“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and 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. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:1-5).
In the immediate aftermath of the LORD’s harsh judgment of the Nation of Judah’s wickedness, the Prophet Isaiah introduced a doctrine which was to be a significant part of his prophetical ministry. Isaiah’s oracle from God revealed that Jerusalem would hold a lofty position in the world.
Paralleling today’s text is Micah 4:1-3. It says, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and 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.”
A key expression contained in both prophecies is the phrase “the latter days.” It may also appear as the phrase “the last days.” It is used in Scripture to describe the final period of the world.
In the Old Testament (OT) the last days were anticipated as the age of messianic fulfillment (see Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1). In the New Testament (NT) the writers regarded themselves as living in the last days, the era of the gospel.
Therefore, Peter explained that the events of the Day of Pentecost were the fulfillment of Joel 2:28: “In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17–18).
Additionally, the author of the letter to the Hebrews declares, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).
The last days is the period of evangelical blessing in which the benefits of the salvation obtained by the virgin birth, perfect life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and glorification of Jesus Christ are freely available throughout the world. They are the days of opportunity for unbelievers to repent and turn to God, and of responsibility for believers to proclaim the gospel message throughout the world.
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary explains, “The last days, then, are the days of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are preliminary to and preparatory for the last day of final judgment of unbelievers and the dawn of eternal glory for believers. For Christ’s faithful followers they are days of joy and blessing, but still days in which the fullness of redemption is awaited. They are days, too, of trial and affliction for the church of Christ. But God has given us the assurance of his Spirit in our hearts, the foretaste that guarantees the full banquet hereafter, the down payment that pledges the payment in full (Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). Meanwhile, we should be assured with the apostle Paul that the sufferings of these last days are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18). They are days, moreover, of responsibility and opportunity: responsibility because Christians are under orders to proclaim the gospel throughout the world (Mt 28:19–20; Acts 1:8) and all people everywhere are commanded by God to repent (Acts 17:30).”
The mountain of the house of the LORD is the mount where the temple was built (and where the millennial temple will be built, Ezek. 40–43). Often in the Scriptures mountains can refer to civil government (Dan. 2:35; Amos 4:1). Here God’s rule from His temple will be preeminent. The theme of the importance of the temple mount in Jerusalem is repeated often in Isaiah’s prophecies all the way to the end of the book (Isa. 11:9; 25:6–7; 27:13; 30:29; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11, 25; 66:20). Isaiah clearly wanted his readers to be aware that God will protect His covenant nation despite their spiritual rebellion and even though they would go into captivity by the Babylonians. When these “latter day” events take place many nations will be attracted to Jerusalem (cf. 14:1; 27:13; 66:23; Zech. 8:23; 14:16) and to God’s house (the temple, Isaiah 2:2a).
Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “The attraction will be the Lord’s ways … paths … Law, and Word which will be made known from that place. In fact the Lord Himself will give forth the Law (51:4). (Zion, referred to dozens of times by Isaiah, more than by any other author of Scripture, is here a synonym of Jerusalem; cf. 4:3; 40:9; 52:1; 62:1. See Zech. 8:3.) In the Millennium, people everywhere will realize that God’s revelation is foundational to their lives. They will want to know it (He will teach us) and to live according to it (walk in it).”
More to come from Isaiah 2:1-5.
Until then, Soli deo Gloria!