The next view Isaiah gave us of the End times is found in chapters 11-12 and concerns the Messiah.
Isaiah 11, The Branch From Jesse
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD – and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:1-2)
We wouldn’t know this except by looking back, but Isaiah was foretelling that the royal line of David, from whom all of Israel’s Kings came, would be cut down like a tree, lie dormant, and then be restored. The process would begin about 150 years after Isaiah wrote this when the Lord pronounced a blood curse on the Davidic line, saying no more would these sons of David ever rule over Israel. (Jeremiah 22:28-30). The line would languish, like the stump of a chopped down tree. All during the Babylonian captivity and for 500 years afterward, there was no King over Israel. And then one day a shoot would spring forth, a Branch that would bear fruit. Since Jesse was David’s father and David was not the Branch, this is a reference to the Messiah, the ultimate Son of David.
There is so much here, and we have to take the time to apprehend it. First is the use of the word Branch. Notice that it’s capitalized, signifying that it refers to a person. There are four references to the Messiah as the Branch, and each of them carries a special modifier. Jeremiah 23:5 tells of a Righteous Branch, a King. Zechariah mentions “my servant, the Branch” (Zech. 3:8) and “the man whose name is the Branch” (Zech. 6:12). Finally, in a previous installment, we saw the Branch of the Lord in Isaiah 4:2.
I believe it was Clarence Larkin who first discovered that these modifiers were depicted on the four ensigns that identified the camps of Israel, four groups of three tribes each. They were located around the tabernacle in the wilderness on the four points of the compass. In those ensigns the figure of a lion represented the Righteous King, an ox represented the servant, the ox being a beast of servitude, the face of a man is self explanatory, and the eagle represented God.
But there’s more. The representations of these four modifiers are also revealed as the four faces of the Cherubim in Rev. 4. And they represent the dominant themes in the four gospels as well. Matthew wrote to the Jews proclaiming Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, the Lion of Judah. Mark showed Him to be the obedient servant of God, Luke portrayed Him as the Son of Man, and in John He’s the Son of God.
It’s pretty clear that the Branch is a Messianic title. The branch from the stump of Jesse is the Messiah, born of the Tribe of Judah into the Davidic line.
But there’s something even more amazing going on here. Remember, God promised David that someone from His family would reign in Israel forever. David wanted to build God’s house, but God declined, saying He needed a man of peace and David was a man of war. So God chose David’s son Solomon to build the Temple and during Solomon’s reign Israel experienced peace as never before (or since). As for David, God promised to build him a “house”, making his dynasty everlasting (1 Chron. 17:1-14). From that time forward a descendant of David’s through Solomon’s branch of the family tree would sit on the throne in Jerusalem as King of Israel.
But by the time of the Babylonian captivity, these kings had become so evil and rebellious toward God that He finally said, “Enough”, and cursed the royal line, saying no son of theirs would ever reign over Israel again (Jer. 22:28-30). The last legitimate King of Israel was Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah, who reigned for only 3 months in 598 BC. Was God breaking His promise to David?
In announcing the coming Messiah, the angel Gabriel promised Mary that her son would sit on David’s throne , the first one to do so since the curse had been pronounced, and when He did it would be forever. (Luke 1:32-33) But what about the cursed line of David? How could God promise such a thing to Mary?
If you compare the 2 genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, and you’ll discover that Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah and descendants of David. Joseph descended through Solomon, the royal but cursed line, while Mary’s genealogy goes through Solomon’s brother Nathan. In actuality Joseph and Mary were cousins, though many times removed.
Mary had no brothers, and so in order to keep her family’s land in the tribal inheritance according to the Law, she had to marry someone also descended from David. (Numbers 36:1-13) Joseph fit the bill and being in the royal line had a claim to the throne, but carried the blood curse. No biological son of his could ever legally qualify as Israel’s king, but Joseph could secure Mary’s right to inherit her father’s land.
When Mary accepted Joseph’s offer of marriage she also made good her unborn son’s claim to the throne of Israel. Their marriage put Jesus in the royal succession as the legal son of Joseph, as Luke showed in his genealogy (Luke 3:23), but allowed Him to escape the curse since He wasn’t Joseph’s biological son. But remember, He was a biological descendant of David’s through his mother and therefore of the “house and lineage of David.” This made Him the only man on Earth since 600BC with a legal right to the throne of David. It took a virgin birth to do it, but God kept His promise to both David and Mary. David’s throne will be occupied forever, by Mary’s son.
And finally, in verse 2 we see the seven fold Spirit of God, an Old Testament construction of the Holy Spirit, who came to dwell in Jesus at the time of His baptism (Matt. 3:16) and empowered all of His miracles. This was necessary because the Lord’s mission required Him to live His life only in the strength of a man. In order to redeem Adam’s lost progeny, He had to be Adam’s kinsman. This is why Luke, who portrayed Jesus as the son of man, traced His genealogy all the way back to Adam.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. (Isaiah 11:3-5)
The striking contrast between the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah is evident.Psalm 2:8-9 confirms that He will rule the nations with an iron scepter. Rev. 19:15 agrees and adds that He’ll strike down the nations with the word of His mouth.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Once the Messianic era begins, peace will be it’s most distinguishing characteristic. In part 1 we saw that in the Messianic Kingdom nation would no longer take up arms against nation. Now we see that the Millennial peace will extend to the animal kingdom as well. In a later installment we’ll see that the creation itself will burst forth in joyful song.
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. (Isaiah 11:10-13)
The first re-gathering of the nation took place after the Babylonian captivity. The second one officially began in 1948, continues to this day, and will be complete after the Battle of Ezekiel 38. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. (Ezekiel 39:28) After 2000 years, God’s people will have come home from the Diaspora and will be a single Kingdom again for the first time since 900 BC.
They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. (Isaiah 11:14-16)
Chapter 11 closes with yet another promise that as the end of the age draws near the people we erroneously call Palestinians today will cease to be a problem for God’s people by reason of conquest. Israel will take hold of them and place them under subjugation. These verses likely refer to the battle of Psalm 83, which is very possibly the next event on the prophetic calendar.
The Egyptian Sea is the Red Sea and it’s gulf could be either the gulf of Acaba or the Gulf of Eilat, the two “rabbit ears” at its northern end. The mighty Euphrates, traditional boundary between East and West will become seven streams. The highway for the remnant from Assyria completes the idea that no longer will any natural boundary prevent God’s people from coming to His Holy City.
Isaiah 12, Songs of Praise
IIn that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 12:1-6
In the past, when Israel was in the land and at peace with God, the whole world stood in awe of the incredible blessing that accompanies a covenant relationship with our Creator. It’s been a very long time since that has happened, but at long last God’s people will be one with Him again, and again the whole world will be blessed. More next time.