Messiah in Isaiah: Part 2

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And 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 the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
-Isaiah 11:1-5

Chapter 11 begins with another prophecy that Messiah will come and another identifier, that he will be a descendant of Jesse (David’s father, making him heir to the throne of David). The next several verses tell us about his reign. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord will be upon him. Add these characteristics to the titles given in Isaiah 9 and they paint quite a picture. He will not judge by what he see or hears, but with righteousness and equity. Righteous and faithfulness are described as articles of clothing one wears in verse 5 and calls to mind the armor of the Lord in Ephesians 6. We learn from Isaiah not just that a Messiah is coming but ways to identify him and details about not only his character but what his reign will be like.

From Isaiah’s point of view, everything the Messiah would do was in the future. There are some Messianic prophecies that readers may find troubling, perhaps with the aid of critics, because they have not come to pass. We understand that the Messiah (Christ in the New Testament) came once already and will come again. There are events described in Isaiah that did not take place during the earthly ministry of Jesus that will at his second coming. Isaiah 25:8 for instance says that “He will swallow up death forever;and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” Revelation 21 describes the New Heaven and New Earth. Compare that verse to Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” As New Testament Christians, we live in the time between the first and second appearing of Jesus Christ. We believe since he died and rose again that death, hell and the grave have been defeated. Some of the Isaiah prophecies have taken place, others are still yet to be fulfilled. These are not just predictions, these are truths found in God’s Word. They are every bit as certain as death and taxes. 

In Part 3 we will examine the prophecy of his death… and resurrection.

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