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The First Servant Song: Isaiah 42:1-7
 

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1 (To read this entire Servant Song see Addendum A).  

When examining Isaiah’s Four Servant Songs, the reader must keep Isaiah 11 in the background.  Since Isaiah 11 provides the foundational Scriptures about King Messiah, the Servant Songs need to be compared with it.  The Servant Songs add so much more understanding to the ministry of King Messiah.

The Four Servant Songs are powerful tools to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s Righteous Servant.  In addition, the Servant Songs establish the New Covenant.  The first mention in the Old Testament about a New Covenant is found in the Servant Songs. The Fourth Song also gives details of the covenant along with how God establishes it.  Also, these sections of the Bible firmly establish that God’s Righteous Servant is not limited to Israel , but His ministry includes the Gentiles.

Let us examine the First Servant Song, found in Isaiah 42:1-10, verse by verse and harmonize it with Isaiah 11 to show that Isaiah 11 and 42 are speaking about the same person.  This comparison shows that the First Servant Song perfectly aligns with God’s Righteous Servant, King Messiah.  After establishing this harmonization, I will also show in the New Testament, how Jesus of Nazareth fulfills God’s Righteous Servant as outlined in the Servant Songs.

An examination of Isaiah 42 immediately reveals the correlation with chapter 11.  In both sections of the Bible, Isaiah focuses on the Spirit of God empowering God’s Righteous Servant.  In Isaiah 42, God puts His Spirit upon His Servant, while in Isaiah 11, the Spirit rests upon the Branch of David.  This Servant of God operates in the power of the Holy Spirit to perform His ministry.  The New Testament claims that Jesus Nazareth also operated in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the study of the Four Servant Songs that follows, the first verse is from the Servant Song, the second is from Isaiah 11 while the third is from the New Testament:  

Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him…”

Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

John 3:34 “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”  

This Servant also reaches the Gentiles.  In the very first verse God makes this connection.  There is a direct connection between the Branch of David and the Gentiles.  The Bible is very plain that King Messiah is not exclusively for Israel , but He is also for the Gentiles.  Let us look at these concepts about the Branch reaching the Gentiles:  

Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant… he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judaea, and in Samaria , and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  

Isaiah 42:2,3 shows the tenderness of God’s Righteous Servant.  King Messiah’s ministry is not to destroy people but to restore and heal them.  He uses the attributes listed in Isaiah 11 to minister to the very spiritual heart of people.  This also was the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth .  He came to heal the brokenhearted.

The New Testament even links the healing of the brokenhearted by the Lord Jesus to the Holy Spirit’s presence resting on Him.  What a beautiful tie this is to Isaiah 11:2 and 42:1.  The Scriptures showing the healing ministry of the Branch follow:  

Isaiah 42:2, 3 “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”

Isaiah 11:2, 3 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (3) And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:”

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”  

In Isaiah 42:4, the prophet once again focuses on the Gentiles.  He writes about God’s Righteous Servant not being discouraged and about His message reaching the entire earth.  The isles wait for King Messiah’s law.  The isles mean the ends of the earth or the nations far away from Israel .  In Isaiah 11, the prophet mentions the Gentiles only once; however, in the First Servant Song the King Messiah’s ministry to Gentiles is mentioned three times.

The New Testament is very strong in revealing the ministry of the Messiah is also for the Gentiles.  The Scriptures linking God’s Righteous Servant to the Gentiles follow:  

Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant … he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

Isaiah 42:4 “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”

Isaiah 42:6 “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness … for a light of the Gentiles”

Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek…”

Luke 2:32 “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel .”  

Isaiah 42:6 is another strong link to the Branch of David.  Once again, in this verse, God focuses on the righteousness of this Servant.  God called or authorized His Servant’s ministry in righteousness.

A comparison of Isaiah and Jeremiah develops the full picture of how righteous the Branch-Servant is.  This Servant is girded in righteousness.  He judges in righteousness. He is the righteous Branch.  He is God’s righteousness to the point that this Servant is called the Lord our Righteousness.  Now, He is called of God in righteousness.  Everything about the Branch of David is righteous.

The New Testament states everything about the Lord Jesus is righteous.  He is referred to as Jesus Christ the righteous.  Because the Lord Jesus is righteous, He fits perfectly this requirement of being God’s Servant.  The verses to show this follow:  

Isaiah 42:6 “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness…”

1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  

In chapter 11, the Branch is called an ensign, or banner, of the people and the Gentiles shall seek this ensign.  In Isaiah 42:6, the Righteous Servant is called a covenant of the people for a light to the Gentiles.  The ensign of Isaiah 11:10 is revealed as a covenant in Isaiah 42:6.  This is the first time in the Old Testament the Bible mentions that God is going to establish a new covenant with Israel .  The details of this covenant are revealed in the Fourth Song.

The astonishing revelation in Chapter 42 is that God’s Servant is going to be a covenant to the people!  The Bible does not say God’s Righteous Servant is going to create a covenant, but that He is given as a covenant.  Israel already had a covenant with God, so why the need for a second?  The nature of this New Covenant is not revealed.  In both Isaiah 11:10 and 42:6, the Bible makes a direct connection between this covenant and the Gentiles.  This New Covenant was not limited to the people of Israel , but it was to include all the peoples of the world.

The New Covenant established by Jesus Christ is in perfect agreement with this Servant Song.  The New Testament shows the covenant was based upon the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  He is the New Covenant first mentioned by Isaiah.  His shed blood was the basis for this covenant.  The Scriptures to show this follow:  

Isaiah 42:6 “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles”

Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  

In the First Servant Song, God’s Righteous Servant is revealed as a light to the Gentiles.  Later, in Isaiah 42, the prophet writes about a different servant, the nation of Israel .  This servant is in rebellion against God.  Because of rebellion against God’s law and the love of sin, Israel had become both spiritually blind and deaf.  Israel is now identified by Isaiah as, unfortunately, a blinded servant:  

Isaiah 42:18-20 “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. (19) Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? (20) Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.”  

The result of Israel ’s spiritual blindness has led the people into a type of prison with no way out.  Spiritually they are robbed and spoiled (plundered), and snared in traps.  All of this resulted in a blinding of their understanding of God’s word and affected their relationship with the holy God of Israel.  Because of rebellion against God , Israel became as spiritually blinded as the Gentiles.  Israel and the Gentiles were dead in sin and rebellion and needed a way out:  

Isaiah 42:22 “But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.”  

Isaiah in 42:7 shows that God’s Righteous Servant will not only open the eyes of spiritually blinded Israel but also those of the Gentiles.  God’s remedy for this situation is for the Righteous Servant to open the eyes of both the blinded servant and the Gentiles.  God will use the attributes of His Righteous Servant as listed in Isaiah 11 to open their blinded eyes.

Under the power of the Holy Spirit, King Messiah opens the blinded eyes.  Such was the ministry of the Lord Jesus: to open the eyes of the spiritually blinded to the God of Israel:

 

Isaiah 42:7 “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”

Acts 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”  

The Branch of David is the light of the world that Isaiah wrote about.  He is the light to both the Jew and the Gentile.  The New Testament reveals that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s light to the blind.  He is the one the God of Israel sent to open the eyes of both His blinded servant and the Gentiles.  The New Testament is in perfect agreement with this First Servant Song that God’s Righteous Servant will open the eyes of blinded Israel :

 

Luke 2:32. “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel .”

John 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shineth in darkness … (9) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”  

God instructs the people who His Servant set free from blindness to sing a new song!  Not only is Israel told to sing a new song, but also all the earth is instructed to sing this new song.  Those that were blind, deaf, trapped, snared, and taken as a spoil are now to sing this song.  Isaiah does not tell what the lyrics of this song are; just that the people are to sing it:

 

Isaiah 42:10 “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.”  

In the New Testament, we find the new song.  It is praise to God’s Righteous Servant!  All of redeemed mankind is praising Him for the New Covenant He made in His blood.  They are forgiven of all their sin and now can stand in righteousness before the holy God of Israel.  They are all under the New Covenant that the Lord Jesus made with His shed blood for sin.  The new song than can be viewed as the people’s Servant Song!

 

Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”  

Thus, the First Servant Song is an extremely important link to God’s Righteous Servant.  This Song reinforces that the Gentiles will seek the Branch of David.  He uses the gift of knowledge, wisdom, etc, to open the blinded eyes of both the Jews and Gentiles.  Israel is God’s blinded servant.

 

 

 

By John McTernan: Defend and Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernan's Insights at www.johnmcternan.name

Meet author John McTernan
During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.
He is author of the acclaimed book God's Final Warning to America, and co-author of the bestseller Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. From his experience debating, John wrote the Only Jesus of Nazareth series. This series includes: Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Sit on the Throne of David and Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Be Israel's King Messiah. Additionally, he has written several tracts, including Muhammad or Jesus: The Prophet Like Unto Moses, and The Koran vs the Bible.

As America Has Done to Israel

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