Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Beating Swords Into Plowshares ]


Isaiah 2: 1-4 says, "Now it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it. For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem...They shall beat their swords into plowshares; nation shall not lift up nation against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." The last days in this passage means the last days of the Jewish religion and the beginning days of the Christian religion, for the Christian religion was established in the closing days of the Jewish religion. The Jewish religion actually came to an end in 33 A.D. when Christ died on the cross. The death Christ was sacrifice to God as the  Lamb of God that takes away the sins of mankind. Christ announced that the Christian religion was "at hand" or near in 30 A.D. and commanded Israel to get ready for it by changing their sinful lives by repentance and obeying John's baptism for the forgiveness of sins(Matthew 3:1). Isaiah 2:1-4 is about the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ on the earth, which is another title for the Church of Christ which He purchased with His own blood. It is about the establishment of the Christian religion in the world. It has no other meaning; it has no reference whatever to the second coming of Christ.  Most of Christendom, however, understands this to be a prophecy of the second coming of Christ to establish His kingdom on the earth. Those who teach this doctrine greatly err, not knowing the scriptures.

God made this same prediction to Israel in the book of Jeremiah 31:31-34, "Behold the days are coming , says thee Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after thos days, says the Lord. I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts , and I will be their God and they will be my people. No more will every man teach his neighbor saying and every man his brother saying , Know the Lord, for they all shall know Me, from the least them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more." This prophecy predicts the same event as Isaiah 2:1-4. Both are predictions of the first coming  of Christ, not His second coming. About 760 B.C. the Prophet Isaiah made his first prediction that the Jewish religion would end, and the new religion of Christ for all nations would begin. In this lesson I will use the facts of history to prove this is the correct interpretation of Isaiah 2:1-4.

After the beginning of the religion of Christ, all who try to be saved by observing the Jewish religion will be greatly disappointed at the day of Judgment. All honest-minded people can see the blessings the Christian religion has brought to Israel and the entire human race in the past two thousand years. Isaiah's prophecy is God's plan for all mankind, and no one has a right to interfere with Jehovah's plan for the salvation of mankind. IN this prophecy of Isaiah mention is made of two essential needs of mankind The first need of man is the feeling that he is right with God, that he has someone to turn to when he is in trouble. Isaiah said, "In the last days the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." This is a prediction that the time will come when people of all nations will feel their need for God and will turn to the one true God to guide their lives. The mountain of the Lord's House is the mountain in Jerusalem on which Solomon built the temple. It was God house or place of worhsip for 1500 years. When the Jewish religion ended, the house of God is no longer the Old Testament temple. God's temple today is Church of Christ, the Church pf God. The Jewish temple was made of literal stones, but the New Testament temple of of living stones, redeemed men, women and children whose sins have been washed away in the blood of Christ. The Old covenant temple was a type of the New covenant temple. God has no temple today except the New Covenant Church, universally located all over the world..

Isaiah's prophecy clearly reveals that Human beings are religious creatures and are made in such a way to feel their need God. He predicts people from all nations will come and worship the one true God and let God guide their lives. That is man's first need. Jesus was referring to this basic need when He said, "Blessed are those who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is a very important and famous statement in the Christian religion. It is thought to be the first public statement of Christ, and it is the beginning statement of the famous sermon on the mount. It has been said by Christian scholars that this first sentence of the sermon on the mount is the first sentence in the greatest speech ever uttered. This first utterance of Christ reveals that human happiness is connected with reaching out to God and becoming a member of the Kingdom of heaven on this earth. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of Christ on earth. Jesus said, "Happy are people who are poor in spirit. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? To be poor in spirit is to be poor in the highest part of our being. Man consists of a body, soul and spirit It is the spirit with which we reach out to God. To be poor in spirit is something we feel like we feel joy or pain, something we are aware of deep in our soul, something we feel in our innermost consciousness. It is the feeling that something is missing our lives. It is the desire within us to be better than we are. That something that is missing is God. It is the feeling I am not what I could and should be. It is the desire to live with God's favor. Blessed, said Jesus, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. These are he people who will become Christians, and these are the people Jesus wants in His church. Christ's kingdom on earth is His church. Man's first longing is to reach out to God and live under His favor. God created us with a sense of right and wrong; we call that our conscience. He created us with a free will to do as we please but holds one control over our lives, and that is our conscience. I like to think of the conscience as a rope that ties us to God. It is our sense of right and wrong. God gave us a conscience for our protection in life. It is the conscience that reminds us of our need to reach out to God. However we can destroy our conscience, and woe be unto every human being who cuts the rope that ties us to God.

Philosophers have on occasion predicted the death of God and faith because of the challenges from both science and secularism. But God is very much alive today. Throughout the earth people are asserting their need for religious belief. The Christian religion has aroused the need of God in our lives. Russia was an atheistic nation for many years but the worship of God has revived in that country. The Bible teaches that human beings were made in the image of God. He made us with a religious nature; we have a nature that can reach out to God. Human beings are essentially religious by nature. We live in a wonderful world. Most people believe that Jehovah God created this beautiful world. When people say they do not believe in God, it is because some unhappiness has come to them in life. But man by nature is a religious being. Man consists of a body, soul, and spirit; we have higher nature that can reach out to God.

Another basic desire mentioned by Isaiah is the hope that some day wars will cease and let there be peace on earth. Isaiah writes when the Messiah comes and sets up His kingdom church on this earht, "He shall judge between the nations and rebuke many people.They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into  pruning hooks. In 1992, a group of academics and historians compiled this startling information. Since 3600 B.C., the world has known only 292 years of peace!

In view of these terrible facts how shall we understand this prophecy of Isaiah that nation shall not llift up  sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore. They shall beat their swords in to plowshares. Please note what Isaiah said it would take to bring peace to this world. He said the Messiah shall judge between the nations and rebuke many people. It will take a great leader and teacher, and Jesus Christ is that Teacher. Christ has been doing that for two thousand years. Here is what Isaiah is saying to us. Before there can be lasting peace on earth there must be true justice on earth, a respect for human life. Beating swords into plowshares is a figurative statement and is not to be taken literally. The idea is that in proportion as the people of the world come be guided by the teachings of Christ which originated in Jerusalem, 33 A.D. and receive the great principles of the gospel of Christ they will cease to have the motive for carnal warfare. I agree with those who believe that the hope of peace in the world depends on the nations learning war no more. The ceasing of carnal warfare will be by-product of the Christian religion.

It is only right and fair to Christ, the world's greatest teacher, for all mankind to honestly recognize and honor Him for the impact that He has made on the world. People from all nations of the world have come to the religion of Christ that originated in Jerusalem as Isaiah predicted. People from all nations are being taught and guided by the laws of God in the Christian religion. Isaiah was speaking of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on this earth and the planting of the Christian religion in the world and how all nations would be attracted to it. The Church of Christ is God's temple in the world today, and there are many interesting indications that the prophecy in Isaiah 2:2 is in the process of being fulfilled today. Consider the political aspect of the globe. Vast political changes have taken place during the last four centuries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America have all been favorable to the extension of the Christian religion. The knowledge of Christ has been steadily expanding. Furthermore, there has been great progress of civilization and of Arts. Only a few years ago it required the painful labor of years to copy a Bible, and the wealth of ruler to purchase one. At that time none could read but the learned few. Now the art of printing scatters the word of God like autumn leaves , and it is found in the humblest dwelling. In language of scripture the word of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.

War has long been one of the greatest obstacles in the way of human improvement; now various causes are operating to render war less frequent: (1) The rapid extension of Christian principles of piety, justice, humanitarianism, the golden rule(do unt others as you have them do to you) etc. These are all principles of peace. Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you." (2) Consider the enlightened views of national policy. The creation of the United Nations organization stnads as a symbol that nations should learn war no more. (3) Again, there has been a transference of power from kings and dictators to the people, the victims of war who will become its powerful opponents. There has been a rise in democracy among the nations of the earth. (4) In addition there have been inventions of terrible engines of destruction such as the Atomic bomb that can destroy entire cities and the death of 40,000 people instantly. This is another development that influences nations not to lift up sword against nation; neither to learn war no more. This is a great deterrent to war. Slavery too is rapidly disappearing from the earth. To all this we can say that the present state of the sciences has made a contribution. This statement seems to be contradicted by the attitude of many students of science toward the Christian religion. But we must remember that all sciences in their infancy have been arrayed as hostile to scriptural truth.–Astronomy, Geology, Physiology, Archaeology, etc. But one by one each of these sciences, as it developed, has passed over to the Christian religion. Many scientists are devout Christians. There are many Christian Universities in America. The Christian religion had a great part in bringing the world out of the Dark Ages. Most of the discoveries that have made our way of life better and more comfortable have been made since the Protestant Reformation in the 1500"s. The mighty influence of Christ which which swept away the gods of Greede and Rome will continue to bless the human race and make it a better and safer place to live our lives. General Dwight Eisenhouer, the great general of World War 11, said that this passage in Isaiah 2:4 is the greatest ideal for peace in the possession of the human race.

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