Isaiah 49 is a servant chapter and the servant is Messiah, and the heart of the concept to Isa 53. This chapter is important in understanding the physical manifestation of the Messiah. Messiah “existed” in a “hidden” aspect (v 2) since before the foundation of the world. In other words, the Messiah “pre-existed” (1 Pet 1.18-20). Isa 49.7 is addressed to “the despised one, to the one abhorred by the nation (Israel).” This was manifested in the first century and Yeshua was despised by the “builders.” Matt 2.23 says that Yeshua will be called a “Nazarene” to fulfill what was spoken by the prophets. However, there are no prophecies that say that, so what is Matthew referring to. The city of Nazareth was called a despised city, and that is alluded to in John 1.46. The Talmud says that people from Nazareth were called “despised ones.” John 7.52 says, “You are not from Galilee are you (an insult)?” This means “are you stupid or what?” To be called a Nazarene is the same as being called “despised” and there are many references in the Tanak (Isa 9.1, 53.3; Dan 9.26). Again, all of this is in relation to the Two Redemption’s, with the Egyptian Redemption contrasted with the Messianic Redemption. As a part of this, there is an expectation for “Elijah” to come, the messenger of the covenant.
Let’s briefly talk about the the concept of the Menachem, or the “Comforter.” Isa 49.13 says the Lord has “comforted his people.” Compare that with Isa 40.1 where he says, “Comfort, O comfort my people.” The word is “menachem” in Hebrew and you will see this concept in John 14.26 where it says, “But the Helper (Comforter/Menachem), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 15.26 says, “When the Helper (Comforter/Menachem) comes whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of me.” Lam 1.9 laments that Israel “has no comforter.” Lam 1.16 says, “Far from me is a comforter” and Lam 1.17 says, “There is no one to comfort her (Israel).”
There are many ways the Lord manifests himself within us and to us. For example the “Kivod” is the “glory” of God; the “Ruach” is the “power upon us”; the “Menachem” is the “comfort of God” and the “Shekinah” is the “presence in us.” Comfort will be the aspect of the message from Isa 40.1 through Isa 66.24 as we go through. It starts out with “comfort” in Isa 40.1 and then in 49.13 it says he has comforted his people. We have the expression that will be repeated in this section of Isaiah “the comforter” or “to comfort.” You will see it in 51.3, 51.12, 51.19, 57.18, 52.9, 54.11, 51.12 for example. It comes up over and over, along with the other concepts in this section like the “voice”, “my reward is with me” and the servant is “afflicted.” But, it is not all in one, little section. It is spread out over a larger section. You have to look for them in order to connect the dots, to see the message of the “voice.” The Messiah is coming to comfort his people.
Isa 50.1 says, “Thus says the Lord,’Where is the certificate of divorce, by which I have sent your mother away?” So, let’s talk about marriage and divorce. A certificate of divorce is called a “Get.” and that is because the gimmel and the tav are never seen together in Hebrew. Marriage has a betrothal, with a contract called the Erusin. The full marriage has the Kedushin. You are considered married at the betrothal. It is not “engagement and then full marriage” like in western culture. When you are betrothed, you are considered married. You may be betrothed as a child. In the betrothed state, the husband may want to get out of the marriage, so it would require a Get (Bill of Divorce). We learn in Jer 2.1-3 that the Lord betrothed himself to Israel in the wilderness, at Mount Sinai. Exo 19.6 says they were a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Jer 2.3 says that Israel was holy, the first fruits of his harvest. Exo 23.14-16 talks about Shavuot, the “Feast of Harvest.” Lev 23.17 says that “first fruits” were offered to the Lord at Shavuot. The Torah was given to Israel on the day that would become Shavuot.
Exo 19.17 says that Israel stood at the “foot of the mountain.” In Jewish understanding, God betrothed himself to Israel on Shavuot. Moses is seen as the “friend of the Bridegroom” assigned to bring the bride to the groom, which is what he did when he brought Israel out of Egypt to Mount Sinai. The phrase “at the foot” is the word “tachat” in Hebrew and it means “under.” Sinai became a wedding canopy and Israel was “under the mountain.” There is an allusion to this concept in Mark 11.22.23 and Matt 21.42-44. In the Sowd, it lifted up over their heads. But, it is an Erusin (betrothal) not a Kedushin (full wedding).
Deut 24.1-4 talks about marriage and divorce. When a man takes a wife and marries her is kedushin (full wedding), not erusin (betrothal). If they divorce and marry someone else, and that marriage ends in divorce, they cannot go back to the first spouse. Was Israel unfaithful to the Lord? Yes, but the Lord was only betrothed to Israel (not kedushin-full marriage) so he can remarry Israel because they were only in a betrothal stage. Even if Israel married (kedushin) someone else and they were divorced, according to the Torah, God and Israel can marry because they were only in the erusin (betrothal) stage. If the Lord and Israel had reached the kedushin stage, then divorced and remarried others, then divorced those new spouses, then they could not remarry. Kedushin doesn’t happen eschatologically until the Day of the Lord, on a Rosh Ha Shannah in the future. With that, let’s go back to Isa 50.
Isa 50.4-11 describes the work of the servant. God has given him the “tongue of the talmidim” or experience gained, not on human experience, but taught by God. There are messianic prophecies in verses 6-9. God will vindicate the servant against his enemies and those who contend with him. They enlighten themselves with their own reasoning and human understanding but it will come to nothing and they will lie down in torment (v 11). In Isa 51, God is reassuring Israel that there will be certain salvation from Babylon and from all enemies. However, watch for the term “arm” which is “Zeroah” as we move forward. This is a term for the Messiah as we see in Isa 51.9 where it says to “put on strength, O arm of the Lord.” The word “awake” is a term for Rosh Ha Shannah (Isa 26.19, 51.17, 52.1; Eph 5.14-17).
Keep in mind the first redemption with Moses, but the context here is the second redemption (Isa 53.1, 59.16). The “arm” is putting on strength, which is Moses and Yeshua. Isa 51.9 goes on to say “Was it not you (Moses/Messiah) who cut Rahab in pieces.” Rahab means “proud, harlot, broad wall and Egypt” (Job 26.12-13, 9.13; Isa 30.1-7; Psa 89.10; Ezek 29.1-7; 32.1-8). Then “who pierced the dragon” is referring to Pharaoh and Leviathan, or in other words, the false messiah. Isa 51.10 says, “Was it not you (the arm) who dried up the sea.” This is referring to the Red Sea with Moses, but it also alludes to the Messiah who has dominion over the abode of Satan/Leviathan, the spiritual sea. Leviathan is seen as a seven-headed beast from the sea (Rev 13.1) which alludes to Pharaoh and his leaders. Psa 74.13-14 also talks about dividing the sea and breaking the “heads” of the sea monsters in the water. Then it says in Psa 74.14 that “Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan (Pharaoh/false messiah-Gen 3.15; Hab 3.13; Ezek 29.1-7, 32.1-8; Isa 27.1). Then it goes on to say in Psa 74.14 that “you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness” which is a clear allusion to Azazel and Isa 66.24; Ezek 29.5, 32.4 and Rev 19.17-21 and the “Feast of Leviathan.”
Job 40.15-24 talks about the Behemoth which is a character study about the false prophet, and it alludes to Assyria, Gog and Magog and Russia. It is a beast from the land in Rev 13.11 and this refers to the false prophet, so putting these two concepts together reveals to us that this is also about the false prophet. There is a description of a battle between the Behemoth and Leviathan (Job 41.1-34) in the Artscroll Machzor for Shavuot called “Akdamut.” Leviathan in Job 41 is a character study of the false messiah, the seven-headed beast that comes out of the sea in Rev 13.1. It also alludes to Egypt and Europe. In Akdamut, Leviathan (Europe) will combat Behemoth (Russia) as seen in Isa 20. Prophetically, Russia will be at war with Europe and the false messiah for three years into the Birth-pains. God will slay them both with his sword (the word) when the time comes. Then the Lord will fashion canopies for the tzaddikim (saints) out of their carcasses. The meat of the two will be eaten at a great banquet for the righteous. The point is, these two creatures are a picture of the the false prophet (Behemoth) and the false messiah (Leviathan). Egypt, therefore, is a picture of Europe, where the false messiah will come out of (Dan 9.26, 11.30). Egypt in the first redemption has its counterpart in the second redemption, Europe.
In Part 24, we will pick up in Isa 51.17.