A future kingdom

Just as there is an end to every individual life, so also, there will one day be an end to all life on earth. Life as we know it now on earth is temporary. Some people believe that human life is only temporal, but Isaiah spoke of a kingdom that would have no end, one that would be established for ever (Isaiah 9:7). This eternal kingdom will be ruled by a king referred to as the Messiah or “anointed one” (4899).

Eternal life is typically associated with heaven, a place people go to after they die. While it is true that eternal life comes after death, the end of temporal life on earth, eternal life is not exclusive to heaven. Isaiah said the Messiah’s kingdom would exist “from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:7). The word translated henceforth, ‘attâh (at – taw´) means at this time or now (6258), so there is a connection between the temporal and eternal aspects of life.

Isaiah said of the Messiah, “there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). The term translated stem, gezer refers to something cut off. Previously, Isaiah spoke of the remnant of Israel “as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them” and said, “so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isaiah 6:13).

The substance of a tree is its trunk, which becomes a stump when it is cut off. Isaiah’s depiction of the Messiah as a branch that shall grow out of the roots of Jesse, was a reference to something eternal coming forth out of something that appears to be dead. Another way of looking at a tree’s trunk/stump is that it contains the essence of life which remains even after the tree has been cut down. Therefore, the substance of the tree’s temporal existence, the trunk, and its eternal existence, the stump, are one and the same.

Isaiah’s description of eternal life on earth was characterized by an absence of conflict in the animal kingdom. He said, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). It is not absolutely clear, but it appears that time will still exist during the period when the Messiah will reign on earth. Isaiah stated, “in that day there shall be a root of Jesse…and it 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” (Isaiah 11:10-11, emphasis added).

Typically, a day is a 24-hour period of time, but the Hebrew word yowm (yome) can refer to an entire period or indefinitely long eras of time, as well as, theological categories rather than periods of time (3117). A clue as to which type of day Isaiah was referring to are his statements “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD” (Isaiah 111:9) and “the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people” (Isaiah 11:11).

Isaiah was describing the future consummation of the Messianic kingdom, which has yet to be established. Most likely, this will be a period of time when both temporal and eternal aspects of life will be evident on earth. A temporal aspect of this period of time will be people continuing to get saved; the gospel will be preached and people will accept the Messiah as their Savior (Isaiah 12:2-4). An eternal aspect of this period of time is that the Messiah, Jesus will be back on earth. It says in Isaiah 12:6, “Cry out and shout thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

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