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Isaiah 2

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ch. 2:1-5   ch. 2:6-30

The Mountain Of The Lord (ch. 2:1 - 5)


Chapter 2, verse 1, specifically tells us to whom this chapter is written.  It is written to Judah and Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was the capital of Judah.  At this point I will mention Replacement Theology.  Replacement Theology is the doctrine that teaches the church has replaced Israel in prophetic history.  When the Jews rejected Jesus, God rejected the Jews, never to see Israel as special again.  Thus, those who believe in Replacement Theology go back to the Old Testament and re-interpret all that was predicted fo Israel as being prophetic of the church.  Any name associated with Israel, like, Zion, Judah, Jerusalem, and here, the mountain of the Lord, refers to the church.  You might want to keep this in mind as you study the book of Isaiah.


I do not believe in Replacement Theology for a number of reasons which I won't get into here.  I've done that elsewhere.  I'll just say that if you believe the church has replaced Israel, then God, who originally spoke the promises for Israel to Abraham, deceived Abraham into thinking these promises were for his descendents when in fact they were for the church.  Of course, God doesn't deceive anyone.  How Abraham viewed the promises in what we now call the Abrahamic Covenant is how we should view them.  Abraham believed God that these promises were for his descendents Israel forever, and because he believed God, he was counted as being righteous. 


I say all of the above to say this.  Here in verse 1, when Isaiah states that the prophecies found in this chapter are directed to Judah and Israel, that is exactly how we should understand these prophecies.  They are not directed to the church.


Verse 2 will catch our attention.  It begins with "in the last days".  "In the last days" refers to the end of this age in which we now live.  This term does not refer to the end of the Old Testament, or any other time in human history 


In the New Testament, the phrase "last days" is seen in two ways.  Peter, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 refers to the last days as starting at the day of Pentecost.  He does this by quoting the book of Joel concerning prophecies of the last days.  So, in Peter's mind, at least in the context of his sermon in Acts 2, the "last days' began when the Holy Spirit came into the lives of the believers.  However, the term "last days" is used often in the New Testament in terms of the "very last days", as in the days just before the return of Christ, as in, the time of the Great Tribulation.  The apostle Paul uses the term "last days" in this respect a lot.


In verse 2 we see the term "mountain of the Lord".  This refers to the mountain in Jerusalem where the temple was located.  The word "mountain" throughout the Old Testament has a symbolic meaning as well.  It speaks of nations.  Mountains are used symbolically of the nations of the world.


So, when Isaiah predicts the "mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as the chief among the mountains", this is what is meant.  When Jesus returns to earth, He will recover all the land that Israel was promised in the Abrahamic Covenant and give it to Israel.  Then, He will set up His throne from the temple, on the mountain in Jerusalem.  He will rule the mountains of the world from His throne.  In other words, Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem.  This is how the "mountain of the Lord's temple" will rise above the mountains, or, the nations of the world. 


I won't comment on Replacement Theology too much, but because I've mentioned it in this chapter, I'll tell you haw Replacement Theologians interpret this verse.  They say the church will be raised up over all the nations of the world.  They claim the church will grow to such a state that Jesus must return to earth and rule from the church. In fact there is no set time for Jesus to return to earth as I believe there is.  Jesus only returns when we get things together enough that He feels there is nothing else He can or should do but return to earth.  This puts the emphasis on us being perfected, and I see no hope in the church reaching perfection prior to the return of Christ. 



When verse 2 says that "all the nations will stream" to the mountain of the Lord, I believe this has a fulfillment in the millennial rule of Jesus, yet, I also believe that its final fulfillment will come after the thousand year rule of Christ when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven.  I say that because in Revelation 21:24 the apostle John saw something very similar to what Isaiah saw.  He saw the "kings of the earth bringing their splendor" into the New Jerusalem.


Verse 3 tells us that "many people will come to the mountain of the Lord" in those days.  Zechariah 14:16 says the same thing.


Note "the house of the God of Jacob" in verse 3.  It's the God of Jacob's people who will come to Jerusalem .  It's not Allah or anyone other so-called god.


The ways of the Lord will be taught from Jerusalem, from Mount Zion.  Everyone will finally learn the ways of God.  The fulfillment of this verse is again realized in the thousand year rule of Christ on earth.


Verse 3 states that "the law will go forth from Zion".  Now the question is, "what law is being talked about here".  If we are to maintain our literalness here, and not fall into any trap similar to Replacement Theology, the law spoken of here must be the Law of Moses.   This is a problem with many people, even some Biblical prophetic futurists.  It's certain a problem with Replacement Theologians, who strongly believe the Law of Moses has been laid aside, as I too believe it has been.


Concerning this question, I have a couple of comments.  One is that some prophetic futurists do believe the Law of Moses will be reinstated, at least for the Jews, during the thousand year rule of Christ.  This might well be true.  This is the only way to understand the last 8 chapters of the book of Ezekiel.  You can refer to my commentary on these chapters.  These chapters speak of a day when the Law of Moses, even with its sacrifices, will some day in the future finally be obeyed by Israel.


If you have trouble with this, it is clear that Jesus redefined the Law of Moses.  You see that throughout the gospels, especially on the sermon on the mount.  For example, He redefined adultery to be lust and murder to be anger.  So, when the law is proclaimed from the mountain of the Lord as stated here, it might well be the teaching of Jesus as seen in the gospel accounts.  Remember, Jesus said that if you love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, and you love your neighbour as yourself, you have fulfilled every last item in the Law of Moses.  It might be in reference to this that the law will be taught from Jerusalem.


All of the above being said, I think the bottom line to this is that the seat of authority will be in Jerusalem.  As capital cities are the seat of authority in nations, Jerusalem will be the capital, not only of Israel, but of the world.   


In verse 4 it says that "He will judge between the nations".  The pronoun "He" refers to the Lord.  Who did Isaiah, and Israel, understand the Lord to be.  The Hebrew word translated as Lord is "Yahweh".  Yahweh will judge between the nations, but it is Yahweh in human flesh.  Yahweh in human flesh, or, to be more accurate, Yahweh in His glorified human flesh, will judge the nations.  We understand Yahweh as seen here  to be Jesus.  So, here, as in other Old Testament passages like this one, we see the doctrine of the Deity of Christ.


You might wonder why Jesus will have to judge the nations.  Well, if you read the last chapter of Zechariah, you will see that there is the possibility that some nations will be tempted not to obey Jesus.  Israel obviously will obey the Lord because it's been prophesied that they will.  The point here is that the nations of the world, who knew not the Lord Jesus, will have to be taught the ways of God.  It's my thinking that this teaching will emanate from Jerusalem, but there will be many Jewish and Gentile believers throughout the world teaching the Word of the Lord.  It's also my thinking that many who should be Bible teachers in this age who aren't, for various reasons, will be teaching Biblical truth around the world in these thousand years.


Verse 4 also says that the Lord, will settle disputes.  We need to realize that that the book of Revelation speaks of the thousand year rule of Christ, but the New Testament is pretty silent on what will actually take place during this thousand years.  The Old Testament has lots to say about it, and here is one place. 


The thousand year rule of Christ is not the New Earth as seen at the end of the book of Revelation.  This is how I view it.  The Old Testament was a time where Israel was to represent God to the nations.  Israel failed.  In the New Testament the church was to do what Israel didn't do, but the church is failing to, and eventually will fail.  Jesus Himself will return to earth to show how it was to be done all along.  He will represent God to the nations, and He will not fail.


The thousand year rule of Christ will not be a time of total perfection.  It will be a time where Jesus will rule.  This is why Jesus will settle disputes in the thousand year rule of Christ.


Just in case you think this time in which Isaiah saw in the vision is the time of the New Earth, it can't be.  The New Earth is a time of perfection.  All of the old will no longer exist.  All things will be made new.


Beating swords into plowshares will not take place prior to the return of Jesus.  It's only when He sets up His throne in Jerusalem, as seen here, that this will happen.  If you read Ezekiel 38 and 39 you will see what is described as a possible nuclear war.  Ezekiel 39:9 states that Israel will use the weapons of their enemies as fuel.  That looks like beating swords into plowshares; beating weapons into something that is useful and needed, and in this case maybe beating nuclear weapons into nuclear energy for the thousand year rule of Christ on earth.


Verse 4 ends by saying there will be no war during the thousand year rule of Christ.  There will be disputes, but they will be settled before they turn into fighting and war.


Isaiah says, "come O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord'.   This means that the good things prophesied in the previous verses was meant to be an encouragement for Israel to walk in the ways of the Lord.  Any really, this is one very important reason why prophecy is in the Bible.  Prophecy is meant to encourage us to serve the Lord will all of our hearts right now because there is a better day ahead.


The Day Of The Lord (ch. 2:6 - 25)     


Notice verse 6 that says.   "They are full of superstitions from the east".  It seems so much of our superstitions and false religions are from the east.  Anyway, for Judah back then the east meant the pagan Assyrian and Babylonian religions.


The Philistines mentioned in verse 6 were to the west of Judah, what is known today as Gaza.  Judah adopted their practices as well.  The Philistines were the people to emulate back then.  They seemed to be on the cutting edge of everything.


"Clasp hands with pagans" in verse 6 suggests joining in with pagan practices which God forbade Israel to do. 


Verse 7, which speaks of Judah being full of silver and houses.  Judah was rich, though now in the decline, much like America and the western world today.  The situation in Judah was that she loved her wealth more than she loved her God.  Thus in verse 8, once you give yourself to wealth, your wealth becomes your god, you idols.  Note the term "works of your own hands'.   Judah was very proud of what they had become, what they produced with the works of their own hands.  Again, this is much like the western world today.  We, in one sense of  the word worship ourselves by worshipping the works of our own hands.  As a matter of fact, this is what the New Age movement is all about.  It's all about us becoming little gods.


Verse 10 says, "go into the rock and hide in the ground".  Revelation 6:15 and 16 is an allusion to this very verse as seen in the kings and people who  hide themselves in the rocks and mountains and just hope to die because of fear of the wrath of God.


In verse 11 we see the basic sin of humanity, and that is pride.  Pride goes before a fall, as the proverb states.  We see the fall of prideful Babylon in Revelation 18 and 19.  Pride does precede a fall, a fall that is due to the Lord's doing.


Verse 12 says that "the Lord has a day in store for the proud", to bring them down.  Only the Lord will remain exalted.  Humility is one of the major marks of a mature Christian.  The problem with some Christians, especially those in the spot light, is falling into the temptation of pride.  A minister of the gospel is a servant, but when the ministry serves one's self, it is no longer a ministry.  That ministry will fall.


You can certainly see in these verses that Judah is far from their God.  The problem is that this is just the beginning.  Before they fall to Babylon, they will sink even further into sin and away from their God.


From verse 12 to 18 we see that God will bring down every aspect of who Judah is.  When God's judgment comes on a nation, absolutely nothing is spared.  The nation comes crashing to the ground.


Verse 19 is definitely related to Revelation 6:15 and 16.  Both verses are next to identical.  Men hide in caves hoping to escape the wrath of the majesty of God.  But of course, you can't hide from God nor His wrath wherever you attempt to hide.


Verses 20 and 21 continue on in this vein.  Men try to hide from God.  They even throw away their idles because they realize that their idols can't save them.  This reminds me of Revelation 9:20.  Even though the wrath of God is being powered out in such power people refused to repent and turn to God.  Judah did not repent and they were eventually overthrown by Babylon.  


This section ends with verse 22.  Like verse 5, Isaiah encourages Judah.  He admonishes Judah to stop trusting in men.  Man only has a few breaths of life in him.  The point here is that compared to God, the one Judah should be trusting, man's life span is but for a brief moment.  Where is the logic in trusting in man when you can trust in the eternal God.



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