Wednesday 12 September 2018
This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.’
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war any more.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
The ‘last days’ means the time of the Messiah. First of all, Isaiah is prophesying about a time when the worship of God will not be limited to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. This is true of the church today. People from all kinds of ethnic groups are worshipping God and learning his ways.
What does it mean to turn ‘swords into ploughshares’and ‘spears into pruning hooks’? Literally, it is talking about people turning weapons of war into farming tools. This would be a good way of recycling metal if a war had finished and weapons were no longer needed. In Mozambique, after the end of a civil war something similar is happening today. An artist called Goncalo Mabunda actually creates sculptures using guns and ammunition.
These words from Isaiah will ultimately be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ when those who are with God will live in peace. But is world peace also an ideal that we should aim for today? Michael Jackson sang of ‘swords into ploughshares’ in his song Heal the World. These words are also inscribed in stone underneath a sculpture outside the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The reason that people will not need weapons any more is because God will settle disputes between people. If, like the United Nations, we take God out of the equation then there is no promise of world peace. But if we let the Prince of Peace transform us, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce the fruit of peace. We will be inspired to forgive our enemies and we will want to be peacemakers.
Thomas Halley (Sawyers Church Leadership Team)