SPECIAL TOPIC: MESSIANIC ERA (from Isaiah)

I. Notes from commentary of Isaiah 9:6-7 online.

The NKJV marks these two verses off as a separate paragraph. Verse 6 describes the special child, Immanuel.

A. government will rest on His shoulders; the special child, the hope of a righteous Davidic seed (cf. 2 Samuel 7) returns into view

B. His name (the character of His God)

1. Wonderful Counselor, this denotes a divine plan, cf. Isa. 14:26,27; 19:17

2. Mighty God, cf. Isa. 10:21

3. Eternal Father

4. Prince of Peace, Mic. 5:5

The first name could be two separate titles, but the other three are two word combinations. The fivefold names may reflect current practice in Egypt, where the new Pharaoh was given five new throne names at his coronation.

There are four compound titles. These are probably the child's new names when coronated king. The term Immanuel in Isa. 7:14 and 8:8-10, as well as the term "Mighty God" in 9:6, does not automatically imply Deity, but reflects the ideal king. The names reflect God's character which hopefully characterized the Davidic King. It must be remembered that these titles deal with (1) the area of administration, (2) military power, (3) pastoral care, and (4) the quality of the reign. The Deity of the Messiah is also implied, though not specifically, in Dan. 7:14; Jer. 32:18. It must be remembered that the Jews were not expecting the Messiah to be the physical incarnation of YHWH because of Israel's unique emphasis on monotheism! The Deity of Jesus and the personality of the Spirit are real problems for monotheism (i.e., Exod. 8:10; 9:14; Deut. 4:35,39; Isa. 40:18,25; 46:5; see Special Topic: Monotheism). Only "Progressive Revelation" teaches this truth (cf. John 1:1-14; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:2-3). If the NT is true then OT monotheism must be nuanced (i.e., one divine essence with three eternal personal manifestations). The hyperbolic OT language has become literal! But the literal fulfillment of OT prophecies about geographical and national Israel have been universalized to include "the nations." See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan. Genesis 3:15 is realized and summarized in John 3:16; 4:42; 1 Tim. 2:4; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 2:1; 4:14.

Isaiah 6:7 describes His reign. 

1. eternal and universal government (cf. Mic. 5:4)

2. eternal and universal peace (cf. Mic. 5:5a)

3. reigns on Davidic throne (cf. Isa. 16:5; 2 Samuel 7)

4. establishes justice and righteousness forever (these two nouns often used together, cf. Isa. 32:16; 33:5; 59:14)

5. the zeal of YHWH is the guarantee of its reality

Isaiah 9:7 certainly sounds like an eternal reign (cf. Dan. 2:44; 4:3,34; 6:26; 7:13-14,27; Ezek. 37:25; Mic. 4:7; 5:4; 2 Pet. 1:11), not a limited millennial reign (see my notes in the Revelation Commentary, "Crucial Introduction" and Introduction to chapter 20 at www.freebiblecommentary.org ). This promise is the essence of the concept of a new age of the Spirit! The total and complete reversal of the Fall. The reinstatement of God's ideal (i.e., the fellowship of the Garden of Eden).

 

II. Taken from my notes on Isaiah 11:6-9 online.

This is a picture of the Messianic era, described in terms of Genesis 1 and used in Revelation 22. Nature has been affected by mankind's sin, Genesis 3. It will also be affected by the Messiah's salvation (cf. Rom. 8:19-25). Notice the emphasis again on the small child of the new age.

The fellowship between humans and animals reflects the Garden of Eden. Humans have so much in common with the animals that occupy the surface of this planet. They were also created for fellowship with God (cf. Job 38:39; 40:34) and us! The Bible starts with God, humans, and animals in a garden setting (Genesis 1-2) and it concludes with God, humans, and with these passages in Isaiah, animals (cf. Isa. 65:15; Hosea 2:18; Revelation 21-22). I personally do not think our pets will be in heaven, but I do think animals will be a part of eternity! They add a wonderful richness to life. They only became food and coverings after the Fall!

Another point about the inherent ambiguity involved in texts associated with the eschaton is the age of the persons mentioned. Little children (Isa. 11:6) and infants (v. 8) implies that physical birth continues. This assumes an earthly setting totally analogous to current life (cf. Matt. 24:38; Luke 17:27). However, Jesus asserts that there will be no sexual activity in the new age (cf. Matt. 22:29-30). Will humans in the eschaton be different ages? Will they grow old? These are questions that have caused commentators to postulate a limited earthly period of restored righteousness (i.e., a millennium) and a future idealized state. Some have even postulated a split between a group in heaven and a group on earth. I prefer a single, visible Second Coming and an immediate idealized fellowship with God. If this is true, much of the OT and NT has to be viewed as accommodation related to the spiritual Kingdom of God. Please see my commentaries on Revelation, Daniel, Zechariah online free at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

This new day of universal peace is described in idealistic, area-wide, inclusivistic terms. When is this new age to manifest itself?

1. return from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua (i.e., Ezra and Nehemiah)

2. the Maccabean period (interbiblical)

3. the inauguration of the Kingdom of God in Jesus' lifetime (Gospels)

4. a millennial period (Rev. 20:1-10 only)

5. an eternal kingdom (cf. Dan. 7:14)

Each is viewed as a new opportunity, but with problems (#1-4). This is where different systematic (denominational) theologies take the ambiguous references and turn them into a "theological grid" through which to view all Scripture. The promises are sure! But the time frame and specifics are not.

One central question which deals with this issue is "how literal is the restoration of an earthly garden (i.e., Eden) to be taken" (Genesis 1-3 and Revelation 21-22)? Is (1) this planet the focus; (2) the kosmos the focus; or (3) a spiritual realm beyond time-space, possibly another dimension of reality (cf. John 4:21-24; 18:36)?

 

III. Taken from my notes on Isaiah 29:17-21 online.

This describes the new Messianic day that is coming.

1. it is coming soon, Isa. 29:17a (cf. 10:24-25)

2. Lebanon will become very fertile, Isa. 29:17b,c, cf. 32:15; 35:1-2 (the NASB Study Bible, p. 996, links this to Isa. 10:34 and asserts that Lebanon might be a way of referring to Assyria). Sennacherib bragged of his exploitation of Lebanon's forest (cf. Isa. 37:24; 2 Kgs. 19:23).

3. the deaf shall hear, Isa. 29:18a, cf. 32:3; 35:5

4. the blind shall see, Isa. 29:18b, cf. 32:3; 35:5

5. the afflicted shall be glad in the Lord, Isa. 29:19a, cf. 11:4; 61:1

6. the needy shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel, Isa. 29:19b, cf. 3:14-15; 11:4; 14:30,32

7. the ruthless will come to an end, Isa. 29:20a

8. the scorner will be finished, Isa. 29:20a, cf. 28:14

9. those intent on doing evil will be cut off, Isa 29:20b

10. justice will be restored at the gate, Isa. 29:21, cf. 32:7

This is parallel theologically to the wonderful description of YHWH's character in Isa. 25:4.

Be sure to note that #3 and #4 are primarily metaphorical for receiving and understanding YHWH's revelation (cf. Deut. 29:4; Isa. 5:12,13; 6:9; 30:9).

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