Inference to the Flood

Isaiah continued with his description of this coming time of judgment

Terror, the pit, and the snare
    are upon you, O inhabitants of the earth!
Whoever flees at the sound of the terror
    shall fall into the pit,
and whoever climbs out of the pit
    shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,
    and the foundations of the earth tremble.

Isaiah 24:17-18 (NRSV)

Those last phrases would have evoked, in the ancient Jewish mind, the memory of the Flood. Isaiah must have used that language on purpose, as God had already once judged the earth with a flood for these very things, washing the earth clean and beginning again.

Jesus used Noah’s flood as a reference to describe what the last days would be like, and so did the apostle Peter in his second letter, 

By the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

2 Peter 3:5-7 (NRSV)
By Nilanjan Majumdar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Universal Judgment

There is coming a time, Isaiah prophesied, when the consequences of sin will destroy the earth as we know it today. It will be the same kind of universal judgement as with the flood, but this time

The earth is utterly broken;
    the earth is torn apart;
    the earth is violently shaken.
The earth staggers like a drunkard;
    it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
    and it falls and will not rise again.

Isaiah 24:19-20 (NRSV)

The apostle Peter added further corroborating details in his second letter,

The heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

… the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed and the elements will melt with fire.

2 Peter 3:10, 12 (NRSV)

Bringing the prophet Isaiah’s poetical language together with the apostle Peter’s apocalyptical language, a picture emerges of the present heavens and earth being completely destroyed, where even the elements will be undone, the fundamental constituents, the basic structure—in Greek στοιχεῖον | stoicheion—of the universe will melt, atom pried from atom, so that nothing is left. This would complete the predictions of the prophets concerning the Day of the Lord judgment.

Then, in the last three verses of his oracle, prophet Isaiah described a time of judgment that seems to match well what the apostle John would later depict in his Revelation. Here they are, side by side.

Isaiah 24:21-23 (NRSV)Revelation 20-22 (NRSV)
On that day the Lord will punish
    the host of heaven in heaven
    and on earth the kings of the earth.

They will be gathered together
    like prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
    and after many days they will be punished.

Then the moon will be abashed
    and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will be glorified.
An angel casts the dragon, the ancient serpent into a bottomless pit where he is locked and sealed for a thousand years.  

He is then released and stirs up one more worldwide rebellion after which he will be finally judged along with all those who joined him, and the Book of Life is opened. (Revelation 20)  

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21-22)
“The Collision” By V.Cid7413 – Own work, CC BY 4.0, | Researcher: Maggie (Margaret) Thompson SOFIA: Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

“After Many Days”

Note above that the Lord will assert God’s authority over all other authority on earth – the kings of the earth – as well as in the spiritual realm―the host of heaven in heaven. These are the powers that would exalt themselves against God.

Next, all those who have rebelled against God, both angelic and human, will be locked away, like prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison. The apostle Peter and Jude both described this kind of prison as a place of gloomy darkness where Satan and the demons would be kept in chains.

A period of time will pass.

It is during this time that Revelation describes a thousand years of righteousness with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning on earth, a portrayal that seems to echo Isaiah’s prophecy. Yet, nowhere else in the scriptures does the number of a thousand years appear in this context except in John’s Revelation. Millennium, a term familiar to those who study end-times theology (called eschatology), means “thousand” in Latin and pertains to this final phase of human existence before the Day of God’s Judgment.

There are three main ways to read what is being prophesied:

  • Amillennium: This time period is symbolic of the church age, continuing from the first century through today and until the Lord returns.
  • Postmillennium: This time period indicates life getting progressively better on earth until Christ returns.
  • Premillennium: After a seven-year span of increasingly horrific tribulations, Jesus will physically return to earth to establish an earthly kingdom in Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. There He will reign with resurrected believers for a literal one thousand years before the final conflict commences between God and the forces of evil.

Lastly, after these many days have passed, God’s final judgment of those who have opposed the Lord will complete that era. According to Isaiah, they will be punished, after which an entirely new era is ushered in, a new heavens and earth with entirely new properties.

Note the dragon locked up during a thousand year reign, then released, then a new era. Partial depiction of an endtimes chart By Daguenther – The book of Revelation, from the Bible, Public Domain

New Heavens, New Earth

Isaiah’s final strophe speaks of a time when the sun and moon will pale beside God’s visible glory.  

Then the moon will be abashed
    and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will be glorified.

Isaiah 24:23 (NRSV)

John’s Revelation gives specific and startling detail as to what will happen with the sun and moon.

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 

Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 

People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 

But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 21:22-27 (NRSV)

John’s Revelation portrays a new and beautiful Jerusalem replacing the once ruined city. The people in heaven will be a tribute to God’s grace, the people in hell will bear witness to God’s justice. In heaven all will delight in God’s glory, whereas in hell all will rage against God’s glory.

Similarly, Isaiah’s oracle places God on Zion, sovereign over all and glorified by all.

Por Phillip Medhurst – Obra do próprio, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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