Isaiah 23 is a prophecy against Tyre which is located in present day Lebanon. At one time, Tyre was the marketplace of the nations. It was destroyed because the Lord planned it in order to break the pride of the arrogant and to humiliate all those who are honored everywhere on earth. In Annals of the World, Ussher said this was done at the hand of Shalmaneser.[i]
Isaiah said that when the day of Tyre’s destruction came, it would be forgotten for 70 years after which the Lord would remember it. At that time, Tyre would make money once again and prostitute itself with the kingdoms of the world. After saying this, the Scriptures suddenly seem to shift gears and tell us in Isaiah 23:18, “Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the Lord; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing.” This seems to allude to a time in the future. Isaiah 24 continues this focus on the future by telling us of the coming judgment on the earth.
Because of this odd transition, it should make us ask whether or not Tyre will experience disaster in the future. Jeremiah 25 indicates that Tyre and other kingdoms in the Middle East will not escape destruction. These nations will drink the cup that the Lord intends them to drink. This cup is opposite yet parallels the final cup of the marriage covenant. This cup describes what will take place on the day of the Lord’s return; this cup is for the wicked and not for believers.
Ezekiel 26 also discusses the fate of Tyre. It says the Lord intends to bring many nations against Tyre. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would come against him. History tells us that Alexander the Great also came against Tyre.
Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre would be no more yet it still remains today. Certainly, we are still waiting for this prophecy to be fulfilled in the future. Based on Ezekiel’s descriptions of the prince and king of Tyre, the prince of Tyre is the False Prophet and the King of Tyre is Satan. Since the fate of these two will be fulfilled in the future, the prophecies of Tyre and other nations contained in Ezekiel 26-28 must concern the future and not just the past.
If we go back to Isaiah 24, it says the Lord intends to empty and plunder the earth which has become defiled by the people of the earth. This defilement has occurred as a result of transgressing the law of God. In other words, this everlasting marriage covenant has been broken and the Lord’s ordinances have been changed. The curses of the law that Moses warned the people about in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 will devour the earth. We must return to the law of our Lord immediately and beg for mercy as these curses are poured out on the earth!
Eventually, the leaders of the earth will be punished and the Lord of armies will reign on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Somehow, the leaders of the earth can’t see how their decisions are contrary to God’s will. Their minds are deluded and they are following their own wills while rejecting the will of God. They will suffer the consequences of their policies and actions.
Isaiah praised the Lord and described the coming wedding feast for the Lord’s people. He said the Lord will make things right for His people. He assured us that the Lord will swallow up death and wipe away the tears of His people.
Yes, we will rejoice when we see the Lord who we have waited for; we will rejoice and be glad in His salvation! Take comfort in this as the future unfolds!
For now, we must return to the law of the marriage covenant because we want to be the people mentioned in the song which will be sung in Israel. At that time, they will sing for the gates to be opened so the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in!
Another reason to return to the law (repentance) is because the law is truth. As we imitate Christ, we are following Jesus who embodies that truth. As we are obedient to the Lord’s commands, we must always focus on the Lord and trust in Him. As we do so, He will keep us in perfect peace.
As Isaiah continues, he assures us of the resurrection of the dead. Before that takes place, we’re told to enter and hide in our dwelling places until the Lord’s wrath is past. Know this, the Lord will come and execute judgment on the wicked for their iniquities. If the Lord commanded his people to hide, how can there be a pre-tribulation rapture?
If we keep reading, Isaiah 27 tells us about the day of the Lord. At that time, Leviathan, the ancient sea serpent will be destroyed. This is the same serpent from the Garden of Eden. This is another reference to the destruction of Satan, the king of Tyre.
Eventually, Israel will be restored and people will come to worship the Lord. The Scriptures have prophesied this, how can we possibly doubt it?
[i] Annals of the World by James Ussher. LONDON, Printed by E. Tyler, for F. Crook, and G. Bedell in 1658. The Fifth Age; 3287 AM, 3997 JP, 717 BC; Section 639.