Bible Passage: Isaiah 2:2-4
This passage contains a promise made by God to a people who were experiencing disappointment, defeat and judgement. They were discouraged at the seeming lack of progress and prominence of God’s kingdom in their day, and so God promises a time where this would not be so. The mountain of God’s house is established as the highest of all the mountains, people from all nations will be drawn to God and his word, and God would bring peace in place of war.
Like many of the Old Testament promises, this word has multiple fulfilments. There was no immediate fulfilment in Isaiah’s day, but we see the prophecy fulfilled progressively through the growth of the church and the age of the Spirit, and fulfilled perfectly when Jesus returns.
Progressive Fulfilment In the Current Age: Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Spirit was poured out on the church, and the ‘house of the Lord’ no longer refers to the physical temple in Jerusalem but on the community of people in whom God dwells. On the day of Pentecost, many people from all over the known world came to Jerusalem and heard the gospel preached in their own language, and thousands responded. This was followed by the mission of the church to take the good news to the ends of the earth. This fulfils what Isaiah spoke of in verse 3, with people of all nations coming to the house of the Lord to learn. The incredible growth of the church in the centuries since also fulfils verse 2, with the Lord’s house growing in size and prominence, and no longer seeming small and insignificant but now raised above the hills to become the highest of all mountains. Verse 4 is seen lives out as Christ tore down the dividing wall between peoples (see Ephesians 2) and made peace where there was conflict.
Perfect Fulfilment When Jesus Returns: Whilst we do see fulfilment of these promises now, we do not see it in full measure. God’s kingdom has grown from a tiny mustard seed, but it does not yet cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and it can still seem small and insignificant. When Jesus returns the whole earth will be the dwelling place of God and the Lord’s mountain will truly be established. Many peoples come to the Lord now, but there are still unreached people groups, but a day is coming when every tribe and nation and language and people will worship before the throne. Jesus makes peace now, but there will be a day when all war and violence is ended and the whole world will be a part of his kingdom of peace.
- This is a passage of hope. Often like the Israelites of the day we can be pessimistic about what God is doing, but this raises our heads to see God is at work in powerful ways.
- There is a world mission imperative here. People of all nations coming to God. Challenge people to pray for global mission, give to global mission, and to consider going on global mission themselves.
- The passage shows the way of God is a way of peace. Invite people to think about what it might look like in their own relationships to beat swords into plowshares.