Isaiah 2 – The Promise of the Last Days & The 8th Century Prophets: Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah

I’m real sorry about them being the way they are, I bet You get real tired of people becoming murderers, perverts, homosexuals, thieves, and all around just greedy liars and cheats.  Wow, that’s what the United States is becoming.  So what are You going to do now?  Or what are You going to have Your prophet Isaiah do?

Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City. The term Mount Zion has been used in the Hebrew Bible first for the City of David (2 Samuel 5:7, 1 Chronicles 11:5; 1 Kings 8:1, 2 Chronicles 5:2) and later for the Temple Mount, but its meaning has shifted and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem’s Western Hill. In a wider sense, the term is also used for the entire Land of Israel.

Etymology
The etymology of the word Zion is uncertain. Mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 5:7) as the name of the Jebusite fortress conquered by King David, its origin likely predates the Israelites. If Semitic, it may be associated with the Hebrew root ”ṣiyyôn (“castle”).

Though not spoken in Jerusalem until hundreds of years later, the name is similar in Arabic and may be connected to the root ṣiyya (“dry land”) or the Arabic šanā (“protect” or “citadel”). It might also be related to the Arabic root ṣahî (“ascend to the top”) or ṣuhhay (“tower” or “the top of the mountain”). A non-Semitic relationship to the Hurrian word šeya (“river” or “brook”) has also been suggested.

Sahyun (Arabic: صهيون‎, Ṣahyūn or Ṣihyūn) is the word for Zion in Arabic and Syriac. A valley called Wâdi Sahyûn (wadi being the Arabic for “valley”) seemingly preserves the name and is located approximately one and three-quarter miles (2.8 km) from the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate.

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S houseshall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

“The last days” can refer to the future generally (see Gen 49:1), but usually it seems to have in view the Messianic era.  In a real sense the last days began with the first coming of Christ (see Acts 2:17; Heb 1:2) and will be fulfilled at His second coming.

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Almost identical to Mic 4:1-3.  The theme of the “mountain of the LORD” (Mount Zion)
is common in Isaiah; it occurs in passages that depict the coming of both Jews and Gentiles to Jerusalem (Zion) in the last days (see 11;9, 27:13, 56:7, 57:13, 65:25, 66:20; see also 60:3-5; Zech 14:16).

4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: 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 any more.

“Swords into plowshares” is actually an iron point mounted on a wooden beam.  Ancient plows didn’t have a plowshare proper.

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).

Tarshish occurs in the Hebrew Bible with several uncertain meanings, most frequently as a place (probably a large city or region) far across the sea from the Land of Israel and Phoenicia (Tarshish is currently the name of a village in Mount Lebanon District in Lebanon).

Tarshish was said to have supplied vast quantities of important metals to Israel and Phoenicia. The same place-name occurs in the Akkadian inscriptions of Esarhaddon (the Assyrian king, d. 669 BC) and also on the Phoenician inscription on the Nora Stone; its precise location was never commonly known, and was eventually lost in antiquity.

Legends grew up around it over time so that its identity has been the subject of scholarly research and commentary for more than two thousand years. Its importance stems in part from the fact that Hebrew biblical passages tend to understand Tarshish as a source of King Solomon’s great wealth in metals – especially silver, but also gold, tin and iron (Ezekiel 27).

The metals were reportedly obtained in partnership with King Hiram of Phoenician Tyre (Isaiah 23), and the fleets of Tarshish-ships. However, Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, thus archaeological evidence has been difficult to uncover.

The existence of Tarshish in the western Mediterranean, along with any Phoenician presence in the western Mediterranean before circa 800 BC, has been questioned by some scholars in modern times, because there is no direct evidence. Instead, the lack of evidence for wealth in Israel and Phoenicia during the reigns of Solomon and Hiram, respectively, prompted a few scholars to opine that the archaeological period in Mediterranean prehistory between 1200 and 800 BC was a ‘Dark Age’ (Muhly 1998).

American scholars William F. Albright (1891-1971) and Frank Moore Cross (1921-2012) suggested Tarshish was Sardinia because of the discovery of the Nora Stone, whose Phoenician inscription mentions Tarshish. Cross read the inscription to understand that it was referring to Tarshish as Sardinia. Recent research into hacksilber hoards has also suggested Sardinia.

In the end Jesus will stand on Mount Zion ( Rev 14:1) and God will create a new heaven and a new earth and the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, will come out of heaven which is where we will live (Rev 21:1-2).  Curious to what our future residence will look like?  Go to Rev 21:9-27).

5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

“Soothsayers” for a description of such practices see 1 Sam 6:2 and Deut 18:10-11.

7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:

Accumulating large quantities of these was forbidden to the king (Deut 17:16017) because they usually led to a failure to trust in God (see 31:1).

8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.

During times of severe oppression the Israelites took refuge in caves and holes in the ground (see Jud 6:1-2; 1 Sam 13:6).  The Hebrew interpretation for the word majesty is pride – an attempt by man to be his own god (14:13-14).

11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

“In that day” – the phrase occurs seven times in characters. 2-4 (see 3:7, 18; 4:1-2).  The day of the Lord (see v. 12) is a time of judgment and/or blessing as God intervenes decisively in the affairs of the nations (see Zeph 1:14-23).  Assyria and Babylon would bring the terror of judgment upon Judah in Isaiah’s day (5:30).

12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

Even inanimate things that people stand in awe of will be humbled so that “the LORD alone can be exalted in that day” (v. 11).

14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,

16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

These were large vessels like those used by Solomon (1 Kgs 10:22) and the Phoenicians (23:1, 14) to ply the sea in far-flung commercial ventures.  Jonah had attempted to flee from God on ship bound for Tarshish (Jon 1:3).

17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

The futility of worshiping idols is repeatedly noted by Isaiah (see 30:22; 31:7, 40:19-20, 44:9-29).

21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

Remember, this is the end time being spoken of: Rev 6:16.

22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

 

The 8th Century Prophets: Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, & Micah

During national crises God sent prophetic spokesmen to address His people.

A gate at Megiddo that dates to the Canaanite period. This was built prior to the Israelite conquest of the land. According to Judges 1, Megiddo was not captured or destroyed by the Israelites. It became one in a chain of Canaanite strongholds that stretched across the middle of the country, effective cutting Israelite territory in two.

The Assyrian threat produced the first of the “writing” prophets, a remarkable and diverse assortment of divine spokesmen in what has been called the “Golden Age” of prophecy.

Amos and Hosea addressed the needs of the Northern Kingdom Israel, while Micah and Isaiah ministered to Judah.  All four believed that the unfolding events attending the Neo-Assyrian resurgence were divinely guided, a “rod of wrath” in God’s hand to chastise Israel and Judah for their sins.

Isaiah received his prophetic call about 742 B.C. in the turbulent days following the death of king Uzziah (Isa 6).  His ministry coincided with the advent of the powerful Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.) and continued throughout the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C.  (also see Isaiah 36-39).

As a confidant of kings, Isaiah provided counsel for Ahaz and Hezekiah at a time when Judah faced serious external and internal threats.  Isaiah may have been a member of the Judean royal family.  According to tradition, Isaiah’s father, Amoz, was the brother of Amaziah, thus making Isaiah and Uzziah cousins.  Although the tradition cannot be verified, it would explain Isaiah’s ease of access to the kings of Judah.