ISAIAH - Chapter 34 - The Year of Recompenses Print E-mail

ISAIAH 34 – The Year of Recompenses

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

May 20, 2014, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


34:8:  For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.”


This chapter reflects the age-old hostility between Judah and Edom.  Most agree that in this chapter Edom is symbolic of all the nations hostile to God.  The ultimate total defeat of all that is opposed to God is the chief lesson of the passage.


  Ancient Edom is non-existent and is now modern day Southwest Jordan.  Idumea is now, and has been for over one thousand years, one of the most desolate places on earth! 


This chapter is the principle of Armageddon, and the dealing of the Lord with all the nations (both within us and without us).  This chapter points to the end-time.  Edom is used as a typical specimen of God’s wrath. 


This and the following chapter constitute the second part of the final circle of the prophecies of judgment (28-35).  Chapter 35 goes on to show the opposite side of the coin, namely the state of blessedness of the people of God. 


In verse one; the world is summoned to hear the divine verdict and sentence.


34:1:  Come near, you nations, to hear; and hearken, you people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth for it.”


Terrible indeed is the description of world-wide desolation which the chapter presents.  The nations, the people and the whole earth are summoned to hear.  Jehovah declares His indignation and announces his determination to act in a judgment which will involve the whole earth and the host of heaven.  From this wide outlook, Isaiah passes to a description of God upon Edom, which illustrates the larger truth already declared.  It is the Day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense in the controversy of Zion.”


34: 3-4:  For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies.  He has utterly destroyed them.  He has delivered them to the slaughter.  Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.  All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”


The theme of the fate of the sky is not further explored here; attention is at once directed to the earth beneath.


However, Peter refers to this prophecy in his sermon of 11 Peter 3:2:  “…be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets… (10-14) “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and Godliness.  Looking for and hasting to the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”


Mt. 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”


34:5-8: “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.  The unicorns shall come down with them and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.  For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.”


F. J. Dake proposes and I offer you his opinion as information,  that “Idumea is singled out, like Babylon, to partake of God’s wrath at the Second advent of Christ.  It may be that part of Edom (now Jordan) will betray Israel and co-operate with anti-christ.  There would be no other reason for such judgments at this time…This will evidently be one of the places where the armies of the anti-christ will be concentrated at the time of Armageddon.  Sela-Petra, south of Bozrah, is where Israel will be protected from Antichrist.  The sword of the Lord is spoken of as being filled with blood which is figurative of great slaughter.  The inhabitants of Idumea, especially Bozrah, are spoken of as being sacrificed like animals of old.   Bozrah was a chief city in the north and Sela-Petra a chief one in the southern part.”  (This is the opinion of F. J. Dake)


34: 9-11:  “…the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.  It shall not be quenched night or day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever; from generation to generation it shall lay waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the pelican and the hedgehog shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it; and He shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.


The word for “streams” is “nachal”:  a winter torrent; a narrow valley; a mine shaft.  The word is used for literal streams, as well as the waters from the rock which Moses smote, and the gushers of water that will spring forth in the desert in the Millennium (Isa. 35:6).  F. J. Dake proposed that “it could be understood as a certain place which will become desolate and burn eternally ---a place where wild beasts and birds will dwell on the edges of this desolate monument of wrath to men on earth.  In Isa. 66: 2-24 it speaks of men in the New Earth looking into eternal hell, seeing those who are in eternal torment, so this place and Babylon could be two such openings on earth where this will take place.” (Opinion by F. J. Dake).


34: 12-14:  They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all its princes shall be nothing.  Thorns shall come up in its palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof; and it shall be a habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.  The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to its fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.”


Verse 15 is a clever paradox. Depicting God is taking building instruments and careful measurements in order to produce---desolation.


Also, it can be compared to the four stages of Satan’s strategy of building a counterfeit ministry.


There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under it shadow.  There shall the vultures also be gathered, everyone with its mate.”


In sum, then, every human foe of God will one day be utterly banished from the scene.  The reason is clear.  God’s people are epitomized in the term Zion as His enemies are in the term Edom.  God’s people will not forever be at the mercy of the merciless, nor can those who have harassed and hounded them remain forever unpunished.  The day of vengeance and of retribution will surely come.


What a dismal change sin makes; it turns a fruitful land into barrenness, a frequented city into a wilderness.  Sin will soon turn a paradise into a chaos, and sully the beauty of the whole creation.  When there is confusion there will soon be emptiness.  Their great men shall be all cut off, and none of them shall dare to appear.


The promise is sure.  Verses 15 & 17 reveal the possession of the land by his people.


Seek you out of the book of the Lord, and read; not one of these shall fail, none shall want its mate; for My mouth it has commanded, and His Spirit it has gathered them.  He has cast the lot for them, and His hand has divided it to them by line; they shall possess it forever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.”


It is to be noted that throughout the Bible, God speaks repeatedly of eternal generations of natural men on earth.  


I refer again to Peter’s sermon based on Isaiah 34.


11 Peter 3:4:  “…there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.  Saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.  For this they willingly are ignorant of that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished; But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.’  Beloved, do not be ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”


What God’s word has appointed, the Holy Spirit will effect and bring about, for no word of God shall fall to the ground.  There is an exact order and proportion observed---


 He has cast the lot for these birds and beasts, so that each one shall know his place.  They shall not break their ranks, neither shall one thrust another.  Jerusalem of old recovered itself out of its ruining, until it gave place to the gospel Jerusalem, and shall continue until it gives place to the heavenly Jerusalem.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V.  I entered into the labors of Finis J. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible and The International Bible Commentary by F. F. Bruce.

Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those whom I entered into their labors.

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