Thursday, December 03, 2015

Foretelling 2 Advents - Isaiah 11

Isaiah 11:1-10
God’s Word to Isaiah on the Future of the World

What an honor God bestowed on Isaiah. He told him the entire future of the world with Jesus at the center. And, indeed, Jesus is the focus of God’s plan for the world.

In Isaiah 10, God spoke of judging nations by way of the metaphor of chopping down a forest. He continued with this metaphor in chapter 11, referring royal house of Israel as a stump. The line of David would be cut down in the exile. The stump is Jesse, King David’s father. The prophetic word of the Lord is that, out of Jesse’s line, would come another king, a shoot or branch, that would be the greater David. This is a prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus.

The New Testament shows us this prophecy fulfilled. Matthew 1 traces the genealogy of Jesus, the son of David, who was the son of Jesse. He ended the genealogy with the birth of Jesus, “who is called Christ”. (Matt. 1:16) Christ is the transliteration of the Greek word “christos”, which is a translation of the Old Testament word for “anointed” or anointed one. “Messiah” is our transliteration of that Hebrew word.

Then we are told things about this Messiah. First, the Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him. He would be anointed with the Spirit. This prophecy was fulfilled at Jesus’ baptism. Matthew recorded the event. The Spirit of God descended like a dove and came to rest on him. (Matthew 3:16)

The Father said the Spirit would endow the Son with three specific things:
wisdom and understanding;
counsel and might; and
knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Is. 11:2)

With wisdom and understanding, Jesus would lead his followers to know and obey God. With counsel and might he would carry out the mission given to him by the Father. With knowledge and fear of the Lord, Jesus would do the will of the Father completely. In fact, he would delight in this fear of the Lord, enjoying the holiness and might of the Father as a holy and devoted son.

Jesus, as the descendant of David, was the promised king. (2 Samuel 7:14-17) He inaugurated, or began, his kingdom while ministering on earth. His first message was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. (Matt. 4:17) He said “the kingdom of God has come near to you”. (Luke 10:9) But Jesus did not complete his kingdom work, for he came the first time to save rather than to judge.

But God gave Isaiah an even greater vision of the kingdom. For God revealed that the day would come when Jesus would judge and rule the nations. He would destroy the wicked with his word, the “rod of his mouth” and “ breath of his lips”. (Is. 10:3-5) This will occur when Jesus returns, resurrects the faithful and judges the world.

Then the Lord revealed even further into the future. After the resurrection and the judgment will come a new earth, a restored creation, inhabited by believers of all the ages in the presence of the Lord. Isaiah described it as a time when predator and prey are no longer at odds. (Is. 11:8) It will be a time when children need not fear any animal, when there will be no hurt or fear. (Is. 11:9) Revelation 21 describes the new creation as one where no evil exists, where everything is made beautiful for the church and where the Father and the Son dwell in the midst of their people.

The scope of the prophecy given to Isaiah is breathtaking! Three hundred years before Jesus is born, God described him to Isaiah. Two thousand three hundred years later, we still await the consumption of the kingdom, the return of Christ and the new earth. Yet, God revealed it to Isaiah.

Yes, Jesus came to earth as a baby as we celebrate during Advent and Christmas. As the faithful waited for him then, we await his return now. This Jesus who lived for us and died for us will return for us.

The word “advent” is an English transliteration of the Latin word “adventus”, which meant “coming”. In our time, we think of it as celebrating Christ’s coming as a baby. But early Christians celebrated it in anticipation of his second coming, his return to gather the faithful to himself for all eternity. There is nothing wrong with celebration the coming of Christ as a baby. But as we do, we can look forward as well as backward, for “this Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven”. (Acts 1:11) As the Apostle John said, at the end of his vision of the end of this age, “amen, come Lord Jesus”. (Rev. 22:20)
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