Not One but Two Messianic Persons Appear in Isaiah’s Prophecy
Would it surprise you to learn that the “good news” of Jesus’ gospel is the same “good news” Isaiah teaches? Or that Jesus’ coming to redeem his people fulfilled the terms of Jehovah’s covenants with his people Israel that promised to save them from their sins and from death?
He bore our sufferings, endured our griefs,
though we thought him stricken,
smitten of God, and humbled.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
the price of our peace he incurred,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Indeed, Isaiah shows that Israel’s God Jehovah alone begets “peace” and “healing.” Word links embedded in Isaiah’s prophecy let us know that the suffering person he describes in Isaiah 53:1–10—whose sufferings and death match those of Jesus—is none other than Jehovah himself:
“O Jehovah, you bring about our peace” (Isaiah 26:12); “See, I will extend peace to her like a river” (Isaiah 66:12); “In the day Jehovah binds up the fracture of his people and heals their open wound” (Isaiah 30:26); “He [Jehovah] will respond to their pleas and heal them” (Isaiah 19:22).
In that light, Isaiah’s messianic prophecies comprise mainly descriptions of Israel’s God when functioning as his people’s Savior and Redeemer under the terms of his covenants. Saviors such as Israel’s kings, who are called God’s “servants,” only qualify people for God’s deliverance:
He thought, Surely they are my people,
sons who will not play false;
and so he became their Savior:
with all their troubles he troubled himself,
the angel of his presence delivering them.
In his love and compassion
he himself redeemed them.
The messianic mission of Israel’s God, in other words, occasions his people’s spiritual salvation. It sets the stage for all deliverance that follows—spiritual and temporal. Jesus’ atonement for his people’s sins lays the foundation for all blessings God bestows under the terms of his covenants:
It is I myself, and for my own sake,
who blot out your offenses,
remembering your sins no more.
Temporal salvation, on the other hand, is occasioned by his people’s or their kings’ qualifying themselves for God’s divine protection under the terms of his covenants. In Isaiah’s endtime context, such physical deliverance occurs chiefly under the terms of the Davidic Covenant.
The descendants of those who broke the terms of God’s covenant anciently—who went contrary to God’s commandments and suffered exile and bondage and other covenants’ curses—reemerge in the endtime as God’s people who desire to renew their covenant relationship with God:
One will say, I am Jehovah’s,
and another name himself Jacob.
Yet others will inscribe on their arm, To Jehovah,
and adopt the name Israel.
As new converts, however, they aren’t yet spiritually resilient enough as a nation of God’s people under the Sinai Covenant to escape the many calamities coming upon the world in God’s Day of Judgment. God, therefore, provides proxy saviors for them under the Davidic Covenant.
In the pattern of Israel’s proxy saviors anciently, that involves their taking upon themselves the transgressions of those to whom they minister in order to qualify them for God’s protection from the hazards then facing humanity and bringing these new converts to places of safety.
The role of proxy saviors—God’s “servants” under the terms of the Davidic Covenant—thus forms an integral part of Israel’s endtime restoration. Their mission is initiated by God’s endtime servant David who prepares the way for Jehovah/Jesus’ coming in glory to reign on the earth:
Give ear and come unto me;
pay heed, that your souls may live!
And I will make with you an everlasting covenant:
[my] loving fidelity toward David.
See, I have appointed him as a witness to the nations,
a prince and lawgiver of the peoples.
You will summon a nation you did not know;
a nation that did not know you will hasten to you—
because of Jehovah your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who gloriously endows you
That new nation of God’s people—which forms just prior to Jehovah/Jesus’ coming in glory—God delivers from life-threatening situations for the sake of his endtime servant David and those servants of God who minister as proxy saviors to them to restore them to God’s covenant:
Because of his knowledge,
and by bearing their iniquities,
shall my servant, the righteous one, vindicate many. . .
He poured out his soul unto death,
and was numbered with criminals—
he bore the sins of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
These terms of the Davidic Covenant operate on higher and lower spiritual levels, that of Jesus being the highest. Every proxy savior, therefore, “knows” that by “bearing their iniquities” and “making intercession for transgressors” he may obtain his people’s physical deliverance.
In Isaiah’s endtime context, the term “servant” doesn’t designate Israel’s God himself, who is his people’s only true Messiah. It properly applies to the messianic role of God’s endtime servant David and other proxy saviors who prepare God’s people to meet Jehovah/Jesus at his coming:
Pass on, go through gates;
prepare the way for the people!
Excavate, pave a highway cleared of stones;
raise the ensign to the nations!
Jehovah has made proclamation to the end of the earth:
Tell the Daughter of Zion,
See, your Salvation comes,
his reward with him, his work preceding him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of Jehovah.
Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Made Simple: Unsealing the Essential Isaiah. An introduction to the inner workings and simple tools for analyzing the prophecy of Isaiah for Judeo-Christian readers. Hebraeus Press, 2018: 160 pages. Softcover $13.95; E-Book $8.95; MP3 download $7.95.
Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven. The best all-time layman’s comprehensive overview of Isaiah’s prophetic message for Judeo-Christian readers based on the analysis of Hebrew literary patterns. Hebraeus Press, 2013: 357 pages. Softcover $27.95; E-Book $9.95; MP3 download $15.95.