Monday, 4 May 2020

The glory of the Lord in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:1-5)


A. Isaiah prophesied about glory of the Lord in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:1-5). This passage is similar to Micah 4:1-3. I assume that Micah “borrowed” it from Isaiah since Isaiah personally “saw” this vision (2:1).

2Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways…” (Isa. 2:2-3)

Let’s turn to the glory of the Lord in Jerusalem. Well, let’s read it. At first you might not catch all of the message. I don’t. There are lots of things I do not catch in this. It is bigger than we think it is, the message, the content that is here. Let’s read this. By the way, it is good to know that Micah 4 is almost word for word the same with this here in Isaiah 2:2-3. My assumption is that Micah copied this prophecy from him. It could have been the other way around. If I had to guess, I would think that Isaiah got it first, because he said in Isaiah 2:1 that he saw this in a vision. So I think that he is the one that got it. Then Micah said, “Hey, this works for me. I feel the presence of God when I read this.” So he put it in his book too.

This is a passage that is so glorious. Much of its glory is often missed. I have heard people talk about this passage many times over the years. The ultimate glory is rarely ever talked about. I mean, they talk about it a little bit. I say, “No, there is way more than what you are saying. There is something that is so excellent, that is so grabbing of our hearts, when we see this city in a proper way.”

“It will come to pass,” verse 2, “in the last days.” We are talking about the millennial kingdom when Jesus returns. Now, there are two distinct phrases I want you to get. Here is number one: the mountain of the Lord’s house. That is phrase number one. It will be established—here is phrase number two—on the top of the mountains. So Isaiah is saying two very important statements that are distinct from each other. The mountain of the Lord’s house is established on top of the mountains. Yes, it is going to be exalted even on top of all of the hills. He was saying, in effect, that all the nations are going to be so touched by it and so attracted to it that the nations are going to flow to this city like a river. It is never going to end; that is why they are using the word, flowing. It is like the line of visitors from the earth throughout the thousand years will never end.

Verse 3 gives the dialogue, the conversation, around the nations. Here is what they will be saying all over Asia, and Africa, and North and South America, and Europe, and the islands. Here is what the people say. Verse 3, this will be the testimony: Many people shall say, “Hey, come with me. We are making a trip to Jerusalem. We live in Asia, but we are going to see Jesus in Jerusalem.” Or, “We live in Canada, but we are going to see Jesus in Jerusalem. Come, let us go up. Let’s go to the mountain of the Lord. Let’s go to His house.” This is His actual house. It is a temple, but it is His house. It is the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem joined together.

B. Mountain of the Lord’s house: Jesus’ “mountain house” is literally a house larger than a mountain. It includes His throne in the millennial temple in Jerusalem and His throne in the New Jerusalem. In this we see Jesus’ leadership expressed in grandeur, extravagance, beauty, and attention to detail.

Here is the magnitude of it. We can see the magnitude of it with this phrase, “the mountain of the Lord’s house.” Jesus’ house is literally a house that is larger than a mountain. It is a mountain house. This is not figurative. Many commentators say, “No, it is just a ‘mountain’ meaning it is important.” No, it is a mountain house because the New Jerusalem is over 1,500 miles high. Beloved, it is a mountain house. It is staggering. Nothing in human history has ever entered the mind of a man like this mountain house. So that is the house we are talking about that is going to be at the capital city of the earth, that vast governmental complex of the earth. So it is a literally a house that is larger than a mountain.

C. On top of the mountains: The Lord’s “mountain house” will sit on top of the mountains that are around Jerusalem. Jerusalem is currently on a mountain that is lower than the Mount of Olives.

This house is not just a mountain house. Second, it is sitting on top of the mountains. That is a very different point than it being a mountain house. It is sitting on the highest elevation of any other place, certainly in the Middle East, maybe the whole world, I do not know. It is on top. Its elevation, where it is sitting, is such that wherever people are around the world and within sight that city is the city on the hill in the ultimate literal reality.

Jesus talked about a city on a hill in the Sermon on the Mount. He was being figurative, but He could have been thinking, “That is My city. My city will be on the mountain, the top of the mountains.” Now the Lord’s mountain house will be on top of the mountains that are around Jerusalem. Currently the mountains of Jerusalem are actually lower than mountains in the area. Like the Mount of Olives is actually higher than the mount where the temple is. All of that is going to change. There is going to be some dramatic changes in the topography, and that is what the prophets talk about.

D. The topography of Jerusalem will be drastically changed (Zech. 14:4, 10). The Lord will split the Mount of Olives in two, creating a vast east-west valley (14:4). The whole region will be greatly altered. It will be both leveled and raised, or elevated, to a height that surpasses all the other mountains (14:10). Earthquakes will bring about some of these topographical changes (Rev. 16:18-20; cf. Isa. 2:10, 19, 21; 13:13; 29:6; Ezek. 38:19; Hag. 2:6, 21; Zech. 14:4-5; Mt. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Lk. 21:11; Heb. 12:26-27; Rev. 6:12-14; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18-20). Jerusalem and the land around it will become a flat plain that will be about 40 miles in diameter reaching from Geba (six miles north of Jerusalem) to Rimmon (35 miles southwest of Jerusalem).

4And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two…making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. 5Then you shall flee through My mountain valley.  (Zech. 14:4-5)

10All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba [6 miles north of Jerusalem] to Rimmon… [35 miles south of Jerusalem]. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place. (Zech. 14:10)

4Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low…5The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together [at Jesus’ second coming] (Isa. 40:4-5)

18And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. (Rev. 16:18)

I want you to grasp this mountain house. The topography is going to be drastically changed, related to the return of the Lord. There are two verses in Zechariah that give us some insight. Zechariah 14:4, when the Lord returns, at the second coming, He stands on the Mount of Olives. When He stands on the Mount of Olives, it splits. The Mount of Olives right now is higher than the mountain where the temple is in Jerusalem right now. The Mount of Olives splits when His feet touch it. That is going to completely change the topography of that area. The whole region is going to be greatly altered. It is both going to be leveled—it is going to be completely made flat—and then it is going to be elevated to the highest elevation, but completely level.

You may ask, “Well, what do you mean, leveled?” Look at Zechariah 14:10. Let’s go a few verses later in Zechariah 14. This is talking about when the Lord returns. “All the land,” talking about Jerusalem now in context, “will be turned into a plain.” If you have been to Jerusalem or if you have even seen it through media, you know it is all hills and ravines and valleys and mountains. It is going to be a completely smooth plain. How is that going to happen? Well, Jesus is going to touch it and split it, and that is going to move a bunch of rocks.

Zechariah said, as it were, “Here is how graphic this is going to be, that from Geba,” which is six miles north of Jerusalem “to Rimmon,” which is thirty-five miles south, so say five miles north to thirty-five miles south, a forty-mile area—that is here to the airport—a forty-mile area is going to be turned completely flat. It is not only going to be leveled, but it is going to be raised until it is the highest elevation of anything in sight. We do not know if it is the highest in the world. It might be. I mean, it would not surprise me, because when you read the book of Revelation, in Revelation 11, right before the Lord comes, with the two witnesses a great earthquake hits Jerusalem. Then in Revelation 16, a great earthquake hits, and all the cities in the earth are moved. The Lord is moving all the geography, the topography. He is shifting it because He is building His capital city. It is going to be a forty-miles this way, a plain. It is going to be exalted and elevated above any of the ground around it.

Now Isaiah 40:4 is a verse we have read. Sometimes we just make it purely figurative, because it does have a figurative application. The figurative application is only a partial meaning. There is a literal meaning of Isaiah 40. “Every valley shall be exalted. Every mountain and hill will be brought low.” This is what Zechariah talked about. It is going to be a plain. It is going to be leveled and elevated. The glory of the Lord will be revealed. We know this is not just a one-time revival because it is the glory revealed when the entire human race sees it so it is clearly connected to the second coming. So as related to the second coming, it is not correct to read this verse just figuratively, like the valleys in our life, the low spots, are going to be brought into balance, though it really does mean that. There is a personal, figurative application, but there is a literal one about the glory of Jerusalem where all of the valleys are going to be leveled out and all the mountains and hills are going to be brought low, because the Lord is creating a setting. It is so important to Him! He puts it in the prophet’s mouth thousands of years ahead of time, because it means that much to Him, this forty-mile kind-of-diameter area that this plain is going to be happening in.

E. Some see this prophecy of the “mountain of the Lord’s house” as being completely fulfilled by the Church preaching God’s word to every sphere of society and God’s kingdom gaining full authority over all society in this age (before Jesus returns), or being established “on the top of the mountains.” They only see “mountains” as a figure of speech symbolizing the spheres of society, and the instruments such as swords, plowshares, spears, and pruning hooks (2:4) are seen only as symbols.

Okay now what I talk about here in paragraphs E, F, and G, you can read on your own. I appreciate this interpretation, but I do not want to limit this glorious passage to this interpretation. The very popular way to read this passage is that people see the mountain of the Lord figuratively as the Church, and the way that the mountain of the Lord is on top of everything is they are preaching and we have influence over the spheres of society. So we are over them.  I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit uses this passage for that, but that is only a little bit of what this passage is about. This passage is about the glory of the New Jerusalem in the age to come.

They see the mountains only as a figure of speech. When you read the rest of the passage, there are these instruments: swords, and plowshares, and spears. They see those just as symbols. All kind of different groups give different interpretations. They say, for example, “It is really the gospel being preached over the mountain of media and the mountain of education and the mountain of this, and the mountain of that.”

Again, I appreciate that because the Lord wants the Church to go forward. However, the full meaning of this passage, the grand meaning of this passage, is, as the Lord might say, “My mountain house is what I am talking about ultimately.” I mean you could feel free to use that passage that way. I mean, I think the Holy Spirit uses it in that way, but you do not want to limit this most magnificent passage only to Christian ministry in this age. It is something far bigger. Because if it is just Christian ministry in this age, well, a lot of people are involved in that. They get discouraged, they get bitter, they get in strife, and they get burned out. When I see the city and the Man behind it and that He planned it for me, that my inheritance is there and that He has thought of every detail, I see His extravagance, then commitment seems doable. I do not want to lose that by only seeing Christian ministry. Because if Christian ministry is all this verse means, then there you go, Body of Christ, Christian ministry does not keep people steady. They get discouraged, they quit, they fall into sin, and they are bitter. All kinds of negative things happen.

This is an anchor point of which Abraham was gripped. Isaiah was gripped by it. Jesus said, “That is the city of the Great King. It is My city. That is what I am locked into this city.” So I want you to catch that because, again, if you lose this, then the end-time storyline is doom and gloom and it is negative. No, no! There is a city being prepared, and it is going to fill the earth or a part of it. It is worth it. So this is critical that we lock into this reality.

F. The Church is to make a measure of impact upon society in this age as salt and light (Mt. 5:13-16). The kings of the earth will be at war against Jesus in the end times (Rev. 17:2; 19:19; Ps. 2:2-3).

G. Flow: The nations will be so eager to learn from Jesus that they will flow like a river to Jerusalem. The nations will encourage one another to go up to Jerusalem to learn, pray, and seek the Lord.

20…Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; 21The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord…” 22Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. (Zech. 8:20-22)

It says that all the nations are going to flow to it. All the nations are going to flow to it; Zechariah touches that. Zechariah talked a lot about Jerusalem, like Isaiah. Isaiah and Zechariah would be the two guys who talk more about Jerusalem than anybody else, particularly in Isaiah 60-62 and Zechariah 1-2. Those are passages that are just Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem in the age to come.

That is our home! Man, I want to know it. I want to walk around Jerusalem. You know the verse that talks about “Walk around Jerusalem.” I want to study it. I want to meditate on it. I want to talk about it. I want to get people excited about Jerusalem because it is our inheritance. It makes this journey worth it. Again, we can interpret the journey very differently if we see the Man and the city, our inheritance and our family, and billions of years and the glory and the extravagance of Jesus in it. He has thought of every detail. He spared no expense. When I see all of this, I think, “Wow! Jesus, You are amazing!”

Then, you know, the critics say, “Well, if God is a God of love, how come this or that is happening?”

I reply, “He is a God of love. Have you seen the plan? Do you know where we are going? God of love, are you kidding? He is extravagant, pays attention to detail. He is super giving. He is everything. Yes, He is a God of love.”

“Well, if He is a God of love, why did that earthquake happen”

“Well, look. There is a billion-year plan going on, and this is just the beginning of it.”

Look here in Zechariah. This is in the Millennium. These are people with natural bodies. They are going to come from many cities. They want to go up to Jerusalem. This thing is that in Isaiah he said they are going to go up for teaching. Zechariah says that they are going to go up, many people, verse 22, strong nations. They are going to go up for prayer meetings and worship gatherings. They want to seek the Lord. They want to go on spiritual retreats. They want to go there just to get in the prayer room. Think what the prayer room is like in that vast temple governmental complex with Jesus there. Oh my goodness! I mean the seraphim and the cherubim! They are all going to be saying, “Hey, I want to roll next to Jesus you know.” I mean the whole gang is going to be there. Gang is not the right word, I mean the whole company of billions of angels. I mean oh this is exciting!

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