Isaiah 34 has God speaking to all the nations. “Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it”. When God speaks, we need to listen. This passage not only talks to the coming judgment of the Assyrians, but also is an announcement of the judgment to come upon all nations during the Great Tribulation. That’s when the judgment of God will create conditions on the earth that will be the worst anyone has ever seen. God details it in Revelation, but Isaiah foretells it here.
It’s why Isaiah is pleading with the nations to come near and to hear and pay attention. In light of how terrible the great tribulation will be, when we consider how prophecy has been fulfilled, and how the stage is set for even more fulfilled prophecy, we should hear and take heed! God is furious with the nations. “For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter”.
“The Lord has a sword….the Lord has a sacrifice….the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion”. The warning of the Lord is directed not to God’s people, but to the nations. This is because God’s people will escape the terrors of the great tribulation, though they may experience great hardship in the time leading up to it. The sword will have its final fulfillment in the battle of Armageddon which will be a very bloody and final battle.
This is some pretty overwhelming stuff. So what should we do? “Seek and read from the book of the Lord….For the mouth of the Lord has commanded, and his Spirit has gathered them”. Isaiah understood that his words were the words of the Lord. It also tells us that Isaiah meant his prophecy to be understood literally – poetically, but literally. It also means that Isaiah clearly challenged doubters to “look it up” once the prophecy was fulfilled. This time of great tribulation is certainly coming. This is beyond all doubt; our part isn’t to bring it or to prevent it, but simply to be ready, and to pray. God’s Word is true. Every line it contains is inspired and either has or will happen. We need to read, heed, and be ready!