Bible Notes: Christian Science

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Hebrew: Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

This verse is related to two others: Micah 4:3, which is very similar;Micah 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. and Joel 3:10, which is exactly opposite; “Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your sickles into spears; let the weak say, I am strong.” Behind all three sayings it is likely there was an oral tradition which all three prophets were aware of. Joel’s call to arms is the best candidate for the oldest and original tradition because it fits well in the context of Judges or Saul’s reign, when the farming tribes of Israel were mustered to defend the alliance against Philistine encroachments.They lived in tribes without a central government from 1370 BC until the tribes called for a king who could maintain standing armies. Saul was the first king, anointed around 1050 BC by Samuel. Isaiah and Micah prophesied centuries later in Jerusalem around the time of the Assyrian invasion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which fell in 721 BC. The great power of their sayings rested on using all the words that ordinarily meant “go to war” while saying “there is no war.” The visceral alarm of warfare is still held in words transformed to tell of universal peace and prosperity, and the contrast makes the scene all the more heavenly. Today’s news is still filled with calls to arm, so that Isaiah and Micah’s vision of the kingdom of God on earth speaks not only of another state of affairs, but of another way to live.

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