Howl ye - Ye inhabitants of Babylon, in view of the approaching destruction.
The day of the Lord - The time when Yahweh will inflict vengeance on you draws near (see the note at Isaiah 2:12; compare Isaiah 13:9).
As a destruction from the Almighty - Not as a desolation from man, but as destruction sent from him who has all power in heaven and on earth. Destruction meditated by man might be resisted; but destruction that should come from the Almighty must be final and irresistible. The word ‹Almighty‘ שׁדי shadday one of the names given to God in the Scriptures, denotes, properly, “one who is mighty,” or who has all power; and is correctly rendered Almighty, or Omnipotent; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 48:3; Exodus 6:3; Rth 1:20 ; Job 5:17; Job 6:4, Job 6:14; Job 8:3, Job 8:5; Job 11:7; Job 13:4; Job 15:25. In the Hebrew here, there is a paronomasia or “pun” - a figure of speech quite common in the Scriptures, which cannot be retained in the translation - ‹It shall come as a destruction (כשׁד keshod ) from the Almighty (משׁדי mı̂shadday ).‘
Said the prophets of old, as they beheld in holy vision the day of God: “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” Isaiah 13:6. “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.” “In that day a man shall cast the idols of his silver, and the idols of his gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:10-12, 20, 21, margin. GC 638.1
Through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose brilliancy is increased fourfold in contrast with the darkness. It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to the transgressors of God's law. Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden as in the secret of the Lord's pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him who died for them. A marvelous change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed to demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3. GC 638.2
While these words of holy trust ascend to God, the clouds sweep back, and the starry heavens are seen, unspeakably glorious in contrast with the black and angry firmament on either side. The glory of the celestial city streams from the gates ajar. Then there appears against the sky a hand holding two tables of stone folded together. Says the prophet: “The heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself.” Psalm 50:6. That holy law, God's righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgment. The hand opens the tables, and there are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. The words are so plain that all can read them. Memory is aroused, the darkness of superstition and heresy is swept from every mind, and God's ten words, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, are presented to the view of all the inhabitants of the earth. GC 639.1Read in context »