“And He shall judge among the goyim and shall do justice to many peoples; and they shall forge their swords to ploughshares and their spears to pruning-knives. Goi shall not lift up sword against goi, and neither shall they learn war again.
“House of Jacob, Come! and we shall walk in the light of Jehovah!” (Isa. 2:4-5).
1.The Glorious King. “And He shall judge.” That is, Jehovah, and when Isaiah saw Jehovah, he saw Jesus’ glory, as a comparison of Isaiah. 6:1, 5 with John 12:36-41 will prove. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” It is through Christ that God makes this judgment, and His judgment is always in perfect justice. “He shall do justice for many peoples,” for the many nations of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24). For His kingdom ‘is not of this world. The government of the peoples is already upon His shoulders, for He is even now the Ruler of the Kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5). He judges them now, declaring who are condemned and who are justified. He will judge them at the last day. Then He shall be visible King over all the earth, and His dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the end of the earth.
“And they shall forge their swords to ploughshares. . .” The result of His just judgment is the bringing in of universal peace. Before that great day of peace can occur there must be a war that shall indeed end all war, the war of Armageddon. To that war God rouses the whole world so that nation destroys nation. He commands, “Publish ye this among the Gentiles; sanctify war, excite the mighty men, let all the men of war ascend, let them come up (to battle).” Then the very opposite of Isaiah’s prophecy comes into view: “Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning hocks into spears.” No use is made of these articles of peace. “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.'” None are exempted from this war. There is a conscription even of the sick. “Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye nations” (Joel 3:9-11). The Lord especially gathers the Gog and Magog nations to “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). Indeed, the Lord is the Author of war, and not only of liberty and of salvation. That final war will see the total overthrow of all the enemies of Christ and His church. Then they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. But all this, according to Isaiah’s vision, is now in the no longer to be remembered past. Now Isaiah sees the day beyond when “they forge their swords to ploughshares, and goi shall not lift up sword against goi,” for there will be neither occasion nor reason for doing so. There will not be an enemy remaining any more.
Therefore, Isaiah did not envision a peace obtained by pacificism. He was not a convert to pacificism. War as such is not, according to Scripture, unlawful, but the abolition of war can come only by learning the law of the Lord. But neither is that universal peace attained by the gradual. improvement of the world, becoming better through the power of the gospel until a baptized utopia is reached. Nor is the prophet writing of a peace in some future, yet still limited and temporary millennial kingdom. There was a general and temporary peace in the time of Caesar Augustus, just at the time of Christ’s birth. But the text has something wider, more pervading in view, reaching to that which is yet to be realized. For Jesus himself said that in this present age there would be wars and rumors of wars. Before that state of universal peace there must be a full influx of the Gentiles into the church, which has not yet come about.
2. The Kingdom of peace. “Neither shall they learn war.” Not merely shall they cease to practice it; but they shall not know how to practice it. (J. A. Alexander) War and military tactics become a lost art. Military implements are converted to agricultural implements. War culminates in the power of the Beast, and Isaiah’s view looks beyond the overthrow of the Beast to the eternal Sabbath. There remains a Sabbath-rest to the people of God (Heb. 4:9). “The fulfillment of this prophecy, therefore, in its full extent, must not be looked for on (this) earth” (John Calvin). “. . . sin is still present, and it will not be until the complete removal of sin at the second coming of the Lord that this prophecy will be realized in its completeness” (Edw. J. Young). It is always the purpose and effect of the gospel to make peace, to do away with all sin, to deliver mankind, in the elect, from the penalty of sin, also from the power of sin, and, ultimately, from the very presence of sin. Then this prophecy shall have been fully realized.
“Neither shall they learn war any more.” “This clearly proves that this prophecy belongs to future times. For this never yet had its accomplishment in any sense; not in a literal sense. For though there was an universal peace all the world over at the birth of Christ, in the times of Augustus Caesar, yet there afterwards were, as our Lord foretold there would be, wars and rumors of wars, and nation should rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and so it has been, more or less, ever since. Nor in a spiritual sense, for though Christ has made peace by the blood of His cross, and came and preached it by His ministers, and wherever the gospel of peace takes place, it makes men of peaceable dispositions, and reconciles them . . . to God and Christ, and. . . to one another; and it is peace the saints are called to, and, when grace is in exercise, it rules in their hearts; and yet there have been sad contentions and quarrels among the people of God . . . which still continue. But in the latter day glory . . . this prophecy will be fulfilled in every sense. For after the hour of temptation is over, that, shall try all the earth, after the (prophecy) of the witnesses and their rising, after the battle of Armageddon, when the beast and the false prophet will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, there will be no more wars in the world, nor any persecution of the saints; and then will the peaceable kingdom of Christ appear, and all His subjects, and the members of His church will live in the utmost unity and harmony together. They shall no more envy and vex one another, and of His peace there will be no end (Ps. 72:7; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 11:6-13).”—John Gill.
2.The Practical Conclusion to all this: “House of Jacob, Come, and let us walk in the light of Jehovah.” If the gentiles are going to be enlightened by the glad tidings of the Lord’s anointed, then the house of Jacob, which already has the light, should surely prize it as above all things precious. They should imitate the gentiles in enthusiastically calling others to go in the ways and in the light of the Lord. Let the gentiles stir them up to a holy jealousy for the cause of the Lord’s house. The house of Jacob is that spiritual kingdom of the elect (Ps. 135:4) over which Christ shall reign forever (Luke 1:33), that is, for ages, meaning that “of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” It is for eternity. The house of Jacob does include the natural descendants of Jacob, but not them merely, for all is not Israel which is of Israel (all is not spiritual and true Israel which is of natural Israel), for not the children of the flesh are the children of God, but the children of the promise are deemed the true seed of Jacob (Rom. 9:6-8), that is, believing Jews and Gentiles alike and together form the whole Israel of God.
So this house includes not those who are mere Israel according to the flesh, but all who are infallibly and savingly brought to the God of Jacob. They share the great light of the gospel and the glorious kingdom of everlasting peace. Isaiah’s thought is, with deep longing for all his people, Shall we, who have Jacob’s very blood in our veins, also enjoy the final glories embracing the gentiles? Come, let us act like true Jews and show forth the praises of Him who called us out of our natural darkness of sin and death into His marvelous light. If others claim they are Jews, yet are not, but lie, being of the synagogue of Satan, let them go to their own place, but we will go and walk in the light of the Lord.
The light mentioned is the light of the knowledge of the glorious gospel of Christ, the Light of the world himself and His word which shines upon our way, given through the light of divine revelation as found alone in holy Scripture. (II Cor. 3:18; II Cor. 4:4, 6; John 8:12; Ps. 119:105; II Pet. 1:19). This light shall appear in latter-day glory. Then the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun sevenfold, as the light of seven days, and the whole earth shall be lightened with its glory (Isa. 30:26).
To walk in this light is to walk as children of light and of the day in the enjoyment of God only in Christ, in communion with the triune God, and in fellowship with one another (I John 1:7; Rev. 21:23, 24). “Let us then go on our way rejoicing, and let this joy terminate in God, and be our strength (Neh. 8:10). Thus shall we walk in the beams of the Sun of righteousness.” The New Testament dispensation of the gospel takes us directly to the throne of the King of Glory, and this gospel dispensation is the last. We are to look for no other.