The prophet Isaiah’s chapter forty-one shows us that God has called His people, Israel, His servants. –
But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from the chief men thereof, and said to you, “You are My servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away”(Isaiah 41:8,9).
We coordinate these verses with Deuteronomy 14:2. –
You are a holy people unto the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all nations that are upon the earth.
God told them that He chose them not because they were the greatest people on earth, but because they were the least or fewest. –
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: (Deuteronomy 7:7).
The status of being chosen by God was bestowed upon the Hebrew race because this small remnant of people referred to as “The sons of Adam,” (Deuteronomy 32:8), also recognized that there is only one God. All the other ancient nations diverted from monotheism to polytheism. Thus God’s people were chosen and exalted because they recognized that there is only one God who breathed the breath of life into man, and faith in this God was retained from Eden to Abraham and his offspring, Jacob, who became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The laws and ordinances that God gave to His people were all designed to separate and distinguish them from the pagan and sometimes horrific practices of the nations around them. These distinctions permeated every aspect of their lives from the foods they ate to how they were to treat others, even the strangers, or aliens in their midst.
It is through this special lineage that a Messiah was promised to arise, and that Deliverer was ordained to bring redemption for the entire world, not just for the Hebrews. The messiah was promised to be a light to the Gentiles who would come to Him and rest, delivered from their polytheism (Isaiah 11:10,42:1,6,49:6,63:16).). This individual, this Messiah is also called God’s servant. –
Behold My servant, whom I uphold; My elect, in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:1).
The Hebrew scholars have universally recognized that this verse, and many others is messianic and identifies one individual who is to be the redeemer of Israel.
The book of Job which is thought to be the oldest book in the Bible, contains this reference to an individual who would visit the earth. –
For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25).
Job recognized a pre-existent savior, “I know He lives,” who would eventually be manifested at some point in the future. The Gentile prophet Balaam also recognized this fact, -
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. And shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth (Sheth-a lineage within the Moabites, Numbers 24:17).
The concept of one individual redeemer is consistent within the writings of the ancient rabbinical sages, who also recognized the preexistence and divine nature of this One that Isaiah has shown us to be unified with God through God’s Holy Spirit.
The Messiah arrives in the wake of God’s promises to do new things, Isaiah 42:9, and give His people a new song Isaiah 42:10. He would be a leader like David, a priestly king like Melchisedec, (Psalm 110:4) who would instigate a new everlasting covenant through which God says that He would acknowledge them as His people (Jeremiah 31:31-33,32:40, Ezekiel 16:62).
This poses a question. God’s people already had a covenant with God to be His people that He established through Abraham. Why would they require a new one?
In chapter thirty-nine of Isaiah’s prophecy, he informs King Hezekiah that in the future his nation would be conquered by Babylon. –
Behold, the days come, that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD (Isaiah 39:6).
This prophecy was fulfilled with stunning accuracy. Jerusalem and Solomon’s grand temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and the Jews endured seventy years of captivity. This captivity was the direct result of their willful disobedience to God’s word and their acceptance of pagan practices that God has forbidden.
For years God sent His prophets to warn them and bring them to repentance. The very first chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy contains this description of God’s chosen “servants”. –
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corruptors: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward (Isaiah 1:4).
Their glowing status of being God’s servant was removed, for one can only be classified as a servant if one is actually serving and faithful.
We are shown that this disobedience that led to their captivity also annulled their previous covenants thus requiring the instigation of a new one that once again would enable God to refer to them as “His people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
It is important to understand that in order to comprehend scripture properly, verses always must be studied within their context. For example, one cannot isolate scriptures showing that Israel is God’s obedient servant without also considering the historical context, placement of the verse with coordinating time frames and other related content. In other words, we cannot take a verse out of context, build a doctrine around it, claim it as true as some do, without taking into consideration the other influencing factors previously mentioned.
After Isaiah’s prophetic warning to Hezekiah, the prophet’s record jumps to a portrait of encouragement in chapter forty. In this chapter the prophet records Israel’s restoration through a Persian king who is called by name one hundred and fifty years before King Cyrus issued the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. This restoration was accurately fulfilled. Israel was allowed to return to their homeland, and the city and temple were rebuilt.
While the prophet Daniel was still in Babylon, he was also shown that the temple and city would be restored and it would be at that time the Messiah would arrive and be killed before the second temple would be destroyed again. –
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined (Daniel 9:25,26).
It was the expectation of the prophets that the Messiah would come to the second temple. Malachi’s prophecy states that “the Lord whom you seek will come to His temple suddenly (Malachi 3:1), who is The Desire of the Nations (Haggai 2:7), and who would be rejected and ultimately die for the sins of Isaiah’s people (Isaiah 53:8). This faithful servant of God would also live again to see His seed (Isaiah 53:10) the offspring of His faith that would serve Him. This is the servant who would “deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
As many were astonished at you: His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men: (Isaiah 52:13,14). Thus the brutality the Servant faced before His death is aptly described, therefore His blood would “sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:15).
The similitude of Moses sprinkling blood over God’s words and the people (Exodus 24:8) is the foreshadow of Messiah’s sacrifice was fulfilled in that wisp of time between the restoration of the second temple and its destruction in 70AD. There is no other benevolent Messiah appearing anywhere in scripture up to God’s judgment in Daniel 12.
The promises to Israel that are contained in the prophecies that relate to her restored status as God’s servant are contingent upon their obedience to allow themselves to be “sprinkled” and redeemed by the blood of the Messiah who was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and whose soul was made an offering for our sins.
There is only one messiah who fulfilled these prophecies before the destruction of the second temple and that is the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus who ushered in the New Everlasting Covenant that restores believing Israel once again to the status of being God’s people. These ones willingly join hands with their Gentile brothers and sisters, who have also come to the brightness of the Messiah’s rising upon their lives.
The perfect warless world Isaiah describes (Isaiah 11:6-9) can only arrive when Israel endures a second captivity and the Messiah returns the second time to rescue her as described by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 14).
Until then, the word of God circles the earth, calling those who can hear to join themselves to the God of Israel trough faith in the One True Servant of God described through Isaiah’s pen, the Messiah Jesus.
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
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