The writing of the prophet Isaiah has been referred to as the “fifth gospel” because of the many references and descriptions of the Messiah. His coming is described in this way: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isaiah 9:2 CSB). His kingdom is describes as one of peace and justice.
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Because “the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him” (Isaiah 11:2), the Messiah would be wise and understanding, providing good counsel and strength, and have knowledge as well as a fear of the Lord. In fact, “his delight will be in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:3). The description is of someone who is centred on God. His kingdom will be a righteous and faithful kingdom (Isaiah 11:5), and also one of peace. The descriptions that are given give us a picture of total peace and security, a place where no harm will come to anyone.
“The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat. The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together, and a child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like cattle. An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit, and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den. They will not harm or destroy each other on my entire holy mountain, for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea is filled with water.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Isn’t this a wonderful picture? All animals living together in peace: wolves and lambs, leopards and goats, cows, lions and bears. And a child would be able to be around them and around other animals that are normally a danger, such as snakes and cobras.
Because people struggle to visual such a place they often make this a picture of eternity – although I’ve never found any scriptures that speak of animals being with us in eternity. This is a picture of the Messiah’s kingdom. When did he receive his kingdom? When he ascended to God’s right hand and sat down (Acts 2:33-36). Jesus as the Messiah will not receive his kingdom and begin reigning at the end of time – his kingdom is now in existence and he is now reigning (Colossians 1:13-14; Revelation 1:6). At the end of time Jesus will turn the kingdom over to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
This kingdom of peace, Isaiah wrote, would take place “on my entire holy mountain”. This was first spoken of in Isaiah 2, where we find: “In the last days the mountain of the Lord ’s house will be established at the top of the mountains and will be raised above the hills. All nations will stream to it” (Isaiah 2:2). We understand the fulfilment of this beginning of the day of Pentecost. We find in Isaiah 11 that this is where the Messiah’s peaceful kingdom will be. Notice as well the result of the Messiah’s reign: “the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea is filled with water”.
As Christians we are part of the Messiah’s kingdom. May we always seek for and live in peace, and to promote the knowledge of the Lord as we teach others about Jesus.
Photo by Jeff Jacobs from pixabay.com
Readings for next week: Isaiah 9-21