‘You’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night!’ cries the psalmist. Praise God you’ve got an invitation!
Claims are made today that the world is more peaceful than it has been for many long years. Yes, there is fighting in a number of countries, civil disturbances, insurgent attacks and attempts to topple dictators, but not the wholesale killing of World Wars or the ethnic cleansing of Rwanda or Eastern Europe. However, we can hardly say that peace has broken out in the way verse 4 pictures. Is such peace only possible at the coming of Jesus, when every eye will see him? It certainly doesn’t describe Jerusalem and the territories around it at this present time.
How does Isaiah’s hope help us to deal with reality in the meantime? Fulfillment of his prophecy did not come in his day, or any day since. And we, who believe that the physical temple of the old covenant has been replaced by God reigning among his redeemed people, do not have a precise image of the alternative. As we say yesterday, the picture in Revelation of New Jerusalem coming down to earth is of a church restored as a beautiful bride. Here the spiritual meeting with God is symbolized by a temple on the mount welcoming all believers, no matter what their ethnic background. Two wonderful overlapping pictures.
Christopher Wright retells a parable of a man who promised his young son a horse when he came of age, but when the day came he gave him a car instead because times has changed. This fulfilled the intention of the promise–that of personal transport–though not the letter. On that day, it is God’s presence and power that will matter to us most! And when we see many around us, even family members, rejecting the Messiah, the image of all peoples streaming towards the reign of Christ is comforting.
What difference is it making to how you live now, knowing that this day of redemption and reunion is coming?