KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13:11)
In chapters 13 through 23 of the Book of Isaiah, the focus shifts from Judah and Jerusalem to God’s pronouncement of judgment on ten Gentile nations (see chart below). These prophesies are called “burdens,” which in the original language meant “to lift up.” Divine judgment was going to be lifted up, and the prophet’s solemn messages were a heavy weight as he lifted up his voice in warning. He knew that cities would be destroyed and thousands of people would be killed.
Knowing of these coming judgments on the Gentile nations should have impacted Israel for several reasons:
• When Gentile nations oppressed them, the people should not have despaired because God had stated that He would eventually punish those nations.
• The people should have seen the futility of forming alliances with these nations.
• Israel and also the Gentiles should have recognized that God has authority over all earthly powers.
• This knowledge should have strengthened the faith of the people.
Babylon was listed first in Isaiah’s condemnation. In 586 B.C., the Babylonian empire would destroy Jerusalem and the people of Judah would become their captives. From Genesis (the tower of Babel) through Revelation, Babylon typifies those who are defiant toward God, while Jerusalem often symbolizes the chosen of God.
In chapters 24 through 27, the prophecy broadens to include judgment to the whole world in the end times. God revealed to Isaiah, as to other Biblical writers, details regarding the Tribulation, causing these chapters to sometimes be referred to as “Isaiah’s Apocalypse.” The word “Behold” (Isaiah 24:1) indicated a future event. Individuals as well as nations would be judged. However, these chapters also hold out hope. God would provide deliverance, blessing, and protection for His people. After Israel was purged, they would be gathered and restored.
Isaiah’s prophecies were received with scorn and unbelief by many of the people of his time. But God’s Word has proved itself unfailingly. Fulfilled predictions regarding former nations reinforce Isaiah’s prophetic statements about events which have not yet transpired.
No doubt some of Isaiah’s prophecies sounded harsh to the people of that day, but Isaiah made the people aware that it was their own doings that would bring about their destruction (see key verse).
When we accept Christ as our personal Savior and live for Him, we will escape the wrath that is coming.