THE GREAT TRIBULATION
THE omnipotent, omniscient Creator sees and knows everything that transpires throughout the great fields of universal space (Psalm 139). He, the God of truth, is holy and cannot countenance sin in any form except with righteous indignation. Since He endowed His creaturesboth angelic beings and menwith freedom of the will and the power of choice, He never forces their wills, but allows each of them to make his own decisions and to act on his own initiative. Nevertheless He overrules their acts and steers the course of history toward a glorious consummation.
When, however, they fill up their cups of iniquity to overflowing, God deals with the situation righteously, but drastically. When, for example, the anointed cherub led a revolt against the Almighty (Job, chapter 25; Ezekiel 28:11-19), the rebels were cast from their positions of trust and honor. Throughout the period of human history, the Lord has allowed these insurrectionists against His government certain liberties. Eventually they will fill up the cups of their iniquity to overflowing. Then the Almighty will consign them to their eternal doom, from which they can have no hope of escape. "Let burning coals fall upon them: Let them be cast into the fire, Into deep pits, whence they shall not rise" (Ps. 140:10).
After the Fall (Genesis, chapter 3), men multiplied upon the earth, rushing headlong toward the abyss of destruction. Concerning their plunging into the depths of sin, we are informed in Genesis 6:1-8,11,12:
6 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose. 3 And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years. 4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. 5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.
11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
There was but one thing that a holy and righteous God could do, namely, to blot out the human family. He, therefore, sent a universal flood which destroyed all humanity except Noah's immediate family.
When the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain filled their cups of iniquity to overflowing, God rained down fire and brimstone from heaven upon them and completely overthrew them and their civilization.
The seven nations that were in the land of Canaan at the time of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt likewise had developed a very corrupt and debased civilization. When God entered into a special covenant with Abraham, He made it clear that the Hebrews could not go into the land at that time, but had to wait until the Amorites had filled the cup of their iniquity. When they filled it to the full, Joshua led the Hebrews, liberated from Egyptian bondage and slavery, into the land, with the instructions that they were not to form any alliances with the Canaanites, but were to exterminate them and destroy their civilization.
From time to time, God has had to punish His Chosen People very drastically on account of moral and spiritual delinquencies. He has had to do the same thing with those that claim to be Christians.
The Prophets and the New Testament writers are one in foretelling the awful days of wickedness and sin of the end time. The Psalmist, for instance, caught a glimpse of the Tribulation which will obtain throughout the earth in the end of the present dispensation:
6 A brutish man knoweth not;
Neither doth a fool understand this:
7 When the wicked spring as the grass,
And when all the workers of iniquity do flourish;
It is that they shall be destroyed for ever.
8 But thou, O Jehovah, art on high for evermore.
9 For, lo, thine enemies, O Jehovah,
For, lo, thine enemies shall perish;
All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered (Ps. 92:6-9).
In this passage one sees a world given over to wickedness and violence.I. TERMS APPLIED TO THE GREAT TRIBULATION
The inspired Apostle Paul painted a most lurid and horrifying picture of the world of the end time:
3 But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away. 6 For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, 7 ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth; men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith (II Tim. 3:1-8).
The picture presented in this passage is seen on every hand today. The same situation can be found in many parts of the world. According to those who are in a position to know, crime, lawlessness, and vice are increasing at an alarming rate. Our penal institutions are full to overflowing with offenders. Law enforcing authorities state that the situation in this country is growing worse year by year, and they see nothing but a reign of terrorstaged by juvenile delinquents; hoodlum gangs; organized crime groups; and irresponsible, irreligious, lawless individuals. Godless Communism throughout the world is endeavoring to destroy the foundations of our present-day society, to overthrow our civilization, and to establish a godless world order. Without doubt the world at the present time is on the toboggan of pleasure and godlessness, madly dashing toward the morass of sensuality and defilement.
But the all-seeing eye of the Almighty is observing the entire situation. He knows that the world is filling up its cup of iniquity. It is all but full. When it begins to run over, He will intervene. Everything is in readiness for the striking of the fateful hour, when God begins to pour out His judgments upon a pleasure-loving world. For seven years He will deal with the world drastically, but in righteousnessas He did with the antediluvian world in the days of Noah, and with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot. This period of judgment will culminate with mighty upheavals on the earth and the dissolution of some of the heavenly bodies, as described in the following prophecy:
This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance; 2 that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles: 3 knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, 4 and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; 6 by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, 12 looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:1-13).
A. The Day Of Jehovah
Moses and the Prophets, together with the writers of the New Testament, speak of the period of judgment just mentioned, although they describe it differently. When, however, the facts of each context are studied carefully, it becomes evident that they are speaking of the same period of universal judgment.
Isaiah speaks of the day of Jehovah. "For there shall be a day of Jehovah of hosts upon all that is proud and haughty, and upon all that is lifted up; and it shall be brought low ..." (Isa. 2:12). An examination of the facts of this context shows that Isaiah was speaking of the entire world and the overthrow of everything that is exalted against God in this day of Jehovah. Again he speaks of the day of Jehovah in Isaiah 13:6-16. According to verse 9, it is "cruel, with wrath and fierce anger." At that time God will punish the entire world for its evil, as seen in verse 11. In Isaiah 24:1-20 is a prophecy concerning the day of Jehovah, although the Prophet does not call it by that name.B. Israel's Calamity
The Prophet Joel also speaks of the day of Jehovah: "Alas for the day! for the day of Jehovah is at hand, and as destruction from the Almighty shall it come" (Joel 1:15). He also speaks of the day of Jehovah as "a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" (Joel 2:2). Zephaniah likewise speaks of "the great day of Jehovah" (Zeph. 1:14). Malachi refers to "the great and terrible day of Jehovah" (Mal. 4:5).
In Deuteronomy, chapter 32, appears the song the words of which Moses spoke to Israel. It has properly been called Israel's national anthem. In this hymn the great lawgiver traces the meandering course of Jewish history from his own day through the centuries to the end time when Jehovah Himself will come to earth and champion the cause of Israel. In commenting upon Israel's situation in the day of Jehovah, and in speaking for God, Moses utters this prediction:
34 Is not this laid up in store with me,
Sealed up among my treasures?
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
At the time when their foot shall slide:
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things that are to come upon them shall make haste.
36 For Jehovah will judge his people,
And repent himself for his servants;
When he seeth that their power is gone,
And there is none remaining, shut up or left at large. (Deut. 32:34-36).
The Lord has noted the pogroms and the persecutions of His people through the centuries and declares, "Vengeance is mine, and recompense. At the time when their foot shall slide: For the day of their calamity is at hand ..." At that time He will judge His people. In this connection the word judge means "to vindicate." Thus in the Tribulation the Lord will champion the cause of His people and will vindicate them. The Tribulation in this passage is called Israel's calamity.C. The Time Of Jacob's Trouble
Obadiah, whose message was concerning Edom, likewise speaks of the Tribulation at the time of Israel's calamity.
But look not thou on the day of thy brother in the day of his disaster, and rejoice not over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither speak proudly in the day of distress. 13 Enter not into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, look not thou on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither lay ye hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. 14 And stand thou not in the crossway, to cut off those of his that escape; and deliver not up those of his that remain in the day of distress. (Obadiah 1:12-14)
That the period called Jacob's calamity is the Tribulation is confirmed by the fact that Obadiah, in speaking of this calamity, thinks of it as "the day of Jehovah," which at that time is near and will come upon all the nations (v.15). In verse 12 he speaks of the Tribulation as Jacob's disaster. Then he warns the Edomites not to rejoice over Judah in the day of their destruction. In verse 13 the Prophet speaks of the Tribulation as it affects the Jews in the day of their calamity, emphasizing the word calamity three times.
30 The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, 2 Thus speaketh Jehovah, the God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. 3 For, lo, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will turn again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith Jehovah; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4 And these are the words that Jehovah spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. 5 For thus saith Jehovah: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child: wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds; and strangers shall no more make him their bondman; 9 but they shall serve Jehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. 10 Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith Jehovah; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with thee, saith Jehovah, to save thee: for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have scattered thee, but I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and will in no wise leave thee unpunished. (Jer. 30:1-11).
Jeremiah speaks of the Tribulation as "the time of Jacob's trouble." Other nations will suffer at that time; but, because the Hebrew people will bear the brunt of the mighty strokes of judgment, the period is called the time of Jacob's trouble. But why should the Hebrews suffer more than the other nations? In order to answer this question properly, one must recognize who is ruling and overruling in the affairs of men. The God of Israel, of course! He sits upon the throne of the universe, directing the course of events:
Wherefore David blessed Jehovah before all the assembly; and David said, Blessed be thou, O Jehovah, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou rulest over all; and in thy hand is power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. (I Chronicles 29:10-12)
Shall anyone challenge the justice and righteousness of God? With Abraham of old every right-thinking person asks this rhetorical question: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen.18:25), implying that there could be no question in regard to God's righteousness and justice.
Why should a holy, righteous, and just God punish Israel more than other nations? The answer is that increased light, opportunities, and blessings bring added responsibilities. When Abraham and Sarah were past the age of parenthood, God performed a biological miracle of creation upon their bodies which made possible the birth of Isaac (Gen. 21:1ff.; Isa. 43:1; Rom. 4:18-21). At that time the Lord injected into the blood stream of the Jewish race potentialities and powers such as are possessed by no other race. He revealed to them His holy and righteous law and divine services. In other words, He has lavished His goodness upon Israel as upon no other nation.
19 He showeth his word unto Jacob,
His statutes and his ordinances unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation;
And as for his ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise ye Jehovah (Ps. 147:19, 20).
Since Israel received the revelation of God and since, according to this quotation, they have not known it in the sense of obeying it, God is forced to deal with them according to the merits of the case. Knowing this fundamental principle of God's dealing with His people, Jeremiah, therefore, speaks of the Great Tribulation as the time of Jacob's trouble.II. CERTAIN PROPHECIES DESCRIBING THE GREAT TRIBULATION
There are many prophecies regarding the great Tribulation with which the present Christian Era closes. Only a few of the principal ones regarding it can be examined here. The comments on these passages must of necessity be very brief.A. Isaiah 2:12-22
For there shall be a day of Jehovah of hosts upon all that is proud and haughty, and upon all that is lifted up; and it shall be brought low; 13 and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15 and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fortified wall, 16 and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant imagery. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols shall utterly pass away. 19 And men shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake mightily the earth. 20 In that day men shall cast away their idols of silver, and their idols of gold, which have been made for them to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21 to go into the caverns of the rocks, and into the clefts of the ragged rocks, from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake mightily the earth. 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of? (Isa. 2:12-22).B. Isaiah 13:1-13
In verses 12-17 is a prophecy foretelling the overthrow of the things that are high and exalted in the eyes of men. This prediction is to be taken literally. Recognition, of course, must be made for any figures of speech and interpreted accordingly.
On account of the leveling-down processes, men will go into the caves of the rocks in an attempt to hide themselves from the Almighty (vv. 18,19). In this connection read Revelation 6:12-17.
Various passages of the prophets reveal that, in the first part of the Tribulation at least, idolatry will be the order of the day. When the judgments are falling on the earth thick and fast, vast hosts of men will cast their idols to the moles and the bats. They will see that an idol is nothing. On this point read Psalm 115:1-8 and Isaiah 44:12-20.
13 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. 2 Set ye up an ensign upon the bare mountain, lift up the voice unto them, wave the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. 3 I have commanded my consecrated ones, yea, I have called my mighty men for mine anger, even my proudly exulting ones. 4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as of a great people! the noise of a tumult of the kingdoms of the nations gathered together! Jehovah of hosts is mustering the host for the battle. 5 They come from a far country, from the uttermost part of heaven, even Jehovah, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 6 Wail ye; for the day of Jehovah is at hand; as destruction from the Almighty shall it come. 7 Therefore shall all hands be feeble, and every heart of man shall melt: 8 and they shall be dismayed; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman in travail: they shall look in amazement one at another; their faces shall be faces of flame. 9 Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity: and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the pure gold of Ophir 13 Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place, in the wrath of Jehovah of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.C. Isaiah 24:1-20
This prediction assumes that old Babylon will be rebuilt and will be a mighty power in the day of Jehovah. In connection with this prophecy one should study carefully Jeremiah, chapters 50 and 51, and Revelation, chapter 18. When these passages are studied in the light of the facts of their contexts, one is forced to believe that literal Babylon will be rebuilt and will play a most important role in the end time.
Verses 2-5 foretell the siege of Babylon by the armies of the world. God, the Creator of the Universe, stands behind the scenes, as it were, directing the movements of armies from the ends of the earth preparatory to participation in the final siege and overthrow of Babylon.
The time of the events of this prophecy is "the day of Jehovah," the Great Tribulation (v. 6).
The intensity of the suffering of that time is set forth in verses 7-9. As in Isaiah 66:7-9, the Prophet compares the sufferings of the times to the labor pains of childbirth (vv. 7, 8). In verse 9 Isaiah speaks literally of that time as being "cruel with wrath and fierce anger." The wrath and indignation of Jehovah will be stirred to the very depths and will manifest themselves in the judgments of that time.
There will be upheavals and cosmic disturbances, as indicated in verse 10, which will disrupt the regularity and stability of the heavenly bodies. In connection with this verse, study carefully Isaiah 34:1-7, II Peter 3:1-15, and Revelation 6:12-17.
According to Isaiah 13:11,12, God will send the Tribulation upon men to punish "the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity": and He will "cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." He will "make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the pure gold of Ophir."
The final convulsions of nature, at the close of the Tribulation, are set forth in verse 13.
Thus old Babylon, having come out of its grave of the past, will play a most vital role in the end timeonly to be cast down from the pedestal of human glory.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there. 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there. 22 And wolves shall cry in their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged (Isa. 13:19-22).
When the curse is lifted from the earth, the desert blossoms as the rose (Isaiah, chapter 35); and all peoples are jubilant, rejoicing in Jehovah, their Redeemer. The site of Babylon will be marked by the ruins of the overthrow, as were Sodom and Gomorrah. It, with Edom, will remain under the curse during the golden age of the future.
24 Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest to him. 3 The earth shall be utterly emptied, and utterly laid waste; for Jehovah hath spoken this word. 4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the lofty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are found guilty: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. 7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry-hearted do sigh. 8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. 9 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. 10 The waste city is broken down; every house is shut up, that no man may come in. 11 There is a crying in the streets because of the wine; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. 12 In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. 13 For thus shall it be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, as the shaking of an olive-tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done. 14 These shall lift up their voice, they shall shout; for the majesty of Jehovah they cry aloud from the sea. 15 Wherefore glorify ye Jehovah in the east, even the name of Jehovah, the God of Israel, in the isles of the sea. 16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs: Glory to the righteous. But I said, I pine away, I pine away, woe is me! the treacherous have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous have dealt very treacherously. 17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. 18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. 19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is rent asunder, the earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth shall stagger like a drunken man, and shall sway to and fro like a hammock; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again. (Isa. 24:1-20).
This passage is a comprehensive, yet brief, statement concerning the Tribulation. Verses 21-23 are a sparkling gem of the Messiah and His reign in Jerusalem.
That verses 1-20 are a prediction regarding the Tribulation is confirmed by the fact that this period of judgment is immediately followed by the glorious reign of the Messiah, as shown by other Messianic predictions.
Isaiah starts his prediction by using a word which points most emphatically toward the future, as Delitzsch shows, and which is translated "behold!" By the use of this interjection, Isaiah calls attention to the great importance of the oracle which it introduces.
Isaiah begins his oracle by foretelling the complete destruction of the civilization of the world, "Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof." Note the fact that Jehovah is the one who does the wrecking. In the process He turns the earth upside down, causing the North Pole to be where the South Pole is now, and the South Pole to be where the North Pole is. Moreover the population of the world will be scattered abroad.
In Chapter V of this volume it has been shown that the Rapture of the Church occurs before the Tribulation begins. The people who will be left on the earth at the time of the Rapture are the ones who are referred to in verse 2all of whom, regardless of social, political, and economic standing, will suffer alike.
In verses 3 and 4, Isaiah re-emphasizes the wreckage of civilization and speaks of the world as if it were a person languishing and writhing in excruciating pain.
The reason for this destruction is that the earth is polluted under the inhabitants of the world who "have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant" (v. 5). The curse, therefore, asserts the Prophet, devours the earth; and the inhabitants thereof are burned and few men left (cf. Isa. 13:11,12). The everlasting covenant mentioned in verse 5 is probably the everlasting covenant referred to in Genesis 9:1-17, especially in verses 5-7.
Conditions in all spheres of life and activity will be abnormal, according to verses 7-11. Even those who indulge in licentious living, visiting night clubs, dine and dance joints, and who are in the habit of drinking to great excess will spurn the most tantalizing drinks, virtually saying, "Take it away."
Signs of waste and destruction are on every hand throughout the whole earth (vv. 12,13).
A glorious light in the midst of the darkness of verses 1-20 shines forth marvelously from verses 14-16a. In these verses Isaiah is carried forward by the Spirit of God and is shown a vision of the world-wide revival which, takes place during the Tribulation, as indicated by the position of his vision in the midst of the description of the Tribulation. One can visualize the Prophet in ecstacy, pointing to the vast throng, saying, "These shall lift up their voice, they shall shout; for the majesty of Jehovah they cry aloud from the sea" (v. 14). The people of the world will at that time be weeping and wailing in striking contrast with these (v. 11). From the standpoint of the Sea, which is west of Palestine, the Prophet calls upon those in the East to glorify Jehovah, the God of Israeleven those who are "in the isles of the sea," the nations. According to verse 16, suddenly there bursts forth praise from the uttermost parts of the earth, saying, "Glory to the righteous." Thus the revival which breaks out in a country west of the Holy Land spreads eastward, and from there it fans out to the uttermost parts of the earth.
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