Monday, May 09, 2016

Isaiah 23 and 24: The Greater Context

Eschatology is the doctrine of the end times or the "last things." Eschatological subjects include the resurrection from the dead, Armageddon, and the milennial reign of Christ. I would not say that there are no strict eschatological prophecies in Isaiah, but I cannot yet think of one undisputed example. Most of the texts found in the prophetic book have at least two possible fulfillments rather than a singular eschatological fulfillment.

As a test case, we might observe that Isaiah 24 seems to be nested within a historical context that discusses Jehovah's adverse judgment upon Israel's enemies. Isa. 23 speaks about God's execution of judgement on Tyre, but evidently Tyre is not the only city that will taste the bitter contents of Jehovah's figurative cup (see Isa. 24:17, 21). Whenever Isa. 24:1 foretells the desolation of the earth or "the land," it apparently has reference to Judah's destruction in view of Isa. 24:2, 23. However, even if Isa. 24 were strictly eschatological in its focus, this would not mean that we should interpret or construe Isa. 34:1-10 in a strict eschatological manner like some want to do.

While the text of Isa. 24:2 does not mention Judah, verse 24:23 does and this passage indicates that God will fulfill His purpose to make Jerusalem the capital city of the world. Isaiah 24 not only uses a word that often means "earth," but it also employs a term that could signify "world" (TBL: 24:4).

[Jean] No, it is possible that it [Isaiah 34] has a temporal fulfillment. There has been no fulfillment of verse 2-4, however. I do not remember any memorable day of Edom's total destruction that upheld the cause of Zion and ended the nation (v. 8 and context).

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