Monday, September 6, 2010

Isaiah 25:6-10, The Lord Lifts the Veil from the Nations

"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And He will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, 'Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.' For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain..."

There were a few passages of Scripture that affected me deeply in the early days of my Christian profession, some thirty-odd years ago. For example, my first reading of Ephesians made me a Calvinist. And later, my first readings of the Old Testament Prophets, especially Isaiah, made me a postmillennialist.

Many of these prophetic passages start with this reference to "this mountain." Which mountain? I take it to refer to Mount Zion, the physical location of the Temple, but also a frequent symbol for the Church (see Hebrews 12:22). Related uses of the word can be found in Isaiah 2:2, 11:9, 56:7, Daniel 2:35, Joel 3:17, Obadiah 1:16, Micah 4:1-2, Zephaniah 3:11, and Zechariah 8:3.

In our passage here, Isaiah prophesies a time when God would remove the veil from the nations. This obviously is neither a literal veil over the face, nor the veil of the Temple, though both are biblical uses of the word, since neither fits the context. Compare the uses of the word in successive verses of II Corinthians 3:13-16. Paul begins with the placing of a literal veil over the face of Moses, then changes to the figurative meaning of spiritual blindness. Considering it the same way in Isaiah, we have a promise that a time will come when God will lift the blindness from the hearts of the nations. Not each individual exhaustively, but over the nations as a whole. This is expressed more literally in Isaiah 56:6, referring to "foreigners who join themselves to the Lord," and Micah 4:2, where "many nations" shall come to be taught the word of God.

The promise that the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord is a repeated one: Isaiah 11:9 and Habakkuk 2:14. After all, it was the mission that Jesus gave us before Hid ascension (Matthew 28:19-20). One wonders two things; first, why is a repeated promise overlooked by so many? and second, why is such a happy promise rejected and opposed by so many?

No comments: