ISAIAH 24:1: “Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What is the future of the world? Is the world on the pathway of increasing enlightenment and progress? Or, is the world racing to an inevitable day of judgment?
No one likes bad news. We would rather hear the news that promises a bright future where our best days are ahead of us. The bookstores are filled with self-help books that promise you your best life yet. Preachers stand behind the pulpit proclaiming messages of victory and prosperity.
And, then there is the prophet Isaiah.
How many churches would invite Isaiah to speak on a Sunday morning? What would the title of Isaiah’s sermon be? Would people clamor around his book table after service to buy his latest work – “The Lord Is About To Destroy The Earth!”? I don’t think Isaiah would be welcomed in many churches today.
What do we do with Isaiah’s message? Is it just an Old Testament writing that we can ignore now that we are in the new covenant? Has God altered his plan? Will He give this world a pass simply because there are so many churches in the land?
Isaiah answers this question when he writes,
- “Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared. The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken!” Isaiah 24:2-3 NLT
Notably, Isaiah begins with priests and laypeople. No one will escape the judgment of the Lord that is coming upon the world – except the true church. Only the true remnant of believers in Jesus Christ will be raptured and removed from the earth before God’s judgment falls. God has always dealt with His faithful remnant. In Noah’s day, it was only 8 souls among millions. In our day it will be those whose hearts are sincerely surrendered to Jesus Christ.
- “For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded…For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6, 9 NLT
Who is the remnant? Is it a denomination? Is it those who believe in a specific doctrine? I don’t believe we will be able to identify the remnant of the faithful church by a group or organization. I believe that after the rapture there will be many churches that continue meeting. Who is the remnant?
- “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.”
The remnant will be those who are looking for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The remnant will be those who are remaining faithful to God’s Word even in the midst of suffering and persecution. The remnant will be those who are not relying upon their good works but solely upon the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. The remnant will be those who remain alert (spiritually) and have their ears (spiritually) tuned to hear the trumpet call of our Lord Jesus Christ!
- “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT
God will judge this world. If He doesn’t, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the victims of the flood. If He doesn’t, then all the words of Isaiah, the prophets, the apostles, and the book of Revelation will be nothing more than mere fantasy and conjecture. The world is not heading for utopia, it is heading for judgment. The only utopia we can hope for is the triumphant return of Jesus Christ who will establish His new heavens and the new earth!
- “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:1-4 NLT
So, how do we live with this understanding? Do we hang our heads down in despair and hide in our homes and holy huddles? Do we stop living and trying to bring the light of Christ into the world because we know the true end of all things? Jesus anticipated our human nature in these last days. Here is Jesus’ answer to these questions.
- “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.” Matthew 24:42-47 NLT
And, Peter has these instructions.
- “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:10-13 NLT
We live in one of the most exciting times in human history. It is also one of the saddest times in human history. Yet, where sin abounds so grace is also to abound. This is not a time to walk around in despair or fear. This is a time to live holy and godly lives. This is a time to return to our call to preach the Gospel to all nations. This is a time to open our eyes and look up for our redemption is drawing nigh. Until Jesus calls us home, until we hear His trumpet call, we must be about the Father’s business.
Yes, the world is on the path to judgment. Yet, all who place their faith in Jesus Christ can escape this coming day. They can be rescued from the wrath to come and find an eternal place of joy in the presence of their Savior. Isn’t this a message worth sharing? Shouldn’t this move us from empathy to engagement? Shouldn’t this get us out of our seats and into the streets?
Lord, stir up a fire deep within me. As I see the world reject Your Word, harden their hearts, and openly celebrate sin and brokenness, may my heart not become discouraged or crippled by fear. Give me boldness to proclaim Your truth in love, to call sinners to the cross, and to walk in the provision of your forgiveness and cleansing each day!
- “He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.” Revelation 22:20-21 NLT
In Jesus Name!