Question: Isaiah 41:25 says, “I have raised up one from the north who calls on my name, who shall come from the direction of sunrise. He shall come upon dignitaries as on mud, tread them as clay like a potter.”
What does it mean to be “raised up”? Does this mean the Davidic servant was born in a north country and immigrated to the USA or does it mean that his father or grandfather came from a north country and he was raised in the Jewish culture and they immigrated to the USA? For example, a holocaust survivor born in a north country who immigrates to the USA where David is born but raised in the Jewish culture?
Answer: The north-eastern location of origin of God’s end-time servant is in relation to the land of Israel, not America. This verse has a twin passage in the same chapter: “Who has raised up Righteousness from the east, calling him to [the place of] his foot? Who has delivered nations to him, toppled their rulers, rendering them as dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow? He puts them to flight, passing on unhindered by paths his feet have never trod” (Isaiah 41:2–3).
It has a parallel passage within a large chaos/creation chiastic structure that features God’s end-time servant as a power of creation: “I summon a bird of prey from the east, from a distant land the man [who performs] my counsel. What I have spoken, I bring to pass; what I have planned, I do. Hear me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness: I have brought near my righteousness; it is not now far off—my salvation shall no longer be delayed” (Isaiah 46:10–13).
Isaiah’s chaos/creation chiasm spans chapters 41–46, showing that he whom God raises up is his servant. He appears in these chapters under various personas and pseudonyms (see The Literary Message of Isaiah, p. 138). A quick word search in the Isaiah translation’s concordance shows that the Lord “raises up” or “appoints” his servant to prepare the way for his coming to reign on earth (see The Book of Isaiah; Analytical Translation with Comprehensive Concordance, p. 250).