Is. 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
I would assume we are moving to another visual revelation given to Isaiah regarding Judah and Jerusalem.
Is. 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
Is. 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
In this section of scripture, Isaiah is speaking of “the last days.” Of what? The phrase implies a culmination of a period of time, an end point. The whole of scripture is the story of God’s love as He gathers a people of faith unto Himself for eternal fellowship. This phrase was understood to reference the time when God would establish His earthly kingdom. There is coming a time when planet earth will be transformed into the perfect environment for man that it was first created to be. Sin will have been defeated forever, though men will still be born with a sin nature. God’s family will enjoy perfect fellowship for eternity—a concept I can’t really fully grasp.
Obviously, this is a time yet future. At that time the LORD’s house, the temple, will be established on the highest (from the Hebrew for exalted) mountain. It will serve not only the Jewish people, but also all those who serve God from all the other nations on earth. This will occur during the 1000-year reign of Christ as The King on earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
These verses tell us that the temple will be in Jerusalem and identify Mount Zion as the highest mountain. (It would seem that there are some geographical changes in store for planet earth.) Many people will want to come to Jerusalem to the temple. Why? To learn from the LORD how He wants them to live their lives. His teaching will produce obedience on the part of those who come to seek Him.
I think that last statement is true today of those who have sincerely trusted in Jesus as Savior. The Word is full of the truth that our actions prove our faith. (That is the theme of the book of James.)
Is. 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
I think the better translation for the word judge would be govern (which includes judgments of guilt and innocence). The Lord will govern the Gentiles as well as Israel; and He will rebuke, correct and chasten as needed. The next phrase is a commentary on how He will govern. The nations will be forced to change their weapons of destruction into agricultural implements. The nations will no longer be allowed to attack one another, teach military tactics or incite one another to fight.
The Lord will rule as a dictator, but not like any dictator this world has ever known. He will rule with complete righteousness and holiness. In today’s society He would be seen as infringing upon the rights of the individual to make choices regarding His own welfare. He would be tagged as intolerant and not politically correct.
Is. 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Now Isaiah makes a personal plea to his people, the family of Jacob. “Come ye,” come away, depart from the direction in which you are now headed. Let’s follow the commands of the LORD and enjoy His blessings.
Maybe this was also a reminder of God’s desire to lead and protect His people as shown by the pillar of fire during the Exodus from Egypt.
I loved this quote from Spurgeon: “You know that, if you were to go to Australia in a good sound ship, you would get there even if you were always to lie down in the hold among the luggage and the rats; but I should like to go in a first-class cabin; and I do not see why you and I, if we are going to heaven, should not go first class.”
Is. 2:6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
It appears that Isaiah switches from talking to the people to talking to God. As he makes a plea to the people to turn back to God, he is reminded of how wicked they had become. As that thought passes through his mind, he realizes why God has chosen to cast off His people and subject them to judgment. They have filled themselves with the ways of the people of the east. They had become soothsayers (sorcerers, enchanters, those who practice magic) like their neighbors, the Philistines. They were finding pleasure in fellowship with adulterous idolaters instead of guarding the purity of the nation of Israel/Judah before God.
Is. 2:7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:
Is. 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
Is. 2:9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
Isaiah continues his observations. God had blessed Israel with wealth to the point that they had storehouses for their treasures and many horses. This was in direct disobedience to God’s command for the kings of Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:16 “But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.”
In spite of God’s blessings, they had chosen to fill the land with idols (things of no value) made with their own hands and had chosen to worship (bow down, humble themselves before) these powerless icons. This was happening in all levels of society, from the poorest or most common to the richest or most exalted.
Isaiah’s own conclusion—The Lord should not forgive them.
Isn’t it sad that the more we are blessed, the more apt we are to forget the One who bestows those blessings!
Note from Larry Taylor (my paraphrase): When man rejects God, he always makes gods less than himself. That is why people can do such “less than human” crimes. If Jesus is really your God, He is your driving passion. You should be becoming more like Him—“more than human.” God would never have you lower your standards; He would raise you to His level.
Another great quote from Spurgeon: “Man in all matters of religion, and in all his dealings with God, is proud. It is wonderful how apparently humble men will be when they worship false gods. They will cut themselves with knives, and roll themselves in the mire. We have known some votaries to kneel before the representation of the Virgin Mary and lick the very pavement with their tongues by way of penance, and perform the most degrading rites in honor of their false gods. Man seems to be humble enough in his dealings with a false deity, but as soon as ever he comes to deal with the true God, the first things that have to be got out of him are his pride, his high looks, his haughtiness.”
Is. 2:10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.
Recognizing the wickedness of the people and the awesome power and might of YHWH, Isaiah advises the people to hide themselves. They should be afraid for YHWH to manifest His power.
Is. 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
The day is coming when YHWH alone will be glorified and lifted up in the eyes of ALL people. Mankind will be humbled and made to recognize their dependence on the LORD. Again, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
Is. 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
Is. 2:13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
Is. 2:14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
Is. 2:15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
Is. 2:16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
This is the first reference to “the day of the Lord” in Isaiah. This was a phrase that figured prominently in my study of the book of Revelation. The things associated with the day of the Lord in scripture include the following:
“The day of the LORD” is a time of God’s wrath toward His enemies. These verses in Isaiah add the fact that it will be a time to bring down the proud and arrogant.
God often references people as trees in the scriptures—e.g., Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, the Assyrian in Ezekiel 31, and the godly man in Psalm 1. I think God is saying that all those who Israel perceives to be powerful and mighty and those that they seek to emulate are the enemies of God, and He will one day come to exact vengeance against His enemies.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary made a more specific comparison of the words used in this section that I thought worth considering.
Cedars, oaks = individuals
High mountains, hills = governments
High towers, fenced walls = military might
Ships = commerce
Is. 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
Is. 2:18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
That day will result in YHWH being recognized as the One with all power and might and the only One deserving of confidence and trust for protection. God will destroy all the powerless, useless idols of men.
Is. 2:19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
When the day of the Lord comes, men will try to hide under rocks and in caves because of their fear of YHWH and their recognition of who He is. They will understand that the terrible things happening on earth are a direct result of His wrath. Other scriptures also reference times when God shakes the earth.
Joel 3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
Haggai 2:6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.
Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Is. 2:20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
Is. 2:21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Isaiah emphasizes the truth he has just stated by repeating it. In the day of the Lord men will realize that their idols of silver and gold are useless. They will be afraid of YHWH and will do their best to hide from His wrath.
The thing that jumps out to me is that men will recognize the power of God and will try to escape His judgment, but no mention is made of their responding in repentance for their sin.
As I was reading this section again, I was reminded of verses in Revelation regarding the 6th seal judgment.
Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
I was reading some new articles by Peter Goodgame recently at www.redmoonrising.com that made me realize that I needed to differentiate between “the day of the Lord” and the 70th week/tribulation period spoken of by Daniel. I think I have unnecessarily been trying to make them synonymous. I use the terms 70th week and tribulation interchangeably. The “day of the Lord,” though different, will run in the same general timeframe—though not necessarily with an identical start point. The 70th week/tribulation period is a time specified as directed toward the Jewish people. The “day of the Lord” is a time specified as a time of God’s wrath directed toward the wicked and those who are enemies of God.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city….
Jeremiah 46:10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries….
Isaiah 13:9 & 11 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Is. 2:22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Isaiah implores the people to quit putting their confidence in mere men. Man is nothing before Almighty God.