Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
Author, Date and Context:
Isaiah is named for its author. Isaiah, called to be a messenger of God during the reign of Uzziah King of Judah, would have written this book during his time of ministry between 739 and 686 B.C. Isaiah was well-educated and connected (Isaiah 7:3) and the book reflects this.
Isaiah prophesied extensively about events which saw their fulfillment both within and without his lifetime including many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. He foretold Babylonian captivity and Babylon’s destruction.
The passage above is a beautifully clear message regarding the second coming of Christ.
What I Reckon:
This is a prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ. This places its fulfillment in the future.
This prophecy is a sort of parallelism which is specifically contrasted with a prophecy made by Joel around a century earlier:
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”
11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations,
And gather yourselves there.
I’ve seen Isaiah’s verse used as an example of why Christians should be pacifists. Not just pacifists in a military sense, but in terms of individual believers. It is used in general to refer to simplistic notions of love and kindness.
This verse has even been used as a proxy for Christian ‘unity’. Christian unity is a topic for a whole other day.
For now it is enough to say that I wholeheartedly endorse Christian unity. All Christians should unite under the banner of Christ. But this is not the same as saying that All those who call themselves Christians ought to unite under the banner of Christ. Anyone can call themselves Christian, but a true Christian is what the Bible says a Christian is.
As Matt Walsh has eloquently pointed out already, we do not get to decide what falls under the banner of unity, the Bible does.
But this verse has nothing to say about any of those things. It is simply a vision of a the future second coming of Christ our saviour, when all nations will bow before Him, and He will judge them all.
Moreover, those who heard Isaiah’s prophecy would’ve been familiar with the prophecy of Joel and would have recognized the contrast immediately. This prophecy tells of a future beyond even present day, where peace will reign.
What a future we have to look forward to. War is a tragic and necessary consequence of living in a world that is fallen, and full of sin. As believers we have the promise of eternal life to look forward to. Not just eternal life, but eternal peace.
For those individuals who are on this earth when Christ returns, they will see this prophecy dramatically fulfilled with the ushering in of a time of peace on earth.
Who hasn’t wished for that at some point in their life?
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).