Life-Study of Isaiahby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will cover three points concerning Christ's being the Servant of Jehovahthe arm of Jehovah, the reigning God, and the exalted Christ. Isaiah is a book of sixty-six chapters. In previous messages we pointed out that the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah correspond to the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, and the last twenty-seven chapters correspond to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Chapter forty, the first chapter of the last twenty-seven, is the same as the beginning of the New Testament, in which John the Baptist was introduced. Verses 3-5 of that chapter, speaking of John the Baptist, say, "The voice of one who cries / In the wilderness: Make clear / The way of Jehovah; / Make straight in the desert / A highway for our God. / Every valley will be lifted up, / And every mountain and hill will be made low, / And the crooked places will become straight, / And the rough places, a broad plain. / Then the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, / And all flesh will see it together, / Because the mouth of Jehovah has spoken" (cf. Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-6). Immediately after this chapter that introduces the New Testament, there are twenty-six chapters, from chapter forty-one through chapter sixty-six, concerning Christ as the Servant of Jehovah.
We need to see that Christ as the Servant of Jehovah, occupying twenty-six chapters in Isaiah, is mainly for Israel's return and restoration. When these twenty-six chapters were written in the way of prophecy, Israel was destined to be scattered, to be captured, to be exiled from their fathers' land to some foreign lands to suffer there. In such a condition of captivity and exile, they needed Christ as the Servant of Jehovah to serve them in order to bring them back from their captivity and also to restore them. As captives in Babylon, the Israelites needed not only to be released but also to return to their fathers' land. Then, after their return, they needed to be restored. Their nation was devastated to the uttermost. It had become a desolation, an uninhabitable wilderness, with no rain, no soil for growing crops, and no food for people to eat. Surely they needed a restoration. Thus, Isaiah has twenty-six chapters on Christ serving God's elect to bring them back and to restore them.
Isaiah 51:9-11 and 52:7-15 reveal that Christ is the Servant of Jehovah as the arm of Jehovah, the reigning God, and the exalted Christ. The first two of these itemsthe arm of Jehovah and the reigning Godhave the tone of the Old Testament. But the final itemthe exalted Christdoes not bear an Old Testament tone; rather, it is an item of God's New Testament economy. This final item is mentioned at the end of Isaiah 52, in verses 13-15. Chapter fifty-two is continued by chapter fifty-three. It is important for us to see that Isaiah 53 is a direct continuation of the end of chapter fifty-two. The three verses at the end of chapter fifty-two do not bear an Old Testament tone. They bear a New Testament tone in which the exalted Christ is revealed.
Christ's being the Servant of Jehovah as the arm of Jehovah is covered in Isaiah 51:9-11. If we read these three verses carefully, we can discover that these three verses are a parenthesis. Actually, verse 12 continues verse 8. In verses 8 and 12 Jehovah is the speaker. Suddenly, from verse 9 through verse 11 the speaker changes. Verse 9 begins, "Arise, arise! Put on strength, / O arm of Jehovah; / Arise as in the days of old, / As in the generations of past ages." This is not Jehovah's speaking but Isaiah's, representing the people of God. Isaiah seemed to cry out, "Arise, arise, O arm of Jehovah and put on Your strength! Do the same things that You did in the days of old. Do You not remember how You dried up the sea and made it a highway for us all to walk through? Do the same thing today to bring back all those who are in exile."
Then, 52:7 says, "How beautiful on the mountains / Are the feet of him who brings good news, / Of him who announces peace, who brings news of good things, / Who announces salvation; / Of him who says to Zion, Your God reigns!" The announcing of "Your God reigns!" is the announcing of the restoration. In Isaiah 40:9, which speaks concerning the beginning of the New Testament, the glad tidings is, "Here is your God!" Here, in 52:7, the glad tidings is, "Your God reigns!" The former speaks of God coming to accomplish redemption unto salvation for His people, whereas the latter, after redemption has been accomplished, says that in the restoration God reigns. The reigning God in chapter fifty-two is the Redeemer, the Savior, mentioned in chapter forty.
Finally, Isaiah 52:13, speaking of Christ in His exaltation, says, "Behold, My servant will act wisely and will prosper; / He will be exalted and lifted up and very high."
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