Isaiah 2 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
I.A.2. Punishment for sin as preparation for glory, 2:1-4:6
Chapters 2-5 consist of one prophetic message, with several distinct parts. (see the Outline.)
a. A preview of the Millennial Kingdom, 2:1-5
1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
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.
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.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke
{or, decide the disputes of} 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.
5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
concerning Judah and Jerusalem- This prophecy is about Jerusalem and Judah,
not about the church. In OT times, the church was a mystery, not yet revealed (Rom 16:25).
in the last days {ie., in the latter days} -
In the OT, wherever the phrase 'the last days' appears in the KJV, the Hebrew phrase is identical to 'the latter days' which is a technical term referring to the end times. God's plan for the nation of Israel, in the latter days, includes the Tribulation Period (the Time of Jacob's Trouble) and also the Millennial Kingdom. eg., Deu 4:30; Eze 38:16; Jer 30:1-24 (note the last verse); Hos 3:5
     The church will be taken out of the world prior to these events. In the NT, 'the last days' refers to the Church Age will be characterized by increasing apostasy (eg., 1Tim 4:1). But here, we see that in the latter days, Israel will be restored to right understanding of God's Word.
the Lord's house established in the top of the mountains... above the hills.-
In scripture, mountains and hills often refer to kingdoms and political powers (the greater and lesser powers, eg., emperors and kings). When Christ returns, His Kingdom will displace and overshadow the kingdoms of this world (Dan 2:34,35, 44,45; Rev 11:15).
out of Zion shall go forth the law {lit., law (without definite article)}, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.-
In that day, Jerusalem will be the world center of government and of religion.
swords into plowshares...- When the Lord Jesus Christ is King, the world will be at peace.
He will be the final arbitrator of the world's irreconcilable controveries. There will be no need of weapons for war or self-defense. That is not the case wherever sinful men hold power or run free, today (e.g., Luk 11:21). Prior to His Kingdom of righteousness, and especially during the Tribulation period, Joel tells us, there will be need for more weapons (Joel 3:10).
Because vs. 2-4 are nearly identical to Micah 4:1-3, some assume that Micah
(who followed Isaiah by 17 years) borrowed Isaiah's words. However, the Holy Spirit, speaking through both prophets, was able to impress the same words upon them. Isaiah spoke primarily to Judah, the southern kingdom (v.1), whereas Micah addressed both kingdoms (Mic 1:1). Thus, the Holy Spirit used the same words to address a larger audience through the later prophet. Whenever a message is repeated in scripture, it is emphatic of its importance and certainty.
O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.-
The Lord's desire, for His people, is that they should live in righteousness and peace... as they live in willing submission to Him... the conditions that will prevail in the Millennial Kingdom. Micah's prophecy gives a slightly longer preview of joys of that future time (Micah 4:4-8), before his message returns to the sorrows of judgment which were soon to overtake the nation. Isaiah moves more abruptly to the condition in his day, when God's people were refusing to live according to the light of His Word (cp. Psa 119:105). Therefore...

b. Their present sinful condition: leading to the Tribulation (2:6-27) and the captivities (3:1-26)
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.
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:
8 Their land also is full of idols;
they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself:
therefore forgive them not.
the house of Jacob - ie., all of Israel, the northern and the southern kingdoms
be replenished from the east... no end of their treasures... the land is full of idols...-
Israel, God's people, had embraced the ways and ideas of the surrounding nations, married their daughters, and joined them in worshipping the creature more than the Creator (Rom 1:25).
They please {lit., clap} themselves... their land is full... treasures... horses... chariots... idols...-
Israel, as a nation, was applauding itself for its open interaction with its gentile neighbors. The trade, which resulted from welcoming cultural and religious diversity, had produced prosperity. They were proud of their accomplishments, but failed to see that the LORD was not pleased with them.
10. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust,
for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.
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.
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:
the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down-
God will bring down all that exalts itself against Him (cp. Psa 10:4; 2Cor 10:5).
In v.9, men, of low and high degree alike, humble themselves, but they bow down to their idols, not in submission to the LORD. cp. Luk 16:13,14; Col 3:5,6
13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, [that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
cedars... oaks...- representing the pride of man in general,
and the pride of surrounding nations in particular. Lebanon and Bashan were regions just to the north and northeast of Israel, which prided themselves for the abundance and quality of their natural resources.
14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills [that are] lifted up,
mountains... hills...- the pride of political leaders, government and society.
15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
tower... wall...- the pride of military power and preparations.
16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
ships... pleasant pictures {or, desirable findings}-
the pride of commerce and material possessions. Tarshish was a land to the west on the Mediterranean Sea (perhaps Spain or Cyprus), which was famous for its seafaring commerce. cp. 1Kin 10:22; 22:48; Rev 18:17-19
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.
18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
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.
into the caves... for fear of the LORD...-
The ultimate fulfillment will be during the Tribulation (Rev 6:12-16), when the Lord will "shake the earth."
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;
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.
22 Cease ye from man, whose breath [is] in his nostrils:
for wherein is he to be accounted of?
cast {away} his idols...- When the LORD shakes up the earth, during the Tribulation,
men will realize the emptiness of trusting in material things (their idols, treasures, tools and toys), and of trusting in human leaders and powers...
man, whose breath is in his nostrils...- Psa 146:3,4
wherein is he to be accounted of?- Psa 62:9; 144:3,4
cease ye from man...- In light of God's Word and the judgment that is coming,
all men should abandon false confidences and turn to the LORD. Jer 17:5-7

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