The prophet Isaiah’s messages of judgment continue in today’s Scripture reading. The subject of Isaiah 23 was “the burden [judgment] of Tyre” (23:1), while Isaiah 24 is a statement of God’s final judgment of the earth (24:1).
Isaiah 23 – The Pronouncement of Judgment Against Trye
Several ancient seaport cities are named in the opening verses of Isaiah 23. Isaiah observed that Tyre had been inhabited for centuries, and was an important seaport for trade. Describing the desolation of Tyre, the prophet foretold it would be “laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering” (i.e., no inhabitants in what had been a bustling harbor city, 23:1).
Because Tyre was a center for trade and commerce, its fall impacted the entire region (23:2-3). The “ships of Tarshish” (modern Spain) would howl, or wail for Tyre. The news of Tyre’s fall would reach “the land of Chittim” (believed to be Cyprus, (23:1). Zidon (or Sidon, an ancient Phoenician seaport, located north of ancient Tyre, 23:2), and “Sihor” (today’s Egypt, 23:3-4) would be diminished. Egypt, the “bread basket” to the nations of the ancient world, was “sorely pained at the report of Tyre” (23:5). Pursued by the army of Babylon, refugees of Tyre fled to Tarshish (Spain, 23:6).
Why and Who Conquered Tyre? (23:7-14).
The answer is found in Isaiah 23:7, where we read: “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn” (23:7). Tyre’s wealth had turned the population into a wealthy, “joyous” (frivolous, narcissistic) city, and her sins and wickedness provoked the wrath of God.
Who devastated Tyre?
Though Tyre was destroyed by Babylon, we are left no doubt that it was the work of the LORD. We read, “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it…He stretched out his hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms” (23:9, 11).
The effect of Tyre’s annihilation as a city and people affected other cities and stronghold on the Mediterranean (23:11-12). The demise of Assyria had given rise to Babylon, but Isaiah prophesied the Chaldeans (the nation, of which Babylon the capital city), would also be judged by the LORD (23:13). The sailors from Tarshish would wail and howl for the devastating, economic loss they would experience (23:14).
Seventy Years Later, Tyre Was Rebuilt (23:15-17)
Though all seemed lost for Tyre, Isaiah made an amazing prophecy (23:15). Seventy years would pass, and at the end of the 70 years, Tyre would “sing as an harlot” (23:15). How could that be? The Bible reveals, and history affirms, in 70 years the Chaldean nation ceased to exist when Babylon, its capital city, fell to the Medes and Persian armies (23:15; Daniel 5). Tyre, that wicked city, would be revived, only to return to her sinful ways. Once again, “the kingdoms of the world” would be enticed to her alluring, wicked ways (23:16-17).
Closing thoughts – The pronouncement of God’s judgment of Tyre ends with a prophecy that will not be fulfilled until the Millennial Kingdom when Christ is King (23:18). In that day, the trade of Tyre will be dedicated to the LORD (23:18a), and rather than hoard their merchandise, her goods will be a blessing to “them that dwell before the LORD” (23:18).
Isaiah 24 – God’s Judgment of the Earth
Isaiah 24 continues the theme of the LORD’s judgment, but in this chapter describes how the earth will experience God’s universal judgment (24:1). God’s judgment will be impartial, and no people, man, or woman will escape His justice (24:2).
The physical nature of the earth will bear the wrath of God’s judgment, and will dry up and whither as it is also prophesied in Revelation 6-9, 15-16. People, animals, and the plant life of the earth will not escape God’s judgment (24:3-4).
Five Provocations of God’s Judgment (24:5-6)
Isaiah identified five causes for God’s wrath: 1) Sin had defiled the earth (24:5a); 2) Man had disobeyed God’s law (24:5b); Mankind had instituted their own laws (24:5c); 4) God’s people had broken their covenant with Him (24:5d); and 5) The holiness and justice of God’s nature demanded He judge the earth and its inhabitants (24:6).
Evidences of God’s Final Judgment (24:7-13)
Jesus Christ foretold the state of the world when He comes again. We read, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).
Isaiah prophesied of that day, how only a remnant would survive God’s judgment, and there will be none to tend the vineyards (24:7). Cities will fall empty and silent (for there will be no one to sing, play musical instruments, or be merry, 24:8-9). The cities will be wasted, the houses empty, and commerce and trade will fail (24:10-13). Men will be unable to flee God’s judgment (24:17; Revelation 6:15-17), and the earth will be rocked with natural disasters (i.e., earthquakes, 24:18-19a).
Closing thoughts – In that day, the world system of government and its economy will fail (24:20), and God will then cast the fallen angels, and leaders of the earth into the pit to be punished, and later suffer the final judgment of the LORD (24:21-22; Ephesians 6:11; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-9; 20:1-3, 7-10).
When the Tribulation is ended, and Christ sits victoriously upon His throne, the brightness of His glory will be so great it will out shine the moon and the sun (24:23).
How do you see the signs in our day?
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith