The Promised Restoration (Advent 2020, #3)

Two weeks ago, we discussed the promised child; last week, we discussed the promised ruler. Today, we come to the promised restoration. Because, let’s be honest: What’s the point of promising a child, and what’s the point of promising a ruler, if nothing is going to change?

It reminds me of Twitter, post-2020 election. Many people praise the new president-elect, stating that we will finally see healing in our nation. But then you’ve got stubborn people on the other side insisting that the new president-elect can’t change anything, and that the things that need to be changed he is incapable of changing. And there’s even some supporters of the new president-elect, who want a lot more out of our new president-elect than he is feasibly capable of giving.

Because, the fact of the matter is that Joe Biden cannot heal this country. Trump couldn’t make it great again; Biden can’t heal it. The only hope for our nation is for each and every individual–including both Trump and Biden–to fall down on their faces, humble themselves before the preached Gospel of Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and believe in the crucified and risen Jesus. If this happens, our nation can heal. If it does not, then our nation is headed for Judgment.

And this humbling, repenting, and believing isn’t just necessary for our country; it is necessary for the world. Or else, Judgment is coming.

You see, Jesus offers change. He brought change. He is change. Apart from Him, none of us would exist. If He hadn’t declared, “Let there be light,” then creation never would have happened (cf. Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16). Jesus is the Great Change. Newton’s first law of motion states, “if a body is at rest or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force.” A society will continue to erode and grow increasingly depraved, unless Christ–the Great Change–acts on it. The world will continue moving closer and closer to Judgment Day, unless Christ–the Great Change–acts to stop it. People will continue to rebel against, deny, and flee from God unless Christ–the Great Change–acts on them.

In our text today, we see seven aspects of the restoration that Jesus brings:

  1. The Spirit is the power at work in this restoration (11:2)
  2. The fear of the LORD is the focus (11:3a)
  3. Justice will prevail–both positive and negative (11:3b-4)
  4. Righteousness and faithfulness will hold everything together (11:5)
  5. The world will be at peace (11:6-8)
  6. There will be an overwhelming knowledge of God (11:9)
  7. All nations will be united in Jesus (11:10)

But first, we must dissect 11:1, or else, the rest of the passage will make little sense:

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

Commenting on 9:1-7, Wegner notes:

[I]t is preferable to view this passage as the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:13b which refers to a righteous remnant (‘or holy seed’) who will be spared

Paul, D. Wegner, Isaiah, TOTC, 179

When beginning his comments on 11:1-16, he states:

As we have seen in an earlier passage (e.g., Isa. 9:1-7), God will use a future royal son to restore his people and bring justice and righteousness to the land. The passage here provides significantly more details concerning the nature of this Davidic ruler and the type of kingdom he will bring.

pg. 199

If Isaiah 9:1-7 is the fulfillment of 6:13b, and if our present chapter is “significantly more details” related to that fulfillment, then it follows that Isaiah 6:13 contains this passage in “seed”-form.

Interestingly enough, Isaiah 6:13 is about the remnant. The “holy seed” refers to those left after judgment. In the original context, it is the remnant that is spared from Assyria in 701 BC (cf. Isaiah 36-37). In a wider context, it is the remnant that returns to God in repentance (cf. Isaiah 7:3, 10:20-22, and 11:11-16). However, based on Wegner’s comment, the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:13 refers to “a future royal son.” So which is it? Is the “holy seed” fulfilled by the remnant, or is it fulfilled by Jesus?

And, the answer, of course, is yes!

You see, there is no remnant if not for Jesus. This is why Matthew shows Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel (e.g. “Out of Egypt I called My Son,” Matthew 2:15). This is why Jesus came “to save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Those who are saved by Him are placed in Him (cf. Ephesians 1:1), and as such, are part of the remnant of Israel–whether Jew or Gentile (cf. “the remnant of His people who survive,” Isaiah 11:11). As the Apostle Paul says himself:

[T]here has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.

Romans 11:5

Therefore, these seven points of “restoration” need not refer only to Jesus. They also refer to those whose lives have been turned upside-down by His Message and Ministry–the Gospel and the Cross.

Let’s look at those seven things now:

The Spirit is the power at work in this restoration (11:2)

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

This verse obviously refers to Jesus. We know this because Luke 4:1-2–before His testing in the wilderness–explains:

Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil.

And His testing didn’t diminish any of His Spirit-filled-ness, because Luke continues describing Jesus immediately after those 40 days by saying:

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity.

Luke 4:14

And as we trace Jesus’ ministry, we see example after example of Him proving that He was filled with the Spirit. The Spirit controlled His every word and every action. J. Alec Motyer notes that there are seven Spirits here, six of which further describe “The Spirit of the Lord.” He writes,

The further six elaborations develop this in three pairs: the king’s ruling attributes, wisdom and understanding . . . his practical abilities, counsel and power, and his spiritual qualities, knowledge and fear. All these characterize the true ruler.

J. Alec Motyer, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 20, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 117. Emphasis in original, though altered from italics to underlines here.

Jesus does everything He does by the power of the Holy Spirit. He rules (which i would argue included His interactions with commoners and rulers in the Gospels) by the Spirit’s wisdom. He lives daily by the Spirit’s direction. And He interacts with God by the Spirit’s insight.

But remember: Jesus is not the only one this refers to. It also refers to those who are in Him by faith. It refers to the remnant. As such, those who belong to Jesus should also be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said this Himself in John 14.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17

This should cause us to live and look like Jesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 John 4:15-17). The Spirit that controlled Jesus is the same Spirit who dwells in us. Our lives should be defined by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). This Spirit gives us the power to resist sin; apart from the Spirit’s power we can do nothing but sin:

But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.

Romans 8:13-14

You can know you belong to God by your relation to His Spirit. How much does the Spirit lead your life? Christ is the example we are to follow. If you fall short, repent and believe anew. Pray to Him that He might enable you to better follow His Spirit.

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to be led by the Spirit.

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The fear of the LORD is the focus (11:3a)

His delight will be in the fear of the LORD.

This verse explains that Jesus will delight in the fear of the LORD. This means that nothing brings Jesus more joy than honoring and revering God. Connecting it to the prior section, it means that Jesus delights in His spiritual calling. There is nothing more important to Jesus than proper focus on the LORD.

In other words, Jesus fulfills the whole book of Psalms, because Psalm 1–the introduction to the book–begins by saying:

How happy is the man
who does not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path of sinners
or join a group of mockers!
Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3. Emphasis added.

Jesus was well-founded because He delighted in nothing more than pleasing God. He pleased God because He knew God’s Law (because He wrote it). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7) and “the LORD gives wisdom from His mouth” (Proverbs 2:6). For this reason, the only way to be wise is to fear God, and wisdom comes from “God’s Word.” You can’t remove any ingredient.

Because God’s people are “in Christ,” this should describe us as well. Do we fear God as we should? Do we delight in this? Do we seek Him in prayer and Scripture reading?

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to delight in honoring God.

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Justice will prevail–both positive and negative (11:3b-4)

He will not judge
by what He sees with His eyes,
He will not execute justice
by what He hears with His ears,
but He will judge the poor righteously
and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
He will strike the land
with discipline from His mouth,
and He will kill the wicked
with a command from His lips.

There are two parts to Jesus’ justice. He promotes positive justice by helping the poor and not preferring the rich. He promotes negative justice by killing the wicked. Note where this punitive justice originates: “a command from His lips.” What does Revelation 19:15 say?

A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it.

It is especially interesting that a more literal rendering of Isaiah 11:4 states, “And He will strike the land with the rod from His mouth, and by the breath of His lips He will kill the wicked” (emphasis added). The similarities between Revelation 19:15 and Isaiah 11:4 prove that this punitive justice will not be fully realized until Christ returns a second time.

But we know for a fact that His positive justice was practiced during His first advent. Isaiah 42:1-4 explains:

“This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.
The islands will wait for His instruction.”

Matthew quotes this as being fulfilled by Jesus during His first coming (cf. Matthew 12:16-21).

As such, those of us who are in Him must also pursue justice. In fact, this is how Isaiah’s words come true. Because we are filled with the Spirit, we are called to continue Jesus’ mission of establishing justice. It will not be fully accomplished until He returns, but we are to pursue this mission while we continue on the earth. And we are to do it unlike the world does it: We are not to cry out or shout or make our voices heard; we are not to draw attention to ourselves as we carry out this mission.

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to promote justice–both positive and negative. It’s not true restoration if you focus exclusively on blessing the poor or on enforcing the death penalty.

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Righteousness and faithfulness will hold everything together (11:5)

Righteousness will be a belt around His loins;
faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.

Jesus fulfills this description as well. Motyer proves helpful again:

The motif of ‘clothing’ expresses both the inherent qualities of the wearer and the purposes to which the wearer is committed (59:16–17; 61:10; Josh. 5:13; Ps. 132:9, 16, 18). Here belt symbolizes ability and readiness for action. Righteousness is whatever matches and expresses what the Lord thinks is right; faithfulness is what is unshakeably committed to what the Lord directs. Respectively they are spiritual integrity and loyalty.

J. Alec Motyer, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 20, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 118. Emphasis added.

No one is more spiritually integrous than Jesus. The author of Hebrews explains:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Jesus is the most consistently righteous Person to ever exist. Considering that in Greek righteousness and justice are the same word, no one pursues justice more consistently than Jesus. And His justice/righteousness is controlled by His faithfulness. He is spiritually loyal–more spiritually loyal than the best Christian you can imagine. The Apostle Paul explained:

If we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 2:13

That does not give us an excuse to not be centered on righteousness and faithfulness. Rather, it encourages us to pursue what is best for our loved ones whether or not they “deserve” it.

Jesus cannot become unfaithful despite our faithlessness, because if we have truly believed in Him, then we are “in Him.” We are a part of Him. As such, we must pursue righteousness and faithfulness in our lives. There’s no higher calling in life. And Jesus is our model. Let’s strive to live up to His calling.

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to be centered in righteousness and faithfulness.

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The world will be at peace (11:6-8)

The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fatling 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 the ox.
An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit,
and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.

At this point, the text isn’t so much describing the Ruler Himself, but rather turns to the effects of His reign.

Most people want to interpret this text through the lens of Revelation 20:1-10, but there is no reason to do so. If we do that, we are guilty of interpreting the unclear through the even more unclear. Rather, why not interpret this through the lens of the clear? Scripture often relates certain people to various animals (cf. Daniel especially contains examples of this). As such, why not take these verses to describe the peace that comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Additionally, this would help make sense of the fact that a “child will lead them.” Why would we care if a child leads animals?

This is seen in miniature through the fact that Saul–the persecutor of the church–was viciously taking Christians away, and the word used to describe this action in Acts 8:3 is the same word that appears in a parallel passage in Isaiah 65:

The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but the serpent’s food will be dust!
They will not do what is evil or destroy
on My entire holy mountain,”
says the LORD.

Isaiah 65:25, emphasis added.

The word translated “destroy” is what Saul was doing to the Christians before He was confronted and converted by Jesus. Additionally, in Psalm 80:14 (LXX 79:14) the same word is used to describe a wild pig tearing meat.

The restoration that Jesus brings is already being experienced. It tears down the divides that would make us hate and fight and harm one another. There is no room for violence against others in Christ’s kingdom–the church. There is no room for racism in Christ’s kingdom–the church. The relationships between Christians should put the world’s talks of peace to shame; but unfortunately, too often the church is a pitiful example of the peace that Christ ushered in.

It will be fully realized in the future.

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to pursue peace.

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There will be an overwhelming knowledge of God (11:9)

None will harm or destroy another
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.

This passage continues the theme of the prior, but it explains the reasons. Where does this inexplicable peace come from? It originates out of the fact that those who are in Jesus delight in the fear of the LORD. When our focus is rightly fixated on Jesus and His Word, we are made wise. We are given discernment that leads us to love others. It helps us make correct decisions regarding justice and righteousness and faithfulness. It helps us pursue biblical peace.

And the more we are focused on the proper knowledge of God–and the proper application of that knowledge–the more we will spread this in our evangelism and ministry. The more people will respond, and it will lead to a revival.

It is important to note that revival (as i understand it) is not focused exclusively on a specific nation returning to Christ. Rather, it is a biblical view. It is a revival of the kingdom of God–the holy, catholic church–as it is found in every country around the world. To only want a revival to break out in the United States is to set your sights too low.

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to spread the knowledge of God.

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All nations will be united in Jesus (11:10)

On that day the root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples.
The nations will seek Him,
and His resting place will be glorious.

Again, we are already in the midst of seeing this come true. Jesus’ restoration has already started. It will not be fully realized until He comes again, but it has most certainly started. There are Christians in every nation around the world–China, Egypt, Brazil–and more people are believing in Jesus Christ every day.

“That day” is today. As Paul states:

Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” For He says:

I heard you in an acceptable time,
and I helped you in the day of salvation.

Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2

That day is “the Last Days” of the Bible. This is the same “day” Isaiah previously mentioned in Isaiah 10:20, and again in 10:27. Granted, those two had a prior realization:

On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaah 10:20

The one who struck them, on whom they had been relying, was Assyria. Remember, King Ahaz signed a treaty with them, rather than trusting God? (Isaiah 7).

On that day
his burden will fall from your shoulders

Isaiah 10::27a

In between these passages though, it focuses on the remnant. As such, Isaiah 11:1-10 is not only an elaboration of both 6:13 and 9:1-7, but it is also an elaboration of Isaiah 10:20-34, which is also further described in 11:11-16. Jesus would be born and open up a new understanding of an untrustworthy yoke being destroyed, thus restoring a remnant eternally–with no fear of ever being destroyed or harmed again.

But more on that next week. In the meantime, compare Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Matthew 11:28-30.

As His people, we must remember that it’s not enough to be content that we have salvation. Rather, we must remember that there are others who have not yet trusted Jesus. There are some who have not yet returned to the root of Jesse. We must call others to Him–both our friends and our enemies, people in our country and people overseas. Only then can we fully appreciate the restoration that Jesus brought, brings, and is bringing!

Ever since Adam and Eve, people have grown more and more divided. It is only as a result of Jesus–the second Adam that people can be reunited in a meaningful way. We must unite in Him–through His Gospel!

The restoration that Christ brings should cause us to evangelize, so that His restoration can reach more and more individuals.

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Have you experienced this restoration?

Place your faith in Jesus Christ today!

Don’t settle for anything less.

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura
Sola Gratia
Sola Fide

Thanks for reading.

One thought on “The Promised Restoration (Advent 2020, #3)

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