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Lowell Brueckner

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The Millennium, part 2


 An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 11

We have seen several Messianic prophecies already in the book of Isaiah. It would be difficult to make references to the coming Messiah without including His second coming and His millennial reign. The prophets generally put all these details into one package and left it to future generations to sort them out and develop them. This is why, it seems to me, that the interpretation of prophecy is the one element of Scripture that improves as we draw nearer to its fulfillment.

However, in chapter 1l the word is directed quite specifically to the thousand-year reign of the Messiah, which we call the Millennium. In chapter two, we studied Isaiah’s first prophecy concerning it, although, as already mentioned, there are glimpses of His earthly reign in other Messianic prophecies. There will be more later. It is a happy and encouraging theme for the Christian, who lives in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Certainly it was the same for the remnant of oppressed Jews, living in Old Testament times.

More of Christ’s attributes

The Apostol John heard the words of Jesus Christ at the end of his Revelation, which are among the last five verses of the entire revelation of God in the Bible: “I am the root and the descendant of David…” (Rev.22:16). It reveals an important doctrine concerning the God/Man and is one that Jesus put before the Pharisees in the form of a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” It is a vital question, one that must be answered correctly in order to understand His person. They answered, “The son of David.”

They were half-right, but it was an incomplete and insufficient answer, if we are to rightly know the One, who obtained eternal salvation for mankind. So Jesus challenged them:  “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’ saying, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet? If David then calls Him ‘Lord’, how is He his son?” (Mt.22:42-46). No one could answer Him, and yet, in the chapter we are studying, Isaiah had given them the answer in verses one and ten. Different from King David and the Apostol John, the Pharisees were not in the Spirit, making them incompetent to interpret their own Scriptures.

Paul also gives us the answer in the first verses of his letter to the Romans (1:3,4): “Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh (His humanity), who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.” He is the Son of David, but must also be known as the Son of God. Paul said that it was His powerful resurrection that gave absolute witness to His divinity. He was made to be the Son of David, but declared (not made, for He is uncreated) to be the Son of God.

Isaiah takes us back another generation, calling Christ a shoot from the stem of Jesse (v.1), the father of David. However, His human genealogy is traced back to Abraham, the father of the Hebrew race, and farther still to Adam and Eve. He is called in Genesis, the seed of the woman (Gen.3:15). Here too, Isaiah uses the similar word branch, by which he already termed Him in chapter 4:2. Jeremiah and Zechariah also call Him a branch. It means that He will be a new shoot, from the old Hebrew trunk, whose sovereignty as a nation was to be cut off, long before He comes into the world.  

Isaiah then takes us to the qualities of His person and ministry. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Him from the onset of His 3 ½ years of service. Also He said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (Jn.5:17), therefore His work was the work of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is indispensable in all that has to do with God, from creation and up to and through the church age. Already we have mentioned the need to be in the Spirit in order to rightly interpret Scripture. Everything that is true and lasting is done by the Holy Spirit.

It someone is ignorant and unlearned, he will not be so any longer after he becomes a Christian. The Christ within him has the spirit of wisdom and understanding. He knows exactly how to handle every situation and has perfect understanding of spiritual things. In chapter 9, we learned that He is the Counselor and so He gives to His disciples clear guidance in the way that they are to go and gives them the supernatural strength to do it. Nothing takes Him by surprise; He knows all things and distributes to the believer all that he needs to know and along with the knowledge comes the fear of the Lord, in order that all will be done in reverence to hallow His name (v.2). These qualities, demonstrated so wonderfully in the four Gospels, will be carried into the Millennium. The world will be under these influences and will submit to Christ’s reign.

We have also learned already from this book that the fear of the Lord is far different, as all the attributes of God are different, from the slavish fear of the man of the world. The fear of God is consistent with love and joy, or as here stated delight (v.3). The God-fearing disciple of Christ follows his Master in judgment. Christ taught us to bring matters to judgment in this way: Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (Jn.7:24). He taught us to judge in the fear of the Lord, not fearing man, and not according to appearance or by what men say. “He that is spiritual,” said Paul, “judges all things” (1 Co.2:15). Israel had rejected righteous judgment and was brought to account for not defending the poor, the orphan and the widow, as we saw in chapter ten.

Not everyone throughout the Millennium will be righteous, but all will submit to Christ’s righteousness. The Psalmist saw the coming millennial reign: “I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession, You shall break them with a rod of iron…” (Ps.2:8,9). The Apostol John saw the church, reigning with Christ, in his revelation and quoted this word from Christ to Thyatira: “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to Him will I give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron… as I also have received authority from My Father” (Rev.2:26,27, see also 12:5 and 19:15). Perfect righteousness will be a characteristic of the Millennium (v.4).

John was ordered to write for coming generations, as he saw the Son of Man in His glory, “girded across His chest with a golden sash” (Rev.1:13), and Isaiah prophecies and gives the meaning of the sash: “Righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist” (v.5).  

The animal kingdom transformed

At the apex of Paul's theological letter to the Romans, he refers to the wonderful transformation of the creation: "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now" (Ro.8:19-22).

Warren Wiersbe comments: This groaning is not a useless thing: Paul compared it to a woman in travail. There is pain, but the pain will end when the child is delivered. One day creation will be delivered, and the groaning creation will become a glorious creation!

Natural enemies in our cruel world will become friendly in the millennial animal kingdom. As a little boy, sitting on my father’s lap, he used to fascinate me with animal stories of the Millennium and it took permanent effect upon my life. It was not too many years ago, when I, in helpless anger, watched a magpie tear a baby song bird to pieces, while its mother perched nearby, screaming. When Christ reigns over the world, the prey need have no fear of the devourer, the kind man of God promises. A wolf will wander among a flock of sheep and the leopard and the kid goat will rest back-to-back on the ground. The calf and the young lion will play and feed together. My dad promised me that I could ride on a lion’s back, perhaps enhancing the biblical account a little, but verse six states that a little boy will shepherd this strange herd.

Won’t this be wonderful... something to look forward to with joy? Even in my seventies, I am enthralled by the natural beauty of the Millennium: “The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den” (v.7-8). Mothers will have a considerable load taken off their minds with this kind of children’s playground. If this is not all to be taken literally, then please give me a reasonable spiritual explanation for it. No, my friend, the Bible believer sees this as literally as the 6-day creation, as the flood upon all the earth, as Jonah living three days in the fish, and as literally as Christ rising physically from the grave. The Almighty questions, “Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jer.32:27)

There will be no war; there will be no destruction, when the root of Jessie will reign over the earth from His holy Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Earth’s perverted mentality will be replaced by divine knowledge, as the prevailing ideology from east to west and north to south.  It will permeate into every corner and cross over oceans to the islands of the sea (v.9).

Notice, the root of Jessie, is very different from a shoot from the stem of Jessie (v.10 with v.1). It means that He is before Jessie or David in total control of their genealogies. He is arranging all the circumstances and inserting all the necessary people. He is in charge of the history of Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth, the wife of Boaz, the grandfather of Jessie. He is the root, from which Jessie springs. This is why David called him Lord! This is the eternal God, the Son, before He became the offspring of David, who tabernacled among us.

The Day of the Lord

“In that day” speaks of the day, which to the Lord is as a thousand years. It is the day, for which the earth was created, ruled by the God/Man, the last Adam. “The nations will resort to the root of Jesse.” Paul continuously cites the prophet, Isaiah, as he unfolds his gospel doctrines concerning the open door given through Christ to the Gentiles and for that purpose, he points to this verse (Ro.15:12). Christ will be governing King and all the people of the earth will learn from Him. They will resort to Him and will depend on Him. The Bible will be the text book, from which children are taught. He will stand as an ensign, a banner, a standard for the people. Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah” (Ps.60:4)

“I am the truth,” He said, and the banner of truth will wave over the earth. The future society will see things from the King's point of view… the King of Truth, as He declared Himself to be on the day of His judgment before Pilate. On that awful Friday, He testified to Pilate of His coming kingdom and to the high priest of His second coming to judge the earth: Caiaphas, that lying and feigning high priest, demanded of the true Priest after the order of Melchizedek, “‘I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mt.26:63-64) The mighty Conqueror will then raise His banner over the earth.   

In the Bible, a resting place speaks of a permanent, secure home. Ruth was already moved out of Moab and into Bethlehem, when Naomi spoke to her of finding a resting place. She went on to speak of a potential marriage with Boaz. The writer of Hebrews, in chapters 3 and 4, speaks of a rest for the people of God. When Joshua finally led the people out of their wanderings in the desert for forty years, living in tents, he was supposed to have led them into their final destination, where they could settle down and build permanent homes. As true as that was in a symbolic, earthly sense, it was not the rest offered in the New Testament. The Psalmist speaks of a “today”, another day to come, a Sabbath rest, of which the old Sabbath was a symbol (Ps.95:7). “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation” (2 Co.6:2), in which the people of God rest from their works and come into the completed work of Christ by grace through faith. Now, in the Millennium, the earth’s history is complete and it comes into its rest. “And His resting place will be glorious.”

Having spoken of the Millennium, the prophet describes the gathering of the Jews from the far corners of the earth in preparation for that day (v.11,12). We have witnessed this astounding occurrence, which continues to this day. Having completed the physical work, He begins a work in the heart of the Jew. The judgment of division that is described at the end of chapter 9 is reversed. The jealousy and harassment ends, the people return to their native land, and come under a spirit of unity (v.13). From the Red Sea to the Euphrates, Israel will occupy all the territory promised to Abraham (v.14,15, see also Genesis 15:18). A work will be done, comparable to the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, which allowed the people to escape from Egypt. This greater, last-day deliverance will open up the Euphrates River, as well, providing a highway into Israel on the east and on the west, “for the remnant of His people who will be left” (v.16).

We will watch to see the details, as this literally occurs. By a supernatural work with opposition, not only from Egypt, but from all the nations, God carries on. Beginning at the onset of the 20th Century, through our day, and on through Daniel’s Seventieth Week, the work goes forward until the Messiah returns for the second time to reign and judge from Mt. Zion for a thousand years.


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