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Who is identified by Isaiah as G-d's servant?

It is not Jesus.

The Christian bible never refers to  Jesus  as G-d's servant.

Not once.

Neither Matthew 17:5 or Philippians 2:5-8 call Jesus G-d's servant.

No one in the Christian bible ever calls Jesus "my servant."

The words "my servant" only appear once in the Christian bible and that is Matthew 12:17 - 18 which alludes to Jesus. Jesus is being followed by a crowd -- he warns them not to tell anyone about him and Matthew 12 then says "this was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet (Isaiah) "Here is my servant whom I have chosen. . .

The author of Matthew is referencing (quoting from)  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:1-4 which says: "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.  He shall neither cry nor shall he raise [his voice]; and he shall not make his voice heard outside.A breaking reed he shall not break; and a flickering flaxen wick he shall not quench; with truth shall he execute justice.  Neither shall he weaken nor shall he be broken, until he establishes justice in the land, and for his instruction, islands shall long."  

The only problem with Matthew 12 saying that Jesus "fulfilled" the words of this passage is that Isaiah goes on to say that he is speaking of the Jewish people -- not one individual, and certainly not Jesus (who lived 700 years after Isaiah was dead).  How do we know this is about the Jews?

Read the chapter!

"So said the L-rd, "In a time of favor I answered you, and on a day of salvation I helped you; and I will watch you, and I will make you for a people of a covenant, to establish a land, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages."   Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:8.

Matthew 12 may say that the servant in  is Jesus -- but along with Isaiah stating that the servant is Israel (the Jewish people) Isaiah goes on to say that the servant is blind and deaf to the words of G-d:  "Who is blind but My servant, and deaf as My messenger whom I will send? He who was blind is as the one who received his payment, and he who was blind is as the servant of the L-rd."  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:19.

The list maker is not tying this claim to Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42.   Neither is the list maker tying this claim to Matthew 12.

Yet the only inference of Jesus as G-d's servant in the Christian bible is Matthew's assertion that Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42 is about Jesus -- even though Matthew would not say that Jesus was blind or deaf! 

Ergo the Christian bible never asserts that Jesus is the servant in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53.

What about Isaiah the prophet?

Does Isaiah ever mention the messiah and call him the servant?

No.  In the T'nach (bible)  the messiah is never called "the messiah" or even "messiah."

Isaiah does call quite a few people G-d's servant including

Himself (Isaiah).  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 20:3;

Eliakim  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 22:20;

King David Y'shayahu / Isaiah 37:37;

Not specified

Israel / the Jewish nation / Jacob / Jeshrun:

  1. "But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, who loved Me,  Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, "You are My servant"; I chose you and I did not despise you."  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 41:8-9.

  2. "And now, so said the L-rd, your Creator, O Jacob, and the One Who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, and I called by your name, you are Mine. . . "You are My witnesses," says the L-rd, "and My servant whom I chose," in order that you know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be."    Y'shayahu / Isaiah 43:1 - 10.

  3. "And now, hearken, Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. So said the Lord your Maker, and He Who formed you from the womb shall aid you. Fear not, My servant Jacob, and Jeshurun whom I have chosen."   Y'shayahu / Isaiah 44:1-2.

  4. "Remember these, O Jacob; and Israel, for you are My servant; I formed you that you be a servant to Me, Israel, do not forget Me.Y'shayahu / Isaiah 44:1-21.

  5. "For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My chosen one, and I called to you by your name; I surnamed you, yet you have not known Me."  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 45:4.

  6. "And He said to me, "You are My servant, Israel, about whom I will boast.Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49:3.
Israel is called, by Isaiah, "My servant" time and time and time again.

Many a missionary will insist that Israel (the Jewish people) could not be Isaiah's servant (even though Isaiah himself calls the Jews G-d's servant) because not all Jews meet the criteria.  Not all Jews have been (fill in the blank).  Some missionaries, including Michael Brown, say the servant is depicted as completely righteous and Jews are not completely righteous, ergo the servant cannot be Israel (the Jews) even though Isaiah himself identifies the Jews as G-d's servant time and time again.

Brown and the others are wrong.

Isaiah does not say that the servant was never violent or never guilty of lying. 

Read it in context.  Isaiah is saying that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is not guilty of the crimes of which his persecutors accuse him.

Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:1-4,,  Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49:1-6, and Y'shayahu / Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 explicitly use the Hebrew עַבְדִּ֖י / avdi   (my servant). 

Isaiah does not say that the servant was never violent or never guilty of lying. 

Read it in context.  Isaiah is saying that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is not guilty of the crimes of which his persecutors accuse him.

Also, Isaiah tells us that this servant is despised until his exaltation.

Jesus was not despised in his lifetime.

Quite the contrary -- Jesus had (the Christian bible states) thousands of followers who adored him.  

Isaiah does tell us repeatedly that the Jews are despised.

Y'shayahu / Isaiah 49:7 "to him (my servant Israel) who was despised and abhorred by the nations"

Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:3  "Despised and rejected by men."

and from Jeremiah:

Y'rmiyahu / Jeremiah 30:10 " 'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares HaShem."

Also see Y'shayahu / Isaiah 42:19-20; 43:10 to see that Israel is the servant, nowhere is this term used for the messiah.

Y'rmiyahu / Jeremiah 30:10 also names Israel as the servant and Y'rmiyahu / Jeremiah 30:17 says that the servant Israel is regarded by the nations as an outcast, forsaken by G-d, just like in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:4.

Since there are 43 claims tied to this chapter let's refocus on the claim presented here --"Behold, My servant will succeed; he will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty."  Y'shayahu / Isaiah  52:13.  

Isaiah is telling us that the servant is exalted in the eyes of kings.

Since the list maker claims that the servant mentioned in this passage is Jesus ask yourself:  was Jesus exalted in the eyes of kings during his lifetime?

Nope.

We are told (in the Christian bible) that he went to Egypt as a child, but no other countries. 

What of the "three wise kings" who bring gifts to the baby Jesus?

The Gospel of Matthew is the only gospel to mention the three magi -- a word which means magician, not king.   Even if the three were kings their appearance does not fit the exaltation of the servant by the kings -- because prior to exalting the servant these same kings DESPISE him.

The kings in Matthew come to bring gifts to a newborn baby.  They never despised him.

Ergo those kings do not "fit" the prophesied kings and nations mentioned by Isaiah here.

Isaiah also says that the servant is exalted in the eyes of those who despised him -- not exalted to his followers. 

"Behold, My servant will succeed; he will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty.  14 Just as multitudes were astonished over you (saying) "His appearance is too marred to be a man's, and his visage to be human,  15 so will the many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths (in amazement) for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard. "  Y'shayahu / Isaiah  52:13 - 15.  (The quote is from the Artscroll Stone Edition translation, the link is to the Judaica Press translation). 

No, Jesus was not Isaiah's prophesied exalted servant.   Acts 1 and Ephesians 1 both have Jesus ascending to heaven after his death, saying he will be glorified -- but this does not fit Isaiah's prophecy either.    

True, kings and nations later became Christian – but when did those same kings and nations say of Jesus “Just as multitudes were astonished over you (saying) "His appearance is too marred to be a man's, and his visage to be human,  15 so will the many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths (in amazement) for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard. "   (Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:14 - :15)?  

The key is the passage in red -- those kings and nations who today follow Jesus were TOLD about him.  

Those kings and nations heard about Jesus.  

They did not see for themselves Jesus becoming exalted.

They certainly were not in heaven where both Acts 1 and Ephesians 1 claims Jesus' exaltation happened.

Which brings up a good question:  who was in heaven to witness Jesus' exaltation and report upon it in the Christian bible? 

​How does a human know that this happened in heaven????
 
The kings and nations who are today Christian – were TOLD about Jesus.  They were given the “good word” – the gospels and the Christian religion.   Isaiah says the nations and kings were NEVER told, but perceived things they never heard.
 
This does not fit Jesus.   In a very real sense all human beings are G-d's servant.  We are all His sons and daughters.   The servant mentioned by Isaiah is identified in many ways -- as we continue through the 43 claims tied to this chapter we will explore each one by one.  Use critical thinking -- read things in context.  

What of Matthew 17:5?  It has G-d saying He is well pleased with His son.   Many people in the T'nach (Jewish bible) are called G-d's son -- the term does not mean a literal son from G-d's body (G-d has no body).  In T'hillim / Psalms 2:7 G-d refers to King David as His son just as He refers to King Solomon as His son in Shmuel Beit  / 2 Samuel 7:14, and He even refers to King David as His firstborn in T'hillim / Psalms 89:28.  What "new meaning" should there be implied?  All these passages tell us that God declares the existence of a special relationship, a father-and-son relationship, between Himself and to whom He refers as a son or sons. 

There is not a word about Jesus being G-d's servant in Matthew 17:5, but it would be meaningless even if there were such a statement.

What of Philippians 2?  It speaks of Jesus "nature."  The passage says Jesus took "the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."  This would indicate Jesus was not human, but whether or not Jesus was "like" a servant (which would mean he was not actually a servant) or was a servant of G-d "so what"?  As shown earlier in this blog post many are so identified -- but for the servant in Isaiah 53 Jesus simply fails to meet the criteria of being despised by kings and nations only to later be recognized and exalted by those same people without being told anything -- they "see" it for themselves.

This was not true with Jesus.



סופי

And everything that Sarah tells you, listen to her voice. Bereshit (Genesis) 21:12