Isaiah 34:2-4 The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shrivelled figs from the fig-tree.
The NIV places the heading ‘Judgement against the nations’ on this chapter, and ‘Joy of the Redeemed’ on the next (35). Although the Judgement in Chapter 34 is aimed specifically at Edom, Isaiah makes it clear that ALL NATIONS are in the same boat (or, rather, NOT in the boat if we compare it with the previous UNIVERSAL Judgement in Noah’s day!)
It is not popular to talk about God’s Judgement, and, sadly, many professing Christians can’t accept that OT statements like this (of which there are many) have anything to do with the God of the NT and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ! However, Jesus himself was quite forthright in his warnings about the end of the world. “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”, he said as he prepared to lay down his life on the cross (Mark 13:24). His disciple Peter wrote a stern warning to scattered, persecuted Christians: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:10-12). The Risen Christ gave this vision to his aged disciple John: “The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” (Revelation 6:12b-14).
We cannot escape the reality of these things by taking them off our radar, and the truth is that they are an integral part of what Paul refers to when he writes: “ALL Scripture is GOD-BREATHED and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, …” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Day of Judgement on Christ’s Return will be a terrible experience for the whole world, but Horatio Spafford speaks for all who have taken their refuge in Jesus as Saviour: “And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight – the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.” This will be the Joy of the Redeemed!