Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Messiah's sufferings as revealed to Isaiah.
[Message] Returning tonight to Isaiah chapter 42 which is the first of the great Suffering Servant of Jehovah psalms which Isaiah the prophet has written. And the subject for tonight is, “The Servant of Jehovah, Covenant of the People and Light of the Gentiles” and I think that our energetic deacon has gone to turn down the mic. a little bit and I’ll try not to do anything more than just talk easily until we see some change manifest. But let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 42 and we’re going to look at the entire chapter but centre most of our attention on the first few verses which give in a special way the ministry of the Suffering Servant of Jehovah. And I have a feeling that that’s a little better now, so let me read the first seven verses of chapter 42 of Isaiah,
“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. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 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; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Let’s stop there and I want to say just a few words by way of introduction before we look at some of these verses that we have just read. Not a few Gentiles have a bit of difficulty with our Lord’s words which he spoke when he was here in the earth, “Salvation is of the Jews.” That statement that the Lord made is made in the context of his time with the Samaritan woman described for us in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John. The idea of salvation having its source in the Jews is a idea that is despised by many people and rejected by them. In fact even many professing believing Christians will admit in moments when they are franker that they have difficulty with the idea that salvation is of the Jews. “How odd of God to choose the Jews,” William M. Ewer wrote many years ago, “And the curved nose of the Jew thrust between their eyes in the pure light of God has proved a great offense to many Gentiles.” And of course, it has, I think, proved an offense to many professing Christians. I find it difficult to believe that there are believing Christians who can actually feel that way. Perhaps there are some. I think I know some people that are believers, their profession seems genuine to me but when the subject of the Jews comes up, they express an animosity to them that is very thinly veiled. And one gains the impression that they really feel that this matter of salvation being of the Jews and specially related to them, is offensive to them.
Now the Scriptures I think are very plain. If we remember that our Lord himself was a Jew, then we can never really feel offense toward the origination of salvation from the Jews. Because in the final analysis, he is the Jew, he is the head of the covenant; he is the one from whom the salvation of Gentiles comes. And he and the remnant in Israel are identified with the church of Jesus Christ in a very special way even in the present day. For Paul in Romans chapter 11 tells us there is at the present time a remnant according to the election of grace. The context makes very plain he’s speaking about ethnic Jews in that particular passage. So salvation is of the Jews and if we have difficulty with it, we should peruse the Scriptures a little more closely and ask the Lord to take it from us.
Israel was not chosen it may help to remember, because of her merit. They were chosen by love and for a distinct purpose. And the distinct purpose was that they might serve the Lord God and through the service of the Lord God the blessing of God go to others beside themselves. In the preceding chapter for example, Isaiah the prophet has written, “But thou Israel art my servant, Jacob who I have chosen the seed of Abraham my friend.” So one can see from that text that the basis of the origination of salvation with Israel goes all the way back to Abraham, it comes down through Jacob. Now that’s why Israel is called Israel because Jacob was the head of Israel, he was given the name Israel remember.
Then we read also in verse 10 and verse 15, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” And then in verse 15, “Behold I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth thou shall thresh the mountains and beat them small and shalt make the hills as chaff.” One can see from reading these verses that Israel has been chosen for a distinct purpose.
If you’ll turn over to chapter 43, it becomes even plainer. And here in chapter 43 verse 10 of the Prophet Isaiah we read, and Isaiah is speaking to the nation, “Ye are my witnesses saith the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen that ye may know and believe me and understand that I am he before me there was no God formed neither shall there be after me.” So notice, “Ye are my witnesses.” Israel was to be a missionary nation. Notice verse 12, “I have declared and I have saved and I have showed when there was no strange god among you, therefore ye are my witnesses saith the Lord that I am God.” And in the second of the songs of the servant of Jehovah, one that we will look at, the Lord willing, next Tuesday night Isaiah chapter 49, we read in verse 6, and the prophet writes, “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.” So Israel is designed by God to be a missionary nation and to Israel was it given the revelation of God. That’s why the Bible was written largely by Jews. There are some passages perhaps that were not written by them. So far as we know, Luke was not a Jew, Job we’re not absolutely certain of just what his ethnic origin was, but the Bible is largely written by the Jews. God has given his revelation to them and they are to be a missionary nation of the salvation of God.
They were also equipped by certain fundamental experiences to be what they have become, a missionary nation. In order for anyone to be a witness, he must have certain, not only certain knowledge, but he must have certain spiritual experience, and Israel had certain spiritual experiences that equipped them to be what God wanted them to do, his witnesses. And the experience of redemption was the first of the great experiences of the nation. They had the magnificent experience of redemption from Egypt which was designed to pass them through an experience that would enable them to understand their God that much better. In chapter 51 in verse 9 and 10, the prophet makes reference to this, he says,
“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, (that’s a symbolic name for Egypt) and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?”
So you see, they knew the experience of redemption from the bondage of Egypt. And knowing that experience of redemption from bondage and incidentally, through blood on the doorpost, they were equipped to preach and teach the redemption of the Lord God through the servant called also Israel who would come. And of course they had the experience of the divine revelation. In chapter 42 verse 19 and verse 20 we read,
“Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is the confident of God (By the way, the Authorized Version renders that I think wrongly, who is blind as he that is perfect, it’s really something like the NIV renders it as one committed to God) and blind as Israel’s servant? (So he’s talking there about the fact that well I guess I should read verse 20,) Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.”
In other words God gave them great opportunities to be witnesses but they failed as a nation. So they had the experience of divine revelation.
Now it’s good for us to remember that Israel even today has an advantage. Remember when the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 2 as he’s describing the fact that the Gentiles are sinners and also the Nation Israel, he let’s them know that they are not in right relationship to the Lord God simply because they are national Israel, ethnic Israel. For he says in Romans ,
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise (or whose Judaism for the word Jew comes from the verb that means to throw or cast from which Jude comes.) Whose Judaism is not of men, but of God.”
And he’s saying what he says later on that not all who are of Israel are Israel, the true Jew is the believing Jew. Others are Jews; John calls the unbelievers in his gospel the Jews. But the true Jew is the one who is an ethnic Israelite and a believer, just like the apostles for example, or those disciples that responded to our Lord in his first ministry. Well someone might ask the question at this point, “If the Jew is the one who is the inward Jew, then there’s no advantage in being a Jew, now is there?” That’s a natural question that people might ask. Paul had been asked that a number of times. No doubt some Gentiles who had a little antipathy, said, “Ah that means we and the Jews are absolutely alike.” Well Paul later on will say our blessings are the same but listen to chapter 3 and verse 1 of Romans, “What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way.” Now mind you, Paul is writing this during the Church age, “Much every way.”
And if one wants to know specifically the way in which they have an advantage, it lies in the fact that the promises are given preeminently to them. Listen to what he says, “Chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Now that expression, “the oracles of God” is not a reference simply to the Bible, it’s a reference to the promises spoken by God. That’s why in Romans chapter 11 a chapter we’ll refer to in a moment, is a chapter in which the Apostle Paul describes Israel’s relationship and the Gentile’s relationship to them under the figure of the olive tree, I’ve referred to it several times recently, so it should be familiar to you. But when Paul finishes his little illustration, he says that olive tree is their own olive tree and then quickly speaks about how and so Israel as a whole shall be saved. He looks forward to the fulfillment of these oracles of God that he refers to here. So to sum up what I’m saying is Israel was given by God through her election and through her experiences of redemption the ministry of the servant of God. And the service of God that they rendered was the service of making him known. And they were to be missionaries of the knowledge of God in the Old Testament days.
Now when the Lord Jesus said then salvation is of the Jews, that’s what he’s referring to. He is saying it began with them and the blessing of Gentiles comes through the Jew, always through the Jew, for they have the covenants. The covenants are made with Israel and with Judah. Abraham in the New Covenant, there’s the Davidic Covenant and then finally the New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It’s their olive tree.
Now I hope we remember as we think about these prophecies and as we think about our relationship to the Jewish people, that there should not be in the heart of a Christian the kind of anti-Semitism that exists so often in the world. That doesn’t mean we have to say that everything that the Israelites do today, the Jewish people is right, as a matter of fact, a great deal of it is wrong. But as people, they do have the oracles of God and they have a glorious future. And we should remember to treat them as the Scriptures teach and teach concerning them.
Now we’re coming to chapter 42 and we have a magnificent promise here and prophecy of the servant of Jehovah. Chapter 40 and chapter 41 have declared to the nation and to the nations that Jehovah is the one sovereign God. Is that difficult for you to understand? That God is the sovereign God. Isn’t it strange that people have difficulty with that? Let me tell you a little, just a little incident that happened. Last week I was in Chicago, the president of the Seminary said to me, “Saw one of your friends recently, he said that you were the one,” he’s not a regular attender of the Chapel, well he comes quite often, but he’s not an every Sunday attender of the Chapel, said that he “owes to you the fact that he believes in the sovereignty of God.” I was encouraged you know that kind of warmed my heart. I thought, “Another true blue disciple who’s come to understand the sovereignty of God.”
Well I saw him tonight, he said, “By the way, I talked to your president, and I told him that you’d almost convinced me of the sovereignty of God.” [Laughter] Can you imagine how someone could have difficulty with the sovereignty of God? Imagine, believing in God and having difficulty over the sovereignty of God. Well he said, “Of course you’ve almost convinced me of the sovereignty of God but that limited atonement, no.” And so I said, “Well, you have to have some room for improvement when you get to heaven.” [Laughter] And then he said, “Ah that will take an eternity.” Well if you have difficulty now with the sovereignty of God, he’s almost persuaded me about that eternity.
I don’t see how it’s possible for a person not to believe in the sovereignty of God. You may have different views about the atonement. I can understand how some are not as clear as others are in that doctrine, but to not believe in the sovereignty of God it’s so difficult for me to understand that. In chapter 40, the prophet has given us this magnificent picture of the sovereign God and he relates particularly to the Nation Israel, and then in chapter 41 he’s gone over the same ground again, but this time he’s related it particularly to the nations, the Gentiles. He’s the one sovereign God. Notice for example, chapter 40 and verse 12 through verse 15 again,
“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge and shewed to him the way of understanding?”
And in chapter 41 verse 1, “Keep silence before me, O islands; (He’s talking about the Gentiles now) and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together in judgment.” And then in verse 21 through verse 23,
“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.”
So he talks about the idols of the Gentiles and asks them to prophesy the future if they can. Of course he’s able to do that. So he has declared himself to be the sovereign God.
Well now he is going to define his mission to Israel and he sets forth the truth that is to be learned by others. Apologetics is followed by missions. And in this case, we’ve had some apologetics for the sovereignty of God, now we’re going to talk about missions and the servant of the Lord. Did you notice the way chapter 41 ended, “Behold (the idols) they’re all vanity, their works are nothing their molten images are wind and confusion.” That’s one behold, but now another behold, “Behold, my servant whom I uphold.” So take a good look at the idols, they’re nothing, but here is a behold that introduces one who is the mediator and the servant of Jehovah who shall accomplish his will perfectly.
This is the first of the series of servant passages, 42, 49, chapter 50 and then 52:13 through 53:12, the greatest chapter possibly in the whole of the Old Testament, surely the greatest in the Prophecy of Isaiah. These are the Suffering Servant of Jehovah songs, probably the highpoint of the revelation of the Old Testament Scriptures of the coming Redeemer. Questions that people might ask as they read through these chapters are these, is the Suffering Servant of Jehovah a person or do we have a personification? And if a personification is he a personification of all Israel, of the ideal Israel, part of Israel? Does he the servant of Jehovah represent the order of the prophets or does he represent one prophet, perhaps the Prophet Isaiah? Is he an unknown martyr? Is he the Messiah? All of these are questions that students of this part of Isaiah have asked. And it’s not uncommon for people to continue to discuss them. Remember the Ethiopian Eunuch? What passage was he reading when Philip came up alongside his chariot? Well he was reading Isaiah chapter 53 remember? And he said, “Of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself or of some other person?”
It’s very striking today in a Jewish theological seminary you will hear some Jewish professors of Old Testament in Jewish theological seminaries affirm the servant of Jehovah is the Prophet Isaiah. That’s a very popular view. One of the outstanding Jewish interpreters of the present day in a man by the name of Harry Olinsky and Olinsky, I’ve forgotten whether he’s just died or not, but he’s been a very respected interpreter and it’s his opinion, he’s written a rather lengthy treatise on Isaiah chapter 52 and 3 that this is a reference to the Prophet Isaiah.
Now when one reads Isaiah chapter 53 of course we will discover that he becomes the sacrifice for the people and the sacrifice by which the people are redeemed. And surely that could never refer to the Prophet Isaiah. But we’ll talk about that later on. One thing that will help you understand the Suffering Servant songs is this, and perhaps I could present it in this way. If you can think of a pyramid, this will help. And let’s divide this pyramid into three parts. We’ll draw a pyramid in the form of a triangle and we’ll divide it into three parts, two lines across the triangle. On the bottom part we will put, “The whole nation of Israel.” That is the bottom part, resting on the bottom line of the triangle, the whole nation of Israel, believers and unbelievers. In other words, Israel as a nation. And then above that in the second section, between the first line is the bottom line, then a line, then another line, we’ll put the true Israel, believing Israel, the remnant of Israel. In other words that part of Israel in all times that are true believers. What Paul refers to when he says, “Not all who are of Israel are Israel.” Not all who are of Israel, the bottom section are Israel, the section just above them. And now, let’s put in the top, the Messiah, the servant of Jehovah, he is the Israel, the covenantal head, the Israel. Now he can be called Israel, the remnant or believers can be called Israel, and the total body of the nation, ethnic Israel can be called Israel.
Now it’ll help for us to remember that when we read these things. Now if you like to draw figures, you can do that in the form of two concentric circles. Put a quarter down on the page, draw a circle, then put a dime down, draw another circle within the larger circle, just like we did with John chapter 17, and then just put a point in the middle of the smallest circle, right in the middle of the two circles. And put the nation as a whole that is all of Israel in the large circle. And then in the smaller circle, the remnant of Israel, the true believers. And then the point is the Messiah. He’s the one responsible of course for the believers and he’s ultimately the servant.
Now remember the situation, Isaiah is writing about the future, he knows by prophetic inspiration that Israel is going to go into the Babylonian captivity. So the situation is that when we come to the 40 through the 66 chapter. He’s a prophet, remember we said in our last study and he looks forward to days in which he does not live. So he’s thinking about the captivity in Babylon and the words that he writes are of universal scope and hope. Yet they are addressed in a minority dialect because after all in his day there were very few people that spoke Hebrew. Think of it. Aramaic was widely spoken, other languages were widely spoken. But here is God centering attention on a small group of people who speak a special little Semitic dialect. And as a matter of fact, in the days of the prophet, they are like a helpless little tribe of captives because they’re bound up and being hemmed in by the great Assyrian Empire. And the whole world is sunk in ruin about them, but God is speaking to the nation and to the world through one prophet and there were several other prophets, but through the prophets let’s say, to this small helpless people.
Now he writes, the prophet does at the instigation of the Holy Spirit, “Behold my servant.” And he’s going to tell us what is the program of this servant. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” Now at this point, we might not know which one of these Israels is being referred to here. You might think at first, he’s talking about the nation as a whole, encompassing believers and unbelievers, everybody that was a descendent of Abraham through Jacob. Or you might think he was talking about the believing element. But he’s given us an identifying phrase or clause here that let’s us know he’s talking about that special Israelite, the Messiah. He says, “I have put my spirit upon him and he shall bring forth justice to the Gentiles. And then in a moment he will say, “I give thee for a covenant of the peoples and for a light to the Gentiles to open blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” And that is something that can only apply to the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, a Messianic King, one we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. So before he serves men, he must serve God, he is called, “My servant.” Now notice, he is loved, “In whom my soul has delight.” He is chosen, “He is mine elect.” The Lord Jesus is the chosen servant of Jehovah, he is the loved servant of Jehovah, he is sustained and equipped by God, “For I have put my Spirit upon him.” That’s the sign of his Messianic ministry. Incidentally, if he needed the Spirit of God for the accomplishment of his ministry, how much more do we need the Spirit for any kind of ministry that we are expected to do? Now you can see that this passage is a reference to the Messianic servant of Jehovah in his human ministry as Messiah, servant of God and King to the nation and to the peoples of the earth.
Now he says in verse one, “he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” In other words the ministry of this Suffering Servant, for later on in chapter 52 and 53, he will be shown to be a suffering servant. This servant is going to bring forth justice to the Gentiles, so he is going to have a world wide ministry. What we could say is truth applied to civil life. Truth is going to be a national virtue, judgment to the nations. One could not help but see in this the fact that all human schemes for a utopia upon the earth are destined to fail. These schemes are all bound up in man, and consequently, they shall fail.
This really is one of the great reasons for the failure of our country today. With every generation that comes on the American scene, we have now more distance from the times when many of the people of our country had a firsthand relationship with the God of the Bible. It’s very much like an old perfume bottle. An old perfume bottle after you’ve finished with the perfume you can put it on your shelf. I don’t use perfume, I just wander around, and when I see an empty bottle, I take it up and smell it. Sometimes you will find a perfume bottle will be on the shelf for years and you open it, still smells like perfume. That’s a vivid picture of a nation that departs from the Lord God. We are living on the perfumes in this country, the reality is largely gone. And because we’re living on the perfumes we’re going to suffer the consequences. Instead of the Lord God being the head of life in this country, what has come to be the head is man. And you can be absolutely sure when man becomes the head of things then everything is turned round and instead of the tender mercies of our God we are subject to and dependent upon the tender mercies of our politicians and others who desire ultimately to please themselves. So consequently, you can expect to suffer. And that is what we are doing these days.
Now with reference to this servant, we read, “He shall not cry, or lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” In other words, the power and the spell of the human voice is what we normally hear, somebody crying and shouting. Oh how people like to have people cry and shout and shriek and we say “Ah he’s a charismatic figure.” Now you can do that if you want to. But listen to the description of the servant, “He shall not cry, or lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” Characteristic of the ministry of the servant is the gentle tone, the gentle tone, quiet, gentle. He shall not scream, these Hebrew verbs are very interesting. He shall not scream like these preachers and some of these politicians too, they like to scream. Not just the blacks either, some of the whites also. He shall not scream, and he shall not be loud, and he shall not advertise himself, “Nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” No Madison Avenue kind of approach in the ministry of the Suffering Servant of Jehovah.
People often say to me when I react very negatively to the practices of the professing Christian church today, “Well that’s the way it’s done today.” Well I don’t care whether it’s done that way today or not, it doesn’t seem to me to be the right way to do it. Because when the thing is done, what do we do? Well we praise the individuals who’ve accomplished it, and we name buildings after them, and we set up trusts in their name, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and the Lord God’s glory is taken by men. And this God says in this very book, “No one’s going to take my glory from me.” I’d much rather see a kind of circumstance in which people say, “That’s bound to be the Lord, that couldn’t be” and then the individuals, put their name in. Put my name in with the rest of them. So he shall not cry.
Furthermore in verse 3 it says, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.” In other words, when individuals are bruised and broken, he will minister them in the tenderness of the divine revelation in the forgiveness of sins. And when there is a little bit of light, the smoking flax, he’ll not quench it. “He shall bring forth judgment unto truth,” again, reference to the fact that the justice shall be justice in accordance with the truth of God.
Now one might have the question, “How’s he going to do all of this?” What’s the power that lies behind the servant of Jehovah? Well in the 5th verse now, the Lord God speaks to the servant, himself. This is the Father speaking to the Son. Now listen, can you not imagine how exciting it must have been to our Lord himself, later on in the 50th chapter there’ll be a statement that seems to indicate that the Son of God awakened early in the morning and stood at the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit taught him the things that he came to know about the Scriptures. From the standpoint of the divine personality, he knew the end from the beginning, and he knows the Scriptures perfectly as well as the Spirit who wrote them. But from the standpoint of his human nature, he “grew in wisdom and knowledge and in favor before God and men.” From the standpoint of his human nature, he stood at the Scriptures, pondered them reflected upon them, and furthermore, God gave him his directions daily and even withheld some information from him. Because remember, he said, the hour of the Second Advent the angels don’t know, men don’t know, the Son of Man does not know, only the Father knows. And so he had to study.
And it must have been an exciting experience in his human nature, because he had to pass through maturity, on to maturity. He learned obedience through the things that he suffered. He did not learn to obey, he always obeyed. Our problem is once we know what God wants us to do, our problem is obeying. The only problem our Lord had was waiting upon the Lord God to have the will of God revealed to him. When it was revealed to him, he perfectly obeyed it. He delighted to do the will of God. But he would be a student of this and he would read this. And as the Holy Spirit brought home to him, you are the servant of Jehovah, and then when he read the 5th verse,
“Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and I will hold thine hand, and I will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
And so as the Lord God speaks to the Lord God, in his incarnate state as the servant of Jehovah, he receives the encouragement from the Father that the Father will not ever forsake him, will hold his hand and will assure him of ultimate success of his ministry because he’s the one who’s created everything. That was an encouragement to our Lord. He talks about his joy in the upper room discourse and how he’s going to give it to others. Now you know we read things like that too. We read the Lord Jesus saying, “All power and authority has been committed unto me and Lo, I am with you always.” Does that give you thrill? Does that mean something to you, “Lo, I am with you always?” That’s what the Father said to the Son, the servant.
Now he says he’s going to give him for a covenant of the peoples. That of course is a reference to the Nation Israel. But he’s also going to be a light of the Gentiles. Now I ask you a question, time is really up. How can the servant of Jehovah be Israel here, when it says the servant is a covenant of Israel, or a covenant of the people? It’s obvious that the term servant here does not refer to the remnant, it doesn’t refer to the nation as a whole, but the term servant refers to the Lord Jesus Christ himself who is the covenant of the people. In other words, they the true believers within Israel shall find their blessing in him who is their covenantal head.
But further, he is to be a light of the Gentiles. So you see, this statement, “A covenant of the peoples,” that cannot be a reference to the nation as a whole with unbelievers. And the servant then cannot be a reference to the remnant, because they cannot be what he says a covenant of the peoples. It must be a reference to the Lord Jesus and his ministry is to stretch out beyond Israel to the Gentiles. Now we are living in the day of course when that is being fulfilled. The ministry to us has come as a result of the ministry of the Lord Jesus who died on the cross. The early church was composed of Israelites remember? And from them, by the presence and through the power of the Holy Spirit the ministry of the word of God of the ancient covenants has gone out to the Gentiles. That is what Isaiah here is writing about. The Messianic King, the servant of Jehovah is to have a ministry to the Nation Israel and on beyond the Nation Israel to the Gentiles.
Well, I’d suggest because our time is up that you sometime read Matthew chapter 26 verse 26 through verse 29 where the covenant’s confirmed and the Romans 11:16 through 24. Well our time is up, we’re going to have to stop, these are just too great passages, I mean too, T double O, too magnificent chapters to expound in forty-five minutes. So, let’s close our class with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we are grateful to Thee for this magnificent unfolding of the ministry of the servant of Jehovah, the true Israel from whom another group of true Israelites develops by the grace and sovereignty of God, and from whom Gentile believers ultimately come for salvation is of the Jews and of the Jew particularly, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord …
[AUDIO ENDS ABRUPTLY]
Website created by Trey Bahm Research and Consulting