On Miscellaneous Subjects
By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Text: Isaiah 11:1. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots."
Introduction: Have you ever witnessed a forest fire? I have driven through sections of eastern Oklahoma which were on fire. I saw mile after mile of forest that had been destroyed. The once beautiful lush green was replaced by black, smoldering sticks, jutting up through the ashes. Such a scene is bleak and hopeless. In time however, that ash becomes a fertile bed, and new life begins to spring forth from the wasteland.
This is the picture we are given as we read our opening text verse in Isaiah 11. In the previous chapter is recorded the destruction of Assyria, whose rule as a great forest, would be laid bare by God. Isaiah 10:12 reads, "Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."
Notice Isaiah 10:16-19. "Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among His fat ones leanness; and under His glory He shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and His Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them."
Once God is through with Assyria as an instrument to punish His people, she herself will be destroyed. God will ravage Assyria by the fire of His strength, and she will be brought down as quickly as she sprang up.
But then, out of the ashes, there is this word of hope! A rod, a shoot, a Branch, would spring up and grow from a stump or trunk. Even though the top soil and surface seems chard and lifeless, underneath, the roots are alive! Though it seems Israel, the house of David, is destroyed, along with it's promises of a glorious future, though she is scattered among the nations, One known as "the Branch" shall shoot forth from the stump, the lineage of Jesse, the house of David. Out of the ashes of defeat, hope shall spring up from this Branch. This shoot or branch pictures none other than Emmanuel, Jesus Christ! There is hope for Israel. She has been chastened by God for her unfaithfulness and unbelief, but she has not been abandoned! God has not totally cast her away! One day, she shall be restored, and shall witness the fulfillment of God's promises toward her. Her hope lies in Emmanuel, the Branch, or Jesus Christ!
Two thousand years ago, Emmanuel came to us as the babe of Bethlehem. The birth of the Christ-child Jesus, fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy and brought salvation to all mankind. The angel Gabriel had told Mary earlier, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David:
33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."
This child grew to become the focal point of God's blessing to the Jews, as well as to the Gentiles. Through Immanuel, Jesus Christ, all the people, the nations of the earth, are blessed! We are blessed by His first coming and spiritual kingdom, and one day, we shall be blessed by His second coming, and physical kingdom! The "peace on earth" heralded by the angelic chorus, will become a reality, not just in the hearts of those who receive Him, but in a future righteous reign upon the earth!
Here in this opening verse of Isaiah 11, we behold the One who brings hope out of the ashes of man's failure to do it his way. This One known as the Branch, Jesus Christ, brings help and hope not just to Israel, but to the whole world! No matter how bad it gets, one day Jesus Christ will prove it's God's way, or no way at all! One day, Immanuel, the hope and desire of all nations, will spring forth from the ashes of man's failure, and seize by His might, what is rightfully His, as "heir of all things." Revelation 20:1-4 reads, "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
What does Isaiah tell us about this future reign of Jesus Christ?
First: Jesus shall one day reign upon the earth as a great and mighty ruler! At the time this was written, no doubt Israel was not too excited about earthly kings and rulers. King Ahaz was not the best of rulers. Israel lay in ashes at the close of the wicked and disastrous reign of Ahaz. They had their fill of wicked, corrupt rulers, who were intoxicated with power.
Recently, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, on a whelm, halted the construction of a shopping mall in the capital. Chavez announced that the prime block of urban real-estate should be expropriated after being shocked at the monster development that was close to completion! Why? He said it was about the poor people of his nation, but he did it just because he could! Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."
Isaiah looks far into the future, and envisions a coming King of righteousness and peace, who would rule over a peaceful kingdom, such as the world has never seen!
Jesus Christ is coming again to reign as God's appointed ruler. Isaiah 11:1 reads, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots." Isaiah pictures a noble, healthy tree growing from strong roots. The mention of Jesse, the father of David, gives us the lineage of this new king or ruler. He shall come forth from the stock of David's dynasty! The promise to David and his house was and is still alive! In II Samuel 7, we find recorded a promise made by God to King David. Speaking of David it says in verse 16, "And thine house and thy Kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever." This ruler shall be established by the will of God in the appointed manner. He will come through the house and lineage of David, and establish his throne.
Jesus and Jesus alone, is the legitimate descendant of a long lineage of ancient patriarch kings. Jesus was born King of Israel in Bethlehem! This lineage can be found in the genealogical record of Matthew and Luke. The genealogical lineage of Jesus in the two gospels is verified by the writings of Josephus, who reported that king Herod had all the genealogical records in Jerusalem destroyed, so no one else could lay a better claim to the throne of David, than himself. Of course, we know he did this to keep any Jewish Messiah from ever arising and claiming birthrights to the throne of David and re-establish the kingdom of Israel. Jews wanted this kingdom restored, and they knew Herod was nothing but a pretender, his ancestry being Gentile. Jesus was declared by angelic announcement to not only be the son of David, but also the Messiah.
Jesus Christ is coming again to reign as God's anointed ruler. Isaiah 11:2-3 read, "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." This prophecy came at a time when the title king or ruler, was merely another word for tyrant and oppressor. Not so with this ruler. This One known as the Branch, is not only royally descended, but royally endowed! The "spirit of the Lord" will rest upon Him. God's own Spirit will fill Him with perfect wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, and knowledge. This king or ruler shall live up to and exceed all the requirements and expectations of the people and the Word of God. His judgments and decisions shall be perfect and right. While mortal man's judgment is often contaminated by lack of knowledge, partiality, prejudice, the flow of passion and leaven of depravity, this ruler's judgment shall discern the very truth of the heart!
At the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The world has never known a leader or ruler like King Jesus!
Second: Jesus shall one day reign upon the earth in total righteousness!
Notice Isaiah 11:4-5. "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." Government is designed by God to be a blessing, not a curse. Jesus Christ shall give this world its first taste of a righteous government.
Recently, Dallas District Attorney, Dale Watkins has been recognized as the Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year. Instead of becoming just another cog in the machinery of death, Mr. Watkins seems to be more interested in overturning convictions, than securing them. Dale Watkins has ventured out into politically precarious territory, somewhere between "hug a thug" and "convict at all costs." He has put a spotlight on the flaws in the system in an effort to seek justice for those wrongly convicted! Under his watch, the prison door has swung open again and again, as the wrongly convicted have walked out as free men. District Attorney Dale Watkins is far from a perfect man, but he is a courageous man seeking justice! King Jesus will be able to do more than seek and secure justice for a few. King Jesus will secure it for all!
Jesus shall rule with justice for all. The poor and the meek shall have equal access to King Jesus. He will not be owned and controlled by special interests groups! No one shall be able to turn His head with gifts of power or possessions, for He owns all power and possessions.
Jesus shall rule with fair and immediate judgments. His royal court will not be backlogged with appeals or unattended cases. The wicked shall receive their judgment without delay. There's no need to fear the rule of King Jesus, unless of course you are guilty. If so, judgment shall come to you immediately, and the sentence shall always be appropriate, to the perfect degree, because as our ruler, Jesus is clothed in righteousness and faithfulness.
Other governments have tried and failed to be fair, equitable, and righteous. History is littered with the failed promises of leaders! Socialism, the Utopian economic and political system that promises equality, prosperity, and universal peace through the workings of a collectivist state, has repeatedly been exposed as a colossal failure! Its history under men like Karl Marx, Stalin, Lenin and their successors, is marked by failed promises, failed societies and brutal dictatorships that are littered with the bodies of millions of innocents! King Jesus will succeed where all others have failed. No matter what your present political bent or philosophy, you will be pleased with the righteous rule of Jesus Christ!
Third, Jesus shall one day bring in a glorious reign.
Isaiah 11:6-9 reads, "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.
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."
This passage is one of the most famous and moving passages concerning the golden age of the reign of Jesus Christ also known as the Millennium. This passage is not to be spiritualized or reasoned away. This describes a literal, physical, earthly kingdom, the future reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth! What a glorious reign it will be!
It will promise and deliver: A reign of renewal and return to innocence. The curse of sin which has contaminated nature for six thousand years shall be lifted! Paul in Romans 8 notes that nature itself cries out to God the Creator for renewal. Paul in Romans 8:22 says, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." The wolf shall dwell in peace with the lamb, the leopard shall lie with the kid, the cattle with the young lions, and a child shall lead them all. There shall be no more carnivorous cravings! No more struggle for dominion between man and beast. The earth shall bring forth a yield like never before. Al Gore would be proud!
It will promise and deliver: A reign of universal peace. Verse 9 says, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain." We live in a dangerous world characterized by brutality and violence! But one day when King Jesus reigns, all of that shall change! The streets and parks will once again be safe for our children. The scum factor shall all but disappear! Evil and evil doers shall flee to the shadows at the entrance of the brilliant light of righteousness and rod of iron, issuing from this One known as the Branch, Jesus Christ.
It will promise and deliver: A reign of positive peer pressure. Verse 9b says, "...for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Presently this world system lies in darkness under the influence and domination of Satan, the prince and power of the air. There is a constant negative pressure from within and without to give in to fleshly, sensual, destructive desires. With each passing day it is growing more and more difficult to live for Jesus Christ, or to know Christ. Satan is blinding the eyes of the world to the light of the gospel. But one day the tables shall be turned. The knowledge of God shall fill the earth! Satan and his angels will have been cast into the bottomless pit for a millennium, and a positive pressure to do good, serve God shall be the dominating influence in the earth! All of society shall reinforce positive, godly values!
Just think, we who are saved shall rule and reign with Jesus Christ. We shall be in our glorified bodies and shall help administrate this glorious reign of righteousness. What a great and glorious day that will be!
Today the world dreams of peace on earth, but such peace is just a dream, until the One known as the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, the Branch, Jesus Christ comes to the earth, puts down His enemies, locks up Satan, and rules from Jerusalem! One day the whole world shall pledge their allegiance to King Jesus, and His reign of righteousness. As we face a new year, we join our voices with the ancients and cry!
O come, O come Emmanuel. And ransom captive Israel. That morns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.
O come, O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny; From depths of hell Thy people save And give them victory o'er the grave.
O come, Thou Day - spring, come and cheer, Our spirits by Thine advent here; O drive away the shades of night And pierce the clouds and bring us light.
O come, Thou King of David, come And open wide our heavenly home Where all Thy saints with Thee shall dwell - O come, O come, Emmanuel! Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Today, we can rejoice because He has come! Emmanuel has come! He has come to this world, to Bethlehem, to the house of David, through a virgin known as Mary. He has come to Calvary to suffer, bleed and die for our sins, but not just for our sins, but for the sins of the world! Jesus is coming again! Are you ready?
Do you know the peace of God that passes understanding? Does King Jesus rule from the throne of your heart now?