DIG: Once before, God saved His people by the Exodus. How will this happen a second time? How might 11:11-12 relate to the imagery of 11:6-9? To the promise of 19:24-25? How certain will all of this be (see 9:7)? Why? How does this song of God’s deliverance from Assyria compare with the way Israel celebrated God’s deliverance from Egypt (see Exodus 15:2ff)? How deeply does Israel respond to the LORD’s salvation here? What is the real deliverance, of which Israel is only an example, that God has in view here? What is the ultimate reason for her joy?
REFLECT: 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. Does 11:12 compare at all with John 12:32? Why? How well does your joy match your walk and your talk with God? When have you most keenly felt the LORD's anger? God’s goodness? Which are you sensing now?
Many passages in the Bible speak of Israel’s regathering in belief at the end of the Tribulation, in conjunction with Christ's Second Coming and in preparation for the beginning of the Millennium. These references are not being fulfilled by the modern state of Israel. Some of them include Deuteronomy 4:29-31; 30:1-10; Isaiah 27:12-13, 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-15; 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; Amos 9:14-15; Zechariah 10:8-12 and Matthew 24:31.
The fact that the last fifty years have seen a worldwide regathering and
reestablishment of the nation of Israel, which is now poised in the very setting
required for the revealing of the antichrist and the start of the Tribulation,
is God’s grand indicator that all the other areas of world development are
prophetically significant. Dr. Walvoord, past president of Dallas Theological
Seminary, says, “Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present
generation, few events can claim equal impact as far as Biblical prophecy is
concerned with that of the return of Israel to their Land. It constitutes a
preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the LORD
His Church made up of Jewish and Gentile believers (Ephesians 2:14), and the fulfillment of
Israel’s prophetic destiny.” Israel, God’s super sign of the end times, is a
clear indicator that time is growing shorter with each passing hour. With what
we have already seen, we can be assured that ADONAI is now preparing the world for
the final events leading up to Israel’s national regeneration.40
There are four
things we need to understand about reclaiming the remnant.
First, in that day the LORD will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of this people from the four corners of the earth: Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and from Cush from the south; Assyria, Elam and Babylonia from the east; Hamath from the north and the islands of the sea from the west (11:11). This final restoration under the Messiah will be a second worldwide regathering. If this is the second regathering, when was the first? It could not merely be the return from Babylon because that was hardly a regathering from the four corners of the earth. Other prophets spoke of the first worldwide regathering, which was a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment (Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22; and Zephaniah 2:1-2).
The present nation of Israel is the fulfillment of the first regathering in unbelief in preparation of the judgment of the Great Tribulation. But that worldwide regathering is to be followed by a second one, because Israel will collapse in the middle of the Great Tribulation and there will be another dispersion. That will be followed by this second worldwide reclaiming in faith, in preparation for the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. And that is the final regathering of the remnant that Isaiah is talking about here. He will raise a banner for the Gentile nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth (11:12). Furthermore, the reason for the assembling of the Gentile nations in 11:10 is that they are to aid in the reclaiming of the remnant into the Land and the destruction of Babylon (13:1-5). The fact that both Israel and Judah are mentioned is significant. Jews will be gathered from the whole earth. There are no “lost tribes.” All those of faith will be redeemed.
Secondly, Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim (11:13). There will be a restoration of unity between the northern kingdom of Ephraim, or Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-23). The question is, what is meant by Ephraim’s jealousy of Judah? Why was she jealous of Judah? When we look at Psalm 78:9-11, it tells us that the men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by His commandments. They forgot what He had done and the wonders He had shown them. Not only was Ephraim not willing to help out the other tribes in time of danger (some examples of this are in the book of Judges), but they also tended to fall away from following the LORD. As a result, in Psalm 78:67-69, we read that God rejected the tents of Joseph (meaning Ephraim and Manasseh his sons), He did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; but He chose the tribe of Judah, on Mount Zion, which He loved. He built His Sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that He established forever.
Therefore, when God finally decided to establish a place for His Temple He chose Judah over Ephraim. Ephraim had their chance first because Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was originally established, was in their tribal territory. But because of Ephraim’s actions during the period of time when the Tabernacle was in Shiloh, God ultimately decided to build a permanent dwelling. He chose Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, and Judah over Ephraim. As a result, there has been jealousy ever since. In fact, when the split of the kingdom came the very reason why Jeroboam set up the two golden calves was to keep the people of the northern kingdom of Israel from worshiping God in the Temple in Jerusalem (First Kings 12:25-33). But Isaiah tells us that during the Messianic Kingdom this jealousy will vanish and there will be a restoration of peace between the two Jewish kingdoms.
They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them (11:14). The theme of the Messianic Kingdom continues. It was King David who conquered Philistia (Second Samuel 5:17-25), the east (Second Samuel 10:6), Edom (Second Samuel 8:14), Moab (Second Samuel 8:2-13), and the Ammonites (Second Samuel 10-12). Because there will be no war in the Messianic Kingdom, a literal interpretation here is not possible. As a result, this must be a metaphor of a conquering hero. When the King of kings comes again, Isaiah envisions the spreading of His Kingdom. The force to which these nations fall will be the Prince of Peace and His Gospel. The two regathered nations of Isra'el and Judah will assist in the worldwide expansion.
Thirdly, when Isra'el returns to her Land at the beginning of the Millennium, God will provide the way for her. The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals (11:15). The reclaiming of the remnant will be accompanied by miracles. As he does frequently, Isaiah recalls the exodus. As at the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 14:21-22), a highway will be prepared for the returning exiles. The Gulf of the Egyptian Sea is now known as the Gulf of Suez. The Euphrates River will be broken up into seven smaller streams so that it is much easier to cross. This will allow Jews in Egypt and in the Mesopotamian area to return much more easily.
Fourthly, There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. (11:16). Finally, the remnant will return. The concept of the reclaiming of the remnant being a greater Passover than the previous one, like a new exodus, is brought out in Jeremiah 16:14-15 and 23:7-8. What is the first thing the Jews did after they crossed over the Sea of Reeds out of Egypt? They sang hymns (see my commentary on Exodus Ck – Then Moses and the Israelites Sang This Song and Cl – Then Miriam the Prophetess Took a Tambourine in Her Hand). So the future remnant of Israel will sing a song of salvation and trust.
The LORD is the One who initiates salvation. There was nothing Israel did to earn God’s grace toward them. If there is to be reconciliation, it will have to come from Him. Trust in God, faith in God, or belief in God does not produce reconciliation but is a response to the reconciliation proclaimed. When ADONAI Himself has satisfied His own justice and invites us to trust Him, have faith in Him and believe in Him, what else can we say? I will trust and not be afraid.
Scripture points to the fact that our response normally is expressed in song. No other form of human expression so captures the whole human psyche as does singing. Furthermore, there is a continuity in the songs of Zion that flows from the shores of the Sea of Reeds to the glassy sea around which all the saints will gather: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom of priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).41
Throughout Chapters 7 to 11 there is the recurring appeal to the house of David and Judah to put aside their fears of the Gentile nations around them and to focus their primary attention upon ADONAI, who is Master of the nations and who is utterly trustworthy. That trustworthiness is underlined by the promise that, although their refusal to trust will result in defeat and despair, it will not result in the complete destruction of Israel as a people.42 The two stanzas in Chapter 12 are each introduced by the words: In that day you will say. This refers to the time of deliverance when the nations of Israel and Judah are regathered and the Messiah reigns.
The first stanza in 12:1-3 looks back on God’s judgments and resulting salvation. The central focus of these verses is upon God. That is what Isaiah has been appealing for. Whenever Israel focuses primarily on her needs, she ends up in trouble and God becomes merely the means to her selfish end. This attitude is a sure prescription for spiritual disaster. The source of the praise is the fact that God’s anger has been turned away. The former enemy has become a source of comfort. But how can this be? The comfort of God comes only after the sin and wickedness have been punished. Where will the atoning sacrifice come from? You will draw water from the wells of salvation. The answer will not come until Chapters 40 to 55, but is introduced here and forces us to begin to think about it. The phrase God is my salvation is Isaiah’s name. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9b). Liberation is found in the LORD or it is not found at all. This is what Isaiah has been trying to get the people of Jerusalem and Judah to understand. Now he foresees a day when they will finally grasp this truth.
I will trust and not be afraid, is what Isaiah was trying to get Ahaz to say in 7:2-9. But Ahaz could not get himself to say it. Overcome by his fear of Ephraim and Syria, he could not believe that God was with him. As a result, he put his trust in an alliance with his ultimate enemy, Assyria. How can the LORD get Judah to trust in Him? To believe in Him? To put their faith in Him? Those who can leap across the chasm of fear to trust will find what they have in ADONAI. He is their strength, He is their song, and He will become their salvation. Should we not trust a God who would give up His only Son for us? Only fear, fear that God will not keep His word, fear of giving up control, can keep us from trusting.43 To draw water from the wells of salvation pictures living according to God’s principles and thus participating with joy in the blessing He will provide.
The second stanza in 12:4-6 tells us that the remnant will thank the LORD and call on each other to let the world know what God has done for Judah (7:1-9:7) and Israel (9:8-11:16). Each verse starts with a command. In 12:4 it is: Give thanks to the LORD. This verse has many parallels in the Psalms. Psalm 105:1 and 148:13 are almost identical. The remnant will thank the LORD and will call on each other to let the world know what God has done for Judah and Israel. God’s name, His revealed character, is to be exalted, or vindicated, before the world so that people everywhere will see that He fulfills His promises. In 12:5 the people will sing to the LORD because of His glorious deeds. In 12:6 they will shout aloud and sing for joy. The remnant will also remind themselves of the greatness of God. It is hardly a coincidence that the final verse of this section closes with the phrase K’dosh Yisra’el, the Holy One of Israel. This phrase occurs 29 times in the Bible. Of these, 26 times are in Isaiah: 13 times in Chapters 1-39 and 13 times in Chapters 40-60. The remaining 3 occurrences are in the Psalms (Psalm 71:22, 78:41 and 89:19). Because of the holy nature of God there is hope, hope for Isaiah, and really hope for us all. Therefore, in spite of all the hardships ahead for both Isaiah and the nation the prophet could believe in, and look forward to, a day when his restored people would be able to shout aloud and sing for joy.
ADONAI, You alone are holy. Awesome God, creator of Your people Israel, You alone are worthy of our worship and praise.
At the beginning of the Book of Immanuel, the question was posed: Is God Sovereign over all the nations? Can the LORD deliver from Assyria? Can He be trusted? Or is He just one more god, added to all the others? Ruach HaKodesh has answered that question through His prophet with a resounding, yes. ADONAI, who is Master of the nations, is utterly trustworthy.
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017