This is the sixth in a short series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you will want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).
My goal in this eschatological adventure is two-fold.
First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.
In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.
Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.
Since the prophetic texts I deal with are quite long, I have not reproduced them here. You will need to bring an open Bible to each blog. My hope and prayer is that you will enjoy them all.
Prisoners in the Dungeon — Isaiah 24:21-23
(21) On that day, the LORD will punish (lit., visit) the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. (22) And they will be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in a pit (or, dungeon), and will be shut up in a prison. And after many days they will be punished (or, visited). (23) Then the moon will be confounded, 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.
This short but challenging OTKP appears in the midst a long section of Isaiah devoted to the end-time judgments of God (24:1-27:13). In the verses immediately preceding our text, the prophet has spoken of the final destruction of the earth (vv. 17-20). Then, as the telltale phrase “In that Day” indicates, a new prophecy begins, a prophecy that only three verses later brings the entire chapter to a close (24:21-23).
Many premillennial interpreters find here an OT adumbration of the millennium of Revelation 20. In verse 21 they see the binding of Satan (and his demonic hosts) at Christ’s return (Rev. 20:2). In verse 22a they see Satan’s one thousand year incarceration in the abyss. And in the “visitation” of verse 22b they see his postmillennial release (Rev. 20:3, 7), followed shortly thereafter by his final destruction in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Reading verse 23 literally, they assert that Isaiah concludes by depicting the glory of Christ’s earthly reign on literal Mt. Zion and in literal Jerusalem; his reign in a supernaturally transformed (but as yet unperfected) Palestine.
There are, however, some serious problems with this interpretation.