Does Isaiah, chapter 11, refer to Jesus?

Does Isaiah, chapter 11, refer to Jesus? Let us find out in this interesting post. 

Answer: Isaiah states, "And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit" (11:1). Undoubtedly, the phrase "out of the stock of Jesse" signifies the Davidic dynasty, from which will come forth the Messiah, "the branch."

Christian commentators, applying this chapter to Jesus, are compelled to divide his career into what is called his first and second comings. To have any relationship to Jesus' life, Isaiah's prophecy must refer to the first coming because Isaiah speaks specifically of the "shoot" coming "out of the stock of David," which can only refer to the Messiah's ancestry at the time of his birth. In addition, when the prophet describes the dynamic appearance of the Messiah as "a shoot out of the stock of Jesse," he is portraying the latter's glorious nature from its very human inception.

This glowing portrayal provides a glaring contrast to the one in Isaiah 53:1-2, where the suffering servant, whom the Christian commentators also identify with Jesus, is portrayed in somber terms. Since both of Isaiah's prophecies (11:1 and 53:1-2), if they are to apply to Jesus, must refer to his first coming, we are faced with an irreconcilable contradiction, because the two accounts stand in stark contradiction to each other. These two prophecies are not applicable to one individual.

There is no justification for the interpretation that the prophet's words are to be divided into two separate periods, one during the Messiah's lifetime and the other after some future return following his death. That the account of this chapter can only apply to a single coming of the Messiah is verified by verse 10. In this verse, where all the events enumerated in verses 2-9 occur, he is given what can only be a human title, "the root of Jesse."

Christian commentators attempt to solve the problems inherent in their explanation of this chapter by claiming that Jesus appeared the first time to provide a means of salvation for mankind, whereas in the second coming, he will come to judge and rule the world. This, however, is simply not in accord with Isaiah's prophetic message. The Messiah is not portrayed as a part of a triune godhead returning to earth as judge and king.

Specific mention must also be made of the Christian contention that the statement in verse 2 that "The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him" was fulfilled at Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22). This is a claim which is, at best, selective fulfillment, and which, upon closer analysis, is devoid of any validity. They must assume that Jesus, part of a triune deity, needed the "Spirit of God," another one-third of the deity, to descend upon him by permission of still another one-third of this godhead: "God anointed him [Jesus] with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38; see also John 3:34). The author of Acts indicates that Jesus' ability to do wonders stemmed from God's anointing and that "God was with him." However, if Jesus were God, he would not need to be anointed by God and have God be with him in order to perform miracles. Moreover, if Jesus was God, he could stand in no relationship with God.

Isaiah 11 is to be taken as a homogeneous unit. There is no evidence to suggest divisions within the chapter whereby some verses are fulfilled in a first coming and the rest are to be fulfilled during a second coming. There certainly is no prophecy indicating that Jesus is the Messiah.