The world we live in is a badly damaged version of the one in which we were intended to live, but its become so familiar we forget this one isnt normal. In fact, compared to what God originally designed its very subnormal. And we human beings arent functioning anywhere near the capacity God intended for us. Everything and everybody is broken and sin-filled, and the cause of it all is that God allowed His creation enough freedom to rebel against Him and that rebellion has produced violence and injustice. But as Isaiah will show us today, God will not allow this situation to continue forever. At an appointed time He will send the Messiah to restore peace to the earth. Yet, surprisingly there will still be a portion of the population who refuse to worship Him. Outwardly they will be forced to obey Him and live according to His righteous rules, but inwardly their hearts will be looking for a way to escape. What an interesting scenario: an era of history during which people will have no choice but to be just and righteous even if they dont want to be, and what will result will be an amazing level of peace. Gods presence will envelope the planet to such a degree that even the animals will become peaceful (Ro 8:18-22).
During this week of Advent, as we let the Holy Spirit prepare our hearts for Christmas, lets gaze into the future with Isaiah and see the peaceful world the Messiah will bring. And as we do we mustnt forget this Prince of Peace wants to bring a foretaste of that same peace into our lives today.
What is the Millennium?
Before we read Isaiah lets review briefly how this age he describes integrates with the prophecies of the New Testament.
1) The scroll (Rev 5:1)
Q: Who will bring the promised Messianic kingdom? A: The Messiah, who first came to die to atone our sins, will return in power to rule the planet.
2) 1,000 years (Rev 20:1-6): When He comes He will rule for a 1,000 year period of time during which the earth will still be populated with mortal human beings, starting with those who survived the terrors of the final seven years (Rev 4-19). During this time resurrected believers will also be on the earth to assist Jesus in governing and ministering as His deputies (Rev 2:26, 27; 1Co 6:2, 3). Jesus will be physically present and ruling from Jerusalem.
How will the Messiah deal with rebellious nations?
1) Hell destroy their armies at Armageddon (Rev 14:19, 20; Isa 63:1-6).
They will gather on the mountains of Judah to attack Jerusalem (Zech 14:1-15).
It will occur in one day (Isa 66:8, 15, 16).
2) Hell stop the rain from falling on those who refuse to worship Him (Zech 14:16-19).
3) Hell invite them to worship Him in Jerusalem (Zech 14:16).
4) Hell place believers as governmental leaders everywhere in the world.
5) Hell bind Satan and prevent him from troubling the earth (Rev 20:1-3).
What will be forbidden during His kingdom?
Idol worship; injustice; violence, bloodshed; sexual immorality; abuse of the poor, depriving them of justice, giving no help to the needy; drunkenness; lying; calling evil good and good evil (5:20); bribes; mediums, spiritists (8:19); false prophets & seers (30:10).
The Messiahs Peace (Isa 11:1-16)
1) The Messiah will put an end to darkness (11:1-4)
Legal injustice: corrupt courts, lying witnesses, favoring the rich or poor.
Mental deception, confusion: calling right wrong and wrong right (5:20; 25:7, 8; 29:24).
Spiritual deception: idols, soothsayers, false religions of the world.
2) The Messiah will put an end to all violence (11:4-9)
Hostile armies and gangs, wars; murderers; carnivorous behavior among animals (65:25); early death by disease or violence (65:17-23)
3) The Messiah will put an end to the alienation of the Gentiles and the division between the tribes of Israel (11:10-13; 2:1-4).
The nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the true God (35:1-10; 42:1-4; 56:1-8); and they will bring with them the dispersed of Israel (49:14-23; 60:4-18; 61:4-9; 66:18-21).
4) The Messiah will put an end to the hostility among the nations of the Middle East (11:14).
5) The Messiah will remove all barriers that prevent believing Jews from returning to Israel (11:15, 16).
Isaiah teaches us that peace is the fruit of justice. There will be peace on earth because the Messiah will establish righteousness and justice on earth. Righteousness is when people live according to Gods moral laws and justice is when they treat everyone kindly and fairly. The Messiah will bring the type of justice that delivers people from bondage and restores alienated people back into their communities (Stassen, Living the Sermon on the Mount, Jossey-Bass, 2006, pp 33-35). Its a form of justice that goes far beyond giving due punishment for offenses. It creates an environment that heals people and restores relationships. Such justice is only possible when people view other people as fully human, and this revelation takes place only when we understand how much God values them. It comes from knowing that God loves the widow and orphan, the extremely young and extremely old, the poor, the sick and the mentally-challenged. It ensures that even the most vulnerable will be treated justly. It erases barriers between people based on location, language, people-group or culture. It stops the dehumanizing of those who are powerless or different from us.
In effect, the Messiah will destroy the curse begun at the tower of Babel (Ge 11:1-9). At that moment in history, God saw it was necessary to divide the human race into competing groups so the spirit of antichrist could not arise and bring the end of the age before Gods harvest of souls was complete. Under Messiahs rule this will no longer be necessary. A new tower will be raised up and it will be the mountain of the Lord (Isa 2:1-4). People from all nations will pour into Jerusalem to learn about God from the Messiah. He will teach them how to love God and each other, and so justice will prevail bringing peace to all.
God designed us to live in a perfect world. Thats why strife, betrayal, cruelty, dishonesty, etc. makes us sick, physically and mentally. We try to be tough and medicate our symptoms but as time passes injustice and unrighteousness always damages us. Yet, even though we may not live to see the complete peace of the Messianic Age, Jesus has taught us how to bring that peace into our lives now. He has made it possible for us to experience profound degrees of His peace. Whenever we put His justice into practice; whenever we treat others the way we would want them to treat us; whenever we remember how much God loves each person and respond accordingly we bring a measure of that kingdom into this broken world: into a marriage; into a family; into a church; into a workplace; into a company; into a neighborhood, city or nation.
We must not allow the injustice of our own society and world to discourage us from seeking justice in the dimensions we can influence. Justice isnt something we feel, its something we do. The way to bring peace into a troubled situation is to do what is just.
The real goal of justice isnt fairness, its relationship with God and each other (Ps 133). Its people living at peace with each other in true loving harmony
and when that happens our bodies, soul and spirits heal. Were tasting the shalom of the Messianic Age. His kingdom has come on earth as it is in heaven. At last were living in a small piece of the environment in which we were designed to live.
1) Peace comes where there is harmony.
2) Harmony comes where there is justice (and righteousness).
3) Justice comes where people recognize Gods infinite love for each human being.
1) Where do you go to find peace?
2) Describe a moment in your life when you felt totally at peace. What were the circumstances?