He Will Gather the Exiles
(Isaiah 11:12a) “He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel”
The Old Testament prophets who wrote their books in the Old Testament prophesied for three time frames. Firstly, for their own time frame and secondly for the first coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus and thirdly for His Second Coming, including the Messianic Kingdom in the age to come after this present age has closed. Often these three time frames would run consecutively in the one prophecy.
In Isaiah Chapter 11 the prophet Isaiah prophesied for these three time frames including the establishment of Millennial Kingdom to be inaugurated at the Messiah’s Second Coming where He will fight for Israel and as their Commander in Chief give them complete victory over all of their enemies (Zechariah 14:1-5, 14). After this, those Jews who have been in exile in Islamic countries and the remaining Jews in the nations will all be brought back to Israel. This is a very brief summary of Isaiah Chapter 11.
In verses 1-4a we see the first coming of the Messiah and a description of His earthly ministry where He came into the world, not as its judge but as its saviour. He was the suffering servant in the character of Joseph.
In verses 4b-5 we see His second coming where He will strike the earth in judgement. At His Word the armies of heaven will be released to execute His righteous judgement and by that same powerful word slay the wicked and all who have opposed Him. His righteousness and faithfulness will be established on earth. He will be the all-conquering King in the character of King David.
In verses 6-9 we see the earth itself renewed in the regeneration where there will be complete harmony between man with the animal kingdom and that the animals will no longer kill each other, where there will be no more killing and violence and where the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. This will be Eden restored. It will not be a perfect world, but one free from Satan and under the law of God where righteousness, justice, love and faithfulness will prevail in all of the nations and reign supreme for a thousand years of peace. The earth itself will fulfil the original purpose for which God created it namely for the well-being of the human race. Satan will be the loser and shut off from any contact with people (Revelation 20:1-3a).
Now in verses 10-16 we see the camera of God’s Word zoom in on what will happen immediately after the Messiah has come back as the Messianic Millennial Kingdom is inaugurated and established. In light of what is happening to Israel at this time and what is to come will be the focus of this study.
As I write this Israel right now is fighting for its very survival, of course we know that “He who watches over us as the Body of Messiah, indeed is the same one who watches over Israel and who will neither slumber of sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4). Now let’s look at what will happen for Israel as a nation after the Messiah our Lord Jesus has come back to inaugurate His Millennial reign on earth.
Isaiah Chapter 11:10-16 : Exposition
(Vs.10) “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious.”
The root of Jesse in the Messiah our Lord Jesus the true vine who is Himself the nourishing root of the nation of Israel and of the Body of Messiah spiritually grafted into the Olive Tree corporately being the Israel of God. We know that when the Messiah our Lord Jesus comes back that every Jew still living on earth will be saved when they see Him coming in the clouds (Zechariah 12: 10-13:1) (Romans 11:25-29). Every eye will see Him including those who were involved in killing Him. God will see to this personally (Revelation 1:7). At the sound of the last trumpet the sky will be rolled back like a scroll and the whole earth will see Him coming to earth accompanied by His powerful angels and with His Body the redeemed saints, together with their Commander in Chief the Messiah all riding on white horses (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10) (Jude 1:14-15) (Revelation 19:11-16).
After the Lord Jesus has come back and established His Millennial reign having destroyed all opposition, there will be nations that will survive. The Messiah will stand as a banner, a rallying point, the idea of a kings war banner proclaiming victory over all of His enemies and one to which people will come and gather around, being those nations that have survived that will rally in subjection to Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has demolished all earthly kingdoms that were in opposition to Him (Zechariah 14:16-21).
We are also told that His resting place will be glorious to behold! His reign on earth will see a global kingdom where God’s honour and abundance, His riches, His honour, His splendour, His reputation and where recognition of His divine attributes and the absolute authority of His Word will prevail in supremacy over the whole earth. It also speaks of a reverence for Him that will be established in all of the surviving nations that God His Father has given Him to rule over in righteousness and justice for all. The government will be upon His shoulders as He reigns from Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:7).
In that day Jerusalem will be at peace and the prayers of His people who have been praying for the peace of Jerusalem answered beyond anything they could ever imagine of think, and the great joy of the people of Israel will be that their Messiah is now dwelling among them. What a glorious rest it will be for Israel and for the surviving nations of the world. To pray to God “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is being done in heaven” is the basis of all prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. And then we read…
(Vs.11-12 ) “In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”
In 722 BC after the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom of Samaria there was an exile of most of the Jews to Assyria. Then in 586 BC after the Babylonian conquest of the Southern kingdom of Judah, which saw the destruction of the Temple and the sacking of Jerusalem, there was another exile of the Jewish people by and large to Babylon. Then you had the Bar Kokhba revolt, a large-scale armed rebellion initiated by the Jews of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba against the Roman Empire in 132 AD and lasting until 136AD. This was the third and final escalation of the Jewish–Roman wars. Another exile occurred for the Jews by and large. By human reckoning it looked like Israel was finished as a nation, however, God had not finished with His people.
Almost 2,000 years in 1948 Israel was reborn as a nation in a day (Isaiah 66:7-9). From that time to today Jews have been steadily coming home to Israel from the Gentile nations. However, there are many more to come who are still well entrenched in the Gentile nations and God wants them back in Israel for a reunion with their Messiah. The rapid rise of anti-Semitism spreading its tentacles into all of the nations is the means by which God is using to bring His people home.
Having said this, the Jews are not coming home for a picnic as it were, but to pass through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble where after a third of them have perished in the Land of Israel, the surviving remnant living in Israel in their extremity will call out to God to send them their Messiah our Lord Jesus, and God will answer their plea and they will encounter the Messiah in His return to rescue them from the hands of their enemies, and from all who hate them, and to sit on David’s throne as the King of the Jews with all of the surviving Gentile nations under Him who will have been judged by Him when He came back to earth at His Second Coming (Jeremiah 30:1-10) (Zechariah 13:8-9). These surviving nations will have been judged for their wickedness and more so for their treatment of the Jewish people (Joel 3:1-3,12-16) (Matthew 25:31-46) .
Now in the prophet Zechariah we are told that another exile will come. “A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city” (Zechariah 14:1-4). Half the Jewish population in Jerusalem will be exiled to Islamic countries. Possibly it will be those living in East Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located that will be under the control of the Islamic Antichrist and his beast empire. We know that the Muslims want control of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jews and the dissolution of Israel as a nation. This is the principalities in the unseen fallen spiritual realm that are behind Hamas, the PA, Hezbollah, Iran and the whole Muslim world for that matter! Satan wants the total annihilation of Israel and the Body of Messiah, the faithful Church spiritually grafted into Israel.
After a three and a half year of Israel being occupied by the empire of the Islamic Antichrist, for the sake of God’s elect saints being persecuted, and for the sake of the Jewish remnant chosen by God’s grace, and for the very survival of the human race, God Himself will cut those days short suddenly and swiftly and that without any warning and send the Messiah back to earth (Daniel 7:25; 12:7) (Revelation 13:5-7) (Matthew 24:21-22). During this time of three and a half years the Antichrist will have tried to destroy Israel but God will not permit this to happen and in a rage Satan will go after the offspring of the women (Israel) namely the Body of Messiah, the faithful Church, spiritually grafted into Israel (Revelation 12:13-17). At the end of the three and a half years of tyranny God will act, judgement will be pronounced and executed upon the Antichrist and his beast kingdom and the saints will inherit the Messianic Kingdom on earth (Daniel 7:9-14, 18, 22, 26-27). See also (Daniel 2:34-35;44-45).
Now after the Messiah our Lord Jesus has established His kingdom, having destroyed all opposition and earthly kingdoms that had been gathered against Him, He will bring the exiles home from the nations where they have been held in exile.
“From Assyria” Historically, the Assyrian empire covered parts of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel. The Samaritans were the descendants of those Jews living in Israel who intermarried with the Assyrians. Apart from Israel and Jordan the nations from which the exiles will return will be from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, all Muslim countries today. “From Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt” This is modern day Egypt which will become one of the nations under the subjugation of the Islamic empire of the Antichrist (Daniel 11:42). God will bring His people home from Egypt.
“From Cush” which today would be modern Sudan but could also extends to the south of Sudan into Somalia. These likewise are Islamic countries and “From Elam” which was ancient Persia, which today is Iran. “From Babylonia” Also located in present day Iraq but including parts of Syria. “From Hamath” located today in modern western Syria, to the north of Damascus.
“The islands of the sea” These are other nations not mentioned specifically by name but in the context of the Messianic reign these would possibly be European nations that had been Islamised and part of the Antichrist’s Islamic beast empire which will be vast, spreading throughout the Middle-East and sweeping into much of Europe. The Jewish people exiled will be scattered throughout these countries under the heel of Islam.
The Messiah’s sovereign rule over the nations will be exulted in every nation on earth. In these nations there will also be Jews who have been scattered also having been exiled from Israel. Specifically mentioned is that the Messiah will bring back the scattered people of Judah because He, as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah, will be bringing back those who are especially related to Him being from the same tribe of Israel. Judah in the Bible of course was the tribe from which the Messiah would come (Genesis 49:10). The scattered remnant will come back to Israel from all of the nations existing on earth as the Messianic Millennial age commences.
As God also spoke to Israel through the prophet Isaiah; “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone called by My name and created for My glory, whom I have indeed formed and made” (Isaiah 43:5-7). And then we read…
(Vs.13) “Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
After the death of Solomon Israel became a divided nation where you had a northern and a southern kingdom divided. The northern kingdom was called “Israel” (or sometimes “Ephraim”) in Scripture, and the southern kingdom was called “Judah.” From God’s viewpoint, the division was a judgment on not keeping His commands, specifically the commands prohibiting idolatry. From a human viewpoint, the division was the result of tribal discord and political unrest. The principle is that sin brings division. Ten tribes went north while two remained in the south being Judah and Benjamin. Samaria became the northern capital while Jerusalem remained the capital of the southern kingdom.
Once the Messiah having returned to earth has established His Messianic Kingdom and having cut off all of His enemies and established His earthly rule from Jerusalem the hostility and division between the Jewish people will be completely banished from Israel. The prophet Ezekiel prophesies about this complete unity in Israel as one nation under one king after the Messiah has returned and is ruling from Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace (Ezekiel 37:15-28). The Millennial reign will be the harbinger and foreshadow of the final, the eternal and perfect state to come following the close of the Millennial Age (Isaiah 65:17-25) (Revelation 21:1-4). And then we read…
(Vs.14) “They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them.”
Here we see Israel completely victorious over their immediate Islamic antagonistic neighbours and especially Philistia is mentioned which today is the Gaza Strip, the home of the ancient Philistines, Israel’s implacable enemies. The same territory principality that ruled over the Philistines today is ruling of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as they seek the wholesale destruction of Israel. When the Messiah our Lord Jesus comes back He will be the Commander in Chief of Israel’s armies and every part of Gaza will be in Israeli hands once again. Israel will have been saved as a nation, having been saved when they saw the Messiah coming to earth and believed in Him (Zechariah 12:10-13:1) (Romans 11:25-29).
Israel will possess all of the land given to them from the Wadi of Egypt to the River Euphrates including the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (the west bank), the Golan Heights, Lebanon the home of Hezbollah, who will no longer exist, will also be a part of Syria bordered at the Euphrates River. Islam will be no more after the Messiah’s return and who will take the fight to Islam in Saudi Arabia, the very heart of the Islamic world (Isaiah 63:1-6) See also (Revelation 19:11-21). These will be the people of the east the Arab nations Arab Islamic antagonism will no longer harass Israelis in Southern Jordan (Edom also sweeping down into Saudi Arabia), in central Jordan (Moab) and northern Jordan (Ammon) as these today are enclaves of Islamic hostility towards Israelis. In the Messianic kingdom Jews and Arabs will be re-united under the Messiah’s reign. In that day Israel will become the leading nation on earth and Jerusalem the capital of the whole world (Isaiah 2:1-5) (Micah 4:1-5). This is Israel’s glorious future after having passed through the time of Jacob’s Trouble and into their eternal destiny with the Messiah our Lord Jesus with no one to ever make them afraid again (Zephaniah 3:8-13).
(Vs.15-16) “The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.”
When the people of Israel came out of Egypt the Lord parted the Red Sea and His people were able to pass through the dry passage way with the waters piled up on either side. When they had safely passed through the Red Sea the waters returned and destroyed the Egyptians who were hell bent on their extermination as a people. Once the Messiah our Lord Jesus has returned to rule and to reign on earth, God His Father in heaven will, with a scorching wind, mark out the entire land of Israel from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River and dry up the gulf of the Egyptian Sea (the Red Sea) and sweep His hand over the Euphrates River breaking it up into seven streams so that people will be able to paddle through them by foot. The number seven in the Bible represents a complete work of God and not of man.
This will be the highway for the remaining Israelis that have been in exile to come home to Israel from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey all part of the Ancient Assyrian empire, countries today that are enclaves of Islamic tyranny against the Jews and the Body of Messiah, the faithful Church. These Israelis who return from their exile will be part of that remnant chosen by God’s foreknowledge and grace to inherit their promised land, having also come to saving faith in the Messiah reigning at Jerusalem (Romans 11:5). No matter how Satan and the nations seek to oppress and to even eliminate the Jewish people they will never succeed and at the end of days the LORD will reach out a second time to gather the scattered exiles from every nation on earth and bring them home!