Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Irenaeus on Isaiah 2:1-4

Irenaeus (circa 175 AD) also regarded Isaiah 2:1-4 as fulfilled:
And that they were to go forth from Judaea and from Jerusalem, to relate the Word of God to us, which is also law to us, Isaiah says in this way, "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
This reference comes from his recently rediscovered work, The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, available at Amazon or for free online. This book is an early primer on Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Justin Martyr on Isaiah 2:1-4

Recently I taught a series entitled "Christ in the Old Testament" to my Sunday morning class. I represented Isaiah 2:1-4 as already fulfilled, but the class had trouble accepting that for the verse that says, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore." (NKJV). It is the excessive literal-mindedness in the thinking of westerners that many times hinders us from understanding Old Testament prophecy, which often speaks in picturesque and sweeping terms. I believe that this prophecy has been amply fulfilled in the breaking down of walls and advance of peace among those who truly follow Jesus (Ephesians 2:11-17).

Such a view of this passage appears to have been universal among the early fathers who commented on it. Here is Justin Martyr (circa 155 AD) in his First Apology:
And when the Spirit of prophecy speaks as predicting things that are to come to pass, He speaks in this way: "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." And that it did so come to pass, we can convince you.  For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God; and we who formerly used to murder one another do not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies, but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ. [Chapter 39]

I will post more of the fathers' comments on this passage as I come across them.