Isaiah 34 Commentary
The LORD is angry with all the nations; He has condemned them to destruction – the mountains will be red with blood. This is Isaiah’s version of Romans 3 verse 23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And as usual, Isaiah has a unique way of painting the consequence of man’s rebellion – death.
Isaiah’s vision here has nothing to do with Israel’s punishment by Assyria. Or Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon. Or indeed, Babylon’s defeat by the Medes – all recorded by the prophet. This one seems special as it involves the destruction of physical elements of creation: the sun, the moon, the sky, and the stars.
Of course, the New Testament puts it mildly and plainly. We understand the purpose and are happy because we see the LORD creating “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” Revelation 21 verse 1.
The mention of Edom is deliberate. He is Jacob’s brother who missed the blessing of the LORD because of ungodliness. So the world suffers exactly because of ungodliness. The holiness of the LORD burns like a fire destroying all ungodliness in its wake.
Zion stands alone. It is representing the seed with which the LORD starts life afresh – the second Adam. Isaiah is provoking several thoughts by popping up concepts from the distant past. Mixing these thoughts with his own time, he talks about his immediate future as well as the distant future. It is a complex presentation but incredibly beautiful.
Zion isn’t the physical space we can visit or construct. It is the person, the office, the ministry, the kingdom, or the presence of the LORD Himself. We saw the concept of the Son – the son born to us with the government on his shoulders. We saw Immanuel – the Prince of peace, God Almighty by name. Then the Branch or the Holy Seed.
The saint is reminded of a day when the LORD upholds Zion’s cause. Verse 8. It is the day of the LORD. The saint can be happy that eventually, righteousness wins the day. You don’t want to miss it!
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