The God of Israel is not a God only for the land of Palestine. This is clear from the opening chapter of the Bible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Throughout the Psalms we extol the one who is in charge of the starry host in the heavens, and who has established the earth on the vast waters of the seas. He created mankind in His image. He is able to give hope to the weak and the weary. He will not be stopped by any strong oppressor. Kings must answer to Him, and His salvation can reach the most humble sinner.
This is the one true God. His day of judgment will be a moment of reckoning for the whole earth. He is the one who populates the wilderness, and at the time of His choosing, He will bring desolation throughout the earth. This judgment will not be reserved only for one class or category of people. Every kind of person will feel the Lord’s righteous wrath—the leader and the follower, the big man and the low servant. God is no respecter of persons according to the things that impress people. By the Lord’s Word, the most exalted people of the earth will languish, and the territory of all nations will face devastation.
Why would God ever do this? Isaiah gave Israel the answer in plain words: Men had transgressed the laws of God. This was a very important concept. We might have guessed that only the people who had been given God’s Law in written form would be judged by God’s commandments. Yet all the lands of the earth know about His existence and His majesty. All needed to seek Him and find Him. Everyone had been given a conscience which was more or less informed concerning the ways of God. That conscience sometimes accused them and sometimes defended them. But all were guilty before the Lord, and everyone was without excuse, for they had broken relationship with the Almighty Father. They had transgressed “the everlasting covenant.”
One day, the time for partying would be over. Anyone with any sense would have to put away the wine and the tambourines, send the merry-hearted home, and stop the singers and dancers. The judgment of God would come.
This fullness of God’s retribution was what once came down upon Christ on the cross. What Isaiah spoke of in this chapter as the final event of judgment which would cut off all mindless celebration was experienced by the One Man of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He passed through those waters of destruction and defeated sin and death for us. Because of His cross, even Old Testament prophets like Isaiah could speak of something good happening for someone in the day of the Lord’s wrath. Some would be singing for joy because of the majesty of the Lord. This redeemed remnant would shout from the west, and the east too would give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth the true people of God would sing and hear songs of praise, songs of glory to “the Righteous One,” our God and King.
Nonetheless the devastation upon those who did not own Christ as Lord, and who did not obey the gospel, would be so furious that the very pit of destruction would seem to swallow up all the inhabitants of the earth. There would be terror on all sides, and the earth would be split apart and violently shaken. Its transgression would lie heavy upon it, and it would fall, never to rise again. The judgment of God would be known in the heavens and on the earth. Powerful authorities and rulers in high places would be called to account before the judgment seat of Christ. At long last wicked oppressors, both of men and of angels, would be shut away for eternity on that Day of the Lord.
The Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem—that is among His holy redeemed church—and the glory of the great and mighty God will be visible. Saved by the blood of the Lamb, and serving Him without sin forever, the people of Christ will experience their greatest reward on the very day when the judgment of God will overwhelm the boasts of the proud.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, Judgment Day will finally come upon all the earth. You have spoken. You have promised Your perfect justice for centuries. You have given numerous powerful signs of great destruction. Though many people ignore You, this should not be our story. May we give glory to Your Name everywhere. Though terror may come against us on every side, You are still God over all of creation. Your judgment does not come upon the world without reason. You reign from heaven, and You will judge men and angels with perfect justice. Your Son is our everlasting refuge. We call upon Your name through Him.