The Second Remnant

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” (Isaiah 11:11)

The great prophet Isaiah lived during the time when the ten tribes of Israel were being carried into captivity by the Assyrians, and about a hundred years before his own nation of Judah would be carried into exile by the Babylonians. Yet, in one of the most remarkable prophecies of the Bible (Isaiah 44:28–45:6), Isaiah promised that his people would someday return and build Jerusalem and its temple again. Furthermore, he even named the future emperor of Persia (the nation which would succeed Assyria and Babylonia as the dominant world power), calling him Cyrus. This great king fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy about 175 years after it was given (note Ezra 1:1-4).

But Isaiah not only prophesied this first return from exile, as noted in the key verse above; he foresaw that, in the distant future, God would also “set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people.” The context of this passage is nothing less than the glorious future time of Messiah’s reign over all the earth (Isaiah 11:9-10). The outcasts of Israel and Judah would return home, not only from the nations of the Middle East, which will evidently be active enemies of Israel again in that future day (note that Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, and Hamath were the ancient names of the nations now identified as Upper Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, respectively), but even from “the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12). Isaiah thus predicted an even greater exile and worldwide homecoming long beyond that of the Babylonian captivity. Such information could have come only from God Himself. HMM

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