UNDERSTAND the UNIVERSALITY of GOD’s JUDGMENT: "Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. 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 lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the Lord has spoken this word." (Isaiah 24:1-3)
In the previous ten chapters (13–23), the prophet Isaiah was describing the “burdens” of God against specific nations that were named individually before God’s judgment against them was specified. Now, the focus shifts to a larger framework that depicts God’s triumph over the entire earth for His elect. Human sin will be brought under divine judgment, and the whole earth will be destroyed. No one will escape the coming destruction and desolation that God has planned for the corrupted earth because of sin (vv. 1–6).
Many Bible scholars refer to the section that begins with the above passage (24:1–27:13) as “the little apocalypse”; since they deal with the final judgment of all humanity and the universe itself (see Rev. 6:2). Moreover, it looks beyond the immediate judgment of Israel’s Gentile neighbors to the final judgment of the Tribulation period and the ushering in of the messianic kingdom. Through war, God empties the earth and leaves it a devastated and distorted wasteland. The cities of the earth are described as desolate and burned as a result of this universal destruction!
Looking down through the corridor of time, Isaiah sees an era when the entire world shall come under the judgment and retribution of a righteous God. Since all the earth has broken God’s moral laws, His curse will devour the earth. The day of the Lord will bring judgment by wasting and making empty the earth in total (v. 1). The effects of God’s judgment will be felt by all the classes of people (v. 2). The earth itself will be consumed, and all joy will turn to gloom. The results of God’s judgment will be cataclysmic and felt worldwide affecting all classes of the populace. God will judge everyone, without making any social distinctions!
It is good to remember that the eternal God (El Elōhı̄m) has created the heavens, the earth and humankind just by the power of His spoken Word (Gen. 1:1). Just as a potter makes another vessel by reshaping the clay from a previous distorted vessel (see Jer. 18:4), it will be God’s prerogative to recreate His handiwork. Apostle John saw this fact in his vision and exclaimed: "Now I (John) saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Rev. 21:1). God will punish all sinners as well because they have not respected His covenant fulfilled by the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross (v. 5; Gen. 9:8–17).
Let us never forget that the ultimate cause of this wrath of God will be the rejection of the gracious offer of salvation made in the gospel of Jesus Christ! In addition, the people of this earth have not cared for the earth as faithful stewards of His gifts (Gen. 2:15). Instead, they have disobeyed His will, claimed the earth for themselves, and have abused it selfishly. When that time of judgment comes, God will pay no attention to anyone’s economic or social status (vv. 2–3). Let us understand the universality of God’s judgment today!