Isaiah 24: Apocalypse Now

Danger ahead! God’s about to ravish the earth
    and leave it in ruins,
Rip everything out by the roots
    and send everyone scurrying:
        priests and laypeople alike,
        owners and workers alike,
        celebrities and nobodies alike,
        buyers and sellers alike,
        bankers and beggars alike,
        the haves and have-nots alike.
The landscape will be a moonscape,
    totally wasted.
And why? Because God says so.
    He’s issued the orders.

The earth turns gaunt and gray,
    the world silent and sad,
    sky and land lifeless, colorless.

Earth is polluted by its very own people,
    who have broken its laws,
Disrupted its order,
    violated the sacred and eternal covenant.
Therefore a curse, like a cancer,
    ravages the earth.
Its people pay the price of their sacrilege.
    They dwindle away, dying out one by one.
No more wine, no more vineyards,
    no more songs or singers.
The laughter of castanets is gone,
    the shouts of celebrants, gone,
    the laughter of fiddles, gone.

No more parties with toasts of champagne.
    Serious drinkers gag on their drinks.
The chaotic cities are unlivable. Anarchy reigns.
    Every house is boarded up, condemned.
People riot in the streets for wine,
    but the good times are gone forever—
    no more joy for this old world.
The city is dead and deserted,
    bulldozed into piles of rubble.
That’s the way it will be on this earth.
    This is the fate of all nations:
An olive tree shaken clean of its olives,
    a grapevine picked clean of its grapes.

But there are some who will break into glad song.
    Out of the west they’ll shout of God’s majesty.
Yes, from the east God’s glory will ascend.
    Every island of the sea
Will broadcast God’s fame,
    the fame of the God of Israel.
From the four winds and the seven seas we hear the singing:
    “All praise to the Righteous One!”

But I said, “That’s all well and good for somebody,
    but all I can see is doom, doom, and more doom.”
All of them at one another’s throats,
    yes, all of them at one another’s throats.
Terror and pits and booby traps
    are everywhere, whoever you are.
If you run from the terror,
    you’ll fall into the pit.
If you climb out of the pit,
    you’ll get caught in the trap.
Chaos pours out of the skies.
    The foundations of earth are crumbling.
Earth is smashed to pieces,
    earth is ripped to shreds,
    earth is wobbling out of control,
Earth staggers like a drunk,
    sways like a shack in a high wind.
Its piled-up sins are too much for it.
    It collapses and won’t get up again.

That’s when God will call on the carpet
    rebel powers in the skies and
Rebel kings on earth.
    They’ll be rounded up like prisoners in a jail,
Corralled and locked up in a jail,
    and then sentenced and put to hard labor.
Shamefaced moon will cower, humiliated,
    red-faced sun will skulk, disgraced,
Because God-of-the-Angel-Armies will take over,
    ruling from Mount Zion and Jerusalem,
Splendid and glorious
    before all his leaders.

Source: Isaiah 24 (MSG) Translation: The Message Bible.

OTHER TRANSLATIONS

New American Standard Version (1995)

Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.

The new wine mourns,
The vine decays,
All the merry-hearted sigh.
The gaiety of tambourines ceases,
The noise of revelers stops,
The gaiety of the harp ceases.

They do not drink wine with song;
Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
The city of chaos is broken down;
Every house is shut up so that none may enter.
There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine;
All joy turns to gloom.

The gaiety of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city
And the gate is battered to ruins.
For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples,
As the shaking of an olive tree,
As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.

They raise their voices, they shout for joy;
They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord.
Therefore glorify the Lord in the east,
The name of the Lord, the God of Israel,
In the coastlands of the sea.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,”
But I say, “Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me!
The treacherous deal treacherously,
And the treacherous deal very treacherously.”

Terror and pit and snare
Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth.

Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit,
And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare;
For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake.

The earth is broken asunder,
The earth is split through,
The earth is shaken violently.
The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
And it totters like a shack,
For its transgression is heavy upon it,
And it will fall, never to rise again.

So it will happen in that day,
That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high,
And the kings of the earth on earth.
They will be gathered together
Like prisoners in the dungeon,
And will be confined in prison;
And after many days they will be punished.
Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed,
For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
And His glory will be before His elders.

Contemporary English Version

The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

The earth wilts away;
its mighty leaders melt
    to nothing.
The earth is polluted
    because its people
disobeyed the laws of God,
breaking their agreement
    that was to last forever.

The earth is under a curse;
its people are dying out
    because of their sins.
Grapevines have dried up:
    wine is almost gone—
mournful sounds are heard
    instead of joyful shouts.

No one plays tambourines
    or stringed instruments;
all noisy celebrating
    has come to an end.
They no longer sing
as they drink their wine,
    and it tastes sour.

 Towns are crushed and in chaos;
    houses are locked tight.
Happy times have disappeared
    from the earth,
and people shout in the streets,
    “We’re out of wine!”
Cities are destroyed;
    their gates are torn down.
Nations will be stripped bare,
like olive trees
or vineyards
    after the harvest season.

 People in the west shout;
they joyfully praise
    the majesty of the Lord.
And so, everyone in the east
    and those on the islands
should praise the Lord,
    the God of Israel.
From all over the world
songs of praise are heard
    for the God of justice.
But I feel awful,
    terribly miserable.
Can anyone be trusted?
    So many are treacherous!

Terror, traps, and pits
    are waiting for everyone.
If you are terrified and run,
    you will fall into a pit;
if you crawl out of the pit,
    you will get caught in a trap.

The sky has split apart
    like a window thrown open.
The foundations of the earth
    have been shaken;
the earth is shattered,
    ripped to pieces.
It staggers and shakes
like a drunkard
    or a hut in a windstorm.
It is burdened down with sin;
the earth will fall,
    never again to get up.

On that day the Lord
    will punish
the powers
in the heavens
    and the kings of the earth.
He will put them in a pit
    and keep them prisoner.
Then later on,
    he will punish them.
The moon and sun will both
    be embarrassed and ashamed.
The Lord All-Powerful will rule
    on Mount Zion in Jerusalem,
where he will show its rulers
    his wonderful glory.

MORE ON THE APOCALYPSE

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