Friday, September 2, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 4, 2016

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A PROMISE OF PEACE
(Lasting peace is GOD’s ultimate design for all HIS creation)
(Isaiah 11)

   In Isaiah chapter 11 the prophet foresees a time when the mighty armies and kings of the earth will be brought down like the tall giant timbers of a sequoia (redwood) forest, and out of the rubbish and destruction will rise a tiny shoot, a stump rooted in the line of Jesse, the father of David, who would become the progenitor of ONE WHO will reign forever, first, over an earthly “Millennial Kingdom”, and then later, from a throne in Heaven next to HIS Heavenly FATHER, GOD (v.1).
    Isaiah goes on further to state that, the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD would rest on this mighty MESSIAH with wisdom, understanding, and a fear of the LORD, that would surpass all who came before HIM. HE would be ONE WHO would voluntarily submit HIMSELF to the total Will of GOD, and would delight in doing so (Vs.2-3). HE would overcome the prince of this world, satan, while in human form, flesh and blood.
    This MESSIAH would also be a righteous judge, because HE is ONE WHO knows and understands reality perfectly. Unlike earthly judges before and after HIM, who often weighed a person’s wealth or social status in making their decisions and judgments, the MESSIAH’s judgment will be based strictly on the facts and merits of the individual being judged. HE will defend the poor and exploited, and rule against the wicked, destroying them with the breath of HIS mouth, or, words of HIS judgment. HIS judgment will always be clothed in truth and fairness (Vs.4-5), removing the darkness, and exposing the light.
    In this passage Isaiah describes a righteous Kingdom, a utopian existence that has always been identified only with CHRIST JESUS at the helm. It depicts a time of divine peace and harmony when, even the wild animals will be tame, and will abide right alongside people and the domesticated beasts of the earth, and the people and domesticated beast will not fear harm or death. The prophet predicts that, even the little children will be safe among the lions, bears, and poisonous snakes, and, the world will be filled with people who know and fear the LORD (Vs.6-9).
    During those times, JESUS CHRIST will stand as a “banner of salvation” to all in the world, and the nations of the world (Gentiles) will rally around HIM. The Millennial Kingdom will be a glorious place, and the LORD will bring back a remnant of people for the “second time”, returning them to the land of Israel from all parts of the world (Vs.10-11).
    The phrase “second time” used in verse 11, is a curious phrase to many of us, however, it is significant. The Jews who returned to Jerusalem following Israel’s Babylonian captivity only partially fulfilled Old Testament prophesies of a return to their homeland. In A.D. 70 the Jews were expelled from their homeland a second time by the Romans about 50 years after JESUS had ascended back into Heaven. The Romans destroyed the temple at Jerusalem during that time, which King Herod the Great had taken 40 years to build, just as JESUS HIMSELF, had also warned (Luke 21:5-6).  
    This second scattering, which history now records as the “diaspora”, was even more severe than the first. Some, however, believe that the first scattering was the one that occurred in A.D. 70, and that there is now still a second dispersion and re-gathering coming before the time of JESUS’ second coming. At that time JESUS will raise a flag, or “standard” among the nations for Israel to rally around.
    Here in this passage Isaiah describes a second exodus that would somewhat mimic the one that had occurred 700 years earlier from the grips of Egypt. A remnant of GOD’s people will be drawn from the four corners of the earth (north, south, east, and west) and be re-gathered in Jerusalem. The former Northern Kingdom, and Judah (the southern Kingdom), will re-unite as one, and will not be jealous of each other anymore.
    Together, northern Israel and Judah will conquer Philistia, which lies along the southwestern edge of Israel by the Mediterranean Sea. They will also conquer the people of northern Arabia to the east and beyond, and the people of Edom, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who dwell to the south and east of Israel (Vs.12-14).
    In verses 15-16 the prophet Isaiah describes a “supernatural movement” by the LORD at the beginning of the Millennium, where GOD will prepare the way for the Israelite’s return to their homeland. What is now the Gulf of Suez will be dried up to allow the Israelites to return from Egypt and Cush (northern Africa), and the Euphrates River will be divided into shallow streams so that the Jews can return from the east.
    As I said earlier, it will be a scene reminiscent of the great exodus from Egypt that is already recorded in the Scriptures. And the kingdom of man will be supplanted and replaced by the Kingdom of GOD (the Millennial Kingdom of CHRIST). And in GOD’s final lesson to mankind, JESUS will teach us how to operate and dwell properly as GOD’s people, in the body of CHRIST, under the guidance and direction of the HOLY SPIRIT, and in complete obedience to GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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