Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 91

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 91

We begin Chapter 34 this morning and it is about the end times, known as the Day of the Lord or the Great Tribulation. Yesterday we saw the beauty of the King, the One who will make all things new and rule the world in righteousness, but there are events which must take place before that blessed day. Barry G. Webb, in his book The Message Of Isaiah, says of this chapter on judgment, "A king must rule, or he is no king at all, and that means that rebellion must finally be put down. The fact is that God is almost unbelievably patient, but Isaiah is clear that His just anger is a reality to be reckoned with, and we delude ourselves if we think otherwise. Hence the urgent call to listen in verse 1." (pg 142)

In verse 1 the Lord calls out, "Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!" (Isaiah 34:1) The actual Day of the Lord will come suddenly "like a thief in the night", but it doesn't come to a world ignorant of what God has said. He has been warning us for thousands of years that there will be judgment for unrighteousness. We are not unaware that He has set a day to judge the world. We don't know the particular day or the hour, but we have been forewarned of its approach. In addition, and more importantly, we have been provided with a means of escape through Christ Jesus the Lord, the Sacrifice of God, the holy and spotless Lamb who is able to take away the sins of the world. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3)

In Chapter 33 the Lord said His mighty deeds would be known throughout the world, that those who were far away (the Gentiles) and those who were near (the Jews) would hear of them. The faith of the faithful became even stronger when they beheld His powerful works but we found the ungodly trembling in fear. When faced with their sins, the ungodly had only two choices: try to run and hide from the God who sees all things, or repent and serve Him. This next section refers to the time after Christ calls His church after the world, when the Great Tribulation begins, and the world goes through its final birth pangs. Those the Lord is angry with in this passage are those who made the choice to rebel against Him and remain in their sins, but even more specifically I believe this is about the armies who join with the Antichrist against the Lord Jesus in the battle of Armageddon. "The Lord is angry with all nations; His wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them He will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood." (Isaiah 34:2-3) 

There is a day in which Antichrist and his allies will try to take on the Lord Himself, "Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon." (Revelation 16:16) At that time the Apostle John said, "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose Rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:11-16) 

Verses 2 and 3 of our section today are graphic, but they describe the horrors of war: the final war. John saw something similar and he tells us, "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and His army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh." (Revelation 19:19-21) 

The sword with which the Lord judges the world is His holy and perfect and infallible word. This is the only weapon He brings because it's the only weapon He needs. All our actions and thoughts and attitudes are judged by the word of God and, much as we might like to think we are pretty good folks overall, the Bible says we all have sinned and fallen short. (Romans 3:23) But there is a remedy for our shortfall: Jesus Christ the righteous. The ones we find the Lord fighting against in the final battle are those who have scorned and mocked Him, who in their spirits have spit on Him just as surely as His enemies in Jerusalem spit on Him as He made His way to the cross. They have not only rejected Him but have chosen another in His place: that serpent of old, the father of lies, the one who was a murderer from the beginning. Like any earthly king who intends to establish himself as the supreme ruler, He must end all rebellion before He sets up His kingdom of peace. Jesus Christ will reign as the undisputed King of the whole earth, restoring the earth to Eden-like conditions, and as Isaiah will say in Chapter 35, "Only the redeemed will walk there." 

Because a day of judgment is coming in which the Lord will judge the thoughts and intents of the heart by His holy word, He cries out to the world, "Listen! Listen! Listen before it's too late! I can take away the filthy rags of sin and clothe you with robes of righteousness. I will make something new and beautiful out of your life. I am able to transform you into all that you are meant to be. Then you will walk with Me in white, rejoicing in the joys of the Lord forevermore. In Christ, you don't have to fear a day of judgment but can look forward to His eternal kingdom. You don't have to fearfully cast about you, trying to read the signs of the times, mired down in sin and shame. You can instead eagerly anticipate the day when Christ will call out His bride's name, and forever you will be with Him."

To a world that has accepted Christ, the Scriptures only have words of grace and mercy. But to a world that has rejected Him, the Scriptures tell of a day when, "All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from a the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree." (Isaiah 34:4) But today, while there is still breath in our bodies, the Spirit says, "Come to Jesus and be made whole. There is still time. If you have not made things right with Him, today is the day of salvation. Don't wait another minute. He will give you life, life more abundantly."

Below is a worship song link that I feel goes wonderfully with today's passage.

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