Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 63

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 63

Isaiah is speaking of the judgment of the end times, the period of the Great Tribulation. Up til now he's predicted the fall of several ancient nations as a result of their sins. But in Chapter 24 he looks down through time and sees the fall of the corrupt world system of the last days.

We finished yesterday with Isaiah clearly telling us why this judgment is coming: because man has defiled the earth by disobeying God's laws, violating His statutes, and breaking His covenant. "Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left." (Isaiah 24:6) The burning in verse 6 may be metaphorical, comparing the fate of the wayward people to that of vines without water, vines that wither and dry up. They lack the Spirit of the Lord and are like dry leaves, curled up and brown, without purpose or use. 

I think possibly verse 6 could have to do with what the Apostle John saw when the Lord gave him this vision, "The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him." (Revelation 16:8-9) After the Lord Jesus sweeps His bride away to heaven, dark days will fall on the earth as God's wrath pours out upon all ungodliness. But as we learned from our previous study of Revelation, God will still be appealing to the spirit of mankind even in the midst of these woes. Something about the sun or about the earth's atmosphere will change during the cataclysms of the Great Tribulation and cause intense heat. The heat is intended to cause people to think about why such destructions have come upon them, so that they take account of their lives and realize they have rejected God. Even in wrath, God remembers mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2) But according to the Apostle John, he did not see any of the ungodly repenting in the fierce heat of the sun, but instead they cursed the name of the Lord, the name of the only One with the power to save them.

"The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers." (Isaiah 24:7-9) Harvest was a celebratory time but there is no harvest to celebrate. The vines are dried up in the fields. There are no grapes for wine. The beer produced by what grain they were able to grow is not fit to drink. The worldwide kingdom of the end times has been one of wealth and excess, of every type of carnal pleasure, of celebrating mankind and his achievements rather than celebrating the Lord who created all things. When the spiritual "Babylon" of the end times falls, great will be its fall. "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again." (Revelation 18:21b-22a)

"The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth. The city is left in ruins, its gate battered to pieces. So 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." (Isaiah 24:10-13) Olives were harvested by beating the trees so the olives would fall to the ground, which always left a remnant of olives on the limbs. At harvest time there would always be grapes that were missed and left behind, a remnant. That is what is going to be on the earth in the last days: a remnant of mankind. The earth will be shaken like an olive tree according to the word of the Lord given to His prophet Haggai, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the Lord Almighty." (Haggai 2:6-7) 

Before Christ comes to take the throne of David, the Lord will shake the heavens and the earth, which we can clearly see from the plagues and woes of the book of Revelation. Then, after those dark and dreadful days, what is desired by all nations will come: that is, our King will come and reign in righteousness. The world may not know it, but what we all desire deep down in our hearts is communion with our Maker. We desire a connection with One bigger than ourselves, with One who can make us whole and holy as we were meant to be, fulfilling His ultimate purpose in us. God created us in His image, capable of having fellowship with Him. Nothing short of that will ever satisfy the longing in our souls. The Bible tells us we were created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:15b) We were designed to want to know Him and serve Him and enjoy the sweet friendship and mercy of our Savior. This is why He is the desire of all nations, because He is the desire of every heart. The world offers us many substitutes for a relationship with the Lord, but these substitutes will leave us empty and broken. Only in Christ can we fulfill the desire of our souls and only in Christ can we fully be what our Creator intended us to be.

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