To my mind, Isaiah 24 prophesies the end of Mystery Babylon, as opposed to the end of the world. The key to understanding this is the word “earth”.
In Isaiah 24, the word “earth” occurs 15 times : 24:1 (once), 24:4 (twice), 24:5 (once), 24:6 (twice), 24:16 (once), 24:17 (once), 24:18 (once), 24:19 (thrice), 24:20 (once), 24:21 (twice). In all except the last, the word “earth” in Hebrew is ארץ (erets), which means land. ארץ (erets) can also mean nation or country. For instance, Haaretz – the Israeli newspaper – literally means “the land”, a reference to the land of Israel.
Let’s examine each occurrence of “earth” in Isaiah 24.
1. Isaiah 24:1.
“Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.”
– Isaiah 24:1
“The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.”
– Isaiah 24:3
ארץ (erets) occurs in Isaiah 24:1 and 24:3 – two passages that essentially say the same thing. In 24:1, ארץ (erets) is translated as “earth”, whereas in 24:3 it is translated as “land”. To me, this difference is intentional, because the word earth alludes to the beast that comes out of the earth, Revelation 13:11. In Revelation 13, there are 2 beasts: the first that rises “out of the sea” will have “7 heads and 10 horns”; the second that rises “out of the earth” will have “2 horns like a lamb” but will “speak like a dragon”. In Revelation 13, the word “earth” in Greek is γῆ (ge), and it can mean earth, land or country. Even in the English language, the word “earth” can mean “country”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Anyway, both Isaiah 24:1 and 24:3 say, the LORD shall make the land utterly empty. In other words, the land shall be made “desolate”. They shall not take of her a stone for a corner; she shall be desolate forever. The land shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. This is the fate of Mystery Babylon, as per Revelation 17:16, Revelation 18:19, Jeremiah 50:13, Jeremiah 51:26, Isaiah 13:20, etc.
Furthermore, Isaiah 24:1 says, the land shall be made “waste”, as in בלק (balaq) from “to annihilate”. Isaiah 24:3 says, the land shall be “utterly spoiled”, as in בזז (bazaz) from “to plunder”, perhaps a reference to the ruining of Babylon’s riches in one hour, Revelation 18:17-19.
2. Isaiah 24:4.
“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.”
– Isaiah 24:4
In Isaiah 24:4, there is “earth” ארץ (erets) and there is “world” תבל (tevel): the earth mourneth and fadeth away; the world languisheth and fadeth away. עולם (olam) is another and a more common word for world in Hebrew. I think, תבל (tevel) specifically means the inhabited world. So, as I read it, Isaiah 24:4 in its entirety says, the land will mourn and the people of the land who remain will languish.
Notice Isaiah 24:4 describes the people of this land as “haughty”. Pride and a haughty spirit are linked, by Proverbs 16:18. Job 41:34 explains that leviathan is a “king over all the children of pride”. And Isaiah 14:12-23 says Babylon is Lucifer’s land. Accordingly, haughty suggests Babylon.
3. Isaiah 24:5.
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”
– Isaiah 24:5
Isaiah 24:5 says, the inhabitants of the land have broken the covenant. In my opinion, this is a reference to Jews in Mystery Babylon “that forsake the holy covenant”, e.g. Daniel 11:30. It is clear that there are Jews in Mystery Babylon because Zechariah 2:7, for example, exhorts “O Zion deliver thyself that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon”. In Revelation 18:4, for another example, the LORD calls his people to come out of Babylon the great.
4. Isaiah 24:6
“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
– Isaiah 24:6
Isaiah 24:6 says, the inhabitants of the land shall burn, and they shall burn because the curse shall devour the land. To my mind, this is an allusion to Revelation 17:16-18, namely that the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns shall hate Babylon the whore, and burn her with fire.
Remarkably, the word “curse” in Isaiah 24:6 in Hebrew is אלה (alah), which is pronounced like “Allah”.
5. Isaiah 24:16
“From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.”
– Isaiah 24:16
There are three things to note about Isaiah 24:16.
The first is that there are Christians in the land, people who glorify the righteous. This is consistent with “the light of a candle” and “the bride” of Revelation 18:23. Jeremiah 51:33 says, “the daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor”, and the time of her “harvest” shall come, one day.
“When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.”
– Isaiah 24:13
Isaiah 24:13, likewise, mentions the reaping of Revelation 14, and separately also the winepress of Revelation 14.
The second thing to note about Isaiah 24:16 is the phrase “the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously”. This speaks to Babylon’s tendency for treachery, which is also mentioned in Isaiah 21:2.
The third thing is “leanness”.
6. Isaiah 24:17
“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.”
– Isaiah 24:17
Fear, and the pit, and the snare.
As for fear, when Babylon’s day of reckoning comes, the king of Babylon shall wax feeble, Jeremiah 50:43; and the land shall “tremble” and “the mighty men of Babylon” shall forbear to fight and become “as women”, Jeremiah 51:29-30.
As for the pit, this is a reference to the prison of hell. i.e. Isaiah 24:21-22.
“And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”
– Isaiah 24:22
In the last days, those who fight against the LORD shall be slain and then cast into the prison of hell. They will be slain, if not before or during the 7 trumpets, then at the 7th trumpet, i.e. “the remnant” of Revelation 19:21. The exceptions are the beast and the false prophet, Revelation 19:20. These 2 will be cast into the lake of fire. Satan too will be bound, for 1000 years, maybe in a special “bottomless pit”, Revelation 20:2-3. At the time of “the great white throne” of Revelation 20:11-15, the souls that are in hell will be judged and then cast into the lake of fire. Hence, it is written, “they shall be gathered in the pit”, “shut up in the prison” and then “after many days shall they be visited”.
As for the snare, Jeremiah 50:23-25 says, the LORD will lay a snare for Babylon, because Babylon strives against the LORD.
7. Isaiah 24:18
“And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.”
– Isaiah 24:18
As I read it, Isaiah 24:18 says, all of the host of the land shall be destroyed. Jeremiah 51:3 and Isaiah 24:21-22 agree. None shall flee, from the reckoning.
With regard to “the windows” that are “open” from on high, I think, this refers to the spoilers that shall come from the LORD to break every one of the bows of the land, Jeremiah 51:56.
“The foundations of the earth do shake” means a shaking of the pillars of the earth, i.e. Job 9:6 and Psalms 75:3. Or else it means literal earthquakes, especially around the ring of fire.
8. Isaiah 24:19
“The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.”
– Isaiah 24:19
9. Isaiah 24:20
“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.”
– Isaiah 24:20
Earthquakes. Volcanoes and lava. Volcanoes of Hawaii. Perhaps even the eruption of the super-volcano Yellowstone.
10. Isaiah 24:21
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.”
– Isaiah 24:21
In Isaiah 24:21, the word “earth”, which occurs twice, is אדמה (adama) rather than ארץ (erets). אדמה (adama) means land or ground, such as the ground of Genesis 2:7, from which the LORD formed the first man, Adam.
“The kings of the earth upon the earth” is a very ornate expression, surely for a reason.
I think, Isaiah 24:21 is saying, in that day the LORD will punish the host of the proud and lofty ones, i.e. the army of Babylon, as well as the kings who have gathered in the holy land against the LORD.
At the 7th trumpet, great Babylon shall come in “remembrance before God”, Revelation 16:19. And at the 7th trumpet, Jesus Christ will appear on a “white horse”, with “a vesture dipped in blood”, along with an army from heaven, to fight against “the kings of the earth” and their armies, that have gathered in the holy land, Revelation 19:19.
In conclusion, Isaiah 24 does not prophesy the end of the world, but rather the end of Mystery Babylon. At the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ, Satan’s reign over the world will end, and a new era will begin:
“Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
– Isaiah 24:23