You may have noticed that we are halfway through our study of the Book of Isaiah. In chapters 34-35, the prophet shares more oracles concerning the Day of the LORD and the glory of the Millennial Kingdom.
Isaiah 34 deals with God’s judgment against all nations in general, and one representative nation in particular, in the Great Tribulation. Isaiah 35 addresses the subject of God’s provision in the Millennial Kingdom.
Isaiah 34:1-4 is a general statement concerning the LORD’s judgment upon all nations which reject Him as Savior and LORD. The world’s armies will be destroyed (34:1–2), the mountains will flow with the blood of unburied corpses (34:3), the heavens will dissolve and the stars will fall (34:4), and they will be like withered leaves and fruit falling from a tree.
The prophet then focused upon one nation, Edom (34:5-17), as representative of all the nations (Isaiah 63:1; Genesis 25:23; Numbers 20:14-21; Ezekiel 35:1-5; Obadiah 1-14; Malachi 1:1-3). The inhabitants of Edom were to be found on the high plateau to the south and southeast of the Dead Sea. The biblical term Edom, meaning “red,” denotes either the name of the land or the name of Isaac’s son Esau, in remembrance of the red pottage or stew for which he exchanged his birthright to his twin brother Jacob (Genesis 25:30; 36:1, 8, 19). The country of Edom was also known as Seir (Genesis 32:3; 36:30; Numbers 24:18). A long history of enmity existed between Judah and Edom, and several prophets, in addition to Isaiah, spoke unfavorably about Edom (Ezekiel 32:29; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11–12; Malachi 1:2–4).
The LORD’s judgment will be severe upon Edom (34:5–15). Edom’s people will be cut down like animals (34:5–8), the ground will be covered with fire (34:9), the land will become desolate and uninhabitable (34:10–15) and the judgment is guaranteed (34:16–17).
Chapter 35 focuses on the glorious millennial reign following the LORD’s judgment of the nations. What will life be like during this perfect age (35:1–2, 5–10)?
First, the deserts will bloom, the lame will walk, and the mute will shout and sing (35:1–2, 6–7). Second, the blind will see, and the deaf will hear (35:5), and a highway, called the Way of Holiness, will be constructed (35:8–10). Isaiah 35:10 says, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
What encouragement may Isaiah 35 provide the believer when facing the challenges of today? The truth of the coming judgment, and the glorious Millennium, should comfort and strengthen believers. Isaiah 35:3-4 says, “3Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”
Soli deo Gloria!