The Judgment of Fire

Isaiah 33 opens with another woe.  It is addressed to the destroyer and the betrayer.  Some English versions translate it as the plunderer and one who deals treacherously.  Originally, it was a warning to Assyria.  I tend to believe this is also a reference to the future. 

Besides Assyria, it was also a reference to the coming King of the North.  Daniel 11:21-45 describes this despicable man.  Actually, it describes Antiochus IV Epiphanes who is a type of the coming Antichrist.  Both are known in this passage as the King of the North.  Daniel 11:45 describes his end:  “And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” 

God’s people surely begged the Lord for mercy and salvation in their time of trouble during King Hezekiah’s reign.  They will do so again in the future.  Daniel 12 says that at that time, there will be a time of trouble such as never was since Israel was a nation.  This is a reference to the latter half of the final shavuah (7 year period) prior to Christ’s return and the ultimate year of Jubilee.  At that point, God’s people will realize they have broken their covenant with the Lord and desire reconciliation. 

As written in Isaiah, the Lord is exalted and reigns on high.  He has and will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  The Lord gives us stability which comes from wisdom and knowledge; and salvation—both physical and spiritual.  The Lord’s plunder will be gathered at that time.

These verses applied not only to the past but also apply to the future.  As mentioned in a previous post, the Lord came and killed 185,000 people in the camp of the Assyrians.  At that time Sennacherib, the king of Assyria went away and returned to Nineveh.[i]  In the future, the Lord will come and destroy the armies of the Beast.  At this time, the Lord will arise and be exalted.

Isaiah 33:10-12 says, “Now I will rise,” says the Lord; Now I will be exalted, Now I will lift Myself up.  11 You shall conceive chaff, You shall bring forth stubble; Your breath, as fire, shall devour you. 12 And the people shall be like the burnings of lime; Like thorns cut up they shall be burned in the fire.”

Revelation speaks of fire as a punishment or judgment in several ways.  Fire from the sun will be the fourth plague or bowl of Revelation.  The Harlot, Babylon the Great will be consumed with fire.  The beast and false prophet will be thrown in the lake of fire.  Gog’s armies will be consumed with fire after the millennial reign of Christ.  The adversary will be thrown in the lake of fire.  Death and sheol will be thrown in the lake of fire.  Finally, anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life will be thrown in the lake of fire. 

Ezekiel 38:22 and 39:6 describes the judgment of Gog and Magog:  “And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord… And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”  Note that fire is one of the judgments listed here.

As Isaiah continues, we understand that sinners need to be consumed with holy fear of the Lord.  Things have not changed much since Isaiah’s time.  People today still laugh in scorn at the idea of dwelling in everlasting fire.  Fortunately, the righteous need not fear the fire of the Lord.  His fire will purify the righteous.  In the midst of the evil and perverse generation in which we live, let must live uprightly, despise oppressive gain, and refuse bribes.  We must avoid evil no matter what form it takes.  We must remember our eternal destiny is to dwell with the Lord and that He will provide for us and be our defense.

One day we will see the King of kings and Lord of lords in all of His glorious beauty.  We won’t need to fear our enemies any longer.  We’ll be of one mind and language.  Jerusalem will be a city of peace and tranquility.  A tabernacle will be there during the millennial reign of Christ and will not be taken down.  Those who dwell there will be healthy and their sins will be forgiven.  Once there is a new earth, there will be no need for a temple in the new Jerusalem because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple.[ii]

Isaiah 34 describes the destruction of the nations.  Since this follows  the coming of Christ described in Isaiah 33, it seems to refer to the Battle of Gog and Magog which is described in Revelation 20; however, some may believe this is a reference to the Battle of Armageddon which takes place just prior to the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign in Jerusalem. 

After Christ’s millennial reign, the Lord will deal with the nations of the world.  According to Revelation 20, the Adversary will be released from the abyss after the 1000 years are over.  He will deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth.  They will gather the armies of Gog for battle against Jerusalem.  The Lord will allow them to come into Israel and surround Jerusalem.  Suddenly, fire will come down from heaven and consume them. 

This seems like the most likely time for the demonic host which is in heaven to be destroyed and for the heavens to be rolled up like a scroll.

Isaiah then describes the judgment of Edom that will be in Bozrah.  Since the prophet appears to be switching back and forth between time periods and similarly described events, it is difficult to say with certainty when this prophecy will really take place.  Many believe this precedes the Battle of Armageddon since the Lord is wearing blood stained clothing at that time.[iii]

The destruction of Edom is prophesied in Obadiah.  At some point, Edom will send a messenger among the nations calling for the attack on Israel.  The Lord promised a remnant will remain on Mount Zion, a flame will consume the house of Esau, and that the land of Edom will become a wasteland.

Even though tough days are ahead for God’s people, I repeat the words of Isaiah 35:3-4:  “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  Don’t doubt it!  Count on it!


[i] 2 Kings 19:35-36.

[ii] Revelation 21:22.

[iii] Revelation 19:13.

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