There is a sudden turn of thought here from the theme of Isaiah 1. The introduction of v. 1 would imply that it is another vision. It’s almost as if he is trying to entice them: if you would just obey, here’s what awaits you, instead of all the suffering of chapter 1. But I think it also serves a second purpose: to let them know that their messing up will not mess up the plans of God. His plans will go through anyway. It’s just that many of them, much to God’s regret, will miss the party. Despite the wholesale failure of God’s people (ch. 1), God and God’s plan will ultimately win, and God’s kingdom will ultimately be established. The kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdom of our God, and he will reign forever and ever. He will bring his godly rule and an eternity of peace and life to the world. God’s mountain will be bigger than the mountains of the other gods, signifying his supremacy in power and wisdom. This glorified end is not just for the people of Israel, but for all who will come, and it will include representatives of all nations, all peoples, and all tongues. His will be not a restricted kingdom of his elite, but of all who will believe.
Verse 3: “He will teach us his ways.” In heaven, why will teaching be necessary? We know that there are three things that are eternal: God, people, and God’s word. God’s word will never pass away. The significance here is that God’s word will still be true and valid, and all who are with him in the last days will be those who are like him and walk in his paths.
“Come”: It starts with an invitation. Who doesn’t want an invitation? To be remembered, thought of, included—to belong? An invitation has a way of making all of us feel special, included, and loved. This invitation mirrors the feeling and format of the one in 1:18: “Come, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ”
The invitation is to a choice we must make—a lifestyle we must choose. We are not fatalistically slaves to sin, nor are we coerced to serve God. We have an invitation to be different and to live differently than by our nature.
Gal. 5.16 – walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Eph. 5.2 – walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
1 Jn. 1.7 – if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin
2 Jn. 1.6 – And this is love: that we walk in obedience to him commands…His command is that you walk in love.
3 Jn. 1.3 – …the truth…walk in it
And now to approach the text from a completely different angle.
1. “Judah” and “Jerusalem” are not literal, but TYPES (like symbols). All of God’s covenant people are typified by these two words or groupings. So he’s not specifically talking about geographical Judah or the literal city of Jerusalem.
2. “In the last days” sure sounds like a generality to me, sort of like saying, “This is what will ultimately happen.” Therefore it is indistinct, a figure of speech, and a metaphor.
3. “The mountain of the Lord” will not literally be established as chief among mountains. It’s a figure of speech that God’s plan will ultimately win out, that God is sovereign over all, and that God’s kingdom will ultimately be established.
4. I’m not convinced that Christ will literally reign from the physical, human city of Jerusalem. In Revelation 21, I believe that Jerusalem is a symbol of God’s presence with his people. He will reign from his heavenly throne. Jerusalem is a shadow counterpart to the true temple in heaven (Heb. 8.1-2).
5. “Nations will stream to it.” Is he speaking of a literal Jerusalem, the actual city that people will actually stream to, or is he speaking metaphorically that in the last days people will turn back to God? This is a tough one, but based on everything else I observe, I’m going to say he’s speaking metaphorically.
6. Verse 4 sure sounds like it’s literal. God will be the judge in a courtroom, but as a monarch, settling disputes. Again, I think it’s metaphorical. For instance, will we literally beat or swords into plowshares? No. We don’t use swords anymore, and we don’t have plowshares. It’s speaking symbolically of peace rather than war. We will beat our spears into pruning hooks at the local blacksmith shop? Again, no—it’s a symbol that God’s kingdom will be one of peace, justice, and righteousness.