Summary: The "Day of the Lord" will result in the chaos of this world system being turned into peace.
Several months ago as we began to identify the Old Testament passages related to the “Day of the Lord”, I realized that we certainly wouldn’t have time to examine all of those passages in any kind of detail, at least not if we ever wanted to actually get to the Book of Revelation. And I know what some of you are probably thinking this morning – are we ever going to get there? Let me assure you that Lord willing, we will.
But I don’t think that I really understood just how cursory our review of these Old Testament passages is until we got to the Book of Isaiah. So much of that book deals with the “Day of the Lord” and all I’m really doing is giving you a small taste of the rich spiritual food that is contained there. In a sense, the first 27 chapters of Isaiah all relate to the “Day of the Lord” and up to this point, all we’ve been able to do is to look at some key passages that are kind of like a small sample that merely give us an idea of the flavor of the overall themes in each section of Isaiah.
Isaiah’s prophecy begins in the first 12 chapters with a series of judgments against Judah and Israel that had both current and future relevance to Isaiah’s audience in the southern kingdom of Judah. We looked at chapter 2 as well as a couple of passages in chapters 10 and 11 in that section. Those passages gave us a glimpse of the millennial reign of Jesus and allowed us to more fully develop the idea of the remnant.
The second section of Isaiah – chapters 13 through 23 – contain a series of oracles against the surrounding nations. Last week we examined the first of those oracles – the oracle against Babylon. There we discovered that God, in His sovereignty will use whoever He wishes as His “consecrated ones” in order to carry out his plans.
The third section of Isaiah – chapters 24-27 – is often referred to as the “Isaianic Apocalypse”, or Isaiah’s “Little Apocalypse”. The word “apocalypse” is a Greek word that means “unveiling” and is the same word that is the title of the Book of Revelation in Greek. And in these chapters, that is exactly what Isaiah does – he “unveils” God’s plan for the end times.
If you read through the book of Isaiah, you will note a stark contrast between the first 23 chapters and the material that begins in chapter 24. The first thing we note is that there is a move from addressing individual nations to a more global view. In the first 23 chapters, God addresses Israel and Judah and then the surrounding nations, one at a time. But in chapters 24-27, individual nations are rarely mentioned and the focus is more universal.
The second thing we note is that the focus in chapters 24-27 is strictly on the end times. In the earlier section, as we have pointed out, many of the prophecies had both a near-term and far-term fulfillment in mind.
Isaiah’s Apocalypse begins in chapter 24 with a description of how catastrophic events will plunge the entire earth into chaos. Then in chapter 25, there is a description of a great feast and the final culmination of God’s salvation for His people. Then in chapter 26, we find a song that celebrates salvation which comes from the hand of God. That leads us into chapter 27, which will be our text for this morning. Although this passage isn’t all that long, we’ll read it section by section as we examine each part of the passage.
Before we begin our examination of this passage, let me make one observation that will be really important in helping us to understand this passage as well as the Book of Revelation when we get there. This Book of Isaiah, this section in chapters 24-27, as well as chapter 27 itself, do not describe these events in chronological order. The structure here reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, Vantage Point. The movie begins with what is an apparent assassination of the President of the United States in Spain. But after we see that opening scene we are taken back again and again to the events surrounding that scene from the perspective of each of the different characters who play a part in that event. And it is not until we piece together all those different perspectives that we can fully understand exactly what has transpired.
In a sense, that is what we are doing by piecing together the various perspectives of all the Old Testament prophets, each of whom has a different view of the same events. And our goal is that by putting together all these various perspectives, we can get a more accurate understanding of these events that are part of the “Day of the Lord”.