They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD…
Isaiah's relief, from the burdens, sins, and sorrows of his times, is his anticipation of the coming days of Messiah, which were to ancient Jews their "golden year." Isaiah's visions break in on his records of evil and prophetic denunciations, and lie like pools of blue in a cloudy sky, or stand like an oasis of palm-trees in a dreary desert. The general thought of this chapter is, that when righteousness can really and fully reign, then peace will be attained. As soon as the righteous King can reach the throne of universal dominion, the world shall be at peace from all its miseries, and not from war alone. When the perfect King is universally acknowledged, then there will be established the perfect kingdom.
I. PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES SET FORTH A PERFECT BEING, AN IDEAL KING. Men have always been on the outlook for a glorious future - "a good time coming." But poetic imagery has been vague, and generalization has meant weakness. Bible prophecy sets before us:
1. A Person - a Son; and the actual incidents of his life, as a veritable human being, are foretold.
2. A perfect Person. Observe the statements of this chapter, and the idea that was formed of Messiah.
3. A Person with kingly authority. If he be a perfect man, he must be a king among men. This kingly idea was set forth
(1) in the theocracy founded by Moses;
(2) in David's reign;
(3) in Daniel's vision.
In the times of Jewish captivity the promise of such a leader and deliverer was needed to keep men from utter despair. The conception of a perfect person is as utterly beyond us as the conception of a perfect age. Before Christ came neither had been realized. Now one has. The perfect Person has come, and we have a right to say that "with God all things are possible," seeing that the one so-called impossible has been overcome. The historical Christ is the realization of what men thought to be the impossible.
II. PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES SET BEFORE US A PERFECT AGE, AN IDEAL KINGDOM. Observe the figures of the chapter; and such expressions as "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea," and Daniel 7:13, 14. Poetry has its "golden age," for the most part, in the past. Scripture has it in the future. Towards it we are moving. For it we are working. In olden time men failed in faith that the perfect King would come, and now we fail in faith that the perfect kingdom will ever come, because we cannot quite explain the when, the how, and the why. It may be said - Have we any seemingly good reasons for our failing faith? And it may be urged that
(1) the golden age has never yet been reached in part, anywhere;
(2) there are no signs of its nearing approach; and
(3) we cannot clearly mark even our own growing meetness for it.
The perfect age has scarcely even a faint beginning in us. But who can discern victory through the smoke of battle? And yet the victory may, in effect, be won. With cleared eyesight we might see many hopeful signs; such as these:
1. The King has come, and is conflicting for his rights.
2. The perfect kingdom is sometimes nearly reached by the saintly believers.
3. In limited measure it is realized in the Church of Christ.
4. In its wider form, as a kingdom of righteousness, it is extending over all the earth. And if God could give the world the perfect King, he can also give the perfect age. The practical question is - What are we doing to hurry its on-coming? The world's hope lies in the spreading of the knowledge of the Lord. Everywhere the heralds must go until the earth is full, as full as the sea-basin is with the waters. We must, for ourselves, know the Lord, and we must speak of him, and witness concerning him, to others; for every act of godly living and godly laboring is bringing near the "golden year." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.