The Hebrew word nes appears to denote a stationary pole or stake occupying an elevated site; it is used both literally and figuratively. Hence, it does not denote a signal for sending messages, such as “a smoke signal” (Jg 20:38, 40) or “a fire signal” (Jer 6:1), for which other Hebrew words are used. Rather, such a pole could serve as a rallying point to which people or armies could assemble themselves. (Isa 5:26; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; 31:9; Jer 4:6, 21; 50:2; 51:12, 27; compare Ps 60:4, ftn.) For example: When the Israelites on one occasion complained about manna and the lack of water, Jehovah punished them by sending poisonous serpents among them. After the Israelites manifested repentance, Jehovah instructed Moses to fashion a serpent and to place it upon a signal pole (nes). “Moses at once made a serpent of copper and placed it upon the signal pole; and it did occur that if a serpent had bitten a man and he gazed at the copper serpent, he then kept alive.” (Nu 21:5-9) Evidently this signal pole stood in a fixed location and was doubtless on an elevated place so that it was visible to the Israelites who had been bitten by serpents.
Similarly, in 537 B.C.E., Jerusalem, whose rebuilding had been foretold, became the signal that beckoned the Jewish remnant to leave the lands to which they had been dispersed and to return to the then desolated Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. (Isa 11:11, 12; compare Isa 49:22; 62:10, 11.) The prophecy, however, is not limited to this sixth-century application. Isaiah 11:10 reads: “And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jesse that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples.” The apostle Paul applied these words to Christ Jesus, the one who would rule nations. (Ro 15:8, 12) Also, Jesus spoke of himself as ‘the root of David’ the son of Jesse. (Re 22:16) Accordingly, the signal is Christ Jesus as reigning King standing on heavenly Mount Zion.—Compare Heb 12:22; Re 14:1.