Isaiah 24-27

Isaiah wanted his audience to understand that God is exalted over the nations. Isaiah prophesied that God would execute destruction on the present world structure in favor of a new, God-centered government on earth. Isaiah’s words of destruction and subsequent restoration provided Judah with a theological vision for enduring the Assyrian threat. Specifically, the question in Isa 27:7 (“Did the LORD strike Israel as He struck the one who struck Israel? Was he killed like those killed by Him?”) proves helpful in the broader interpretation of Isaiah 24-27. This question may have been intended to foster hope among Isaiah’s audience. While the Lord had extended His wrath over Israel, and Judah would eventually experience the same, He yet promised them a future. Their opponents, however, were given no such hope.

Isaiah’s prophecies concerning God’s victory and the salvation of His people provided comfort and encouragement to the remnant during the reigns of Ahaz (2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 29-32). In the storyline of Scripture, the New Testament writers understood Isaiah’s description of hope to have implications for their day as well. For instance, the vineyard metaphor in Isa 5:1-7 informs and parallels Jesus’ Parable of the Vineyard Owner (Matt 21:33-43//Mk 12:1-12//Luke 20:9-19)—in which Israel was pictured as fruitless and worthy of condemnation. When Isaiah employed the metaphor again in Isa 27:2-13, he concluded with words of hope. “On that day,” Isaiah said, “a great trumpet will be blown, and those lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as those dispersed in the land of Egypt; and they will worship the LORD at Jerusalem on the holy mountain” (Isa 27:13).

While on the surface Isaiah’s emphasis on hope may prove surprising to the reader, it coheres more closely with the general tone of Isaiah 24-27 than would another picture of barrenness. Here the prophet detailed the destruction of Israel’s enemies, and the restoration and praise that would follow for God’s people. The themes of redemption and triumph in Isaiah 24-27 provide a framework for the apostle John’s concluding vision in Revelation.

(1) In Isa 25:6-10, the prophet used the metaphor of a great banquet to describe the restoration of an international remnant. Isaiah said, “The LORD of Hosts will prepare a feast for all the peoples on this mountain…He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the LORD has spoken” (Isa 25:6, 8). This scene may have provided the background for John’s visions in Revelation 19-21. John’s description of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-8) employs imagery from Isa 25:6-10. Further, John’s vision of the New Jerusalem—where God would dwell with His people, wiping away tears and death and pain (Rev 21:3-4)—rests squarely on Isaiah’s prophecy.

(2) In Isa 24:17-23, the prophet described the destruction that would come upon the wicked, “the host of heaven above and kings of the earth below” (Isa 24:21), and announced that the remnant would enjoy the glorious presence of the Lord. This schema was repeated in Revelation 19-21, where John witnessed that the destruction of those who opposed the people of the Messiah preceded the unending fellowship the redeemed would enjoy with God. Using imagery from Isa 24:23, John wrote, “I did not see a sanctuary in it [the New Jerusalem], because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev 21:22-23).