am sure that I am trial to him. He would like to swap me off for somebody else like Mr. Prier perhaps [laughter].
But nevertheless, if I have an angelic guardian, that explains a lot of things. And here we read that this entire sphere is going to come under in the judgment of God. But listen, let us read on, notice verse 22: “And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit and shall be shut up in prison.” Now what is stated? Satan is going to be bound. He is going to be cast into the what, the Bible says. The pit, the abyss is the Greek term, the bottomless pit. Remember the little kid that said if that is a bottomless pit, what happens when you fall out on the other side? That word really means, that is a good question, isn’t it? The bottomless pit?
I’m so glad the Greek text says abyss because I could not possibly answer that question. Just like the one we had in theology class just before, some of you were not here but, what did God do, before he started doing the things that we read of in the word of God? And several are going to write us a paper for next week and tell us what. But look, verse 22 says they are going to be gathered in the pit and shall be shut up in prison. “The host of the high ones” and then notice “and after many days shall they be visited.” In other words, visited in punishment, judgment.
Now I want you to take your Bibles, we have got 4 to 5 minutes, turn over to the Book of Revelation. And let us just read a few verses. Have you ever read the Book of Revelation? It is a good book. John did not write it when he was senile, as some of our contemporary scholars have said. You know the apostles are going to have a lot of fun I think in heaven, when they get out and discuss the things that men have said about their writings. Let us read verse 1: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” This is Revelation chapter 20 in verse 1. I thought all of you would know precisely the chapter and I would not even have to tell you. Chapter 20, verse 2: “And he laid hole on the dragon that old serpent who is the devil and Satan and bound him a thousand years. He laid all of the hosts of the high ones and the chief leader. He cast them into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal upon him that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Notice, it says he shut up for a thousand years and after that, he must be loosed for a little season.
Now while you are looking at that text, let me read again another text in Isaiah 24 and 22: “And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit and shall be shut up in the prison and after many days, (it is a thousand years actually), they should be visited.” Well let us just skip to verse 7 of Revelation chapter 20: “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” This is the second coming of Satan. “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog together, them together to battle, the number of whom he says the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, encompassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved city and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” That is their visitation; it is the visitation in judgment. “And the devil that deceived them was cast in the lake of fire and brimstone where the Beast and the false prophet are and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” There is a prophecy you see at the millennium. Isaiah calls it after many days. It is given to John to give us the exact length of time, as one thousand years, by the progress of divine revelation.
Now quickly verse 23, “Then the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his ancients gloriously.” Was it not interesting when the astronauts took their pictures of the moon as they got closer and closer? And the glory of the moon shone, and then was it not interesting when they came back and we looked and we looked at the earth, and it looked very much like the moon. We thought the greater light look like the lesser light, using the terminology of the Book of Genesis. But you know, when you get out in space the earth does not look like much, does it? You can see the Grand Canyon. You cannot see the great state of Texas, cannot see all the beauties of the earth.
Well you know, when God through Jesus Christ comes at the Second advent, that is what he means, that the moon and the sun are going to be confounded because in the presence of the glory of God, they are going to look so insignificant, but they are hardly going to count it all. The glory of God is so great. So if you sat glued to the TV, until your eyeballs almost fell out of your head, and what a tremendous thing it is going to be to see the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now chapter 25 is full of jubilation and celebration over the fact that the Son of God is to come again, he is Jehovah to them, the Messiah, and I want to just skip down to verse 6. And we read in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast now the, New School Theo Bible says “at things,” at least in my additions. Did you notice that misprint? It should be fat things, right. At things, I have never heard of at things. “A feast of lions on the leaves of fat things full of marrow of wives on the leaves well-refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast overall people and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death and victory and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”
Let us just stop. I have got two minutes, according to my watch. And I just want to point out one thing. Notice that clause, “He will swallow up death in victory.” Now, if you turn over to the Book of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 in verse 54, Paul quotes that in connection with the resurrection and he says that “Death shall be swallowed up in victory at the rapture of the church.” And what I want to say to you is simply this: The Bible of course sets forth a series of resurrections. There has only been one resurrection up to this present time; up to this moment, only one resurrection.
Now, there had been many restorations. And the Bible does occasionally use the term, resurrection, for example, it says that Lazarus was raised from the dead. But in the theological sense of a man being brought to new life, when he had died, and given a resurrection body, for that is the completion of resurrection, that has happened to only one man, Jesus Christ. That is why Paul says, when he speaks about the order of the resurrection that Christ is the first fruits, then, they that are Christ’s at his coming. In other words, Christ is the only person who is ever been resurrected to the present moment.
Now that resurrection occurred on the third day after the cross. Now, when the Lord Jesus comes in the air at the rapture, it maybe tonight, the resurrection of the church shall take place, all of us if we are believers. If you are not a believer, you will be left to go into The Great Tribulation period. [Indistinct] be out of here right now.
Now, then, there is a third resurrection. There is a resurrection of Israel. Now the resurrection of Israel does not occur at the rapture, it occurs at the Second Advent, right here. That is what he is speaking about when he says “He will swallow up death and victory.” The saints of the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc., all of them shall be raised and given new resurrection bodies at our Lord’s Second Advent in order to enter into the kingdom and have the promises that have been given to them by God and the resurrection of the nations, believers in the nations who have believed shall take place at that time, too.
So, the resurrection of Christ, on Sunday after his death on Friday. The resurrection of the church at the rapture, and the resurrection of Israel and the nations at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, and that is what referred to here. Now, there is another resurrection, it is sad to speak of this. But after our Lord’s Second Coming, there will be a kingdom of a thousand years. That kingdom shall be concluded with that final rebellion about which we just read.
Then there shall be the Great White Throne of Judgment. That is set of in space somewhere; the Bible does not tell us where it is. He saw a throne the heavens and the earth fled away from it and God in space calls up all of the unsaved of all of the years past from the creation down to the king on through the kingdom, all of the unsafe men who have not responded to the revelation of God. They shall stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment, resurrected. They are given not a body like Christ’s body. Not a body such as you and I shall have, like Christ’s own body of glory. The Bible never describes the body of the unsaved. We just know it is a body because it is a resurrection. And it is a body befitted for the suffering of eternal torment. What a terrible thing! That to stand at the great white throne of judgment and so we must, if we have not believed in our Lord Jesus Christ, Who loved us and gave himself for us. Time’s up.
Two weeks from tonight, we will study chapters 26 and 27, concluding our study of this section of Isaiah and specifically…[tape ends]