By Samuel Clough
10“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” 11It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. 12He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:10–12 NKJV)
Isaiah 11:10-12 is a brief summary of the end of the age and it gives us several phrases that help us to really understand and anticipate what happens. The framework that Isaiah gives is developed in detail in many other passages, but we will examine the basic outline that Isaiah gives. There are critical phrases used throughout the passage that help us to understand the “lay of the land” so to speak at the end of the tribulation.
10“And in that day… 11It shall come to pass in that day… (Isaiah 11:10–11 NKJV)
Isaiah uses the phrase “in that day” twice (10:10, 11) establishing that he has the Day of the Lord in mind. This phrase is used consistently in Scripture to indicate not just “a day” but “that day.” When you see “in that day” you almost always know the prophet has the Day of the Lord as his ultimate goal.
The Messianic King
10“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10 NKJV)
Isaiah reiterates the prominence of the Root of Jesse that he introduced in the beginning of the chapter (Isaiah 11:1-5) and gives us key phrases about Him.
“Root of Jesse” – There will be mysterious King who is both the root of Jesse and a rod from Jesse’s stem. Isaiah is of course prophesying King Jesus.
“Banner to the people” – He will stand as a banner to the people meaning the people will gather to His name and His glory. He will be the rallying point for the people of Israel and the nations of the earth.
“Gentiles shall seek Him” – We also learn that the gentiles shall seek Him. Not only will He be a banner to Israel, people from all the nations will seek out the great King.
“His resting place shall be glorious” – He will dwell among His people. This resting place is the throne of Jesus in Jerusalem. It will be glorious beyond all compare.
The Second Exodus
11It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:11 NKJV)
Isaiah associates the Messianic King with a second Exodus greater than the Exodus under Moses. There are several key phrases that help us understand this Exodus.
“The Lord shall set His hand” – Now the work of the Messianic King is described in terms of the work of the Lord. This is the work that the Lord will do through His Messianic King.
“That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people” – The prophets makes it clear that He is predicting a second Exodus. A second Exodus implies several things:
- Israel will be in some form of bondage or oppression under the gentiles.
- Many Jews will endure oppression out of the land. That is why there is an Exodus. They will have to be led out of gentile nations so that they can be regathered to the land.
“To recover the remnant” – Isaiah’s use of the word “recover” indicates something that was lost. Clearly the second Exodus happens to Israel after they had something that was lost that must be recovered. Isaiah has possession of the land in mind. The people who were formerly in the land now need to be recovered to the land. There may be an even smaller remnant still in the land, but a significant exile is in view.
“The remnant of His people who are left” – Isaiah’s use of the phrase “the remnant of His people” indicates that there is a remnant left. When we consider the entire passage it is clear that many Israelites are lost. That is why there is only a remnant left. Jesus does not recover a remnant and leave the rest of Israel in captivity. He only has a remnant to recover. Isaiah confirms this by referring to this remnant as those “who are left.” Again, the remnant is not just part of Israel, it is all of Israel that is left and remains. The rest have been lost. Just the thought of this is difficult to bear.
“From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea (vs. 11)…From the four corners of the earth (vs. 12)” – Isaiah’s use of geography is very important here. He lists all the locations of Israel’s previous exiles including Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon (Shinar) and adds to them. In other words, it’s an exile on a much greater scale than any other.
The antichrist is often called a “composite” beast because he emerges as a composite of all the cruel empires in history that have oppressed Israel. Just as the final antichrist is a composite of many kingdoms, so too this exile is a composite of every previous exile. Israel faces exile and oppression from a composite beast, so they face a composite exile not just in the fierceness of the beast but also geographically. They will be oppressed, not just on one location but in every location they were oppressed in before. This is why Isaiah highlights all the places of exile in one verse. However, it does not end at that. Their exile extends beyond the geography of every previous exile to the islands and to the very “ends of the earth.”
We learn two very important things from the fact that they are regathered from the “islands of the sea” and the “four corners of the earth.” The first is that this composite exile imposed by a composite beast extended beyond the geography highlighted by Scripture. Isaiah sees the specific locations surrounding Jerusalem, but he also sees that their exile and oppression will extend far beyond the geography he knows to lands that are far from Jerusalem. The second is that He references islands and the “ends of the earth” to enforce the fact that the exile will go far beyond the land. It will have global implications. Jews will both be oppressed and sheltered all across the earth.
The Final End of the Exile
12He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12 NKJV)
Isaiah uses significant phrases to describe the final end of Israel’s exile under Jesus’ leadership. Isaiah does not only have in mind the recent trouble, he has in mind the end of Israel’s condition of exile that has existed since she was first taken captive.
“He will set up a banner for the nations” – Isaiah repeats the language of verse 10. Jesus will establish a banner for all the nations and draw their attention to Jerusalem. He will judge all who do not gather under His banner and submit to it. It will be a banner of hope and refuge for Israel and a devastating banner to Israel’s persecutors.
“…and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah” –Isaiah is highlighting the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel because never in history have all of the Jews from both exiles been regathered. The great hope of Israel has long been the regathering of all the tribes and Ezekiel prophesied such an event in Ezekiel 37. Isaiah highlights that Jesus will assemble and gather all of Israel because a partial gathering of Israel is not enough to end their exile. A full return of all the tribes is required.
From briefly considering a few of the phrases Isaiah uses in Isaiah 11 we can see that Isaiah summarizes in a few sentences the basic storyline found throughout the Scripture about the end of Israel’s exile and her final redemption. Isaiah, like Jeremiah, Daniel, and Jesus sees an unequalled trouble before the final regathering.
7Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7 NKJV)
1“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1 NKJV)
21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21 NKJV)
While Israel’s final return is an occasion for rejoicing, the trouble that precedes it is the kind of thing that we can only speak about very soberly. This is holy ground and it must be treated as such. These things cannot be treated flippantly, nor can they be ignored. By examining the language that Isaiah uses, it is clear that the final trouble, and the final return, is still in front of us. Glory is coming to Israel, but first we must prepare for the hour of Jacob’s trouble.
By Samuel Clough
Though many in recent times neglect fasting as a discipline, it has been given to us as a gift and it will help develop strength in our inner man if we will simply us it. While there is a purpose and value for targeted seasons of fasting, there is great benefit from a life rhythm of regular fasting every week. Though the idea of fasting regularly every week is foreign to many western believers, throughout history the practice of regular fast days every week has been common.
The first and primary reason to fast is to tenderize the heart. Fasting should be rooted in love for Jesus and out of a longing for His return. Fasting that is rooted in this reality will also serve the purpose of deepening our longing for Him. Jesus set this context for fasting in the Scripture. If you are new to fasting or to this approach to fasting, there are many helpful resources on this topic located here on Mike Bickle’s website.
And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. – Matthew 9:15 NKJV
While our primary motivation for fasting should be out of longing for Jesus’ return, the Lord is also strategically using fasting to prepare a people in this hour for what is coming. God has given fasting to us as a gift in this hour to prepare us. He loves us whether we fast or not, but by embracing fasting we will be better prepared for the coming shaking.
The Preparatory Work of Fasting
The western world has experienced unprecedented prosperity in the last generation, but it is also now on the brink of massive crisis. Everywhere we look there are clear indicators of a coming crisis in every area including the religious, economic, and political components of our world. What has been normal in the last few generations will not be normal much longer. The seasons ahead will not be marked by the abundance that we have known for the last two generations.
While fasting is primarily a tool to strengthen our longing for Jesus, in His kindness God is also giving us fasting to prepare our hearts for the hardships that are coming. Believers who fast now are preparing themselves like wise virgins. They are storing up oil for the hour that is coming by voluntarily developing the muscle of denial before it will be required. The hour is coming when denial and lack will not be an option, but a reality.
The battle that most of us face right now when fasting is the desire to eat what we want, not the desire to eat because our health or survival depends on it. By fasting a day or two a week, most of us do not face actual hunger; we simply battle the desire to eat. It’s not true hunger that is warring against when we fast; it’s the desire to eat the things we want to eat.
For the most part, we are accustomed to the ability to have whatever we want to eat whenever we want it and fasting is uniquely designed to begin to dismantle this mindset.
By saying “no” to the desires of our body one or two days a week, we condition our body to live in subjection to the desire of the spirit. It must be understood that Paul did not believe his body was inherently bad, on the contrary he longed for the resurrection of the body. Fasting must never be the out working of an attitude that despises the body. We must have a healthy view of the body if we are to fast properly. A healthy view of the body begins with the understanding that God Himself, in the person of Jesus, took on a body like ours. Right now a human body sits at the right hand of God with all power and authority. Our body is to be cherished as a masterpiece of design by God, but it is not to dominate us.
Paul disciplined his body so that his appetites stayed within proper bounds and his body did not become a stumbling block to him. He did not despise the body, but he lived so that his body served the purposes of his spirit rather than his body dominating his life and potentially disqualifying him for the things he desired most. The body is healthy and good, but was not made
to dominate a human being.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others I myself should become disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV
Tragically, the western world is far more dominated by the appetites of the body than most realize. Most westerners see western society as the most sophisticated and advanced society on earth but, in reality, the average western individual lives a life that is completely dominated by the pursuit of the physical desire for comfort, food, leisure, and sex. Fasting is a tool that helps break this addiction and awakens the heart to living for the great pleasure of loving God.
Perhaps the most valuable part of fasting is learning to love Jesus in the midst of self-denial or lack. While most of our lack now is through a voluntary choice when we fast, the day is coming when there will be real lack and, if we have not learned to love Jesus in the midst of voluntary denial, we will be offended with Jesus when we face imposed self-denial.
By choosing lack now, we prepare ourselves to face the reality of the lack that is coming and to be unoffended with Jesus when it comes. Tragically, many believers will be greatly offended with Jesus when they face real lack, because they have not prepared their hearts to love Him in the midst of pressure and lack.
Teachings that distort the nature of God’s blessing have unintentionally prepared believers to be offended with God because they only know how to love Him in the midst of abundance and have no theological point of reference for relating to God in the midst of pressure or lack. As Isaiah says, “They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward.” (Isaiah 8:21 NKJV)
Loving Jesus under pressure and lack is a legitimate heart test that many in this generation will face, some in very extreme ways, because God will expose everyone’s heart through the pressures of the end of the age
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV
My brethren, count I all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be prefect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4 NKJV
Jesus connected weakness and love in the act of fasting. We embrace the weakness of fasting because of love. Fasting doesn’t earn anything with God nor does it get Him to notice us. It is an expression of love from our heart to His born out of the pain of the fact that He is not physically present with us. It tenderizes us to experience His love more.
But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. – Matthew 9:15 NKJV
Love is expressed most deeply in weakness. As fallen men we spend our lives groping for strength and yet love can blossom most deeply in our weakness. Love from a position of strength is different from love from a position of weakness. Love that flows from strength tends to be self-absorbed as the lover is confident in their own ability and their own person. Love from a posture of weakness is a completely different kind of love as the lover focuses on the one being loved and loses sight of self.
At the end of the age, God will use a combination of voluntary weakness and imposed weakness to both expose our hearts and to tenderize them that we might love Jesus more deeply and long for His return with greater desire. Fasting out of voluntary weakness prepares us to respond correctly to weakness that is imposed on us by forces beyond our control.
We cannot choose whether or not we live in periods of imposed weakness, but we can embrace the process and prepare for the possibility by embracing voluntary weakness through fasting.
Understanding the Process of Preparation
We must understand the crisis that is coming. It is foolish to ignore the signs of what is coming. It is also unbiblical to assume that God will protect us from every form of suffering. All over the earth, believers are suffering some very intensely. We are not immune to the same sorts of things. Many believers do not have a theology of suffering. Because of this they are being setup for a great falling away because their view of God does not include the possibility of suffering. This distorted view of God is ignored both of the Scripture and the experience of millions of believers worldwide. It is a western god that God Himself will dismantle.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 NKJV
We must embrace preparation for the crisis. We are not to look at a looming crisis and be paralyzed by fear. We are to have understanding of what is coming and prepare our hearts before God. He will be faithful to give us what is needed. Some feel that a crisis is coming but they fail to prepare. The key to preparation is to value the small things. Faithfulness in “little things” is the preparation to be faithful under great pressure.
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10 NKJV
And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” – Luke 19:17 NKJV
Many are aware that trials are coming, but fail to prepare. Some fail to prepare because of a spirit of denial that looks at coming pressure and prefers to ignore it and turn away rather than prepare. This is because the human spirit tends to turn away from suffering rather than embrace it. Others fail to prepare because they are presumptuous. They are either presumptuous that they can already stand, or they are always waiting for a “big event” that will suddenly prepare them to stand.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12
When we are not faithful in little things when we have little pressure we will not be prepared for strong pressure. By the same virtue, faithfulness in little things is what equips us. We must value the small things. Many people never make progress or build a strong life in God because they don’t value small things.
We must understand that preparation for big crisis comes in small, daily decisions. Fasting a day each week, giving small amounts of money, and obeying in small things all really matters.
While the vast majority of people do not fast because it can be difficult, it also must always be understood that fasting is simply a tool one can use rather than the end goal. The end goal is loving Jesus more tenderly and more devoutly. For this reason, those with medical situations, children, pregnant women, and those who have struggled with eating disorders should not fast food in the way that other individuals can. While most individuals can fast with no injury if they take care of their body properly, others should be careful and take the proper precautions. For those who cannot fast food, other type of fasts can be entered into in order to work the muscle of fasting.