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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 24:18-23

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Isaiah’s prophecies against the nations are coming to an end:

The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
     the foundations of the earth shake.

This passage, the end of verse 18, is almost an exact quotation of Genesis 7:11. The memory of the most horrible catastrophe the world has ever scene is caught up in these words. God threw open the skies and the seas and mankind was destroyed.

19 The earth is broken up,
      the earth is split asunder,
      the earth is thoroughly shaken.
20 The earth reels like a drunkard,
     it sways like a hut in the wind;
  so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
     that it falls—never to rise again.

Another phrase from Genesis 7:11 is: “on the seventeenth day of the second month… all the springs of the great deep burst forth.” Isaiah writes a commentary on that phrase here, telling us that on the Last Day (the Flood was only a rehearsal for the very End) the world will tear itself apart in convulsions that the planet itself will not survive:

21 In that day the LORD will punish
     the powers in the heavens above
     and the kings on the earth below.
22 They will be herded together
     like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
     and be punished after many days.

The “powers” Isaiah mentions are the same kinds of powers, rulers and authorities Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:11-12 and in Colossians 1:16. These are the devil and his minions, the demons. They are the ones hell was created for; the prison torn away from God’s creation and set apart for all time to confine the devil in eternity, punished forever by the Lord.

23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed;
     for the LORD Almighty will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
     and before its elders, gloriously. (NIV)

Does this verse talk about the sun being darkened and moon turning red? That’s also the thought behind Revelation 6:12. When the earth is destroyed, will our solar system be destroyed by the same fate, or simply vanish with the remainder of the universe? “He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars” (Job 9:7). God also said, “I will cover the heavens and darken their stars” (Ezekiel 32:7). And Jesus himself said, “The stars will fall from the sky” (Matthew 24:29). But something will remain: God’s own city, his throne, will endure. There will be a physical restoration of the things God wants to endure.

As I said before, this is the end of Isaiah’s vision of God’s judgments on the nations. It ends with God where he is always: On his eternal throne, loving us, caring for us, and in his holy and everlasting glory. This is the God we worship: the God who created us, the God who saved us; the God who gave us the very faith we have in him. He is the God who welcomes us into eternal life through Jesus.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

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