Predicting the glory of Christ/Isaiah 2:1-4
As we near our annual celebration of the birth of Christ, we should reflect on how full the prophets in the Old Testament are of predicting the glory of Christ and his church. Isaiah is rich with themes of the majesty and mercy of the Lord to be revealed in the promised Christ who is to come.
In our passage, Isaiah gives us revelation from the Lord with respect to the future exaltation of Zion (the church) in the “latter days;” meaning the days of the Lord Jesus reigning in heaven after his birth, death, and resurrection.
Verse 2 speaks of the exaltation of Zion; “The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains.” Nations are often depicted as mountains in Scripture, and here we see that Christ will establish his church as higher and greater than all the nations of men. It is glorious because he dwells in it by his Spirit. He builds it.
This doesn’t mean the church will not be afflicted and go through much tribulation on earth. Nevertheless, the Lamb of God secures those who know him, and they are called the redeemed of God. The exaltation of Zion is not only a heavenly perspective, but his people on earth love the church more than the world, because it is the highest mountain in their esteem. This they see by faith.
It is a wondrous thing to know you are a citizen of Zion, the eternal city of God, a city whose founder and builder is God. Every Christian is a living stone of this temple and will endure as long as the city does, forever and ever. When you celebrate the birth of Christ, celebrate also the glory of Zion, the church of the Lord he redeemed by his own blood. If you belong to her, no matter what you must endure here can sever you from this city of blessedness.
In verse 3 we see “all the nations shall flow to it saying, “Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord.” This is a vision of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation coming to Christ and joining his church. A vast throng of people we see responding to the word of the Lord.
The Apostle Peter began this at Pentecost where the gospel was first proclaimed. Many from different lands came to Christ at hearing that initial sermon (Acts 2). It has now gone into all the world, and the redeemed of Christ throughout all generations and lands have sung the same song of grace.
There is a supernatural magnetism to Zion that draws all these souls. They “flow” upward, an unnatural movement for streams. They are drawn by the Father to Christ (John 6). They glory in mercy and free grace. “Worthy is the Lamb,” is in their hearts, and upon their lips.
Grace is the glorious attribute by which God sets himself to triumph over the greatest evil that can be, over sin. The devil cannot prevail over grace. There is more height and depth and breadth; there are greater dimensions in love and mercy in Christ than there are in our sins and miseries. And all this is gloriously revealed in the gospel.
No one in sin naturally belongs to Christ or his church. You must enter by embracing him. As blessed as citizenship in heavenly Zion is, so terrible is the misery of those at enmity with God, who chose this present world for their portion, who worship at a different mountain than Mt Zion.
We see the effects of grace in verse 4 in the familiar words; “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation.” Some see in these words a future time of peace in this world, under Christ’s reign. Certainly, all Christians believe there will be no war or enmity between men in the new heavens and earth.
Yet there is also here what Christ said would characterize his people in this sinful world: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” If God through his grace has given you peace with him, then it should be your aim to live at peace with all men, so far as it is possible with you. The Lord Jesus has made us at peace with God.
Sincerity is everything in faith; making it our aim to please Christ, to love him and his people; to do good to people in his name. If you belong to Zion, that exalted city, then at Christmas gaze on the child who came to secure your membership.
The Rev. Chris Shelton is the pastor of The First Presbyterian Church of Union.