3/22/2015

A Glimpse of Heaven (Isaiah 11-12)

Isaiah 11:1-12:6; 12:2; 11:9

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation" (Isa 12:2, NIV). "Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord" (Isa 11:9, NLT).

Theme: Despite his people's rebellion, God faithfully keeps his promise to bring forth his salvation.

Isaiah 11 shows that God never abandoned Israel, promising that amid the apparently destitute land there remained "the holy seed" found in a stump (Isa 6:13). Coming forth from the line of David (Isa 11:1), this "root of Jesse" would signal to the nations a new reality (Isa 11:10). When the Messiah rules, we will catch a glimpse of heaven that will be expressed as:
  1. Peace (11:1-9). The King in Eden. [Isaiah 11: The righteous reign of the branch.]
    • The ancestry and endowment of the king (1-2). His fitness to rule.
    • The king's rule (3-5). The nature of Christ's reign. The character of his rule.
    • The king's world (6-9). The peace of Christ instead of wars, oppression and destruction. The ideal state of affairs that will arise as a result of his rule: universal peace. It is denied of danger and harm.
  2. Unity (11:10-16). The world's king. The Gentiles and the lost and scattered tribes all gathered by Christ into the kingdom of God. All that was envisaged in Isa 2:2-4 and Isa 4:2-5 will be realized when the Messiah reigns at last. Thus, this section describes the gathering of the Messiah's people. It is marked by "his hand" (Isa 11:11, 15) and "the remnant of his people (Isa 11:11, 16). God's power gathers in all his people, and no earthly power can prevent their final homecoming.
  3. Joy (12:1-6). [The Lord praised in Zion; A song/hymn of thanksgiving and praise; The individual in the community -- salvation, singing and proclamation.] This paean (song, lyric, poem of triumph/thanksgiving) of praise is the conclusion of the account of the Messiah's reign which began in Isa 11:1. Note the repeated phrase in Isa 11:10-11; 12:1, 4.
A Glimpse of Heaven (Isaiah 11-12) is seen in:
  1. The nature of the Messiah (11:1-5). The shoot or branch springs from old roots, just as God promised long ago.
  2. The transformation of the world (11:6-9). The new world will be denied of danger and harm.
  3. People gaining the knowledge of the Lord (11:10-16). As knowledge of God grows, people will rally to be with Him.
  4. The praises offered to God for His wonderful salvation (12:1-6). God's anger becomes a thing of the past and His people sing praises to Him.
The oracle against Babylon in Isaiah 13 introduces a block of material which is so distinct from Isaiah 1-12 as to indicate that a major new departure of the book begins at that point. Isaiah 12 then stands at the end of the first major part of the book, and its content indicates that it is not merely the end but the climax (Isa 12:6).

Isaiah 1-12 have stressed again and again the holiness of God and the fact that the culmination of his saving work would be reached in Zion (Isa 2:2-4; 4:2-6; 9:6-7). Here the culmination is described in terms of the final realization of the ancient covenant ideal: the Holy One dwelling in the midst of his people (Ex 25:8; Rev 21:1-5). That is climax indeed and therefore a just cause for celebration.
References:
  1. Paradise (Isaiah 11). My daily bread from Nov 2010.
  2. God is Man's Salvation (Isaiah 12). My daily bread from Nov 2010.
  3. The Root Reigns & Reunites Israel (Isaiah 11-12).
    • Isaiah chapter 12 is the summary of the coming kingdom of "Immanuel" mentioned in previous chapters.
    • Chapter 8 tells us that the Immanuel would provide protection to Judah, and the remnant should return.
    • Chapter 9 tells us that the Great Light is coming. The Child would be born (Isa 9:6).
    • Chapter 10 tells us about the prophecy of judgment of Israel and Assyria. The first giant tree, meaning to Israel, would be axed first, and He would also cut down the greater tree, Assyria (Isa 10:33). Assyria would cause much damage to Israel and Judah, but the remnant should be remained from the attack (Isa 10:20-21).
    • Isaiah 11-12, is the story of the stump and what would come forth from it. The stump seemed to be dead or totally destroyed, but it was not. There would be a branch shooting from it. The stump coming up here is the stump of Jesse, which is the imagery of small beginning, and there would come the Branch - Jesus Christ. This is tough love of God toward Israel. He had to cut it down and remain only a stump.
  4. Preaching from Isaiah (11 page pdf). Chapters:
    1. 1-12. Prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem closing with a psalm and promises of restoration.
      • Chapter 1 is an introduction in which Isaiah mentions thoughtfulness, formalism in worship, pardon and judgment.
      • Chapters 2-4 contain three pictures of Judah--exaltation, idolatry and eventual purification. 
      • Chapter 5 uses a beautiful analogy to confront Israel.
      • Chapter 6 is an apologetic for the harshness of 1-5.
      • Chapters 7-12 are warnings against political entanglement with Assyria and recommends trust in the Lord.
    2. 13-23 contain oracles of judgment and salvation concerning several nations whose fortunes affect Judah. He makes it clear that it is useless for them to resist the Assyrian empire or the will of God. God used the Assyrians and later the Babylonians and Persians to bring judgment and to accomplish his will.
    3. 24-27 are closely related to 13-23. It is a prediction of world judgment resulting in the redemption of Israel. These chapters teach the necessity of divine discipline and redemption that awaits the faithful. Isaiah looks forward to redemption and speaks of it in present tense.
    4. 28-35 contain a cycle of prophetic warnings against alliance with Egypt closing with a prophecy against the land of Edom. The warnings are pronounced as six woes.
    5. 36-39 contain history, prophecy and song intermingled. These chapters are almost identical to 2 Kgs 18:13-20:19. Isaiah prophesied that Babylon and not Assyria would be God's instrument of judgment on Judah.
    6. 40-66 are prophecies of comfort, salvation, and of the future glory awaiting Israel. 
      • Chapters 40-48 announce delivery from captivity through a Persian King;
      • chapters 49-57 describe the sufferings of the Servant;
      • chapters 58-66 are yet to be fulfilled. They announce the eradication of all national distinctions and the future glory of the people of God.