The Little Apocalypse

The Book of the Prophet Isaiah could be my favorite of the Bible. There is so much in Isaiah. Bible scholars consider chapters 24 through 27 to be the “Little Apocalypse.” Apokalypsis is the Greek word translated as “revelation.” So, just as there is the Revelation, or Apocalypse, in the New Testament, scholars view the four chapters of Isaiah as a parallel Old Testament apocalypse. Bible scholars also divide the Book of Isaiah into two parts; the Book of Judgement and the Book of Comfort. Interestingly, the Book of Judgement concludes with (in my opinion) the “Little Apocalypse.”

Personally, I believe that chapters 24 through 39 of Isaiah are apocalyptic. While the surface theme may be punishment of Ephraim, Jerusalem, or others, there is apocalyptic language throughout these chapters. Here is an example from Isaiah 28:5, “In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.” Or consider this from Isaiah 29:6, “the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel (Jerusalem), that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night--”

This apocalyptic language continues. “The Lord is angry with all nations . . . He will totally destroy them.” (Isaiah 34:2) That certainly sounds like something from the Revelation. “Only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.” (Isaiah 35:9) That sounds like the Millennial Kingdom in the Revelation chapter 20.

The many End Time prophecies woven into these chapters of Isaiah were written in poetic form and end with chapter 35. The Prophet Zechariah foretells a day when Jerusalem will be surrounded by the nations of the world. (Zechariah 12:3) Chapters 36 and 37 of Isaiah give a clear foreshadow of this End Time event. This is the story of Sennacherib blaspheming and defying the Lord. Sennacherib’s army had Jerusalem surrounded, but was defeated miraculously by the Lord. In one night 185,000 soldiers were killed by the angel of the Lord. This is a picture of the Lord supernaturally defeating the armies of the nations in the Last Days.

Isaiah chapter 38 tells of King Hezekiah’s illness and healing. Hezekiah cried to the Lord to save him from death. This chapter is not in chronological order, (see verse 6) and occurs before the defeat of Sennacherib. It is a picture of Israel crying out to the Lord to save them from death when they are surrounded by the hateful world.

Chapter 39 of Isaiah describes how King Hezekiah showed the envoys from Babylon everything. Isaiah told the king that in the future Babylon would return and take everything including the king’s family. Hezekiah trusted the Babylonians. This reminds me of Israel in the Last Days trusting the deal maker who will cause them to be able to build the Temple or Tabernacle. This trust will be betrayed when the Antichrist steps into the Holy of Holies and declares himself to be god. (Matthew 24:15, Second Thessalonians 2:4)

Also concluding Isaiah chapter 39 is Hezekiah’s statement, “For there shall be peace and truth (stability) in my days.” Thus ending the Book of Judgement and introducing the second part of Isaiah, or the Book of Comfort, which describes the peace of the Millennial Kingdom after the Day of the Lord. What a blessing is the Book of Isaiah.

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