The Universal God
The Book of Isaiah contains the words of two or more prophets, the
first of whom was a man named Isaiah who lived in Jerusalem during
the 8th century BCE, when Assyrian military expansion threatened
the very existence of the kingdom of Judah.
Rather than seeing his nation's vulnerability as a sign that Judah's
national deity was weak, Isaiah sees in his nation's god a universal,
omnipotent deity whose power extends beyond Judah's borders. His
was one of the earliest expressions of a concept that would become
central to Jewish belief.
Your country lies desolate,
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
aliens devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. . . .
If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah. . . .
In days to come
the mountain of YHWH's house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of YHWH,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of YHWH from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.