Tuesdays are for the Old Testament
The fallen world under God’s judgment becomes a place of desolation, inhabited only by a few abandoned people. Yet God does not utterly destroy the world.
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 34” pp. 292-298.
Luther considers that Isaiah 34-35, speaking of a destruction and transfer of power, are not addressed only to Isaiah’s day. “I simply take these two chapters to deal with the transfer of the Jewish kingdom to the church. The first chapter deals with the last destruction. For the Jews, truting in past promises, were simply unwilling to listen to the new teaching concerning Christ, because in their excessive and secure presumption they dashed against the Cornerstone, and because of this they deserved the supreme and final destruction by the Romans” (LW 16, 292). The whole world is called to hear that God is enraged. The nations have aligned themselves against God’s Word. This seals their doom. In verse three even the dead will not be treated with respect. In verse four, even God’s chosen people, the Jews, will fall away. Luther sees this as an indicator that since the Jews were unwilling to recognize the Messiah, God has transferred his kingdom to the Gentiles (LW 16, 293). Calamity falls upon the leaders, those who are powerful. Luther considers the language in verses 6-7 to refer to the choice and powerful people, identified as a variety of animals (LW 16, 294-295).
All the destruction “will happen because God wants to avenge the true Zion itself, that is, the church, which has not turned away from God to Edom, that is to say, they have not persecuted the Gospel” (LW 16, 295). After the destruction the land will be a place of destruction. The curse on the fallen is perpetual. Verses 10-11 show the land given over to wild animals. Luther does note that the names of the animals are not always easily translated. Yet the message is clear. God will leave a wilderness which is not fit to be called a kingdom (LW 16, 296). Again, verses 14-15 identify a variety of animals and possibly mythic or demonic creatures which are difficult to translate. It is clear that these multiply in the land. Luther interprets this to represent a multiplying of false teachers and poor leaders (LW 16, 297). The curse will come upon the land. God is serious about his judgment against those who have opposed his Word.