The Dragon and His Offspring (Part 2)


JY: Welcome to Gear Talk, a podcast on biblical theology. Today, Tom and Jason continue our series on major characters in the book of Revelation. This podcast is the second part of our consideration of the Dragon. Last week we started in Genesis. This week, we consider Isaiah’s words concerning the Serpent and the Serpent-crushing King. When you’re done listening, check the show notes for links to two books related to this topic.

TK: Welcome to Gear Talk, Jason and Tom here and today is the second part of our podcast on the Serpent. So, what are we covering today, Jason?

JD: We are building on all that we looked at last time as an Old Testament backdrop to the Dragon. In the book of Revelation, this antagonist—evil Beast—that has beasts made in its likeness. The first beast, a ruling persecuting, crushing, destroying beast, and the second Beast, one that looks like a lamb but talks like a dragon, and is filled with false teaching and misdirection and deception. And this unholy trinity stands against the true Trinity, seeking to thwart all that it can, knowing that its days are short. And seeking to stand against Christ and his people during the church age. And that’s where we find ourselves today. So last time we looked at Genesis chapter 3 as a backdrop to the book of Revelation’s portrait of the Dragon, especially in chapters twelve through fourteen and beyond. And then moved ahead, even looking at how Pharaoh in the book of Exodus is portrayed as a serpent king, is standing against God’s people much like the Serpent had done in the garden and who is portrayed as an offspring of the Serpent, who is overcome by the first-born son of God, namely Israel. And how that sets a trajectory, then, for many more offspring of the Serpent who are standing against God in his way. Is building the reader to anticipate the ultimate clash between the ultimate Son of God and the Serpent himself?

TK: All right. So we said we were going to be in Isaiah and Daniel today, which I’m really looking forward to that. But before we do, we’re skipping some pretty significant chunks. And so, Jason, maybe if you could give what aren’t we talking about in Numbers and then from Saul and David’s lives too. So the book Samuel like Brian Verrett’s been talking about. So, let’s start with Numbers, what is a chunk that you’d say, wow, if I had more time, I’d love to say this from Numbers 21.

The Serpent in Numbers and Samuel

JD: In Genesis 3, we learn about the Serpent. The next time we learn about the Serpent is Exodus 4, when the serpent that was once a staff represents Egypt and Pharaoh, and just as God will stretch out his hand against Pharaoh and all that he is doing that is evil, so it is that Moses was to stretch out his hand and grab the serpent and it returned to his staff. Israel shows up in the wilderness in Numbers 21, complaining, wishing they could go back to Egypt, where they lived under the serpent king, and so God sends them serpents. It’s the third time in Scripture where this term nahash, serpent, shows up, and they are fighting, fiery, biting that move the people, as God judges them, to cry out for help, and God calls Moses to raise up a bronze—to shape a serpent on a pole, a bronze serpent that looks like it’s, it appears, a slain bronze serpent, that is, he’s been overcome by God. And if the people will but look at him—look at this bronze serpent—they will be saved. They will be healed and it’s that text that Jesus goes back to in John chapter 3 as Moses lifted up with Nicodemus.

TK: With Nicodemus?

JD: Yep, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). And the irony of that text is that Jesus is comparing himself on the cross with the same slain serpent that is held up on the pole and the serpent is the picture of all that is evil, all that is hostile to God and Jesus himself is now comparing himself—what he is about to undergo at the cross is indeed a full identification with all that is standing against God in his ways. He is taking on the sins, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us,” or Galatians chapter three, he bore the curse upon himself on the tree so that we might enjoy the blessing. So it’s a massive, massively significant text from the perspective of salvation history and the amazing irony is that Jesus, in order to gain victory for the blood-bought church, fully identifies himself with sin, with the curse, indeed, with the serpent, the destroyed serpent. He identifies himself with that image of evil, so that we might in turn have life.

When it comes to Saul and David, Brian has done a great job unpacking for us step by step through the book of Samuel how King Nahash, which means serpent—Saul goes up against King Nahash of the Ammonites and defeats him, and for the reader who’s aware of the story, I think we’re supposed to be awakened to the promises of the offspring of the woman who would defeat the Serpent himself. But right after Saul’s victory narrative, we have Saul’s fall narrative to show he’s not the Serpent Slayer, his life only points to him. And then we have David facing the son of Nahash, the seed of the serpent, Hanun, Nahash’s son. David defeats him and immediately we get David’s fall narrative and the next podcast that Brian does, he’s going to show how that that first major battle of David against Goliath, how Goliath is portrayed as a serpentine warrior, who is seeking to destroy, like the devil has always been seeking to destroy, and David therefore, in his person, represents the ultimate New David, who would come. A David that we’re going to be talking about today, an ultimate new Adam figure who will be both priest and King, who will slay the serpent definitively, ultimately. And he’ll be thrown into the lake of fire as we read about in the book of Revelation. So those are those are a series of texts that we’re jumping over at some level here. We just took five minutes to overview them, but they’re very important in the storyline of this developing saga, this developing theme with the Serpent, the Dragon, and those beasts that are related to him.

TK: I think this would be a good spot to say we’re putting a link in—you’ve seen this one before—for Brian Verrett’s book The Serpent and Samuel: A Messianic Motif—really would recommend this. He just goes over in detail what he’s been covering in the podcast, but that part that we’re not focusing on today. And then one of your friends, Jason, Andy Naselli. Also wrote a book. We’ll put a link for that as well.

JD: The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer. It’s in the short studies and biblical theology series. Just an excellent overview of this main—my friend Joe Rigney has used this phrase, kill the dragon, get the girl. And the church is the bride of Christ. And once that Dragon is slain, you can claim the one that was imprisoned. And that’s what Jesus does at the cross and Naselli’s work moves from Genesis to Revelation, overviewing this theme of the Serpent and the Serpent slayer, the hope, the promise of the coming one, who would ultimately, definitively destroy the Dragon and claim the prize, the bride of the Lamb. So yeah, we’re going to have links to both those books in the show notes.

TK: All right. And you said that he has a children’s version of the same book as well, or the same ideas.

JD: The same ideas that he co-authored with another friend of mine, Champ Thornton, The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles. So it’s the children’s book, the first in a series, and it just works on this whole theme of an evil dragon and a serpent Slayer, so I would encourage kids to check that one out.

Isaiah 7, 9, and 11: The Child-King Stretches out His Hand over the Serpent

TK: All right. Well, Jason, let’s go to the Book of Isaiah and what we’re going to be looking at. We’re called Gear Talk, and talk about the sections of the Bible like gears, maybe in a transmission in a car all linked together, all working. So we’re going to be looking at something from the prophets and then that’s Isaiah, and then something from the writings, which is the book of Daniel. So really what we’re seeing is this is a theme emphasized from beginning of the Old Testament through the end of it and obviously in all three sections of the New Testament as well—the history books, the Gospels and Acts, the letters and Revelation—this theme of the Serpent-crushing king is found all throughout scripture, so let’s go to the prophets right now. Where would you start in the Book of Isaiah?

JD: Well, from the earliest stages of Isaiah, there is hope for a Redeemer and the portrait of this Redeemer is initially of a child king. We know that the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will have an identity that is linked with God himself. He’ll be called Emmanuel, God with us. This child king, after that prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, is then detailed more clearly in Isaiah 9 in that very text that Matthew cites to kickstart Jesus’s ministry in Matthew 4. There was gloom and darkness over northern Israel where Assyria first and then Babylon had come and overcome the nation. But then we read, “There will be no gloom for her, who is in anguish. In the former time he brought contempt on the land of Zebulun and on the land of Naphtali. But in the latter time, he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.”—And then he focuses in—“The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,”—ultimately controlled by the serpent himself—“those who dwelt in that land of deep darkness, on them a light has dawned…. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:1–2, 6). And then we’re told his government will be expansive. Indeed, it will increase at a level, and the peace that he brings, will increase at a level such that there will be no end. “On the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it”—So this is the new David, fulfilling the promises of 2 Samuel 7—and he will “uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isa 9:7). And God’s zeal would accomplish it.

TK: There’s something baked into that, even that idea of him establishing the kingdom is that he is winning, winning the kingdom. Then he’s going to get it in in this process. So you are thinking there is a battle baked into this text or a conquest here.

JD: And we can reach, we can reach all the way back to Genesis 22 where this offspring of the woman and this offspring of Abraham will possess enemy gates, meaning that yes, he’s going to be a warrior king who’s going to be expanding the kingdom turf. And then it’s explicit even more in Genesis 26, where God, speaking to Isaac, recalling the promises given first to Abraham, he says, Isaac, I want you to dwell in this land, singular, but know this to your offspring—namely that male offspring of the woman who’s also the male offspring of Abraham—to your offspring I will give these lands, plural (Gen 26:3). And that same offspring then, repeating exactly the same clause that we saw in Genesis 22, it’s through that offspring that all the nations of the ground will count themselves, regard themselves as blessed (Gen 26:4). That individual is the one that we’re reading about here in Isaiah. It’s that individual that David’s own life—as a serpent slayer and as a slayer of the of the offspring of the Serpent—David’s life pointed to. So, yes, when we come to this new child King, who will sit on the throne of David and established global peace—he’s got a lot of darkness to overcome, there’s a lot of places that light has to penetrate. And so, yes, there’s this implication that he will be a warrior king who will be fighting and winning.

TK: So we’ve obviously known this story and Isaiah is anticipating this. His readers know the story of the serpent-crushing King from the beginning of the scriptures up till this spot. We hear about his birth in Isaiah 7, we hear about what happens when he comes to Israel in Isaiah. So bring us forward through, I’m guessing you’re going to 11 right now.

JD: I am. Isaiah 11, the same child-King, is called a shoot of the stump of Jesse. But not only is he a shoot from the stump of Jesse in verse 1, in verse 10, he’s the root of Jesse.

TK: Yeah. What do you do with that?

JD: One more little tag that shows not only is he the one—Jesse was the original David’s father, so the reason it doesn’t say he’s a shoot or a stump of David is because I think Isaiah wants us to know he’s a new David and yet he was also the source of David, the very root that gave rise to Jesse. And this is a little flag, one more. Not only is he Emmanuel, God with us, not only is he the Everlasting Father and the Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace—all those statements connecting us with God himself—he is also the very source from which all humanity rises and the very source from which all hope comes. So he is the fruit, but he’s also the root of Jesse. It says that he is a spirit-empowered child-King, wherever he goes, the spirit of the Lord is resting on him. He’s like a movable temple. Where his presence is God’s presence is, and it’s in this context—after asserting that he wears armor, righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, faithfulness, the belt of his loins. He has clothing that sets us up for ultimately Ephesians 6 in the armor of God. There’s a number of texts in Isaiah that show that this messianic, that is anointed, servant king is a warrior dressed in armor. And so much of that armor stands behind the armor that’s specifically listed as the armor of the Lord. And where the church enters into battle because we’re in Christ, and who are we fighting? We’re fighting the devil himself, who has flaming darts. And yet we stand against him because we’re in the Messiah.

TK: And wearing his armor.

JD: Wearing his armor. And then we come to verses 6 through 9 in Isaiah 11, and that’s where it becomes clear that Isaiah is indeed picturing this child warrior-King in ways that recall the Genesis 3:15 gospel promise that the offspring of the woman would go into a head-to-head combat with the Serpent himself. This is what we read, Tom, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together”—And then we read this—“and a little child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6). Well, up to this point, we’ve learned about a boy who would be born of a virgin. And then we’ve learned about a child-King, and this just makes me think, Oh is this just a general child or is this the specific child? I think it’s the specific child.

TK: I think that’s a big help to us because otherwise what we’re going to read in a second makes us think, this doesn’t sound like beautiful poetry at all. It sounds deeply troubling because we’re going to read about what this child does in relation to a snake and think it seems like no good parent would ever put a child in this situation. So, I think reading it saying as a reader, OK, where have I heard about a little child before? And saying I just heard about him two chapters earlier.

JD: Right, exactly and he is the very one who is now empowered by the spirit of God. And he is the very one who’s this descendant of David, who in chapter nine was sitting on the throne.

TK: So just to jump in, Jason, what you’re saying is what I read earlier there, about there will come a shoot from the stump of Jesse, a branch spirit empowered. You are making a connection right there. So I drew an arrow to the little child.

JD: I think so. Now based on how chapter 9 spoke of the king as sitting on the throne of David, “But to us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders” (Isa 9:6). That’s the one that we’re talking about, who is none other than mighty God.

TK: That’s really helpful. So when I’m reading this, I’m not thinking of a weak little child. I’m thinking of a spirit-empowered warrior.

JD: Right. And he is able to lead creatures, or could I call them beasts? He’s able to lead beasts that would usually be—one vulnerable, one predatory: wolf, lamb, leopard goat, calf, lion. He’s able to lead them in a way that there is peace, “The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together. The lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra and the weened child has put his hand on the adders den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth has become full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:7–9). Intriguingly to me, there’s this term, the nursing child. That’s how my ESV renders it. That term shows up only one other time in Isaiah, and it’s in Isaiah 53:2. Think Isaiah 53, that’s the suffering servant text, and it says, “For he grew up before”—that is the arm of the Lord, who is a person—grew up before Yahweh, “like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground” (Isa 53:2). This Hebrew term, yoneq, is rendered here as young plant in Isaiah 53:2 and it clearly refers to the one we call Jesus. He is the suffering one who would enter into—he’s willing to enter, to become a substitutionary sacrifice, and he’s called in this text a young plant, that is, he’s a suckling. Now, back in Isaiah chapter 11, it’s the nursing child that is the suckling who shall play over the hole of the cobra.

TK: So you’re saying it’s the same word?

JD: That’s right. That’s the same word. It’s the same person, the one who would suffer as a substitute for the sins of humanity. Is this this suckling, this child-King who is here playing over the hole of the cobra. And able to put his hand like Moses did in grabbing the tail of the serpent in Exodus chapter 4—and with that overcoming Pharaoh as the instrument of God. So too here this child-King will simply put his hand, stretch out his hand very literally, stretch out his hand—using the exact same verb as in Exodus 4—over the adders then. There’s this sense in which he’s going to overcome the snake himself.

TK: He’s not afraid. He’s not afraid of the snake.

JD: He’s not afraid of the snake, such that it says there will be neither hurt or destruction in all God’s holy mountain. For the earth has become full of the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea. This is the first big text. When we come to the end of Isaiah…

TK: So before we get there, though it’s clear we read about these things and this child then is bringing former enemies together, right. You said cow and the bear and the lion and the ox and all of that. But it seems like the adder, the cobra is still a force to be reckoned with. You can’t ignore it at this point, because there’s an adders den, there is the hole of the cobra.

JD: Correct, correct. Yeah. There’s still an enemy and the child-King, though, is—it’s almost as though he’s going for it. He will, he knows—the child King knows that he will not be ultimately overcome. Right. And I’ll just add that I already mentioned that we have beasts here and there are a number of Isaiah scholars that actually think we’re having an echo back to Isaiah chapter 2 where it says not of animals, but of nations, that they will be gathered to the mountain of the Lord, being drawn in. Nations and peoples from all over the world will be drawn in, and then it says that due to what God does in Zion, his law going forth and judging between the nations and settling disputes among the peoples, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa 2:4). So, they’re going to take their weapons in which they used to stand against each other, and they’re going to make them into garden tools, as if their workers for the new creation. That’s what’s going to happen at the mountain of the Lord, and in our passage we read, “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy Mountain, for the earth has become full of the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:9). So we’re at the holy mountain again, and now we have beasts that were once enemies are now working side by side, and there’s a number of Isaiah scholars that think these beasts are not it—the point isn’t first and foremost: there’s not going to be any predators. Everyone’s going to be—all the creatures are going to be at peace with one another, but that they think these beasts are actually representative of the nations that have now come under the reign of the child-King. And there’s no more friction. It’s a picture of the church itself.

TK: I find this really moving and helpful. I think for those of us who’ve read it before, I can imagine a mom with her child and saying I don’t find this encouraging at all because she’s imagining her child outside where there’s a cobra and just saying that’s not what the text was trying to say. The text is telling us that the child we met earlier in chapter 7, chapter 9, that child is deliberately playing in that spot and is doing God’s work in spite of the fact there’s a cobra and an adder’s den. He’s the one reaching out his hand. And doing what no one else could do.

JD: This is a text of hope in the coming child-King.

TK: Would you, before we get to the end, Jason, would you say in the way you read Scripture—Isaiah 11 is already happening. 11:6–9 particularly that part. Is the child already playing over the hole of the Cobra?

JD: Yes, I would because in verse 10 it says, “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples, of him, shall the nations inquire” (Isa 11:10), and Paul cites that text in Romans 15:12 to clarify, as justification, his ministry to the Gentiles in this church age. So he says, “I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised, to show God’s truthfulness in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Rom 15:8). He’s clarifying why it is that he now, in this church age, is going to the Gentiles. And he says as it is written and then he cites a text from 2 Samuel. Then he cites a text from Deuteronomy. So we have the prophets, and then the law. Then he cites a text from Psalms. He goes to the writings and finally he says, “And again, Isaiah says the root of Jesse will come. Even he who arises to rule the Gentiles. In him will the Gentiles hope” (Rom 15:12). So then, Paul says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom 15:13). What follows is a statement. It is an unpacking of this child-King leading a new exodus that includes both some from the nations and some from both banished Israel and Judah. It’s a new exodus that Paul would say is happening today. There is already a great ingathering. There is already peace being made between those that were once in tension, and it’s all being led by a child-King who has entered in and put his hole over the cobra—Put his hand—he’s playing over the hole of the cobra. He’s stretched out his hand against the adder and with that, he’s brought peace. Now it’s a peace only being recognized within the church. But one day, the peace that has been secured for the church, the rest that we’re enjoying today in Jesus, will be global because all animosity will be put down and that’s exactly what the book of Revelation is anticipating—a greater day than even Isaiah 11 is specifically talking about. Well, well, sorry. Isaiah 11 is anticipating that ultimate day, but I—but according to Paul, that day has already been started. It’s a day, that is the day of the Lord, is a long day. It’s an already day, but a not yet day where God has already done work in saving his people, in showing up. His presence is with us through the person of Jesus. And yet right now there are still enemies like this adder, like this cobra. And yet the day is coming when the child will deal with them, and the cobra will be fully judged.

Isaiah 65: The Serpent is Judged and Global Mission Ensues

TK: All right. So we’re going to, we’ve already stopped in Isaiah 53, but we’re going to go to Isaiah 65, Jason. So let’s go there.

JD: All right, so Isaiah 65, simply in the context of what it says is new heavens and new Earth, “I create new heavens and a new earth” (Isa 65:17). That is, “I create Jerusalem to be a joy” (Isa 65:18). So this is a day when—filled with new creational imagery, including, “For like the days of the tree,” in my ESV, verse twenty-two of chapter 65 has a tree, but very literally in the Hebrew it’s the tree. I think it’s the tree of life. “For like the days of the tree of life shall be the days of my people” (Isa 65:22). And in this context, we read this statement, recalling the wording in Isaiah 11 but making one small difference, “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not destroy or hurt in all my holy mountain” (Isa 65:25). So rather than mentioning that the child-King, this suckling child would play over the whole of the cobra and the weaned child, having stretched out his hand over the adder’s den. Now we simply read this, “Dust shall be the Serpent’s food.” This language of the Serpent, well, the dust takes us back to Genesis 3:15 where—3:14—where God specifically says that the serpent, because of what he did in the garden, would be judged and the dust he would eat the dust. That is, it would become as food. It’s the place of judgment, and here it appears as though we’ve moved from an active adder or cobra in its den—in this child-King going after it to the point where now in the new heavens and the new Earth, the serpent is eating the dust, that is the serpent has been fully judged.

TK: First of all, that day will be so great. I think we all think of things that have been so grieving in this life, but what we’re talking about here shows the importance of knowing earlier texts and being able to read in them of what’s going on here. So clearly Isaiah is referring to and wanting you as a reader to go back to Genesis chapter 3, because that’s a direct link he’s making. He’s also wanting you to notice what happened in Isaiah 11. In fact the statement “The lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isa 65:25). I think that’s a direct quote from Isaiah 11. So he’s wanting you to link the passages together, but there is clear progression between the passages.

JD: And the progression is—actually we jumped over it cause we went from the beginning of the book to the end of the book—but the progression is anticipated in the structure of the book itself when you get to Isaiah 14:13 specifically. So right after this text, we enter into a long series of oracles against nations.

TK: Oracle, what is an Oracle?

JD: An oracle—these prophetic announcements of judgement against nations. And if the adder and the cobra in chapter 11 were the remaining enemies, what’s intriguing is that now the enemies become nations. Babylon is judged, and God taunts them. Assyria is judged. Philistia, Moab, Damascus—that is Syria—Cush, Egypt again, they’re judged. Babylon again is judged, and then Jerusalem is judged. Tyre and Sidon are judged. And there’s this, this culmination that the gathering point is when you get to Isaiah 24, which the text is going to keep going, but it’s summarizing. God has brought judgment on the entire world because they’ve broken the everlasting covenant. Then in Isaiah 24:21, we read these words, “On that day”—of punishment—“the Lord will punish”—and then there’s two spheres—“The host of heaven in heaven and the kings of the Earth.”—on Earth—“They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit. They will be shut up in prison, and after many days they will be punished” (Isa 24:21–22). So you have both these heavenly beings that are against God, spiritual beings, and earthly beings that we’re told are going to have a restricted amount of jurisdiction. I actually think we’re seeing here a picture of the story of redemption. In the Old Testament age, Satan could go right into the throne room of God. Think of job chapter one and two.

TK: Right.

JD: Satan could be in the throne room of God in Zechariah chapter 3, accusing the high priest Joshua of his guilt. But it wouldn’t be that way forever. As Jesus says in Luke chapter 10, “I saw Satan fall like lightning” (Luke 10:18), or in the text that we looked at last week and opened up our podcast with Revelation chapter 12, how does it talk? It talks about a great battle that goes on in the heavenlies and then Satan and his angels are thrown down. That ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, and what I want to draw attention to here—So that’s revelation 12, where they’re thrown down, and we could even go to Revelation 20, which I believe—not all scholars agree—but I believe is talking about the same reality. Where it says that God sees the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil, and Satan, and bound him in a pit for 1000 years. I think that’s referring to what we’re talking about here in Isaiah chapter 24, that prisoners being bound in a pit, spiritual beings, and kings of earth for an extended amount of time until the judgment day comes. And in Isaiah 27—So what we’re doing is we’re looking at what is it that happened in that interim period between Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 65, when the adder was still an enemy to the point where the adder had the, the serpent has been judged. What we read is this in chapter 27:1, “In that day Yahweh, with his hand and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isa 27:1). These are images that we even saw last week in association with the portrait of Pharaoh in the watery chaos as God judged him. Pharaoh was like Leviathan, a multi-headed dragon even known about outside the Bible, using that exact same word loton. He is considered an image of evil, indeed, the embodiment of evil. And what Isaiah is anticipating is the day when that great serpent will be, and indeed he’s called the Dragon that is in the sea—that great Dragon-serpent will be overcome by the child-King. That’s what Isaiah is looking for. Hoping in.

TK: So when I read the end then, chapter 65, again and I read Let’s see what verse is it here? That dust shall be the Serpent’s food.

JD: Verse 25.

TK: Yep, not thinking at that point, what is the serpent still doing around, crawling everywhere? I’m going to deal with this thing forever. That’s not what the text is saying. It’s poetically drawing attention to the judgment of the serpent, which I saw introduced in Genesis chapter 3.

JD: Yes. And I believe speaking about fulfillment, because in this day, what is true of the church itself? Supposed to be true of the church itself. People from every or some from every tongue and tribe and people and nation who are acting as one people. For whom there is no prejudice. There is no friction, young and old, multicolored, different cultural preferences, all of them recognizing we are one in Christ. Now in this new heavens and new Earth, in this new Jerusalem that Paul says in Galatians 4 is our mother, not the Jerusalem of Earth, no, it’s the Jerusalem that is above that is our mother. It’s this Jerusalem that is the bride of the lamb. It’s that Jerusalem to which are gathered some from every tongue and tribe and people and nation Hebrews chapter 12 saying we have come to the Heavenly Jerusalem to Mount Zion. That’s where we are in the presence of the living God. That’s where our citizenship is. And yet here we are still exiled spiritually, part of the New Jerusalem, but exiled saints living in a land on mission as ambassadors of the heavenly court. Still battling evil, yet having something definitively happened in space and time, the child-King has come. The child-King is in the process of making a universal, unending both spatially and temporally, and unending Kingdom, and we’re a part of that. The church is a part of that, and Isaiah is envisioning the day when it will move from localized to global. Where indeed the new heavens and the new Earth will be coterminous with the New City, Jerusalem, and Babylon, as Revelation says, will have been completely overcome.

TK: I think for the church, this should—this Isaiah passage connected with everything it’s connected with before it, certainly and after it, but what we find—there should be such an encouragement to vigorously engage in world missions. We say we live in an age when a kid is not afraid of the serpent and he is able to function fully, even over the hole of the Cobra. And so, because we are his people to say, Yep, he is gathering formerly warring parties and bringing them together so that the wolf and the sheep, or whichever it says in the chapter, they are able to lie down together because that’s what the child-King is causing. So, we can see it clearly, it increases our hope in things that we’re going after today.

JD: It does. Knowing that Jesus has definitively overcome the Serpent of the cross, that there is no accusatory power, Satan has already been bound in a very strict, significant way. This is why we see in the Old Testament it’s almost a completely come and see. Come and see that is, come to Jerusalem to see the glory of God. Come to Jerusalem to meet God. But in Jesus’s coming he, as the very timber Tabernacle and presence of God—all who are united with him, enjoy the same spirit. So now the temple has in many respects gone global. It’s why we have missions today because Satan’s power on a global scale has been—he no longer holds the ability to accuse and to say guilty, guilty as charged. All throughout the Old Testament, it was unclear how God could be both just and the justifier of all who believe. That’s why, according to Romans chapter 3, he sent Jesus to prove that he is indeed just and the justifier of all who believe (Rom 3:26). God has declared those in Christ not guilty. And this testimony is working at a global scale, and wherever there are Christians, the presence of God is there. The temple of God has come, and the nations are gathering to that temple. They don’t have to go to a physical place like local Jerusalem in the Middle East, Paul says in Galatians chapter 4—that’s representative of the old covenant. No, we are talking about a new covenant, a new Jerusalem in the heavenlies that one day will come to Earth. But insofar as it has not yet come to Earth, our citizenship is still there and we are called as ambassadors of that heavenly throne to declare the hope of peace, the terms of peace on a global scale. And it motivates missions, knowing on the one hand that Jesus has decisively won the victory, and what that means is that Satan has been decisively defeated and his ability to deceive and maintain darkness, no it has been extremely trumped. Light is now piercing the darkness on a global scale in a way that it never did. There is, there are people on the front lines who are seeing the Kingdom advance in some of the hardest places on the planet. And I want to be a part of that. I want to be a goer. I want to be also a sender. I want to be a prayer because there’s still battle going on. But the ultimate victory has been won and that is our hope. That is our hope as we engage in missions.

TK: Well, Jason, I think, boy, there’s so much here. I think any pastors who are listening here—this would be so encouraging for your people. I think that idea of the child playing over the cobra’s nest and not playing like absent mindedly playing, the child knows there’s a cobras nest, an adders nest, and he is in essence dealing with the cobra so that the beasts and—that the beasts can come to peace on the earth. Knowing that our King is doing this is so encouraging, we would like to spend some time in Daniel. I think that’s not for today though. We said that last podcast we’d go to Daniel, but this was enough.

JD: I agree. Till next time.

TK: Till next time. All right, check out the show notes. We will put links to the books. This is a theme running throughout the scriptures from front to back and that actually—it didn’t sound like it today—this whole podcast series has been on major characters in Revelation. But this story has really wrapped up there. But what we’ve seen today is Isaiah had already told the story we could have read it right there.

JD: It was all there.

TK: All there. All right, Jason, great talking to you today. Thanks for visiting about these things.

JD: My joy.

TK: Alright bye friends.

JY: Thank you for joining us for Gear Talk. Next week. We’ll consider the prophet Daniel’s words concerning the Dragon and his beasts. We have included links to the books we talked about in the podcast. These books covered a lot of territory we didn’t cover here. Also take a moment and sign up for Hands to the Plow’s newsletter. You’ll find a link on our show notes. See you next week.