There is a text in the Old Testament prophecies to which Postmillennial advocates repeatedly and almost without fail refer to, in order to sustain their teaching that the Kingdom of Christ will be universal, including all the nations of the world, “Christianized” by the power of the preaching by the Holy Spirit.
The texts which they quote are then merely cited, referred to, but they are not carefully and exhaustively exegeted, so that we have Scripture thoroughly interpreting Scripture. Sad to say, it is in this hiatus of teaching, this exegetical vacuum, that their presentation of the Postmillennial reign rests. In a word, it thus becomes virtually foundationless, unscriptural, unBiblical; it raises more questions than it answers.
The key-texts which are supposed to support this Postmillennial view are found in both Isaiah 2:2-5 and Micah 4:1-7. It is a remarkable fact that the Holy Spirit caused two holy men to be moved to speak and write these words. They must be doubly important, indeed. And we are reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15, “whoso readeth, let him understand.” Words of warning and of encouragement to the exegete!
We will here quote these two passages in part. They read as follows:
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hill, and all nations shall flow to it” (Verses 1, 2).
“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 the people (peoples) shall flow unto it.”
Micah 4:1These two sections are the verses to which we will limit our explanation and exegesis in this Chapter. We shall not weary the reader with a lot of detailed refutation of the Postmillennial position. We shall rather simply exegete the text and see whether good exegesis will needs force us to place a Postmillennial construction in the text. Basically, we are interested in what the Spirit says to the churches here, for we are really dealing with the more sure prophetic word, which shines as a light in a dark place, both in the Old Testament and New Testament dispensation. And ever the prophetic word must be such that it is as the morning-star which proclaims the hope of the perfect day (II Peter 1:19). Our interest is that we, the church, may live in the blessed hope of the glory of God’s tabernacle with man (Rev. 21:3).
Let us then attend to our text(s).
The things which are here spoken of are realities concerning Judah and Jerusalem which shall be in the “last days.” These things are such that “they shall come to pass.” These are great and precious promises of God; they are the word of God Whose promises are all “yea in Christ and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God the Father” (II Cor. 1:18-20). God is faithful to His own Word. And this suggests very, very strongly that these are the things which relate to the sufferings to come upon Christ and the “glory” to follow. Thus Peter writes in his first Epistle to the Gentile Christians in Asia Minor. This glory is the final glory, which we will see in the great manifestation of the Son of God glorified in the last day, when we shall have a new heaven and a new earth (I Peter 1:4, 5). All now is ready to be revealed in the last time!
We are certain that Isaiah “saw” what was going to befall Judah and Jerusalem in this “last time.” Do not forget that all the prophets from Jacob (Gen. 49:1) till Malachi (Malachi 4:2-6) saw the end of time spoken of in II Peter 3:13: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” That is what Isaiah “saw.” Isaiah and all the other prophets saw really two things, which we here point our particularly:
1. That this final glory of the city of Jerusalem, Zion, is connected with the King of Zion, the Son of Man, Who must suffer to enter into His glory. Thus Jesus Himself interprets the Scriptures to His disciples after His blessed resurrection. We read: “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” This means that if we do not understand Isaiah to have “seen” the Christ in this vision concerning the glorified Jerusalem, we do not understand the Scriptures here. We have cast away the key of knowledge (Luke 24:25-27). Then we shall be the fools, who are slow of heart to understand “all” that the prophets have spoken. No one really preaches the Gospel in the prophecies, who does not preach the “suffering servant of Jehovah.” For Zion is only glorified in her glorified God in Jesus Christ (John 13:31, 32).
2. That the prophets understood one point very clearly, one and all when they prophesied concerning Jerusalem’s glory in the “last days.” These things were not spoken to the prophets merely and to their time. Peter writes and says, “Unto whom (the prophets, G.L.) it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us (you) they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” The prophets were, one and all, fully aware that they were indeed speaking things concerning the glory of Jerusalem as it would be manifested in Christ’s death and glorification at God’s right hand.
From the foregoing follows, as is clear from all the Scriptures, that in these last days Jerusalem shall be glorified in heavenly splendor. The days of the earthlyJerusalem shall be ended forever. There will be no more earthly “house of God” in an earthly Jerusalem anymore. Now this is not explicitly stated here in Isaiah 2:2, or in Micah 4:1! It is very clear -that in this entire passage in Isaiah 2:1-5 we are dealing with a great, grand, and glorious “Theme” which is unfolded wonderfully in the entire prophecy here in Isaiah. We may call Isaiah the great Gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection, and of His ascension and glorification in the church. This is borne out in Isaiah 52:13-15 in a nutshell; and in Isaiah 53:1-12 we have a panoramic view of the glories of Calvary, Easter morning’s mysteries, and the passing of Jesus through the heavens to sit at God’s right hand, to gather the entire seed of Abraham, both in the old and new dispensations. It would not take much effort to prove this, citing page and paragraph. Indeed, Isaiah here gives us the grand theme of hope of the future glory of Judah and Jerusalem. Such is the implication of the exultant and joyful cry “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city…..Shake thyself from the dust; arise and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion…” (Is. 52:1, 2). For here we see the perspective of the “Gospel” to all nations, Jew and Greek. And we hear the beautiful strains of the prophet’s anthem “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings…” (Is. 52:7).
Such is the implication of the grand theme in our text which is exhibited in all its glory in the most lofty and exalted prophetic utterances, which are the pure poetry of heaven!
Hence, Isaiah “saw” a great future for Zion, for Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
To this city the New Testament church has “come” (Heb. 12:22).
The text both in Isaiah and in Micah says that the prophets see Jerusalem “exalted” very high. Now this is really glad tidings of hope for the suffering saints in the days of Isaiah as they will be carried away to Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was in a very sad estate in the days of these prophets. They will be soon in captives’ bands; Rachel will weep for her children in Ramah and will not be comforted (Is. 52:2; Jer. 31:15; Ps. 137:1-3). But now dry your tears, O Zion. Better things are in the offing. God Who speaks in divers times and manners in the Old Testament prophecies by prophets, will in the “last days” speak in a Son. In this Son all will be better: a better covenant, better promises, better priesthood, better temple, a new and living way into a better and heavenly temple, not made with hands. All will be better, and it will be glorious for Judah and for Jerusalem.
That is the grand “theme” here in these passages in Isaiah and in Micah. Is not this glory of Jerusalem connected in Micah with the birth of the One Who is to be a “ruler in Israel” and Who will be born in Bethlehem-Ephratha, and Whose outgoings are from eternity? (Micah 5:2).
Yes, now shall Judah and Jerusalem be “on the top of the mountains.” And it will not be a mere display of topological position of earthly Jerusalem in the midst of earthly mountains. Jerusalem, as an earthly mountain, never excelled over the heights of Bashan. This is expressed by the Psalmists. However, the glory of Zion was that she is beautiful for situation, the joy of all the earth. And this situation is her place in God’s counsel, in God’s decree (Ps. 2:4-7). When the nations imagine vain things against Zion and her king, the Lord of heaven laughs at such puny “raging”; He declares His decree and He executes it.
And that is the great future here in Isaiah 2:1, 2.
Yes, Isaiah has seen Zion in her low estate. She is like a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a cucumber patch, as a besieged city. There is really no hope left. She is a sinful nation, a desolate country; the cities are burned with fire, and strangers devour Israel’s land in their presence; it is desolate, overthrown by strangers.
And now a glorious future is predicted for Zion!
This future is far beyond the building of the city and temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah, when the remnant according to election are like those that dream when they return to Zion. It refers (this glorious exaltation of Zion) to the entire dispensation of the fullness of times, as this shall be perfected in the unification of all things in Christ, as under one head (Eph. 1:10).
Then shall Zion be glorious under one Shepherd, David’s Son.
Yes, then it shall be one fold and one Shepherd! (John 10:16; Ezek. 37:22). The Gentiles too shall be brought into that glorified Jerusalem into the house of the Lord. For my house shall be called a house of prayer of all people (Matt. 19:46; Is. 56:7; Jer. 7:11).