Brother Beebe: Please give your views on Isaiah 2:2-4. We live where we can have the pleasure of hearing the gospel preached but once a month; and even then I often have to stay at home: but if I can have your valuable paper to read, it is richly stored with fruit that is sweeter to me than honey, and I am often made to rejoice in God my Savior, for his goodness and mercy in calling poor lost sinners out of darkness into his marvelous light, for
He takes my soul, e’er I’m aware,
And shows me where his glories are.
Yours in Christian bonds,
Perry County, Ia.
August 4, 1864
Reply: We will submit a few remarks for the consideration of sister Bruce, and our readers generally on the text proposed, in the order in which it is written.
And it shall come to pass. All divine prophecy is thus marked in the most positive and emphatic language, declaring from the mouth of God things which shall come to pass. They must and shall be accomplished because God has so ordained, decreed, and declared. In the absence of God’s absolute predestination of events, the prophecies of the scriptures could be no more reliable than the prognostications or auguries of heathen magicians. The very fact that God, by his holy prophets, has declared the end from the beginning is an irrefragable demonstration of the doctrine of his absolute predestination of all things. It is therefore infidelity to dispute that doctrine; for it is a denial of his government. God has at sundry times and divers manner spoken to the fathers by the prophets; and he is of one mind and none can turn him. He speaks the word and it stands fast; he commands, and it is done.
In the last days. God, in his infinite wisdom, has a time for the accomplishment of all the orders of his throne. Nothing can disarrange the order of events. The fullness of the time must come before the fulfillment of the prediction of the Savior’s advent could take place; and were it not for the wise and immutable arrangement of the other of events, worlds might jostle against worlds, and all events so clash as to defeat the counsel and purpose of God. The time specified for the fulfillment of the prophecy of our text is in the last days, by which we understand primarily, the last days of the Jewish organization including the days in which God hath spoken to us by his Son (see Hebrews 1:2). The last days of the nationality of the Hebrews. Which last days embraced from the coming of John the Baptist to the destruction of the temple and dispersion of the Jews to the four quarters of the globe. It was at this time the things in our text recorded were accomplished, as we shall presently attempt to show. Still as the entire history of Israel was figurative of the church and kingdom of Christ, we look for corresponding events to be fulfilled in the last days of the church of God among the Gentiles, or on the earth.
That the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, etc. The church and kingdom of our Lord is called his house first because it is his residence. He dwells in Zion. “God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved.” Here, saith the Lord, will I dwell forever, for I have desired it. Second, Because it is the home of his family, the place of their birth; of their abode, comfort and protection. They are of the household of God and have a birthright inheritance in the House of the Lord forever. Third, Because the term is used in the scriptures to mean a seed or posterity, as the House of Israel, the house of David, etc. Fourth, Because it is the anti-type of the Temple or house consecrated to the Lord in the old Jerusalem. Fifth, Because the materials of which it is composed are brought from the forests and dark quarries of nature, and being quickened, are built up a spiritual house, or as timber is framed, so are the saints fitly framed together and built on Christ as their foundation and chief corner stone. And lastly, because they are God’s building; and the place where his honor dwelleth (See Hebrews 3:2,4,& 6). But this building is called the mountain of the Lord’s house. As Daniel predicted of the stone which was taken from the mountain without hands, which he interprets to mean the kingdom which the God of heaven should set up, should wax great and become a great mountain; breaking in pieces the nations of the earth; so the church of God is called Mount Zion; Jerusalem which is above, etc. It is like a mountain firmly established and immovable. Her locality or position is in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills. Observe the mountains and hills are plural, but the top is in the singular number. Where shall we find such a place; a plurality of mountains and hills, having but one top? The several tribes of Israel were often called mountains, and the principle families of these tribes were called hills: as Levi and the family of Aaron; Judah and the family of David. All these mountains and hills melted at the presence of the Lord at the advent of our Savior Jesus Christ. They were to remain until he came, then the mountains should depart, and the hills should be removed (Isaiah 54:10 and Jeremiah 4:24). “I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.” “The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob (Psalm 114:4-7).”
The top or highest elevation of all the mountains of Israel is found in the person of the Messiah. He forms the climax; he shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high. In his eternal Godhead he is infinitely above all the mountains, and families of the earth; but in his mediatorial character he has taken on him the seed of Abraham, and identified himself with his people. As the promised Messiah, he was to rise out of Jacob, and preside over Israel. The prophets of the Lord in rapturous visions saw him coming upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills; and in holy delight exclaimed, “Let the inhabitants of the Rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains (Songs 2:8, Isaiah 42:11).”
In him then who is the exalted King of Israel; whose elevation is above the clouds, higher than the heavens: greater than Solomon, higher than Agag, before Abraham; superior to David and in all things having preeminence, was the mountain of the Lord’s house to be established. Not in the flesh of Abraham, nor in the covenant of circumcision; not in the law of carnal commandments, nor in a worldly sanctuary, but in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, the church of God was to be established. Chosen in him before the foundation of the world, all his members were predestinated in the fullness of the dispensations of times to be personally and experimentally gathered together in him, and come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). This is, be it remembered, an establishment of God himself. Not subject to any uncertainty, nor liable to any change of position or elevation. Quickened together with Christ; the church or mountain of the Lord’s house is raised up together with and in him in heavenly places. And being risen together with Christ, they are to seek the things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. O what amazing grace is this! that we should be taken up out of the horrible pit, and miry clay, and be so exalted as kings and priests; our life hid with Christ in God; and our house, an everlasting habitation established in him who is the High and lofty One that inhabits eternity.
And all nations shall flow unto it. This has reference to the gathering in of the Gentiles. God has a people in all the nations and kindred of mankind. Christ has redeemed them with his blood, and therefore, “The great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come and worship the Lord their God in his holy mountain, at Jerusalem,” which holy mountain is established in Christ Jesus our Lord, for He shall gather his sheep with his arm, and carry them in his bosom. They shall not be forced coersively against their inclination. They shall be a willing people in the day of Christ’s mediatorial power. He will give them a new heart, a new will, new desires, and in the gospel present irresistible attractions: so that being melted by his love in their heart, they shall flow; like the flowing of water to the great ocean, so shall they flow unto the mountain of the Lord’s house; to find there a joyful, safe and sure abode in the house of the Lord forever, where they may inquire in his holy temple.
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. Many people, or a multitude which no man can number, redeemed from every people under heaven, quickened by the same Spirit, moved by the same impulse, animated by the same love, and qualified by the same preparation of heart to enjoy the same spiritual privileges, shall express the same disposition to return to Zion with singing and everlasting joy. When thus prepared by grace to enter into the mountain of the Lord’s house, they will not feel selfish, or desire to go alone; they will say, Come let us go. They desire that all who love the Lord may participate with them. The psalmist was glad when he heard this appeal: “...when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord, Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Whether the tribes go up: the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord (Psalm 122).” (Read the whole Psalm.) It is not regarded by them who love the Lord as a degradation. They do not go down to the house of the Lord. From the highest pinnacle of earthly greatness or grandeur, it is an infinite elevation to go up to the mountain of the house of the Lord; which is established in the top of the mountains, high above the hills. John, when favored with a view of this heavenly Jerusalem, was carried away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, where he saw the church adorned as a bride prepared for her husband (Revelation 21:10). It certainly is not natural for streams to flow upwards; nor is there any power of nature that can turn sinners to God. But the water of life which Jesus giveth is of a kind and quality which is ever springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). When thus inclined to go up to the mountain of the Lord’s house, the heaven-born child is filled with wonder and amazement, and he has many inquiries to make, to which he can find no satisfactory answer, only in the school of Christ. He must inquire in the holy temple, if he would learn the mysteries of redeeming grace and sovereign love. The God of Jacob will teach us of his ways. Not only of the way in which he saves them; but of his ways in which he leads them. Jacob’s God found him in a waste howling wilderness, and he led him about and instructed him, and kept him as the apple of his eye. “As an eagle stireth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him (Deuteronomy 32:11,12).” So the Lord teaches and leads his people. Jesus says to them, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29).” He is just such a teacher as the trembling children want, for he is meek, his terror will not make them afraid; he is lowly and will condescend to men of low degree. He knows the feelings of their infirmities, and will succor them when tempted. He will give them wisdom and will not upbraid them. His ways are past finding out by all the wisdom and study of man; but still his secret is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant. He will teach them his ways.
And we will walk in his paths. When under his tuition to his house, we turn our back upon all our former paths. What we before esteemed as gain, we count as loss; yea, verily, we count all things as dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. We desire not to invent or mark out, or pursue ways of our own; nor have we any confidence in the ways which men invent and teach; but we desire above all things that we may walk in his ways, in the footsteps of his flock that we may find where he feedeth, and where he causes his flock to rest at noon.
For out of Zion shall go forth a law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The way in which all who love God should walk is pointed out by his law. We are not to do as we feel; but as he says. If our own impulse and feelings were a safe and sufficient guide, we would need no other, but it is not so. We cannot be his disciples except we do whatsoever he has commanded us. The only rule for our faith and practice is found in his law which emanates from his throne in Zion. Not from the traditions of men; for they make void his law. It is not to be obtained from schools of men, but from Zion the school of Christ, where his children are taught by his word and by his Spirit. Neither doth his word proceed from men, who use their own mouths and say, The Lord saith, when he hath not spoken. From Jerusalem alone goeth forth his word, the proclamation of which by his great commission must begin at Jerusalem.
(To be concluded in our next number.)
September 1, 1864.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 83 – 88