Today: [Isaiah 11] A Branch Out of Jesse. In Isaiah chapter 11 the prophet breaks forth from a denunciation of the corrupt court of Ahaz to a description of the Messiah coming in glory. Isaiah throughout this book alternates between scathing reproaches of ungodliness that are local to his situation and then moving into ephemeral, lofty depictions of Messianic glory. For this reason the book of Isaiah perhaps more so than any other Major Prophet lays down deep foundations of understanding concerning the coming of Christ as suffering savior and ultimately as returning king. We see in this chapter also the seven spirits of God and understand them to be indicative of the work of the Spirit in our own lives as we live in harmony with the mind of God and heart of God from day to day.
[Isa 11:1-16 KJV] 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 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 of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
In Isaiah 11 we find the inventory of the seven spirits of God relating to the coming Messiah. The rod out of the stem of Jesse speaks of the lineage of David out of which Jesus descended through the virgin Mary. Jewish commentators, not believing in Jesus as Messiah suggest that Hezekiah was the Branch that was indicated in this passage. Hezekiah however was believed to have been 12 years of age when Isaiah wrote this passage and verse one speaks of one who “shall come” therefore excluding Hezekiah who was already present at the court of king Ahaz. The word used describing the “stem” of Jesse can also be translated “stump” which implies a very low and minimal family line. David’s father Jesus came from humble stock until Samuel met him and anointed David to be king in place of Saul. The line of David was very prolific and powerful particularly in David and Solomon’s day, however after the captivity and descending down to the time of Jesus the line of David was found in the family of carpenters and artisans from which Christ sprang – the rod out of the stump or stem of Jesus.
The title “Branch” is a Messianic title that in the original Hebrew is “Netzer” from which derives the name of the city of Nazareth where Jesus came from, fulfilling the prophesy referred to in Matthew 2:23 that He would be called a Nazarene. This is an interesting quote in Matthew 2:23 that seems to refer to multiple references in the Hebrew canon that called Jesus “a Nazarene”. The interesting thing is that there are no known references in the Old Testament or even the Apocrapha that directly call the Messiah by this name. This tells us that the Nazarene description may refer to the fact that Jesus would be despised or would be as Samson, one that would take a Nazarite vow which is not the same thing as a Nazareen, one who came from Nazareth from which Jesus did.
The passage goes on to describe the seven spirits of God that would rest upon Jesus which are:
1. The Spirit of the Lord
2. The Spirit of Wisdom
3. The Spirit of Understanding
4. The Spirit of Counsel
5. The Spirit of Might
6. The Spirit of Knowledge
7. The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
There are five references to the seven spirits of God, four in Revelation (Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) and here in Isaiah 11. These seven spirits also correspond to the seven charismatic graces referred to in Romans 12:6-8. It is understood that they represent not seven distinct entities but the seven fold ministry of the one Holy Spirit with which Jesus would be overshadowed at the time He was baptized of John in the Jordan river. For a more complete teaching on the seven spirits of God I suggest you acquire my book “Spiritual Meteorology” which teaches on this passage in depth.
Verse 3 tells us that the Messiah is one that will be of quick (or, spiritual) understanding. He will not judge by the seeing of His eyes nor reprove after the hearing of His ears. This is an attribute of discernment every believer should cultivate. Proverbs 18:13 tells us that a fool answers a matter before he hears it. Just because something looks a certain way or something is said about a certain person or their activity we need to be discerning and withhold our opinion until we have gotten the mind of God. When the Gentile question was being settled among the elders at Jerusalem the report was that:
[Act 15:28 KJV] 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
Notice that they didn’t just consult among themselves. They determined what seemed good to the Holy Ghost. Seek the mind of God. Choose to have no opinion until you have gotten the mind of God on any matter that is before you. Never allow yourself to be goaded into action as those who brought Jesus the woman taken in adultery in John 8. You will recall that they burst into the crowd and threw the adulteress on the ground before Jesus claiming in verse 4 that she had been caught in the very act. Jesus didn’t respond at first. He knelt down and wrote on the ground until after a time challenged them regarding their own sins, resulting in the woman’s life being spared. Learn to judge righteous judgment. Learn to go down inside and commune with your own spirit and the spirit of God even when being pressured to act by outside forces.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. 15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make [men] go over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
The remainder of the chapter goes on to describe the character of the millennial reign of Christ. The lion shall lay down with the lamb. The bear and the cow will feed together. This is not just poetic metaphor. This speaks of the physical reign of Jesus on the earth when even natural predators will become herbivories in their habits and live in harmony with their former prey. Verse 9 tells us that “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea…” We may not see all the earth covered with the knowledge of God now but what about us? Many times people think of a person full of God as someone who pronounces judgment on the offenders and makes everyone uncomfortable by their scrutinizing gaze. That is not the character of what we see described in this chapter. The earth may not be full of God but we in ourselves can be full of God. We can be a person who has no destruction in their heart, who takes no pleasure in the demise of the wicked. How enters into the rest that verse 10 says is found in the gloriousness of God.
In verse 11-12 we see that the Messianic kingdom will be one in which the remand of God’s people shall be recovered. Let that be the nature of your own personality in Christ. Be one not that tears down or destroys but rather one that seeks out and recovers that which is about to falter and fail. This is the nature of God and the nature of Christ and it should be the character of every Christian who claims to know who God is and to live out their lives under the influence of His Spirit and the Seven Spirits of God.
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