For see, the day of the Lord is coming—the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger. The land will be made desolate, and all the sinners destroyed with it. The heavens will be black above them; the stars will give no light. The sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will provide no light.
“I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty. I will make people scarcer than gold—more rare than the fine gold of Ophir.
In these verses, the prophet Isaiah imagines what the Day of the Lord will be like. The Day of the Lord is a theme throughout Scripture. On that day, God will show that he is Lord over creation and nations. All human structures will come under God’s scrutiny—religious, economic, political, social. God alone will be exalted, while all merely human endeavors will be brought down.
The Day of the Lord will be a time when God judges his enemies in anger. In these verses, Babylon is the focus of God’s anger. They would soon lead Israel into exile, but after that God would judge them. On the Day of the Lord, the ungodly receive the punishment they deserve, while the righteous enter their full salvation. God’s justice prevails.
The full meaning of the Day of the Lord is not simply a specific time or place. Even as Isaiah singles out Babylon for judgment, Babylon symbolizes any power that competes with God and his rule.
We should realize that the Day of the Lord ultimately assures God’s people that he is the sovereign judge of the created order. The Day of the Lord promises that final justice will come for everyone, both good and bad. We should prepare ourselves for that judgment.