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Isaiah 23-27 Listen
1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.
2 Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.
3 And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations.
4 Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.
5 As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre.
6 Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.
7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.
8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?
9 The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.
10 Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.
11 He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof.
12 And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest.
13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin.
14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste.
15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.
16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.
17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.
18 And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.
Tyre is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea just beyond the northern border of modern-day Israel. It was a trade city, perhaps even the mother of all trade cities in their day. Sidon (aka Zidon) was a sister port city approximately 20 miles up the coast. Tyre's fall is not prophesied here, but rather the interruption of their commerce for a period of 70 years (verses 15 and 17). This interruption could have occurred from around 700 B.C. to 630 B.C. when the Assyrians dominated the land and the local people. It is possible, however, that the 70 years interruption could have coincided with the 70 years of Jewish exile about which Jeremiah prophesied. If so, this period would have been from 605 B.C. until 535 B.C. Click here to read the summary on Jeremiah's prophecy regarding this 70-year exile. We really do not have historical validation to know precisely when this prophecy was fulfilled.
The "harlot" metaphor of verses 15-18 paints the picture of Tyre as an aging harlot who, at the end of the 70 years, isn't as popular as she once was. Here she is seen singing through the streets, presumably soliciting business, since they aren't lining up at her doors as in days of old.
24:1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.
4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.
8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.
9 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.
10 The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
11 There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.
12 In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction.
13 When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.
14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.
15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.
17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
25:1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
2 For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.
3 Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.
4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.
6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.
11 And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands.
12 And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.
26:1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
These three chapters deal with the whole earth. All references to "earth" and "land" are translated from the exact same Hebrew word, "eretz." Sometimes the word is translated "earth" and sometimes "land" in the Old Testament. It is important to recognize that, when it is translated "land" in this passage, it is still a reference to the whole earth. Another Hebrew word ("tay-bale´") is used four times in chapters 24-27 (24:4, 26:9, 26:18, 27:6). This word is used only 36 times in the Old Testament, but is defined as "the global mass called earth, including the atmosphere or heavens." There can be no question that Isaiah's prophecy in chapters 24-26 speaks of a world-wide phenomenon of God's judgment. Only one historical/prophetic period of time fills the specifications here - the period yet future to us we refer to as the Tribulation period and leading into the Millennium. Moreover, Paul's usage of Isaiah 25:8 in I Corinthians 15:54 (see notes) to describe this period, seals the deal on which period is being specified.
Note the universal effect of the events of this prophecy:
All three chapters (24-26) are yet future to, not only Isaiah, but to us as well. The judgment of chapter 24 over the whole earth is a prophecy concerning the judgment of God on the earth. Compatibility with John's Revelation would place this judgment during the tribulation, most likely the last Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes). This is the last great battle and judgment on the earth just prior to the beginning of the millennium. In Revelation 19:11-21 all of the wicked people of the earth will be destroyed, and only saved people will enter into the millennium. There will be the presence of unsaved people during the millennium, but they will be people who are born during that period of 1,000 years, not the people who originally pass from tribulation-period earth into millennium-period earth.
Death won't actually be eradicated until the end of the 1,000-year millennium. Revelation 20:14-15 (see notes) tells us that "death and hell were cast into the lake of fire." The new Heaven and new earth are created in Revelation 21:1 (see notes) which is where the New Jerusalem comes in. At that point in time, death will have been eradicated.
Isaiah 26:1 tells us that a song will be sung at that time, "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah;" The song of chapter 26 portrays conditions on the earth leading up to and including the yet-future millennium.
1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.
3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him?
8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.
9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.
10 Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.
11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.
12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
One day Israel will be completely redeemed and vindicated from her enemies. Here Isaiah draws from a well-known mythological figure to make his point when he refers to leviathan. This multi-headed monster is used as a reference to the enemies of Israel motivated by the powers of evil - Satan himself. Chapter 27 speaks of Israel's redemption from this enemy. This total defeat of the enemy does not take place until the last battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes) just prior to the millennium. We see in verse 13 that Jerusalem will become a central place of worship for all.
It is worth noting that John portrays Satan as a dragon in his vision found in Revelation 12 (see notes). It is this very same dragon (Satan) who empowers the beast (aka antichrist) of Revelation 13:1-10 (see notes). And then in Revelation 20:2-3 (see notes) we see, "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." Finally, in Revelation 20:10 (see notes), Satan is cast into the lake of fire...permanently. It occurs to me that it very well may be that Isaiah is seeing these very prophetic events outlined in John's revelation; the time frame fits.
And how does it all end? Verse 13, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem." The whole world will worship the LORD who shall reign from Jerusalem.