“For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them. 3When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:” (Isaiah 14:1-4a)
Isaiah 14:1-4a introduces another near and far fulfillment oracle concerning the restoration of God’s people and the judgment upon God’s enemies. While today’s passage does in fact refer to Judah’s return to the Promised Land following their 70 year captivity in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36), it also focuses upon the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the fall of the great harlot Babylon at the conclusion of the tribulation (Revelation 18:1-20:3).
One commentator writes, “The prophet looked at the final Babylon at the end of the tribulation. The language is that which characterizes conditions during the millennial kingdom after the judgment of the final Babylon. The destruction of future Babylon is integrally connected with the deliverance of Israel from bondage. Babylon must perish so that the Lord may exalt his people.”
The Millennial Kingdom of Christ will feature a role reversal. Instead of Israel being ruled by the nations, Israel will rule over nations who once dominated them.
The word rest, 14:3, refers to being settled or to settle down. Ultimately, this will be fulfilled during the Millennial Kingdom (Acts 3:19-21). God will establish Israel within its rightful borders.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “God’s choosing of Israel (and of Judah, Jerusalem, David, and Solomon) is an important Old Testament theme (cf. Deut. 7:6), especially in 1 and 2 Chronicles and the Psalms (1 Chron. 16:13; 28:4–5, 10; 29:1; 2 Chron. 6:6, 34, 38; 7:12; 12:13; 33:7; Pss. 33:12; 47:4; 78:68, 70; 89:3; 105:6, 43; 106:5; 132:13; 135:4). The fact that non-Israelites (aliens) will join Israel is also a recurring theme in Scripture (Isa. 56:6; 60:10; 61:5). Israel’s role will be reversed (14:2): rather than Israel being exiled as captives in other nations, other nations will serve Israel. Israel will be prominent.”
Dr. R.C. Sproul explains that, “Babylon and Assyria, said Isaiah during the eighth century BC, would be rods of the Lord’s wrath against His people, taking them into exile because of their impenitence (Isa. 1; 8:1–10; 9:8–21; 39). Yet as we have seen, that would not be the end of Jacob’s children. The devastators of Israel and Judah would be judged (chap. 13). Moreover, as today’s passage reveals, God would again choose His people as in Moses’ day. Incredibly, sojourners—the Gentile nations—would “attach themselves to the house of Jacob.” Gentiles would bow to Yahweh, the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel, and the world would finally enjoy the Abrahamic blessing (Isa. 14:1–2; see Gen. 12:1–3).
Today, Jesus Christ is putting all His and our enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25), and one day no creature will be able to doubt that He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Soli deo Gloria!