The Rule of Christ on Earth

ISAIAH 11 SCC 4/21/13



            The passage was clearly laid out as the hope for the people troubled by wicked rulers and endless wars. Isaiah expected the birth of a child in a matter of years, and the destruction of Israel in about a dozen years, and the judgment on Assyria not too long after that.  But in chapter nine the fulfillment comes seven hundred years later when God sent the Son into the world.  But the peaceful reign of this wonder king has not happened yet.  And what chapter eleven promises will come later with the second coming, some 2700 years and counting after Isaiah declared it. This section gives the positive side of the deliverance of God’s people that is to come in contrast to the negative side in chp 10. God would put Assyria down, but the Messiah would lift Israel up by serving her ideally. The hope introduced at various points earlier in this major section (chp 7-10) comes to fruition in chapter 11. Having promised Him, Isaiah now presented Messiah as ruling.



Verse 1 we have an announcement of a ruler from Jesse

            The ancient writers used the imagery of a tree to symbolize a kingdom. This passage uses the image of "a shoot out of the stock of Jesse" and "a branch out of his roots"--both building on the comparison with the tree. At the judgment of God at the exile, God cut down the tree, leaving only a stump--the holy remnant.  But in time there would come forth from the stock a branch that would become a great king over the restored nation.

            The reference to Jesse is deliberate.  Had it said from David, one would have concluded that he would be born into the royal family as a crown prince and grow up in the ruling class.  But Jesse was never king; born to Jesse means He will not start out as royalty.  He would inherit the kingdom some day, but not at first.  The name “Jesse” focuses our attention on His humble origins.

Verse 2-3 his reign will be by the Spirit of the Lord

            After the initial announcement that that the Spirit was resting from upon him we have three sets of qualifications coming from this Spirit as He rules:

1. A spirit of wisdom and discernment refers to his judicial abilities. "Wisdom" is practical, ethical, and moral skillfulness, the ability to act within circumstances so that the results are productive and beneficial to the community.  "Discernment" refers to the ability to distinguish or decide between things, such as different choices. Then the Spirit would be said to produce “discerning wisdom.”

2. A spirit of counsel and strength assures that the king will need no advisors. He will make the right plans and have the power to carry them out.  We have already seen in chapter nine that he will be a "wonder of a counselor".

3. A spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord describes the one who is rightly related to God. The king will show in his every act that he is accountable to God--he will only do that which pleases the Father.

            According to v 3 he will not judge by sight, and not reprove by hearing.  He will have the ability to see and judge things as they really are. He would make decisions on the basis of reality rather than appearances, having the ability to see through issues.

Verse 4-5 his reign will be righteous

In both verses his rule is characterized as one of ‘righteousness’—conforming completely to God’s law:

1. It will enable the Messiah to champion the rights of the poor and the needy. Justice for the poor was hard to find in the ancient world because the poor could not afford to bribe their judges, and they possessed little political influence. But Israel’s coming king would do what was right for the poor and be fair with the afflicted

2. It will enable him to punish or destroy the wicked. His words of judgment would result in the death of the wicked rather than giving them preferential treatment for what they could do for the judge.

3. It will enable the Messiah to bring justice to the earth and be faithful to His word and to His mission and to His people v 5.

LESSON: If you are committed to the Bible then you can never place your hope in world peace until Jesus reigns on the earth. We can only hope for damage control. That is the best we can get until then. We will never fix the worlds problems. As long as we ignore God we will have the presence of evil. We push God out of the equation at our own peril. When Messiah reigns, for the first time evil is on the run.



Verses 6-8 the nature of the world will change

            There follows then a series of examples of life under this king's reign. Peace means a condition in the world in which all things can follow their divinely intended purposes or destiny uninterrupted.  These three verses illustrate that condition.

            The animals represent predators and prey, violent and peaceful, cunning and innocent.  But it will take a change in nature for the lion to feed on straw rather than meat, or for a child to lead animals out to graze and back them back again, or for a nursing child can play where once only danger lurked. Isaiah clearly foresees that when the Messiah comes there will be a change of conditions in the world order--in the curse.  Paul also observes that the whole earth groans, waiting for the day of redemption (Rom. 8).  Obviously, such changes did not occur at Christ's first advent. The second coming will bring major changes.

Verse 9 there is no more danger or destruction

            When righteousness will truly prevail, the world will be brought into the condition that God had first intended it to have. With the cessation of evil comes the cessation of harm that it brings. All that is corrupt and all that ruins and destroys, will end with the reign of the Messiah. The reason is clear: the knowledge of the LORD will cover the earth. Not now—it is hated with an irrational vengeance.

LESSON: It is evident that the entire world and mankind lives under the brutality of a curse. Every time we think we advance we take two steps backward. Advances have been made and in some sectors mankind has improved it’s chances. And yet the world seems to be falling apart at the seams. Greed, hatred, evil, oppression, and human carnage still take incredible tolls. When Messiah reigns, and the curse is reversed, and the universe will flourish as God originally designed and intended.



Verse 11-12 a remnant will return to the land

The standard He lifts up for the nations is the flag of His kingdom; His will be an earthly kingdom. He will assemble under this banner a remnant of Jews from both the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms who will be living all over the earth then.

Verse 13-14 internal strife will cease and together will defeat all enemies

Instead of fighting among themselves the Israelites will subdue their common enemies and gain the whole Promised Land. Evidently this conflict will precede the peace pictured in verses 6-9.

Verse 15-16 God’s judgments will allow Jews to return from all over the world

His judgments on Egypt and Babylonia will involve the drying up of major barriers, the Red Sea and the Euphrates River. This judgment will allow the Jews to return to the Promised Land from those parts of the world unhindered. They will be able to leave the territory of Assyria, where God had said He would send them captive, as easily as their forefathers left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea in the Exodus. Israel will re-gather in the Promised Land from all over the world trusting in God.



1. Christians have been given the same Spirit that governs and controls their King.  And that Holy Spirit can produce wisdom, might, and fear of the Lord in our lives even today.

2. We who are in His kingdom, which is a kingdom of righteousness, ruled by righteousness, must promote righteousness wherever we are. It all depends on how righteous you want to be today!

3. Spirit filled believers will also promote and extend peace in the world, insofar as they can.  We must champion righteousness, and righteousness will enjoy peace. We will not usher in the age of righteousness, but we will bring others into the kingdom by emulating the reign of the glorious King.