|The earth will one day be cleansed by fire, (2 Peter 3:10)|
In my last post I introduced the biblical term, languish. In a nutshell, it means to "pine away," "waste away," or "wither away." It can be used in any context of the English language to mean anything that grows weak from lack of attention to keep a thing thriving. When something is in a state of languishing the only way it can come out of it is to be replenished or brought back to health.
The Bible uses the term in much the same way as our English use. But an interesting context is introduced when it one day will apply to the planet earth and her inhabitants.
For example the OT prophet Isaiah speaks of a coming time that will bring horrendous devastation upon all the earth. This will cause the earth to languish. Most scholars equate this time as the seven-year period of tribulation that will only come to an end at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev. 19:7-11, Zech. 14:1-5, (see also Daniels 70th week, Dan 9:24-27). Jesus spoke of this day in Matthew 24:21, 22. "Jesus said, "unless those days are shortened, no flesh would be saved."
So as Isaiah writes, an event is coming that will cast the world into a languishing, withering, and pining away state.
4 The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
5 The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant. (emphasis mine)
6 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.
7 The new wine fails, the vine languishes,
All the merry-hearted sigh.
8 The mirth of the tambourine ceases,
The noise of the jubilant ends,
The joy of the harp ceases.
9 They shall not drink wine with a song;
Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The city of confusion is broken down;
Every house is shut up, so that none may go in.
Why does the Earth Languish?
Key to understanding why this occurs is found in vs. 5, they have "transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, [and] broken the everlasting covenant." The rest of the passage paints a dire situation for the inhabitants of the earth at that time. The things they once enjoyed, they can enjoy no longer, even if they try.
God as the Creator and Sustainer of life, has in His creation set up natural and spiritual laws. If these are transgressed then things will go awry. Consider what a region or city would be like if sanitary laws were lifted. It would not take long before the area would no longer be fit for human habitation. In the case Isaiah prophesies of, God's sovereign rule of law has been snubbed in favor of humanistic rule, i.e., a situation whereby God is not needed and mankind can take care of its own. In doing so, His law and ordinances are broken and the consequences ensue. Also mentioned is the breaking of the everlasting covenant. If Scripture interprets Scripture, as it so often does, then we need not look further than 1 Chronicles 16:14-18, or Psalm 105:7-11 to understand what Isaiah was referring to.
1 Chronicles 16:14–18 (NKJV)
14 He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
17 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an everlasting covenant, (emphasis mine)
18 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
In this we can clearly see the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are everlasting. Therefore, we can conclude that what prompts this devastation is a disruption to the covenant promises. Since God alone is responsible for fulfilling this covenant (see Gen. 15:7-18), then it cannot and will not fail. But mankind in their rush to be rid of the yoke of service to God, turns from Him and His laws to rule over themselves. In the process of pushing God aside, they also come against the land of Israel, a land promised by everlasting covenant to belong to the Jews. This they do in this end-time hour, in order to overturn the divine ordinance and break God's declarations of sovereignty over it. Whether it's by splitting the land of the regathering Jews or destroying their habitation in it, they are, in effect, coming against God Himself and His everlasting covenant. The author of Hebrews stated explicitly in Hebrews 10:30–31,"For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." This time is indeed the time of vengeance the Bible speaks of, where every act of evil committed against God and man will be avenged (see Isaiah 61:2). As the rule applies to God's chosen people so also it applies to all mankind (see Isa 24:1, 2).
Because of these things, the earth languishes and we are reminded starkly that its "inhabitants are burned with few men left," (Isa. 24:6b).
What was meant to be the delightful habitation of mankind for their enjoyment, pleasure, and service to God, has now become a burning, smoldering likeness of what was once a beautiful world. It languishes under God's judgment of all that is evil in the the earth.
The Bible describes that after this time is over, when Jesus returns to rule and to reign for the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6), that things will revert back to a state of tranquility on earth. Evil on earth and among the powers and principalities in Satan's domain will have been crushed, (Rev. 20:1-2; Gen. 3:15), and awesome life will once again adorn God's creation.
The same Isaiah who declared the languishing of the earth also declared its future glory under the reign of Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah:
Isaiah 11:1–10 (NKJV)
11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.
6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”
This day is coming soon. But prior to its appearance sin must be judged with justice and righteousness through God's rule not mans.
Can the judgment be averted? No. What God has written will come to pass. But you, whoever you are, can avoid this judgment and most terrible time. How? By fleeing from evil. By fleeing to the Lord Jesus who died for your sins that you may have His life for yourself. But it means that you must recognize what evil is, and that you (just like myself) must be willing to humbly submit yourself to the Lord in repentance. This means to simply agree that you are a sinner, confess your sin to God in prayer, and purpose to turn from that sin in His power and with His help. Jesus promises that all who come to Him HE WILL NOT CAST OUT (John 6:37). Can you trust Jesus with your life today?
If you need more information or would like prayer, please reply to this post. I will diligently watch for your replies.