The House of God versus the House of Judah
Text: Isaiah 2
The Mountain of the House of God - Isaiah 2:1-4
This same prophecy is found, almost word for word, in Micah 4:1-3.
The prophecy speaks of a time that will be called “the last days.” In Daniel’s prophecy of the church, he states that it will take place in “the latter days,” which was the Roman Empire (Daniel 2:28). Referring to a prophecy in Joel 2:28-32, Peter said that the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the last days was taking place (Acts 2:16-21). Peter also stated that Jesus appeared on earth in “these last times” (I Peter 1:20). The writer of Hebrews said that the current times were the last days (Hebrews 1:2). Thus, “the last days” is a phrase referring to an era in which there will be no others following it. It doesn’t indicate how long or short this final era will be, only that it is the last one.
In this last era, “mountain of the house of God” would be established. The city of Jerusalem was built on a mountain. The people of Israel were supposed to be holy, but they became corrupt. Yet, God prophesied that one day He would restore His people to His mountain (Zechariah 8:3). Mountains are seen as large, stable things that seem to last forever; thus, a mountain can represent a government, such as Babylon being called a destroying mountain (Jeremiah 51:25). Daniel prophesied that a stone that destroyed the Roman Empire would grow to become a mountain that filled the entire earth (Daniel 2:35) Daniel tells us that this mountain is a kingdom that will outlast all other kingdoms (Daniel 2:44-45). All these prophecies were fulfilled in the church (Hebrews 12:18-28), which is also referred to as the house of God (I Timothy 3:15).
This mountain will tower above the hills. It will dominate and will be conspicuous (Matthew 5:14). And people from all nations will flow into it. It would not be limited to a Jewish only institution, as Mount Zion was under the Old Testament (Ephesians 2:11-22).
People will invite others to join them in learning God’s ways. It is through the teaching of His word that God draws people (John 6:45), and thus, it becomes an essential part of Christianity (Matthew 28:19-20).
Though this a prophecy about the kingdom of God, the physical kingdom of Israel still has a minor role to play. It is from Jerusalem that the teaching of the church began (Luke 24:47).
As the word of God spreads, it will change the world. Nations at war with each other will be at peace within God’s kingdom (Ephesians 2:11-19). It is illustrated by saying that weapons of war, no longer needed, will be recast into farming implements.
The House of Jacob - Isaiah 2:5-11
Isaiah encourages Israel to walk in God’s light so that they may be a part of this glorious future. But instead, what we find is that God is no longer dwelling in the House of Jacob.
Israel has imported ideas and religions from the nations to their east. They have soothsayers like the Philistines to their west (Deuteronomy 18:10,14). They were striking bargains with the foreign nations around them. To all appearances, Israel was successful and gaining much wealth. But with the wealth came idolatry that filled the land corrupting all the people from the least to the greatest and God will not forgive them. The Hebrew word elilim in Isaiah 2:8 literally means “things of no value or worthless.” See Job 13:4 and Zechariah 11:17.
God will come in judgment (“in that day”), striking terror in men. The proud will be brought low, and only the Lord will be exalted.
Judgment Will Come - Isaiah 2:12-22
God will bring a day of reckoning against the proud, no matter how strong or mighty they might appear to be. Fortifications will not protect a person. Ships cannot provide an escape. This is not talking about the final judgment since Isaiah mentions people attempting to hide from the terror of God (Isaiah 2:19,21). Because their idols are unable to protect them, they will be abandoned.
Therefore, people should not fear men because they are just mortals like everyone else.
Isaiah 2:17-22 forms a chiasm:
- The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols will completely vanish.
- Men will go into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble.
- In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship,
- In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble.
- Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?
The central point is that men will cast away their idols. The secondary point is emphasized in the last question. Why should men be admired in the face of the terror and majesty of God?