The Impending End of the Earth
In my blog last week, Why Hasn’t Jesus Returned?, we discovered that the Lord is waiting for a people to tell the truth about Him. We discovered that Christianity has been infected with the idea that God’s law functions like human law – rules imposed requiring imposed punishments – replacing the truth that God’s laws are the design protocols upon which the Creator built reality to operate (laws of gravity, physics, health and the moral laws).
Accepting the lie that God’s law functions like human law has caused Christianity to teach that God functions no differently than a sinful being, inflicting pain, suffering, and death upon those who disobey, rather than what the Bible teaches: that sin damages and destroys the sinner unless God heals and restores (Romans 6:23; James 1:15; Galatians 6:8).
God’s supreme law is the law of love, the principle of giving, upon which all life is built to operate (Matthew 22:37–40). All life is created by God to thrive by giving, whether it be the carbon dioxide we give to the plants and the oxygen the plants give to us, or the food-fertilization cycle, or the recycling of the water throughout the earth, or the pollination of plants, or the giving in marriage that brings forth new life. Giving is love in action and is the basis of health and life. Selfishness – taking to get ahead – is breaking God’s design law and always and unavoidably damages, ultimately resulting in death unless healed by our Creator.
In Isaiah chapter 24, the prophet describes in powerful language the coming end of the earth, giving incredible details that make it clear that destruction comes because of humanity breaking God’s design laws for life. Let’s take a look at the first three verses:
Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants.
And it shall be:
As with the people, so with the priest;
As with the servant, so with his master;
As with the maid, so with her mistress;
As with the buyer, so with the seller;
As with the lender, so with the borrower;
As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered,
For the LORD has spoken this word (v. 1–3 NKJV).
Understanding that God is Creator and His laws are the protocols upon which life is built, what happens when people break them and God no longer holds at bay the consequences? Revelation chapter 7 tells us that God has angels that have the power to harm the earth and the sea and describes specifically how they harm the earth and the sea: by no longer holding back that which they have been restraining. These angels of God have been holding in check the winds of strife – the full result of choosing to break God’s laws and separate ourselves from Him. Throughout human history, God, in mercy, has been holding back the full consequences of human rebellion. But a day is coming when God let’s go and gives the world its choice to be separate from Him. He lets the full weight of breaking His design protocols come upon the earth, and when He lets go, the earth breaks apart, life upon it ceases to exist, and all the wicked die.
God’s laws do not discriminate, and Isaiah makes that clear. It doesn’t matter what station a person has held in this life; God’s design laws treat everyone exactly the same. It’s just like if people jump off a building; gravity treats them all the same regardless of their station in life.
Let’s return to Isaiah, who tells us what happens to the earth and why:
The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant (Isaiah 24:4, 5).
What happens to the earth when we break God’s design for life – when we take rather than give, when we exploit rather than protect? Slowly, the ecosystems of the earth, all built upon the law of interdependency – love and giving – decay, fade, and die. What is happening around the earth today?
According to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by IPBES, the biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction – all largely as a result of human actions. Twenty-five percent of plant and animal species are threatened with extinction.
As the population of the earth increases and humanity continues to burn down the forests, pollute the air, soil, and water, and over fish the oceans, would it be surprising that the earth “mourns” and slowly dies? This is the natural result of unrestrained selfishness.
The Hebrew word translated as “languishes,” אָמַל ʾā·mǎl, means both to be weak-willed, as in to fail to stand for what is right, and also to decay. It is exactly what happens to the wicked. They fail to embrace God’s design law for life, and the natural results are for them to decay, to fade away. Those who are haughty, prideful, selfish, who reject God’s law of love, are ultimately given up by God to reap what they have chosen. This is God’s wrath as described by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:18–32: God gives them up and all goodness, all righteousness, and all life decays in festering wickedness.
This happens because they have persisted in transgressing God’s design laws for life, and the only possible outcome is ruin and death. The Hebrew word translated as “ordinance” is חֹק (ḥōq) and means “a clear communicated prescription of what one should do.”
These people have sought to change God’s prescription for life for their own; they have exchanged the truth for a lie, love for selfishness, life for death – and their ruin is unavoidable.
They have broken the everlasting covenant – but this is not some judicial document, some legal contract, but the eternal design for life, the bond of love and trust upon which God built all reality to operate. It is referring to that sacred covenant between God and His created beings, which is modeled in the marriage covenant. And these lost souls have broken it and refuse to be reconciled to God. Their claim of the legal blood payment to God for their sins only confirms their choice to reject truth and embrace the lie – as they see God as a dictator who requires a legal payment not to kill them. They reject God’s design law, His covenant of love and trust, and prescribe for themselves the human law model of appeasement and payment.
Returning to Isaiah 24, we’re told what happens when we reject God’s design law of love and choose the path of imperial law:
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left (v. 6).
“The curse” is the curse of sin and death, the result of transgressing God’s law of life – the principles of truth, love, and freedom. Selfishness, decay, disease, and death devour the earth when God finally releases His restraining and protecting hand.
The Hebrew word translated as “desolate” in this text is אָשַׁם (ʾā·šǎm) and means “be guilty, sin; i.e., be liable for a wrongdoing and sin against a standard.” Isaiah is telling us that the curse of sin devours the earth because its people are guilty of rejecting God’s law of love, His free remedy provided in Jesus, and they choose imperialism and selfishness instead. So God lets them go, and they are destroyed by unremedied sin.
In verses 7–12, Isaiah describes how the “new wine … languishes.” New wine is a metaphor for the love and life that is freely offered through Jesus Christ. (Remember how Jesus used wine to symbolically represent His blood and, in Leviticus 17:11, how the life is in the blood). This life-giving new wine languishes because it is unused; it is not partaken of. And because they refuse the new wine, the remedy that Jesus provides, there is no joy, no celebration, no health and happiness – “all joy is darkened … in the city desolation is left.”
When the earth is like this – with God’s law replaced with human law, Christianity teaching a legal prescription for the sin problem, rather than the healing reality of God’s law written in the heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10), with the ecosystems failing, life fading, with joy being lost from the land, with fear and selfishness increasing – then the harvest of souls will occur.
Notice Isaiah 24:13 –
When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people,
It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree,
Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.
Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28 NIV84). At this time in history, God’s people are to stop looking down at the problems of this world and lift our heads up, looking to our Creator God, for redemption draws near!
Isaiah doesn’t want God’s faithful to be afraid about what is coming upon the world. Those ready for the harvest are to sing the praises of our God of love:
They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing;
For the majesty of the LORD
They shall cry aloud from the sea.
Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light,
The name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea (vv. 14, 15).
Do you hear the message of Revelation 14? “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (v. 7 NIV84).
This is our time – today, right now – the time in earth’s history for the fulfillment of this prophecy, for people to be so overwhelmed with awe about our Creator God of love that we glorify Him in our characters. We reveal His glorious character in our lives by practicing His methods of truth, love, and freedom. We understand that the time has come for people to make a right judgment about God, to reject the human-law lie – with its imperial dictator views of God – and to worship “him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Today, right now, God is calling for you and me to worship Him as Creator and to glorify Him by teaching the truth about Him and His design laws for life.
I invite you to reject the penal-legal lie that has infected Christianity and darkened the world and to embrace the truth about our incredible Creator God of love. Invite Him into your heart, and lift up your head – for no matter the terror coming upon the world, our redemption is drawing near!
 Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.