We have been learning in Isaiah, that Ephraim, who is Israel, the northern kingdom composed of the ten tribes that broke away from the house of David, is going to suffer desolation at the hands of Assyria. They are going to be carried away captive. The wicked will be purged from the land. The remnant that is left will be so few in number, that great tracts of formerly cultivated land will return to wilderness.
But in the midst of all this frightening judgment, the LORD has been promising the coming of the Messiah, who will set things right. He will make Israel’s scarlet sins white as snow (Isa 1:18); He will cause the what was barren to bear fruit abundantly (Isa 4:2); His presence and glory will be over every home as the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night covered the assembly of Israel in the wilderness (Isa 4:5); He is the great light which will shine on those who walked in darkness, who did not speak according to the LORD’s Law or His Testimony, because there was no light in them (Isa 8:20, 9:2).
He will be Ephraim and Judah’s sanctuary, but also a stone of stumbling and rock of offense to both houses of Israel (Isa 8:13-14). Ephraim, as it happens, was carried away captive by Assyria. From their captivity, they were scattered to the four winds. Remember what Amos prophesied? That the LORD would sift the house of Israel (Ephraim, the northern kingdom) among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground (Amo 9:9).
Now here in Isaiah, the LORD is promising that He will recover the remnant of His people, the outcasts of Israel (the northern kingdom) and the dispersed of Judah (the southern kingdom) from the four corners of the earth (Isa 11:12). Since not the smallest grain of Israel shall fall to the ground and be lost, He who scattered them will gather them again, and bring them back. When Ephraim and Judah are returned, their sibling rivalry will cease (Isa 11:13). 🙂
When did this happen? Well, throughout this prophecy of the returning of the remnant of Israel, the just and peaceful government and reign of the Root and Branch of Jesse, Messiah Yeshua, is foretold, and His work of salvation. The two are tied together, in other words. The remnant of Judah is returning now to the land. The Jews are of Judah — the name “Jew” is from “Judah.” Ephraim has not yet returned, but is still to come — soon. Because of this, we know His own return is near!
Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!