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Isaiah is the prophet of Salvation. He is also known as the truly "Universalist" prophet, by which is meant that He makes it clear that salvation is extended equally to all nations and not just to Israel. He lived to see the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Israelites to Assyria, and he prophesied of their "return" to God (through repentance). He is truly a "major prophet" whose prophecies greatly influenced the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
Category - Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 13:6 says to Babylon,
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
What is “the day of the Lord”? In the NASB there are nine references to this “day” in the Old Testament and another four in the New Testament. Most of these passages picture it as a day of judgment upon the nations. Isaiah 13:6 says, “It will come as destruction from the Almighty.” It is a day of “battle” (Ezekiel 13:5), and “doom” (Ezekiel 30:3), and of recompense (Obad. 1:15).
In other words, it is pictured as the nations’ day in court, where they are judged according to their works. Hence, “the day of the Lord” is the day in which the “beast” nation will be held accountable for the way in which they used the authority that God had given them, when He sold Israel, Judah, and the entire world into their hands.
The day of the Lord should then be contrasted with “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). (“Gentiles” is ethnos, “nations,” not necessarily non-Jewish nations.) These “times” indicate their specific time to rule the earth after God gave them the Dominion Mandate that had been held by the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). When Judah violated the terms of the Dominion Mandate, God transferred it to Babylon, beginning the sequence of beast empires seen in Daniel 2 and 7.
Yet “the times of the Gentiles” was a limited period of time, according to the sentence of the law. Specifically, it was a period of “seven times,” which worked out to be 7 x 360 years (2,520). When that time was completed, then was to come “the day of the Lord,” where God takes back His Dominion Mandate and brings the nations into judgment for their misuse of their God-given authority.
Isaiah, knowing that nations having the heart of a beast are unable to rule in a godly manner, prophesies doom and destruction upon the nations.
From other studies, we note that the Dominion Mandate is given to Jesus Christ Himself, who was to be given the ultimate dominion (Gen. 1:26, 28; 1 Cor. 15:27, 28). The overcomers will reign with Him on the earth (Rev. 5:10), and so they too are partakers of this Dominion Mandate. Hence, “the day of the Lord” is not only about judgment and recompense; it is also about “the Lord” (i.e., Yahweh), for it is His time to rule through His primary Agent, Yeshua, along with Yeshua’s agents, the overcomers.
There is also a timing element attached to this “day.” Isaiah 58:13 speaks of “the day of the Lord” as being the Sabbath. Certainly, it is the day each week when Yahweh should be the center of attention, as it were. But on a prophetic level, it is also the seventh millennium. After the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, the Great Sabbath “day” of a thousand years will come, in which the authority of the Dominion Mandate is given to God’s people (the overcomers).
This is taught plainly in Rev. 20:6, where we are told that the overcomers will reign with Christ “a thousand years.” While many take this as a symbolic number, I see it as part of the overall divine plan according to the calendar of God and the Sabbath laws. Though we are to live victoriously during our captivity in the times of the Gentiles, it is equally true that even overcomers are to remain under the authority of beast nations until their time expires. That is the reason for the persecution and martyrdom that they have experienced in spite of (or because of) their witness and victorious personal life.
God treats that “thousand years” as a Sabbath. There is a resurrection (i.e., harvest) before and after this Sabbath Millennium, because the Sabbath law does not allow harvests during a Sabbath day (Exodus 34:21). Neither does the Sabbath law allow for kindling a fire (Exodus 35:3), so the lake of fire comes after the thousand years are concluded.
Some say that the day of the Lord occurred when Jesus was crucified. That is partially true, but we know that He has always ruled His creation. Jesus came the first time of the line of Judah to claim His throne rights, but the chief priests disputed His right in the divine court (Luke 19:14), and this dispute was not to be settled legally until the end of the age at the time of His second coming.
Furthermore, when Jesus walked the earth, the Dominion Mandate was still in the hands of the fourth beast empire—Rome. Hence, Christ could not legally take it from them until the times of the Gentiles had been fulfilled. This meant that He had to come a second time to take the Dominion Mandate after the beast empires’ time expired.
So Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3,
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [“perdition”].
Whatever we might say about this, the day of the Lord had not yet come when Paul penned those words. So it is evident that the day of the Lord did not occur when Christ was crucified, nor when the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost. It is a prophetic event associated with the second coming of Christ and the Sabbath Millennium. Even so, there are individual applications in our personal lives or in our relationship with God, all of which utilize the same principles.
Isaiah 13:7-9 says,
7 Therefore all hands will fall limp, and every man’s heart will melt. 8 They will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them; they will writhe like a woman in labor, they will look at one another in astonishment, their faces aflame. 9 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land [eretz, “earth, land”] a desolation; and He will exterminate [shamad, “destroy”] its sinners from it.
The main purpose of the day of the Lord, says the prophet, is to bring judgment upon the land or the earth. The term eretz is used in different ways in Scripture. Gen. 1:1 sets it in contrast to heaven, meaning the earth as a whole. In Exodus 3:8 it refers to a specific country (the land of Canaan), rather than to the entire earth. In Gen. 1:28 eretz is the soil, or dirt, in contrast to the sea or water.
Hence, when Isaiah says that in the day of the Lord He will “make the land a desolation,” we may ask whether the prophet means the earth as a planet or the land of Babylon. One would have to have an understanding of other prophecies to know for sure. The overall context shows that the prophet was speaking of the nations; hence, more than one country was to be affected.
Further, while Babylon was a single city that ruled a limited amount of territory, Mystery Babylon is a world empire today. The original city/empire did not rule Europe, China, the Americas, or the Royal Kingdom of Maharlika (now the Philippines).
Though “all nations” were given to Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27:6, 7), he did not extend his empire to all nations of the earth. Hence, his rule was partial. It was not until modern times, when Mystery Babylon rose up to conquer all nations covertly and secretly, that the empire truly was world-wide.
The Hebrew word shamad is translated “destroy” all but a few times in Scripture. There is more than one way to destroy sinners. The best way, of course, is to convert them so that they are no longer categorized as sinners. So Paul tells us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Such is the love of God, for although the law condemns all sinners, Christ paid the penalty that the law demanded, so that we might be saved.
When we respond to the love of God, our old man is crucified, or put to death, destroyed, so that we can become new creatures that are begotten by God, rather than by the original man of sin, Adam. Hence, the restoration of all things includes the Babylonians. God sent His Son to set men free, free of sin’s dominion first, and ultimately to free us from all the beast systems of ungodly government as well.
When applied to the whole earth, the destruction of all sinners is part of the restoration of all things. It does not mean that God loses the people; rather, it means that men’s governments will be destroyed in order to free the enslaved citizens of Babylon, transferring their citizenship to the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is the “new earth” that is mentioned later in Isaiah 65:17 and again in Rev. 21:1.