The Book of Isaiah
WHEN GOD TURNS THIS WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
Text: ISAIAH 24:1-12
1. We interrupted our series in the book of Isaiah, and had special guest speakers for three consecutive Sunday nights.
2. Since we have been away from Isaiah for a few weeks, I will attempt to summarize. In Isaiah 14:24-27, we see the words “purpose” and “purposed” used four times.
3. Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Assyria (14:25), but these prophecies look beyond Assyria. Isaiah 14:26 says, “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.”
4. And then, “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (14:27).
5. The Scofield Bible says, “This universality is significant and marks the whole passage as referring, not merely to a near judgment upon Assyria, but in a yet larger sense to the final crash of the present world-system at the end of the age…No other such universal catastrophe on the nations is known to Scripture” (p. 727).
6. So tonight we will look at this “final crash of the present world-system at the end of the age.” I believe this awful crash could be coming soon.
7. Beloved, we know God is going to judge this world. Of that we can be certain. So we must look to God’s Word for the details. This sin-loving world has rejected Christ. This sin-loving world has rejected God’s Word. This sin-loving world has rejected the Gospel. Therefore, this sin-loving world is ripe for the judgment of God (Isa. 24:1).
8. People are shaken up over the Virginia Tech shootings, but that horrible massacre will seem like a Sunday school picnic compared to what is in store for this wicked world (24:19, 20).
9. Isaiah 13—23 describe God’s judgment upon the nations, beginning with God’s judgment upon Babylon in chapters 13 & 14.
10. Isaiah 15 & 16 refer to God’s judgment upon Moab. Isaiah 17 refers to God’s judgment upon Damascus. Isaiah 18 refers to God’s judgment upon the land “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.”
11. Isaiah 19 & 20 describe God’s judgment upon Egypt. Isaiah 20 & 21 refer to God’s judgment upon Edom and Arabia.
12. Isaiah 22 refers to God’s judgment upon Judah, specifically Jerusalem. Isaiah 23 refers to God’s judgment upon Tyre.
13. This brings us to Isaiah 24:1, where we read, “Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.”
14. God is literally going to turn this wicked world upside down.
15. This is a world-wide judgment, not limited to any one nation (e.g., Israel) or any particular geographical area. There can be no doubt that this chapter is prophetic and is describing events preceding the second coming of Christ (cf. 24:23).
16. The period preceding His second coming is called the tribulation period; the second half is referred to as the Great Tribulation. Our Lord said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt.24:21).
17. Let us see what will happen when God turns this world upside down.
I. EVERYTHING WILL COME TO A STOP (ISA. 24:1).
1. Everything is so fast-paced today. We have televisions with over 100 channels (most of them are garbage), satellite TV and radio, fancy telephones and cell phones and voice mail and email and iPods and instant messaging, and CD’s and tape players, fancy stereo equipment, video recorders, computers, fax machines, cameras that take pictures, and all sorts of modern gadgets.
2. The airports are filled with people flying all over the world. The highways are filled with cars bumper to bumper, honking their horns. We have fast planes and fast trains and cars and trucks and buses. We have helicopters and submarines.
3. Daniel the prophet predicted this over 2,500 years ago. He wrote, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:4).
4. Back in the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton studied this prophecy and wrote these words: “Personally I believe these words concern the end of time. Men will travel from country to country. There may be some means of travel invented which will enable people to go much more quickly than now.”
5. Voltaire, the famous French infidel scoffed at Newton and ridiculed his faith in the Bible. Time has vindicated Sir Isaac Newton and once again proven what a fool Voltaire really was.
6. So man is rushing to and fro, here and there at breakneck speed. But soon God will grab hold of this sin-loving world and shake it upside down (Isa. 24:1). Everything will come to a stop.
7. Graham T. Allison is a professor at Harvard University and an expert on nuclear terrorism. He has written several books on the subject. In his latest book, On Nuclear Terrorism, Dr. Allison says the chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent. Those aren’t very good odds.
8. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, the 9/11 commission, and many other leaders have all concluded a nuclear terrorist attack is “something of an inevitability at some time in the future” (WND, April 20, 2007).
9. In the time of crisis, many people cry out, “Lord help me! If you help me this time, I promise I’ll go to church all the time; I’ll join the church; I’ll read my Bible every day; I’ll tithe, etc.”
10. Then God helps them through the crisis and they soon forget all about God and all the promises they made. But unsaved friend, and backslidden friend, remember this – there is a day coming when God will say, “Enough!” (cf. II Peter 3:7-14).
11. Notice the references to “fire” (II Peter 3:7), “shall melt…burned up” (3:10), “dissolved” (3:11), “being on fire shall be dissolved…fervent heat” (3:12). Compare this with Isa. 24:6b.
12. Harry Ironside wrote his commentary on the book of Isaiah not long after America dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In his commentary on Isaiah 24, Ironside wrote, “Knowing as we do today the terribly destructive power of modern weapons of warfare whereby whole cities may be blotted out in a few moments of time, we need have no difficulty in accepting these words literally” (Isaiah).
II. GOD WILL GET EVERYONE’S ATTENTION (24:2).
1. In this coming judgment, all classes and ranks among the people will be wiped out (24:2). Acts 10:34 says, “God is no respecter of persons.”
2. Today the rich have a life of ease and comfort. I heard it cost $10,000 for one ticket on the Concorde! The rich have chauffeured limousines, tables in the best restaurants, they wear the finest clothes, they live in beautiful mansions, they have whatever they want.
3. But when God turns this world upside down their money will not help them any (Isa. 24:2; cf. Rev. 6:12-17).
4. “For the LORD hath spoken this word” (24:3). Therefore we can be certain this day of judgment is coming. Are you ready?
5. Haughty sinners are strutting and laughing now, but they will “languish” in that day (24:4).
III. GOD WILL JUDGE THIS WORLD BECAUSE MAN HAS TRANSGRESSED HIS LAWS (24:5).
1. Back in Isaiah 11:9, we saw that, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” But before that takes place, the Lord has to get rid of all the wicked sinners who have defiled this world – His world.
2. There is going to be a great clean-up! God has to literally turn this world upside down (Isa. 24:1; cf. vss. 6, 19, 20).
3. God created for man a beautiful world, but man has defiled it. Just take a drive into parts of NYC or any other big city. You will see people eating out of trash cans, drinking alcohol and vomiting all over themselves, lying in the gutter, shooting dope into their arms.
4. God created a paradise but man has turned it into an open sewer.
5. The land is polluted with the blood of innocent babies, ripped untimely from their mother’s wombs. Sodomites are spreading their diseases through their filthy perversions. And if anyone dares to speak out against their sin, it is now called a “hate crime.”
6. Man has “transgressed the laws (of God)” (24:5) and “therefore hath the curse devoured the earth” (24:6).
7. What are some of the laws man has transgressed? Man has transgressed the very laws of nature. We now have men going into hospitals and turning themselves into women, and visa versa. We have men dressing like women and women dressing like men.
8. Here’s another law man has transgressed: God has set apart one day a week. In the OT it was called the sabbath day. In the NT it is called the Lord’s Day. Yet man has desecrated the Lord’s Day and turned it into a day for sports and shopping and mowing the grass and doing the laundry.
9. The people who used to operate the laundromat down the block from our church asked me to tell our members not to park in front of their laundromat on Sunday. I told them they ought to close down their laundromat on Sunday because Sunday is the Lord’s Day. They did not like my answer. Interestingly, the present owner is a Muslim and he has never complained about our members parking in front of his laundromat.
10. People skip Sunday School and church. I have heard sinners say, “Sunday is my day.” I have to remind them that Sunday is the Lord’s Day, not their day.
11. Many churches have even stopped holding Sunday night services because their backslidden members stopped coming out on Sunday nights. They prefer to stay home and watch television.
12. I would rather quit and go preach somewhere else before I canceled our Sunday night service.
13. Man has broken “the everlasting covenant” (24:5). Some try and limit this to Israel but this “everlasting covenant” goes way back before there ever was an Israel (Gen. 9:8-17).
14. Notice that God promised Noah that He would never destroy the earth again with a flood (Gen. 9:15). As we saw before in II Peter 3, the next time God judges the earth it will be by fire. “Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (24:6b).
15. Sinners will be burned by the consuming heat and hot wrath of God’s anger (cf. Rev. 16:1-16).
16. Sinners are having a big time now, but soon the party will be over (24:7-12).
1. I want to draw your attention to a word found several times in Isaiah 24—27, that is the word “city” (Isa. 24:10, 12; 25:2, 3; 26:5, etc.).
2. Over 80 percent of Americans live in metropolitan areas like NY. And while NYC is the biggest city in America, it is not as big as Tokyo, Mexico City, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Sáo Paulo, Shanghai, Moscow, Seoul, Delhi, Karachi, Istanbul, Beijing, Jakarta, and Shenzhen.
3. “The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in…In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction” (24:10, 12). Can you imagine what will happen if a nuclear bomb goes off in NY or Washington DC, etc.?
4. There will be no where to run. Escape will be impossible (24:17, 18).
5. But this judgment will not be limited to a few urban areas. “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard…” (Isa. 24:19, 20).