Isaiah chapter eleven: A time of world peace that is beyond belief.
Isaiah chapter eleven contains unquestionably stunning prophecies.
Are these prophecies true or just fanciful visions of what peace on earth could look like?
Things are predicted in this chapter that strains the belief of the most loyal fans of God Almighty. Some might be more willing to put these forecasts into the world of fantasy rather than fact. “They’re just exaggerations,” some might say. The questions can be asked, “Will these things really happen or are these just types and imagery used to model what could be?”
Real or imagined?
Is this an imaginary peace-on-earth that won’t actually come to pass?
The prophecies are stunning if you believe these predictions will come true. They can leave the reader wondering how these things could happen. These things don’t fit in the world of the possible but in the world of fiction.
The world C. S. Lewis created in his children’s fiction series comes to life in Isaiah eleven. Lewis’ Narnia becomes reality and defies everything we thought we knew.
Wolves and lambs live together in peace. The wolf has no desire to kill and eat and the lamb’s instinct to run or die is gone. Domestic cows and wild bears live together like friendly neighbors. Even their young graze together in the same field. The once mighty king of the jungle eats grass instead of freshly killed antelope. Leopards, lions, lambs, and children are seen living together in a time of impossible peace. Children lead these once ferocious killers around like pets.
Impossible! This can never happen. Any who believe this fantasy don’t understand animal instincts. If we learned anything in school it was this—we are all in a survival of the fittest. The strong survive and evolve. The weak get eaten and become extinct. It’s established science. The religious ‘nuts’ need to leave their fantasy world and understand it’s dog-eat-dog and only the strong will win this game.
A World at Peace
But, that’s not what the prophet said. God told Isaiah the world will experience a time of world peace that could only happen in fantasy.
It will happen. God said it would. I’m looking forward to seeing it and walking in that field where the lion, lamb, wolf, and child play.
Let’s take a closer look at the Word of the Lord sent to the prophet Isaiah.
THE BRANCH AND ROOT OF JESSE
The character of the King.
Isa 11:1 A stalk shoots forth from the stump of Jesse.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
In Isaiah 10:33-34 we read about the Lord’s intent to chop down the proud as if they were giant trees. Now, the Lord speaks about a Branch that will regrow out of one of those stumps. Jesse is a reference to the father of King David. Someone of great importance will arise from this family.
Jesus, the Messiah, is the Branch predicted to come from the stump of Jesse. The royal reign of the house of David was dormant for 600 years when Jesus came as King and Messiah. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he was like a new green Branch coming from an apparently dead stump.
The Lord let the Jewish people to know that even though the Assyrians would come and bring judgment, God would still use them and revive a remnant from the family line. Even if they looked like a long-dead stump, God can bring forth life.
Isa 11:2 The spiritual power of the Branch.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
The Branch that comes from the seemingly dead stump isn’t just barely alive. It is full of life and full of the Spirit of the LORD. This passage tells us the Messiah will have seven characteristics of the Spirit of the LORD.
Jesus, the Branch, has the seven-fold Spirit:
1. The Spirit of the Lord
2. The Spirit of Wisdom
3. The Spirit of Understanding
4. The Spirit of Counsel
5. The Spirit of Might
6. The Spirit of Knowledge
7. The fear of the Lord
Isa 11:3-5 The perfect character of the Messiah.
His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
Man, in his pride, boasts that he fears nothing. Jesus in his humility fears God and even delights in it. He takes that humble position and trusts His Father with all the affairs of his life. To fear God is to take a position of strength. The pride of human nature looks at the fear of God as a position of weakness.
The world of Narnia becomes reality.
Isa 11:6-9 The world of peace during the reign of the Messiah.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
This is the part of the prophecy that seems too much like fantasy, but God’s Word to the prophet will come to pass. When the world has been made ready, this serenity will become the norm.
Isa 11:10-12 The new Exodus of the Millennial reign of the Messiah
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.” It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Jesus, the root of Jesse and descendant of King David, will raise his banner of victory. At that time, both Jew and Gentile will rejoice to see this day. A second time the Lord will bring the nation of Israel out of captivity. The nations we read of here are historical foes. The same nations which today swear they will bring total destruction upon Israel and push them into the sea. As we will see in future chapters, the Lord predicts a time in the future when Israel one more time becomes scattered by its enemies.
Did Jesus ever restore a scattered remnant of Israel? No, he didn’t. This is a future prophecy. We have yet to see it’s fulfillment. Some might argue that they’re current state is that fulfillment, but that wasn’t the work of a triumphant Messiah. They received their ‘nation status’ because of the brutal attempts by Hitler to annihilate every Jew. In the future, Jesus will return to earth as a triumphant Messiah, and rescue the Jewish nation from what appears as certain destruction.
Isa 11:13-16 The peace of the reign of the Messiah.
Also, the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; together they shall plunder the people of the East; they shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab, and the people of Ammon shall obey them. The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; with His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, and strike it in the seven streams, and make men cross over dry-shod. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.
I’m looking forward to hanging out with lions, tigers, and bears. Oh, my won’t that be fantastic?
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