“Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths’.” ~Isaiah 2:3a-d (NRSV).
In a passage of biblical text that also appears in Micah 4:1-3, the excerpt above details a time when all peoples will be attracted, supernaturally perhaps, to the New Jerusalem: the Church.
From a multinational influx, as the nations congregate within the house of the God of Jacob, there is envisioned a unitary response that can be seen as global inclusiveness: a world, more or less, united under the banner of the Church.
This is a comprehensively magnificent vision.
The Boldest and Grandest of Visions
Even the most learned and hopeful of Christians will struggle with such a prophecy; they will sincerely wish it to be the case, but a worldly realism threatens to ambush such a belief as unworthy in our lifetime.
There is perhaps the belief, also, that a certain number of human beings, even whole nations, may miss the calling of God—it depends upon the situation and theology we use as a gauge.
But it is still a captivating and worthy vision for the Church; that entire people groups would flock under the allegiance of the Lord in order that they might be taught his ordinances and willingly walk that holy path, eternally.
Has A Vision Like This Traction For Today?
Indeed, it must. There are many thousands evangelised into the Kingdom every year, some at single crusade-like events, especially now from the remotest regions. Paradoxically, there are fewer Westernised nations featuring for revival like, for instance,
The globalisation of the planet, also, indicates that profound enemies of the Kingdom—poverty, injustice, persecution, and the thwarting of the evangelistic end—might be dealt with inside a generation or three. But, this could surely come only by the will of God and the faithful innovation of humankind to acquiesce technology such that the Kingdom purpose might prevail toward the quickening of the Parousia (Jesus’ second coming). Yet, only by the Lord’s decree!
A Vision, First, for Faithfulness
Isaiah speaks for a faithful God and, equally, against a faithless, supposedly holy nation. His vision for the future house of God is sullied by what he sees with his own eyes.
The prophet’s vision is of a unified multi-nation, properly submitted to the Lord, for the need to go his way. There is nothing of compulsion that manipulates these “many peoples.” No, this is a vision of the New Jerusalem; a vision for the Church somehow not quite completed.
As vision of the New Jerusalem is imagined, we come replete with awe, that all tribes and tongues will join together as one to worship the Lord; that day—if we can call it a day—is coming. Maranatha!
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.