Bible Commentary: Isaiah 2

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Isaiah 2

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Swords to Plowshares

One of the other contemporaries of Isaiah and Hosea is Micah, whose prophetic book we will be reading from soon. The well-known passage that begins Isaiah 2 is repeated in Micah 4, although Micah adds another element, as we will later see. The prophecy in both passages concerns the establishment of the "mountain of the Lord's house" (Isaiah 2:2). Though at times literal, mountains in prophecy are often symbolic of kingdoms or governments (compare Daniel 2:35, Daniel 2:44). The mountain of God's house being established above the mountains and hills thus represents the Kingdom of God taking control over the kingdoms and smaller nations of this world, when a voice in heaven will announce, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15).

Outside the United Nations headquarters in New York stands a famous statue of a man beating his sword into a plowshare. Indeed, "Swords to plowshares" is a popular UN motto. But the international organization has not really even begun to recast the world's implements of war into farming tools or other peaceful equipment. In fact, as much as ever, the world is frantically beating plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears (Joel 3:10). The efforts of a wayward mankind will not bring about world peace. Rather, as Isaiah later attests to God of Christ's return to this earth, "Lord, You will establish peace for us" (Isaiah 26:12). But it will not come instantaneously. Rather, as Isaiah 2:4 and other scriptures show (compare Zechariah 14:16-19), it will take some time to break the hardhearted recalcitrance of humanity. Yet it will be accomplished.

From the Messiah's future throne in Jerusalem, which will be the new capital of the world, the Word of God will be proclaimed to all the earth (Isaiah 2:3), including "the law"—God's law. Most of modern Christendom holds to the inconsistent and incoherent teaching that God does not require obedience to His laws in this age, in spite of the myriad scriptures showing that Christ confirmed, amplified and emphasized these laws during His earthly ministry and that He will enforce them throughout the entire earth after He returns in power and glory.

There is a constant shifting in Isaiah between the problems of the nations due to their wickedness and the promises of the glorious future that will occur once God has corrected the problems and mankind as a whole is taught to live by His laws. While chapter 2 begins with the description of peace to come, it soon returns to the chastisement of Israel for letting their wealth, military might and idols fill them with pride—for which God will humble them (verses 5-22).

Indeed, two major recurring themes in Isaiah are how disgusted God is with the "proud and lofty" and His abhorrence of oppression of the weak through might. The arrogant and tyrannical of this world are in for a rude awakening. They will be brought low and humbled when the omnipotent God "arises to shake the earth mightily" (verses 19, 21). Godly leaders use authority to serve those under their charge, just as Jesus later taught the early leaders of the Church of God.