Isaiah 2

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 24, 1999


The book of Isaiah is the first book in the section of the Old Testament that we call the "prophets". It is the Old Testament book that has the clearest picture of the coming Messiah. The New Testament quotes from Isaiah more than from any other prophet. This morning we start a new prophecy and get a peek into the future.

:1-5 The Coming Kingdom

:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days

last days – a term that is actually applied to a wide variety of time frames. Peter applies the term to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16-17), but the term usually applies to the time surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Times that sound very much like the present.

:2 that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established …

Mount Zion is the location of the "Lord’s house", a place in Jerusalem. The terms "mountains" and "hills" are often used to refer to countries or governments. (Dan. 2:35; Rev. 17:9,10). This is a way of saying that Israel will become the leader of all the nations of the world.

:3 And many people … Come ye … he will teach us of his ways

There will be many from the Gentile nations of the world that will want to learn from the Lord. I think that this could be talking about us. We are certainly from the different nations of the world, and we’ll be around since we’ll have come back with Jesus. I think that if the Lord were in Jerusalem, I’d certainly want to go! Could you imagine having Bible Studies with Jesus?

:4 they shall beat their swords into plowshares

plowshares – The iron tips of plows.

Imagine if all the economies of the world would stop putting money into weapons, and turn it all into farm machinery!

Even though we are past the "Cold War", President Clinton has announced that he’d like to build our military back up by increasing our Defense Budget.

As much as the United Nations wants to try, this verse will not be fulfilled until Jesus Christ comes back to rule and reign on the earth.

The time that Isaiah is talking about here is what we refer to as the "Millennial Kingdom" of Jesus Christ, when He comes back to rule over the earth for 1,000 years. (Rev. 20:1-4)

:5 … come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

This is the exhortation that comes from the prophecy concerning the future.

Lesson #1

There’s a reason for prophecy.

Sometimes we get the idea that prophecy was given just so we could fill the tabloid magazines with something to read. The other day I was in the line at the grocery store and saw the headline on one of the tabloids saying something about some lost gospel being discovered which gives new clues to the end of the world. We don’t need any "new" gospels. There’s enough in the Scriptures to make it all pretty clear.

One of the reasons God gives us prophecy is to motivate us.

Here, the Jews are shown what will happen in the future when God reigns on earth, and all the nations of the world are coming to them to learn of the Lord.

And so the exhortation comes NOW to walk in the light of the Lord. Don’t wait for some future time. There is no better time to get closer to the Lord than now. Why waste your life on garbage when you can spend your life on the things that are going to last into eternity?

Lesson #2

Be on the winning side.

Sometimes as a kid, when the recess came and the teams for kickball were beginning to get chosen, you knew just which team was going to win. You knew from the first few kids that were picked, just how awesome one of the teams was going to be, and you wanted to be on that team too. We like to be on the winning team.

You don’t have to wonder about who wins at the end of the world. We already have seen the ending. We know who wins. Don’t you want to be on His side?

Don’t be deceived into thinking that you can play around with Satan and the world now, and then switch sides when the end comes. You’re either for Jesus or against Him.

If you are trying to skate through life, calling Jesus Lord but secretly living like the devil, you’re headed in the wrong direction.

(Mat 7:21-23 KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

John wrote,

(1 John 1:5-7 KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. {6} If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Choose the winning side. Choose to be real. Choose to walk in God’s light.

:6-9 The worldly ways that Israel trusts in

:6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob

Talking about God’s current judgment upon Israel at the time of Isaiah’s writing.

:6 because they be replenished from the east

NIV – "They are full of superstitions from the East"

Isaiah is probably talking about the influences that the Assyrian and Babylonian empires were having upon Israel.

During Isaiah’s lifetime, one of the kings of Judah, Ahaz, took a trip to visit the Assyrians, and came back with a "new and improved" altar for the Temple (2Ki.16:10). He had the bronze altar that Solomon had made moved, and required the people to sacrifice on this new, Assyrian altar.

But it’s interesting that we too are "full of superstitions from the East"

Our culture seems totally hungry for the mysticism of our "east", as in from Asia, whether in meditation, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.


Don’t learn your worship from the world.

God has shown us in His word how He wants to be worshipped. There are certain groups like "Transcendental Meditation" that claim to be compatible with Christianity, but are certainly not. They won’t enhance your relationship with God, then only pervert it.

:6 and are soothsayers like the Philistines

The Philistines, who lived in the southwest portion of Israel, were known for their divination, looking for signs, contacting the dead, etc.

:6 and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

NAS – "they strike bargains with the children of foreigners"

:7 Their land also is full of silver and gold

Those who don’t follow the Lord aren’t necessarily poor and beggarly. Israel was having problems because they were wealthy and trusting in their riches rather than in the Lord.


Beware of looking for wealth.

If your idea of "blessings" means a large bank account, you are liable to end up backsliding away from the Lord.

Jesus told a story about a farmer sowing seeds, and some seeds fell on thorny soil where the thorns grew up and choked out the wheat. He explained it this way:

(Mat 13:22 NLT) The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

This is one reason why I believe the "prosperity" teachers have such dastardly effect upon the church. They are luring people who are drawn by the hopes of big money, but what they’re luring people with are the very things that can easily ruin their walk with the Lord.

Paul warned Timothy like this:

(1 Tim 6:5-10 NLT) These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they don't tell the truth. To them religion is just a way to get rich. {6} Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. {7} After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. {8} So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. {9} But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. {10} For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.


The March 1988 Rotarian tells about a bounty of $5,000 offered for each wolf captured alive. It turned Sam and Jed into fortune hunters. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests looking for their valuable prey. Exhausted one night, they fell asleep dreaming of their potential fortune. Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by about 50 wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. He nudged his friend and said, "Jed, wake up! We're rich!" -- Gary C. Payne, Reidsville, North Carolina. Leadership, Vol. 11, no. 1.

Some of us can get a little too excited about getting rich when we ought to realize we’re about to be eaten by wolves!

:8 Their land also is full of idols

The Israelites worshipped more than just God alone. Man is born with a need to worship. If he doesn’t worship God, he will worship just about anything.

You may be here this morning because of the invitation of a friend. You may pride yourself in thinking that you don’t need a "god". But you are worshipping something. It may be your intellect, it may be money, it may be pleasure, but you worship something.

(Rom 1:21-23 NIV) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23} and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

:9 the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself

This isn’t talking about people humbling themselves in repentance before the Lord. This is saying that these people were continuing to humiliate themselves in the worship of their idols.

:10-22 The Day of the Lord

:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled

You can either humble yourself, or God will do it for you.

I was in a group recently when a person asked to be prayed for that God would give him humility. But it struck me that this wasn’t really something you ought to be asking God to do for you (as in "Lord give me humility"). Humility is best when it comes willingly from you, and not forced upon you by God.


The Road to Humility.

Paul said the best way to learn humility was to imitate Jesus.

(Phil 2:3-11 NLT) Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. {4} Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. {5} Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. {6} Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. {7} He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. {8} And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. {9} Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, {10} so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, {11} and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus demonstrated His humility by being a servant and giving Himself for others. We see it clearly demonstrated in:

(John 13:1-5 KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. {2} And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; {3} Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; {4} He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. {5} After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Here is Jesus, in a sense at the greatest peak of His career, knowing that He was heaven’s man and was about to go to heaven. Instead of commanding the disciples to bow to Him and honor Him, He takes the role of the servant and does the lowliest job of all, washing those dirty, dusty, filthy, grimy, feet.

Are you having trouble with pride? Are you having a difficult time being humble? Perhaps you need to learn to lay aside your garments of being such an awesome person, and learn to be a servant to those around you. "But my employees will lose their respect for me if I do that!" What would you rather have, your employees respect, or God’s grace?

(1 Pet 5:5-6 KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts …

This is a special term in the Bible that is used to describe different times when God steps into human history. I found the specific phrase 17 times in the Old Testament (Is. 2:12; 23:6; 13:9; Eze. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 2:11; 2:31; 3:14; Amos 5:18; 5:20; Oba. 1:15; Zeph 1:7; 1:14; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5). There are at least three ways that the term is used:

1) Historical – to describe when God got involved in the affairs of Israel or the heathen nations (Zeph. 1:14-18; Joel 1:15; Isa. 13:6; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 30:3).

2) Double Fulfillment – when an incident in history doubles as a partial fulfillment of the final "Day of the Lord", such as the invasion described in Joel 2:1-11.

3) The Final Day of the Lord – not limited to a single "day", it covers the period in the future that occurs after the Rapture, the times we refer to as the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Millennial reign of Christ on the earth (Isa. 2:12-19; 4:1; Joel 2:30-32; Isa. 4:2; 12; 19:23-25; Jer. 30:7-9).

:13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon … the oaks of Bashan,

Lebanon – the land to the north of Israel, famous for it’s cedar trees.

Bashan – the land east of the Sea of Galilee

:16 all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

ships of Tarshish – Tarshish was where Jonah was trying to flee to. Some have felt that "Tarshish" referred to a place in Spain, at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea from Israel. Others have theorized that it might refer even to England.

upon all pleasant pictures – or, "objects of art" or, (NAS) "And against all the beautiful craft";

:19 into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth

We see this fulfilled during the Great Tribulation period:

Rev 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; {16} And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: {17} For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

:19 when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

The time of the Great Tribulation will be a time of great earthquakes:

(Rev 16:18 KJV) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (also, Rev 6:14; Hab. 2:6-7)

:20 to the moles and to the bats

to the moles … the bats – I think he’s making reference to the caves and holes in the ground that people will flee to. Moles make their home in holes in the ground, bats often live in caves. I don’t think he’s saying that they’re going to throw their idols away. I think he’s saying that these people will be taking their idols of silver and gold with them into the holes.

:22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils

NIV – "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils."

If you are trusting people, you’ll be disappointed. If you trust in Jesus, you’ll never be disappointed.

We’ve seen how God will one day bring judgment upon those who have refused to follow after His ways. But you don’t have to face that judgment, God offers you a way out of the judgment, through trusting in Jesus for salvation.

(John 3:16-21 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. {18} He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.