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Isaiah 45:14-23 - Homiletics

The conversion of the Gentiles gradual, but ultimately complete.

Three stages in the conversion of the Gentiles seem to be marked—one in Isaiah 45:3 ; another in Isaiah 45:20 ; a third in Isaiah 45:23 .

I. THE FIRST STAGE . The nations within a certain moderate radius of Palestine are naturally the first to come in—Egypt and Ethiopia, in Africa; and by parity of reasoning, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor, in Asia; Greece, Italy, and Southern Gaul, in Europe. This was very much the range of Hebrew influence during the five centuries preceding Christianity, and of Christian influence during two centuries afterwards.

II. THE SECOND STAGE . The circle gradually widens, and a time comes when the gospel may be said, roughly, to have penetrated everywhere, and "the earth" to be "full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" ( Isaiah 11:9 ). Missionaries have visited the remotest ends of the earth; and the nations generally may be challenged to "assemble themselves, and come," and make their choice between true religion and their own false and absurd systems ( Isaiah 45:20 ). But conversion has not kept pace with preaching. On many nations very little, on some no, impression has been made. Prayer is still offered widely to deities "that cannot save." This is the state of things at the present day. Scarcely a nation in the world has not heard of the salvation of God; but a large number—as much as three-fourths of the population of the globe, we are told—have not yet accepted it.

III. THE THIRD STAGE . God has "sworn by himself, the word is gone out of his mouth in righteousness, and shall not return"—that ultimately "unto him every knee shall how, and every tongue shall swear" ( Isaiah 45:23 ). In "a new heaven and a new earth" ( Isaiah 65:17 ) the Messiah, u the Ancient of days" ( Daniel 7:6 ), will rule over a kingdom which will contain "all people, nations, and languages" ( Daniel 7:14 ). How this will be brought about, what exactly will be the scene of the kingdom, what the condition of its members, is not revealed, otherwise than in mystical words, and cannot be laid down with definiteness; but in that kingdom, beyond a doubt," all people will fall down before Jehovah, all nations will do him service"—the prophecies of Isaiah will have full effect: "all flesh will worship before the Lord" ( Isaiah 66:23 ).

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