By Frank Jamerson
In Hal Lindsey’s speculative book, The Late Great Planet Earth, he says: “God’s kingdom will be characterized by peace and equity, and by universal spirituality and knowledge of the Lord. Even the animals and reptiles will lose their ferocity and no longer be carnivorous” (p. 165).
The error in the last sentence comes from a misunderstanding of Isaiah 11:6-9. The context of the verses shows clearly that this has a spiritual fulfillment. Verse ten says, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.” “That day” refers to the day he has just discussed in verses 6 through 9. “The root of Jesse” refers to Jesus and Romans 15:8-12 quotes this prophecy and shows that it has been fulfilled. Gentiles can seek after the Lord, therefore the peaceful kingdom described in this passage is in existence.
The spiritual peace prophesied in Isaiah 11 has been proclaimed through the gospel of Christ. Paul said: “For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:14,15). The gospel has its effect upon the hearts of men, not the bodies of wild beasts and reptiles!
Not only does the gospel bring unity between Jews and Gentiles, but it tames the “wildness” in men. James said that the venomous part of a man is his tongue. “For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God” (Jas. 3:7-9). To think of man in the figures of wild animals or poisonous snakes may not bolster our egos, but the failure of man to tame the wildness within causes “biting and devouring” (Gal. 5:15), and destruction (Jas. 3:5). Once you have been attacked by a “wild beast” or “poisonous viper” you can appreciate the need for the application of Isaiah’s prophecy to men!
Paul said, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). As our thoughts and actions are brought under the control of Christ, through the gospel, the “wild beasts” of Isaiah are being tamed. To the extent that the thoughts and passions of man are not brought under control the ferocity and venom remain.
It is not enough to say that the premillennial interpretation of these passages is wrong, we must also interpret them in our lives by being what God would have us be. When God’s truth is applied in our hearts, those formerly hurtful and destructive characteristics are replaced by a peaceful and loving disposition.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 23, p. 725
December 5, 1985