Summary: Isaiah encourages the people of Judah to walk in the light as preparation for the reign of Jesus.
This morning we’ll continue our study of the “Day of the Lord” in the Old Testament prophets as we begin a series of messages from the prophet Isaiah. Since Isaiah deals with the Messiah, both His first and second coming, more completely than any of the other prophets, we’ll be looking at a number of important passages from his book that deal with the “Day of the Lord” and the end times. This morning we’ll begin by looking at chapter 2, so you can go ahead and open your Bibles to that chapter. But before we read that passage we need to take a few moments to understand some of the background behind Isaiah’s prophecies.
Although Isaiah doesn’t reveal a whole lot about his personal life, the text of his prophecy does provide us with some important background about his ministry, beginning with the first verse:
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Isaiah 1:1 (ESV)
• Isaiah = “YHWH saves”
He is identified as the son of Amoz, of whom we know almost nothing. Isaiah also reveals later in the book that he was married to a prophetess and had at least two children
• Audience – the southern kingdom of Judah
The book of Isaiah contains a series of visions which God gave to Isaiah – all of which applied to the southern kingdom of Judah.
• Time frame – from about 740 to about 680 BC
Isaiah reveals that his ministry spanned the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham. Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings who reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah. In chapter 6, he reveals that his call to ministry came in the last year of the reign of King Uzziah, which would have been 740 BC. There is also evidence that Isaiah’s life, and possibly his ministry extended into the reign of Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh to as late at 680 BC. This would have made Isaiah a contemporary of Amos, Hosea and Micah. According to tradition in the Jewish Talmud, Isaiah was sawed in half by Manasseh, which the writer of Hebrews may have referred to in Chapter 11.
During the early years of Isaiah’s life, both the northern and southern kingdoms prospered financially. However, Assyria rose to power during this time and in 722BC they invaded the northern kingdom of Israel, marking the end of that kingdom and sending its people into exile in the surrounding nations.
This chapter is actually rather straightforward so we’ll read it in sections as we progress through the chapter this morning.
[Read vv. 1-4]
The very same words that we read in verses 2-4 are repeated almost verbatim by the prophet Micah at the beginning of Micah 4. Although Isaiah and Micah were contemporaries and may have been aware of each other’s ministries, it is certainly not inconceivable at all that these words were so important that God revealed them to both prophets in order that these words would be communicated more widely.
1. The millennial reign of Jesus (vv. 1-4)
In these verses, Isaiah is describing what is often referred to as the Millennium – the thousand year reign of Jesus here on this earth that is described in Revelation 20. As we saw in our examination of the feasts, Jesus will fulfill the Feast of Booths as He ushers in this thousand year reign. Although the Book of Revelation doesn’t provide us with much detail at all about what will occur during this period, Isaiah gives us some detail about that time:
• Jesus will reign along with His true followers
This is certainly consistent with what we’ve already observed in Joel, Amos and Obadiah. Jesus will return to earth along with His true followers and establish a physical reign here on earth.
• Israel will be the seat of government
It is impossible to be dogmatic about whether the language in verse 2 when Isaiah writes “that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains” is to be taken literally or whether it is merely figurative. It is certainly possible that God could physically raise up the Temple mount in Jerusalem so that it was higher than any other mountain. But we also know that the terms “mountains” and “hills” are consistently used throughout the Bible to refer to countries, governments, or seats of power. So at a minimum, we know that Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, will be the seat of government and the place from which Jesus and His followers reign.
• Jesus will teach the people directly
To me, this is the most exciting aspect of the Millennium. We’ll all be able to go up to Jerusalem and be taught directly by Jesus Himself. It seems likely that this will somehow be connected to the Feast of Booths, when as we saw a couple of weeks ago, all nations will be required to come to Jerusalem to take part in that feast. Can you imagine how exciting that will be to join together with other believers and sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him teach us directly?