"The Day Of The Lord's Vengeance"       

Isaiah 34:8


     Isaiah 34 is a heavy, heavy message from God's throne, which his prophet was obliged to deliver to the nations of the world. The message was not one of mercy, love, and grace, but of vengeance, wrath, and judgment. The chapter opens with a call to all nations and people to hear the word of God's indignation upon all nations. The chapter has three distinct divisions.

     First, God announces his ultimate and final judgment of the whole world (vv.1-7). Edom (Idumea) is setforth as the leading, primary target of God's indignation, because the Edomites, the children of Esau, were a people who bore God's name but despised his grace, as Esau their father despised the birthright. Edom represents profane, sensual, religious people, who call themselves the people of God, but despise and oppose his gospel, his prophets, and his people (Heb. 12:14-17; Isa. 63:1-6).

     God will judge all the world in righteousness. But he reserves the greatest severity of his wrath for those who, like Esau, have willfully despised his grace, choosing instead their own ways (Deut. 29:18-27). The most dangerous thing in this world that a person can do is hear the gospel, be convinced of its truth, and willfully despise and reject it (Prov. 1:23-33).

     Secondly, the details of God's judgment are described by numerous metaphors (vv. 8-15). I will leave it to the theologians to argue about whether these words are to be taken literally or symbolically. But the message of these verses is clear - God's judgment will be universal and complete! This present heaven and earth shall pass away, like Sodom and Gomorrah, under the fire of God's wrath. When God gets done with this world, nothing shall be left but darkness, smoke, emptiness, and confusion. The earth will be made again without form and void, a place of desolation, where beasts, bats, and buzzards might roam freely.

     Thirdly, Isaiah appeals to all men to read the Book of God and know the certainty of his judgment (vv. 16-17). As God fulfilled his word to Edom, and made it a place of desolation forever, so too, he will fulfill his threats of wrath upon the whole world. None shall escape his indignation when "the day of the LORD'S vengeance" is come. "Knowing therefore the terror of the LORD, we persuade men!"



Don Fortner