Biblical Audio Commentary – Desolation of the Earth

Biblical Audio Commentary – Desolation of the Earth




There is a blindness among Christians concerning the times and what is to come.  We who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture probably have a better grasp of this than those who scorn this true Biblical position.  We’ve pointed out many times that the place in which we’re at in human history is one that Scripture prophetically calls out.  Note 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 1:18:

knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

 They [apostles and prophets] said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

These last days are indeed rife with mocking and scoffing – sadly many in the church are among the worst offenders.  Before we move on, perhaps we should also note that the reasons for this attitude are their sinful desires and ungodly passions.  If these are Christians engaging in this jeering and taunting against the Godly position of the pre-Trib Rapture, what is it that motivates them?

My sense is that it is pride with a dash of arrogance thrown in.  After all, the ones who don’t hold to the pre-Trib position believe that those teaching it are doing other Christians a major disservice.  Why?  Because they think that with Christians believing in this which won’t happen, that means many will fall away during the Tribulation since they were given false hope.  For the deniers in pre-Trib, the flip side is that they are therefore wiser and stronger.  They are the ones who will have prepped and hunkered down so as to endure the terrible times to come.

For these who think this, many of them also believe that Christians today are required to suffer, thus they must go into the Tribulation.  They don’t seem able to distinguish between trials and tribulations of this world versus the Tribulation, which is a time of God’s wrath upon the unbelieving, anti-God world.  If you read the Bible with any discernment – especially Revelation – it’s incredibly clear that this coming time is VERY different from what could be considered normal with its numerous persecutions and sufferings.

Another aspect of this is that many in the scoffing camp don’t seem to actually grasp – or refuse to – the actual severity of the coming Tribulation.  Their position is to build sustainable communities separate from the world system.  They think that in doing this they can avoid the Mark of the Beast with its buying-selling requirement.  That’s all to the good except they never seem to acknowledge the horrific plagues that will be rained down by God upon this unbelieving world.  Perhaps they don’t think about them because they believe they’ll be like the Israelites in the land of Goshen.  When God poured out plagues on Egypt in preparation for the Exodus, He spared the Israelites who were set apart in this area.  People with this mindset perhaps believe they are immune because they have gathered together in a Christian community that will praise God in their isolation and immunity from the worldwide threats from every angle.

Do either of these meet the definition of sinful desires and ungodly passions?  Only God knows, but there certainly is something about these groups which feels off to me.

What I want to do in the rest of this Commentary is demonstrate how truly awful the Tribulation will be and why any doctrinal position other than the pre-Trib Rapture is faulty.  For this, I primarily want to describe those times using Isaiah 24 as the basis.

Let’s consider several verses in this quite descriptive chapter.

Isaiah 24:1

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

Isaiah 24:3

The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the Lord has spoken this word.

It should be obvious that such a time has never previously occurred.  What is described is as yet an unfulfilled prophecy.  Starting out we see that what occurs during the Tribulation will cause absolute and utter devastation worldwide.  Not only that, but as a result of the many plagues because of God’s wrath upon this planet, and His judgment upon the unbelieving masses who inhabit it, very few people will remain to the end.

Let’s highlight this fact:

Isaiah 24:6

Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.

The question we have to ask is this: If hardly anyone survives, who are they?  Let’s think about this.  If all Christians today must enter the Tribulation, and assuming there are many who turn to the Lord (including, and particularly, Jews in Israel) during those seven years, in one way or another a whole lot of them must be martyred.  Doesn’t that negate the potential for all these Christians today – however many true Christ-followers there may be – to enter and endure the Tribulation?  The language of Isaiah seems to argue against that.  Plus, there’s no indication that a select group will be set apart and not affected by the plagues except in the land of Israel.  Despite prepping and taking to their bunkers or gathering in sustainable communities, Scripturally there appears to be no mention of any among the Gentiles who escape through those means.

We know that the Jews will all be subject to the purifying fires of the Tribulation per Zechariah 13:8-9, and a remnant of them will live:

In the whole land, declares the Lord,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
and one third shall be left alive.
And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

We’re given no indication that anyone – believer or unbeliever – in the rest of the world will be spared from this purification.  And that’s a key word: purification.  These fires of tribulation are necessary to purify those who remain.  Why would today’s Christ-followers require refining in this manner (unless – as I’ve discussed elsewhere – those Christians are carnal and not walking obediently with God)?  The bottom line is that it doesn’t make any sense that true, Bible-believing Christians of today, who are walking in obedience to the Lord, must deal with the torments of the Tribulation.

Now, let’s look at an interesting group called out by Isaiah who will definitely suffer during this period.  Consider the following:

Isaiah 24:4

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
    the highest people of the earth languish.

Isaiah 24:21-22

On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.

To whom do these verses apply?  In actuality, they describe both a human group and a divine group.  As I read and discern this, the highest people of the earth and the kings of the earth refer to those whom we know as the global elites.  They think because they are supposedly calling the shots for what is happening on this earth that they are in control.  They believe that their efforts toward transhumanism, and to become immortal in their use of Artificial Intelligence in preserving their minds in the internet cloud, will provide them eternal life.  They are fools in every definition of the word that the Bible describes.

The host of heaven – this rebellious group of celestial beings who from the spiritual realm manipulate their earthly minions – those blind and dumb globalists – these entities will no more escape the wrath of God than those living in and trying to escape the natural world using technology.

These two verses promise that both heavenly and worldly rebels will find themselves at some point in a very secure and dark pit subject to terrible torment

Just to confirm this judgment, let’s look at Isaiah 34:2-4 which addresses this solemn promise from God once again:

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.
Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.

The heavenly insurgents know all this but choose to ignore it, thinking in some manner they can defeat God’s purposes.  Those on the earth have chosen to place their allegiance with Satan and his dastardly brethren and surely believe that he will protect them.  Good luck with that!

In contrast to this fateful outcome is that which is promised to those of us who place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  The Apostle Paul made abundantly clear that there were many mysteries in ancient times that were unveiled only at the future period of fulfillment.  He referred to the mystery of the pre-Trib Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:5, the mystery in Ephesians 1:8-10 of God’s purpose in Christ to unite all things to Him, in Colossians 1:26 the mystery of the Gospel hidden in Old Testament times and revealed only following the resurrection of Jesus, and others.

Note the first mystery I mention, i.e. that of the Rapture.  When was this noted previously?  I believe that the mysterious passage of Isaiah 26:20-21 can be nothing else but the foretelling of the pre-Tribulation Rapture:

Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.

Who are God’s people?  All who believe in and trust in Jesus Christ.

What are God’s chambers?  John 14:2-3 is a seminal passage in which Jesus promises to come for us and take us into His Father’s House.

What is the fury?  Can it be anything else but the Tribulation?

When else has God punished all the inhabitants of the earth for their sins?  Only previously in the Flood. This discusses a future event in which God punishes the unbelieving world.

How much innocent blood has been slain and never accounted for?  More than we can imagine, even beyond the horror of abortion and the devastation of war.

Why will the earth no longer cover those who have been slain?  Because the time is right, the fullness of sin has reached its apex.  God must judge.

Thus, while God unleashes His wrath and punishment upon all the earth for its hatred of Him, He will keep hidden away – out of this world – those who rely on His grace and mercy – His unfailing love.

The idea of a post-Tribulation Rapture simply makes no sense when all aspects of the need for the Tribulation, it horrific effects, and how God loves and protects those who truly love Him, are taken into account and examined as a whole.  God’s very character cries out to us that He is trustworthy and will keep His own safe under the shadow of His wings.

7 Responses to “Biblical Audio Commentary – Desolation of the Earth”

  1. Reply Danna B.

    Oh, so good! Humility is an unprized virtue among the unsaved…AND the saved. We are forever trying to alter Yahweh’s perfect plan. Let’s just do it His way, shall we? It takes great humility to surrender to being unable to do literally anything for yourself, and that includes knowing that you cannot “Rambo and Beenie Weenie” your way through the Tribulation. Yet with so many mixed messages even among the brethren, it is no wonder we who don camelcloth and “eat locusts” feel so isolated as we yell, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” Nevertheless, we press on. History recorded John and Jeremiah faithfully, and it recorded Hananiah’s actions faithfully too. It’s just that his UN-faithfulness is now on permanent record for all to see.

    I especially love this part, and thank you, Brother Gary! “My sense is that it is pride with a dash of arrogance thrown in. After all, the ones who don’t hold to the pre-Trib position believe that those teaching it are doing other Christians a major disservice. Why? Because they think that with Christians believing in this which won’t happen, that means many will fall away during the Tribulation since they were given false hope. For the deniers in pre-Trib, the flip side is that they are therefore wiser and stronger. They are the ones who will have prepped and hunkered down so as to endure the terrible times to come.”

    If I’m going to truly love and identify with Jesus, let me take the road less traveled in EVERY circumstance. He was more than pierced for our transgressions. Our egos need to suffer more cuts than can be recorded in order to have a prayer of identifying with Him.

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      I just got back from the small, weekly prayer group to which I belong – normally 8-10 people. Most are pre-Trib but very involved in local politics. Nothing wrong with that – we need to work wherever God has put us. However, their prayers are basically for a return to normal. I really didn’t want to pray today but as Scripture says, it was a fire in my bones and I couldn’t not pray. I prayed concerned Isaiah 24 with the coming desolation of the earth and also concerning the outcry from Sodom that caused the Lord to see for Himself what was going on. Despite Abraham’s intercession, God’s mercy was to destroy the city and only to save a few. Just like in Isaiah, God called some into His chambers to protect them. How do people not see the lessons to be learned from the examples in the OT? I know these prayers aren’t very popular – oh well!

      • Reply Danna B.

        Bless you! Good for you for being their balance. Yes, nothing wrong…except that the NAR/Politics intersection is very, very deep. Most people don’t have a problem with “Rapture”–it’s WHERE it is, and putting it “A” or “Post” allows all of the political fantasies to come true. My husband has loved political talk radio for years. He’s a pastor, our church is most definitely Philadelphia-remnant, and he doesn’t shy from PreTrib eschatology in feeding our flock, but even he has noticed that it’s never about solutions…or if there ARE solutions….”solutions”…they have an interminable end-game. Involvement on the micro-scale, maybe. On the macro? Only King Jesus! Someone says, “The Old Testament is concealed in the New, and the New revealed in the Old.” Perhaps Chuck Missler! I wrote a new verse to go with Chris Tomlin’s “Indescribable” for our worship set this past Sunday, because more than the universe is “indescribable” about Yahweh!

        “Who took 66 books from beginning to end
        Breathed upon them, His message forever to send
        New concealed in the Old, Old revealed in the New
        The Word now made flesh, His Love Letter to you?
        None can fathom…”

        Keep pressing on! Looking forward to meeting you…SOON!

        • Reply Gary Ritter

          Great lyrics!

          Since Rush died I haven’t had any interest whatsoever in listening to talk radio. Used to all the time since I started with Rush in 1992. It’s almost as if his passing flipped a switch and all the things he talked about and exposed are now the realty he was used by God to hold back in some way.

  2. Reply Robin Leigh

    Gary, having come from a Post Trib position in my early faith over to Pre Trib, I can understand how people get that idea. Reading Revelation on its own, without Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and the rest to clarify can lead the unstudied Believer to that interpretation, so I don’t condemn them, I only work to help them understand, (And don’t get me started on Mid Trib or Pre Wrath, that’s advanced gymnastics which ignores and omits Who opens the Seals!) But it is the obligation of the “Shepherds” to guide their sheep to a right understanding of the correct Pre Trib position and they just refuse to do it. Many don’t believe it so they can’t teach what they don’t believe.

    About a week ago I had a few hours of doubt about whether the Rapture would come sooner than say, 10 years…based on a message by a solid, online Bible-teaching Pre Trib pastor. He was using the 10 years as an example of how we are to endure if it would be that long. Let me tell you, it was DEPRESSING! I thought, “Are you kidding?! In my wildest imaginings, I can’t possibly reattach to this world and hope things go back to normal. After everything that’s been revealed by God to us in the past 3.5 years, our perception of normal was pure fantasy, a total deception. I believe that’s one of many reasons God has allowed all of this to unfold over years instead of months or weeks, so more people would wake up and turn to Him in repentance while there’s still time. When I hear Christians talk about winning the elections in 2024, I.JUST. CAN’T.EVEN. They are so deluded and grasping for this world, all I can do is shake my head and keep my mouth shut. If God hasn’t been able to open their eyes by now, I surely won’t.

    The unsaved are a different story entirely; ‘good people’ know things are terribly off. They are a rich field ready for us to plant seeds.

    What is coming is absolutely unimaginable. If over 1/2 the earth’s population is destroyed in the first 3.5 to 4 years that’s about 4 billion people, or an average of 3.1 million people every single day. Likely huge swaths of people will die in nuclear wars and from the Seal judgments to account for the staggering population reductions (every time I see an obituary and read about funerals I think those are going to disappear in the Tribulation, there would be no way to meet the demand.) Life will have no value, people will lose their minds and society will become feral. I believe there will only be a semblance of “nations” around the world. Earth under the AC’s reign will not be easy for earth-dwellers, nor pretty. God will make sure the difference in life between the Restrainer’s influence and Satan’s is OBVIOUS.

    When God says the “earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered” we must believe Him. He started the human race with 2 people, and restarted it with 8 people after the flood, so clearly He doesn’t need many survivors to repopulate the earth in the Millennial Kingdom; only the most foolish bank on surviving the Rapture, let alone the Tribulation. I stand by my belief that many of those who turn to Christ after the Rapture will anxiously seek a quick martyrdom, in order to escape the Hell on Earth they will be plunged into.

    We don’t have 10 years, the signs and the math just don’t work. Like Pastor JD says, all of God’s prophecies have a shelf life and we’ll be removed just as the cup begins to overflow. Prayerfully soon. (I reflect on your survivor story often, that one day we will be here, slogging away, shoulder to the plow and then in an instant we will be with Jesus.)

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      I was just talking the other night in our Bible study about those doubts that surface. Will God REALLY deliver us from this mess? But, of course, that’s the flesh talking which fails to grasp the supernatural and has trouble with faith. Then I read these Scriptures in the analogous way that I do, and realize this world simply cannot last as it is.

      As it turns out, I’m working on a Prophecy Update for a couple weeks from now speaking of the very thing you mention. It’s title is The Tribulation Must Happen Soon. Also, as these things go, I play with the depopulation numbers a little more and they’re pretty shocking.

      You may have seen my initial response to Danna’s comments below regarding my prayers in prayer group yesterday. One of the men said something like, “I just don’t believe that God won’t restore things.” I didn’t say any more and wasn’t going to until I couldn’t hold it in any longer near the end of our prayers.

      • Reply Robin Leigh

        Gary, I know just what you mean. Sometimes we are like Jeremiah and can’t stay quiet no matter how we try.

        My response to the man who said “I just don’t believe that God won’t restore things” would have been “I completely agree with you and you are right. He has promised to restore ALL things, but only after He brings Israel back to Him, they recognize Jesus as their Messiah and then He cleans up this mess.” You can understand why I’m learning to be quiet ;).

        Hugs and prayers.

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