Isaiah 24

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 18, 1999

Introduction

We now enter a new section of Isaiah known as "Isaiahís Apocalypse". It covers chapters 24-27, and will deal with what we know as the "end times". It will give us a picture of the Tribulation period and the blessings of the coming reign of Jesus on the earth.

We believe one of the next events on the horizon prophetically, is the Rapture of the Church. This is where Jesus will come and snatch us away to be with Him (1Thes. 4:16-17). This will be followed by a period of seven years known as the Tribulation, where Godís judgment and wrath are poured out on an unbelieving world. At the end of seven years, Jesus returns, Satan is put into a prison, and Jesus will reign on the earth for 1,000 years. This is the time known as the Millennium.

:2 Ö as with the servant, so with his master

There will be no advantage to any special position in society. The judgment will affect all on the earth.

Lesson

Donít count too much on your position in the world.

We spend a lot of time looking for financial security. But there is a kind of security that goes far beyond what a good job can give you. A good job isnít going to help at all when Jesus comes back.

God wants your security to be in Jesus.

:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;

It almost sounds as if some of this is simply brought on by our own sin and itís results.

Adamís sin brought a curse to the earth (Gen. 3:17-19).

Israelís sins brought a curse to the land:

(Num 35:33 KJV) So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.

:5 they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance,

Lesson

Donít try to change the rules.

The trouble thatís coming to the earth will be because people have chosen to ignore Godís ways.

Godís laws donít change. Itís when you learn to live according to the laws of God that you avoid trouble.

If I chose to ignore the Law of Gravity, and after watching so many Superman cartoons, I decide that Iím going to go to the top of a tall building and just "float" off the edge. I can choose to ignore gravity, but my body is still going to pay the consequence as I splat on the pavement below.

One summary of Godís rules is found in the Ten Commandments:

(Exo 20:1-17 KJV) And God spake all these words, saying, {2} I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. {3} Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {4} Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: {5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; {6} And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. {7} Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. {8} Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: {10} But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: {11} For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I remember that some of us used to think that in the future, people would probably only be working three or four days a week. But I know a lot of people who are putting in six and seven days a week. We get so caught in debt that we have to work two or three jobs. And where is our time for God?

{12} Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

I donít see some kind of clause here that says we can stop honoring our parents when we reach a certain age.

{13} Thou shalt not kill. {14} Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Except this is what makes a blockbuster movie or a great video game.

{15} Thou shalt not steal. {16} Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

News Article: Most teens admit to lying and cheating, and nearly half say they've stolen something, according to a poll of more than 20,000 middle school and high school students. Yet almost all say it's important to have "good character." In a poll released by the Josephson Institute for Ethics, 47% of high school students admit to stealing from a store in the past year. 70% admit to cheating on an exam and 92% confess to lying to parents. Older teens were significantly more dishonest than 6th and 7th graders, who also admit to stealing (31%), cheating (54%), and lying (88%). The survey was distributed to randomly selected schools nationwide by the California-based Josephson Institute Ö - Desert Sun, October 20, 1998.

Where did these kids learn this? Probably from their parents.

{17} Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

We as Christians have learned that our salvation isnít based on keeping the Law perfectly because no one is able to do that. We understand that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. We have accepted His life as an exchange for our own.

But the rules for life are still the same. God does not base our salvation on keeping these things, but they are still His pattern for how things ought to be done.

Weíre going to baptize some of you this afternoon, and baptism is a picture of how we have died with Christ and have been raised and given a new life. Paul writes:

(Col 3:5-10 NLT) So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. {6} God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. {7} You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. {8} But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. {9} Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. {10} In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

Where does Paul get some of these "doís" and "doníts"? Godís Law. Donít try to change the rules.

:6 therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned

This week (7-15-99) there was a news report that China is claiming that it has the technology to make neutron bombs. Neutron bombs kill people by burning them with high levels of radiation, while leaving buildings in tact. I think itís possible that at least some of the judgment that is coming could very well come from manís own weapons.

:7-9 The anti-Harvest

:7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth

Some of the words that Isaiah is going to use here are usually words that describe a harvest time celebration ("new wine", "vine", "merryhearted"). The crops have been harvested, and itís time to celebrate. Yet instead of celebration, itís a time of sadness.

:8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth

tabrets Ė tambourines

:9 They shall not drink wine with a song;

Lesson

Harvest time is coming to a close.

The picture of harvest time is kind of interesting in that it can be a picture of good or evil. There can be two different reasons for being so happy. For some people, their only happiness comes when they party and escape. For others, they find their true happiness when they come to follow Jesus.

The sad thing is that both kinds of "harvest time" are coming to a close.

There will soon be a day when you wonít be able to party and escape your problems. There will also soon be a day when you will find it very difficult to follow Jesus Christ.

Sometimes you just canít keep putting things off. Sometimes itís too late.

:10 every house is shut up, that no man may come in.

(Isa 24:10 NLT) Öevery home is locked to keep out looters.

:11 There is a crying for wine in the streets

crying for wine Ė nothing is left to drown their sorrows.

Joel 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.

:13-15 The remnant sings

:13 as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done

There will not be a lot of people left alive on the earth at the end of the Tribulation period. It will be like a grapevine after the harvest is over. Very few grapes left. A lot of people will die during the Tribulation.

Weíre told in Rev.6:8 that one fourth of the earth is killed with the sword and hunger.

In Rev. 8:11, there is a kind of pollution that ruins the fresh water and "many men died of the waters". Then we see later on:

(Rev 9:12-21) One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. {13} And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, {14} Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. {15} And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

Which brings the death toll to at least half the worldís population by this time.

{16} And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. {17} And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. {18} By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. {19} For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. {20} And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: {21} Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Some people are under the impression that theyíre just going to party hardy now, and when the Tribulation comes, then theyíll get serious about Jesus. I donít mean to be pessimistic, but I doubt that will happen. If you canít live for Jesus now, when itís easy, how are you going to do it when itís hard? In Revelation, as the Tribulation continues, people wonít repent.

:14 They shall lift up their voice,

They Ė the righteous left on the earth after all the judgment has fallen.

There will be people coming to the Lord during the tribulation period. When itís all over, they will begin to worship the Lord.

The righteous will see the destruction and judgment of God and give Him glory in it. They will not see anything unfair or cruel in it. They will be glad to be alive.

:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires

glorify Ė kabad Ė to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured. To "glorify" the Lord means to make Him a "heavyweight" in your life.

fires Ė 'uwr Ė flame, light of fire

Some have suggested this is the fiery light of dawn, in other words, in the east. But the word used here is still "fire".

Lesson

Rejoice in the fire.

We may not be going through the Great Tribulation, but weíre still going to go through fire in our lives.

(1 Pet 1:6-7 KJV) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The "fiery" times in our lives are when we are facing all kinds of difficulties. God will use these times to refine us and remove the impurities. Did you forget that? Why do I keep going through trials? Perhaps God sees more refining that needs to take place.

Three young men refused to bow before King Nebuchadnezzarís giant idol. They stood before the king to tell him why they were not bowing:

(Dan 3:16-27 KJV) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. {17} If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. {18} But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. {19} Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. {20} And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. {21} Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. {22} Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. {23} And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. {24} Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. {25} He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. {26} Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. {27} And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

They were ready to follow God, even if it meant dying in the fire. And what happened in the fire? The men who had bound them were destroyed. The ropes that were used to bind them were destroyed. Jesus was in the fire with them. They didnít even smell like fire in the end.

We too can see God working in the fire if we open our eyes. We too can rejoice in the fire.

:16-23 The enemy captured

:16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness

Itís almost as if Isaiah can hear off in the distance the sound of these saints singing, glorifying God in the future. But back in Isaiahís day, heís bummed with the treacherous people around him.

:17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee

Isaiah uses the language of a hunter and his prey. The hunter will dig a pit and set a trap and then scare an animal into one or the other. The idea is that God is hunting down the unrighteous of the earth, and there is no escape from Him.

:18 shall be taken in the snare

Lesson

You canít run from God.

Right now God is chasing after you to show you His love and mercy. He wants you to know that He has done everything necessary to get you into heaven. Heís chasing you down to give you your ticket. But youíve got to stop running and take the ticket.

There will be a day when God will no longer be chasing for mercy. There will be a day when itís time for judgment. You canít escape it.

What I find amazing is that anyone would want to run from Him in the first place.

:18 for the windows from on high are open

windows from on high Ė a picture of rain (Gen. 7:11), language that was used during the Great Flood of Noah.

:20 shall be removed like a cottage

like a cottage Ė like a flimsy hut swaying in the wind out in a field.

:21 the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high

the host of the high ones that are on high Ėa reference to disobedient angels (namely, demons).

When Jesus returns, Satan will be put into prison:

(Rev 20:1-3 KJV) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. {2} And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, {3} And cast him 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.

After that, Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire forever (Rev. 20:10).

There are actually people in this world who think itís a kick to openly follow after Satan. Iíve got news for you. Satan does NOT win.

:22 shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

visited Ė visited in judgment.

This refers to the time when all the unbelievers will be in hell for 1,000 years, after which they will be brought out and be judged at the Great White Throne judgment. From there they will be cast into the lake of fire forever. (Rev. 20:11-15)

:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion

Jesus will reign in the current Jerusalem for 1,000 years during what is known as the "Millennium". After that, the heavens and earth are replaced with a new heavens and earth, and God will rule from "New Jerusalem".

Godís glory will be so bright that it will put the sun and moon to shame for their lack of brightness. In the New Jerusalem, there will not even be a sun or moon because Godís light will light up the whole place.

(Rev 21:23 KJV) And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Lesson

Jesus is coming back.

Are you ready?