And there shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 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 the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of his lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist. The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” [Is11:1-9 NKJV)
This wonderful passage evinces Yahweh and the Son of Man’s equitable justice and positive intentions towards a future earth, however radical/wholesale we might imagine its renewal to be. I have bolded the aspects especially relevant to this series of posts. In summary:
1) The Man appointed to judge the human race whilst referred to as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” in Revelation is at the same time meek and lowly of heart (Mt11:29). He will apply the standards of judgement He indicated during His earthly ministry, which will be understood to be reasonable from a human perspective (cf. Mt7:2);
2) The gospel of the Kingdom is good news both for the poor in spirit (the contrite ones – Mt5:3 reflecting Is66:2) and also those who are materially poor (Lk4:18, Lk6:20 reflecting Is61:1). The account of the respective fates in Hades of the rich man and Lazarus confirms the redistributive aspect of judgement in favour of those who have suffered poverty and hardship in this life (Lk16:25) with whom the Saviour and Judge has always personally identified (Mt25) and towards whom He will be especially merciful;
3) The wicked (children of the devil) will have no positive role in the new order and will be physically removed from earth. “These shall incur punishment of age-enduring wholesale ruin from the face of the Lord and the glory of His strength” (2Thes1:8,9 cf. Greek)
4) The restoration will be as much physical as it is spiritual. Following that “great and dreadful Day of the Lord” referred to in the penultimate verse of the Old Testament , a purged humanity, apart from the faithful elect, will have been thoroughly chastened and reconciled to itself and God; even the animal kingdom is brought to peace with itself and becomes benign towards man as its caring overseer.
Isaiah’s poetic description of a future age under the rule of great David’s greater Son is not untypical of how the Old Testament prophets envisaged life on Earth eventually panning out. They will have expected it to occur within a generation of the coming of the messiah. Paul, with his “fellowship pertaining to the secret (plan) hidden in the Father through the ages” explains the reason for the delay – effectively an inserted dispensation in which the called, chosen and faithful disciples of Christ, not restricted to the physical seed of Isaac but drawn from all nations through each succeeding generation are added to the ranks of the Jewish faithful (cf. Rom11:25) so as to be prepared for espousal to Christ and eventually share in His eternal reign within a renewed Heaven and Earth, where righteousness dwells (2Pet3:13; cf. Rom8:19-23).
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Related post: Is9: awaiting Christ's earthly reign