Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nineteen through twenty-four of this Old Testament book. THE BURDEN OF THE NATIONS! THE WORD OF THE LORD TO THE NATIONS! WE SPEAK TO NATIONS! THE PROPHET OF CHRIST SPEAKS UNTO THE NATIONS! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find something that is quite unique when reading and considering the prophetic literature found within the Old Testament. As you continue to study the prophetic literature found within the Old Testament—specifically and particularly the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos—you will find that these ancient Hebrew prophets saw more than simply a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Upon careful study and consideration of the words and language that is found within each of these books you will find powerful prophetic language concerning the nations, the lands and the peoples round about the nation and kingdom of Israel—both the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. The more you read the words found and contained within these books the more you will encounter what I would describe as a burden for the nations. It’s truly something unique and intriguing when you consider the fact that these ancient Hebrew prophets didn’t merely see a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem and the people of God, but they also saw a vision concerning the nations. Concerning Isaiah the son of Amoz I have written concerning his not merely being a prophet unto Jerusalem and Judah, but also how he was the prophet of the Messiah. There was a movie released not too long ago entitled “Paul: Apostle of Christ,” and it is absolutely undeniable that the apostle Paul was indeed not only an apostle unto the Gentiles, but also the apostle of Christ. That moment on the road to Damascus forever changed and transformed him, and after spending three years learning before and at the feet of Christ in Arabia he would come forth from the desert and wilderness preaching nothing save Jesus the Christ, and Him crucified, buried and raised again from death to life. For the apostle Paul there was no higher honor, nor was there any higher calling than preaching Jesus—first to the Jews, and ultimately unto the Gentiles.
If you read and study Scripture you will find that while Israel was indeed the chosen people of God—and were chosen from the time of Abraham when the LORD called him forth out of Ur of the Chaldeans—yet within and throughout Scripture you will find that the prophets and apostles always seemed to point to the Gentiles as well. The more you read and the more you consider the language of the prophets, and the more you consider the writings of the apostles, as well as the book of Acts, you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that the Gentiles have always had and will always have a part and place within the divine plan of God. The LORD has indeed chosen Israel as the apple of His eye, and the LORD has never and will never cast off nor forsake His people, however, we must recognize and understand that the LORD did in fact have a great deal to say concerning the Gentiles, and the nations of the earth round about Israel. The vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw is the first prophetic book found within the Old Testament, and is therefore not only the first introduction to the Messiah and Christ within the prophetic literature, but also the first introduction to the burden unto the nations of the earth. In all reality, I would dare say that the vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw would and could not be complete without and apart from this burden unto the nations, and this burden unto the Gentiles. In fact, I would dare say that you cannot truly understand the divine work, the divine plan, and the divine will of God without and apart from understanding His divine plan for the nations. What’s more, is that it would be through His servants the prophets we would find a truly wonderful and powerful burden which was released in the earth concerning the nations round about Israel. When Israel was brought forth out of the land of Egypt and brought into the land that was to be theirs as an inheritance, they were place between the Mediterranean Sea at their backside, and nations all around them. In all reality, this has been the narrative of the people of God since the time they came out of Egypt, for you will recall the LORD instructed Moses to lead them unto the Red Sea. It would be there at the Red Sea where the children of Israel would find themselves seemingly trapped between the sea at their backs and the enemy and adversary before them.
I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we saw and witnessed there at the Red Sea was more than simply the children of Israel finding themselves in a place where they were trapped between impossibility behind them and an adversary before them, but actually a powerful prophetic picture and portent concerning their place within the earth. In fact, I would dare say that their encounter at the Red Sea would indeed prepare them for their place in the earth, for when the LORD would bring them into that land which was to be their own He would place them in the midst of the nations. If you study maps of ancient Israel and the surrounding nations you will find and discover that their place in the earth was one of tremendous risk and the possibility of danger, devastation, destruction, and the like. As you study the maps of ancient Israel and the nations which surrounded it you will find that to the north they were bordered by Lebanon, while to the south they were bordered by Philistia. Further south would be the nation and land of Egypt, while northeast of the nation of Israel would be the nation of Syria. Their entire eastern border would be made up and comprised of the nations of Moab, Ammon and Edom. Lebanon, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom and Philistia were only the nations immediately round about the land of Israel, for you will also find the land of Egypt, the land of Assyria, as well as the land of Babylon. Eventually and ultimately you would find the ancient lands of Persia and Greece also playing a role and part in those nations and lands round about the nation of Israel. Of course this cannot leave out the ancient city and empire of Rome which would be the dominant empire and world power during the days and times of Jesus the Christ. The words which you will find in the prophetic book of Isaiah—specifically beginning with the thirteenth chapter—will bring you face to face with powerful burdens concerning the nations and lands which were round about ancient Israel—burdens which would concern Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Edom, Tyre, Ammon, Egypt, and Syria. If you are to truly understand the words which are found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah it is absolutely necessary that you understand the tremendous burden which he had concerning the nations which were round about the land of Israel. The prophet Isaiah—among various other Hebrew prophets—didn’t merely see a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem, but rather a vision concerning those nations that either had direct dealings with Israel, or would have direct dealings with them in the future.
You cannot truly understand the history of the Jewish people without understanding it in direct connection to the nations, the peoples and the lands which were round about them. What’s more, is that some of these nations which were round about them would have close connections and close ties with them dating back to the days and time of Abraham. The nations of Moab and Ammon would be direct descendants of the sons which were both unto both of Lots daughters after they had incestuous relations with him after escaping for their lives from the destruction that would consume and overtake the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The nation and people of Edom would be direct descendants of Esau, for even in the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find it written how Esau was also called Edom because of his being red when he came forth from the womb. What’s more, is that in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find a narrative concerning Edom and how the Edomites directly descended from Esau, and how they would become a nation in the midst of the earth with their own inheritance in Seir. This is important to understand, for at least three of the nations surrounding ancient Israel would be closely connected and related to them through Abraham. It’s truly something interesting to think about and consider when you realize that the burden which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning these nations would actually be a burden he would see concerning close relatives of ancient Israel, and would have a history that would date all the way back to the time of Abraham. What’s more, is that concerning Edom you will find that Edom would essentially be the brother of Israel, as Edom descended from Esau who was the brother of Jacob whose name would be changed to Israel. It’s actually quite intriguing to consider how everything during those days was so interconnected and related to each other, and how the vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem would also touch the nations and lands which were round about them.
As you read the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah concerning the burden of and the burden unto the nations, it is important that you recognize the direct connection to the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book. Upon beginning to read the eleventh chapter of the vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw you will find a powerful Messianic prophecy concerning the Christ and the person, presence and power of the Spirit of the LORD upon Him. This prophetic declaration and revelation concerning the Messiah would eventually and ultimately transition to a statement and declaration of peace, and would ultimately come to touch the nations and lands which were round about Israel. If you read the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah and begin reading with and from the eleventh verse you will find the following declaration which would be spoken by the prophet concerning the reign of the Messiah and the direct impact and effect it would have upon the nations which were round about Israel. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this chapter beginning with the eleventh verse of this chapter:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with His mighty wind shall he shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it in seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that He came up out of the land of Egypt” (Isaiah 11:11-16).
The words and language which is found within this passage of Scripture is powerful language concerning recovery, concerning restoration, and returning for the children of Israel. This is actually quite intriguing and captivating when you focus your attention on the fact that neither the northern kingdom of Israel, nor the southern kingdom of Judah had yet been taken and carried away captive from and out of their land. If you study the history of the two divided kingdoms of Israel—the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah—you will find that the northern kingdom of Israel would be carried away captive out of their land by the Assyrians, while the southern kingdom of Judah would be carried away captive by the Babylonians. What’s more, is that we aren’t given any indication as to at what point during the prophetic ministry of Isaiah he spoke these words. This is key when you consider the fact that these words might have been prophesied before the northern kingdom of Israel would be invaded by the Assyrian army, and before the southern kingdom of Judah would be invaded by the Babylonian empire. What’s more, is that if you read the historical books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles you will find that it wouldn’t be until the days of the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah when the Assyrian Empire would invade the northern kingdom of Israel when Hoshea reigned as king over the land. It would be during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, which the opening chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah reveals was the fourth king whose reign Isaiah prophesied the word of the LORD during. If there is one thing that is truly remarkable when reading the prophetic book of Isaiah, it’s that there is this underlying motif—not only about speaking of those things before they happened, but also even singing about things before you actually experience the reason why you’re singing. If you continue to move within and throughout the Old Testament book of Isaiah you will find this language of song and singing new songs before and unto the LORD before even experiencing the direct manifestation of the song itself. The words and language which are found in the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah point to and reveal a recovery and restoration that would take place even before the people of God would themselves be carried away captive out of the land which was given unto them according to the oath and promise made unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
What makes the words and language found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah so incredibly unique—specifically the language that surrounds the burdens of the nations—is that in between the language found in the eleventh chapter concerning the Messiah and the recovery of the people of God from the nations of the earth, and the actual burden which Isaiah saw concerning the nations you will find the language of praise and the language of song. In all reality, the language that is found in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah is quite similar to the language that is found in the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus. The words we find in the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah not only point to a future recovery and restoration of the people of God from among the nations of the earth, but it also points back to their deliverance and redemption from the slavery, bondage and oppression in Egypt. In fact, the final words recorded in the eleventh chapter read as follows: “like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” The words which we find in the eleventh chapter of the vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw are words which speak to a future restoration and recovery of the children of Israel out of the nations and lands to which they were driven and captive, and the words found in the twelfth chapter are words of praise which would be sung by the people of God in that day when they would experience restoration and recovery from the nations and lands unto which they had been driven. With that being said, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the twelfth chapter, for although it is only six verses it contains powerful truth concerning the awesome and glorious work of the LORD in recovering and restoring His people from the midst of their captivity. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this twelfth chapter concerning the praise of the people of God:
“And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon His name, Declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for He hath done excellent things: This is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel In the midst of thee” (Isaiah 12:1-6).
The final words of the eleventh chapter point to a day in the past when the children of Israel were brought up out of the land of Egypt, and up out of their slavery, bondage and oppression, while the opening words of the twelfth chapter speak of a future day when the children of Israel and people of God would be brought forth out of their captivity, and would be recovered and restored by the LORD. This is truly something worth considering, for even before the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires were a threat to the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, the LORD would already proclaim their recovery and restoration. This takes on a whole new meaning when you consider that even before the children of Israel would become slaves in the land of Egypt and would dwell in the midst of the land for four-hundred and thirty years, the LORD would speak unto His friend Abraham and declare unto him how his descendants would be enslaved in a land that wasn’t their own before the LORD would redeem, rescue and deliver them. In the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the LORD entering into covenant with Abraham, and while Abraham was in a deep sleep the LORD passed through the parts of the sacrifice and spoke very clearly unto Abraham. When entering into and cutting covenant with Abraham, the LORD would not only speak to and reveal unto Abraham truth concerning his becoming a great nation and a great people, but also a profound word that would concern his descendants who would be enslaved in a foreign and strange land that was not their own. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the word of the LORD coming unto Abraham in a vision saying unto him, “Fear not, Abraham: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Abram would respond to the LORD by asking the LORD what He would give him since he went childless, and the steward of his house—the Eliezer of Damascus—would inherit everything he had. The word of the LORD would come unto Abram a second time and would emphatically declare that not only would Eliezer not be his heir, but one which would come forth out of his own bowels would be his heir. What follows next is truly wonderful and powerful language concerning the covenant and promise the LORD would make with Abraham. Consider if you will this encounter and exchange between Abraham and the LORD, and pay close attention to the words and language which was spoken concerning the descendants which would proceed forth from Abraham:
“And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a yong pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward they shall come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generations hey shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Keynotes, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:4-20).
Within the words found in this chapter we not only find the LORD speaking unto Abram concerning the descendants which would proceed from his own bowels, but we also find the LORD speaking directly unto Abram concerning his descendants and how they would be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and would would serve them. Moreover, the LORD declared how this people would afflict them four hundred years, but how He would judge that nation which afflicted the people of God. The LORD would also go on to declare that after He judged the nation which afflicted His people they would come forth with great substance. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for during the days of Abraham—long before Moses would even be conceived within the womb of Jochebed—the LORD proclaimed unto Abram that his descendants would be slaves in a strange and foreign land that was not their own. The LORD would speak unto Abram and declare unto him that his seed would serve a nation and people not their own, and would be afflicted by them, but how the LORD would judge that nation, and would bring them out with great substance. Pause and consider how absolutely astonishing this encounter between Abram and the LORD truly was, for Abram would learn that although his seed would be as many and as numerous as the stars in the sky they would serve a nation and people four hundred years. What adds even more weight and meaning to this is when you think about and consider the fact that generations and centuries before Moses would be born, and centuries before the LORD would appear unto Moses in the midst of a burning bush, He not only proclaimed and spoke of the slavery, bondage and oppression of the people of Israel, but He also spoke of their deliverance and redemption out of the midst of that bondage, oppression and slavery. This is a truly wonderful theme that is found within scripture, for as you read Scripture you will not only find the LORD speaking of the children of Israel being ransomed and redeemed from their slavery, bondage and oppression centuries before they would even enter into the land of Egypt, but you also find the LORD prophesying and speaking about the restoration and recovery of the children of Israel from the nations and lands into which they had been scattered. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for this is the language that is found in the latter portion of the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah.
As you read the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah you will find Isaiah the son of Amoz speaking of a future restoration and recovery of the children of Israel from the nations and lands unto which they had been scattered. Generations before the children of Israel would experience their land and inheritance being invaded, and would experience their being carried away captive out of the land which was sworn unto their ancestors, the LORD would begin speaking through His servants the prophets of their restoration and recovery. It’s quite intriguing, however, to think about and consider that during the days of Isaiah the son of Amoz we would not only read of the events which would unfold during the days in which he prophesied, but we would also learn of future events which would take place in the days to come. Upon reading and examining this Old Testament prophetic book you will find that the prophetic ministry of Isaiah the son of Amoz not only spoke to current events which were taking place and which would take place, but also future events which would take place later on in future generations. Isaiah the son of Amoz saw a time and day coming when the LORD would restore and recover His saints and His people from the nations and lands unto which they had been scattered, and would once more bring them back into their own land. The words which we find in the twelfth chapter of this prophetic book are the words which the children of Israel would sing before the LORD on that day when they came forth from the midst of those nations and lands. What’s truly unique about the words which are found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters, as well as the words which are found in chapters thirteen and beyond is that in the eleventh chapter we find the children of Israel being restored and recovered from the nations into which they were driven, in the twelfth chapter we read of a great joy they would experience in that day, and in chapters thirteen and forward we find a number of chapters that describe the burden which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning the nations and lands which were round about the land of Israel. The LORD would indeed rescue, restore and recover His people out of their captivity and from the lands into which they had been driven, but the LORD would also do a work in the midst of the nations and lands into which they had been driven. The LORD would not only judge and punish nations for their previous sins and actions committed against the children of Israel, but also those nations which would commit future acts against the people of God. What we find in chapters thirteen and beyond are powerful prophetic burdens and words which were spoken by the prophet Isaiah concerning and unto these nations of the earth. The prophet Isaiah would be a prophet of the LORD unto Judah and Jerusalem, however, the prophet would also see a burden for the nations of the earth which were round about Israel.
The twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah ends with the declaration “For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee,” and the first verse of the thirteenth and following chapter would begin with the words “The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.” The twelfth chapter of this prophetic book would conclude with a powerful statement and declaration concerning the Holy One of Israel being great in the midst of her, and would immediately be followed by a burden that would be directed to Babylon. In fact, the burden concerning Babylon would not only be found within the thirteenth chapter, but would also be found in the fourteenth chapter. Both the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of this prophetic book must be read and understood together, for the thirteenth chapter describes the burden which Isaiah saw concerning Babylon, while the fourteenth chapter of this book would not only contain a lament concerning the king of Babylon, but it would also contain a much deeper truth and application concerning the king of Babylon. Isaiah would not be the only prophet who would feel and experience the burden for the nations round about Israel, for the prophets Amos, Ezekiel and Jeremiah would also experience the burdens of the nations. In all reality, we might very well say that although Daniel didn’t necessary experience a burden for the nations of the earth round about Israel, he nonetheless saw visions concerning the empires that would rise up and emerge within the earth—empires such as the Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, and even the Roman Empire. The vision(s) which Daniel saw—specifically those which are recorded in chapters seven through twelve of the prophetic book which bore his name—not only describe the kingdoms and empires of the earth, but also the thrones of kings. What’s more, is that Daniel would ultimately see into and unto the Last Days and would see the final empire and thrones which would be set up in the midst of the earth—at least until the Ancient of Days who sat upon the throne in heaven would cast down thrones, kingdoms, kings and empires alike. While Daniel saw visions of empires, thrones and kingdoms, other Hebrew prophets would see tremendous visions and would experience tremendous burdens for the nations round about Israel. What’s more, is that of these Hebrew prophets—only Isaiah and Ezekiel would see beyond the earthly throne, beyond the earthly king who sat upon that throne, and would see into the supernatural realm at the power and authority which was behind the throne.
As you read the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah you will find the prophet speaking of something that would become a common theme within and throughout the prophetic literature and language of the Old Testament. If you begin reading with and from the sixth verse of the thirteenth chapter you will find the first mention of a theme which would be synonymous with the prophetic language and literature, and would become a dominant theme within each of the prophetic books found within Scripture. Upon beginning to read from the sixth verse of this vision which Isaiah saw you will find the prophet speaking concerning “the day of the LORD,” and speaking unto and foreseeing a day coming when there would be great judgment, great devastation, great destruction, great chaos and confusion upon the earth. You cannot read the words which are found in the prophetic literature of the Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality of “the day of the LORD,” for these ancient Hebrew prophets would all see a day coming when the LORD would not only judge the nations of the earth, but would also bring judgment and punishment upon the face of the earth. The day of the LORD is perhaps one of the most common and controversial themes found within the Scripture, as contained and bound up within this particular day is a great judgment and destruction that would come upon the face of the earth, and would directly impact the inhabitants of the earth. This theme of “the day of the LORD” would be such a prominent theme found within the Scriptures that the apostles themselves would speak of it in the New Testament. In fact, if you study the words which are found within the Scripture you will find that the language which began in the mouths of the Hebrew prophets concerning “the day of the LORD” would continue through the days and times of the apostles. Perhaps three of the most well-known references concerning “the day of the LORD” are found in the second epistle of the apostle Peter, the epistle written by Jude, as well as the first and second epistle of the apostle Paul which was written unto the Thessalonian saints. Before we get into the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah concerning the day of the LORD, I would like to invite you to consider the words which are found within the New Testament concerning this tremendous event and time period:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the LORD shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by name means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The LORD is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longusffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing, ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:1-18).
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, thou ye once knew this, how that the LORD, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michal the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The LORD rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know natural, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 5-11).
These passages—more so the words which are found in the epistles written unto the Thessalonian saints, and the second epistle written by the apostle Peter—bring us face to face with the knowledge of the day of the LORD and further confirm the tremendous reality that even during the days of the apostles the day of the LORD was still a common theme that was being spoken about. This is actually quite telling when you think about it, for the fact that the apostles wrote concerning the day of the LORD speaks to and suggests the fact that it had not yet happened during their days. The ancient Hebrew prophets prophesied and spoke concerning the day of the LORD, and offered no specific timeline for when it would actually take place, and when you come to the writings of the apostle Paul and Peter you will find them both writing concerning the day of the LORD. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for when we read the words found in the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we come face to face with the reality of the day of the LORD, and begin to understand that there was coming a day when the LORD would rise up to judge the nations of the earth. There is coming a day of the LORD when He can and will bring judgment, devastation, destruction, chaos, confusion and calamity upon the face of the earth, and here in the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah we find mention of the day of the LORD, and its significance in the coming days ahead. The more we read the words which are found within the prophetic book of Isaiah the more we must think about and consider the fact that when he prophesied concerning the nations of the earth, he would prophesy and speak concerning judgment and destruction that would come upon them from the LORD. The burden which the prophet Isaiah saw concerning the nations of the earth would be burdens that would reveal events which would take place in the midst of the earth—events which would dramatically shake the nations of the earth. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering how the LORD can, and the LORD will bring upon the earth what Scripture refers to as “the day of the LORD,’ and can and will bring the nations of the earth face to face with His divine glory, his divine presence, and His divine power. In fact, in the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah we find the prophet calling for men to howl for the day of the LORD is at hand, as the day of the LORD would come as a destruction from the Almighty. The prophet Isaiah would go on to describe how all hands would be faint, and how every man’s heart shall melt for fear, terror and dread. What’s more, is the prophet Isaiah would go on to speak about the fact that men shall be afraid, and how pangs and sorrow shall take hold of them.
It’s interesting and worth noting that in the sixth verse of the thirteenth chapter we find the prophet declaring that the day of the LORD is at hand, while in the ninth verse we find the prophet Isaiah speaking of the day of the LORD as coming. In the sixth verse the prophet declares how “the day of the LORD is at hand,” and in the ninth verse of the same chapter the prophet declares that “the day of the LORD cometh.” In verses six through eight the prophet describes the mindset and emotional state of men and women during those days as their hearts can and will fail them for fear. Verses six through eight describe the fear, the terror and the dread that would surround the day of the LORD, while verses nine onward describe the events that can and will take place when the day of the LORD does in fact take place in the midst of and upon the earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these sections of the thirteenth chapter:
“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: and they shall e afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall e in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames” (Isaiah 13:6-8).
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in His going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than find gold; even a man that the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; Their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall e as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall e full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:9-22).
If there is one thing I cannot help but encounter and come face to face with when reading the words of this passage of Scripture it’s just how much we as the people of God need to be prepared and need to be ready for the coming of the day of the LORD, and how we need to recognize and understand what to expect. There have been a number of scholars and teachers throughout the years who have preached a pre-tribulation rapture, and how Jesus the Christ can and will deliver and rapture us from the earth before all the judgment, all the wrath, all the devastation and all the destruction can and will take place. The truth of the matter is that the more I read the words which are found in Scripture and the more I think about the day of the LORD and the events surrounding it, the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that there is coming a day when the LORD can and will judge the nations of the earth, and can and will punish the inhabitants of the earth. What’s interesting when you read the words which are found in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah is that in the thirteenth chapter we find the prophet Isaiah prophesying concerning the day of the LORD, and how the LORD is going to unleash a torrent of judgment and wrath upon the earth, and how within and during those days He can and will have mercy on Jacob. The first two verses of the fourteenth chapter describe the great mercy the LORD is going to have upon Jacob, and how the LORD can will bestow grace and compassion upon them. In the midst of the day of the LORD the LORD is going to choose Jacob and is going to choose Israel once more, and is going to rescue, redeem, deliver and save them. In the first verse of the fourteenth chapter of this prophetic book we read how the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, how the LORD would yet choose Israel, and how He would set them in their own land, and how strangers shall be joined with them. IN the second verse we find how the people of Israel shall take those which join themselves unto them, and bring them to their place. What’s more, the prophet Isaiah also goes on to reveal how the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids. How truly awesome and powerful it is to think about and consider the awesome reality that in the midst of the day of the LORD and all the chaos that is taking place in the midst of the earth we find the LORD showing mercy unto Jacob and once more choosing Israel.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I find it absolutely unique concerning the words and language that are contained within chapters thirteen through twenty-two, for the words found within these chapters point to the LORD entering into judgment with the nations round about Israel, the LORD choosing Jacob and showing mercy unto Israel. The words and language found within these chapters bring us face to face with the truth that the day of the LORD is going to be a day when the LORD enters into judgment and controversy with the nations of the earth, and when the LORD can and will choose Israel once more. There is wrapped up and bound in the manifestation of the day of the LORD a declaration of mercy and grace which would be shown unto the people of God in that day. The more I read the words found written within these chapters the more I can’t help but acknowledge my own need to consider the language that was written concerning the day of the LORD, and the LORD’s controversy with the nations of the earth, and ensure that not only am I not ignorant, but also that I diligently strive to prepare myself and make myself ready for the events that can and will take place in the earth. There is a tremendous and wonderful call to faithfulness and obedience in the midst of the earth during these times in which we are living, and the underlying question we must ask is whether or not we are truly taking the steps to prepare ourselves and make ourselves ready for that great and terrible day of the LORD. The time for games, and the time for not choosing to be serious in the sight and presence of God must indeed come to an end, and we must acknowledge our need for personal holiness and our need for personal righteousness, faithfulness and obedience in the sight of the living God. We must understand what manner of people we ought to be and what manner of conversations we must have that we might truly walk in the light of the LORD, and truly walk in peace, in rest, and in obedience before the LORD. What’s worth noting and pointing out is essentially a secondary reference found within this Old Testament prophetic book in the twenty-fourth chapter, as what you find within that chapter is a remarkable picture of this day of the LORD and what the LORD can and will do within the earth. As we read the words which are found within this prophetic book it is absolutely necessary that we recognize the words which are found here, as they bring us face to face with how the LORD deals with sin, transgression, iniquity and wickedness in the world. We cannot have a prophetic declaration concerning the nations of the earth without also coming to this passage found in the twenty-fourth chapter. What we find within this passage is a truly powerful picture of just what that great and terrible day of the LORD is going to look like. We must needs understand the imagery that is found within this chapter, for by doing so we are brought to a place where we not only see just how the LORD can and will deal with the nations of the earth and unrepentant Gentiles, but also what the LORD is going to do upon the earth. I leave you now with the words which are found in this particular chapter beginning with the first and opening verse:
“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 e, as with the people, so with the 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 usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth 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, changed the ordinance, 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 are left. The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry hearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. IN the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. 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 grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the makest of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who flee the from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. 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. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall e shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall e confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously” (Isaiah 24:1-23).