God’s Universal Reign
In this verse, we read that Isaiah saw the word concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It then is revealed to us that Isaiah was given a vision that compelled him to write. The prophecy, which continues into verse 4, is directed toward the southern Kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem.
The Prophets Isaiah and Micah were prophesizing at the same time and therefore it is not surprising that the Spirit of the Lord gave them each the same prophecy. (Micah 4:1-3)
The use of the words in the last days is a reference to the “time of the Messiah” when the anointed one of God will reign over the earth. This is the time that is known to us as the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Jesus on this earth. (Psalm 72) In that time the nation of Israel shall be the superpower of the world. In the center of Israel will be the mountain of the Lord’s house, which is the Temple Mount. This is where the capital of the government of the Messiah will be established. All the nations of the earth will flow to the capital of the government of Jesus. This will be a time that the people of the earth will acknowledge and submit to the Lordship of Jesus. This will be a time of perfectly enforced righteousness on the earth.
During the Messiah’s reign, there will be no need of war between the people. There may be conflicts between the nations and individuals but they will be justly resolved by the Lord and those who reign with Him. It is not the reign of the Messiah that will change the hearts of men. The people of the earth will still need to trust Jesus and work out their salvation during the millennium reign. But wars and armed conflict will not be tolerated. It is important that we should know that this is not capitulation. This is the peace that will come from the enforced righteousness. Without wars, there will be no need for swords and spears so they will be turned into useful tools. There will be no more war because of the One who rules the earth who is Jesus Christ. For the disobedient in that day, we read in Psalm the discipline of the Lord. “You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware. “ (Psalm 2:9)
In this time there will be no need for a military budget and the resources that a military requires will be used for education and recreation. It will be a time of safety when the Messiah reigns. “Men yearn for peace, but they will not acknowledge the hopelessness of their own efforts to achieve it. It is only when the word of the Lord goes forth from Jerusalem when He Himself is reigning over the nations, that lasting peace will come.” (Martin)
After Isaiah gives us this picture he then pleads that Judah lives as in the Messiah’s reign know. The people are to walk in the light of the Lord, they are to order their lives in the truth of God’s ways. For us, the millennium reign of Jesus may be far from now but we can let Him reign in our lives now, in our minds and in our hearts. We do not have to wait for a forced righteousness to have the blessing of Jesus’ righteousness in our lives. We can submit to Him know and let Him rule our lives from the throne within us.
As Christians, this is what we profess that the Lord lives through us. To walk in His light is to enjoy the blessings of His reign right now. We do not have to live a dark depressing and discouraged Christian life. We can walk in His light now. “You know that, if you were to go to Australia on 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.” (Spurgeon)
Judah had turned away for the ways of God and began an attraction to the false gods of the foreigners to capture their attention. The diversity issue is not just on the front burner today as Judah for the reason of diversity were allowing people of foreign lands to present the people with the worship of false gods. They had also fallen to the gods of wealth and possession to pull them away from the worship of the One and true God. Judah was in a time of prosperity and became more attracted to economic idolatry. God is not against wealth and often blesses some with a significant resource. God in their dependence upon wealth instead of God brought on His rebuke.
Idols from foreign lands had also been brought into the land of Judah. It is an innate tendency of people to worship themselves and therefore the work of their hands. People have a tendency to worship what they have made instead of the God who has made them. God expects us to work hard and bring forth the work of our hands but God’s rebuke is for the worship of the work of our hands. In Judah, there was plenty of worship and plenty of people humbling themselves but they were doing this for the wrong things. People know how to worship and people know how to humble themselves. But people find it hard to direct their worship and humility towards God.
The last words are sobering. “But do not forgive them.” The worship of the people was sincere. It may have been a help to society as a whole. But their worship was a rejection of the Lord God and therefore unforgivable.
A Day of Reckoning Coming
Verses 1-4 described the glory of the Messiah’s reign and in the second part of the chapter, verses 6-9 we see the current corruption of the people of Judah. Then how will the current corruption be transformed to the glory of the Messiah’s reign? It will happen by the victory of the Messiah on the Day of the Lord of Host.
The term of the Day of the Lord of Host is used more than 25 times in the Bible. But it is not speaking of a specific day as it speaks of God’s time. the idea is we are now in the day of man and that day will not last forever. The day will come when the Messiah will end the day of man and establish the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord will be terrifying for man and thus be humbled. Men will no longer have lofty looks and have a haughtiness about them, as they will be humbled and bow down. The Lord alone will be exalted on that day. There will be no more idolatry, as the One true God will be exalted. In that day the Lord God will be glorified and all will see the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty.
Descriptions of man’s haughtiness are the high towers and the ships of Tarshish. In the Day of the Lord, every proud arrogant achievement of man will be humbled and the Lord alone will be exalted. “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.” (Spurgeon)
How strange the sin in us is that we would give more account to men who can only hold breath in their nostrils and must depend on each breath for their life. Yet they reject the Lord God Almighty who can shake the earth in a mighty way. Does this make sense that we would deny God and follow men? If men are only men, then why do we give so much attention to them and their opinions? Why do we rise for their praise and fall by their disapproval? In God, we have someone better to live for. “‘But they say.’ What do they say? Let them say. It will not hurt you if you can only gird up the loins of your mind, and cease from man. ‘Oh, but they have accused me of this and that.’ Is it true? ‘No, sir, it is not true, and that is why it grieves me.’ That is why it should not grieve you. If it were true it ought to trouble you, but if it is not true let it alone. If an enemy has said anything against your character it will not always be worthwhile to answer him. Silence has both dignity and argument in it.” (Spurgeon)
“Brethren in Christ, let us think more of God and less of man. Come, let the Lord our God fill the whole horizon of our thoughts. Let our love go forth to him; Let us delight ourselves in him. Let us trust in him that lives forever, in him whose promise never fails, in him who will be with us in life, and in death, and through eternity. Oh that we lived more in the Society of Jesus, more in the sight of God! Let a man go behind our back, and Satan too. We cannot spend our lives in seeking the smiles of men, for pleasing God is the one object we pursue. Our hands, and our heads, and our hearts, and all that we have and are, find full occupation for the Lord, and therefore we must ‘Cease from man.’” (Spurgeon)