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the world July 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 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 this prophecy is not certain. Some commentators think it was given before the Assyrian invasion of Israel, but it could have been a prophecy of Judah's ruin given toward the end of Isaiah's ministry. Isaiah 24:7 suggests a time of prosperity and carelessness that characterized Israel before Assyria attacked, plundered, and burned the city of Samaria, carrying off exiles to their own land. The city left in ruins (24:12), therefore, could be Samaria (see also Isaiah 27:8-11). Later, Judah would suffer a similar fate from the nation of Babylon. In a future day there will be much more destruction than when Assyria would come to conquer Israel. Isaiah 24:1 says: “See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants,” (NIV).

Why will there be a destruction of the earth in the future? Isaiah 24:5 gives us the answer. God said “The earth is defiled by its people [like the land of Israel and Judah were defiled]; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.” The everlasting covenant could mean the statutes or requirements of God found in his Word (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1072). The first duty of man, God's special creation (Genesis 1:26-27), was and is to obey him (Genesis 2:16-17). Israel was rebellious and disobeyed 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: Genesis 6:5 records that “… the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (NIV). This time, 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 that will affect the earth. There will be more famines and plagues than during the lifetime of Moses. “In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below,” (Isaiah 24:21, NIV). This probably refers to the Beast (Antichrist) and false prophet being thrown alive into the lake of fire, and Satan being locked up in the abyss for 1,000 years, while Jesus rules and reigns in Jerusalem (Revelation 19:20, 20:2). The kings of the earth are rulers who will also be destroyed. 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 future as he would do for Judah when King Sennacherib of Assyria would threaten to destroy her. The LORD will bring peace and prosperity to Jerusalem in a future day, even more so than he did for King Hezekiah 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 less than 100 years the people of Judah, like Israel, would also be exiled. Jerusalem would be destroyed by fire and abandoned when Babylon would come to conquer her. However, later God would thresh these nations (punish them) and leave Israel a seed [or remnant] in the land. Those exiled in Assyria and Egypt would return to the land (Isaiah 27:13).

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

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.
  • Hope in God. He can sustain you. He can help you through times of calamity and tribulation.
  • Eventually, God will bring peace, prosperity and eternal life to the righteous; if not in this life, then in the next.

Today's Bible memory verse:

John 16:33 “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.” (NIV)

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