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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

The Grand Design

Do you know those white cardboard urban landscape models that developers produce to show off their grand designs? These grand models are of towering skyscrapers, surrounding service buildings, the exterior landscape, and layout of streets.

In Isaiah 2:2-5, God is showing off his grand design for the eternal city. This model serves as a precursor to the final design presented in Revelation 21-23.

Isaiah's wording is 2:2 has a bit of strangeness to it. John Calvin tried to explain the jetting of the temple mountain in Jerusalem as some type of cataclysmic earthquake. There is no reason that this passage needs to be taken quite so literally.

The ancients were familiar with portraying the dwelling of the god's upon the mountains (Olympus for the Greeks or Cassius for the Phoenicians). Think of where Moses met YHWH or the covenant making at Sinai.

What Isaiah was asserting was that one day it would become clear that the religion of Israel was the religion; that her God was the God. To say that his mountain would become the highest of all was a way of making that assertion in a figure which would be intelligible to people of that time.

When does this event occur? It ultimately points to the consummation of God's kingdom, and the gathering of all God's people in the New Jerusalem.

In Matthew 28, Jesus is on a mountain as he gives his instruction to the disciples to go to all of the peoples of the world to make disciples. Is it a coincidence that this is another mountain experience?

The promise of Isaiah 2:2 began to be filled a long time ago. At Pentecost, and ever since the non-Jewish community has moved to God's kingdom. For most of us, we entered this temple space when we came to Christ (as portrayed in the book of Hebrews). Jesus’s resurrection opened access to the Father's throneroom itself, the Holy of Holies.

That indeed makes this temple mount more important than any other because there we come face to face with God.

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