The Prophet Series: Isaiah part 8; Chapters 11-12: The Millennial Peace of Christ
In chapter ten Assyria destroyed Israel, but the promise was that Israel would be delivered in the end from all her enemies. And now before us we have the peaceful reign of Him who is the Rod out of Jesse’s stem, the Branch of the Lord who is to bring all things into subjection to God and rule with the iron rod of inflexible righteousness.
In chapter seven, civil war had broken out in Israel. The threat of Assyria to the east motivated Israel’s Northern Kingdom to hash an unwise partnership with Syria (Aram). The Syrio-Israeli alliance concluded that Judah to the south was a threat first to be dealt with, and they prepared their invasion. Judah, under king Ahaz, decided that their best play was a pact with Assyria and Egypt to the south. It was a game of thrones to be sure, while the only King on the only throne was slated to the sidelines and not once hearkened to. So, in His grace, God hearkened to them.
In chapter 7, Isaiah proposed that king Ahaz ask for a sign, to which he refused. God gave the king a sign regardless - the greatest in history.
Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!" Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Immanuel (God with us) would be the incarnation of our Lord. God the Son would take true humanity upon Himself. A glorious invasion in the world of pretended thrones. He would present Himself to Israel, be rejected, and crucified. He would do this so that all, Jew and Gentile, may have the forgiveness of sins (redemption), and from that fountain of grace, possess His very life, thus bringing into the world of war and strife, peace on earth among men with whom He is pleased.
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
The blood of Christ would bring harmony and peace to the world, but not to everyone in the world. The Bible speaks of unquenchable fire and eternal punishment. “If anything is certain about the teaching of Christ and His apostles, it is that they warned men not to reject the Divine mercy, and so to incur irrevocable exile from God’s presence and joy. They assumed that some men would be guilty of this supreme crime, and would be doomed to this supreme woe” [R. W. Dale]. EPH 1:10 tells us that all things in the heavens and earth will be summed up in Christ. God and the world will be reunited, and that peace will reign through all realms and orders of existence. He does not, and he could not, say that none will exclude themselves from the eternal kingdom. Making men free, God has made it possible for them to contradict Him, so long as they have any being.
Paul looked upon a large, thick wall in ruins.
The peace and harmony of the coming world was seen by the apostle Paul over an abolished wall that had for ages separated Jew and Gentile.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
The death of enmity by the blood of Christ has to be the most poetic, romantic, heroic story ever told.
The world’s strife continues, even after the death of Christ, but not everywhere. In pockets, unknown to the press and the university, are families, marriages, churches, neighbors, who live in perfect peace and harmony. They are united by the love of God, which is the perfect bond of unity, COL 3:14; a love only made possible in them by their faith in the Savior of the world and a love of Him and His word. Yet, despite their love for one another, they are continually persecuted by the world that hates God’s love. The Lord’s movings are not completed just yet.
Isa 11-12 refer to the Second Coming of Christ in which He will do what so many in the world have been asking Him to do; something, that if they had known what they were asking for, would never have asked it.
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
“Show us your Christ,” they say, but as C.S. Lewis remarks with his usual clarity, when the Author walks out on to the stage, the play is over. In this world play, when the curtain falls, it will be time for judgment. The Second Coming of Christ precedes that judgment by one-thousand years, but there is a cleaning of house at the Second Coming where all unbelievers will be removed from the earth, making their judgment a millennium later, a certainty.
Christ will bring peace to His earth for the first time in history. There will be some discontented people, unhappy with the peaceful world and longing for the old lying, cheating, strife filled world, but they will be swiftly dealt with, not finding any avenue to fulfill their lusts.
Christ the golden lampstand.
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Here we have the One who is presented in Revelation having the seven Spirits of God.
Etched into the Arch of Titus is a depiction of the golden lampstand which was taken by Titus when he sacked the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. It was constructed in 82 A.D. and it still stands today. Our first two verses have the Holy Spirit upon Him and six branches coming from Him (knowledge, fear of the Lord, counsel, strength, wisdom, and understanding). The lampstand was continually supplied with olive oil, a picture of the Holy Spirit upon our Lord and the perfect divine virtue that would shine through Him in this seven-fold manifestation of the Spirit. This light would draw men to Himself, and through their faith in Him, by grace, they would be made into that very light, MAT 5:14.
I wonder if Jesus will allow the Arch of Titus to stand during His reign. I can almost see it as a memorial to Him. Regardless, the light of the world is going to return, and when He does, He will gather to Himself the remnant of Israel who survived the Tribulation as well as the resurrected saints of the Old Testament.
Then it will happen on that day that the Lord
Will again recover the second time with His hand
The remnant of His people, who will remain,
From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath,
And from the islands of the sea.
Jacob’s prophecy will have its glorious fulfillment.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
He will call the Gentile nations to Himself as well.
Then it will come about in that day
That the nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.
When in God’s due time He takes over the reins of the government of this world, all will be equally right and just. Only the Lord can bring peace and harmony to a people or to an individual soul. He is the unity of men, the singularity of truth, the symphony of myriads of creatures made perfect. And while we wait for the days of the Millennium, groaning in these earthly, troublesome bodies (ROM 8:23), we must have harmony within ourselves; the symphony of peace that results from an inner man fulfilled and without conflict. There is no secret formula to this. It is simple. We must obey Him in all aspects, in all recesses of our inner thoughts, wants, and desires. All must be made subject to the King who is to come. “Yes, come Lord Jesus.” Any Christian who says he wants perfect peace but doesn’t want to obey Christ, doesn’t know at all what he wants. The one is identical to the other. If you don’t see that clearly, then keep seeking, asking, and knocking.
The Second Coming
Chapter 12, a most beautiful doxology, is the result of seeking and finding, asking and receiving, knocking and walking through. Spontaneous gratitude, worship, love, and adoration for the Lord of glory, and such a joy bursting, that the desire to sing of His glory to the whole earth is irresistible. I suggest you read these lines out loud. When you hear them, you’ll understand what I mean.
Then you will say on that day,
"I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord;
For although Thou wast angry with me,
Thine anger is turned away,
And Thou dost comfort me.
"Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation."
Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.
And in that day you will say,
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted."
Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the
Holy One of Israel.
To Him be all glory and honor,
Pastor Joe Sugrue