Saturday, August 14, 2010

Isaiah 2

The mountain of the Lord's house (vs. 1-4)--Isaiah was a contemporary of Micah, and these four verses are almost identical to what Micah wrote in chapter 4 of his book. Since I've already discussed this in detail, I will reproduce what I wrote there:

“Micah 4 and 5 are exclusively Messianic and refer to the New Testament age. These first five verses speak of the future establishment of the church. This is evident in several ways. Micah speaks of the following and I will compare his statements with New Testament verses:

“the last days” (v. 1)—Acts 2:17 tells us we are in the last days;
“the mountain of the Lord’s house” (v. 1)—I Tim. 3:15 calls the church the “house of God”;
“many nations shall come” (v. 2)—the gospel is for all, of course (Mark 16:15);
“He will teach us His ways” (v. 2)—“They shall all be taught of God” (John 6:45);
“For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (v. 2)—“that repentance and rem ission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47);
“He shall judge between many peoples” (v. 3)—His word will judge us all (John 12:48);
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares" (v. 3)—“that in Me you may have peace” (John 16:33). The peacefulness of Christ’s kingdom is also described in Micah 4:4, “But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.” The vine and fig tree reference is a proverbial Jewish picture of being at peace with others, God, and one’s self. Even in the Christian age, many will continue to follow their own gods, “but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever” (v. 5). A lovely picture of the church and the gospel age.”

This is a message of hope, in both Micah and Isaiah, in the midst of strong condemnation of idolatry and sin.

"Walk in the light of the Lord" (vs. 5-9)--The content and theme of the material changes abruptly here, as if Isaiah is continuing his message of chapter 1 without the interruption of 2:1-4. He urges the people to "walk in the light of the Lord" (v. 5), and abandon their idolatry and "eastern ways." They are listening to soothsayers rather than God's prophets (v. 6). Judah is a rich country and strong militarily (v. 7), but they apparently attributed that their idols, bowing down and worshipping "the work of their own hands" (vs. 8-9). They cannot expect forgiveness for such sin (v. 9).

The day of the Lord (vs. 10-22)--Several prophets discuss this subject, always a judgment day from Jehovah. The people better hide (v. 10), because "the lofty looks of man shall be humbled" and "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (v. 11). What day? The "day of the Lord of hosts" (v. 12) and shall indeed humble "everything proud and lofty" (v. 12). Neither the greatest of nature's wonders nor the strongest of man's fortifications can withstand His judgments (vs. 13-17). Idolatry shall be abolished (v. 18), which didn't happen in Judah for at least a century after Isaiah prophesied. Whether verse 19 means the idols (as the antecedent indicates) or those who worship them is unclear; while antecedents are important in English, they aren't in Hebrew and an earlier pronoun could be meant. Regarless, they will need protection from "the terror of the Lord" (v. 19). Israel, being a mountainous country in many places, had many caves; one of them was so big that David and 600 men were able to hide from Saul in one of them (I Sam. 24). But man can nowhere escape the Lord. Yet there will come a day ("in that day") when the people of Israel will "cast away" their "idols of silver" (vs. 20-21). Isaiah encourages the people to "sever yourselves from such a man" (v. 22). He's not God and cannot help "when He arises to shake the earth mightily" (vs. 21-22).