Monday, November 21, 2016

Isaiah 2:1-5 Teaching God's Law to the Nations

KEY TEXT: Isaiah 2:3 and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

KEY THOT: Depending on whether one believes in the millennial (1000-year) reign of Christ or not, this passage can have two views:

(1) Literal view: This interpretation teaches that Christ will return to set up a literal 1000-year reign with Jerusalem as his political/spiritual capital between the first and second resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6). A literal temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (mountain of the Lord"). All believers will be raised at the first resurrection to reign with Christ from Jerusalem for a thousand years. The millennial reign will be a time of universal peace as nations live together in harmony under the law of God. No more will nations learn war anymore: “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (v.4). Jerusalem will become the world centre of religious and spiritual education and pilgrimage: “For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (v.3). 

(2) Symbolic view: In this view (Lutheran Study Bible), there is no literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. It interprets Isaiah 2:1-5 as a reference to the Church, the new Jerusalem. It asserts that the "Zion” mentioned here is pointing to the Church to whom the nations will go to learn about God and his law. So the “house of the Lord” (v.2, NIV, “the Lord’s temple”) does not refer to a physical temple in Jerusalem but rather to the Church as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 2:20-22). The Gospel will go forth from the temple of the Spirit wherever it is located and nations will run to it to learn about God. 

Whichever view one takes, the important lesson is this: God’s people is to be the source of knowledge of God and His word. As a church, we are called to become centres of learning to teach the ways and will of God to the pre-believing nations. The church does not exist just for the edification of its members but for the evangelization of the nations  Being a learning centre for God's word is one way to fulfill our destiny.

It’s time to pray that the church will rise up to its obligation to the world to teach God's word to the world. We should not let the devil take the teaching agenda from the church. The devil teaches lies and deception. As the people of God, we teach the truths of God. This may take the form of applying God's word to practical life issues. For example, how to have a proper work-life balance, how to grow good marriages and become effective parents, how to fulfill our social obligation to serve the community and how to run business and government corporations based on ethical governance. It’s only when the “nations” learn that Christian principles “work” in real life situations that they would be motivated to know the Source of these righteous and ethical principles of life. 

Father, help us be a teaching Church for the world that people may know Christ and his law for righteous and moral living. Amen.

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