The destruction of the world.
VERSE 1. Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty, makes it waste, turns it upside down, and scatters its inhabitants.
the earth. The target is not just a single nation, but the entire planet.
makes it waste. The LORD will ruin the whole earth.
VERSE 2. It will 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 creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest.
people … priest. Religious leaders will no longer get preferential treatment.
The LORD God does not consider clerics to be superior to laypeople.
VERSE 3. The earth will be utterly emptied and utterly laid waste; for the LORD has spoken this word.
utterly laid waste. The earth will be devastated.
VERSE 4. The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The lofty people of the earth languish.
fades away. The earth will wither.
The lofty people. Even the “great” people of the world will waste away.
VERSE 5. The earth also is polluted under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant.
NAB translation. The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants, who have transgressed laws, violated statutes, broken the ancient covenant.
polluted under its inhabitants. We the inhabitants of the earth are polluting it.
transgressed laws. People have twisted God’s instructions.
The most popular preachers almost always twist their interpretation of the Bible. Otherwise, they would never become popular.
However, God does not call us to be popular. Rather, we are called to be faithful:
Luke 6:26. Woe, when men speak well of you, for their fathers did the same thing to the false prophets.
VERSE 6. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell therein are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
NLT translation. The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn.
the merrymakers. Even in those difficult days, there will still be merrymakers!
VERSE 8. The mirth of tambourines ceases. The sound of those who rejoice ends. The joy of the harp ceases.
VERSE 9. They will not drink wine with a song. Strong drink will be bitter to those who drink it.
VERSE 10. The confused city is broken down. Every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
VERSE 11. There is a crying in the streets because of the wine. All joy is darkened. The mirth of the land is gone.
VERSE 12. The city is left in desolation, and the gate is struck with destruction.
VERSE 13. For it will be so within the earth among the peoples, as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done.
NLT translation. Throughout the earth the story is the same—only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.
a remnant. The Bible describes a uniquely faithful group of believers called “the remnant.” Are they Jewish or Christians? Now or in the future? Who are they really? Read more »
VERSE 14. These shall lift up their voice. They will shout for the majesty of the LORD. They cry aloud from the sea.
NLT translation. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the LORD’s majesty.
the west. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 15. Therefore glorify the LORD in the east, even the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea!
in the east. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 16. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs. Glory to the righteous! But I said, “I pine away! I pine away! woe is me!” The treacherous have dealt treacherously. Yes, the treacherous have dealt very treacherously.
From the uttermost part of the earth. The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 17. Fear, the pit, and the snare, are on you who inhabit the earth.
VERSE 18. It will happen that he who flees from the noise of the fear will fall into the pit; and he who comes up out of the middle of the pit will be taken in the snare; for the windows on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.
he who flees from the noise. That is, he who flees at the sound of terror.
VERSE 19. The earth is utterly broken. The earth is torn apart. The earth is shaken violently.
VERSE 20. The earth will stagger like a drunken man, and will sway back and forth like a hammock. Its disobedience will be heavy on it, and it will fall and not rise again.
VERSE 21. It will happen in that day that the LORD will punish the army of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth.
NLT translation. In that day the LORD will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth.
the gods in the heavens. Perhaps this is the Prince of the Power of the Air:
Ephesians 2:2. in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience.
VERSE 22. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; and after many days they will be visited.
after many days they will be visited. This might be describing what is called the “Harrowing of Hell.”
Isaiah 24:22. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; and after many days they will be visited.
1 Peter 3:19. in whom he also went and preached to the spirits in prison,
1 Peter 4:6. For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.
VERSE 23. Then the moon will be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of Hosts will reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and glory will be before his elders.
This verse reminds us of the triumphal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.