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earth from space July 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Isaiah 24, 25, 26, 27

World-Wide Calamity

Many people want to know what will happen to our earth. Will it freeze? Scientists once taught global cooling. Will it burn up? Many scientists now teach global warming. Other scientists say neither extreme is true. What will happen to the earth in future days?

The dating of Isaiah's prophecy is not certain, and to complicate matters, the prophecy has double fulfillment. It will be partially fulfilled in the present circumstances of Isaiah's writings, and it will have complete fulfillment in the latter days of Israel's future.

Isaiah's prophecy is probably written before the Assyrian invasion of Israel. Isaiah 24:7 suggests a time of prosperity and carelessness which characterizes Israel before Assyria attacks, plunders, and burns the city of Samaria, carrying off exiles to their own land. The city left in ruins (24:12), therefore, is Samaria of the northern kingdom of Israel (see also Isaiah 27:8-11). Later, Jerusalem and the southern kingdom of Judah will suffer a similar fate from the nation of Babylon.

In a future day, there will be much more destruction than when Assyria comes to conquer the northern kingdom of Israel. Isaiah writes, “See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants” (Isaiah 24:1, NIV).

Why will there be a destruction of the earth in the future? The LORD says, “The earth is defiled by its people [like the land of Israel and Judah are defiled]; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5, NIV). The everlasting covenant could mean the statutes or requirements of God found in his Word (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, edited by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1072). The first duty of man, God's special creation (Genesis 1:26-27), is to obey him (Genesis 2:16-17). One of these commands, we now know, is to believe in the one whom God has sent (Jesus) to deliver people from their sins (John 5:37-40).

As we have seen in our Bible reading, Israel is rebellious and disobeys God in every way. In a future time, the people of the earth will also disobey him in every way. “Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left” (Isaiah 24:6, NIV).

This situation will be much like the days before Noah's flood. “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5, NIV). At the end of the age, however, the earth's inhabitants will be consumed by fire, not flood.

In future days there will be a time of calamity such as the world has never known. There will be a disturbance in our galaxy which will affect the earth. There will be more famines and plagues than those which came upon Egypt. “In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below” (Isaiah 24:21, NIV).

“In that day” most often describes a time in the distant future. “The kings on the earth below” could refer to the Beast (Antichrist) and false prophet being thrown alive into the Lake of Fire and the other rulers of the earth being destroyed. “The powers in the heavens” probably refer to Satan and his demons. Satan will be locked up in the abyss for 1,000 years, while Jesus rules and reigns in Jerusalem (Revelation 19:20, 20:2). For a complete discussion on this, read the last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, particularly chapters 6-21. You may also want to read our Bible study lessons on Revelation starting December 26.

Will the earth and its inhabitants be totally destroyed? Not quite. The LORD will come to Jerusalem's defense in the latter days, as he will do for Judah when King Sennacherib of Assyria threatens to destroy her in 701 B.C..

The LORD will bring peace and prosperity to Jerusalem in a future day, even more so than he does for King Hezekiah of Judah in his day. There will be no need for the light of the sun or moon, for the LORD himself will display his glorious light over the whole earth (Isaiah 24:23; Revelation 21:23-24). Blessings will come from his holy mountain, Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ will rule and reign. He will destroy all death and wipe away all tears (Isaiah 25:7-8; Revelation 21:4). Israel will be saved both physically and spiritually. The borders of the whole land of Israel will be extended, and she will have peace.

In Israel's tribulation (both in Hezekiah's day and in the future), God says,

“Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins” (Isaiah 26:20-21, NIV).

In about 100 years the people of Judah, like Israel, will also be conquered and exiled. Jerusalem will be abandoned and Babylon will burn the city. Later, however, God will thresh (punish) these nations and leave Israel a seed [or remnant] in the land. Those exiled in Assyria and Egypt will return to Israel (Isaiah 27:13).

Does all this discussion about the end of the world and the punishment of sinners cause us to be fearful? Forgiveness and everlasting peace for our souls can be found in Jesus Christ (more...).

Christians, be comforted in this: God is Sovereign—he has everything under control, and in the end he will bring peace to Jerusalem and the world.

Lessons to Live By

  • The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (from the Westminster Confession), but ungodly men consistently disobey God and will certainly be punished.
  • Let's put our hope in God. He can sustain us. He can help us through times of calamity and tribulation. We find our peace in him (more...)
  • Eventually, God will bring peace, prosperity and eternal life to the righteous; if not in this life, then in the next.

Focus Verse

John 16:33 (NIV) “These things I [Jesus] have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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A Look Ahead: The northern kingdom of Israel loses her nation and her freedom when she is conquered and exiled. What can we do to Keep our Freedom? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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