Today, our reading is about the return on Christ. We will again see that this will includes both judgment and salvation. We begin with judgment. We have seen the threats against particular nations (Israel, Syria, Judah, Tyre, Assyria, Babylon, Moab) that include utter destruction and/or captivity. Here, God threatens the whole earth with this (24:1). The “scatter” is the same word used in Gen 11:9 to describe the worldwide judgment at Babel. All levels of society: high and low, rich and poor will be destroyed (vv. 2-3). In verse 5, we see that the whole earth has “transgressed the laws” of God. Therefore, the curse, not the blessing (see Deut 28), will be given to the world (v. 6). The eating and drinking and making merry will come to an end (vv. 7-9). The desolation of the earth will be complete (vv. 10-13).
Yet, there are those who will rejoice in that day (v. 14). From east and west, from the coastlands, indeed those from all the earth will praise God (vv. 14-16a). But Isaiah pronounces woe over the judgment that accompanies this rejoicing (v. 16b). The earth will be utterly destroyed (vv. 17-20). The fallen angels will be utterly destroyed (vv. 21) with those of the earth (v. 22). We then see the heavenly bodies being destroyed (v. 23 – see 13:10), and YHWH (in Christ) reigning on the earth with His church.
And we see in chapter 25 that the church rejoices at His coming (25:1). The enemies of the church and of God will be destroyed (v. 2) and all the earth will bow to Christ (v. 3). Isaiah exults in God for His preservation of His church (vv. 4-5). In verse 6, we see again the mountain that is where heaven meets earth. The blessings of our final state are compared with a feast of the best food and drink. The covering and the veil of verse 7 is the death of verse 8. God will remove death at our resurrection forever, and mourning and suffering will be no more (see Rev 21:4), and our enemies will be no more. And we will rejoice in Him (v. 9). And our salvation will be complete. We will dwell with Him on the mountain of God (v. 10.). Moab is symbolic of all the nations here. Note that again pride is listed as the sin of those being destroyed (v. 11). In verse 12, the walls that will be destroyed represent prude, similar to 2:11-15.
In chapter 26, we see that “in that day” will be sung the song of our salvation. Rather than the walls of pride (and sin), God’s people will be fortified in His salvation (26:1). Our gates are open to those who are made righteous by faith, as opposed to those God will destroy (v. 2 – see 24:12). God’s salvation will bring perfect peace (literally “peace, peace” in Hebrew). In verses 5-6 we see that the humble are brought low by those who are poor and needy. This is our reign with Christ (see Matt 19:28).
In verses 7-8 we see that our path is made straight by the righteous judgment of God. This is the judgment that fell on Christ. In verse 9, we see that the chastisement of God brings righteousness for those of faith, and in verse 10 that this same chastisement does not affect the wicked. The wicked cannot see God at work in the world (v. 11). On their day of judgment (v. 11) we will receive peace (v. 12). Note that it is God Who has done all of our works necessary for this peace (salvation). While we are subject to temporal powers here on hearth, ultimately, God is still our King (vv. 13). The language of increasing the nation and the borders of the land speaks to God’s inclusion of the whole world in His salvation (v. 15). And through this, God is glorified.
In verses 16-18, we see that our reward is not to be found in this life. We suffer and are disciplined by God. This life is like suffering birth pains, but in this life, we do not see the reward of them (we give “birth to wind”). In this life, the unrighteous do not receive what they deserve. Yet in the end, we know we have a reward (v. 19). We will be raised unto everlasting life. Verses 20-21 are an encouragement to look to this hope. God will judge justly. We will be rewarded. The wicked will get their due. All will be raised, and all will be judged (see Dan 12:2-3, John 5:28-29 Acts 17:31).
In chapter 27 we are still discussing what will happen “in that day.” The dragon and Leviathan are Satan (27:1 – see Rev 12:9). He will be defeated in that day along with death. And God will have a “pleasant vineyard” as opposed to the vineyard that yielded only wild grapes (v. 2 – see 5:1-7). God is the Keeper and Protector of the vineyard (His spiritual people) (v. 3). There are no “thorns and briers” in His vineyard, so complete is His protection. In verse 6, we see that Israel and Judah will take root in this vineyard and “fill the whole world with fruit.” This is the fulfillment of the creation mandate to be fruitful and fill the earth (Gen 1:28), and the Abrahamic Covenant which promised blessing for the whole earth (Gen 12:1-3). Adam failed. Noah failed. Physical Israel failed. Christ (the true Son of Abraham – see Gal 3:16) will succeed through His church (see Acts 1:8 and Matt 24:14).
In verses 7-8 God is pointing His people to their eternal reward. Though the nations (Assyria and Babylon) came against God’s physical people, they will receive a worse fate. This is, of course, a metaphor for the spiritual. The justice that will be done for God’s people (in Christ) will atone for their sin, and all of their idols will be overcome (v. 9). For those who do not repent (the world – spiritual Babylon), they will be left desolate like physical Babylon (vv. 10-11). In verses 12-13 we see the restoration (final salvation) pictured. Those in captivity in Babylon or Egypt will be called to the mountain of YHWH. God will “glean” His people “one by one” – a beautiful picture of God’s sovereign grace in salvation.