shall beat their swords into plowshares."
Are these the words of the same Prophet who penned, "Come
let us reason together?" Is it really possible to believe
that the nations are actually going to put their weapons down?
Is it sane to think that their military metals are going to be
forged into tools for the production of plenty when the cry today
is "More arms?"
then are we to survey the prophecy of Isaiah whose words are echoed
by the Prophet Micah? Does this phenomenon apply to the twentieth-first
century? Certainly it has never occurred in the past. Will the
prayer vigils of united church groups accomplish this prediction
uttered centuries ago? Will the deliberations of the United Nations'
councils alter any national policies? It doesn't seem likely.
key to this prophetic timelock lies in understanding the broad
scope of the message itself. Isaiah prophesied to Israel just
prior to their Babylonian captivity. Because he saw both the immediate
and the future events ahead of Israel, he is considered the "Overview
Prophet." The immediate covered the trouble and the humbling
chastisement of Gentile dominion. The future extended into the
Messianic Era during which Israel would be specially used of the
Lord. It is in this later period, the last days, that…"the
mountains of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top
of the mountains,...and all nations shall flow unto it. 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...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 anymore. " ISAIAH 2:2-4
Prophet also defines the conditions that must be met before Israel
attains her responsible position in the Messianic Kingdom. Before
Israel will be of service to the Lord, she will first be purged
(Isaiah 1:25, 26; and also Ezekiel 37:23). This cleansing will
precede her important role as "blesser of the nations",
"the City of righteousness." Indeed, as the world comes
into harmony with God's arrangement, they will be blessed under
the Abrahamic promise: "in thy seed shall all the nations
of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 22:18) As the people of
earth are blessed, they will in turn bless others.
this "disarmament" to be voluntary among the nations?
While the power blocs make peace treaties and arms control agreements,
more and more funds and resources are being poured into the mold
of guns and military equipment. A quick look at the budgets of
the major countries will tell anyone that there is much more interest
in armaments than in education, agriculture or health. Israel
herself does not appear to be any world peace center. In fact,
she is doing her best to rearm and is soliciting weapons from
the United States.
weak will say, "I am strong"
To be realistic, we would have to admit that the nations are now
"beating their plowshares into swords!" Yes, the Prophet
Joel foresaw the time when the nations will prepare for war as
never before. Even the weak will say, "I am strong!"
(The smaller nations want nuclear arms too.) This war against
the Lord of hosts is not like any of past history. The nations
will assemble and expect the Lord to bless their "holy"
war when in actuality they are fighting against him. (See margin,
Joel 3:9, 10)
nations will thus be brought to the crisis of human history. "For
I [the Lord] will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;"
"to the land of unwalled villages" (Zechariah 14:2;
Ezekiel 38:9-16). Their common enemy will be Israel relatively
quite, peaceful and defenseless. God will permit success on the
part of the assembled Gentile nations for a short time for the
"purging" of His ancient people. The attacking nations
will find they are on the wrong side when God intervenes and fights
for Israel as "he fought in the day of battle" (Zechariah
The fact will be only too clear that God is dealing with His people
Israel. To bring order out of the chaos of anarchy, God will "restore...
[their] judges as at the first" (Isaiah 1:25, 26). This means
nothing less than the resurrection of the dead. In his letter
to the Hebrews (Chapter 11), the Apostle Paul mentions those who
"all died in faith, not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced
them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth." One of the main provinces of these faithful of old
will be to introduce Messiah to the modern Hebrew and Gentile
will then recognize Jesus as the Messiah and that he is now spiritual,
unseen by the natural eye. Regretting the crucifixion of Jesus,
Israel will mourn for him "as one mourneth for his only son"
(Zechariah 12:9, 10). But this sorrow will be turned into the
joy of hearty cooperation with the Messiah. Together with the
"princes" (Psalm 45:16) and "judges," Israel
will be a blesser and leader among the nations...
it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen,
O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and
ye shall be a blessing:...many people and strong nations shall
come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before
the LORD...In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall
take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go
with you; for we have heard that God is with you." "And
it [Israel] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor
before all the nations of the earth." ZECHARIAH 8:13, 22,
23; JEREMIAH 33:9
portrayal of the earthly phase of God's Kingdom will however have
a spiritual rulership. The heavenly governing body will be composed
of Jesus Christ and his Church, selected during the present Gospel
Age. We read in Isaiah 2:3 "...out of Zion [Jesus and his
Church] shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from
Jerusalem [faithful of old and Israel]." Thus will be fulfilled
the promise of Abraham, that his seed would be "as the stars
of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore."
But first, the Gentiles rule. . .
Why has God waited so long after the prophecy given by Isaiah
to establish this Government? The Prophet Daniel provides insight
as to the reason for this apparent "delay." Daniel 2:31-45;
also Ezekiel 21:25-27 The Gentile governments have been first
given an opportunity by God to rule the world. When God permitted
the last King of Israel to be dethroned and deported to Babylon,
He withdrew His favor from Israel and it was transferred to a
succession of Gentile World Powers. Each, in turn, ruled the world
by its own standard. The sword"not God"was sought as
the ally to these World Powers.
Let the earth be glad
This dominion, permitted for a specific purpose, to demonstrate
the inability of man to govern justly, was also permitted for
a specific period of time. This "lease" of power passed
from the Babylonian Empire to the Medo-Persian, to the Grecian,
next to the Roman Empire and finally to the European national
states which sprang from Rome. When this lease of power expires,
Israel is released from national bondage and God begins to prepare
her for a weighty role in His Kingdom which will "stand forever."
As a matter of fact, from a glance at the world situation, World
War I looms as a decisive turning point in Jewish as well as world
history. The backs of the ruling houses of Europe were then broken
and also the Balfour Declaration, allowing the Jews admittance
to Palestine, was signed. Thus the Gentile powers are no longer
recognized by God, for He is now preparing Israel for her momentous
part in blessing all the families of the earth.
question as to when the Kingdom would be actually set up is an
old one. According to Matthew 24, the Apostles asked Jesus when
he would return to set up his Kingdom. In response, one of the
signs Jesus enumerated was the parable of the Fig Tree (verses
32-34; also Luke 21:29-33). (The Fig Tree in prophecy repeatedly
symbolizes the nation of Israel. Jeremiah 24:1-10; Luke 13: 6-10)
scattered all over the world, Israel would be a remarkable sign
of the setting up of the Kingdom when she would acquire her own
land and grow and develop as a people. Other scriptures indicate
that her returning favor and development would be a gradual process.
The Prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37) symbolically
explained that Israel would be raised from the state of national
death in stages. First the bones would come together; skin would
be laid on them; and finally God would give Israel "breath."
a matter of historical record, the latter years of the nineteenth
century found the Zionist movement urging Jews all over the world
to return to the "Promised Land." In 1917, the Balfour
Declaration, made possible by the war, gave Jews the promise of
a national state. Since statehood in 1948, despite the malice
and hatred of her neighbors, Israel has taken possession of her
land and has flourished. But she has not yet received "breath,"
the spirit of God. But the time is near..."when ye see these
things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at
hand...this generation shall not pass, till all these things be
fulfilled." LUKE 21:31; MATTHEW 24:34
Let the field be joyful
The "desire of all nations" (Haggai 2:7) will be brought
by the "Prince of Peace" himself (Isaiah 9:6). Reigning
with him will be his Bride, the Church (Revelation 22:17). What
will the Messiah reign over? A desolate and charred earth? Not
at all. While there will be great devastation in the earth, God's
Plan does not end there. His purpose is not to destroy the people,
but the governments, institutions and organizations of men. After
God's righteous indignation is poured out on the assembled nations..."then
will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call
upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent"
(Zechariah 3:8, 9).
earth, a garden
The peaceful and quiet earth will be so filled with the knowledge
and glory of the Lord that "the voice of the turtle (dove)
will be heard in the land" (Song of Solomon 2:12). At that
time..."the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose...for
in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert"
(Isaiah 35:1, 6).
...and the Resurrection
earth will release her dead at the voice of the Son of God (John
5:28). "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;...Let
the field be joyful,...then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
before the LORD:...for the cometh to judge the earth: he shall
judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."
the Day of Judgment will be a day of blessing for the world. All
of the "unjust will be given an opportunity to line up with
the equitable laws of the New Government. "And the Spirit
and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come, and
let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely. " The "...earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
REVELATION 22:17; ISAIAH 11:9. And, "they shall not hurt...in
all my holy mountain, saith the LORD." ISAIAH 65:25 All implements
of war will be obsolete under the Messianic rule. Swords will
be of no use. Man will bend all his ingenuity, his potential and
his energies towards peaceful ends. Isaiah's prophecy will then