Isaiah 11

This chapter is a bit confusing, and I believe that it has led a bunch of people to believe a lot of foolishness.

Let’s begin.

There shall come forth a [a]Rod from the [b]stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall [c]grow out of his roots.
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.

Who is being described in the above verses?

Jesus Christ, God the Son. He is the Branch. And, I find this use of ‘Branch’ interesting.

We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But, He grew up on Nazareth. And the name, Nazareth has the same root as the word ‘Branch’.

Branch: נֵ֖צֶר

Nazareth: נָצְרַת

Was God leaving hints that Jesus would grow up in a place called ‘Branch’?

Whatever the connection between Nazareth and Hebrew word for Branch or Descendant, we already know that those two verses have already happened.

In verses 3-5, this is how Jesus will judge, when He returns:

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.

But, what about the rest?

“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.

Well, I don’t know if you’ve been watching any National Geographic documentaries, but I’ve seen quite a few. Nothing like verses 6-9 has happened yet. But, we have descriptions of the millennium, and it is clear to me that this is the thousand year reign of Christ that follows the Great Tribulation.

However, this next verse looks like it has been fulfilled.

10 “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.”

Well, I guess that it’s somewhat possible to see this also as a prophecy of the Millennium, but it certainly is much easier to see this as having been fulfilled over the course of the past two thousand years.

11 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 [d]islands of the sea.

Here is where we see our first bit of confusion. We just got done reading about The Millennium, and then it says ‘in that day’ God will bring His people a SECOND TIME.

Are we still talking about The Millennium?

Is this something that WILL HAPPEN?

In the future?

If this is something that will happen in the future, during the Millennium, then I am confused. If there are ANY Jews left in Assyria (Southern Turkey), Egypt, Pathros (Sudan), Cush (Ethiopia), Elam (Iran), Shinar (Iraq). Hamath (Syria), they are just a tiny handful. If there are more than that, they’re hiding from us.

And, what are these islands of the sea?

Are these islands in the Mediterranean Sea?

These COULD be Mediterranean islands and there are a few thousand Jews living in Cyprus and Greece. But, you could make a case for North and South America to be islands. And, Britain and Australia. There are Jews still in those places, but that still feels like we are trying to force the issue, like trying to place a square that requires something round.

There WERE Jews in Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar and Hamath. They fled to Israel after they were thrown out of their homes by the Muslims in 1948 and 1967. And, the Ethiopian Jews returned to Israel in the ’80s and ’90s.

Are there any Jews left in any of those areas?

No. (Or, so few that it makes no difference.)

So, unless a whole bunch of Jews return to those places, it would seem to me that this prophecy has been fulfilled. But, I understand if you want to put a question mark over that.

Let’s move on:

12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will [e]assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four [f]corners of the earth.
13 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.
14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west;
Together they shall plunder the [g]people of the East;
They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;
And the people of Ammon shall obey them.

I think that we can make a pretty strong case for the fulfillment of these three verses already. Gaza, the land of the Philistines, has been subdued by Israel. The Palestinian territories of the West Bank have been subjugated. And Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) is very careful to not make Israel upset. In fact, Jordan does a lot in cooperation with Israel.

Having said that, you can also make a strong case that more needs to be done. And, I think that moves are being made, right now, to finish what is left.

But, what about verse 15?

15 The Lord will utterly [h]destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over [i]the River,
And strike it in the seven streams,
And make men cross over [j]dry-shod.

This has NOT been fulfilled. Never in history has the Nile – or its tributaries – been dried up. It hasn’t happened, so we must place this in the ‘To Be Fulfilled’ column.

Now, we will see the Nile dry up in Isaiah 19. You can go there, now, if you are impatient:

However, the drying up of the Nile seems to be a man-made catastrophe. It seems that the building of dams on the Nile is what fulfills verse six of Isaiah 19. But, maybe God brings a drought that causes Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya to grab as much of the headwaters of the Nile as possible.

It’s bad enough that the Ethiopians are building a massive dam on the Blue Nile (60% of the Nile), but if God adds a huge drought… well …that would do horrific damage.

Then, we end Isaiah 11, with this verse:

16 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.

How did the people of Israel come out of Egypt?

They were thrown out.

How did the Jews of Syria, Iraq and surrounding countries come to Israel in 1948 and 1967?

They were thrown out.

I think that the parallels are significant. And yes, I believe that this prophecy has been fulfilled. But, let’s not end there.

The prophecy continues on through to chapter 12. (The Bible was divided into chapters only 700 years ago, and into verses around 500 years ago.)



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