Isaiah 2:1-4 (NKJV)
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Today we will look at Isaiah 2:1-4 and see Isaiah's prophecies on the future of Judah and what God wants of his people.
Isaiah 2 starts where Isaiah 1 ended. Which seems like a statement that shouldn't need saying if you are familiar mostly with the way that books like Exodus or Matthew work. But Isaiah doesn't always read chronologically nor remain in the same themes, so this is something that needs to be said.
Isaiah begins by speaking of the ‘latter days’, or in other translations ‘the last days’ (note I am, have been and will continue to use the NKJV as my main reference). It seems that traditional interpretation points these ‘last days’ to refer to the times of the Messiah. Being that this is a prophetic message and that many prophecies have to do with the coming of the Messiah (though not all), this is unlikely to be false.
In those latter days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established on top of the mountains and exalted above the hills. A mountain will be established on top of the mountains. Let that sink in for a while. If you are not confused at this wording, you should be. Perhaps the Hebrew sheds better light on this. The word ‘on top’ refers to the Hebrew rosh (roshe; שׁארֹ) meaning head or best. Essentially, the mountain of the house of the Lord would stand over and be king of the mountains.
Knowing the majesty of mountains and hills, this immensity is a metaphor for how great the mountain of the Lord's house will be. It is likely that the mountain referred to here is Zion, rather than Moriah upon which the temple of Isaiah's time would have been built. Indeed, in vs. 3 we see a reference of Zion.
Zion is seen to be the centre of law and the word of God so that all peoples of all nations will be able to walk in the paths of the Lord. Note that from the very beginnings, God’s plan was the redemption and the distributive justice of all humankind, not merely the Israelites. He chose Abraham to fulfill His will but His plan had been set into motion before then. Israel and Judah merely served as a beacon upon which nations would seek and gather. In the same way that we gather upon Zion's mount figuratively during our services, so too was God's plan for Israel.
It was not enough for Israel to merely repent and be right with God. That was the bare minimum. Israel was never meant to be merely a single piece in the cog but the cornerstone of God's plan. In the same vein, our ultimate mission as Christians is not simply to take care of our own spiritual health (though that is the minimum and if we do not take care of ourselves how can we lead others towards God?) but to be a shining light so that others might find God and come to Him. The process is to be a virtuous cycle but oftentimes the sinful nature of humanity spirals it downwards instead of upwards.
Also note that while the location of Mount Zion is known, the use of the name rather refers to Israel as a whole instead of simply the mountain. Isaiah's reference of Jerusalem right after Zion reinstates this idea.
The end goal laid out by Isaiah is that once the Lord has judged between the nations and rebuked many, there will be an end to the constant fighting. Swords would be beat into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. As the song ‘Down by the Riverside’ goes, we shall study war no more. Mankind was never supposed to live in dissent and strife. Peace and love and a relationship with God were the markers of early life in Eden. Yet after the first sin was committed, wickedness kept piling.
Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections. Daniel is in the Young Professionals ministry of the Central Christian Church.