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Isaiah 2

Chapter 2

Vs 1-4: These verses describe a time that is so perfect that I can see why people might view them as hyperbole.  If they are meant to be literal and to apply to earthly kingdoms, then the world has certainly not seen this era yet, nor will it before the final Day of Judgment at the end.

From the New Testament, I gather that we are now in the final era of humanity (as God has taught us to count time so far), and I believe this era, the era of Christ, matches all the qualities of these verses more closely than any era of Jewish history since Isaiah’s time, whether they are read literally or as hyperbole, so I believe that ours is the era to which these verses apply.  What remains is to decide whether they are literal or hyperbolic.

Barnes seems inclined to read them literally and to apply them to earthly kingdoms.  Although he does not believe they are literally fulfilled yet, he does see Christian history as an evolution toward their literal fulfillment.  For example, he cites such things as the establishment of rules of war to demonstrate how civilization has improved under the guidance of Christianity, and thus he anticipates that these verses could be literally fulfilled if only the knowledge of Christ were to spread everywhere (87).  He does have an interesting point, but it is hard to qualify.  I’m not sure how one could accurately measure the morality of nations under Christian influence against those without Christian influence.  Besides, one must distinguish (as Barnes does not in this instance) between the true kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual Christendom, and an earthly nation made up mostly of Christians or of people raised with the knowledge of Christianity.  The former is a borderless kingdom and has no earthly agenda as such, while the latter has all of the same earthly concerns that every other political entity has; therefore, even when governed by just rulers, the earthly realm must engage in war and the punishment of criminals in order to protect its citizens and its own earthly existence.  The same is not true of spiritual Christendom, however, so it may be that these verses could apply to the former kingdom, Christ’s Church (spiritual Christendom), in a literal sense.  Within the Church, it is literally true that people from various nations and races of humanity come together in peace for instruction from God.  Likewise, since the Church has no earthly kingdom to defend, it is also literally true that these various nations and races no longer need or use the craft of war to protect the church.  See John 18:36.

v. 6: The NKJ and OKJ translate this passage as if the speaker were addressing God.  The NRSV, however, translates it as though the prophet were still addressing the House of Jacob, as in v. 5.

v. 9: I suppose the day of wrath that vs. 9-21 describe could be any day in which God’s judgment falls on Israel, but to be consistent with chapter one, they should refer to the Babylonian Captivity.  Also, just in the context of the chapter itself (without any reference to history) this day of wrath should come before the ideal period described in the opening verses since this day of wrath is coming as a result of sins Judah commits in Isaiah’s lifetime, not future ones committed after the time of ideal peace begins.  Besides, in the context of the chapter, we are not led to believe that there will be sins or judgment after the establishment of the ideal peace begins.  If the time of the ideal peace does apply to the Christian era, we know that there will in fact be sins and judgment after the time of ideal peace begins, but this chapter is not concerned with that fact.  It is concerned with the sins of Isaiah’s contemporaries.

10 Responses to “Isaiah 2”

  1. […] passages refer to the same thing, i.e., spiritual Israel, the kingdom of Christ.  (See notes on 2:2-4.)  I think the images here are sublime.  Furthermore, although there is no direct reference to […]

  2. […] passages refer to the same thing, i.e., spiritual Israel, the kingdom of Christ.  (See notes on 2:2-4.)  I think the images here are sublime.  Furthermore, although there is no direct reference to […]

  3. […] [1] See notes on 2:1-4. […]

  4. […] [1] See notes on 2:1-4. […]

  5. […] v. 14: This grouping of Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Sabeans should be read in conjunction with 43:3, where these countries are also treated as a group.  (See note there.)  I think the grouping in both chapters signifies the same thing.  It is idiomatic for “from west to east,” or, as in v. 6 of this chapter, “…from the rising of the sun and from the west….”  Also, in both chapters these nations will be subjected to Israel or to Israel’s welfare.  In chapter 43, they will be given as ransom for Israel, and here they will be brought as captives and slaves to Israel.  I believe that is the proper interpretation of these passages, but I do not know how to apply it to actual events.  Perhaps there is a spiritual application; after all, these passages are saying, essentially, that the world will be made subject to Israel, which is true in one sense even now as far as spiritual Israel (Christ’s kingdom) is concerned, and will be true in the fullest sense when Christ returns.  See also notes on chapter 2:1-4. […]

  6. […] 3:  There are other references to Eden, or rather the return of Eden, in Isaiah.  11:6-9 and 2:2-4 come to mind; see notes […]

  7. […] v. 14: This grouping of Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Sabeans should be read in conjunction with 43:3, where these countries are also treated as a group.  (See note there.)  I think the grouping in both chapters signifies the same thing.  It is idiomatic for “from west to east,” or, as in v. 6 of this chapter, “…from the rising of the sun and from the west….”  Also, in both chapters these nations will be subjected to Israel or to Israel’s welfare.  In chapter 43, they will be given as ransom for Israel, and here they will be brought as captives and slaves to Israel.  I believe that is the proper interpretation of these passages, but I do not know how to apply it to actual events.  Perhaps there is a spiritual application; after all, these passages are saying, essentially, that the world will be made subject to Israel, which is true in one sense even now as far as spiritual Israel (Christ’s kingdom) is concerned, and will be true in the fullest sense when Christ returns.  See also notes on chapter 2:1-4. […]

  8. […] 3:  There are other references to Eden, or rather the return of Eden, in Isaiah.  11:6-9 and 2:2-4 come to mind; see notes […]

  9. […] v. 19: John uses this exact imagery in Revelation 21:23 to refer to the New Jerusalem.  I believe Isaiah is using the reestablishment of the Jewish nation after its return from Babylonian Captivity to reference the future kingdom of the Messiah, but to what specific phase of that kingdom he may be referring, I am not sure.  The kingdom of God manifests itself differently over time.  In Isaiah’s day the kingdom was a physical place in Palestine.  Now that the Messiah has ascended to heaven, the kingdom is a borderless fellowship of believers on earth.  After Judgment Day, perhaps the kingdom will dominate the entire earth for one-thousand years under the direct rule of the Messiah.  The New Jerusalem, which John describes in Revelation 21 seems to be yet another manifestation of the kingdom after the one-thousand year reign.  One could also argue that the modern kingdom of Israel is another manifestation of the kingdom.  See notes on v.14.  See also notes on Isaiah 2:1-4. […]

  10. […] v. 19: John uses this exact imagery in Revelation 21:23 to refer to the New Jerusalem.  I believe Isaiah is using the reestablishment of the Jewish nation after its return from Babylonian Captivity to reference the future kingdom of the Messiah, but to what specific phase of that kingdom he may be referring, I am not sure.  The kingdom of God manifests itself differently over time.  In Isaiah’s day the kingdom was a physical place in Palestine.  Now that the Messiah has ascended to heaven, the kingdom is a borderless fellowship of believers on earth.  After Judgment Day, perhaps the kingdom will dominate the entire earth for one-thousand years under the direct rule of the Messiah.  The New Jerusalem, which John describes in Revelation 21 seems to be yet another manifestation of the kingdom after the one-thousand year reign.  One could also argue that the modern kingdom of Israel is another manifestation of the kingdom.  See notes on v.14.  See also notes on Isaiah 2:1-4. […]

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