Isaiah 2:2-3a “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised 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 house of the God of Jacob.”
The last days is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the period from Jesus’ birth to the end of the world. It is the time in which we now live. During these last days, God promises a new glory for Zion and his temple. It would not merely be restored to its former glory. It would become chief of all the mountains. It would be raised up on high for all to see.
If you go to Jerusalem today, Mount Zion is still there. It isn’t any higher than it ever was. The temple is gone. It isn’t even a pile of rubble. Nothing but the foundation walls are left. In order to understand this prophecy, we need to recognize where God has located his temple in the New Testament, and what he means by “Zion.”
The Apostle Paul says that each one of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Peter says that we are like living stones being built into a spiritual house, built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. Together with all believers, we are part of God’s Zion, God’s temple, which is the Holy Christian Church. Wherever you have believers, you have God’s temple, God’s Zion in plain sight for everyone to see.
This is how our Savior establishes peace on earth. He does not work through political policies or treaties or human diplomacy. He does it by raising up his Church, his Zion, his Temple. He does it by making the people who belong to him a force to be reckoned with. They are a safe haven all the world can see. As he gathers his people together and the Church grows, it is lifted higher and higher and the nations come streaming in.
Those people, Isaiah promises, come from all the nations of the world. “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.'” When Isaiah wrote these words, God’s people weren’t from many nations. They were from one nation–the Jews. Relatively few Christians have Jewish ancestry. But we have the privilege of living after the Savior has come, and the Gospel has spread to all nations, so that we can be included as God’s children, too. Every Christian believer is part of those many nations Isaiah sees streaming to God’s temple and asking to go up to God’s house.
Don’t these words give us a sense of optimism as we work to bring our Savior’s peace to more and more people? It can become easy for us to get a discouraged by what we see going on in our own churches. We may go for years without numerical. Internal controversies and battles afflict our congregations. Christianity seems to teeter on the edge of defeat.
But here God promises that the nations come streaming into it. People will come flooding in like a river. They are eager to come to the house of the Lord. And that is what is going on all around the world. Remember that God’s Church is more than just the little gathering with whom we meet each Sunday. It includes every believer around the world and throughout time. More Christians today live south of the equator than live north of it, and in many places the Christian faith is growing exponentially. Even if our own congregations have less worshipers today, those faithful members who have gone home to heaven haven’t been lost to us. They are secure in heaven. And each child we baptize, every adult we bring into the fold, only adds to the stream of people flowing into God’s house.
Our Lord is still gathering a Church for himself. We are part of the many peoples streaming to him. We are also part of the way he lifts his temple high. Our love, our life, our witness help the world find God’s house.