Isaiah 11,12. When the Messiah Comes.
Key Notes: The Seven-fold Spirit of God. End of the Food Chain. A second return of Israel. The creation subjected to futility.
At the end of chapter 10, God promised to cut down Assyria with terrifying power. The beginning of chapter 11 describes a shoot coming up from the stump of Jesse. Except for one shoot, the line of David would be destroyed, cut off. This implies the end of the monarchy, although Ahaz was still living, and there would be eight kings after him, prophetically, the monarchy was already gone.
11:1–3 The root of Jesse (11:10), the Shoot from the stump of Jesse and the Branch both refer to the Christ, the Messiah. The Spirit of God will rest upon Him, marked by intelligence, spiritual wisdom and personal power. Some see here the seven-fold Spirit of God:
The Spirit of
the fear of the Lord.
While that may be argued, the Seven Spirits of God is a biblical reality. (Rev.4:5, 5:6 with Zech.4:2).
And He, the Root of Jesse, will delight in the fear of God. "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (Jn.4:34)
11:3–5 His judgment will not be based on hearsay but on righteousness and faithfulness. He will also be a warrior who breaks up the world society as other references tell us. (Psalm 2; Zech.14:3; IIThes.2:8; Rev.1:16,19:11–21). We think of Christ as the coming Prince of Peace, reigning in a calm, perhaps static period of 1000 years, but the peace will be preceded by world-wide judgment and destruction.
11:6–9 A wonderful feature of the The Age to Come is the restoration of the natural world. The lamb is the food of the wolf; the kid is the food of the leopard; the lion eats the calf. In the Age to Come the carnivores will again be herbivores, eating grass like the ox. (Gen.1:30). Isa.65:25 adds "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. 'They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain', says the Lord." The "food chain" is due for drastic change, indeed reversal.
They will be tame enough to be led by a child. Children will be safe; the baby can put its hand over the adder's den without being bitten. Will God's Holy Mountain be the whole earth? In any case the earth will be full of the knowledge of God.
11:10–16 The Messiah will be a magnet for the peoples of the earth.
God will bring back His people a second time. Since Israel had not yet been dispersed the first time, this prophecy is most remarkable. The first diaspora started in 606BC when the Babylonians started deporting Judah to Babylon and ended formally when Cyrus the Mede permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem in 536BC. The second diaspora came in 70AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. The final event was the capture of the citadel of Masada (135AD) when the Romans put down the final revolt of the Jews. They did not begin to come back in any numbers until after the Balfour Declaration established a national homeland for the Jews in’14AD. It was realized in’48AD with the formation of the State of Israel. It is awesome to contemplate a prophecy that waited 2700 years for fulfillment---and is still being contested.
Israel will be regathered from the four quadrants of the compass. The Jews will not harass each other, but will expand their borders east, west and south. The Euphrates and the Gulf of Aqaba will dry up and there will be a highway from Iraq into Israel.
12:1–6 The song of rejoicing acknowledges that God was angry but now is comforting. It contains refrains from the song of Moses (Ex.15:2, with Isa.12:2; and Ex.15:1 with Isa.12:5). This hints that God is going to do another work of salvation similar to Exodus. We know that that work began with the Cross (Lk.9:31). It will be completed in the Age to Come.
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation."
A unique feature of the passage is the restoration of nature. Nature is deranged. Is evolution the cause? Christians answer that it is the result of sin at the beginning of creation. Although that is true, we make much more of God's creation and providence in nature than of nature's disorder. In fact, a major argument for the existence of God is the teleologic argument: there is evidence of purpose in nature which implies plan and design,and which implies a designer. Everywhere in biology and mathematics we see beauty. The remarkable precision necessary for the universe to form in the Big Bang, the statistical improbability of the existence of life, the unique properties of water, the irreducible complexity of the cell, the evidence of engineering in muscle and bone, enzyme and clotting cascades, all argue in favor of a brilliant mind behind our world. The DNA code requires a mind, since we can assert that any language or code depends on intelligence behind it. It is the basis of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
But the evolutionists from the beginning pointed to the evidence of disorder (dysteleology) in nature. Darwin thought there was too much misery in the world for him to believe in design and said,
"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice."
We have cancer, congenital anomalies, viruses, evil and war. Peter Dawkins argues that design is apparent but not real. The Second Law of Thermodynamics predicts that the Universe will run down, the stars will grow cold, and life will die out.
The Christian apologist counters that God spoke futility into the creation after the Fall as He had spoken beauty in before: "It was very good". (Gen.1:31)
"...for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now, and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Rom.8:20–23)
So we proclaim God's sovereignty over nature and His promise that He will make it all right in the end. There will be peace among men and among the animals. It will be glorious. Pray for it.