Judgment on the Earth
Isaiah now presents the scene of God’s judgment. To the principles in his description, it will be equally applied but the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy will be at the time of the Great Tribulation. (Matthew 24:21-22) The Great Tribulation comes seven years prior to the return of Christ at His second coming. (Matthew 24:29-30)
During the Great Tribulation, the earth will not be literally empty but will seem empty in many places. One-third of humanity will die in the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 9:15-21) This will cause many places on the earth to seem empty. “The connection between these chapters and the preceding ones appear to be as follows: the judgments pronounced upon the various countries and nations in those chapters are drawn together here into a focal point. The specific divine judgments described there become here the general judgment upon the nations, which will take place when the Lord Jesus Christ with His Church will return to this earth.” (Bultema)
In the comparisons of the high stations of life to the lower Isaiah is showing that the well-off will not be protected from the judgments of the Lord. In the Great Tribulation, the judgment of the Lord will be complete and without partiality. Those who do not believe that the Church will be removed from this period believe that the Church will be protected miraculously during that time. They believe that the Church will be protected from the judgment of God but not from the persecution of the Antichrist. But this passage of Scripture from Isaiah reinforces the idea that the judgments of the Lord will be universal during the Great Tribulation. Therefore it only makes sense that the Lord would remove His redeemed before the period of the Great Tribulation. “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10) That would leave only those who come to trust in the Lord during the Great Tribulation to suffer under these judgments.
The judgments of God during the Great Tribulation will be so severe that the earth will mourn. (Revelation 8:7-13) In the book of Revelation, it can be read the terrible effects that the judgment will have upon the earth. The Tribulation is no fault of God or His judgments but the fault lies with man. Man sinned and caused the earth to be defiled with him also. As a result, the earth too must endure the righteous judgments of the Lord. The judgment to come is also a reminder that God is greater than His creation. The idea of the New Age teaching that God is bound up with what He has created is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. God is holy and separated from His creation. When the world fades away the Lord God will remain unchanged.
By the law, God has set the boundaries that man must abide in but many do not wish to see or respect the boundaries of God’s law. There is an idea in today’s contemporary society that there are no boundaries and people can decide what is right by their own desires.
Men have attempted to change the Word of God. Many Churches today have selective acceptance of God’s Word. What is not acceptable to them or their followers is withdrawn or changed to meet the desires of their parishes. Men have changed the Word of God to meet the contemporary thought of man. Once it was a sin to lie, to steal, to be sexually immoral but today it is acceptable and sometimes celebrated. Men have changed the ordinances of God and we are now ripe for His judgment.
God is in covenant with man but man has turned his back of the covenant promise that he had made with God. Instead of receiving God’s everlasting covenant man wants to make up his own way to go with God. There is no single everlasting covenant as God has made several with man. The tern everlasting covenant refers to all the covenants that God has made with man. God made a covenant with man after the flood that He would never judge the world again by a flood. (Genesis 9:16) With Abraham God made a covenant that is called an everlasting covenant. (Genesis 17:7, 13, 19) God made a covenant with His chosen people Israel that they would be a holy priesthood. (Leviticus 24:8) With David God made a covenant to bring the Messiah from his bloodline. (2 Samuel 23:5) God made an everlasting covenant with the Prophet Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 32:40) And God reminded us of the everlasting covenant in the book of Hebrews. (Hebrews 13:20)
When the Great Tribulation comes there will no longer be times of parting. All the days of eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage are before the Great Tribulation. (Matthew 24:38) When the time of tribulation comes the times of joy will cease. The city will be desolate and the gates struck. The judgment will be so complete that the cities will be as the bear olive trees and the grape vines stripped of their fruit.
Even during the time of great judgment, God will have His own that will praise Him. Before the Great Tribulation, God will remove His people but still in the Great Tribulation many will come to trust the Lord Jesus Christ. They will praise Him in the midst of the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 7:9-14) They will praise the Lord because of His judgments as their God shows His majesty, and He shows His glory. The godly will see the goodness, they will see the glory of the Lord even in judgment.
In the book of Revelation, there is constant reference to those who live on the earth during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 3:10; Revelation 11:10; Revelation 13:12; Revelation 13:14) This is in contrast to those who dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:6). Those who are seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) The question is where will you sit, where will you live?
There will be no escaping the judgment of God. If you escape the fear you will fall into the pit. If you escape the pit you will be caught in the snare. If one is to escape the judgment of God there is only one place where God’s judgment was satisfied and that is the cross.
In the book of Revelation, we can read some of the descriptions of the judgment of the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 6:13-14) Upon reading it will be no wonder that the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard.
One of the frustrating things in this world is to see the rich and powerful wicked escape the consequences of their sin. In the Great Tribulation, none will escape the judgment of God. Isaiah may be speaking of exalted ones higher than this earth. This could mean according to Bultema and Wolf the rebellious angels that are judged at the end of the age. Those that have been imprisoned in the pit till the final rebellion at the end of the Millennium. (Revelation 20:1-10)
Even the high and mighty of this earth will find that their status will not save them from God’s judgment. Isaiah poetically speaking says that even the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed. On that day no man will escape the judgment and no evil angelic being will either. “The image seems to be taken from the practice of the great monarchs of that time; who, when they had thrown their wretched captives into a dungeon, never gave themselves the trouble of inquiring about them; but let them lie a long time in that miserable condition, wholly destitute of relief, and disregarded.” (Clarke)
The Lord of Host will reign on Mount Zion and in the holy city of Jerusalem before His elders. At the end of the Great Tribulation, God will usher in the Millennium of His glorious reign over the earth. God’s purpose is not just vengeance but to bring about His glorious new world.