Armageddon: The Day of God’s Wrath (Isaiah 33; Isaiah 34)

Scripture reading – Isaiah 33; Isaiah 34

Today’s Scripture reading is lengthy, and I hope to avoid adding to your study with an equally long devotional commentary. I pray my effort will amplify your study, and enlighten your understanding.

Isaiah 33 – A Warning to Assyria for Invading Judah

The subject of the prophecy recorded in Isaiah 33 was Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, who was king during the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah. While this chapter is a prophecy, the fulfillment of it is recorded in Isaiah 36-37. Isaiah 33:1 was a pronouncement of woe against Assyria, and a warning that the nation would suffer the sorrows and troubles it was heaping upon Judah.

Judah’s Appeal to the LORD (33:2)

Under siege, with Assyria encamped outside the walls of Jerusalem, God’s people cried to the LORD, “be gracious unto us” (33:2). Having exhausted their resources, and their appeals to other nations for help, having failed, the people waited, and prayed the LORD would be “their arm [strength; power] every morning,” and their “salvation also in the time of trouble” (33:2).

The LORD Heard, and Would Answer Judah’s Prayer (33:3-6)

Isaiah foretold how the Assyrians would be scattered, and in their flight, would leave their possessions as spoils for the people (33:3-4). The defeat of Assyria would exalt the LORD, and “judgment and righteousness…wisdom and knowledge” would reign and bring peace to Jerusalem (33:5-6).

Judah’s Despair During the Assyrian Siege (33:7-9)

Though the prophecies of Isaiah should have given hope for the future, in the immediate Judah was terrorized by the threat of Assyria. The prophet foretold the bravest of Judah would cry (33:7a), and the emissaries who failed to negotiate for peace would weep bitterly (33:7b). All Judah would be troubled, and the land would suffer from neglect (33:8).

God’s Promise to Intervene (33:10-12)

Assyria was the great power in its day, but Isaiah assured the people that nation was no more than chaff and straw to the LORD. Though the army of Assyria was a terror to behold, Isaiah promised the LORD would devour it with His “breath, as fire” (33:11).

The Lesson and Effect of God’s Judgment (33:13-18)

God’s judgment of Assyria would be a lesson to all nations that Judah’s God was mighty (33:13). Even God’s people, “the sinners in Zion,” would fear when they witnessed the wrath of the LORD (33:14).

Yet, to the righteous, the terror of God’s judgment would be a lasting testimony (33:15-18). Who are the righteous? They are those who walk upright, and obey the LORD’s Laws and Commandments (33:15a). The righteous speak truth, and refuse bribes (33:15b). They will not hear the plot of murderers, nor will they look upon evil (33:15c). The righteous dwell with the LORD on high, and neither hunger or thirst (33:16). They will see the LORD in all His glory (33:17-18).

Jerusalem Will Be Saved (33:19-24)

Humanly, Assyria’s siege of Jerusalem was impossible to overcome, but with God on Judah’s side, the adversary of the nation would fail (33:19). Assyria would flee, and Jerusalem would enjoy a season of peace (33:20). In that day, the people would be reminded how the LORD was their Judge, Lawgiver, King, and Savior (33:22).

Isaiah 34 – Armageddon: God’s Judgment of the Nations

In my opinion, Isaiah 34 moves from the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah (Isaiah 33), and transports us to an event that is yet future: Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21). All nations and people will be summoned with the words, “Come near, ye nations, to hear; And hearken, ye people: Let the earth hear, and all that is therein; The world, and all things that come forth of it” (34:1).

The Day of God’s Wrath (34:2-10)

Isaiah recorded a graphic description of God’s judgment on all nations and armies (34:2). It will be the day of death, when the bodies of the dead will be left on the battlefield to rot, and the hills will run red with blood (34:3).

Even the sight of the stars and galaxies in heaven will be a scene of cataclysmic failure (34:4a). The heavens will melt, and the stars will fall like leaves and dying figs (Zechariah 14:6-7; Matthew 24:29; 1 Peter 3:8-14; Revelation 6:12-14).

In that day, God’s wrath will spill over onto the nations (34:4; Isaiah 63:1-6), and the citizens of the nations [“Idumea,” lit. Edom, and serving as a symbol of Gentile nations] will be slaughtered like lambs, goats, and bulls (34:5-7).

The LORD Will Execute Vengeance for Zion (God’s People, 34:8-10)

The lands will be destroyed, waters polluted, and it will seem as though there is a perpetual flame of God’s judgment (34:8-9). The land will “lie waste” as a continual reminder of God’s wrath (34:10). Wild animals will roam the land, and no human voices will be heard (34:11-12). Thorns and briars will overtake the land, and wild animals will be its inhabitants (34:13-15).

The Wrath of the LORD is Sure (34:16-17)

The judgment of God, though future, was sealed “in the book of the LORD,” and it will not be hindered (34:16a). God will execute His wrath on sinners as He has promised (34:16b), for the lot of His judgment has been cast (34:17).

Closing thoughts – When will this come to pass? When will the Day of the LORD’s wrath be seen? The Scripture do not give us the time or day of God’s judgment, but it does declare believers should be living in anticipation of that day.

2 Peter 3:10–1110But 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.
11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith