I am continuing my study through the book of Isaiah and I just finished looking at the 42nd chapter. There were a couple of things that stood out to me and I looked up that I wanted to point out. The chapter starts out speaking about the Messiah…
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. Isaiah 42:1-4 (KJV)
You may or may not wonder how this is Messianic in nature. I have learned from Chuck Missler and throughout my own studies that when you have a doubt or question about something in the Bible, the Bible is a great place to find the answer to it as well. I believe that the Bible interprets itself and this is a good example of it. In Matthew 12 these verses are quoted roughly in verses 18-21. Let me show you what verses 14-17 says…
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew [it], he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying…Matthew 12:14-17 (KJV)
Matthew made it clear to us that Isaiah was speaking about the Messiah. When I got to verse 6, I saw something that made me start to wonder. Let’s look at verse 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 42:6 (KJV)
You know and I know that we (Gentiles or non-Jews) are saved through Jesus Christ who was the Messiah for the Jewish people. We know that Paul was sent to preach to the Gentiles to reach them for Christ and that Peter was taught that the gospel is also for the Gentiles in Acts 10 with the vision of the unclean animals. So, yeah, we who are Gentiles and saved through faith in Jesus Christ who is the Jewish Messiah know that the gospel is also for the Gentile as well as the Jew. Here is one scripture out of many that show the gospel being available to the Gentiles…
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (non-Jew or Gentile). Romans 1:16 (KJV) Italics are my words inserted
The book of Romans talks about the Gentiles being “grafted” into the family of the Jews. All of this is not my point, but me trying to lead up to my point. When I read prophecy about the Messiah, I oftentimes find myself looking at the prophecies and thinking to myself can I see Jesus as the Messiah from the perspective of the Jews of that day. The more and more I read of Old Testament scripture and prophecy, the more and more I see Christ and wonder how it is that they missed Him. I think that the reason they (the Jews) missed it is spelled out later in this chapter. Let me show you what I found in a Jewish commentary on the book of Isaiah. This is an excerpt taken from the website chabad.org which has the Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi commentary.
1. Behold My servant, I will support him, My chosen one, whom My soul desires; I have placed My spirit upon him, he shall promulgate justice to the nations.
Behold My servant, I will support him: Behold My servant Jacob is not like you, for I will support him.
My chosen one: Israel is called ‘My chosen one’ ([mss.:] His chosen one) (Ps. 135:4) “For the Eternal chose Jacob for Himself.” Scripture states also (infra 45:4): “For the sake of My servant Jacob and Israel My chosen one.”
It appears that the Jewish commentators believe that the servant and chosen one of God from Isaiah 42 is none other than Israel themselves. Before we get too hard on them for missing out on this, it seems that Christian commentators believe that Isaiah writes about Israel in verse 19 when it says “servant” again.
Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 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? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make [it] honourable. 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 42:18-22 (KJV)
Obviously this scripture cannot be about the Messiah when it is saying that the servant is both blind and deaf. So…you really need to be mindful about what is going on in scripture or you will pass right by things without knowing it.
There is one final thing I wanted to leave with you. Remember a couple paragraphs above I wrote that there was a reason that the Jews missed out on their Messiah and it was spelled out later in this chapter? It’s actually in the above verses. The Bible that I use the most has a small commentary at the bottom that gives some help and direction (sometimes) into what the verses are talking about. This time, the commentary is pointing out that the nation of Israel is robbed, spoiled, snared in holes, hid in prison houses, and prey because they are taken captive by the Assyrians. This may very well be the case but I think it is something else completely. Let us look at some of the verses again…
“Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” Isaiah 42:18-20 (NIV)
The verse is commanding the deaf to hear and the blind to see. It continues and says that their eyes can see, but they haven’t paid attention and that they can hear, but they aren’t listening. I believe that this is referring to their ability to physically see with their eyes but cannot see with their spiritual eyes. They have physical ears to hear sounds, but they were spiritually deaf to the Lord. I believe that they are robbed, spoiled, snared in holes, hid in prison houses, and prey spiritually.
Look back in Isaiah 6 when Isaiah was commissioned more or less. Isaiah was in the throne room of the Lord (who is Jesus by the way…ref. John 12:41) and the Lord said to Isaiah to go and tell Israel…
‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. ‘Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9,10 (NIV) Bold Italics are mine
This is why Jesus kept making these kinds of statements throughout the gospels…
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (NIV) Too many references to list
And again Jesus says this…
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? Mark 8:18 (NIV)
Jesus makes this statement after He tells His disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. The disciples thought that Jesus said this because they didn’t have any bread. Yeast is a Levitical symbol for sin. The disciples didn’t catch this because they weren’t seeing with their spiritual eyes and hearing with their spiritual ears.
This is why I called this blog Spiritual-D because I believe that we as Christians can see into the spiritual by seeking after God and diving into His Word. Sin can give us spiritual cataracts to where we cannot see into the spiritual. If we cannot see, we cannot go into spiritual battle. Are you one who has eyes but cannot see or has ears but cannot hear? Remember, the Bible is a spiritually discerned book.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
A lost person could read the Bible cover to cover 100 times but couldn’t get what a Christian reading a chapter could. It has to be read though! You’re not going to gain wisdom without the Word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16, 17 (NIV)
Pursue God and He will bless your time with Him and will open up your spiritual eyes and ears!