DIG: These verses portray a very peaceful kingdom. What types of people or situations may Isaiah have in mind here (see 19:23-25)? What does this scene tell you about human relationships under the rule of this King? About the cause and extent of His reign? When and where did this Root of Jesse come from (see 11:1-5)? Who exactly are these nations? What is the difference between the sheep Gentiles and the goat Gentiles? What is a banner?
REFLECT: What will it be like to experience complete safety because of a world based upon God’s teaching and ways? What Good News can you bring to others who do not yet know the LORD? This picture of the Messiah’s reign is both deeply personal and widely social. What would a new society specifically look like under the Messiah’s reign? If you are a Gentile, are you one of the sheep or one of the goats?
Many Old Covenant passages speak of a yet future time of true peace and prosperity for the righteous followers of God under the benevolent physical rule of Jesus Christ on earth. Zechariah 14:9 says: ADONAI will be king over all the earth; in that day ADONAI will be the only One, and His name the only One (also see 65:17-25). The reason such tranquility is possible is that all the earth will be full of the knowledge of ADONAI (Isaiah 11:9, Jeremiah 31:34; Habakkuk 2:14). This means more than people knowing intellectually about God. The idea is that people everywhere will actually live according to God’s principles and His Word. With a classic set of images, Isaiah pictures the kind of safety and security that will be seen in the Messianic Kingdom. The most helpless and innocent will be comfortable with those who used to be the most voracious and violent.
Isaiah described the righteous kingdom that the Messiah will set up. All animals will revert to the way they were before the fall. The curse on the earth (Genesis 3:15) will be lifted, therefore, peace and harmony will be present. Animals, which are now carnivorous, will become vegetarian in the Millennial Kingdom. Wild animals will be present, but will once again be tame and harmless to domesticated animals and humans. The wolf, leopard, lion, and the bear are mentioned as examples of wild animals that will dwell safely with farm animals like the lamb, goat, calf, cow, and the ox.
Old hostilities and fears are reconciled and put to rest. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child, not a strutting monarch, will lead them (11:6). The salvation of the world will depend on innocence, simplicity and faith rather than sophistication, cynicism, and violence.
Natures will be transformed. The Holy Spirit makes this point when He says that the cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together and the lion will eat straw like the ox (11:7). They all eat the same food. Meat eaters will become herbivores. The young are mentioned, showing that the change will become inherited.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest (11:8). There is something about a child playing around the den of poisonous snakes can almost be felt physically. You almost want to snatch the child away from danger. In what more effective way could a writer communicate that death itself would be conquered in the millennial Kingdom (Hosea 13:14; First Corinthians 15:55).
This is a summary and an explanation of 11:6-8. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain. In 2:2 the LORD’s mountain was the gathering-point for all the earth; now all the earth is the LORD’s mountain, entirely transformed to His holiness. For the earth will be full of the knowledge of ADONAI (Jeremiah 31;34; Habakkuk 2:14) as the waters cover the sea (11:9).
This knowledge goes beyond “knowing about” Him. According to First Samuel 3:7, the young Samuel, for all his religious training and the “knowledge” it must have brought (First Samuel 2:11, 18, 21, 26) did not yet know the LORD, for knowledge implies a personal, intimate relationship with a Person. At Mount Sinai, God said to His covenant people: Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am ADONAI their God (Exodus 29:45-46).
The animals that are now natural enemies will lie down with each other, and a little child will lead them. The child and the snake will get along. Here we have two of the oldest enemies in the world, the snake and man, getting along with one another. Isaiah says a similar thing later when he says: The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food (65:25a). The reason for all this is the reign of Messiah. The expression holy mountain refers to the mountain that will be in the center of the kingdom, in reference to the messianic Kingdom in which Christ will rule over the entire world.
Here Isaiah deals with Messiah’s relationship with the Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom (see my commentary on Revelation Fk – Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom). He will be the center of Gentile attraction: In that day, the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the Gentile nations. They will rally to Him and His place of rest, the Messianic Temple, will be glorious (11:10).
The term banner refers to a high pole, with waving banners, usually erected on a very high hill to serve as an assembling point for people. As far as Biblical history is concerned, the banner was used for four different reasons: first, for the purpose of communicating information (Jeremiah 50:2), secondly, for the gathering of military troops (Isaiah 13:2; 18:3 and Jeremiah 4:21), thirdly, for the gathering of fugitives (Jeremiah 4:6), and fourthly, for the gathering of people or peoples (11:10; 5:26; 49:22; 62:10). Isaiah will have more to say about the Messianic program later in his book.
In that day, the day of Immanuel’s reign, the Root, or shoresh, of Jesse, or Yeshua the Messiah will serve as a banner for the peoples, which are the Gentile nations. The Root of Jesse emphasizes His First Coming. Elsewhere the Messiah is called the Root of David (Revelation 5:5 and 22:16), which emphasizes His Second Coming. The Root that was planted into the ground in 11:1-2 eventually becomes a banner on a high mountain and is the center of Gentile attention. What we have here is the fulfillment of Genesis 49:10, where the obedience of the Gentile nations will be His. When the plural, nations, is used it is always a reference to Gentile nations.
Just as the roots of a tree provide stability, nourishment, and a firm foundation for growth, our Messiah, the Root of Jesse, provides all this and more in our lives.
The Gentile nations will be judged at the end of the Great Tribulation. The Judge, the judgment and those judged are identified in Matthew 25:31-33. When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne as the Judge in heavenly glory. All the Gentiles still living on the earth will be gathered before Him for judgment, and He will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats based on their treatment of the Jewish people during the Great Tribulation. He will put the pro-Jewish, the sheep, on His right and the anti-Jewish, the goats, on His left.
Matthew 25:34-40 concerns the pro-Jewish sheep. They will provide help to the Jews during the Great Tribulation, at a time when it will be extremely dangerous to do so. Those Jews who will have to flee into the wilderness without anything with them will often be provided with food, clothing and shelter by the sheep Gentiles. For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison for not taking the mark of the beast and you came to visit me. Because of these acts of kindness, they will be allowed to enter the Messianic Kingdom. Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” It will be the sheep Gentiles who will play a part in the destruction of Babylon (13:1-5). They will reach the 1,335th day (see my commentary on Revelation Ex – The Forty Five Day Interval), and will be the ones who will populate the Gentile nations during the thousand-year reign of Christ.
As far as the anti-Jewish goats, Matthew 25:41-45 states that all who aid the antichrist in the Jewish destruction will be killed and sent to hell. Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They will fail to reach the 1,335th day and, as a result, will lose out on the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom.
The basis of judgment will not be salvation or lack of it, but being pro-Jewish or anti-Jewish. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25:46). The goats will go to Hell, whereas the sheep will inherit eternal life. So is their eternal destiny based upon works? Not at all. The Bible is clear the salvation equals faith plus nothing. Salvation is totally apart from works. During the Great Tribulation the Jews will become a dividing line between those who are believers and those who are not. Only the believers will dare to violate the rules of the antichrist and aid the Jews. As James would say they will show their faith by their works (James 2:14-26 NKJ). But the unbelievers will prove their unbelief by their anti-Jewish acts.
The sheep Gentiles, who survive the judgment of the Gentiles at the end of the Great Tribulation, are the ones who will enter and populate the Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom. Because of their faith and help to the Jewish people, they will be able to participate in the blessings of the Kingdom. However, the children born into the Millennial Kingdom will inherit a sin nature from their parents and will need to accept Christ as Messiah to be saved. They will have a hundred years to become believers or they will die (Isaiah 65:20). Thus, there will be death in the Messianic Kingdom. But if they do accept Christ, they will live throughout the Kingdom and never die. So death will be greatly reduced in the Millennial Kingdom because it will be for unbelievers only.
Israel will have a special place in the Messianic Kingdom because of God’s Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21, 17:7-8, 22:17-18), the LORD’s Covenant with David (Second Samuel 7:16), and the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). But the Gentiles will also benefit from the Kingdom. ADONAI had also promised Abraham that through Israel, all the Gentile nations of the world would be blessed. He said: I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3).
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017