Isaiah 2:4
Then He will judge between the nations and arbitrate for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer take up the sword against nation, nor train anymore for war.
Anomalies in the History of ChristendomB. W. Noel, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
Christian Achier and WarH. P. Hughes, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
Christ's Kingdom Upon EarthB. W. Noel, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
Enormous Sacrifice of Human Life Through WarT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
God the ArbitratorJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
Learning War no MoreJ. A. Alexander.Isaiah 2:4
Private War AbolishedH. P. Hughes, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
The Cessation of War an Effect of the Prevalence of ChristianityJohn Foster.Isaiah 2:4
The Enormous Cost of WarT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
The Evils of War -- Loss of LifeW. Waiters.Isaiah 2:4
The Greatest PeaceJ. Clifford, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
The Means by Which This Prophecy is to be FulfilledJ. Gray, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
The World's Deliverance from WarW. M'Kerrow.Isaiah 2:4
Universal PeaceT. Chalmers, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
WarW. E. Channing, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
WarW. Walters.Isaiah 2:4
WarA. W. Snape, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
War During the Christian Centuries, Though Peace PredicteB. W. Noel, M. A.Isaiah 2:4
War no MoreW. Clarkson Isaiah 2:4
War Sometimes JustifiableProf. B. Jowett, D. D.Isaiah 2:4
War to CeaseH. Melvill, B. D.Isaiah 2:4
William PennJames Withers.Isaiah 2:4
The Golden AgeE. Johnson Isaiah 2:1-4
The Promised Future: a Missionary SermonW. Clarkson Isaiah 2:1-5
A Vision of the Latter Day GloriesIsaiah 2:2-4
All Nations Shall Flow unto ItIsaiah 2:2-4
An Epitome of Isaiah's VisionSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 2:2-4
Isaiah's Description of the Last DaysSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 2:2-4
Isaiah's Wideness of ViewJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Church of the FutureWashington Gladden, D. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Church of the Future -- Goethe and IsaiahWashington Gladden, D. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Church's Visibility and GloryJ. Mede, B. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Future Glory and Amplitude of the ChurchS. Ramsey, M. A.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Glorious Exaltation and Enlargement of ChurchJ. Mede, B. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Magnet Which Draws the NationsBp. M. Simpson, D. D.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Mountain of the Lord's HouseRichard Watson.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Mountain of the Lord's HouseAnon.Isaiah 2:2-4
The Supremacy of Mount ZionIsaiah 2:2-4
It seems that the reign of Uzziah was famous for the invention of new weapons of war (2 Chronicles 26:11-15). Isaiah, observing this, contrasts with it the good time coming, when righteousness rules the relations of kings and kingdoms; and when Messiah, the Prince of righteousness, and therefore Prince of peace, judges among the nations. If Christ really reigned, and held the allegiance of every man and of every nation, all disputes could be settled by arbitration; if each man, and each nation, only wants what is right and what is kind, there need be no more war. Matthew Henry well says, "The design and tendency of the gospel are to make peace and to slay all enmities. It has in it the most powerful obligations and inducements to peace, so that one might reasonably have expected it should have this effect; and it would have had it if it had not been for those lusts of men from which come wars and fightings." Christianity has, in some measure, already triumphed over war and the war-spirit.

I. THE HORRORS OF WAR ARE RELIEVED. Certainly they are so far as concerns civilized and Christian nations. Compare ancient and modern warfare in respect

(1) of giving no quarter;

(2) of unbridled license on taking a city;

(3) of the treatment of captives;

(4) of provisions for the care of the wounded;

(5) of the respectful burial of the dead. So far as the teaching of Christ has influenced international polity and law, he has been the supreme Arbitrator of their disputes. "It is undeniable that Christianity has greatly contributed to ameliorate the political condition of mankind, by diminishing the horrors of war, promoting mutual intercourse, and advancing the useful arts."

II. THE IMPLEMENTS OF WAR ARE DEVOTED TO OTHER USES. The expression, "beat their swords into ploughshares," is figurative, and what it represents is met by the fact that commerce and manufactures advance faster than the making of war-tools. Time was when men and energies were given to the manufacture of weapons and implements of war, and when kings lived to make war. That is all past and gone. Only a small fringe of human labor is related to war material; and kings have discovered that national prosperity and national peace go together hand in hand. Contrast the life in England under the Edwards, and under Victoria. "In such states of society as that among the Hebrews, the peasantry, when summoned to the field, are obliged to provide their own weapons. When, therefore, they were poor, and material for weapons was too expensive for their resources, it would be an obvious thought to turn the ploughshare, which was thin, long, and light for such an instrument, into a sword, which was short and thick as compared with our sword. When the war was over, the change might easily be made back again. A sword would, of course, with equal facility, be changed into a ploughshare. Pruning-hooks may include anything employed in reaping or mowing; such as a sickle or scythe, as well as the long knives used for trimming vines." Show that commerce, knitting lands together by mutual interest, is a handmaid to Christianity in her work of peace.

III. THE WASTE OF TIME AND POWER IN LEARNING WAR ARE CHECKED, Illustrate from the formation of our volunteer army, the members of which give their best energies to peaceful pursuits, and only their leisure to learning the art of war. Note the growing feeling that the soldier-class is almost a useless class; that the money expended on them is a waste; and that the nation suffers by having so much of her young manhood idle, and getting into the moral mischiefs of the idle. The results we thus can recognize have been attained by the triumph of the great Christian principles, of peace, brotherhood, and care for others rather than for self. But we may not rest with any present attainments; we must witness and work for that glorious coming time, when the ideal king is to "judge among the nations," and in reliance on his wisdom and equity, the nations will refer their disputes to his decision, instead of the arbitrament of war. - R.T.

And He shall Judge among the nations...neither shall they learn war any more.
1. When it is said that He should "judge among the nations," we must observe that the term is continually used in the Old Testament of the rule of a chief magistrate. Under the theocracy those who ruled the nation, as we read in Judges 2, and in many other places, were termed "judges." Of one of these it is said — "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel, and he judged Israel, and went out to war," — acted as their supreme ruler. And the same language is employed continually of those who ruled in Israel, under God their King. The prediction is very nearly parallel to one in the seventy-second Psalm respecting the Messiah: "He shall judge" — or rule — "the people with righteousness, and the poor with judgment." Accordingly, in our text it is declared that the Messiah should be a Ruler "among the nations." This rule was to take place, according to the language of prophecy, when the Redeemer came into this world. Hence when our Lord was upon earth, He Himself proclaimed that "the kingdom of heaven was at hand." He directed His disciples to preach the same truth. And we know that a time is to come, when "the kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." When our Saviour was upon earth He allowed the expression used by Nathaniel — "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel." When He came in triumph into Jerusalem, and the people shouted out — "Hosannah! I blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord," our Lord did not repress the exultation. All believers, then, have already become subjects of His Kingdom, and He is stated in Scripture to be their King. He has a dominion, indeed, far more extensive than that of the Church; He has "all power given Him in heaven and earth." But the passage before us does not refer to this universal dominion, which He exercises in providence, but it speaks of the dominion of grace, His dominion limited to His Church — because it is a dominion that was to result from the promulgation of His Word out of Zion, and a dominion to be co-extensive with the exaltation of His Church of Zion. "Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations."(1) Since this dominion was to be established by the promulgation of the Word of God we may learn that no other ways are legitimate for the extension and establishment of Christ's Kingdom than this weapon of truth.(2) Till He establishes His dominion over any man's heart that man is not a Christian.(3) Christ has a right to rule. (Romans 14:9.) But it is here said, not merely that He shall judge among multitudes, among His universal Church, but, "He shall judge among the nations," by which we learn that He means still to multiply the numbers of His people, till nations are born in a day, and irreligion and rebellion against Christ on this earth shall be as rare as they are now general.

2. It was added, as a contemporaneous act of His sovereignty, "He shall rebuke many people." By that word "rebuke" is evidently meant, He shall reprove them for their sinfulness.(1) Wherever He sets up His dominion over any heart He first makes that heart to feel bowed down by the load of its guilt.(2) Nations shall also be rebuked for their sinfulness. The Gospel tends to rebuke all abuses and evils among mankind — in Churches, governments, etc.

3. The effect of the Saviour's reign is further described; it is to be universal peace. "They shall beat," etc.

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

An obvious reflection which occurs to us, when reading this prediction — or at least which is likely to occur to anyone not well acquainted wire Scripture — is, that the effect of the Gospel, going forth from Zion and from Jerusalem, seemed from the very first to be quite the opposite of this prediction. How can it be said that the effect of the Gospel has been to introduce a universal peace, when it seems man fest from history that it has introduced universal disturbance and confusion? Our Lord Himself, when on earth, by His ministry and life, only led to a universal conspiracy against Him; and when He ascended to His glory, and His disciples began to preach in His name, it was the signal for general confusion. As that Gospel advanced, it was the signal for more savage opposition, till every part of the Roman empire was stained with the blood of Christ's followers, till everywhere there was a universal warfare among menu between those who were the advocates of the old system, and those who proclaimed the new. At length, when the empire was conquered, it was only to be the occasion of still wider and more sanguinary disturbances. Many as had perished through popular fury, or by legal interference, during the three first centuries, multitudes more perished, as the indirect consequence of the Gospel in after ages. When the Roman empire was shivered by the shock of barbarian invaders, and the feudal kingdoms of Europe rose in its place, in each of those kingdoms the castle of the noble frowned defiance upon the castle of every good and great man; the wars between neighbouring nations became interminable; and when at last the monarchies were consolidated, and the great modern monarchies rose out of that confusion, it was only to see in every page of history an interminable war. fare between Christian nations. So that, for instance, in our own frontiers, the Border warfare between Scotland and England was almost interminable; and yet these were Christian nations; and the Christian nations of France and England were termed hereditary foes, and there was not a monarch of Europe that did not join in some sanguinary strife, to please a minister, or to gratify his own ambition, or for some vain pretence, as corrupt as it was often false. But this has not been the only way in which this prediction appears to have been perpetually frustrated — for there have actually been sanguinary wars that have arisen from no other cause than religion. The wars of Bohemia and the Low Countries, and the civil wars of France and many other countries which long raged in the hearts of nations, for no other cause than a difference in Christian doctrine, seem to be a contradiction of the prophecy in our text, beyond all apology. And even when the disturbances of nations have not risen to actual warfare, how lamentable have been the cruelties exercised over a profession belief in Christianity! See the dukes of Savoy soaking the valleys of Piedmont with the blood of their best subjects; see the rage of the Roman Catholic persecutors exhibiting itself in the massacre of St. Bartholomew; view the remorseless Dragonades in the south of France; see the many enormities which were perpetrated in our own country during the reigns of Henry the Seventh and Eighth, and Charles the First and Second. Carry your views to the northern parts of this island, and there see Claverhouse and his companions reeking with the blood of the guiltless Covenanters; cross the Channel, and see the Roman Catholics of Ireland massacring thousands of Protestants because they were Protestants, and the equally bloody return secured to them by the iron-hearted and relentless soldiers of Oliver Cromwell. So that everywhere massacre and misery have followed the introduction of the Gospel. Is this the fulfilment of the promise — "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more"?

1. Let us first notice, that the Gospel is not responsible for the acts of its enemies, — and in all the cases I have named its friends might still be like sheep in the midst of wolves. They might "be wise as serpents, harmless as doves," and yet all this slaughter might take place under the name of religion. They have been the enemies of the Gospel, and not its friends, who have thus manifested such savage cruelty and unprincipled cupidity towards their fellow men.

2. And let us notice, in the next place, that the prediction in our text was manifestly not to be fulfilled immediately; it was to take place "in the last days" — and those "last days" have not yet transpired.

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

d: — It may be said, that however guiltless the Gospel may have been of these sanguinary results, yet they are facts of history. The prediction was, universal peace to follow from the Gospel, and the experience has been universal war. Does not this seem to contradict the prediction? Nothing is more conclusive than the answer which may be given to this objection.

1. The Gospel was declared to be of a pacific tendency. It forbids all the causes of war in the world — pride, passion, cupidity, etc. It bids all who become the subjects of Christ's dominion to be mild and meek and patient as their Master was.

2. There must be the same pacific tendency among nations that are in any degree Christianised.

3. This tendency has not been and could not be wholly counteracted. It is true there have been these shameful wars; but it is no less true that under even the partial influence of the Gospel wars have in our day assumed a humanity which they never before manifested.

4. The influence of each individual Christian and the tendency of Christian institutions combine to secure the fulfilment of these prospects. And if so, may we not reasonably exult in this blessed doctrine of Christ? And if we look back with shame and pain on the history of the nations that call themselves Christian, let us seek our. selves to manifest a better spirit and be men of peace.

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

Here is a prediction of arbitration in case of war. "He...shall rebuke many people." Read the word "rebuke" — He shall arbitrate amongst many people; He shall hear their cause; He shall redress their grievances; He shall determine their controversies, and men shall accept His award as final.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Not learning war is something more than not continuing to practise it ( Calvin), and signifies their ceasing to know how to practise it.

(J. A. Alexander.)


II. THE SOURCES OF WAR. Many will imagine that the first place ought to be given to malignity and hatred. But justice to human nature requires that we ascribe to national animosities a more limited operation than is usually assigned to them in the production of war.

1. One of the great springs of war is the strong and general propensity of human nature towards the love of excitement, of emotion, of strong interest.

2. Another powerful principle of our nature, which is a spring of war, is the passion for superiority, for triumph, for power.

3. Another powerful spring of war is the admiration of the brilliant qualities displayed in war.

4. Another cause of war is false patriotism.

5. Another spring of war, the impression (and false views of war)we receive in early life. These principal causes of war are of a moral nature. They may be resolved into wrong views of human glory, and into excesses of passions and desires, which, by right direction, would promote the best interests of humanity. From these causes we learn that this savage custom is to be repressed by moral means, by salutary influences on the sentiments and principles of mankind.

III. THE REMEDIES OF WAR. Without taking an extreme position, we ought to assail war, by assailing the principles and passions which gave it birth, and by improving and exalting the moral sentiments of mankind.

1. Important service may be rendered to the cause of peace by communicating and enforcing just and elevated sentiments in relation to the true honour of rulers.

2. To these instructions should be added just sentiments as to the glory of nations.

3. Another most important method of promoting the cause of peace is to turn men's admiration from military courage to qualities of real nobleness and dignity.

4. Let Christian ministers exhibit, with greater clearness, the pacific and benevolent spirit of Christianity.

(W. E. Channing, D. D.)

There was a time, not very long ago, when private war was even more universal than public or international war is today. City against city! Baron against baron! Even private persons were entitled to settle their differences by judicial combat if they preferred. Right of trial by combat still survives in some European countries in the form of duelling. But with that solitary exception, private war has now been entirely abolished throughout the civilised world. How has this immense improvement been achieved? The fact to be specially remembered is that the barons of the Middle Ages submitted very reluctantly and slowly to the substitution of judicial arbitration for private war. Kings had not the power to compel, and the barons continually defied the kings. Gradually a more enlightened and moral public opinion grew up in favour of the rational and Christian method of settling disputes. At last the supremacy of law and of courts of justice became established. Private war is now impossible, so absolute is the triumph of Christianity in the internal affairs of the nation. Now, a precisely similar slow and intermittent change is evolving better order in international life. Barbarous and heathen governments still defy the dictates of reason and of conscience as the cities and barons of the Middle Ages did. But slowly and intermittently their ferocity is being overcome. Arbitration has already been substituted for war in a large number of important cases which, in any previous period of human history, would inevitably have deluged the world with blood.

(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)

I. THE TERRIBLE EVILS OF WAR. There are many evils we have to endure in this life that we cannot avoid. They are unforeseen, indirect, irresistible. Disease, domestic sorrows, adversity, and other evils befall men; but none can equal war.

II. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SETTLE NATIONAL DISPUTES BY WAR. No argument is necessary to prove that physical force can never settle the right or wrong of any question. The most powerful battalions are not always on the side of the just cause. And when a war is over, who accepts it as a final settlement of the question in dispute? Often a bloody war is followed by conferences and treaties, and after a vast expenditure of treasure and life, after the entrance of sorrow into many homes, the measures which should have been resorted to at first are the measures which decide the question How often one side accepts peace simply because, for the present, it can no longer prosecute war. The only true method of settling quarrels is by reason, the furnishing of explanations, the granting of concessions, the manifestation of a desire and purpose to agree. Two nations may thus settle their misunderstandings without calling in a third party, or they may call in others to arbitrate between them and agree to abide by their decision. A high court of arbitration is in full agreement with enlightened reason and Christian teaching; it seems in the highest degree practicable, and it would prove, in its operations and results, one of the greatest blessings to the nations of the earth.

III. ONE OF THE MOST PRESSING DUTIES OF CHRISTIAN MEN IS TO EMPLOY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS FOR THE EXTINCTION OF WAR. We should steadfastly set ourselves against the maintenance of large standing armies. We should leaven public opinion with the principles of peace by the press, in social intercourse, and by using our power as citizens in seeking to purge our Legislature as much as possible from warlike influences. There is no cause in which woman's influence may be more appropriately exercised or can have greater weight. Preachers of the Gospel should preach peace.

(W. Walters.)

Let me attempt to do away a delusion which exists on the subject of prophecy. Its fulfillments are all certain, say many, and we have therefore nothing to do but to wait for them in passive and indolent expectation. Now, it is very true, that the Divinity will do His work in His own way, but if He choose to tell us that that way is not without the instrumentality of men, might not this sitting down into the mere attitude of spectators turn out to be a most perverse and disobedient conclusion! The prophecy of a peace as universal as the spread of the human race, and as enduring as the moon in the firmament, will meet its accomplishment; but it will be brought about by the activity of men — by the philanthropy of intelligent Christians.

I. THE EVILS OF WAR. The mere existence of this prophecy is a sentence of condemnation upon war. So soon as Christianity shall gain a full ascendency in the world, war is to disappear. We have heard that there is something noble in the art of war; that there is something generous in the ardour of that fine chivalric spirit which kindles in the hour of alarm, and rushes with delight among the thickest scenes of danger and of enterprise; that expunge war, and you expunge some of the brightest names in the catalogue of human virtue, and demolish that theatre on which have been displayed some of the sublimest energies of the human character. One might almost be reconciled to the whole train of its calamities and its horrors, did he not believe his Bible, and learn that in the days of perfect righteousness, there will be no war; — that so soon as the character of man has had the last finish of Christian principle thrown over it, all the instruments of war will be thrown aside, and all its lessons forgotten. But apart altogether from this testimony to the evil of war, let us take a direct look at it, and see whether we can find its character engraven on the aspect it bears to the eye of an attentive observer. Were the man who stands before you in the full energy of health, to be in another moment laid by some deadly aim a lifeless corpse at your feet, there is not one of you who would not prove how strong are the relentings of nature at a spectacle so hideous as death. But generally the death of violence is not instantaneous, and there is often a sad and dreary interval between its final consummation, and the infliction of the blow which causes it. A soldier may be a Christian, and from the bloody field on which his body is laid, his soul may wing its way to the shores of a peaceful eternity. But when I think that the Christians form but a little flock, and that an army is not a propitious soil for the growth of Christian principle; when I follow them to the field of battle, and further think, that on both sides of an exasperated contest the gentleness of Christianity can have no place in almost any bosom, but that nearly every heart is lighted up with fury, and breathes a vindictive purpose against a brother of the species, I cannot but reckon it among the most fearful of the calamities of war, that while the work of death is thickening along its ranks, so many disembodied spirits should pass into the presence of Him who sitteth upon the throne, in such a posture, and with such a preparation.

II. Let me direct your attention to THOSE OBSTACLES WHICH STAND IN THE WAY OF THE EXTINCTION OF WAR, and which threaten to retard, for a time, the accomplishment of this prophecy.

1. The first great obstacle is the way in which the heart of man is carried off from its barbarities and its horrors, by the splendour of its deceitful accompaniments. There is a feeling of the sublime in contemplating the shock of armies, just as there is in contemplating the devouring energy of a tempest; and this so elevates and engrosses the whole man, that his eye is blind to the tears of bereaved parents, and his ear is deaf to the piteous moan of the dying, and the shriek of their desolated families. There is a gracefulness in the picture of a youthful warrior burning for distinction on the field, and lured by this generous aspiration to the deepest of the animated throng, where, in the fell work of death, the opposing sons of valour struggle for a remembrance and a name; and this side of the picture is so much the exclusive object of our regard, as to disguise from our view the mangled carcasses of the fallen, and the writhing agonies of the hundred and the hundreds more who have been laid on the cold ground, where they are left to languish and die. On every side of me I see causes at work which go to spread a most delusive colouring over war, and to remove its shocking barbarities to the background of our contemplations altogether. I see it in the history which tells me of the superb appearance of the troops and the brilliancy of their successive charges. I see it in the poetry which lends the magic of its numbers to the narrative of blood, and transports its many admirers, as by its images and figures and its nodding plumes of chivalry it throws its treacherous embellishments over a scene of legalised slaughter.

2. But another obstacle to the extinction of war is the sentiment that the rules and promises of the Gospel which apply to a single individual, do not apply to a nation of individuals. If forbearance be the virtue of an individual, forbearance is also the virtue of a nation. If it be the glory of a man to defer his anger, and to pass over a transgression, that nation mistakes its glory which is so feelingly alive to the slightest insult, and musters up its threats and its armaments upon the faintest shadow of a provocation. If it be the magnanimity of an injured man to abstain from vengeance, and if by so doing, he heap coals of fire upon the head of his enemy, then that is the magnanimous nation, which, recoiling from violence and from blood, will do no more than send its Christian embassy, and prefer its mild and impressive remonstrance; and that is the disgraced nation which will refuse the impressiveness of the moral appeal that has been made to it.


(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

Ever since the fall, our world has exhibited much of degradation and misery; and it is lamentably true, that a vast amount of its wretchedness has been produced by the active agency of its own inhabitants. Man has hated and oppressed his fellow man But how delightful is it to think that we have been assured by the word of Divine inspiration, that it is the design of the great Creator of all things, to reclaim our earth from its state of degradation and wickedness and misery, and to make it again the scene of holiness and harmony and happiness!

I. THE NATURE OF THE EVIL TO BE REMOVED. This evil is represented to consist in the lifting up of the sword, and in the learning of the art of war.

II. THE CHARACTER OF THE CHANGE TO BE PRODUCED. "They shall beat," etc. The period is to arrive, in the history of our world, in which the operation of those unholy passions by which so much destruction and misery has been produced, shall be subdued; and in which the principle of love to God and to men shall be delightfully predominant within the human bosom.

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE HAPPY TRANSITION IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. Swords are to be beaten "into" ploughshares, and spears to pruning hooks, and war is no more to be learned, when many people shall go and say, "Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, for He will teach us of His ways." Hence, it appears that the change is to be produced by the agency of the Gospel. There may be other instrumentalities era subordinate nature brought into operation, such as the commercial intercourse of nations with each other, and the knowledge which they may acquire of their mutual interests and dependencies; but the religion of Jesus is to be the principal cause of the termination of hostilities in our world, and the introduction of the reign of universal peace and felicity. The Gospel of Christ informs us of the source whence all our enmities and contentions proceed, even from the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of our hearts. The Gospel of Christ first of all reconciles man to his God, and then works within him the dispositions which lead him to be reconciled to his fellow man, and to "love him with a pure heart fervently." The Gospel of Christ inculcates those principles of peace and goodwill, the recognition of which composes differences, softens down resentments, inspires with forgiving and kindly feelings, and prompts, to deeds of beneficence. It is the testimony of experience, moreover, that nothing but the Gospel of Christ has ever opposed the system of war, and diminished in any degree the amount of the evil which it occasions. The ancient philosophy dignified with the name of virtues the unholy passions from which it arose, and the poets of the olden times made it the theme of their highest admiration, and of their sweetest praise. The classical heathenism of Greece and of Rome had its god and goddess of war, and represented its deities as mingling in the fray and delighting in the carnage of the battlefield. But Jesus appeared in our world as the Prince of Peace; and one of the most delightful precepts of His meek and gentle faith is, "Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God." What was it but the spirit of Christianity which put an end to the cruel gladiator ships of the amphitheatre of Rome? What was it but the spirit of Christianity which subdued the fierceness of the Huns, the Goths, and the Vandals of former times, and made so many of them the soldiers of the Cross and the followers of the Captain of our salvation?

(W. M'Kerrow.)

Notwithstanding any accompanying references, we cannot hesitate to take this for a prediction of times yet to come. Evidently, it has never yet been fulfilled.

1. It is as conjoined with very nearly the beginning of our race, that we have to look upon this direful phenomenon. But how strange, for a creature, come fresh, living, and pure, from the beneficent Creator's hands! The least that we can think of that original state of man is, that there must have been in his soul the principle of all kind affections, — a state of feeling that would have been struck with horror at the thought of inflicting suffering. And, from the creature thus originally constituted, all the race was to descend. Can such a nature ever rage with malignity and revenge, and riot in suffering and destruction? Yet, in this original family, in the very first degree of the descent, war and slaughter began. While we think of the deadly conflicts of those early ages, the idea may occur to us of the peculiar atrocity of destroying a life which might, in the course of nature, have lasted so long. Living beings cloven down or mortally pierced or poisoned or burnt that might have lived seven or eight centuries, for improvement, for serving God, for usefulness, for whatever happiness there might have been in this world or preparation for another!

2. The world began anew in the person and family of a selected patriarch, whom alone "the Lord had seen righteous in that Generation." Now, then, for a better race, — if the human nature were intrinsically good, or corrigible by the most awful dispensations. But all in vain! The flood could not cleanse the nature of man; nor the awful memory and memorials of it repress the coming forth of selfishness, pride, ambition, anger, and revenge.

3. The sacred history, after Just recounting some successions of names in the different branches of the new race, limits its narrative to the origin and progress of what became the Jewish people — Abraham and his posterity. Their history, however, in proceeding downward, involves much of that of the surrounding nations. And some of the profane histories go far back into the period subsequent to the deluge. And what is so conspicuous over all the view, as wars and devastations? There is one portion of this tragical exhibition which we are to take out of the account of ordinary war, namely, the war of extirpation against the Canaanites. But, setting this portion of the history aside, think of the long course of sanguinary conflicts within the boundary of the selected nation itself, between Israel and Judah. Besides the slaughters, of battle and massacre, within each separately, of these two divisions of that people, add, all their wars with Syria and Egypt, with the Babylonian, Grecian, and Roman powers, closed finally, in that most awful catastrophe, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

4. Then glance a moment over the wider view of the whole ancient world; as far abroad and as high up in time as history has made it visible. The human race is exhibited, in some regions, in the form of numerous small states. But their smallness of size and strength was not the measure of their passions. What we are certain to read of them is, that they attacked and fought one another with the ferocity of wild beasts. By some ambitious "conquering hero" a great number of these were subdued and moulded together into a great kingdom, on one large space of the earth, and the same on another. And then with a tremendous clash, these empires came into conflict.

5. But now if we could take one grand compass of view over the earth, and down through time from that period to this! What a vision of destruction! And to complete the account — as if the whole solid earth were not wide enough — the sea has been coloured with blood, and received into its dark gulf myriads of slain, as if it could not destroy enough by its tempests and wrecks! Reflections —(1) What a state of the spirit of mankind, of their heart and intellect is here disclosed before us!(2) What a state of their social constitution, and of their national situation, that the mass and strength of nations should, over the greatest part of the world, be at the absolute disposal of a few individuals, for this very business of war!(3) What a state of the moral sense, that there should be whole hosts of men, leaders and followers, capable of holding themselves totally divested of all personal responsibility for right and wrong, in the zealous prosecution of such achievements!(4) What a state of Christianity, as to any real, vital prevalence of it among the nations denominated Christian!

(John Foster.)


1. The cause of war (James 4:1, 2). From this passage, we see that just as in domestic broils, just as in strifes between sects and parties, so in strifes between nation and nation — they all proceed from the lusts of men, and from that carnal mind which is enmity against God.

2. We learn from God's Word that war is a tremendous evil. What horror filled the soul of the prophet Jeremiah, when he heard the rumour of war — "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war" (Jeremiah 4:19). See again Jeremiah 47:2, 3, how the prophet describes the distress and anguish of the Philistines at the approach of an invading army — an anguish so great and so terrible, as to lead them even to forget the common ties of humanity. See again Deuteronomy 28:50, 51, how Moses speaks of the devastating force of an invading army; and Joel 2:2, where the prophet describes the day of the Lord as compared to an invading army.

3. God's Word shows us that war is one of God's scourges, by which He punishes guilty nations for their wickedness. In Ezekiel 14:21, the sword is distinctly spoken of as one of God's four sore judgments.

4. God's Word shows us that it is He alone who can bring war to an end. (Psalm 46:9.) In every war God has a special design of His own to fulfil — a purpose into which the eye of mortality can never pierce — but until that purpose is executed the war can never end. (Jeremiah 47:6, 7.)

5. God's Word shows that war is to be the immediate precursor of the terrors of the latter days. (Joel 3:9, etc.; Matthew 24:6.)

6. God's Word declares that there is a time approaching when wars will forever cease.


1. What is our present duty

2. The necessity of being prepared for the things that are coming upon the earth.

3. The awfulness of being overtaken unprepared. You will be speechless.

(A. W. Snape, M. A.)

I. A PROPER ESTIMATE OF THE MISERIES OF WAR must prepare the way for universal peace.

II. THE DISSEMINATION OF THE WORD OF GOD. Nothing but the Word of God can effect the cure of this moral distemper — nothing but the Spirit of God can subdue the native principles of the heart — nothing but the salvation of the Gospel can remove the evil we deplore. There is no other remedy can reach the core of the malady.

III. THE PRAYERS OF CHRISTIANS must accompany the other means used for the establishment of peace.

(J. Gray, M. A.)

I. HUMAN INDUSTRY IS A FEATURE IN THE BRIGHT PICTURE OF FUTURE HAPPINESS. The inhabitants of the earth throughout the millennium, when the globe is to be covered with its first beauty, are not to subsist without some measure of labour. They are to use the ploughshare and the pruning hook; and this use is sufficient to show that the ground will not then yield its fruits, except in return for the toil of the husbandman. It seems to indicate how accurately the world will be put back into its condition before defiled by sin — that a necessity for toiling should be alleged or implied; though all that is painful or exhausting in labour must be supposed to have ceased. We are greatly struck by the carefulness displayed throughout the Bible, to put honour on industry, and to represent labour as in the largest sense an appointment of God. The too common sup. position is, that labour was a curse which disobedience provoked, whereas labour was appointed unto man while yet in the full enjoyment of the favour of his God. We are so constituted, that labour is indispensable to our happiness, to the strengthening of our faculties, and to the preservation of a wholesome tone in our spirits. We know not whether the going to the armouries, and ransacking them for the materials of the implements of agriculture, may not mark such increase in the number of the inhabitants of the world, as would require continued effort on the part of the husbandman to keep pace with the growing demand, so that ploughshares and pruning hooks are not furnished fast enough, and swords and spears must be made to do their office. But we now proceed to consider what seems given as the reason for this conversion of the instruments of war into the implements of husbandry.

II. THERE WILL CERTAINLY BE NO FURTHER USE FOR THE ARMS OF WAR — "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." It is Isaiah's assertion, that the cessation of war is to result from the general diffusion of Christian principles. And there is no difficulty in tracing the necessary connection between the sovereignty of Christ and the extinction of war; for the tendency of the religion of Jesus is to bind the whole world in brotherhood.

III. WAR SHALL NOT ONLY CEASE AS AN EMPLOYMENT, BUT ALSO AS A SCIENCE — "Neither shall they learn war any more." They shall not only enjoy the liberty of peace — for peace may be, and too commonly is a season in which war is studied, and preparations are made for future battles; they shall be so secure of peace being permanent, that the arts of attack and defence will fall into oblivion, and the whole array of military tactics pass from the world like the science of the necromancer, or any other exploded and reprobated study. We find no hint in Scripture, but altogether the reverse, that the profession of a soldier cannot harmonise with godliness. The angel sent to the Roman centurion bore no message as to the unlawfulness of his calling. But these admissions are quite in harmony with what we have stated as to the condemnation of war, which is wound up in the sentence that war is a science. That men should not merely have been roused by sudden passion into the doing violence to one another, but that they should actually have studied how best to effect the butchery of thousands, having their schools and establishments in which numbers may be trained in the art of destruction — this, of itself, presents such a picture of human depravity as would serve for the painter who might desire to exhibit it in the darkest possible colours. There is a great difference between a prophecy which should assert the termination of war as an employment, and another which affirms its termination as a science; since the former might only show the existence of a restraining power, whereas the latter indicates such a forgetfulness or renunciation of everything military as requires the supposing the human race universally changed, and all the elements of discord eradicated from every bosom.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The King of England strongly urged William Penn (the founder of Pennsylvania), out of the king's great respect for his father, Admiral Penn, as he was going out with many followers amongst known savages, to take out with him sufficient troops which should be placed at his service. It was averred that William Penn and his followers would speedily be placed in the war kettle of the untutored Indians, if he did not go out well armed to protect himself and his large colony. In the spirit of his Master, the Prince of Peace, he declined to take any soldiers; he went open handed and unarmed to the red men! When the Council of State was held, the red men believed in William Penn's professions of amity, and they always thereafter lived in peace! When the Indians disagreed amongst their several tribes they frequently took their differences to be settled "justly" by William Penn, or their "Father Onas," as they became accustomed to call him.

(James Withers.)

A war undertaken in self-defence is natural and right, and under the rights of self-defence must be included the protection of our countrymen in distant lands and of our interests in the future as well as in the present. It must be carried on with a serious mind, with a consistent purpose, and not without the hope of benefiting other nations as well as ourselves; it can only be justified by the event whether it leaves the world better off than it found it. There are many evils for which war provides the only remedy, and we cannot say that centuries of oppression are better than a struggle for independence. The religion of Christ gives no sanction or encouragement to war. The conscience of mankind acknowledges that while wars continue there is something not altogether right in the world; and yet under given circumstances it may be the duty of a nation to strike the blow; the greatest safety may be the willingness to meet the greatest danger.

(Prof. B. Jowett, D. D.)

What a fearful loss of human life it entails! It is computed that Alexander and Caesar caused, each of them, the death of two millions of the human race. Bonaparte's campaign in Russia carried death to five hundred thousand human beings, and in the vast majority of that number death was accompanied by the most awful sufferings. At Borodino in one day eighty thousand were sacrificed amid the most horrid cruelties. The next day it was found that a surface of about nine squares miles was covered with the killed and wounded; the latter lying one upon another, destitute of assistance, weltering in their blood, uttering fearful groans, and beseeching any who passed by to put an end to their excruciating torments. During the burning of Moscow, twelve thousand wounded were in the hospitals; and almost all perished in the flames. No tongue or pen can describe the horrors of the retreat. "Multitudes of these desolate fugitives," says Sir R.K. Porter, in his Narrative of the Campaign in Russia, "lost their speech, others were seined with frenzy, and many were so maddened by the extremes of pain and hunger that they tore the dead bodies of their comrades into pieces, and feasted on the remains." The last Russian war cost this country a hundred thousand human lives. Hundreds of thousands fell victims during the Franco-German war. In one sortie from Metz four hundred wives were made widows, and upwards of a thousand children fatherless, out of a single Prussian regiment in the course of an hour. What barbarities are practised! What disastrous results follow! What desolation to fertile and flourishing districts of country! What a blight shed on commerce! What an increase of taxation! What corruption to public morals! It is impossible to exaggerate, in conception or statement, the evils of war.

(W. Waiters.)

When Napoleon's army marched up towards Moscow, they burned every house for one hundred and fifty miles. Our Revolutionary war cost the English Government six hundred and eighty millions of dollars. The wars growing out of the French Revolution cost England three thousand millions of dollars. Christendom — or, as I might mispronounce it in order to make the fact more appalling, Christendom — has paid in twenty-two years fifteen thousand million dollars for battle. Those were the twenty-two years, I think, ending in 1820 or thereabout. Edmund Burke estimated that the nations of thin world had expended thirty-five thousand million dollars in war; but he did his ciphering before our great American and European wars were plunged. He never dreamed that in this land, in the latter part of this century, in four years, we should expend in battle three thousand million dollars.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

In one battle, under Julius Caesar, four hundred thousand fell. Under Xerxes, in one campaign, five millions were Slain. Under Jengispham, at Herat, one million six hundred thousand were slain. At Nishar, one million seven hundred and forty-seven thousand were slain. At the siege of Ostend, one hundred and twenty thousand. At Acre three hundred thousand. At the siege of Troy, one million eight hundred and sixteen thousand fell. The Tartar and African wars cost one hundred and eighty million lives. The wars against the Turks and the Saracens cost one hundred and eighty million lives. Added to all these, the million who fell in our own conflict. Then take the fact that thirty-five times the present population of the earth have fallen in battle.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

can only be secured by the entire extinction, as speedily as possible, of the false Gospels of Materialism and Force. Empires built on Force have never persisted. Military kingdoms must pass away. No nation was ever more military than Rome; it was armed from head to foot; it was a great fighting empire, and though it lasted long it had to go. The seven Oriental empires that preceded Rome were military; they, too, have disappeared. Permanence of empire depends on peace, social justice, liberty, and brotherhood.

(J. Clifford, D. D.)

There is no reason why a Christian soldier should not as vehemently denounce war as a medical man attacks disease, as a minister does sin. Success would mean in either ease an end of their work, but that in either case were a consummation devoutly to be wished. The sooner the profession of arms becomes unnecessary and impossible, the better for everybody.

(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)

Isaiah 2:4 NIV
Isaiah 2:4 NLT
Isaiah 2:4 ESV
Isaiah 2:4 NASB
Isaiah 2:4 KJV

Isaiah 2:4 Bible Apps
Isaiah 2:4 Parallel
Isaiah 2:4 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 2:4 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 2:4 French Bible
Isaiah 2:4 German Bible

Isaiah 2:4 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Isaiah 2:3
Top of Page
Top of Page