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The Second Servant Song Isaiah 49:1-8
 

“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 (To read this entire Servant Song see Addendum A).  

The Second Servant Song begins with the Prophet Isaiah declaring that this message is for the entire world.  The Second Song is not limited to just Israel , but the “isles” are to listen.  The isles means the nations far away from Israel .  Once again, the connection is established between God’s Servant and the Gentiles (Isaiah 11:10 and 42:1):  

Isaiah 49:1 “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”  

The prophet then describes some characteristics of the Servant.  God calls Him from the womb.  The words He speaks are special as His mouth is like a sharp sword.  This is because everything He speaks is anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2,4).  God has honed and perfected Him to perform His ministry.  He is as an arrow hidden in God’s quiver ready for use:

 

Isaiah 49:2 “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;”  

It is easy to understand why this Servant’s mouth will be as a sharp sword.  Isaiah already established that when the Branch speaks, it is with great power because God’s Spirit rests upon Him.  When the Righteous Servant speaks, it is with God’s wisdom, understanding, counsel and knowledge.  He speaks in the fear of the Lord.

The powerful words of this Servant’s have a great effect on people.  Because of the power of God’s Spirit, His mouth will be as a sharp sword.  This is exactly the way the Lord Jesus spoke:  

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.”  

The Second Servant Song contains powerful Scriptures to strengthen this link between Isaiah 11 and the Servant Songs.  Now, for the third time, the Servant was identified as a covenant for the people.  He also unites scattered Israel .  His ministry reaches the Gentiles.  This is the exact language of the First Servant Song, and the Branch of Isaiah 11.

This Song reveals that the Servant’s ministry is not limited to Israel but is worldwide, as He inherits the far reaches of the world.  As in the First Song, this one also reveals that God makes His Servant a covenant of the people.  God is using just one person as a covenant, and that is King Messiah, the Branch of David.  This Song, just as the First, does not illustrate what are the characteristics of the covenant.  It simply states God’s Righteous Servant is the covenant.

The same terminology is found in both Isaiah 11 and the First Servant Song in connection with God’s Servant.  A synchronizing of these three sections of Scriptures reveals that God’s Righteous Servant is also the subject of the Second Servant Song.  These three sections of the Bible are all about the same person.

Let us look at these verses about the Servant being a covenant of the people:

 

Isaiah 49:8 “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages”

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.”

 

Now in verse six, the prophet reveals that this Servant is God’s salvation to the ends of the earth.  He does not bring salvation: He is God’s salvation.  Although this Song does not reveal the principles of the covenant, it does state that the covenant brings salvation to both the Jews and Gentiles.  Through the Righteous Servant being made a covenant, God’s salvation reaches all the way to the very ends of the earth!  

Isaiah 49:6 “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant… I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”  

This Servant is then God’s salvation for all mankind.  Whatever are the principles of this covenant with God’s Righteous Servant, it is extremely powerful as it involves the salvation of all of mankind!

In Isaiah 52:10, just two verses before the Fourth Servant Song, Isaiah reveals additional important information about this Servant and salvation.  The prophet refers to God’s Servant as “his holy arm.”  All nations would see God’s “holy arm” and through the revealing of “his holy arm,” the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God!

Synchronizing the first and second Servant Songs with this verse reveals that God’s Righteous Servant is also “his holy arm.”  The phrase “his holy arm” is a figurative expression for a real person, King Messiah the Branch of David.  Later when examining the Fourth Servant Song it is critical to understand that “His holy arm” is God’s righteous Servant.  Isaiah 52:10 follows:  

“The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”  

As shown in Isaiah 11, one of the key objectives of the Branch is to reunite Israel .  God’s Servant gathers all Jews from a worldwide dispersion and brings them back to Israel .  This is a physical relocation to the land of Israel and is one of the functions of God’s Servant in the Second Song.  The Lord Jesus at His Second Coming will gather all of scattered Israel and return them to the land:  

Isaiah 49:5 “And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel :”

Isaiah 11:12 “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel , and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

Matthew 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

 

Isaiah 49:3 is an interesting verse as God identifies His Servant as Israel .  God is speaking to the Branch of David in the name of Israel , indicating through King Messiah, that God will be glorified:  

“And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Isaiah 49:3.  

The context of this Song shows the nation of Israel cannot be the subject.  King Messiah is the subject.  Just a few verses later, the Servant of verse three is the one who restores Jacob to the LORD.  The one who God formed in the womb to be His Servant is the one who redeems Jacob.  The Servant of verse three has to be a person; otherwise, Israel brings Israel back to God.

This concept carries into verse six.  The Servant of verse three is again referred to as God’s Servant.  The ministry of this Servant is to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the people of Israel .  Once again, the Servant of verse three has to be a person or the tribes of Jacob are raising up the tribes of Jacob.  The context of the Second Servant Song demands that God’s Servant found in verse three is a person and not the nation of Israel .  The verses to show this follow:  

Isaiah 49:5 “And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. (6) And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel  

In verse seven of this Servant Song, Isaiah first reveals the idea that the nation of Israel rejects King Messiah.  Before this revelation, the Bible portrays God’s Righteous Servant as exalted and ruling over Israel and all the nations of the world.  Now for the first time, God’s Servant is portrayed as despised by man and abhorred by the nation.  The context shows this nation is Israel !  He is also described as a servant of rulers.  This verse follows:  

Isaiah 49:7 “Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.”

At first, this appears as a conflict or utter confusion.  How can God’s Righteous Servant be both exalted and despised?  How can He be both abhorred and worshipped?  This apparent paradox is seen within verse seven itself.  The verse starts with God’s Servant abhorred and despised and ends with princes and kings worshipping the LORD because of Him!

Isaiah 42:17-19 disclosed that Israel was God’s blinded servant.  Isaiah 49:7 shows that the nation of Israel , the blinded servant, abhors God’s Righteous Servant.  The apparent discrepancy between the nation of Israel both rejecting and honoring the Branch of David is answered in the Fourth Servant Song.

 

 

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.

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