About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Beating Swords Into Plowshares


It was 1982 when then Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, approached the podium of the General Assembly at the United Nations.  Immediately, the Arab and Communist delegates left their seats and walked out in protest.  Begin was a Zionist Revisionist, a disciple of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the early 20th century Revisionist Movement that advocated a Jewish homeland in Palestine.  Jabotinsky's ideals would later be the fundamental influence of the Israeli centre right political party known as Likud.  Begin was the first Likud Prime Minister of Israel (1977 - 1983).  Benjamin Netanyahu, the present Likud Prime Minister, is also heavily influenced by Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement's ideals.       


Begin has always been a polarizing personality.  The British viewed him as a terrorist.  The Arabs viewed him as the worst of all enemies.  Jimmy Carter viewed him as a frustratingly stubborn negotiator.  Politically conservative Jews viewed him as a staunch defender of Israel.  Religious Jews viewed him as a credible teacher of the Torah.  Political liberal Jews viewed him as an obstinate obstacle to peace.  Many Evangelical Christians still view him as an Israeli hero.  For me, I'd be proud to have a Prime Minister of Canada like Menachem Begin.  If I were an American, I'd gladly trade President Obama for Prime Minister Begin.  Whatever you think about him, one thing is clear.  Menachem Begin was well versed in the Hebrew Bible as was seen in his speech that day at the United Nations.  


Begin opened His Bible to Isaiah 2:4 and began to read in Hebrew.  "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4 NIV)."  Everyone at the United Nations was familiar with this passage of Scripture.  It's one of the most quoted passages of the Bible.  It was the hope of the United Nations to implement the peace predicted in this passage. 


Begin explained, when, how, and why, swords would be beaten into plowshares from a contextual, grammatical, and linguistic, perspective.  That would have thrilled me but it was the reason for the boredom seen on most faces of those left sitting in the General Assembly.


Many Christians would agree with much of Begin's assessment of Isaiah, chapter 2.  According to the text, swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks in the last days, as our English Bibles state.  From Begin's knowledge of the Hebrew language and grammar, he understood "last days" to be better translated as "bright future", as in Israel's bright future.  Whatever the case, world peace will come when the mountain of the Lord's temple is established and all nations will stream to it as seen in Isaiah 2:2.  Peace will come when people come to the temple of the God of Jacob to learn God's ways and be instructed in the Word of the Lord that will go forth from Jerusalem , as seen in Isaiah 2:3.  Peace will come when the Messiah of Israel will judge the nations of the world as seen in Isaiah 2:4.  Obviously, Begin's understanding of this passage was another reason for the restlessness of those left sitting in the General Assembly, but that didn't detour Begin.  Jimmy Carter was right on at least one point.  Begin was stubborn, persistent, and adamant.  Nothing would prevent him from presenting his position.


From my understanding of the Bible on this issue, and, from how I believe Isaiah must have understood this issue, international peace will be realized when Israel's Messiah, who Christians understand to be the Lord Jesus Christ, returns to rule the nations from Jerusalem.  I know that sounds ridiculous to many in today's anti-Christ culture.  I also know that not all Christians hold to this particular view of Isaiah 2:4.  Not all Christians believe that Israel still has a place in prophetic history.      


If you believe as I do, you, like me, can't begin to imagine the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ is publically inaugurated as King of the world.  It will make the inauguration of the President of the United States look insignificant.  It will make the coronation of the future King of England look irrelevant.  All nationalities, all ethnicities, everyone from everywhere, will bow before Jesus and confess that He is indeed Lord over them.  What a day that will be.  I agree with Revelation 22:20.  "Come Lord Jesus". 


Home Page