By Russell Dunaway
The Establishment Of The Church
One of the things setting the Bible apart from all other books ever written are the prophecies contained in the Old Testament Scriptures. Nothing like Old Testament prophecy can be found in any other book ever written. Prophecy sets the Bible in a class of its own. In this article, we are going to begin to study the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-5, and seek to understand the meaning and fulfillment of that prophecy. Thus, in the very beginning, it is important that we establish a few principles concerning prophecy and the interpretation of prophecy.
All to often men think of prophecy as being the mere predicting of future events. Such is not the case with the prophecies of the Old Testament. Prophecy of the Old Testament is more than a mere predicting of future events. A weatherman predicts what the weather will be in the future. His predictions are based on knowledge of certain facts that he has of the things that affect the weather. He knows the location of the high and low pressure centers. He knows the location of the cold and warm fronts. He knows the direction and the velocity of the wind. He knows the temperature and barometric pressure. It is with a knowledge of these facts that the weatherman is able to make somewhat accurate weather forecasts, or predictions of what tomorrow’s weather will be.
The Old Testament prophets had no knowledge concerning the things which they prophesied. There were no world conditions on which they could base their prophecies. There was nothing on this earth that could move the prophets to say what they said. Peter wrote, “. . . knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:20,21). Prophecy did not come by the wisdom of man. It was not the product of any man’s own private interpretation of world trends and events of the time. Prophecy came by the will of God.
Peter, speaking of the salvation which was in the Church, wrote,
Of which salvation the prophets inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven . . . (1 Pet. 1:10-12).
The inspired prophets desired to know and to understand the meaning of the things they prophesied. All that was revealed unto them concerning these things was that it was not for themselves that they prophesied, but for those who should hear the Gospel of Christ as it was revealed by the Holy Ghost. The prophets did not understand what was prophesied. They did not understand that it was not for themselves until God revealed it unto them that they prophesied for those who should hear the gospel. Old Testament prophecy was given for the benefit of you and me, for the benefit of those who should hear the gospel of Christ.
With this in mind, we now point your attention to the facts revealed in the New Testament as we endeavor to understand the interpretation and fulfillment of Isaiah 2:1-5.
Isaiah said, “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 . . . ” To understand when this prophecy was fulfilled, it is essential that we determine when “the last days” began.
Every student of the Bible is aware of the fact that the history of God’s dealings with man can be divided into three ages. The first of these three ages is known as the “Patriarchal Age” and began with the creation of man. This was an age of family religion. The term “patriarchal” comes from Latin and means “father government.” The “Patriarchal Age” began with creation and lasted until God led Israel out of Egypt and gave His law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
When God gave His law to Moses, the second age, known as the “Mosaic Age,” began. This was an age of national religion. The law was for the Jews, and the Jews only. The “Mosaic Age” lasted until the death of Christ on Calvary.
When Jesus came, He said to His disciples, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me …. Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Lk. 24:44-47). When Jesus was crucified, He fulfilled all that was written in the law, the prophets, and the psalms concerning Himself, and took the law out of the way by nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:14). This marked the beginning of the third age, the “Gospel Age.”
In Acts 2, Luke tells us that “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the apostles were gathered in Jerusalem with one accord.” Fifty-three days after Christ’s death, the disciples were in Jerusalem as Christ had commanded them (Luke 24:47-49), and God poured out His Spirit upon them (Acts 2:14). The apostles began to speak as the Spirit of God gave them utterance, and the Jews which had gathered at Jerusalem to observe the Pentecost feast were unable to understand what was happening. They began to reason among themselves, and some mocked the apostles, saying, “These men are drunk on new wine.” Peter answered this false charge as He began the first Gospel sermon to ever be preached. Peter said, “These men are not drunk on new wine as ye suppose, for it is but the third hour of the day.” The first Gospel sermon began at 9:00 on Sunday morning. If these men are not drunk, Peter, then what is the explanation of what is happening? Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” What had Joel said? “It shall come to pass in the last days. . . . ” Joel gave a prophecy that was to be fulfilled “in the last days. ” Isaiah said that the Lord’s house was to be established “in the last days. ” Peter said, “This is that. ” The day of Pentecost marked the beginning of “the last days.”
Peter proceeded to proclaim the gospel of Christ, and for the first time, “repentance and remission of sins” in the name of Christ was preached (Acts 2:37,38). Luke said, “They that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Again, Luke said, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). For the very first time, the Church was spoken of as being in existence.
Isaiah had prophesied over 700 years before that the church would be established “in the last days.” John the Baptist came preparing the way for Christ and said, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The church had not yet been established. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It had not yet been established. But in Acts 2, Luke said that the church was in existence, and that the Lord was adding unto it daily. Thus, we have a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The “last days” were come, the church was established.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 5, pp. 141-142
March 1, 1984