O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I've been on the message board circuit again challenging futurists. Now they seem to be using Isaiah 2:2-4 to refute that the time period from 30-70 AD were the last days mentioned in the Old Testament. Any thoughts on how I should reply accurately?
.Now it shall come to pass in the latter 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.
3 Many people shall come and say,
"Come, and 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."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
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 anymore.
For whatever my comments are worth, here are a few thoughts. Any answer you supply on that forum will probably be brushed aside, but it's important to give a response, if you can, simply to defend the integrity of the scriptures on this.
You highlighted the portion at the end especially, I see - the part about "not learning war anymore" - which I presume is the part the forum is also emphasizing. I mean, after all, the world continues to have international wars on a regular basis, so to those on your forum, this means Christ could NOT have returned yet, if the world's countries are still battling with each other.
Your forum members probably can't see this applying in any sense except a global, literal one between countries such as China and Russia, etc. However, the scale of warfare in this text doesn't really apply in that sense. This Isaiah 2:4 verse I would say is more descriptive of an end of hostilities between Jew and Gentile nations, as in Ephesians 2 where the "One New Man" principle is laid out. It speaks of "enmity" having existed between the Gentiles and those of the commonwealth of Israel, but who are now at peace with one another, with both of them reconciled to God together by the blood of Christ.
Israel upon entering the land of Canaan conquered the nations of Canaan by the sword under Joshua, but in the "One New Man' reality of the promised land of the New Covenant (established by Christ's sacrifice in the "latter days" of the first century), both Jew and Gentile are to lay down their enmity and their weapons forever, since they are all considered to be one in Christ.
As for the first verses of Isaiah 2:2-3, your forum members probably won't accept scripture's definition of the "latter days" being those of the first century, but Hebrews does cover the time for the "last days" in Heb. 1:2 - "...hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son...", and in Hebrews 9:26 - "...but now once in the end of the world (age) hath He appeared to put away sin..." Acts 2:16-17 also pronounced those days of Pentecost gifts to be the fulfillment of the Joel 2:28-32 prophecy for the "last days" which were then in progress in the first century as Peter was speaking.
The Hebrew 12:22 verse also proves a then-current reality of the words of Isaiah 2:2-3. "But ye ARE COME (already) unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem..." This was not something the Hebrews audience was waiting for - they had already come to it, in the conditions of the New Covenant - the kingdom they had already received, according to Hebrews 12:28.
Isaiah 2:3's prophecy speaks of the law going forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. This, too, has already been fulfilled by the persecuted saints fleeing Jerusalem after the persecution was launched the very day Stephen was martyred. Acts 8:4 says the persecuted saints of Jerusalem that were "scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the world." This was just as God fully intended, that His word would spread out from Jerusalem first, then to Judea, then Samaria, then unto the uttermost part of the world.
As for "the law going forth out of Zion", didn't the apostles in Jerusalem send out decrees for the new Gentile saints to observe, and weren't those decrees taken abroad among the churches? Acts 15:22-29 and Acts 16:4 said "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them THE DECREES for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at JERUSALEM." These decrees, you remember, mentioned the annulled law of circumcision, restrictions on meats offered to idols, from blood and strangled offerings, and a refraining from fornication - just a few "necessary things" that were especially pertinent to the times.
Okay, Steve, these are just a few things off the top of my head. Maybe others will chime in here with some more suggestions that could help better than I can on this...