Isaiah speaks at length about the judgment of God, as well as the kingdom of Christ. These prophetic topics are both sobering and encouraging. The prophecies assure us that God is in control, He is just, and He is faithful to His promises and to His own people.
The Revelation of the Future Kingdom
Today’s Wisdom Journey brings us to chapter 24 in the book of Isaiah. These next few chapters have been called the “Little Apocalypse.” The word apocalypse is a Greek term that means disclosure, or revelation, particularly of future events. In fact, that is why the book of Revelation is called the Apocalypse. It describes the future judgments of the tribulation, as well as the kingdom blessings that follow.
The shift here in Isaiah from the nations surrounding Judah to the whole world is evident. The message for Judah in Isaiah’s day is to put their trust in the Lord, not other nations, which will all experience God’s judgment—if not soon, certainly in the end-times tribulation described here.
Isaiah’s message begins in chapter 24, verse 1: “Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.” Now I doubt there is a seismometer that can measure an earthquake so powerful that it twists the face of the whole earth, but that’s powerful language for the trouble that is coming.
Listen to this description:
The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word . . . The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt. (verses 3, 5-6)
And so, to the end of the chapter, the judgment of God is described. Thankfully, it is not all gloom and doom. In fact, we are given here a vision of a great choir singing:
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord . . . give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. (verses 14-16)
The “Righteous One” here is our Messiah and King, the Lord Jesus.
Who are the people singing in this choir? Well, they are among those who have come to faith in Christ during the tribulation period—a great multitude of Jews and Gentiles, many of whom have responded to the gospel preaching described in Revelation 7. The book of Revelation gives us many details of the world-wide spiritual awakening that will bring people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to faith in Jesus Christ.
Now in chapter 25, we are given a description of the millennial kingdom, the one-thousand-year reign of Christ on earth promised by the prophets. The redeemed of all time are singing God’s praise during Christ’s earthly reign. Their words present reasons for every believer in every age to sing the Lord’s praise.
The first reason is the faithfulness of the Lord, as we see in the opening words of the song:
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more. (verses 1-2)
In other words, the Lord has kept His promise, and the city of Babylon, representing Satan’s consolidated power during the tribulation—as well as his wicked agenda throughout the ages—is now crushed. It will never be built again.
The second reason to sing is the fruitfulness of the kingdom. Verse 6 describes the festival and feasting here:
On this mountain [Jerusalem] the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
This is a reference to the overflowing blessings of Christ’s kingdom. Nobody will go hungry or unsatisfied again. Jesus promised, “Many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). I am looking forward to having a meal with Abraham—I would like to know what it was like to become a father at the age of 100, or what Isaac felt when he got on top of that altar, willing to die.
Well, a third reason to sing is the fulfillment of certain promises during the kingdom era. We read in verse 8:
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away.
Listen, beloved, this is your future. No matter how hard, no matter how disappointing, no matter how many setbacks and valleys you have been through, no matter how many tears you have shed, you are heading toward a time when life is characterized as a banquet with Jesus. And we are assured that death is not invited. There will be no more farewells.
I love the fact that those in the kingdom are saying here in verse 9, “We have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him.” I love that: “We have been waiting for Him; we have been longing for this glorious life, and finally, it’s here.”
Isaiah 26 continues the description of our joy in the kingdom. “That day” in verse 1 indicates Isaiah is still speaking of the thousand-year reign of Christ. He says, “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah.”
The song describes two cities. One is the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the coming kingdom. Regarding that city, verse 2 says the Lord will “open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.” Being righteous means being “right with God,” and being right with God means you are right with the Son of God, the Lord Jesus—you have claimed Him as your Messiah.
And by the way, if you don’t want anything to do with Jesus now, you would be unhappy in this city, because Jesus is the King, and we will be celebrating our salvation.
Isaiah adds that those who know the Lord have perfect peace. He writes, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (verse 3). Imagine perfect peace. We can get only a little taste of it here and now; it is hard to keep our minds on Christ with all the distractions within and without. But in the kingdom, we will be glorified, having been given immortal bodies. With no more sin nature and no more distractions around us, we will finally experience unhindered, continual, perfect peace of mind and heart.
Chapter 27 continues the millennial picture, but here Isaiah focuses on the restoration of believing Israel.
Verse 1 informs us that “in that day the Lord … will punish Leviathan,” which here is used as a name for Satan. That old dragon, Satan, has sought ever since the garden of Eden to destroy God’s plan of salvation through Israel. He has done everything he could to stamp out the Messiah, but he has failed.
Israel is now described as a restored nation—a “pleasant vineyard” (verse 2). The Lord is the vineyard’s “keeper,” who will “water it” (verse 3). “Israel shall blossom and . . . fill the whole earth with fruit” (verse 6).
Isaiah writes in verse 13: “In that day . . those who were driven out [the Jewish people] . . . will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.” The people of Israel will receive their special place in Jerusalem. On “that day”—a reference to the kingdom age—the promises of God to Israel will finally and fully be realized.
Do you know what that means for you and me today? You cannot redo yesterday, and you must not worry about tomorrow. But you can and should live today in light of that coming day when you will literally reign with Christ in His coming kingdom.