“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 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. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:2-5).
The redemption that is in Christ is declared to be abundantly sufficient to recover both Jew and Gentile from their state of lostness because of sin, and to effectually draw them forever into the Presence of God. It remains for men only to repent, and be baptized for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38-39). Men are now justified before God by their faith in Christ, and by their continuance in that faith. “And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which” they “could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).
The scope of God’s redemptive work in Messiah is “all nations”. The evidence of the divine working in salvation can be seen in the fact that the nations mentioned here are not being cajoled or coerced into coming, but rather they are depicted here as flowing unto the mountain of the LORD’s house. The upward flow spoken of here testifies of the divine working in men’s hearts. The Father declared to the Son in Psalm 110: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.” “Iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exod. 34:7) have now been put away from the face of God by the Lord Jesus Christ, so there is nothing that could possibly hinder men from coming unto Him, except for their unbelief and rejection of Him.
In this prophecy it can be seen that the purpose of God in salvation encompasses “all nations”, with the house of Jacob being summoned to lead the way in walking in “the light of the LORD.” God’s salvation is “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Rom. 2:10). The inclusion of “all nations” was, however, purposed by Him from the very beginning. In the Garden of Eden the promise of the bruising of the serpent’s head was made, in actuality, to “all nations”, as God addressed the first man, Adam, and his wife, from whom the “all nations” would come forth.
In the Last Days.
The expression “in the last days” seems to point to a time near the end of the world when the nation of Israel shall “turn to the Lord” (II Cor. 3:16; see vs. 13-15) in exceeding large numbers. As Paul declared in his letter to the Romans, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom. 11:26-27).
We have not been told all the intricate details with regard to God’s working in the end times, neither the precise order of events before “the Son of man shall come in His glory” (Mt. 25:31). However, we do know of specific things that are on the divine calendar that shall precede Christ’s blessed appearing. We also know that God is able to bring about a turn in world events very swiftly, as He, the “Lord of heaven and earth” (Lk. 10:21), is presently engaged in “working salvation in the midst of the earth” (Ps. 74:12). And it is very possible that, when Israel shall “turn to the Lord”, their very turning shall provoke a world-wide revival. But we are content to watch and wait expectantly for Christ’s appearing, leaving the specific events that will precede His coming in God’s hands.
To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob God promised: “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 28:14; see also Gen. 12:1-3; 26:4-5; Gal. 3:16). 18 In Galatians Paul further makes a direct connection between “the blessing of Abraham” and the reception of the promised Holy Spirit by faith, which reception involves the substantive impartation of the great salvation wrought by Christ to men [both Jew and Gentile]. That substantive impartation includes such things as the knowledge of sins forgiven, new creatureship in Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the writing of the Law of God upon the heart. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT through faith” (Gal. 3:13-14).
A Divinely Ordered Sequence of Events.
Paul stresses the direct bearing of God’s salvation in Christ upon both Jew and Gentile, by drawing attention to a divinely ordered sequence of events in the book of Genesis. The promise, given by God to Abram (Genesis 12 and 15), predates the giving of “the covenant of circumcision” (Genesis 17; see Acts 7:8), by which covenant the distinction was first made between Jew and Gentile. In other words, God made the promise of all nations being blessed in his (Abraham’s) seed prior to the time of His making a distinction between Jew and Gentile. And, of course, Paul clarifies in his epistle to the Galatians that Christ Himself is that Seed that was promised (see Gal. 3:16).
The Significance of When Faith Was Reckoned to Abraham for Righteousness.
Hear Paul reason upon this matter. “Cometh this blessedness [described in Psalm 32:1-2; see Rom. 4:6-8] then upon the circumcision [the Jews] only, or upon the uncircumcision [the Gentiles] also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:9-12)
The Identification of Abraham’s Seed.
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of One, and to thy Seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). As Paul reasons by the Spirit in Galatians, Abraham’s seed has primary reference to Jesus Christ, and secondarily, to those who belong to Christ. All the promises of God were made to Abraham, but ultimately to his Seed, Christ, and to all who are in Christ, including all of God’s redeemed sons and daughters which have lived since the beginning of the world. “For all the promises of God in Him [Christ] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (II Cor. 1:20).
All the promises of God are secured for, and made sure to, believing men and women in Christ. To those who “have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16), and who have given considerable thought to these matters, the knowledge that all the promises of God are in Christ has become a wellspring of comfort and hope. It makes for great confidence in the living God, and enables men to assure their hearts before Him. Such considerations make for a more fruitful understanding of God’s ways, and of the purpose of God in salvation. In all of these things it is the Lord Jesus Christ, and not us, who has the preeminence: the preeminence that rightly belongs to Him alone.
But let us also be emphatically clear that none of the promises of God are unto those who have neglected so great salvation, or to those who have rejected Christ, and who are outside of Christ. For such ones to think that God will somehow be favorable to them in the last day is sheer folly, and evidence of a delusion of greatest proportion. For God to receive such ones unto Himself despite their rejection of His Son, would put Him in the position of being a respecter of persons, which He is not. It would mean that God would have to deny Himself, which He categorically has said that He cannot do. But, perhaps, the most tender of all considerations is that God would have to apologize to Christ for the great agonies that He endured in the behalf of those who have believed upon His name. AND THAT, HE MOST ASSUREDLY WILL NOT DO!
About the Contents of this Writing and Reprint Permission
This writing consists largely of a compilation of Bible lessons, converted to article format, which were given by me (Albert G. Stoner Jr.) at The Banner of Truth Fellowship of Northwest Indiana over the past few years. Except for the Scripture references, the poetic expressions, and hymns which are included herein, the material has been written by me. Regarding the hymns and poetic expressions, I have sought to select those which are in the public domain, and have included the author’s name for each one selected. Until such a time as a copyright would be applied for, reprint permission is given by me, so long as the material is not misrepresented, or used for purposes other than for the building up of the body of Christ. If the material is used, a credit line would be appreciated, but it is not required. “Freely ye have received, freely give.” —Albert G. Stoner, Jr., First Printing, March 2016
In the First Revision of The Prophecies of Christ in Isaiah I have added articles that did not appear in the First Printing, and have revised and supplemented some of the original articles. I have also created and included some charts to go with some of the articles to assist the reader in a mnemonic capacity. —Albert G. Stoner, Jr., First Revision, September 2016