Yeshayahu Two: End of Days

“The word that Isaiah, son of Amoz, prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1).” Isaiah begins talking about the end of days, when all peoples will come toards God and the Temple in Jerusalem. Here is where we have one of the verses that we read every Shabbat: בי מציון תצא תורה ודבר יהוה מירושלים. For out of Zion will the Torah come forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The sentiment here is lovely, but what really connects me to this quote is the countless times that I’ve sung those words in synagogue, together with the rest of the congregation, every week. It’s part of the Torah service, and it’s very cool to come up to a part that I’m actually familiar with after all these chapters.

Anyway, we learn that God will judge all the nations at the end of days, and then we have another iconic line: Nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. It’s clear that this isn’t a reality (yet) in the world, but what’s the most meaningful to me here is that it says people won’t learn war. So much of the hate in the world today is inherited and taught, informally in homes and formally at school. If we stopped teaching war, maybe the next generation would stop carrying it out. And at that point, the people also aren’t ready for it, because they’re busy being idolators and destroying the land. Isaiah reiterates that eventually, the people will be humbled, and will bow before God. But this is a far-off prophecy that has yet to be met.

I can already tell that these lyrical books are going to require focusing on fewer verses and more reflection, rather than following along with a narrative.


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