Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people;
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.
At the beginning of the book of Isaiah, the prophet is speaking prophetically about the latter days and how the LORD’s house will be triumphant over all the other “houses” of this world. To the Jews hearing this, they were hearing that a king from the house of David, the LORD’s chosen house (there is also double intention here in the word ‘house’ meaning the nation of Israel as God’s house), would be established as the king over all other nations. They were probably thinking military conquest with Jerusalem as the destination to which all the spoils of war would flow. But after war, there would be peace… there would be instruction in the ways of justice and mercy, not just for the nation of Israel, but also for all the Gentile nations. Jerusalem would also play host to the great victory feast where all were welcome who bowed the knee to the King from David’s line. If this is in fact what they believed they would have been correct. But Yahweh, the Lord of the covenant, is orchestrating things to look quite a bit differently than the original audience probably envisioned…
Since Christ’s first advent we have been living in the latter days and now have a better glimpse at how the LORD is fleshing out his gospel story of victory. A King from David’s line did come and establish an unshakeable beachead in the holy war against the seed of the serpent. The King from the line of David broke the back of sin and removed the sting of death. Jesus Christ, the son of David and Son of God, came and suffered and died (sin broken) and was resurrected and ascended into heaven (death placed in hospice). It is the “mountain of the house” of Christ which is growing to overtop all the other mountains of this world, and truly, all nations are streaming into Christ’s house to learn the ways of justice and mercy. But all nations aren’t being brought into the modern nation of Israel and to Jerusalem as it is found on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. All nations are flowing to the Church. The Church instructs her children in the law of Christ, and the Church is to submit to her Bridegroom, the Great and Final Davidic King, Jesus Christ. If Jerusalem, or ‘Zion’ as Isaiah calls it, can be thought of as the place where the Jewish King reigns, then the Church is the earthly reflection of His heavenly reality, the Jerusalem/Zion Above.
Which brings us to the last and final part of the prophecy that is being fulfilled. Isaiah declares that swords and spears will be beaten into ploughshares and pruning hooks. Or to put it another way, implements designed for waging war are re-tooled and re-shaped to become instruments of production and peace. I believe this is happening in small yet countless ways across the world, which beings us to the title of this post. Our nation is in a bit of an energy crunch and nuclear power is being brought back to the fore as a viable energy source to help us curb our dependence on fossil fuels. One of my colleagues at the school where I teach mentioned that the nuclear technology has improved so that new nuclear reactors that are brought online can now ‘burn’ lower grade uranium fuels for producing electricity. This includes things like cast off fuels from older nuclear reactors as well as spent nuclear reactors from nuclear submarines. Parts of nuclear submarines, instruments designed for war, can now be re-tooled as instruments designed for production… a partial fulfillment to Isaiah’s prophecy almost 2700 years ago.
Sure it’s possible to discount this interpretation of our reality as whimsical or wishful thinking. But the eyes of faith see the hand of God in everything from the small fingers of a newborn baby to the dismantling of war machines in favor of feeding the poor.