a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

The Future House of God


The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.



In days to come

the mountain of the L ord’s house

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and shall be raised above the hills;

all the nations shall stream to it.


Many peoples shall come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the L ord,

to the house of the God of Jacob;

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,

and the word of the L ord from Jerusalem.


He shall judge between the nations,

and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

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 any more.


Judgment Pronounced on Arrogance


O house of Jacob,

come, let us walk

in the light of the L ord!


For you have forsaken the ways of your people,

O house of Jacob.

Indeed they are full of diviners from the east

and of soothsayers like the Philistines,

and they clasp hands with foreigners.


Their land is filled with silver and gold,

and there is no end to their treasures;

their land is filled with horses,

and there is no end to their chariots.


Their land is filled with idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their own fingers have made.


And so people are humbled,

and everyone is brought low—

do not forgive them!


Enter into the rock,

and hide in the dust

from the terror of the L ord,

and from the glory of his majesty.


The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low,

and the pride of everyone shall be humbled;

and the L ord alone will be exalted on that day.


For the L ord of hosts has a day

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted up and high;


against all the cedars of Lebanon,

lofty and lifted up;

and against all the oaks of Bashan;


against all the high mountains,

and against all the lofty hills;


against every high tower,

and against every fortified wall;


against all the ships of Tarshish,

and against all the beautiful craft.


The haughtiness of people shall be humbled,

and the pride of everyone shall be brought low;

and the L ord alone will be exalted on that day.


The idols shall utterly pass away.


Enter the caves of the rocks

and the holes of the ground,

from the terror of the L ord,

and from the glory of his majesty,

when he rises to terrify the earth.


On that day people will throw away

to the moles and to the bats

their idols of silver and their idols of gold,

which they made for themselves to worship,


to enter the caverns of the rocks

and the clefts in the crags,

from the terror of the L ord,

and from the glory of his majesty,

when he rises to terrify the earth.


Turn away from mortals,

who have only breath in their nostrils,

for of what account are they?

1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw This prophecy is a confirmation of that doctrine which we had a little before, concerning the restoration of the Church. For since it is difficult to cherish the hope of safety, when we are, as it were, in the midst of destruction, while the wrath of God burns and consumes everything far and wide, or while his threatenings strike terror into our minds, at such a period the bare promises are hardly sufficient to support us and to allay our fears. For this reason the Lord determined that to the consolation which had already been proclaimed there should be added this special vision, by way of confirmation, in order to make it more certain and undoubted that, whatever calamities might arise, his Church would never perish. I have no doubt, therefore, but that this vision agrees with what is stated in the 26th and 27th verses of the former chapter.

Hence we learn what was the advantage and design of visions; for since doctrine sometimes has not sufficient weight with us, God therefore adds visions, that by means of them he may seal his doctrine to us. Since, therefore, this vision is connected with the former promise, we learn from it this useful doctrine, that all visions of every kind which God formerly gave to his Prophets must be joined to the promises in such a manner as to be seals of them. And thus we perceive more and more the astonishing goodness of God, that, not satisfied with giving us his bare word, he places before our eyes, as it were, representations of the events.

He has added a confirmation, that the restoration of the Church is a matter of very great importance, and necessary to be known. For where is the truth of the Lord, where is faith, if there be no Church? If there be none, it follows that God is a liar, and that everything contained in his word is false. But as God frequently shows, by striking proofs, that he preserves the Church by unknown methods and without the assistance of men, so he now declares by a remarkable prediction that he will do this.

There were two purposes to be served by this prediction. First, since Isaiah, and others who came after him, were unceasingly to proclaim terror, on account of the obstinate wickedness of the people, until the temple should be burnt, and the city destroyed, and the Jews carried into captivity, it was necessary that such severity should be mitigated towards believers by some consolation of hope. Secondly, as they were to languish in captivity, and as their minds were shaken, even after their return, by a succession of varied calamities, and at length were almost overwhelmed with despair by the dreadful desolation and confusion, they might a hundred times have fainted, if they had not been upheld. As to those who had already fallen, they were raised up and confirmed by the promised restoration, to such an extent, at least, that they retained among them the practice of calling on God, which is the only and undoubted remedy for the worst of evils. הדבר, (haddabar,) the word, is rendered by some interpreters the thing, which accords with the general signification of this term; but it is better to view it as denoting a divine purpose. Isaiah says that it was revealed to him by a special vision.

2. And it shall come to pass in the last of the days 3535     In the last days. — Eng. Ver. When he mentions the end or completion of days, let us remember that he is speaking of the kingdom of Christ; and we ought also to understand why he gives to the kingdom of Christ this appellation. It was because till that time everything might be said to be in a state of suspense, that the people might not fix their eyes on the present condition of things, which was only a shadow, but on the Redeemer, by whom the reality would be declared. Since Christ came, therefore, if that time be compared with ours, we have actually arrived at the end of ages. It was the duty of the fathers who lived at that time to go, as it were, with outstretched arms to Christ; and since the restoration of all things depended on his coming, it is with good reason that they are enjoined to extend their hope to that period. It was indeed always useful for them to know, that under Christ the condition of the Church would be more perfect; more especially because they were held under figures, for the Lord was pleased to arouse them in various wavy for the express purpose of keeping them in suspense.

But there was a peculiar importance attached to this prediction; for, during four hundred years or thereby, there were innumerable occasions on which they might have fainted, had they not called to remembrance that fullness of days, in which the Church was to be perfectly restored. During the various storms, therefore, by which the Church was nearly overwhelmed, every believer, when shipwrecked, seized on this word as a plank, that by means of it he might be floated into the harbour. Yet it ought to be observed, that while the fullness of days began at the coming of Christ, it flows on in uninterrupted progress until he appear the second time for our salvation. (Hebrews 9:28.)

That the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established This vision might be thought to wear the aspect of absurdity, not only because Zion was a little hill of no extraordinary height, just as if one should compare a handful of earth to huge mountains; but because he had but a little before predicted its destruction. How, then, could it be believed that Mount Zion, after having lost all her greatness, would again shine with such lustre as to draw upon her the eyes of all the nations? And yet she is extolled as if she hail been loftier than Olympus.” Let the Gentiles,” says Isaiah, “boast as much as they please of their lofty mountains; for they shall be nothing in comparison of that hill, though it be low and inconsiderable.” According to nature, this certainly was very improbable. What! shall Zion be hung up in the clouds? And therefore there can be no doubt that wicked men scoffed at this prediction; for ungodliness has always been ready to break forth against God.

Now the peculiarity which I have noticed tended to weaken the belief of this prediction; for when Zion, after the destruction of the temple, had fallen into the deepest disgrace, how could she rise again so suddenly? And yet it was not in vain that Isaiah prophesied; for at length this hill was actually raised above all the mountains, because from it was heard the voice of God, and sounded through the whole world, that it might lift us up to heaven; because from it the heavenly majesty of God shone brightly; and lastly, because, being the sanctuary of God, it surpassed the whole world in lofty excellence.

The use of this prophecy deserves our attention. It was, that Isaiah intended to bring consolation, which would support the minds of the people during the captivity; so that, although there should be no temple, and no sacrifices, and though all should be in ruins, still this hope would be cherished in the minds of the godly, and, amidst a condition so desolate and so shockingly ruinous, they would still reason thus: “The mountain of the Lord is indeed forsaken, but there he will yet have his habitation; and greater shall be the glory of this mountain than of all others.” To prevent them, therefore, from doubting that such would be the result, the Prophet has here, as it were, sketched a picture in which they might behold the glory of God; for although the mountain was still in existence, yet a disgraceful solitude made it almost an object of detestation, since it had lost its splendor in consequence of having been forsaken by God. But it was the duty of the pious to look not at those ruins, but at this vision. Moreover, the reason why he speaks in such lofty terms concerning the exaltation of Mount Zion is sufficiently evident from what follows; because thence proceeded the Gospel, in which the image of God shines. Other mountains might excel it in height; but as the glory of God has surpassing excellence, so the mountain in which he is manifested must also be highly distinguished. It was not, therefore, on her own account that he extolled Mount Zion, but in respect of her ornament, the splendor of which would be communicated to the whole world.

VIEWNAME is study