8. Isaiah Chapters 40 to 43, The Servant of the Lord


In the book of Isaiah, we see two portraits of the Messiah, one portrait is He is king of the earth, ruling on the throne of King David, as the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6-7).  In Isaiah 11, He strikes the earth with the “Rod of his mouth” and slays the wicked with the breath of his lips (Isaiah 11:4).  The other picture in Isaiah is a suffering servant, who is rejected and killed for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53).  Both pictures can be seen throughout the book of Isaiah; however the picture of King Messiah plays a prominent role in the first 39 chapters.  While the picture of the suffering servant plays a more prominent role in Isaiah 40 to 66.

   Isaiah is a prophetic book which covers the whole span of God’s prophetic plan of redemption, from the fall of Satan (Isaiah 14) to the creation of the new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17).  The powerful revelations and prophesies have made Isaiah a target for Bible critics.  This section of Isaiah, starting in chapters 40 to 55 and Isaiah chapter 56 to 66 is one the main targets.



Three Isaiah


            Critics of Isaiah claim the whole book of Isaiah, was not written by Isaiah, but by two or even three different authors.  They base the claim on their rejection of the prophetic revelation. They deny the ability of Isaiah to foretell events in the future. 

            Isaiah specifically mentions the name of King Cyrus (58-529 B.C.) of Persia and how he would allow the Temple and Jerusalem to be rebuilt (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1). Isaiah lived 150-years before Cyrus; therefore critics of the Bible charge someone else must have written these portions of Isaiah.  Isaiah also mentions the Jewish captivity in Babylon, which takes place after he dies (Isaiah 43:14, 47:1, 48:14).  

            Critics have assigned Isaiah chapters 1 to 39 to the “real” Isaiah, because they say it fits his time period.  They then assign chapters 40 to 66 to Deutero-Isaiah, a second Isaiah.  Some critics feel there was even a third Isaiah a Trito-Isaiah who wrote chapters 56-66.  The underlying basis of their charge is the rejection of super-natural revelation.

            All one has to do is read Isaiah, and see that Isaiah clearly refers to Babylon before chapters 40-66, Isaiah 13 and 14 deal with Babylon.  Isaiah chapter 39, proclaims the coming captivity of Judah into Babylon, how the descendents of Hezekiah would be eunuchs in Babylon.  This was fulfilled with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshag and Abendego (Daniel 1).   Babylon was a powerful kingdom, under Assyrian domination in the days of Isaiah. 

            Furthermore Isaiah goes beyond 150-years of supernatural revelation. Isaiah also foretells the gathering of Israel from the nations, including Ethiopia (Cush) 2700-years in the future.  Isaiah foretells and describes Israel’s rejection and despising the Messiah (Christ) at the first coming.   Critic’s real hope is to undermine the validity of scripture and therefore the whole Bible. They have an atheistic secular worldview, they see the Bible as a mythical and superstitious book, that being the case they attack its foundations under the guise of objectivity.



The Servant of the Lord


            Another aspect of the Isaiah chapters 41 to 53 is known as the “Servant Songs” (Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-6, 50;4-10, and 52:13-53:;12).  In these portions of scripture, Isaiah makes references to the “Servant” of the Lord.  Some apply this to mean strictly the nation of Israel is the subject here. Others say, the servant is the Messiah. 

    Clearly when these verses are read Israel is spoken as the “Servant of the Lord”.  Israel serves in servant capacity to the nations. Through Israel, and its Messiah the nations and world is redeemed from sin.


1 "Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, And Israel whom I have chosen.

2 Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: 'Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  Isaiah 44:1-2


Redemption is not accomplished by Israel, but through Israel.  The Servant must redeem Israel, so Israel is not the redeemer but the subject of redemption.  The tribes of Israel (The Servant of the Lord) need to be redeemed by the “Servant of the Lord”.


5 "And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength),

6 Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.' " Isaiah 49:5-6


The question is of who is the “Servant” if Jacob is the Servant, how is Jacob the Servant bringing back Jacob the Servant.  The answer is there are two servants pictured in these servant passages.  One is clearly Israel, the other is the “Redeemer” the Messiah, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, who is rejected by the nation, he is killed and pays for the sins of the world in the process. 





Isaiah Chapter 40


 This chapter links the First Coming and reveals the concealed nature of the Messiah.  The New Testament quotes from this portion of Isaiah, in reference to Jesus Christ.


1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.' "  Matthew 3:1-3


John the Baptist was proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, because the Lord Himself has arrived in Human form.  This is essentially the same message as Isaiah, that God would manifest Himself in the kingdom of flesh.  Several terms are used to describe the incarnation, He is called “God” (vs. 3), the “Glory of the Lord”(vs. 5), “His arm” (vs.10) and the “Holy One” (vs. 25).

    Isaiah pictures the incarnation of the “Glory of the Lord” (vs. 5), the First Coming, and His rule over the nations at the Second Coming (vs. 10) as the “Arm of the Lord” (Isaiah 53:1).





Isaiah 40

1 "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Says your God.

2 "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord's hand Double for all her sins."

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth;

5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

6 The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?""All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

7 The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."

9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"

10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance?

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has taught Him?

14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?

Highway for our God

The Glory of the Lord

Come with a strong hand

His Arm



Conflict with the nations and idols


15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.

17 All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?

19 The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains.

20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution Chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman To prepare a carved image that will not totter.

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.

24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

25 "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.


The Nations

The Holy One




The Lord Answers Jacob


27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God"?

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,

31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.



Why do you say, O Jacob?



Isaiah Chapter 41


            Through the captivity of Judah at Babylon, the coming conflict of the nations is revealed.  Prophetically Isaiah foretells the deliverance of the captivity by “One from the east” (vs. 2).  King Cyrus of Persia frees the captivity of Babylon (vs.25).  Cyrus also serves as a foreshadowing of the Messiah, because he delivers Israel from its captors, in the same way Messiah, will one day free Israel from the oppression of the nations.
            Isaiah 41 God declares for the world, His unique relationship with Jacob (Israel).  Israel is called the servant of the Lord.  Israel is tool in the hand of God, a “Threshing sledge with sharp teeth” (vs.15), to thresh the mountains (nations).  Through Israel, God will judge the world at the Second Coming, at that time, Israel will find the Messiah.

   The coming salvation of Jacob and their restoration the “Glory of the Lord” who is rejected at His first coming (Isaiah 40:5) is revealed by Isaiah. God assures Jacob of His plans and love, despite their rejection by the world (vs. 10-12).  Who saves Jacob?  None other then the King of Jacob (vs. 21), The Redeemer (vs. 14), the Holy One of Israel (vs.16).


1 "Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, And let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment.

2 "Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, And made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, As driven stubble to his bow?

3 Who pursued them, and passed safely By the way that he had not gone with his feet?

4 Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning?'I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.' "

5 The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came.

Before Me

Am the First...Last



Idol making


6 Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, "Be of good courage!"

7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, Saying, "It is ready for the soldering"; Then he fastened it with pegs, That it might not totter.


The Servant Israel


8 "But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.

9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

11 "Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.

12 You shall seek them and not find them-Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.

13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'

14 "Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you," says the Lord And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

15 "Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff.

16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, And the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the Lord, And glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 "The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water.

19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together,

20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 "Present your case," says the Lord."Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob.

His Arm

My Servant Jacob

Your Redeemer

Holy One of Israel

King of Jacob




King of Jacob Challenge


22 "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come.

23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together.

24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.

25 "I have raised up one from the north, And he shall come; From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; And he shall come against princes as though mortar, As the potter treads clay.

26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, 'He is righteous'? Surely there is no one who shows, Surely there is no one who declares, Surely there is no one who hears your words.

27 The first time I said to Zion, 'Look, there they are!' And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.

28 For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

29 Indeed they are all worthless; Their works are nothing; Their molded images are wind and confusion.

Let them bring forth

Show the things



Isaiah Chapter 42


The servant described here is different then the Jacob the servant.  This servant is the Messiah, at His first coming, who would bring justice to the Gentiles.  The New Testament applies these verses to Jesus;


18 "Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.

19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.

20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory;

21 And in His name Gentiles will trust."  Matthew 12:18-21


When the nation of Israel rejected Jesus at His first coming, the Gospel, the Good News, was made available to the nations.  The word Gentile in Hebrew is ywg Gowy,  meaning nations, this servant will bring forth justice or judgment to the nations.  The Messiah, by dying for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53) became took the judgment due the world, the nations.  The “Light to the Gentiles” (vs.6) is the Gospel, “His Law”, the coastlands are waiting for (vs.5).  He is pictured as the “Covenant” to the people, the blood of Messiah, is the sacrifice for the sins of the world. As a result of this covenant the eyes of the blind are open and prisoners are freed (vs. 7).  This was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross, following His death the Gospel spread to the nations (the coastlands).  However Isaiah, also pictures the Second Coming in this chapter.

            The Lord Coming is described as a “mighty man” who will lay waste to mountains and hills.  The challenge is to those who trust in idols. The challenge is also to Israel’s blindness, they don’t understand the Law or the Covenant given by “My Servant”, “My Elect One”, the Messiah.  This blindness to Gospel is referred to in Isaiah 42:18-24.  Jesus refers to this same blindness calling the leaders fools and blind (Matthew 23:16,17,19).  The blindness results in God’s judgment of His servant Jacob in vs. 25.  God asks and answers the question, what was the cause of Israel being plundered?  “Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord”.



1 "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.

4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law."

5 Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it:

6 "I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,

7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

8 I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.

9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them."

10 Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!

11 Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, The villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, Let them shout from the top of the mountains.

12 Let them give glory to the Lord, And declare His praise in the coastlands.

13 The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.

14 "I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once.

15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills, And dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, And I will dry up the pools.

16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.

17 They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.'


Behold My Servant


Covenant to the People

Light to the Gentiles



Israel’s hardness and blindness


18 "Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see.

19 Who is blind but My servant, Or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, And blind as the Lord's servant?

20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear."

21 The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.

22 But this is a people robbed and plundered; All of them are snared in holes, And they are hidden in prison houses; They are for prey, and no one delivers; For plunder, and no one says, "Restore!"

23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, Nor were they obedient to His law.

25 Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger And the strength of battle; It has set him on fire all around, Yet he did not know; And it burned him, Yet he did not take it to heart.

Who is blind...My Servant

Jacob for plunder





Isaiah Chapter 43


            In chapter 42 of Isaiah verses 18 to 25, we see blind servant Israel, who is plundered and burned because they rejected the message of the “Servant”.  Here chapter 43, God assures Israel of their covenanted position in the earth.   The Holy One of Israel is the Savior of the nation, even though they will walk through the waters of tribulation, the rivers will not “Overflow” them to bring them to an end.

            The nation will be gathered from the nations, from the east, west, north and south, from the ends of the earth (vs. 6). Israel is God’s Witness to the nations, that the world may know God.   In verse 9, the nations are called to trial, and God calls Israel to the stand and declares “You are My Witness”. 



1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

4 Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.

5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west;

6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth

7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."

8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes, And the deaf who have ears.

9 Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, And show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; Or let them hear and say, "It is truth."

10 "You are My witnesses," says the Lord, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.

11 I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.

12 I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses," Says the Lord, "that I am God.

13 Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?"

O Jacob


Redeemed you

Your Savior

I will bring

Nations gathered

My Witnesses




14 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: "For your sake I will send to Babylon, And bring them all down as fugitives-The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King."

16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters,

17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse, The army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):

18 "Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

20 The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.

21 This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.

22 "But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; And you have been weary of Me, O Israel.

23 You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, Nor wearied you with incense.

24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; But you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

25 "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

26 Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.

27 Your first father sinned, And your mediators have transgressed against Me.

28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, And Israel to reproaches.



Your Redeemer

The Holy One




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