Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
They Shall Beat Their Swords Into Plowshares
by Tony Warren
One of the central doctrines of Christianity is the teaching of the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom of God, and Isaiah chapter 2:1-5 is the decree and ordinance of God concerning this coming Kingdom. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion on what is meant by the phrase, "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks." This passage is widely misunderstood to point to a future millennial Kingdom. This may be partly due to the fact that we live in an instant gratification society that can't seem to distinguish the forest from the trees. Along with the proliferation of Premillennialism and its erroneous method of Bible interpretation, people seem to have this desire to look at symbolic references as if they were literal or physical. The fact is, in order to rightly discern God's Word of truth, we have to let God's Word interpret itself. No prophecy is subject to our own private or personal interpretation, they came as these holy men of old were divinely moved of God to write (2nd Peter 1:21), and cannot be subject to our personal opinions.
The context of these passages are the last days, which (according to Scripture) is the whole New Testament period. These prophecies clearly gave the reader a glimpse of the (then future) establishment of Christ's millennial Kingdom, which was to come to pass at the time of the death and resurrection of Christ. Indeed, when these passages speak of the cessation of warfare and the bringing of judgment to the nations, it is not speaking of physical warfare, but spiritual warfare and the judgment of God's Word. Two thousand years ago Christ came to earth as the prince of peace, not to establish an earthly or physical peace between nations. That type peace will never happen as long as there are unsaved people in the world. Christ came to earth to establish a peace with God among the nations, and judgment in a Kingdom that is not of this world. The problem (as I see it) is that many people continually err by use of the unsound hermeneutic of what they deem "consistent literalism," and thus try to look at prophecies as a literal or worldly narrative. In other words, the problem is systemic, where people surmise this means all worldly war is prophesied to cease, or that there must be the establishment of an earthly Kingdom. It is usually this same error based on a lack of understanding that "Scripture interprets Scripture" and God prophesies using imagery and symbolic representations. In other words, either this prophecy is that nations will very literally have swords that they will literally melt down and beat into hoes for plowing, or this language is to be taken figuratively. It is either symbolic language or it is not.
Thus, in order to understand these passages correctly, we have to go back to the basics of a sound system of interpretation where we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. It must be interpreted within the context, and in agreement and perfect harmony with the whole Bible. In light of this, we pick up the context from verse two of what Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
The last days are the whole New Testament period, which was the establishment of the new dispensation of Christ's Kingdom revealed to the nations. This time of "the last days," which was prophesied to come, was fulfilled in the days of Christ's first advent. This was also verified in the Acts account of the apostles.
- "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
The last days clearly encompass the whole New Testament period that was established in Christ's millennial Kingdom reign, and was signified by the sign wonders occurring at Pentecost. That is the last days when the mountain of the Lord's House was established as chief over all Kingdoms, and when the nations or Gentiles began to flow into it. Mountains are symbolic representations of Kingdoms in Scripture. Christ established His great Kingdom of the Lord's House over all kingdoms in these last days, so that all nations might flow into it. The nations find rest in this kingdom where none can hurt them. We can't take the mountain as physical/literal, nor the plowshares or swords. It is all painting a symbolic portrait of a time and place of peace and safety in a kingdom that cannot be moved.
- "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
- And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:"
This holy mountain is the Lord's Holy Kingdom wherein the millennial reign is advanced to the nations and fills the whole earth with knowledge of the Lord. The knowledge of the Lord is for all the earth, is as waters from heaven cover the sea. No nation is exempt from the Lord's salvation. It is within this Millennial Kingdom reign over the nations that Christ brought peace all over the earth. It is this new dispensation of peace on earth, as opposed to the Old Testament dispensation where communion with God was primarily to the nation of Israel. This speaks of a new dispensation of the Kingdom of the Lord's house.
- "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
- And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
All the nations are now flowing into the Kingdom established through Christ's death and resurrection. When Isaiah 2:2 declares that "nations shall flow unto it," this is language pointing to the coming establishment of Christ's present millennial Kingdom reign, and the inclusion of the nations or Gentiles. When we go on to verse three of Isaiah chapter two, we see it continues in this same vein.
- "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
- That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"
The people of these nations will then look to the Kingdom of God to be taught of Him and to learn how to walk in His paths. This is because with the advancement of the Kingdom to the nations comes the law of God, brought by the Word of God made flesh. The primary controversy among Christians begins chiefly in verse four. Here is where many have attempted to negate Christ having fulfilled this and apply it to all earthly physical wars ceasing.
- And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
We will look at each of God's comments in this verse and do a brief overview to show that clearly, they have all been fulfilled. In doing so, we hope that many will be able to better see how this all ties in together harmoniously with the rest of Scripture concerning Christ's millennial reign. If we go about this systematically, with a sound hermeneutic that consists of allowing Scripture to interpret itself, we can clearly see the prophecy take shape in the person and power of Christ establishing and advancing His Kingdom.
- And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Christ brings judgment to the nations by setting up his Kingdom among all nations of the world, it no longer being primarily the Jews of national Israel who benefit. Christ brings salvation to the nations by establishing His law in them as judge over the nations, even as He was judge of Israel. He judges or rules them as the sovereign King, governing all matters of God's will. To judge among the nations means there will be a new dispensation wherein Christ's kingdom will be advanced among the Gentiles, and that as Israel, He will sit as judge or ruler over them. The word judge is His rule of law, and rule is this judgment. For example, even as the judges that God appointed in the Old Testament were set up as the rulers there. Indeed it was for the purpose of executing and advancing this rule of God's law that Christ came. His Judging among the nations is in His establishing the kingdom that goes forth executing His sovereign rule. In order to do this, the great deceiver Satan (who had rule over the nations) had to be defeated so that he could no longer hold them in spiritual bondage or captivity.
Executing judgment in the earth is the rule of Christ over all nations in this millennial reign of Christ, which is the New Testament congregation period. This is not something of future prophesy or to take place after Christ's second coming. It is the Kingdom Christ established two thousand years ago, wherein He now sits as sovereign judge over those He has made kings and priests to serve Him. They also are given judgment through His Word, advancing the Kingdom of heaven on earth.
- "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
- In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Along with the coming of this millennial Kingdom of Christ wherein all the nations were enlightened by His Spirit, also came the prophesied rule or judgment of the saints. They advance the kingdom by the power of the Spirit, through the gospel of Christ. They are given this power to judge and to rule as kings and priests unto God.
- "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
- And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
It is not something Christ will do, it is something Christ has come and completed. Christ is now prince of the kings of the earth, for He has made us kings and priests through His shed blood. Thus we have the rule of law in the judgment of the Word. Again, this is not something that is prophesied to come in the future, but kingship and judgment that has already been established in Christ. Even as He explained Himself.
- "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
- And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Not sometime in the future, Christ already brought this judgment to cast the prince of darkness out, and it is thereby that the nations are made righteous. The judgment of this world was so that Satan's house or Kingdom could be spoiled by the victory and coquering nature of Christ's Kingdom. It is a Kingdom empowered by the Spirit of Christ and advanced so wonderfully that the gates of Satan's prison house are not able to withstand its onslaught. The gates of hell cannot prevail against Christ's church. For it is being built with the living stones of those of the nations delivered from their captivity (Hebrews 2:14-15) in the Kingdom of darkness. He has promised with an oath (Covenant) to free the captivity, and He did not fail to deliver. With His coming as King, He has established and confirmed that covenant in His blood (Hebrews 9:16-17). The nations have now been brought peace and are being judged by Christ. Even as Revelation chapter 20 illustrated that He gave judgment to the nations, as was prophesied before of God in Isaiah chapter 42.
- "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."
Judgment is established throughout the earth by Christ's rule, so that out of the dark prison house of Satan's kingdom comes the spoil. In other words, the gates of Satan's spiritual prison cannot prevail when Christ comes against it to loose the captives. It is not physical/literal prison or captivity, but spiritual prison Nothing would prevent the Kingdom of Christ from being advanced among the nations. This is the prophesy of the coming millennial reign and clearly this speaks of Christ's first advent. It declares that He is the one that shall bring forth rule of law or judgment unto truth. In His coming advancing the Kingdom, we see a new prevalence of Christian principles among the nations or gentiles, that is established. Even as it was written of Him:
- "bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
- He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
- Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
- I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
- To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
So through all these pertinent Scriptures we see it is perfectly clear that when God prophesies that He shall judge among the nations (Gentiles), it speaks of the coming of Christ in bringing the Kingdom to the Gentiles nations. This same establishment of Christ that brings the law/judgment of God to the nations. The same judgment convincing their conscience as He changes their hearts that the nations are no longer deceived of Satan. Ergo, they are being saved just as the Jewish nation. They are made fellow heirs of the Kingdom of God, and are now Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).
- "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles."
The Hebrew word translated rebuke is [yakach], from root meaning to 'make right,' as to correct or justify. Too often today's puffed up Christians, having become so full of themselves, look upon Christian rebuke as an "attack" when it is often simply correction. It is by God's rebukes, reproofs, corrections and warnings of judgment that He convicts and convinces the people, bringing the nations into lawful subjection. This is not a rebuke in His wrath, but the rebuke of many people in correction. And often how one reacts to these rebukes, reproofs and corrections of God, depends upon in what spirit they have received it. The Spirit of humility where we deem whatever God says is law, or the haughty spirit of disobedience.
God rebukes and corrects those whom He loves and has called according to the election of Grace. It is not in His wrath as with the reprobates, but unto their repentance. To one God's rebuke is oppressive and grievous, and to another it is a goad to forsake unrighteousness. And as it is written, "correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way, and he that hateth reproof shall die - Proverbs 15:10." Rebuke or reproof in the word through the Spirit, is how God corrects those whom He loves. Unfortunately, far too many people today don't want to hear the word of God's correction, believing that they really know better than God what should be done. I'm sure many of us have heard professed Christians, having been quoted Scripture word for word, declare that:
- "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee."
"..if that is the type of God you serve, I want no part of Him."That spirit or attitude is because they don't like what "That God" has to say. They want another god and another gospel, wherein they can have it their own way. That is why they scoff and even bristle at the rebuke of God, even though it is quoted word for word. They lack the reverential fear of God to humble themselves unto obedience. Nevertheless, here and there, there are those elect of the nations, who will respond favorably to God's rebukes. Those favored (under Grace) of God unto faith of Christ in the Spirit of obedience receive God's rebuke in love. In Isaiah chapter two God rebuking many people of the nations is not to their shame, but to their revelation. He rebukes many so that they may acknowledge their sins, repent and turn again to him. And to be sure, the election will. Even as they are called as Kings and Priests unto God to also rebuke unto correction, that many may be exhorted unto obedience and grow in Grace.
2nd Timothy 4:2
Indeed, Christ commissioned his apostles and all God's servants to go to the ends of the earth and teach all nations. And this teaching requires Christ's rebuke of the world and all its vanity and temporal glory. The true gospel includes the Godly rebuke of all ungodliness and unlawfulness. And this is the rebuke that is so lacking in our day because of the degradation of faithful preaching. So while many professed Christians look upon Godly rebuke as judging unrighteously or as a unchristian thing to do, clearly God uses the word as a synonym for the tool for convicting people of truth. We are to humbly offer reproof to convince by the word, and to patiently rebuke doctrinal faults. Just as when God said to Peter, "get thee behind me Satan," it was not a rebuke of wrath to attack him, but to correct his ideas about Christ's death. For whom God loves, He rebukes. And we should have that exact same Spirit of "love" for our fellow man.
- "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
- "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;"
Even as God rebukes unto truth and salvation, so the servants of God who have been made Kings and Priests in His kingdom, rebuke with the word, that many might be zealous. Rebuke so that God's house might be chastened and repent with zeal, that they live Godly. Through the law, which is God's word that acts as a sharp rebuker, the people will be convinced of their sins. The law is the rebuke of sin, and the knowledge of the Love of God.
- "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
When God says In Isaiah that Christ will rebuke many people, it is because of His love for the nations, that he has elected people all over the earth. The everlasting gospel is to be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. And when Christ established this Millennial Kingdom rule of God that the nations are loosed from being deceived of Satan (revelation 20:3), they were rebuked that they might acknowledge their sins and return to the communion with God. The original communion that man had in the garden of Eden. As many as He loves He rebukes and chastens, just as He did with the nation of Israel. Even as Christ said so very plainly, was the very reason He had to return to the glory of God in heaven.
- "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
This Greek word [elegcho] that is here translated reprove is the exact same word that is translated rebuke. Christ established His kingdom and sent the Holy Spirit into the world to rebuke the world of sin. This is saying the exact same thing that Isaiah 2:4 says in Christ judging among the nations, and His rebuking many people. It speaks of Christ's established Kingdom among the nations. We just have to keep our ears Spiritually tuned to receive what is being said. His rebuke is by His Spirit, poured out at Pentecost, and through the word that goes to the whole world now. And the rebuke is that it convince all the people of the world of their sin, repentance and forgiveness. Just as it did the elect of Israel such as Lot, Abraham, Jacob and David.
- "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
- And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
- Of sin, because they believe not on me;
- Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
- Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
God prophesies that when Christ rebukes many people, they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. I doubt that anyone thinking rationally will claim that this has to be taken literally, where people will have literal swords, which they will literally beat into a plowshare. This is an abstract phrase used to represent the cessation of warfare against God when Christ rebukes them. This symbolizes that the people will go from waging war to the peaceful pursuits signified in the husbandry of cultivating crops. The spiritual meaning here is quite evident that with the coming of Christ's kingdom is the law from the Holy City, and its rebuke causes the people to change their implements of war into implements of peace. i.e., a sword is an instrument used for war, and the plowshare is a type of hoe used for digging in agriculture or farming. Through this imagery God is declaring that instead of the nation's inherent warfare with God, the people will change their profession to be sowers and workers in cultivating fields for God. This prophesy has nothing to do with making literal farming tools or with literal weapons of war being retooled. God is declaring the cessation of a spiritual warfare against Him by the people, and the beginning of spiritual husbandry. By this rebuke of the people, God brings peace to the nations, that they are no longer the enemy of the Covenant people of God. They are all made one, in communion with God, through the mediator Jesus Christ. Even as the heavenly host declared of Him when He was born.
This was Christ coming as the Prince of Peace, the reconciler of men that ends the warfare against God, through His work on the cross. It is only through Him that our tools of war become tools of peace. It is only through Him that we cease warfare with God and become in agreement with His Holy nation. It is only through Him that all nations are reconciled to God where their inherent warfare with Him has ended.
- "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
- Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Once an enemy at war with God, now have we become workers in his field. This prophesy of Isaiah is of Christ coming as reconciler, removing the breach that sin had made between God and the world. By His death and resurrection, Christ has removed the warfare, the enmity that was between the people and God. Thus they no longer have use for the weapons of war against God, but are now at peace with Him wherein they labor as His servants. They are now part of a kingdom which is pictured as caring for the plantings of the field. Much as Christ Himself told parables of husbandry, sowing in the fields and plantings that were spiritual pictures illustrating the care of the Kingdom of God.
- "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
- And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."
"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.The laborers of the Kingdom don't use swords, but plowshares and pruninghooks to cultivate and prune the vineyard, and this is the same picture of husbandry we see in Isaiah chapter two. It is a picture of being at peace with God where we labor as workmen in the field. Or as the Apostle Paul signified these same Spiritual truths in 1st Corinthians chapter three.
- And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard."
1st Corinthians 3:7-9
God is equating the people of His kingdom to those who labor in the fields to plant, and to water and who care for the plantings of the Lord. We are spiritually God's husbandry or farmers who cultivate, water and care for God's plants. In other words, the Kingdom of God is likened unto a sower who plants seed in the field that it brings forth fruit. The field is the world and the seed is the word of God. And the plowshare is a cultivating tool used for that purpose. In like manner, the spear is an instrument of warfare, while a pruninghook is a short curved knife-like tool used for pruning plants that they might grow better. Again, this all signifying that when these people are rebuked of God, they will turn from being at war with Him, to being spiritual husbandmen (farmers) working in His fields to care for the plantings of the Lord. Beating their swords into plowshares simply means they will turn away from war with God to begin to exercise Godly charity (Agape) in toiling in the field as servants of the Kingdom on behalf of God. To love their neighbor as they love themselves, desiring the same for them, as they have received of God.
- "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
- Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
- For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
Many people are looking for a day on earth when no nation will ever lift up sword or weapon against another nation. But the truth is, they look in vain. Because God has never promised a time when there would never be the physically poor on earth. God has never promised a time when there would never be people physically diseased on earth. And God has never promised a time when there would never be physical war on earth. That day "on earth" will never come, but we look for a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. The nation that will not war against nation anymore is the gentile nation that has been reconciled with God into His Holy nation. Even as the branches of the wild Olive tree are being grafted into the natural Olive tree, signifying the reconciliation with God and the inclusion into in the New Covenant with Israel. They will never again be two diverse nations at enmity with each other, but through Christ Jesus making peace, they have become one holy Nation at peace. Consider carefully God's words in describing this new peace Christ has established with the nations.
Two nations at enmity with each other, having been brought peace by Christ Jesus, wherein they are no longer at war but reconciled together in one body, one holy nation, acceptable to God. Before we became saved, we were enemies who were spiritually at war with God. It was holy nation against gentile nation, Kingdom against Kingdom, and the instruments of our warfare were not carnal but spiritual. Spiritually we wielded a sword against God, not physically. But God's kingdom has come to us by the Spirit of Christ, and that warfare and enmity has been done away with. The nation at enmity with the holy nation of God comes by the spirit of antichrist with word of Satan. This epic spiritual battle between these two nations that has been fought since the garden of Eden. And God gave us a glimpse of this, an allegorical picture of this signified in Genesis chapter twenty-five.
- Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
- That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
- But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
- For He is our PEACE, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
- Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
- And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
- For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
- Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
This signified the two nations that are at war with each other. There is the nation Jacob, whom God loves because he represents the kingdom of God. And then there is the nation Esau, whom God hates because he represents the Kingdom of the world and of Satan. These two spiritual nations struggle against each other even as Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. Because they are nations at enmity with one another. And the only way one nation can cease warfare with the other is if Christ steps in, defeats the captor, spoils his nation by taking by conquest its captives. That is exactly what Christ did.
- "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
- And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
- And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
- And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them."
Christ is at enmity with Satan, and his kingdom with Satan's kingdom. These two nations, as diverse as the two nations that were struggling within Rebekah, are inherently at war with each other. But the prophesy was for Christ to come to spoil that diverse kingdom, to conquer, to prevail over its gates and deliver the captives. In this way only would the Gentiles nation not be at enmity where Satan could not deceive them and prevent Christ's taking them by conquest. i.e., He came with the prophesied establishment of the Kingdom of God to spoil kingdoms and make peace between the nations. But first, He had to bind Satan. Only "then" could He spoil the nations.
- "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
- And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
- And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?"
But indeed He "did" cast out Satan by the Spirit of God, so the kingdom of God had indeed come. The strong man in this parable represents Satan, and his house represents his kingdom. He that had to first bind him represents Christ. And the spoil that He took after binding Satan are those whom Satan held captive that Christ took by conquest. In other words, this parable illustrates that in the kingdom of God that "had come," Satan had to "FIRST" be bound (Revelation 20) so that he could not deceive the nations any longer, then his house would be spoiled. That is the act of Christ that caused the nations to put away their swords that they go into the business of plowing and pruning as Husbandmen for God. They would be nations that would never again lift up sword against this Holy nation. Two Kingdoms at odds with each other, two nations that cannot normally co-exist together, but when Christ binds Satan that the nations are not deceived, it all becomes different and the Gentiles are brought peace and are delivered from the power of darkness also. He brings peace with the nations, having them join Him in communion and covenant with the commonwealth of the nation of Israel. A spiritual nation where there are now Jew and Gentile in one body. One holy nation, one covenant people all reconciled to God by Christ.
- "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
- Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
- He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
1st Peter 2:9-10
There is the Holy nation that the Gentile nations do not war with anymore, because Christ has reconciled both together as one. It is God's Holy nation. The nations (or gentiles) are now flowing into this Holy Mountain of the Lord's house as Abraham's seed, and heirs together with Israel, according to the promise.
- "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
- Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
They have strayed in forsaking God, but they were always the election, God's chosen unto salvation. The gates of hell cannot hold them when Christ's kingdom advances against those gates. So that never again will nation be at odds with nation, because they are reconciled as one in Christ.
- "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
- And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
- Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
- And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them."
As we've seen, warfare with God is the opposite of the peace with God that we have when we become saved. When we are unsaved, we are part of an army that is spiritually the enemy of God. We are at enmity with Him and are ruled over by the spirit of disobedience. When Christ frees us from this spiritual captivity of the devil, we become a new creation that is part of the army of the Kingdom of God. In this regeneration, Christ has made us at peace with God so that there is no more enmity with Him.
The enmity against God is gone where we will never be indoctrinated or instructed in war against Him again. Because we are no more of the flesh to think in carnal terms that war against God, but are spiritually minded to think in terms of Christ having taken away our spirit of war. When we are translated from behind the gates of Satan's spiritual prison of darkness, we are brought into the Kingdom of Christ as the holy city of God. In this kingdom our warfare is brought to an end by the Prince of Peace. We forsake such war against God because we are now comforted by Him and governed by the Prince or ruler of Peace. Our paths that were once crooked are now made straight that we serve the Lord our God. Even as prophesied in Isaiah:
- "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
- For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
- So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
With the coming of the millennial Kingdom of God, the warfare of the election against Him is over. Their iniquity has been pardoned by the Prince of peace. Clearly this prophesy spoke of the first advent of Christ. And it details how the spiritual warfare of people has ended, as they are brought to peace with God and comforted in Christ. This is the cessation of spiritual war of the nations against the Holy city, and this occurred a long time ago. It is not something that is a future prophesy concerning earthly, physical nations, ceasing war with a city in the nation of Israel. It speaks of the enemies of God being made friends through their Messiah.
- "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
- Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
- The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
We were enemies of God who were spiritually at war with Him. But Christ made peace between God and the people through the shedding of His blood. We are thus comforted (Isaiah 40:1-3), as the warfare is accomplished or completed. It is over, because we have been reconciled to God, brought to peace through Christ. Moreover, it will never return, because once reconciled, we are sealed or secured with the Spirit of promise. We are become one in this holy city, this spiritual Jerusalem that we will never learn war against God anymore. It is a holy city made up of Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Romans, whites and blacks, old and young, all who have traded in their swords of battle for plowshares to cultivate for the Lord. These are all who substitute enmity against God with a ministering spirit to all those who shall be heirs of salvation. This is the Peace we have in the kingdom of Christ to minister to every nation as sowers, planters and builders.
- "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
- And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
- And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."
We will not learn war anymore, because we preach the gospel of peace to all nations. It is not a temporary peace, not the peace they preach in the united nations, nor is it the fabled peace wherein there will never be physical warfare on earth anymore. Christ's Peace is the only peace that passes understanding, because it is transcendental. Not a peace as the world defines peace, not a cessation of war as the world defines war, but how God defines it. Peace as we find when we interpret Scripture by Scripture.
- "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
- But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
- The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)"
This is the peace wherein we will not learn to war anymore. It is the peace wherein our warfare with God has come to the full, where it will never surface again. We shall not study war anymore, but will be students of the gospel of this peace.
- "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
And so in conclusion, I find that Isaiah 2:4 declaring, "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks," has nothing whatsoever to do with pie in the sky ideas of the world becoming Christianized, or a coming time on earth where there is no physical wars, or a time when Christ sits physically on a throne in the middle east. These ideas would be a peace as the world gives, but it is not the Peace that Christ came to deliver. The meaning of "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks," is that they shall become peacemakers who were once at enemies of God. Through the Peace Christ brought, which is the peace He left (John 14:27) with us. Because He brought a cessation of warfare infinitely more necessary and valuable than worldly peace. He brought a peace wherein our hearts would not be troubled, because it is a changed heart. A heart that causes us to beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruninghooks. A heart where we are regenerated in Christ Jesus and changed from being enemies of God to those who preach the gospel of peace.
Those who preach the gospel of peace are the only peacemakers that are truly Blessed, because they are the only ones with Salvation. Those who are still at enmity with God, but who might make a treaty between physical worldly nations are not the blessed Christ speaks about. He speaks of those with the gospel of peace sharing it with the world. I believe that these passages of Isaiah speak not of a universal peace on earth in the future, nor in heaven at Christ's second coming, but to the prophesies of Christ's first advent. There is no golden age of universal peace on earth in the future, rather there is a golden age of the Millennial reign of Christ in the New Testament. The imagery of warfare ending and peace among nations is one signifying His establishment true peace and safety, and His true building and planting, and His true deliverance of the nations. It speaks to the calling of the Gentiles/nations and the spread of the kingdom of God to all the ends of the earth.
- "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
"nosce te ipsum"
1. Mountains often symbolize Kingdoms in Scripture (Isaiah 11:9-10; Jeremiah 51:25; Revelation 17:9-10) [Back]
2. Knowledge of the Lord comes from Christ's propitiation of sins. Jeremiah 31.33; Romans 15:14; Hebrews 8:11; 1st John 2:27; 1st Corinthians 1:5; 2nd Corinthians 2:14; 4:6; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9; 1st Timothy 2:4; 2nd Peter 3:18. 
3. The Kingdom representation now going to the nations of Gentiles. Even as Jesus said, "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." -Matthew 21:43 [back]
4. As also prophesied in Isaiah 61:1-2 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;" Christ Himself declared these prophesies fulfilled in declaring "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.. -Luke 4:18" [back]
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Copyright ©2009 Tony Warren
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