ISAIAH 9, 10, 11, 12
Some classic chapters in Isaiah that most people will have heard read aloud at a Christmas carol service… “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7) Jesus was prophesied to be that great light (“I am the light of the world”) to the non-Jews as well as the Jews; and the Land of Naphtali was the area around Capernaum that Jesus mainly ministered into. The Messiah, the Son of David, was not only described as great, but as divine – equal with the God the Father.
The King of Assyria was in an unusual relationship with God: on the one hand, he was being used as an executer of judgment from God upon Israel, the Northern kingdom; on the other hand, the king was proud and self-important, believing that it was his own strength and wisdom that have done this, and also planning to completely destroy the nations around him altogether. Therefore, once God has achieved his purpose in using Assyria to punish Israel, he will in turn punish Assyria with ‘a wasting disease’. This was fulfilled in 701 BC when 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who were besieging Jerusalem were suddenly struck with a plague of death by an angel of the Lord.
The Lord then goes on to say that ‘remnant’ will return from Israel’s exile and will truly rely on God again.
Isaiah 11 speaks of the Messiah coming to earth, having come physically from “the stump of Jesse”. In other words, he will have descended from King David. Judah had been exiled into the Babylonian empire in 586 BC and it was that ‘stump’ that the Messiah was to grow from again, more than half a millennium later. Sometimes we need to be very patient to see the complete fulfilment of the prophetic gift! “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord”. (Isaiah 11:2) As Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, His wisdom and knowledge that He had to put aside when he became born as a baby, were restored to him, and he ministered as God on earth.
“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”. Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:27 both refer to this judicial power that he will exert over the nations.
The final Messianic kingdom will be one of peace and restoration of all that was originally intended for the earth and its redeemed population. (See Isaiah 11:6-9) The natural order amongst God’ creation will be restored and redeemed. The nations will again flock to the Messiah and to God, and all physical barriers will be removed. The redeemed will come back to the Lord from every nation on earth. This section ends with a great song of praise in Isaiah 12.