The temple was supposed to be a house of learning, a place from which the laws of God would be taught in such a way as to educate the whole earth. II Chronicles 17 records how this was fulfilled during the days of Jehoshaphat. As much as the temple was an influence for learning the ways of God, it never reached its full potential because of the sinfulness of mankind displayed through the nation of Israel. However, there are specific prophecies in the scriptures which tell how the temple will act as a house of learning for the entire earth at some point in the future.
Many nations shall come and say
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
I have briefly touched on Isaiah 56:6-8 in my previous post. The above theme may lead the reader to Isaiah 2:2-4 which speaks of the temple being a nexus for learning for the entire earth. Isaiah 2:2-4 has a parallel passage in Micah 4:1-3, word for word. Scholars wonder who quoted from whom. I believe Micah has the fuller version because of the verses before and after which transition smoothly in and out of the prophecy concerning the temple. For instance from 3:12 transitioning to 4:1, Jerusalem will be plowed like a field, but in the latter days the temple will be established; also from verse 3 to 4 we read, they shall not learn war anymore, but shall sit each on under his vine, unafraid. Isaiah simply has the three verses with the material before and after not relating at all to the temple. If we take the thoughts of Micah immediately after the prophecy of the temple, did you know that we have a parallel passage with Isaiah 56:6-8? Let’s look at the similarities.
#1 – Both speak of the temple. Isaiah 56:6-8 is clearly speaking of the physical temple in a future setting. This future setting shows the temple functioning as a house of prayer. In Micah 4:1-8 (this is the extended passage that I will be using) it pictures the house of the LORD functioning as a place from where the law of the LORD will go forth.
#2 – Both speak of Gentiles being included in God’s future plans. In Isaiah 56:6-8, the Gentile who loves the name of the LORD will be accepted in this future temple. In Micah 4:1-8 we see that Gentiles will make pilgrimage up to the house of the LORD. They will make this journey for the purpose of learning the ways of the LORD from this future temple. “Come let us go… to the house of the LORD that He may teach us His ways.” The result is that they transform their weapons of war into tools of agriculture. The statement “neither shall they learn war anymore” demonstrates that this learning process is designed to shift their focus from war to peace.
#3 – Both speak of a future gathering of the outcasts. In Isaiah 56:8 it speaks of the LORD who gathers the outcasts of Israel, then there is another group that is gathered alongside this group. In Micah 4:6-7 it speaks of a future assembly, a gathering of lame, those who have been driven away, those that God has afflicted, and those that have been cast off (outcasts). It may be that the term for those who have been driven away is further explained by the phrase those who were cast off. These outcasts will be transformed by God into a mighty nation.
While this future temple will function as a house of prayer for all nations, it will also function as a house of learning for all nations. Can you imagine planning a trip to Jerusalem, to the house of the LORD to learn directly from Christ Himself on how mankind is to live and function here on this earth? That’s what earth will be like during the millennium. The laws of the kingdom of God will go forth to all nations. Other passages in scripture corroborate this idea. Isaiah 42:1-4 (quoted in Matthew 12:15-21) states that the coastlands will wait for His law, referring to Christ. The term coastlands has the idea of places foreign to Israel, or Gentile nations. Matthew’s quotation brings this out as well. Isaiah 11 is well known being quoted often, even by Paul in Romans 15:12. Here Isaiah foretells that the Gentiles will seek or enquire after this Davidic Messiah, Isaiah 11:10. Notice the regathering of Israel in Isaiah 11:11. Notice also the earth being full of the knowledge of the LORD in Isaiah 11:9. We can certainly see that this knowledge filling the earth will be because of this future house of learning that we have been studying.
We don’t know exactly how the age to come will function. Micah 4:1-8 and Isaiah 56:6-8 can be studied side by side to show that there will be a future temple functioning as a house of prayer and a house of learning. This will not be simply for the nation of Israel. This will be for all nations. Surely this prompts us to study God’s Word even further.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman