Summary: Just when we expect another pronouncement of doom, we are told of great blessing.
Isaiah 4:2-6 The Canopy of Glory
9/17/00e D. Marion Clark
Have you ever gotten a letter or even been told verbally either a number of things that were wrong with you or were going to be done to you? “And here’s something else you need to hear…” “And another thing young man…” That’s what Isaiah has been doing. There is a day to come when the Lord will be exalted and man’s pride brought low (2:11); that day man’s arrogance will be brought low (2:17); in that day no one will want to be a leader (3:7); in that day the finery of the women will be snatched away (3:18); in that day women will humiliate themselves seeking husbands.
Isaiah is ready to continue that list: In that day… But just when we expect another pronouncement of doom, we are told of great blessing. Has Isaiah moved to another topic? Let’s see.
The Branch of the Lord
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.
What or who is the Branch? Is it Judah or Jerusalem? Is it the land? It seems to be the Messiah. And this would be the first reference to him. This makes the most sense when seen in light of references by Isaiah.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him… (11:1,2a).
Jeremiah and Zechariah explicitly refer to the Branch as the Messiah.
5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up to David
a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
12 Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne (Zechariah 6:12-3).
What then is the fruit? Is it literal fruit? Is it a way of saying that the land will prosper? I think it too refers to the Messiah. Isaiah, who is writing poetically, is using a technique known as parallelism. Two lines act as synonyms of one another:
the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious,
the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory.
The two terms – Branch of the Lord and fruit of the land – complement one another in defining the Messiah. He is the Branch of the Lord, coming forth from the nature of God. But he is also the fruit of the land of Israel, coming forth from the nature, not only of man, but of the people of the covenant. He belongs to the Lord and to the covenant people.
The Branch of the Lord will be both beautiful and glorious. It is evident here that Isaiah is speaking of his second coming. At his first coming, the comment made was that it was beauty that was lacking.
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2).
I mention this because I heard a Jewish rabbi contend that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah. Therefore, the Christian church came up with the doctrine of the second coming to explain the failures of the first. But Isaiah himself presents two scenarios, which only can be fulfilled at different times.
Anyhow, in the Messiah we will find true beauty and glory, not the gaudy beauty of the women or the deluded glory of the men. And whereas before, the people took pride in their deluded sense of glory, they now take proper pride in the Messiah’s glory. I am reminded of Paul’s statement to the Corinthians about Jesus.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-1).
Isaiah then refers to the survivors, or remnant: the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem. It seems we are given the image of only a few who survive a great disaster. But that is not really his intent. He’s not saying only a few barely made it through the destruction. Rather he is making clear that the destruction, which did come, was a winnowing out of the unredeemed from the redeemed. God’s judgment was not a blanket act that doomed everyone. Remember back in 3:10 the promise: