Messiah and His Kingdom–But No Cross
The prophet uncovers a portrait of a glorious Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-5 and paints a picture of a glorious, peaceful kingdom in Isaiah 11:6-9. The vision includes Gentiles and the remnant of Israel and Judah in Isaiah 11:10-16. The images point to a heaven on earth. Up to this moment in Isaiah, there has been no mention of a suffering Messiah, nor of the cross. These will come later in the book. The entirety of Isaiah 12 is a joyous peal of praise on behalf of Jewish and Gentile believers.
The Messiah of Isaiah 11:1-5 strongly resembles the King of Psalm 45. But while the psalm represents the King’s beauty in concrete terms of physical characteristics, Isaiah goes straight for his character and its source–the Holy Spirit.
Shared characteristics of the Messiah/King in both texts include:
- blessing and approval of God
- meekness and concern for the meek
- enmity towards iniquity
When one includes everything from Isaiah 11:1-12:6, the eternality of the Messiah/King, the kingdom of his people, inclusion of Gentiles, and the joy and gladness that accompany him also become shared characteristics of the two passages.
Revelation 19:11-16 is a New Testament passage featuring the same amazing Being as these in Isaiah and Psalms. While all three passages include an element of judgment for the wicked, this feature is strongest in the Revelation passage.
Points to Consider
- All three passages indicate a reality beyond what we as a fallen race of people experience on a daily basis.
- The Revelation passage indicates its timeframe as the close of this age–that is, the wrapping up of human history in its current form.
- The seeming impossibility of the peaceful coexistence of all created kinds in the Isaiah passage reminds the reader of conditions in Eden before the fall.
- The passage from the Psalter is the most plausible in terms of an earthly kingdom. In fact, many commentators assume that an over eager scribe originally penned the words of hyperbole to honor a Davidic king on the day of his wedding.
I, as a believer in Christ, one who also has the advantage of the hindsight of the Spirit-inspired New Testament authors, find a present-day spiritual reality in the description Isaiah and the psalmist apply to the Messiah/King and his people/bride–that is, the church. Faith also informs me that, according to Revelation, what believers see and experience now by faith alone will one day be the concrete reality of a new creation, as well as a present spiritual reality. I also believe that God intended from the beginning the meanings the New Testament authors find in Isaiah and Psalms. These are not applications, or repurposing, of ancient Scripture in a new and different context. These are prophecies–foreseen and fulfilled.
to be continued