Isaiah Chapter 2 Jacob’s Trouble and Thy Kingdom Come, The Glory of His Majesty

Jul 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: Isaiah, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Isaiah Chapter 2 Jacob’s Trouble and Thy Kingdom Come, The Glory of His Majesty

Isa. 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah’s ministry starts with this verse; it begins to record what he saw or experienced.

“The son of Amoz” was inserted to distinguish this Isaiah from other men named Isaiah. This was a common form of address back there.

Isa. 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.

Basically, this is a Kingdom setting. The language is figurative, for the people will not literally “flow” unto the mountain. And the mountain in the city of Jerusalem will not be higher than Mount Everest. Figuratively, the people will be attracted; in humility and contrition, they will seek for guidance from the new capital of that day. However, in another sense, there will be a literal fulfillment, for the nations will send representatives to Jerusalem. The “flowing” emphasizes that Jerusalem will have a drawing power and that the people will be melted from their former heart condition. Following the trouble, they will be soft and pliable and look for deliverance. Jerusalem will be the highest government or central seat of authority (the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem as the capital of the nations). Other Scriptures indicate the Temple mount will be literally raised up above the local hills.

“The LORD’s house” refers to a literal building in which the government will be located. Micah 4:1–3 is almost identical to Isaiah 2:2–4. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Almost all scholars say that Micah was written before Isaiah, but that is not the case. For one thing, Isaiah was on the scene before Micah and had a longer ministry. Also, Isaiah seems to be the more important prophet. The fact that God had these verses recorded twice suggests that this transcendent, happy theme is very important.

Isa. 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.

“Many people shall … say, Come …” The account does not say “all.” Similarly, we are told in one place that Jesus gave himself for many, and in another place that he gave himself as a ransom for all. Thus the “many” can be “all.” The emphasis is on a universal situation. In the beginning some nations will refuse to send representatives to the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16–18), but the nations will fall into line.

Notice, “many people shall go and say …” Some people talk and then wait for the other party to take action, but here action precedes the speaking. In other words, with some the desire to go to Jerusalem will be so much a burden on their hearts that they will start and actually be on their way as they urge others to join them: “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.”

The rest of the sentence, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem,” is a comment by Isaiah, as is verse 4.

Isa. 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.

“And he [God] [previously—in the great time of trouble] he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.” In other words, Jacob’s Trouble is the climax of the humbling of all the nations. God will not crush the nations further at the start of the Kingdom. Although it is true that some nations (like Egypt) will debate about going up to Jerusalem and the Jew to worship, they will not be aggressively fighting the Lord.

Pride will be keeping them from acquiescing. To find out that salvation is of the Jew will be a hard pill for some to swallow, but that is much different than actively fighting against Israel with tanks and bombs.

The time setting, then, for verse 4 is just after the Kingdom has been established with power and great glory. The “mountain of the LORD” has been exalted above all the hills and mountains of the earth; that is, God’s government is now supreme and in control of all other nations. One of the first acts will be to start the melting down of armaments, which suggests that a tremendous amount of armaments will be used in the final battle in Israel.

A “pruninghook” is used to clip branches. Spears and pruning hooks are both long instruments; hence economy will be used in the conversion process. In other words, the Lord will not convert one thing into something else that is radically different but will proceed in a practical manner, changing weapons into similar items. A tank could be converted into a tractor, for example. Armaments will be made into domestic implements for farming the land.

“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” This shows that the demonstration at the end of the Millennial Age will not be a literal war.

When the devil and his angels go up against the camp of the saints at the end of the Millennium, it will not be an armed insurrection. Weapons will be obsolete at that time. People from various nations will go to Jerusalem to protest the Kingdom and its authority; they will say the thousand years have ended and it is time to return the earth to the children of men.

Isa. 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

A representative group from among the Gentile nations will express these sentiments, addressing them to the “house of Jacob” (natural Israel). “Ye” = the house of Jacob, natural Israel. “Us” = the Gentiles. The Gentiles will be asking the Jews, “Come . . . let us walk in the light of the LORD,” for they will know that God is with Israel. They will have heard eyewitness accounts of God’s deliverance of Israel out of Jacob’s Trouble.

When God manifests His GREAT POWER and the Kingdom is first established, the Holy Remnant will be frightened, for they will realize that Jesus is the true Messiah and that they, as a people, crucified him. At this time the Holy Remnant will be in no position to be leaders—they will be crushed, smiting their breasts and wailing as for an only son. These thoughts will be flooding their minds.

At the same time the Gentiles, having gone through the severe Time of Trouble, will be desperately craving blessings and help. When they see that God has delivered Israel, they will encourage the surviving Jews: “Come, let us both walk together. We know God is with you. Don’t be ashamed.” Up to this time the Jews as a whole felt that the Gentiles’ criticism of them was thoroughly unjust. Generally speaking, the Jewish people do not see the need for repentance. To the contrary, they feel they have unjustly been a scapegoat. But the Jews are sinners just like everyone else.

In describing the attitude of the Holy Remnant when God delivers them out of Jacob’s Trouble, Ezekiel says (36:31), “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” Previously in history the Jews may have loathed their condition or circumstances, but they have never loathed themselves before.

Seeing this changed attitude of the Jews, the Gentiles will no longer be prejudiced against them but will be willing to receive instruction through them. The holy, repentant attitude will be manifest to the Gentiles.

The Ancient Worthies will be the instructors at the top of the nation and the Holy Remnant underneath them.

Being somewhat conscience stricken for their previous anti-Semitism, many Gentiles will assist the surviving Jews in their homelands to return to Israel. The Gentiles will send them home with gifts similar to the leaving of the Israelites from Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Gentiles, including some prominent ones, will even offer to help build Israel’s cities and Third Temple.

Thus there is a lot of thought behind the short, little verse 5.

Isa. 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.

When Isaiah gave this message to the nation, the Israelites who were in a right heart condition applied it to themselves. There is also a fulfillment during the Gospel Age.

Israel’s faults and sins that led to their rejection were that they were full of diviners “from the east” (magicians, astrologers, necromancers, etc.) and “soothsayers like the Philistines” and that they struck “hands with foreigners” (RSV). Their punishment was justified.

Isa. 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:

Isa. 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

Jews today are not known for making idols. The Babylonian captivity cured them of that condition. The 70-year captivity was not just for the desolation of the land but also for ridding the land of idols. In Isaiah’s day the Israelites had idols and statues in groves, they burned incense to the queen of heaven, and they offered children to Molech. Many of these sins have counterparts in the Catholic religion.

Isa. 2:9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

RSV: “So man is humbled, and men are brought low—forgive them not!” Isaiah interjected his thinking here. Generally speaking, his prophecies were pleasant. Although he did make some sharp statements, he did not dwell on the theme of judgment the way some other prophets did. Nevertheless, this verse shows he was a leading spirit with some fiery statements. In this verse Isaiah was not only acceding to the need for judgment but was asking the Lord to render that judgment: “Forgive them not!”

And yet it is strange how people are filled with different moods. In the first chapter, God said that Israel was sick from head to foot, but added, “Come let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” That is not Isaiah’s attitude now. Here he sees the necessity for a judgment, for stripes.

Comment: Israel’s chief sin seems to be pride, and that is why Isaiah says, “Forgive them not.” They still haven’t humbled themselves.

Reply: They were stiff-necked people. The humbling of verse 9 would be humiliation and a demeaning.

Verse 9 pertains to a demeaning of character, but in verse 10 the Lord is saying He will demean and humiliate the Jews to effect a basis for a change.

Isa. 2:10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.

“Enter into the rock, and hide … for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.” In other words, God’s deliverance of Israel and the inauguration of the Kingdom will be accompanied with such signs and wonders that the Jews will be frightened as to where they fit into the picture. Verse 10 is related to verse 19.

Notice, Isaiah is not condemning them for entering into the rock but is indicating their hiding is understandable. He was saying, “Since God will bring judgment, enter into the rock.” Isaiah was encouraging them to recognize and be fearful of the Lord and to repent. At the time of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jews, “You crucified Jesus.” As a result, the hearers were smitten in heart and fearful because of what they had done. Peter’s technique resulted in several thousand converts. “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” was the type of strong sermon he gave. Here in verse 9 Isaiah’s words to “Enter into the rock and hide in the sand for fear of the Lord” is really telling the Jews to repent. To enter into the “rock” would mean to hide in caves; to hide in the “dust” would mean to dive into a hole or pit in the ground. The Holy Remnant will mourn as doves and, feeling the guilt, repent and ask for forgiveness. Calling them “holy” does not mean that they are so noble and righteous but that when the crisis comes, they will repent and seek forgiveness. The Kingdom will start with such a class.

Isa. 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.

Isa. 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:

The brunt of the great Time of Trouble, “the day of the LORD of hosts,” will be upon the troublemakers and the wicked. Although those who seek meekness and righteousness are not guaranteed protection, the general principle is that the trouble will be primarily on the violent and the evildoers. The ones who loot and pillage are apt to be killed by those who are protecting their own property. Those who do violence will suffer violence. They may harm many people, but it is only a matter of time until they themselves are the victim. Those who try to get out of the way of the steamroller and withdraw will have more chance of survival.

Lack of food and employment will be problems for all people. Where food is stored, such as silos, will be the target of great plunder and violence. Therefore, while in some respects the trouble will be on all alike, in other respects it will not. Those in high positions of authority and influence and comfort will lose them. To be brought down to the level of the common people will be great humiliation for them. On the other hand, the poor, who are accustomed to less, will not feel the trouble as keenly.

Isa. 2:13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

Isa. 2:14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

All high things—not only people but institutions and governments—will be leveled.

Isa. 2:15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,

Isa. 2:16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

The “ships of Tarshish” emphasize a swift mode of travel, meaning that transportation, including aircraft, will grind to a halt as well as all commerce and business activity. “All pleasant pictures” is “all the beautiful craft” in the RSV.

Isa. 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.

Isa. 2:18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

“Idols” would be anything man sets his heart on: money, sports, theaters, churches, etc.

Isa. 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.

All of these things will occur when “the LORD … ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” God has not yet arisen.

When all law and order ceases, the criminal element will delight in plundering their neighbors’ goods for a while—until the trouble begins to affect them too. The proud and the haughty are not just the wealthy but terrorists, organized crime figures, etc. We are still in the day of preparation, but all will be brought low in the day of God’s wrath yet future. The Lord’s hand will be seen in that trouble.

Comment: The language is similar in Revelation 6:15,16, which describes the French Revolution, a miniature picture of the Time of Trouble. “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.” All segments of society “hid themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains.”

Reply: In the French Revolution, the nobility and the clergy tried to lose their identities and hide among the common people. The great Time of Trouble will be on a larger scale.

All idols will be utterly destroyed. That is strong language!

The people will “go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD [Jehovah].” They will sense the trouble is judgment of God against them. (Prior to that time, trouble has been attributed to man’s inhumanity to man.) Divine indignation, the wrath of God, will be manifest. When the wickedness, lawlessness, and blasphemy of man get worse and worse and then judgments occur (including natural ones), the people will realize God is manifesting His wrath. At the height of the trouble, they will look upward, and God alone will be exalted in that day.

Isa. 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;

“Idols of silver, and … of gold” would picture corruption. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matt. 6:19). A bat works in darkness, at night, and a mole works underground. Both are hidden from view. “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and … of gold, … to the moles and to the bats” indicates the attempt to purchase safety. Wealth will be liquidated to appease the unlawful element. It will be like paying a bribe or a ransom to the creatures who dwell and operate in darkness.

Because of the great trouble and terror abroad in the earth, the people will try to hide; they will seek refuge in caves and rocks. When industry and transportation come to a standstill, their money will be worthless. Too late they will try to share their wealth.

Q: Would these two verses be a parallel to James 5:1–5? “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.”

A: In principle certainly. James 5:1–5 emphasizes the accumulation of illicit gain. Their riches will prove valueless.

A special hard experience awaits those who have accumulated ill-gotten gains by exploiting their fellowman. Pornography kings, who exploit youth and others, would be one example. Liquor barons and drug lords are other examples.

Ezekiel 7:19 is pertinent: “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.”

Isa. 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.

The expression “when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth” appears twice (verses 19 and 21). The people will “go into the clefts of the rocks” to hide “and into the tops of the ragged rocks”; ie, they will try to get as far away from civilization as possible. One would not expect to be followed to the top of a mountain, but even that will not assure safety. Some of those who seek righteousness and meekness may be saved. “Fear of the LORD” would imply some repentance.

Isa. 2:22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

“Turn away from man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (RSV). In other words, “Why should you consider man, for he is only a bag of wind?” Man has an inflated ego.

Their riches will prove valueless.
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