This passage is describing the conditions that will exist during the Millennium when the Lord Jesus Christ, as the “King of king and Lord of lords,” reigns in perfect righteousness and peace. Even the animal kingdom will experience a wonderful transformation. Let’s take a brief look at these verses:

Verse 1: “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (NKJV). Jesus Christ is called “a Rod from the stem of Jesse” because He came from the royal line of King David (Jesse was David’s father). He is referred to a “Branch” because He will do what His forefathers failed to do; He will BEAR FRUIT for God by blessing the whole world.

Verse 2: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” In John 3:34 we read, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.” The FULLNESS of the Spirit and His attributes were given to Jesus Christ at the beginning of His public ministry (see Matthew 3:16) and these attributes will characterize Him as He rules over the earth.

Verses 3-5: “His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” The earth has never really witnessed that of which we read here, for when men judge other men they are often influenced by what they see or hear (leading to a “false judgment”), but Christ’s judgment will be “with righteousness” and “with equity.” We saw in verse 2 that He possesses perfect wisdom and understanding…this, along with His delighting “in the fear of the LORD,” will result in a perfect and fair judgment on behalf of the poor as He slays the wicked who will get exactly what they deserve.

Verses 6-9a: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Then nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain.” What a glorious description we have here of the complete transformation of the animal kingdom! Animals that once preyed on other animals and were a danger to mankind (especially to little children) will now be in perfect subjection to Christ, making it possible for all to live together in perfect harmony. Read Isaiah 65:25 and Romans 8:19-22.

Verse 9b: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Here we have the main reason why all the earth will experience such ideal conditions, with man and beast living together in tranquility and peace. This doesn’t simply mean that men will have an “intellectual knowledge of the Lord,” but that there will be an “experimental knowledge of the Lord.” THEY WILL KNOW HIM IN THEIR HEARTS! Jeremiah 31:34 speaks of this: “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” With their sins forgiven men will love the Lord and obey Him. So, with man and beast in subjection to Christ, there will be a virtual “paradise on earth” (though other scriptures teach that there will some who do not receive Christ and yet they will “feign obedience” to Him—see Psalm 18:44 and the note in the Margin). (228.7) (DO)