Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Word for Wednesday: 13 May Edition

A second week in Isaiah (chapter 2):
The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For the Law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.
I must admit that it isn't totally clear to me which "last days" the prophet is talking about here; whether it's the last last days of Revelation 20, or some other "last days" associated, perhaps, with the Babylonian captivity, or some other such episode in the history of ancient Israel. Except for one small thing, I would read this simply as added detail on the millennium of Revelation 20:1-6:
And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he could not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
The thing that makes me a little doubtful whether Isaiah and John are talking about the same thing in these passages is that Isaiah says the nations would be all done learning war; however, starting with verse 7 in Revelation 20, we see that when Satan is cut loose again for a short time, that short time is quite abundant in war. So, I'll just keep an open mind, for now, about Isaiah's last days. One thing that I am sure about: the picture of the nations seeking God's wisdom, and learning war no more, is certainly an attractive one. And ultimately, when the Lord does return and clean up all our messes, war will be among them. "Even now, Lord Jesus, come."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's evident to me now that today I was looking at things as they are, and you were looking at things as they will be. No wonder we were out of sync. I like your picture better.

I don't know the answer to your question about Isaiah. As you point out, when satan is released, he brings war. But is that any less true in days past than in days to come? I think it's one of the things he does best.

You got my wheels turning, though. :)