Isaiah 34 Judgment On The Nations And Apostate Israel.
All nations and creation also, are called to hear the word (v. 1 Cf. 1:2; 41:1; 43:9; Dt. 32:1; Ps. 2). The LORD’s indignation would manifest itself in these nations destroying themselves, and darkness covering the earth (vv. 2-4 Cf. 13:5, 13; 14:12; 66:16; Ps. 102:26; Ezek. 32:7-8; Amos 4:10; Joel 2:20, 31; Mt. 24:29). Edom was cursed, a sacrifice of blood in the earth (vv. 5-7 Cf. 63:1; Jer. 49:7-8, 20; Ezek. 35; Amos 1:11-12; Obad. 1-14; Zeph. 1:7). The LORD’s vengeance would be “recompense for the cause of Zion” (v. 8). “The LORD’s vengeance” is something more specific than his indignation or anger-it is these but more. It is judgment against those who in their hatred for the LORD have persecuted the remnant of the covenant (Cf. 35:4; 59:17-18; Dt. 32:41-42; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 25:12-14). Vengeance would occur in a day, but it would be the year of the redeemed (63:4).
A critical verse on the subject of vengeance occurs in 61:2b. Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2a when he began his ministry (Lk. 4:18-19) As Luke went on to record, this part of Jesus ministry was indeed being fulfilled in his day, but so was what followed 61:2b. Jesus deliberately stopped at what is now 61:2b to direct this truth to the apostate members of the covenant community. They would reject him and persecute the remnant, but his vengeance would come upon them, a vengeance that was fulfilled in 70AD with their destruction along with the temple. What follows in Isaiah is straight out of the warnings of covenantal cursing (vv. 9-17 Cf. Dt. 29:21-25). The “book of the LORD” (v. 16) appears to be the book of the law which included blessing and cursing (Cf. Ex. 20-24), and which concludes with a renewal of the covenant, a covenant relationship which the Lord renewed in the new covenant.
This is the judgment which the prophet Isaiah wrote about here. The future glory of Zion, which Isaiah wrote about in chapter 35, only comes after the apostate members of the covenant are judged, and the city of Jerusalem is destroyed with them. From the LORD’s temple and throne in heaven, he will shake the one on earth (Cf. Ps. 11:4-6). Old covenant apostates are referred to as Babylon, the very nation that took Judah captive (Cf. 13:20-22; 14:23; 24:1; 32:13; 34:10-15; Hos. 9:6; II Kgs. 21:13; Lam. 1:8; Mal. 1:3-4; Rev. 14:11; 18:2; 19:3). Confusion and emptiness would prevail (v. 11). “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name” (Mic. 3:16).