They’ll Hammer Their Swords into Plowtips (Calvin)

Calvin’s commentaries, as many of our readers know, have stood the test of time because of their insight, clarity, faithfulness to the teachings of Scripture, and because they are applicable for the Christain life.  These commentaries are for sure some of my favorites in their category!  I was recently reminded of this when I read Calvin’s remarks on Isaiah 2:1-4 (esp. verse 4).  In these verses, the Prophet said ‘in the last days’ (בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֗ים) people from ‘the nations’ (הַגּוֹיִ֔ם) will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks (NLT).

…Peace exists among us just as far as the kingly power of Christ is acknowledged, and that these two things have a mutual relation. Would that Christ reigned entirely in us! for then would peace also have its perfect influence. But since we are still widely distant from the perfection of that peaceful reign, we must always think of making progress; and it is excessive folly not to consider that the kingdom of Christ here is only beginning. Besides, God did not gather a Church—by which is meant an assembly of godly men—so as to be separate from others; but the good are always mixed with the bad; and not only so, but the good have not yet reached the goal, and are widely distant from that perfection which is required from them. The fulfilment of this prophecy, therefore, in its full extent, must not be looked for on earth. It is enough, if we experience the beginning, and if, being reconciled to God through Christ, we cultivate mutual friendship, and abstain from doing harm to any one.

John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010).

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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