RPM, Volume 15, Number 36, September 1 to September 7, 2013

The Mountaintop Experience

Isaiah 2:1-5

By D. Marion Clark


Such passages as this that make us regard Isaiah as the Shakespeare of the prophets, and perhaps even of all biblical writers. No one else with a more exalted view of the glory of the Lord and his great redemptive work.

The Exalted Mountain 1,2

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Help with symbolic use of names.
Jerusalem — city of Jerusalem, Judah, God's people the Jews, God's kingdom
Judah — nation of Judah, God's people, can be interchanged with Israel and Jacob
Zion — the mountain of the LORD, Jerusalem, God's people, God's kingdom

Image of Mt. Zion rising up above the hills: peoples from all the earths nations streaming up to it

Why the mountain is significant — it is the mountain of the Lord's temple, i.e. it is where God dwells

The Peaceful Mountain 3-4

What is significant in the image is the people from all the other nations will go to it.

Other nations have similar boasts. Their mountain rises over the others and even people coming to it. But the image is of people coming in subjection, being led in bondage. They are the defeated people who must pay homage to the victorious nation.

Here is an image of people coming willingly:

3 Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.

They are beckoning to one another to go together. Why do they want to go? Their eyes are set on the temple, the house of the God of Jacob. Jacob is a synonym for Israel, i.e. for God's covenant people.

They want to come to the temple that they might learn of God.

He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."

An important point.
Not just people wanting to worship, i.e. looking for another spiritual experience.
They want truth, specifically they want to understand God's ways and will.
They want to live according to God's truth.
Many who want to be more spiritually in tune with divinity.
Few who want to live in obedience.
Shirley McLane
They want this; they view walking in God's paths as good and desirable.

Also significant.
They recognize that truth comes from the one source of the Hebrews.
This is not a scene of all religions coming together.
The people are leaving the gods and religions of their nations to obtain truth from the one true God of the one true religion.
All paths do not lead to the mountaintop of truth simply because they are on the wrong mountain.
What will become clear is the Zion is the true mountain.

The people will receive what they desire. The word of the Lord will go forth.

The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Revelation will go out. Again it is the revelation that goes forth from Zion. All other religions claim to possess revelation from God, but true revelation comes from dwelling place of the God of Israel.

Verse four envisions the peace that comes. It comes because God judges justly.

4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.

All causes of division; all sources of animosity and resentment will be resolved w truth. Will not be tenuous peace, like N. Ireland accord or the Israel-Palestinian accord.

So real will be the peace that all instruments of warfare and defense will be destroyed voluntarily.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Their peace so real that they will be defenseless.
Weapons destroyed.
Ability to fight lost.

They will beat their own swords and spears.
Instruments of war will be turned into tools for bearing fruit and produce.
What was used to kill life will be used to nurture life.

Call for Response 5

Given such a glorious future, God's people now called to obedience.

5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.

If people of heathen nations will stream to Jerusalem
to learn the truth in her light
to walk in the ways of the Lord
only fitting that Jerusalem's people set the proper example.
Walking in the light means
walk in the Lord's ways
walk to be seen in the light.

Israel has responsibility to fulfill covenant laws and to shine her light for others to follow.


2-fold interpretation
Christ's first coming
Christ's second

1. First coming
Jesus is the truth and the light.
He establishes a covenant for all nations.
He brings peace and reconciliation.
He judges his people now.

2. Second coming
Consummation of the kingdom: read from Revelation 21 and 22

That is the hope we share with Isaiah and all who have read his vision and believed. It is the hope that binds us together:
whatever our culture
whatever our language
whatever our status in life

It is a hope for everyone.
Common teaching is that what binds us is our seeking after God.
The form and content does not matter.
The form and content are controlled by our cultures.
Real peace comes when we lay aside our insistence to possessing the truth,
and accept the validity of everyone else's "truth."

What binds us is holding to truth.
There is truth. There is one reality.
There is one true hope.
That is for everyone.

What best anticipates the age to come is the gathering of people from different cultures and experiences, not to mix religious opinions, but to join in the one true worship of the God who has made us all and has redeemed us.

Someday, you and I will join that final stream to the mountain of God where together we will walk in the light of the Lord.

Therefore, let us begin our walk now that others may join us.

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