ISAIAH 34  


 

ISAIAH 34

THE DAY OF YAHWEH’S WRATH

Verses 1-3
Judgment on all the nations.

This will be fulfilled at the second coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.
The second coming can also be designated as THE DAY OF THE LORD.

It is AT THAT MOMENT that the Day of the Lord will begin.

There are three STAGES to the second coming of the Messiah.

(1) His arrival in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory: This arrival will in the sky ONLY. Then from his position in the clouds or ON THE CLOUD (Rev. 14:14) He will pour out the judgments from God’s wrath through the trumpets and bowls recorded in the book of the  Revelation.  There four phases to it.
    (A) The SIGNS phase. Joel 2:30-31; Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-14; Isaiah
13:10, 13;
    (B) The arrival phase. Mat. 24:30;
16:27; Rev. 6:15-16; Isaiah 30:27-30; 60:1-2; Ps. 96:13.
    (C) The rapture phase. Matthew 24:31-44; John 14:1-3; 1Thes.  4:14-17; 1Cor. 15:51-52
    (D) The judgment phase. Rev. 6:15-17; 1Thes. 5:1-2.

(2) The second stage is His physical descent TO the earth at which time He will personally confront the armies of the world that are gathered into Palestine to loot and destroy the people of Israel. Through His physical descent to the earth He will rescue the Jews and prepare for His earthly kingdom.
There are four phases to it.
    (A) The descent to Edom. Isaiah 34:6; 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3
    (B) The descent to Jerusalem. Isaiah 63:1; Zech. 14:4; Joel 3:16.
    (C) The descent to the Valley of
Megiddo (Armageddon). Joel 3:9-16;
    (D) The separation phase: when all unbelievers will be removed from the earth and only
          believers will be left alive to dwell on the earth in Christ’s kingdom.
          Ezek. 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.

(3) The KINGDOM stage when Jesus sets up His 1000 year earthly reign.
There are four phases to it.
    (A) The cleansing phase: Ezek 39:9-16.
    (B) The building phase: Isaiah 60:4-11; 61:4; Ezek. 43:10-18; Dan. 8:15-26.
    (C) The reigning phase: Isaiah 9:7; Jer. 23:5-6; Ezek. 37:24-28; Dan. 7:13-14.
    (D) The completion phase: 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 20:7-10.

The Old Testament prophets viewed the second coming and the arrival of the DAY OF THE LORD as having one starting point. They
did not make a distinction between the Messiah’s initial arrival IN THE CLOUDS and His subsequent PHYSICAL descent to the earth. They viewed the second coming primarily as a visible arrival to the earth that would begin the Day of the Lord.

Sometimes the prophets focused on the inception of the day of the Lord; sometimes on some aspect of the judgment that will happen DURING the day; and sometimes on the kingdom blessing that follows the judgment.

The reader/interpreter needs to be very diligent to recognize the context in each of the passages.

But it is not until the New Testament teaching by Jesus and the apostles that we learn that Jesus will FIRST arrive in the clouds of the sky.

The first stage of the second coming will be when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30. It is at that time that He will begin to carry out His KINGDOM agenda which includes both blessing and judgment.

This also constitutes the arrival of the Day of the Lord, and will be “announced” by several phenomenal things.
(1) The darkness of the sun, moon and stars. Basically, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25a; Joel 2:30-31; Rev. 6:12b-14a
(2) ON the earth, there will be great earthquakes and turmoil in the oceans. Luke 21:25b; Rev. 6:12a, 14b;
(3) The specific sign of the Son of Man. Luke 21:25b; Mathew 24:30a
(4) Then his VISIBLE arrival will be seen by all mankind. Luke 21:27; Matthew 24:30b; Revelation 1:7

This is taught by Jesus at Matthew 24:29-31

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one of the sky to the other.”

The MOURNING of all the tribes of the earth will BEGIN as soon as these awesome signs are seen, so that as Jesus said, “and THEN all the tribes of the earth will mourn.
But WHILE they are mourning in anticipation of the things that are happening, as Luke records, “men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world” (Luke
21:26), THEN they will actually see Jesus “coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” At this time the mourning will continue and of course, increase.

Thus at Revelation 1:7, the “mourning” will occur AFTER “every eye will see Him.”

This is also portrayed symbolically at the 6th seal of Revelation 6:12-17.

Even though there is not specific mention of the arrival of Jesus in this passage, it is clear that the many peoples who are mentioned there HAVE SEEN HIM. After seeing the heavenly and earthly signs, the sign of the Son of man, AND the actual arrival of Jesus, the people of the earth will try to hide from the FACE of the Father and of Jesus (the Lamb). Jesus taught that it is AFTER they see the “sign of the Son of Man” that “all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”

Here at Revelation 6, it should be obvious that their reaction indicates they have indeed SEEN Him come in the clouds. After the initial “mourning” they will then take action to try to hide from Him, for they will be well aware that “the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:17.

The arrival of the Lord is also envisioned by Joel as the arrival of THE DAY OF THE LORD.

Joel saw the signs as occurring BEFORE the Day of the Lord arrives. Joel 2:30-31.
”And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
The sun will be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”

Jesus will NOT step foot on the earth at this time, but will remain in the clouds, or rather, ON THE CLOUD to administer God’s wrath through the trumpet judgments of Revelation 8-11 and the first 5 bowl judgments. Revelation 14:14-16.

1. The first thing that will happen when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky, will be the gathering out of the believers through the rapture.
Matthew 24:31; John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:14-17
This was not taught by the Old Testament prophets.

In fact, the Old Testament prophets did not see the arrival in the clouds as distinct from His physical descent to the earth. The main things they focused on were -
(A)  The coming of the Messiah
(B)  Physical deliverance for Israel
(C)  And judgment on all the spiritual rebels of the world.
(D)  And the Messiah’s earthly reign over Israel.

It is not until we look to New Testament revelation that we are able to see the distinction between these two STAGES of the second coming.


2. After the rapture of the saints, God will return to using Israel as the evangelistic agent for proclaiming the Messianic promise to the world.
    A. Israel’s evangelistic commission: Exodus 19:5-6; Deut. 4:5-6;
Rom. 9:4-5;
       Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:7; 49:3; 7:6; 28:9-10; Psalm 118:1-4

B. See Topic: ISRAEL’S NATIONAL DISCIPLINE

    C. This is through the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bond servants.
         Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-8

3. After that He will begin to pour out His judgments on the world as portrayed by the first six trumpets. Rev. 6:12-17; 8-9.
4. Those six judgments will conclude at the end of the 70th week. Rev. 10:7; 11:1-17.
5. Then will come the FINAL expression of divine wrath. This is portrayed by the 7th trumpet and the bowl judgments, and will occur during the next 30 days after the end of the 70th week.  Dan.
12:11; Rev. 11:14, 18-19; 15-16; 19.


THE PHYSICAL DESCENT TO THE EARTH

THE SECOND STAGE of the second coming is when Jesus will descend physically to the earth to confront the worlds armies assembled in Palestine. The last two bowl judgments portray this physical descent of the Messiah to the earth.

Revelation 19:11-16 and Zechariah 12:2-9
The second stage is usually called the Armageddon stage, and has three phases.

As portrayed in the last two bowl judgments, which includes Revelation 19:11ff, Jesus will descend PHYSICALLY to the earth toward the end of the 30 day-period that follows the end of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 12:11). At that time, He will come down from His cloud (Rev. 14:14), from where He has been administrating the trumpet and bowl judgments after the rapture (6th seal).

The physical descent of Jesus has four phases.

(1) The descent to Edom.
(2) The descent to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
(3) The descent to the Valley of Megido for the battle of Armageddon.
(4) The Cleansing phase, when all unbelievers will be removed from the earth.
      Ezekiel 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.


Quite often the Old Testament prophets did not have any particular phase in view when they envisioned the coming of Yahweh – the Messiah. At other times one or more of the specific phases was in view as seen at the various passages listed above. Each of these “descents” will have a LOCALIZED focus and only the people in those specific areas will see His coming. The arrival in the clouds of the sky, however, which will precede the physical descent by several months, will have a UNIVERSAL focus and “every eye will see Him.” Revelation 1:7 with Matthew 24:30.

The physical descent of Jesus is described at Revelation 19:11-15, without focusing on any one particular area.

“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it {is} called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
And His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and upon His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {upon Him} which no one knows except Himself.
And {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies (angels) which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean (Rev. 15:6), were following Him on white horses.
And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

This is the same kind of GENERAL focus that the Old Testament prophets usually envisioned. After such general statements by the prophets, and depending on the context, one or more specific factors would be taught.

John’s vision at Revelation 19 does the same thing. At verses 17-21, John’s vision describes the specific battle of Armageddon which will occur AFTER the battle of Edom and the battle of Jerusalem.

The three BATTLE phases to the PHYSICAL descent of Jesus to the earth are taught only in the Old Testament.

It teaches that the Messiah will first go to Edom to destroy the unbelievers of that area and rescue the Israelites who are hiding in the mountainous wilderness, having fled the oppression of the beast at the midpoint of the 70th week.

It seems that the best TIMING for this arrival to Edom will be the first of the three BATTLE phases.

(1) The Lord descends first to Edom: This is because Isaiah 63:1 shows us the Lord coming FROM Edom when He comes to deliver the Jews in Jerusalem and Judah.
And because Joel 3:16 shows the Lord coming FROM Jerusalem when He goes to confront the world’s armies at Armageddon.
(2) Thus, from Edom He descends to Jerusalem and stands on the Mount of Olives to motivate the Jews to wage the battle of Jerusalem. This serves as a catalyst for the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to fight the invading army. Zechariah 12, 14.
(3) And from there He goes to the valley of Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.

ISAIAH 34

Isaiah 34 discusses this judgment on all the nations and especially on Edom.
Verses 1-4 give a general overview of the Day of the Lord judgments.

Verses 1-2,

"Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.
For the LORD'S indignation is against all the nations,
And {His} wrath against all their armies;
He has utterly destroyed them,
He has given them over to slaughter."

This is the general attitude of  divine WRATH expressed toward the rebellious nations as can be seen at Psalm 2:1-5.

1 “Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!"
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury,”

It is after the assembly of the nations in Palestine that God’s timing will call for Christ's physical descent to the earth. Prior to this, the Lord will have arrived in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, which will also be the arrival of the Day of the Lord. He will come IN THE CLOUDS and remain in the clouds as He pours out God’s wrath on the earth dwellers.

Revelation 6:17, “For the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?”
This is represented by the trumpet judgments of Revelation 8-9 and the first 5 bowl judgments of Revelation 15-16:11.

At Revelation 14:14, Christ is portrayed as SITTING on the cloud prior to His physical descent to the earth to confront the armies gathered in Palestine. John’s vision shows the descent of Jesus to the earth at Revelation 19:11-16.


ISAIAH  34:3
"So their slain will be thrown out,
And their corpses will give off their stench,
And the mountains will be drenched with their blood."

This describes the ultimate defeat of all these nations at Armageddon.
Rev. 19:17-21; Joel 3:9-16; Revelation 14:17-20.

The Old Testament prophets envisioned the arrival of the Messiah to start the Day of the Lord, and the SIGNS that will “announce” that arrival.

They did not envision the gathering of the saints into the sky that Jesus and the apostles taught about. Nor did they see the DELAY between the arrival of the Lord and His physical descent to the earth.

They envisioned His arrival with a focus on the judgments on the nations that would follow, and His physical descent which would bring about the ultimate destruction of those nations. And then they saw the kingdom blessing that would come to the Jews and the Gentiles through the earthly reign of the Messiah after the completion of those judgments.

 

SIGNS IN THE SUN MOON AND STARS

After Isaiah describes the ultimate judgment of the enemies of God in a conclusive military confrontation, he “backs up” and shows us what it is that will SIGNIFY the arrival of the time of judgment and the arrival of the Messiah.

Isaiah 34:4
“And all the host of heaven will wear away,
And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll;
All their hosts will also wither away
As a leaf withers from the vine,
Or as {one} withers from the fig tree”

This then, refers to the many cosmic disturbances that precede the arrival of the Lord, and initiate the Day-of-the-Lord judgments. These things appear IN THE SKY and announce or “portend” the things that will happen on the earth (Luke 21:25-26).

As is the case with many of the other prophets, Isaiah does not provide any chronological order to these events. He has announced the judgment of God’s wrath on the world in verses 2-3. Here he simply indicates that there will be these awesome “heavenly” signs associated with that judgment. Quite often the prophets mention the arrival of the Lord and/or the judgment of God at THE DAY OF THE LORD, and then AFTER that, tell about the SIGNS that will “announce” that arrival. Many other passages establish for us that these signs will occur BEFORE the judgment from God’s wrath is expressed. Joel 2:31; Rev. 6:12-17; Matthew 24:29-30.

Joel 2:30-31,
“And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
The sun will be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood.
Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.”


Isaiah describes the removal of LIGHT in the heavens. This is not talking about any DESTRUCTION of the heavenly bodies, but the darkening of them so that it APPEARS as though they have been destroyed.

It seems to me that this language applies best to the occurrence of the signs in the sun, moon and stars that precede the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25.

ISAIAH 34:4

1. The host of heaven will wear away.
This refers to some kind of “removal” of the OTHER heavenly bodies; the stars. The sun and the moon were already mentioned. But it is not the PHYSICAL removal of these things that is in view. It is simply describing the extreme darkness that will occur before the arrival of the Day of the Lord.
Jesus uses the phrase, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).

2. And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll.
This is the same image that is seen at Revelation 6:14a.
“And the sky was moved away like a scroll when it is rolled up.”

But there, John’s vision adds several other “heavenly” and earthly SIGNS.

Revelation 6:12-14
“And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. And the sky was moved away like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

3. All their hosts will also wither away
As a leaf withers from the vine,
Or as {one} withers from the fig tree.

“All their hosts” again refers to the stars of the sky, but includes meteorites.
Thus, the STARS will be darkened, but the meteorites will fall to the earth.

The word, wither, indicates REMOVAL, like LEAVES from a grape vine or a fig tree falling to the ground.

And Jesus used the same image in his list of SIGNS, “and the stars will fall from the sky,” without mentioning the fig tree-image. Matthew 24:29.

John’s vision uses the actual FIGS from the fig tree falling to the ground, and refers directly to the stars of the sky falling to the earth. Revelation 6:13.

Of course, the STARS do not actually fall to the earth. This refers to meteorites falling to the earth and causing all kinds of physical disruption in the seas and on the land.

Earlier at Isaiah 13:1-16, the invasion of Judah by Babylon is used as a launching pad to describe the end-times day of the Lord.

Here, as in chapter 34, Isaiah is not providing any chronological order to these events. He simply indicates that there will be these awesome “heavenly” signs associated with the judgment of the Day of the LORD.

Verses 6 and 9 proclaim the arrival of the day.
“Wail, for the Day of the LORD is near.”
“Behold, the Day of the LORD is coming.”

Verse 10 shows the signs that will precede that arrival.
“For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark in its going,
And the moon will not give its light.”

Sometimes the prophets will mention just in passing and only briefly some of the details concerning the Day of the Lord, just as in Isaiah 13 above.
Another good example is at Isaiah 51:1-8.
Verses 1-2: consider the promises made to Abraham concerning ultimate blessing.
Verse 3 - The promise of KINGDOM blessing
Verse 4 – Justice will be provided for the people
Verse 5 – The Messiah (My Arm) will come to bring righteousness and judgment.
                 THE ARRIVAL STAGE
Verse 6 – Signs, judgment and kingdom.
      1. Look to the sky: for the sign of the Messiah’s arrival.
          THE ARRIVAL STAGE: signs
      2. Look to the earth beneath: for the judgments that will come
      3. For the sky will vanish like smoke: the darkness that comes from the signs
            in the sun, moon and stars.
      4. And its inhabitants will die in like manner: judgment during the day of the Lord.
          Death through the judgments that come from God's wrath.
          The trumpets and bowls: Rev. 8:11; 9:18; 14:19-20; 19:21.
          THE DESCENT STAGE:  judgment on the nations


      5. But My salvation will be forever and my righteousness shall not wane:
          THE KINGDOM STAGE

Once these dramatic and temporary signs that precede the day of the Lord conclude, there will be other periods of darkness DURING the events of the day of the Lord. But the language is different and does not include what is described here.
Revelation 8:12; 16:10; Zech. 14:6-7

Some might want to apply this to the language at 2 Peter 3:10ff, but that refers to the renovation of the universe at the end of the Messiah’s 1000 year kingdom rather than the signs that precede His initial arrival at the day of the Lord.
Although the language at 2 Peter 3:10 is similar, it is likewise, quite different, for Peter describes a complete "chemical" renovation, through intense heat.

     "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, IN which (or THROUGH which)
      the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with
      intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."

This destruction of the heavens will occur IN, BY or THROUGH the Day of the Lord.
The signs in Isaiah 34, etc. refer to the temporary removal of the LIGHT from the universe BEFORE the Day of the Lord arrives, and not their physical removal.

This "total" renovation is referenced at Psalm 102:25-26 (Heb. 1:12).
"Of old Thou didst found the earth;
And the heavens are the work of Thy hands.
Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed."

See Commentary: 2 Peter 3

Thus, AT the arrival of the Day of the Lord, there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. These signs will PORTEND to the people, “the things which are coming upon the world” (Luke 21:26), the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky, and the arrival of the wrath of God, “For the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand” (Rev. 6:17). Rev. 6:12-17; Mat. 24:29-30; Joel 2:31; Luke 21:25-26

And throughout the entire awesome display, both before and after Jesus arrives, all the tribes of the earth will mourn. Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7.

ISAIAH  34:5-15 

THE BATTLE OF EDOM

The Old Testament teaches that Jesus will go to Edom to destroy the unbelieving armies and people of that area. At that time He will rescue the Israelites who are hiding in the mountainous wilderness, having fled the oppression of the beast at the midpoint of the 70th week.

It seems that the best TIMING for this arrival to Edom will be the first of the four phases of the Lord’s physical DESCENT.

During the military maneuvers prior to Armageddon, the armies of the beast (king of the west) wrestle with the King of the North and the king of the South. Although many countries will be affected by these military maneuvers, THREE areas will be left untouched by the beast as He protects and counterattacks; Edom, Moab and Ammon (Dan. 11:41).
These three will be in alliance with the beast but it is Edom especially that tries to get Israel down from the mountains of Edom. That is also why they are able to “enter the gate of my people” after the beast takes over in Jerusalem (Obadiah 1:13).

(1) The Lord descends first to Edom:  Jesus will come down from His cloud (Rev. 14:14), from where He has been administrating the trumpet and bowl judgments after the rapture (6th seal). Revelation 19:11-15.

We know this because Isaiah 63:1 shows us the Lord coming FROM Edom when He comes to deliver the Jews in Jerusalem and Judah (Also Habakkuk 3:3-6).
And because Joel 3:16 shows us the Lord coming FROM Jerusalem when He goes to confront the world’s armies at Armageddon.


(2) Thus, from Edom He descends to Jerusalem and stands on the Mount of Olives to motivate the Jews to wage the battle of Jerusalem. Zechariah 12 and 14.
(3) And from there He goes to the valley of Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.

ISAIAH  34:5
"For My sword is satiated in heaven,
Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom,
And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction."

Here, we find a specific focus on Edom. Edom comes under a special judgment from God because of its historical oppression of Israel and its allegiance to the beast in the end-times.

The great tribulation will begin at the midpoint of the 70th week, when the beast places the abomination of desolation in the holy place of the re-built Jewish temple.

Matthew 24:15-21

Because of the oppressive reign of this “man of lawlessness” (2Thes. 2:4), who will be empowered by Satan (Rev. 13:4-7), a remnant of “fundamentalist” Jews (those faithful to their religious culture) will leave Judea and find shelter in the mountainous wilderness of Edom, south-east of Jerusalem (modern-day Jordan).

These are NOT ones who have trusted in Jesus, but ones who are loyal to their Jewish heritage. If they were ALREADY believers, they would not NEED to be protected for the remaining 1260 days, because they would be removed at the rapture prior to the end of the week.
Furthermore, they are clearly distinct from the group mentioned at Revelation 12:17 who are believers in Jesus.

Revelation 12:6
“And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for 1260 days.”

Revelation 12:13-14
“And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.
And two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

It seems likely then that Jesus has this in view at Matthew 24:15-26. Although this warning to flee is directed to ALL who read or hear it, it will have special import to the Jews IN THE LAND who refuse to accept the authority of the beast. We learn from Revelation 12:6, 13-14, that the “woman,” who represents the Jews of the land during the time of the great tribulation, will be given protection in the wilderness for the duration of the last half of Daniel’s 70th week.


Also Isaiah 26:20-21 seems to have specific reference to the people of Israel who are to stay “hidden” until the time of judgment will come to an end.

“Come, My people, enter into your rooms,
And close the doors behind you;
Hide for a little while,
Until indignation passes over.
For behold, Yahweh is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed,
And will no longer cover her slain.”

As the Jews are fleeing and even once they are located in their wilderness “fortress,” there will be false prophets who say, “behold, He is in the wilderness or behold He is in the inner rooms.”
It is very probable that these “false prophets” include the peoples of Edom who will be trying to get the Jews to come down out of the mountains so they can kill and/or imprison them.


The people of Edom will be in league with the world dictator and be allowed to “plunder” Jerusalem for themselves.
In addition, on the trip to this “shelter,” the Arab people of the land will seek to kill these fugitives and imprison any they can capture.
It will all be done with an arrogant attitude of hatred toward the Jews.
This is indicated by the details of the warning that was given to the people of Edom in about 860 BCE by the prophet Obadiah.

         A. Verses 10-11 review the past history of the Edomites in oppressing Israel.
         B. Verses 12-14 give the warning.
         C. Verses 15-18 announce the arrival of the Day of the Lord to judge the nations.
         D. Verses 19-21 describe aspects of the Messiah’s earthly kingdom.

 

THE PAST OPPRESSION OF ISRAEL BY EDOM

Verse 10
“Because of violence to your brother Jacob,
You will be covered with shame,
And you will be cut off forever.”

Verse 11
“On the day that you stood aloof,
On the day that strangers carried off his wealth,
And foreigners entered his gate
And cast lots for Jerusalem –
You too were as one of them.”

This is the “everlasting enmity” of Ezekiel 35:5.
See below.

WARNING FOR THE DISTANT FUTURE
They are warned that they should not participate in oppressing Israel during the time of her great “distress” (tribulation).

(1) Do not gloat.
(2) Do not rejoice.
(3) Do not boast.
(4) Do not enter their gate.
(5) Do not loot their wealth.
(6) Do not kill them as they flee.
(7) Do not take them captive.

Obadiah 1:12-14
“Do not GLOAT over your brother’s day,
The day of his misfortune.
And do not REJOICE over the sons of Judah
In the day of their destruction;
Yes, do not BOAST
In the day of {their} distress.
“Do not ENTER the gate of My people
In the day of their disaster.
Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity
In the day of their disaster.
And do not LOOT their wealth
In the day of their disaster.
“And do not stand at the fork of the road
To CUT DOWN their fugitives;
And do not IMPRISON their survivors
In the day of their distress.”

DAY OF THE LORD JUDGMENT
If the people of Edom do not heed the warning, but instead participate in this hostility toward Israel, they and their land will be judged by God during the Day of the Lord when the Messiah will pour out God’s wrath upon the world.

Obadiah 1:15-16
“For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.
“Because just as you drank on My holy mountain,
All the nations will drink continually.
They will drink and swallow,
And become as if they had never existed.

 

FUTURE FAILURE
However, failure to heed the warning is also prophesied, as is the resultant judgment from God upon the land area of Edom; Mount Seir.

Ezekiel 35:2-9.
“Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it -
And say to it, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,
Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir,
And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And I will make you a desolation and a waste.
“I will lay waste your cities,
And you will become a desolation.
Then you will know that I am the LORD.

THE REASON FOR JUDGMENT
“Because –

(1) You have had everlasting enmity: Ezek. 35:5a

This refers to the conflict that has ever existed between Edom and Israel. But the emphasis here is placed on what Edom has done to Israel all throughout the years PRIOR to our “end-times” context.
This was first demonstrated when Israel requested passage through the land of Edom, as recorded at Numbers 20:40-21. (Amos 1:11; Psalm 137:7; Ezek. 25:12).


(2) And have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment (punishment for iniquity) of the end: Ezek. 35:5b

This indicates that the inhabitants of Edom did not heed the warning given to them at Obadiah 10-14.
Furthermore, this is referring to something that takes place in an end-times context.


THE TIME OF THE INIQUITY OF THE END
    A. This term is used earlier in Ezekiel (21:25,29), to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek. 21:18-32). The word, iniquity can also be used to indicate punishment FOR iniquity.

    B. However, Edom did not participate in harassing Israel during the Babylonian captivity. 2 Kings 24:2 tells us what groups aided Babylon, and Edom is not included in that list.

    C. It is true that in 738 BC, Edom invaded Judah “and carried away captives” (2 Chron. 28:17), but our context seems to be looking at a still future event. The activity of 738 BCE would fall under the category of “everlasting enmity.”

    D. In addition, the context of Ezekiel 35 indicates a final or “total” destruction of Edom which has never happened historically.

    E. Edom was indeed indicted and judged historically, but not for the activity indicated at Ezekiel 35:5.

    F. Based on this, it seems that this term, “time of the iniquity of the end,” in Ezekiel 35, refers to a yet future time period of discipline on Israel, during which Edom will have participated in oppressing Israel.

(3) “Because you have said, These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them.” Ezek. 35:10.

This expresses blatant arrogance and aggression toward God and God’s people, Israel. It is a claim that they will possess the physical land-area and resources of Israel - EVEN THOUGH God is there.
In other words, they are speaking and acting against God Himself.
This is amplified in verses 11-15.
   A. Anger, envy and hatred toward Israel: Ezekiel 35:11
   B. Reviling against Israel: Ezekiel 35:12
   C. Spoken in arrogance against God: Ezekiel 35:13

   D. Rejoiced Israel’s land when it was desolate: V. 15.

As a result of this, Edom will come under a very special judgment from God when the Messiah physically descends to the earth. We already saw a summary statement of this judgment at Isaiah 34:5 and Obadiah 1:15-16.

Ezekiel gives much more detail.
The result will be total destruction of the land area of Edom through the Day of the Lord judgments.

Ezekiel 35:6-9

(6)“As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you; since you have not hated bloodshed, therefore bloodshed will pursue you. (7) And I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation, and I will cut off from it the one who passes through and returns. (8) And I will fill its mountains with its slain; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain by the sword will fall. (9) I will make you an everlasting desolation, and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

This is the same quality of future judgment that Isaiah describes as Isaiah as we continue to look at chapter 34.

ISAIAH 34:6-8

"The sword of the LORD is filled with blood,
It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats,
With the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
And a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall also fall with them,
And young bulls with strong ones;
Thus their land shall be soaked with blood,
And their dust become greasy with fat.
For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
A year of recompense for the cause of Zion."

Edom will be destroyed just before Jesus descends to Jerusalem. Notice, this is "for the cause of Zion." Edom will be in the process of oppressing the refugees of Judah who have fled the reign of the beast and taken shelter in the mountainous wilderness of Edom (Mat. 24:15-21; Rev. 12:6, 13-16).

 

ISAIAH 34:9-10
"And its streams shall be turned into pitch,
And its loose earth into brimstone,  
And its land shall become burning pitch.  
It shall not be quenched night or day;  
Its smoke shall go up forever;  
From generation to generation it shall be desolate;  
None shall pass through it forever and ever."

The judgment on the land area of Edom will be total. During Messiah's kingdom, it will be a desolation with no population.

HOWEVER, the destruction will not be worked by any kind of nuclear or chemical weapons. The context indicates that the land area will be filled with a massive wildlife population. However, I will concede the possibility that even IF such destructive weapons were to be used, the land could be CLEANSED before the kingdom begins and still be the home of all the wildlife mentioned.

ISAIAH  34:11-15
11 But pelican and hedgehog will possess it,
And owl and raven will dwell in it;
And He will stretch over it the line of desolation
And the plumb line of emptiness.
12 Its nobles -there is no one there
Whom they may proclaim king –
And all its princes will be
nothing.
13 Thorns will come up in its fortified towers,
Nettles and thistles in its fortified cities;
It will also be a haunt of
jackals
And an abode of ostriches.
14 The desert creatures will meet with the wolves,
The hairy goat also will cry to its kind;
Yes, the night monster will settle there
And will find herself a resting place.
15 The tree snake will make its nest and lay eggs there,
And it will hatch and gather them under its protection.
Yes, the hawks will be gathered there,
Every one with its kind.

16
Seek from the book of the LORD, and read:
Not one of these will be missing;
None will lack its mate.
For
His mouth has commanded,
And His Spirit has gathered them.
17 He has cast the lot for them,
And His hand has divided it to them by line.
They shall possess it forever;
From
generation to generation they will dwell in it.

As we have seen, Isaiah 34 describes the judgment on the land area of Edom in the context of the DAY OF THE LORD judgments.
However, chapter 63 describes the Lord as coming FROM Edom.

ISAIAH CHAPTER 63

Verse 1
“Who is this who comes from Edom”

As already noted, there are four phases to the PSYSICAL descent of Jesus to the earth.

The Old Testament teaches that Jesus will go to Edom to destroy the unbelievers of that area and rescue the Israelites who are hiding in the mountainous wilderness, having fled the oppression of the beast at the midpoint of the 70th week.

It seems that the best TIMING for this arrival to Edom will be the first of the four phases.

(1) The Lord descends first to Edom: This is because Isaiah 63:1 shows us the Lord coming FROM Edom when He comes to deliver the Jews in Jerusalem and Judah.
And because Joel 3:16 shows the Lord coming FROM Jerusalem when He goes to confront the world’s armies at Armageddon.
(2) Thus, from Edom He descends to Jerusalem and stands on the Mount of Olives to motivate the Jews to wage the battle of Jerusalem. This serves as a catalyst for the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to fight the invading army. Zechariah 12, 14.
(3) And from there He goes to the valley of Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.

This passage describes that first phase.
He goes to Edom and enters into judgment with the armies who have assembled there.

THE BATTLE OF EDOM is described at Isaiah 34:5-15.

“For My sword is satiated in heaven,
Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom,
And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction.”

Isaiah 63:1-6 shows us the Lord coming to Jerusalem AFTER that battle.
But this chapter still describes the NATURE of that battle in
Edom.

Once again, we find a specific focus on Edom. Edom comes under a special judgment from God  because of its historical oppression of Israel and its allegiance to the beast in the end-times.
     1. At  Obadiah 10-14, the inhabitants of Edom are warned not to oppress Israel during
         the time of “their distress.”
         A. Verses 10-11 reviews the past history of the Edomites in oppressing Israel.
         B. Verses 12-14 give the warning.
         C. Verses 15-18 announce the arrival of the Day of the Lord to judge the nations.
         D. Verses 19-21 describe aspects of the Messiah’s earthly kingdom.

     2. At Ezek. 35:1-15, we are shown judgment on the people of Edom because they
         failed to heed the warning of Obadiah.
         “Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to
          the power of the sword at the time of their calamity at the time of the punishment
          of the end.”

ISAIAH 63 AND 34 SUMMARY

Isaiah 63:1b
“With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?”

The bright colors are described as RED in verse 2 and stained with blood in verse 3.

       Isaiah 34:6-7, “The sword of Yahweh is filled with blood.”

 

Isaiah 63:1c
"It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
Verse 4, “For My year of redemption has come.”

        Isaiah 34:8, “A year of recompense FOR THE CAUSE of Zion.”

He is coming to deliver Israel from the nations that are gathered around Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:1-7.

Isaiah 63:2
”Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?”
I have trodden the wine trough alone.”

The question is asked and answered.
“And from the peoples there was no man with Me.”

There was no one in Edom on His side; no one to help defeat the enemy and rescue the Jews hiding in the mountainous wilderness area.

"I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.”

This associates the battle with the day of God’s wrath as at Isaiah 34:1-8

        Verse 2, “Yahweh’s indignation is against all the nations,”

        Verse 5, “Judgment upon Edom,”
        Verse 8, ”For Yahweh has a day of vengeance,”

 

Isaiah 63:4
“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.”

       Isaiah 34:8, “For Yahweh has a day of vengeance,
                           A year of recompense for the cause of Zion.”

He came to Edom in order to bring deliverance for Israel
Thus, the battle of Edom is directly related to Israel’s deliverance.

This helps me conclude that through this battle the Jews who will be hiding in the mountainous wilderness of Edom will be able to leave and return to Judah.

Isaiah 63:5
"I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me.”


There will be no assistance from anyone in the land area of Edom (modern day Jordan).
It is not as though Jesus will NEED any “help.” But the point of the prophecy is to show the total rebellion of the Arab peoples in that area.

Thus the result will be TOTAL ruin of the land area in contrast to what is predicted for Ammon and Moab.

Isaiah 63:6
"I trod down the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

         Isaiah 34:8, “For Yahweh has a day of vengeance.”

As noted above, we find identification with the Day of the Lord and the day of wrath with this specific judgment on the land area of Edom (modern day Jordan).

 

HABAKKUK’S PROPHECY

THE ARRIVAL FROM EDOM

The progress of the Messiah FROM Edom to do battle with the nations is envisioned by Habakkuk. Habakkuk 3:3a
“God comes from Teman, 
And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.”

At first glance it appears that this may simply be saying that the Messiah comes from the SOUTH EAST. However, in view of Isaiah 34 and 63, it is clear that He comes from this area AFTER judging it.

Teman is a region in Edom named after an early prince of the Edomites.
And Paran is a mountain and wilderness area directly south of Jerusalem in the Sinai Peninsula.
The area of the Edomites embraces generally the area South and East of Judah.

There is great SPLENDOR evidenced in the sky when He comes to Jerusalem from Edom.

Verses 3b-4
“His splendor covers the heavens, 
And the earth is full of His praise.
{His} radiance is like the sunlight; 
He has rays {flashing} from His hand, 
And there is the hiding of His power.”

Isaiah describes this at 63:1.
“This One is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength.”

One might be tempted to associate this SPLENDOR with the “great glory” that attends Christ’s arrival in the clouds of the sky, as described at Matthew 24:29-30. But since THIS splendor is given a specific context of arriving FROM Edom, it cannot be the same.

Whenever Christ will move from one phase of His second coming agenda to the next, there will be great glory and splendor manifested to the earth dwellers.

Habakkuk 3:5
"Before Him goes pestilence, 
And plague comes at His feet."

This seems to be a direct statement to the effect that He has first judged Edom and now AFTER Him, comes the judgments on the nations that are surrounding Jerusalem.

The use of the preposition, lepenay, indicates either physical presence (as, “in front of”) or a chronological factor.

In this case, in connection with AT HIS FEET (after Him), it is clear that the idea presented to us is that the LORD brought pestilence to Edom and will THEN bring plague with Him to confront the rest of the nations. But before the plague HITS the armies, Jesus will first stand on the Mount of Olives.

When Jesus arrives from Edom, it is to confront ALL the armies that have assembled in Palestine, and the first item on the list is the Northern alliance that has invaded the city of Jerusalem.

Habakkuk 3:6a
“He stood and surveyed the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.”

It seems that the prophet has in mind the general judgment on the rest of the nations.
He does not mention the battle of Jerusalem specifically as Zechariah does at chapters 12 and 14.
But Zechariah also begins with a GENERAL focus on the gathering of the nations into Palestine using the terminology “all the nations.”

Zechariah 12:3
“And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it (Jerusalem).”

Zechariah 14:2
“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle.”

Those nations first assemble in the land in order to gain material resources, including control of Jerusalem. But it seems that it is the king of the North that will invade Jerusalem.
However that Northern ALLIANCE includes MANY nations. Joel 2 and Ezekiel 38.

Zechariah 14:3
“And Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.”

Zechariah first gives us a GENERAL look at the many nations gathered into Judah, “in the vicinity of” Jerusalem – looking to Jerusalem as their ultimate destination. But he then focuses just on the battle of Jerusalem.

Habakkuk does the same thing except that he does not mention Jerusalem specifically.

The judgment on “the nations” at verse 3:6 includes the battle of Jerusalem FIRST, and then the battle of Armageddon.

This is a valid understanding of the discourse since we have the specific mention of the earthquake and the effect it will have far to the south of Jerusalem in “cushan” and “Midian.”

It seems that, comparing the other passages, the great earthquake occurs only in this context of Christ’s standing on the Mount of Olives. There is no earthquake that occurs when Jesus confronts and destroys the armies in the final battle of Armageddon.

From Christ’s perspective, when He first arrives at Jerusalem, He will “survey” the situation and then set foot on the Mount of Olives.

This arrival onto the Mount of Olives will split the mount down the middle and cause a great earthquake. He will thus, “startle” the nations; the invading armies of the Northern alliance. Zech. 12:4 and 14:12-13.

Jesus will then begin His personal judgment on these armies by bringing some kind of death-producing plague that seems to disintegrate the flesh form the bones. This would be caused by some kind of extreme HEAT, but probably not nuclear. Jesus would not need to use such a weapon as that, but would simply produce the heat that causes the plague.

Habakkuk 3:5
“And plague comes after Him.”

Zechariah 12:4
“In that day I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness.”
Zechariah 14:12-13, 15
“Now this will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the people who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. And it will come about in that day that a great panic for Yahweh will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hands of one will be lifted against the hand of another.
So also like this plague, will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey, and all the cattle that will be in those camps.”

Habakkuk just mentions this plague without providing any details.  He then “backs up” and describes the great earthquake that will occur when Jesus descends to the Mount of Olives.

The arrival of Christ in Jerusalem will be with great splendor and power. It will be both the spectacular physical arrival and the great earthquake that will startle and shock all the nations. 

Habakkuk 3:6b-7
“Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, 
The ancient hills collapsed. 
His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan under distress, 
The tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling."

This earthquake is also described at Zechariah 14:4-5, in direct association with Christ’s descent to the Mount of Olives. At that time, the mountain will be split down the middle from east to west, which is what causes the great earthquake. The splitting of the mountain will create a huge valley extending about 6 miles west of Jerusalem to Azel.

Cushan will feel the great earthquake. We know nothing about this form of the word. Speculation suggests it to be another form of CUSH, the Ethiopian area, south of Egypt.

Or it could refer to the Sinai Peninsula area inhabited by nomads from Cush. Today, that is an area controlled by Egypt.
And Midian also will feel it. Midian is the land area south of Judah, below the Edomite area, and encompassing basically the Arabian peninsula, which is modern day Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In both cases, the general land area to the distant south of Israel is in view as it was at that time, inhabited by nomads who dwell in “tents.”

It seems that this particular earthquake will be felt from Jerusalem, as far south as Ethiopia, below Egypt, and as far south and east as Saudi Arabia.

This goes further south than the land area of Edom, which will have already been totally judged.

The earthquake is also described at Revelation 16:17-20 in connection with the final bowl judgment. There it says that “the great city” (Jerusalem) was split into three parts. This is not inconsistent with the splitting of the mount of Olives down the middle. Zechariah’s facts do not require a two-part division of the city. John’s vision simply adds an additional detail to the results of the earthquake that will occur when Jesus stands on the mount.

The next section of this chapter (verses 3:8-15) is separated from the previous verses by a natural break in the Hebrew. It describes in more detail the judgment on the nations that are gathered in Palestine and extends beyond Jerusalem to the battle of Armageddon.

The last section, verses 16-19, occur after another natural break in the text. These verses SPECIFICALLY describe the attitude of the prophet as he anticipates the national judgment that is coming at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar as shown in the first two chapters. These thoughts of Habakkuk are personal and contemporary and do not have any end-times focus.

Thus, as seen in so many other passages, WHEN the Messiah arrives on the earth, He will begin to express God’s wrath upon the unbelievers (the earth-dwellers) through many NON-MILITARY judgments (the trumpets and bowls) That judgment will culminate with the physical destruction of the world’s armies that are gathered into Palestine. But it will be in three phases as Jesus descends first to Edom, then to Jerusalem and finally to Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.

The focus in the prophecies of Habakkuk is that the Messiah will come FROM Edom and initiate the battle of Jerusalem with earthquake and plague.

It seems that other than the plague, Jesus will be relatively inactive in the battle of Jerusalem. It seems that He will serve a catalyst for the people of Israel to fight back and successfully defend themselves against the invading armies. He will thus, OVERSEE the battle, as the nation’s commander-in-chief, and probably not too long after arriving there, He will continue on to Megiddo.

There appears to be a DELAY before Jesus arrives at Megiddo. It seems that there needs to be some kind of TIME FRAME for the battle of Jerusalem to play out, but I suppose it could be resolved in that same day. Thus, any “delay” would be a matter of hours only.

Revelation 19:19
“And I say the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army.”

These are the same ones who will be gathered by the demon influence of the 6th bowl judgment. Revelation 16:14 and 16.

“For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Mageddon.”

So Jesus will finish His work in Jerusalem probably AFTER the battle has been won by the forces of Judah and Jerusalem. He will then go to Megiddo and confront the bulk of the world’s armies who have assembled there. That will include the King of the East, the King of the West (the beast), and the remainder of the King of the North (who will have his forces split into two sections – Joel 2:20).

This will be THE battle of Armageddon.

See Topic: Armageddon – When Armies Move

However, Armageddon is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
It is only a LOCAL battle in the land of Palestine.

Furthermore, for clarification, the term Armageddon should never be used to describe the catastrophic events that are symbolized by the trumpets and the first 5 bowls.

For that matter, these events should not be viewed as any “end of the world” scenario.

Yes, they are serious and world-wide judgments that will result in much death and destruction. And ultimately they will result in the death and removal of ALL unbelievers.

But “they” and “it” are not the end of the world.

The Messiah’s kingdom will be established, and that will be a time of world-wide blessing and prosperity for all the peoples who have trusted in Christ as Savior.
 

 
 

Questions and comments are always welcome

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