SOBERING PROPHECY FROM ISAIAH (chapter 24)
Destruction of the Earth
"Look! The LORD is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. See how he is scattering the people over the face of the earth. Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors--none will be spared. The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The LORD has spoken! The earth dries up, the crops wither, the skies refuse to rain. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted the instructions of God, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth and its people. They are left desolate, destroyed by fire. Few will be left alive. All the joys of life will be gone. The grape harvest will fail, and there will be no wine. The merrymakers will sigh and mourn. The clash of tambourines will be stilled; the happy cries of celebration will be heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp will be silent. Gone are the joys of wine and song; strong drink now turns bitter in the mouth. The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out looters. Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has reached its lowest ebb. Gladness has been banished from the land. The city is left in ruins, with its gates battered down. Throughout the earth the story is the same--like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest, only a remnant is left. But all who are left will shout and sing for joy. Those in the west will praise the LORD's majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD. In the coastlands of the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. Listen to them as they sing to the LORD from the ends of the earth. Hear them singing praises to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. I am discouraged, for evil still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will step into a snare. Destruction falls on you from the heavens. The world is shaken beneath you. The earth has broken down and has utterly collapsed. Everything is lost, abandoned, and confused. The earth staggers like a drunkard. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for its sins are very great. In that day the LORD will punish the fallen angels in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison until they are tried and condemned. Then the LORD Almighty will mount his throne on Mount Zion. He will rule gloriously in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people. There will be such glory that the brightness of the sun and moon will seem to fade away."