End of the Old Age and Beginnig of the New
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We are studying the book of Isaiah, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and we have been following the outline which we have suggested to you the Holy Spirit has placed in the book. We are not going to take the time in this lesson to review the outline, but we are going to notice a new division of the book which begins with chapter 34. This division comprises two chapters, and it is what Bible scholars refer to as an epilogue . You understand that an epilogue is a portion of a discussion that comes after the main discussion. The reason that these two chapters are referred to as an epilogue is that they sum up pretty well everything that has gone before, because you will recall that as we have gone through the book of Isaiah up to this point, we have noticed promises of the judgment of God followed by the promises of the blessing of God.

In chapter 34 of the book of Isaiah, you are going to have emphasis upon the judgment of God. In chapter 35, you are going to have emphasis upon the blessing of God. Then, you are going to find in chapters 36-38 a historical interlude, which comes between the two divisions of the book of Isaiah. We are in the first portion of the book now, and when we get to chapter 39 we are going to begin the last portion of the book. These two chapters right here represent the summary of everything that we have looked at up to this point.

You will remember when we have been talking about the judgment of God, we have been talking about the judgment of God as immediately related to the nations that existed in Isaiah's day, and we have been talking about the judgment of God as it related to the nations that will come across the stage of the world's history at a day future even as far as we are concerned. That is particularly evident in chapter 34, because we are going to notice a description of the judgment of God upon all of the nations of the world, with particular attention given to the nation of Edom, known as Idumea.

If you recall what we have said to you in our study, you will remember that in chapter 21 of the book of Isaiah, Edom was brought to our attention as a special object of the judgment of God. We said that we were not going to discuss it there, and when we come to chapter 34, we say we are not going to discuss it now. The reason is that in chapter 63, everything that is said in chapter 21 and in chapter 34 about Edom is taken, tied together, and related to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Judgment will fall upon that nation at that particular time for the reasons that we will see when we come to that portion of the Word of God.

Judgment At the Second Coming

We would like for you to notice this particular portion that deals with the judgment of the world at the Second Coming of Christ. Notice verse 1:

Isaiah 34

1Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
2For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
3Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
4And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
5For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

We will stop our reading there, because the rest of the chapter describes the special judgment upon Idumea, or Edom, as we have already suggested.

Someone may say, “Why do you keep referring to these things in the future? Didn't Isaiah prophesy to the people in his day? Didn't he have them in mind?” Our answer will be the same as we have been making in every lesson. Yes, He did. He did have the people of his day in mind, but the things which he said in relation to the prophetic utterances which were given went far beyond the people of his day. For example, the invitiation that is extended in verses 1-2, includes all the nations of the world and the entire earth. Yet, the battle with which Isaiah was immediately concerned was with Sennacherib and his Assyrian host. We have no alternative but to say that Isaiah was speaking about a day far future to his own.

Prophecy Yet to Be Fulfilled

Someone may say, and justly so, “Could not this prophecy have been fulfilled at some time in the past?” Our answer is no, because there has never been a time when verse 4 has been fulfilled, for verse 4 says:

Isaiah 34

4And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

Of course the host of heaven refers to the stars, the planets in the heavens, and this passage of Scripture describes how someday they are going to fall from the heavens as the leaf falls from the tree. That has never occurred in any day in history past, but someone who is especially observant might say, “Why, then, are the verb tenses in this passage of Scripture in the past? Why are they not in the future?” In verse 2, we read:

Isaiah 34

2For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

That sounds like it has already happened, doesn't it? If it hasn't already happened, why did he talk like that? The answer is found in a principle of language with which you should become familiar. These words are written in what we call the prophetic perfect . Whenever anything is written in the prophetic perfect, it is translated in the past tense in our English translation. The reason for it is that Isaiah is looking at the whole picture, and he sees it as already accomplished, because the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. But, because we see only part of the picture, we must speak of it in the future instead of in the prophetic perfect, as did Isaiah.

Unusual Occurrences In the Heavens

You notice the statement related to the host of the heaven, to the unusual things that are going to occur in the heavens when God pours out His indignation upon all the earth. If you are familiar with your Bibles, you know that the language of the Old Testament has been transported to the New Testament, because the language is so similar, we are amazed, or we would be if we did not realize that really the Bible, though it has been written by many men, has one author—the Holy Spirit. Isaiah wrote these words long before the Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth, and yet when He came, He said practically the same thing. The words were written long before the Apostle Peter was born, and yet when he preached the message related to this same subject, he said practically the same thing. Isaiah wrote these words long before the Apostle John was ever heard of, but when the Apostle John was writing about the same event, he used practically the same words.

New Testament References

Let me illustrate for you what I mean. Turn to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 24. Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew is written in answer to the questions found in the first portion of it. Notice verse 3:

Matthew 24

3…Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

The Lord Jesus Christ answered the question by saying in verse 27:

Matthew 24

27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I don't think there is need for me to take time to point out the similarity between the languages of these two passages of Scripture. It is self-evident.

Look at II Peter, chapter 3, and notice what the Apostle Peter has to say about this particular thing. In this chapter the Apostle is discussing the matter of scoffers saying, “Where is the promise of the coming of the Lord? All things continue as they were.” He says, “That isn't true. They are willfully ignorant of the Scripture. Things have not continued from the day of creation as they have always been. There have been several climactic events in the history of the world,” but in verse 10 we read:

II Peter 3

10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [holy living] and godliness,
12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, [notice carefully the similarity of the language] wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

You notice the similarity. There is no need for me to overemphasize it.

Related to the Tribulation

Turn to the book of the Revelation, and keep in mind that beginning with chapter 6 and continuing through chapter 19, there is a description of this period of time about which we are thinking. This period of time is known as the Tribulation . During this time there will be these unusual things happening in the heaven. Notice chapter 6, verse 12:

Revelation 6

12And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, [does not become sackcloth, but becomes as sackcloth] and the moon became as blood; [does not turn to blood, but becomes as blood]
13And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, [notice how much like Isaiah 34 this is] even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15And the [notice—not the Assyrian king Sennacherib, but] kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

There are many other passages of Scripture at which we might look by way of comparison, but I think that these are sufficient.

Someone may ask a very normal question. “Will we be here when this occurs?” If you mean by we , born-again believers, our answer is no. No, we won't be here. Thank God, the Lord Jesus Christ will have come and will have taken us unto Himself by transporting us through the air without benefit of spaceships. God has made that provision.

If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you're still alive when this period of history comes, you will be here, and you will have to go through this terrible time.

Someone says, “If we are not going to be here—and I'm not because I'm saved—what really is the purpose of our studying this? What really is the purpose in it being in the Bible anyway?” We are going to answer the two questions one after the other.

Living In the Light of the Lord's Return

The purpose of our studying this was found in II Peter, chapter 3, when Peter said, “If these things are true [and they are] what manner of people ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” Why does God want us to know these things? Because He wants them to have a definite bearing on our lives. He wants us to live in the light of the Lord's return. He wants us to realize that someday we're going to stand in the presence of the Holy God, and that day may come suddenly upon us, so we had better live in the light of it.

In talking with some folks about the truth of the Lord's return and how it can affect our lives, I said, “When I am in an evangelistic service and am preaching on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, I often emphasize the purifying effect that the truth of the coming of the Lord could have on an individual's life if he kept in mind how embarrassed he might be if the Lord came and found him in some questionable place as far as a Christian's testimony is concerned.” Did you ever stop to think about that? Just suppose that you were somewhere that you know as a Christian you ought not to be, and the Lord came. Would He take you? Of course He would. He'll take you because you belong to Him.

When He comes back, He is coming back for His Body, and if He didn't take all of His Body, He would rupture His Body, and He doesn't want to do that. He will take all of the Body, but suppose that happened, and suppose that just as you got up there some of the saints came to you and said, “I had hoped that I would be living on the earth when Jesus came, but God didn't see fit to let me live that long, and I am just interested in something. If it's too personal you don't have to answer. Just what were you doing when Jesus came for you?” I have thought about that through the years, and it has served as a guide. It has served as a source of restraint for me.

My, wouldn't it be embarrassing if Moses were to come to you and say, “I understand you came up with the group that the Lord brought? What were you doing when Jesus came? You would just have to say, “Moses, I would just rather not answer that question. I'm just a little bit embarrassed about what I was doing.” It can be an embarrassing situation. Why do we need to study these things? They were intended to be a guide to our spiritual life.

Now the second question: Why are they included in the Word of God? Because the Bible is a universal book. It wasn't only written for those of us who are living in the twentieth century. It was written for the people who were before us, and it is written for the people who will come after us, and it is written for the people who will be living when these things come to pass. Many of them won't know what it is all about, and they are going to be asking questions, and Isaiah knew that. Turn back to Isaiah, chapter 34, and notice verse 16:

Isaiah 34

16Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail…

We have skipped quite a portion in this chapter purposely. As we told you, we are going to talk about it when we get to chapter 63. You will have to accept the fact when I tell you that the word these referred to the prophecies which Isaiah made.

What is he saying? “Not one of these prophecies shall fail. None shall want their mate.” What is the mate to prophecy? It is fulfillment. The prophecy hasn't been fulfilled, but when it is fulfilled, it has its mate.

Notice the next statement in verse 16:

Isaiah 34

16…for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

The word my should be the word his . He is speaking of the mouth of God. “The mouth of God hath commanded these things, and His spirit hath gathered them.” Notice verse 17:

Isaiah 34

17And he [God] hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

The people who live in Edom are going to be saying, “Why is all of this happening to us?” Nobody will have the answer. Then somebody will say, “Why don't we look in the Bible?” They will look in the Bible, and they will find the answer. You see, the Bible is a universal book, and if God wrote it only for you and your particular need, what a meager book it would be.

Conditions During the Millennium

I want us to glance briefly at chapter 35. There isn't too much to be said about it. It really is a poem, and it proves what we have been saying to you, that chapter 34 is talking about the end of this world as we commonly speak of it, because when this age comes to an end, what is going to happen? Look at chapter 35, verse 1:

Isaiah 35

1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for…

Stop right there, because the words for them are not in the original text. What is Isaiah saying? “When God finishes His judgment upon the earth, the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Isaiah 35

2It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see [notice] the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.

What a wonderful time this is going to be. Now look at verse 3:

Isaiah 35

3Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.

Do you recognize those words? If you have ever been interested in the chastening of God, you ought to recognize them, because they are quoted exactly in chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews, when the Apostle Paul was urging us to try to understand the chastening of God in our lives. He said that it wasn't forever. “It is going to accomplish a purpose; therefore, Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.” Isaiah is saying to those who are discouraged because of sin and evil, “It isn't always going to be that way.” Look at verse 4:

Isaiah 35

4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

He is coming to save you and to deliver you. Notice the things that are going to occur when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back:

Isaiah 35

5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was on the earth the first time, introducing the Kingdom which was rejected, the eyes of the blind were opened and the ears of the deaf were unstopped. When the Apostles were still introducing the Kingdom to the nation of Israel, before the final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the eyes of the blind were opened, and the ears of the deaf were unstopped. It wasn't any mischance there. Whenever they laid their hands on a man who couldn't see, he saw. Whenever they put their fingers on the ears of a man who was deaf, he heard. In the mercy and the grace of God, in the age in which we live, people who are blind have been made to see occasionally. People who have been deaf are made to hear occasionally, but it isn't the order of the day. Look at the next verse:

Isaiah 35

6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing…

It happens occasionally today, but it doesn't happen always in every case. I don't know of anybody who believes in divine healing who will say that everybody that they prayed for was healed. I don't know of anybody who believes in divine healing who will say that everybody upon whom they laid their hands was healed. But it was so in the days of the Apostles, and it will be so when the Kingdom comes again, because you see, sickness is related to sin—not your personal sin, but Adam's sin. If Adam had never disobeyed God, this physical body would never have begun to die. When men stand in the Millennium, things are going to be wonderful indeed. Look now at the last part of verse 6:

Isaiah 35

6…for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

You see, everything will feel the touch of the hand of God, and it won't be the same.

Look at verse 8, where you will find a familiar passage of Scripture, because it is describing something that has been described three times already in the book of Isaiah—a highway:

Isaiah 35

8And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

This is to say that this highway will be well marked and plain. I am sure that you have heard many sermons on this in a figurative sense. This is a little highway we've learned that God is going to have built so that people from all over the world, during the Millennium, will be able to travel to the city of Jerusalem to sit under the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice verse 9:

Isaiah 35

9No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10And the ransomed of the LORD [born-again believers] shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

We have a great future. Someone wrote me a question from the radio audience asking, “What does the Apostle Paul mean when he says, ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ; we are all men most miserable'?”

Conclusion

Why do we have hope in Christ in this life? It is wonderful. Hope in Christ is a tremendous thing. I wrote that individual and I said, “Yes, hope in Christ is a wonderful thing. What would we do without it? To have it for this life is a wonderful thing, but Paul meant that if this book only speaks about here and now, it has just skimmed the surface.”

Somebody has said that time is but a bubble on the ocean of eternity. Why be interested only in the bubble, when the whole ocean is before you, yours to enjoy? You see, we are not part of a little old religion that had its roots in Judaism. We are part of the eternal plan of God, the beginning of which only we have seen.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org