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Some claim that anyone familiar with the Old Testament should recognize immediately that a chapter of remarkable resemblance to Muhammad exists in the book of Isaiah. Others claim that a mystery rests in the fact that there is no evidence that the book of Isaiah was accessible to the Arabs in the late 7th century A.D. If so then how then was this kind of detail known?
The fact that the Muslims had access to a Torah is substantiated in the following hadiths:
1. Narrated Salman al-Farsi: “I read in the Torah that the blessing of food consists in ablution before it. So I mentioned it to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). He said: ‘The blessing of food consists in ablution before it and ablution after it.’ ” (Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 27, Number 3752)
2. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 524)
3. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 829)
4. (Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 3, Number 1041)
A further point is that even if Isaiah was not directly accessible to the Arabs, it was accessible to the Jews who could have passed it on to the Arabs, especially those Jews who converted to Islam.
Isaiah 42:1-11 compared to Bukhari Volume 3: Book 34, Number 335
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
Bukhari “O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness (for Allah’s True religion) And a giver of glad tidings (to the faithful believers), And a warner (to the unbelievers) And guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah).”
Isaiah 42:2 “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.”
Bukhari “You are neither discourteous, harsh Nor a noise-maker in the markets.”
Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
Bukhari “And you do not do evil to those Who do evil to you, but you deal With them with forgiveness and kindness.”
Isaiah 42:4-6 “He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law. Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles.”
Bukhari “Allah will not let him (the Prophet) Die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,””
Isaiah 42:7 “To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”
Bukhari “With which will be opened blind eyes And deaf ears and enveloped hearts.”
Isaiah 42:8-9 “I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Bukhari – no equivalent.
Isaiah 42:10-11 “Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, The villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, Let them shout from the top of the mountains.”
Bukhari – no equivalent
When looking at this hadith objectively this narration in Al-Bukhari 3:34:335 merely reports the opinion of an early Muslim who thinks that Isaiah c42 refers to Muhammad. (In fact, it does not even report a statement from Muhammad himself.) Does the opinion of Abdallah have more authority than any one of the books and articles by other Muslim authors who make similar claims for various passages in the Bible? The narration of this opinion may well be authentic, but let us consider if the opinion itself correct.
Who is Kedar? “the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: …” (Isaiah 42:11)
“Keda” is a reference to the Arabs as Gesenius, a Hebrew language expert, states, “The Rabbins call all Arabians universally by this name; therefore ‘Leshon Qeda‘ is used of the Arabic language.” Some look into history to see who was the man who claimed to have a message of God and preached monotheism as adopted by the previous Israelite prophets to the Arabs in the Arabic language, the Leshon Qedar. “Did Jesus preach to the Arabs? Obviously not. Then who did? We are left with only one single figure in history who led the desert Arabs to spread across a majority of the known world within a span of 50-70 years.”
Therefore some read their own Islamic theology into this verse of Isaiah. Isaiah 42:11 doesn’t say that the servant is a “Kedarite Arab who ‘preaches’ to the Arabs in the Arabic Language.” Some have taken the comments of the rabbis regarding the name given to the speech of the Arabs and erroneously inserted this into this verse of Isaiah in order to arrive at their assertion that the servant would preach in the Arabic language. From the context Isaiah was calling all the peoples (“from the ends of the earth”) to praise God (v10) for what He has done and will do. Kedar is mentioned by way of illustration as one example in a list of several but is not singled out as special. Nor does Isaiah state that the servant mentioned in 42:1-7 comes from Kedar. All the same some seek to prove that Jesus Christ can’t be the servant here as Jesus was not sent to the Gentiles.
Was Jesus Christ Sent to the Gentiles?
Now regarding whether Jesus Christ could have possibly been the “light of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 43:6), let us review Matthew 15:21-27: “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
So Jesus plainly says that He is not a Messenger for the Gentiles and this is a seeming incompatibility with Isaiah 42.
However Jesus Christ distinguished between Gentiles, Samaritans and the Children of Israel in the following verses:
1. “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” (Matthew 5:47). “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7). “So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”” (Luke 17:17-18).
2. Also exceptionally, as with the woman of Canaan, Jesus healed a Roman centurion’s servant, “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” … When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” … Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.” (Matthew 8:5-13)
3. Once Jesus Christ’s own country people became angry with Him when He reminded them that during a famine the prophet Elijah did not help the widows of Israel but a widow at Zarephath (a Gentile); and a little later the prophet Elisha did not assist the lepers of Israel but the leper Naaman (a Gentile) (Luke 4:25-28). Should we be surprised that Jesus spoke about the precedents of the prophets Elijah and Elisha in helping Gentiles, especially Gentiles of such faith?
Nevertheless there are other New Testament verses which say or infer that Jesus Christ’s service was limited to his own country: Matthew 10:5, 6; Luke 14:16; 19:9, 10.
- The future dealings among the Gentiles is the work of the Servant of the Lord, as seen in Isaiah 42:1 etc, which Matthew unmistakeably identifies as Jesus Christ in 12:15-21. (v15 “But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. … v17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: v18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles…. v21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.””).
- Another fact is that Jesus Christ, as the Son of Man, will return to this earth as King to judge all the living nations as seen in Matthew 25:31, 32: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. Their faith in the Messiah brings them righteousness from God, eternal life and is manifested in their actions to God’s people (v40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”). Any unbelievers in the Messiah are not forgiven of their sins and do not have eternal life and consequently do not help God’s people (v45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”). “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (v46). The Lord Jesus also said, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash teeth.” (Matthew 8:11, 12)
So it is clear that Jesus limits His service and that of His disciples, as long as He was on earth, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. At the same time His service has everlasting effect on the Gentiles. Can these two conclusions be reconciled? Yes as follows:
A. Because after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection He instructed His disciples saying: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19). So from that time service would also include the Gentiles.
B. Paul being a servant of the God and Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1, Titus 1:1) is subject to and so confirms the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Romans 15:8-12, “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” (quoted from Psalm 18:49) …”
C. See also Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile).” Thomas Newberry, a Bible teacher, dates Romans as being written in AD 60.
D. A further consideration is that Paul and Barnabas speak about this order of things at: “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. “For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'” (Acts 13:46-47). Newberry date: AD 45.
E. Additionally Paul’s conversion to Jesus Christ (Acts c9 Newberry date: AD 35) was after the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-19 Newberry date: AD 33) and consequently Paul did not initiate the Christian spreading the Gospel (meaning “good news”) among the Gentiles, although he certainly did contribute to it.
Therefore there is no inconsistency between Isaiah 42 and the New Testament about the sphere of the Lord’s service. His service, only to Israel, was before His crucifixion and resurrection and His work with the rest of the world’s nations was after those pivotal events.
The Islamic view of Christ’s mission is:
a. “Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, … then We sent her Our Spirit, … He said: … (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign UNTO MEN (lilnnasi) and a Mercy from Us”. It is a matter (so) decreed.’” (Surah 19:16-21)
b. “And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for ALL PEOPLES (lilAAalameena).” (Surah 21:91)
Therefore these passages show that Jesus and his mother are signs to all mankind, with Jesus also being a mercy from God.
c. Narrated by Abu Huraira: “Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). …” Abu Huraira added “… ‘And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him (i.e. Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them.” (4.159) (See Fateh Al Bari, Page 302 Vol 7) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 657)
This is relevant as it identifies God’s Servant, because one of His functions is to judge justly.
In light of the foregoing, anyone’s claim that Jesus was sent only to Israel is not only unbiblical as it distorts the meaning of the New Testament text, but it also contradicts Muslim sources.
In this section we hope to accomplish the following objectives:
1. The identity of the Servant according to Isaiah.
2. The NT application of Isaiah 42 to the service of Jesus Christ.
1. Isaiah 42 is not the only Servant passage in the book. There are many references to God’s Servant. Compare: Isaiah 41:8-16; 42:18-25; 43:10; 44:1-5, 21-23; 45:4; 48:20.
Some of these passages clearly speak of an individual and it is these passages which concern us here in this discussion. Furthermore, certain things said about the Servant in Isaiah 42 are also said of the Messianic King, supporting the position that the two are actually one and the same individual.
Here are the passages:
(1). “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.” (Isaiah 42:1-7)
(ii). “Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. … For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7)
(iii). “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. … And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious. It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1-5, 10-11).
(iv). “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, And made Me a polished shaft; In His quiver He has hidden Me.” “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’ Then I said, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, And my work with my God.'” “And now the LORD says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Thus says the LORD, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, To Him whom man despises, To Him whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the LORD who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.” Thus says the LORD: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ “They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. They shall neither hunger nor thirst, Neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water He will guide them. I will make each of My mountains a road, And My highways shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, And these from the land of Sinim*.” Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:1-13) (*”Sinim” is usually taken as a reference to China, and according to W E Vine (a Bible teacher) “in very ancient times, Tsin was the name of a feudal kingdom in Shen-si, the first king which began to reign in 897BC.”)
(v). “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.” (Isaiah 52:13-15)
(vi). “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity (meaning lawlessness) of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him (not out of vindictiveness but it was God’s love for poor sinful man that caused Him to “bruise” His Son and so provide salvation for all who believe in Him as their Saviour); He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12)
(vii). Another relevant passage is; “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. … And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-“The LORD is one,” And His name one. All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the king’s winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; And no longer shall there be utter destruction, But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” (Zechariah 14:4-5, 8-11)
The following passages identify God’s Servant as the Branch, a son of David, the Messiah, the Anointed:
- “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
- “In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 33:16)
- Other prophets provide further evidence that God’s Servant is in fact the Messiah son of David:
- “Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.” (Zechariah 3:8)
- “Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘ (Zechariah 6:12-13)
Amazingly, the Messiah is not only a son of David, but is Jehovah God our righteousness Himself, echoing Isaiah 9:6-7 where the Messianic King is called the Mighty God! (As the Old Testament uses the word “Jehovah” so do we but we are not “Jehovah’s Witnesses”). The Psalms help us about the nations’ rejection of God’s Anointed as follows:
“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Psalm 2:1-8)
This Psalm was fulfilled in: “Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:25-28)
Let us summarize the information regarding God’s Servant:
1. He is descended from Jesse through David (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 33:15-16). This proves that God’s Servant is an Israelite and not an Arab.
2. He is called Israel and distinct from national Israel (Isaiah 49:3-5). This provides additional proof that the Servant is an Israelite and not an Arab.
3. He is the Mighty God and has an everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).
4. He is empowered by God’s Spirit (Isaiah 42:1).
5. He will restore national Israel (Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:11, 49:5, Jeremiah 23:6, Zechariah 14).
6. He will be rejected – Psalm 2 as quoted in Acts 4:27.
7. He will be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6).
8. He will be the Saviour of the entire earth (Isaiah 42:4).
9. He will be a covenant to the people (Isaiah 42:6, 49:8).
10. He will act righteously (Isaiah 9:7, 11:3-5, 42:1, 3-4, 53:11, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15)
11. He will bring a law which all the peoples will follow (Isaiah 42:4, Jeremiah 23:5).
12. He will at first be rejected and despised by the nation of Israel (Isaiah 49:7, 52:14, 53:3-4, 7-8).
13. He will also be rejected by the nations (Psalm 2:1-8 and Acts 4:24-28).
14. He will offer himself as a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:5-6, 10-11).
15. He will see spiritual offspring and carry out the Lord’s will (Isaiah 53:10).
16. He will justify sinners (Isaiah 53:11) and intercede for sinners on the cross (Isaiah 53:12).
2. New Testament application of Isaiah 42 to the service of Christ.
The New Testament shows that Jesus’ life and ministry perfectly fulfilled Isaiah 42, as well as a host of other Messianic prophecies. For instance, the apostle Matthew applies Isaiah 42 to Christ specifically:
“Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.’ Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’” (Matthew 12:15-23)
The following chart provides further evidence to show that Christ alone fulfils Isaiah 42.
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”
New Testament “While he (Peter v4) was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! “” (Matthew 17:5). See also Luke 3:21-22 and Acts 3:13.
Isaiah 42:2 “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.”
New Testament “But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was.” (Matthew 12:14-16) See also Mark 7:36.
Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
New Testament This character was seen when Christ said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Isaiah 42:4 “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”
New Testament “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)
Isaiah 42:5-6 “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles.”
New Testament “… But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. … praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.“” (Luke 2:8-14)
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. … Simeon took him (Jesus) in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:25-38)
“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”” (Luke 22:20)
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6)
Isaiah 42:7 “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Old Testament “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; … They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. … Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. … A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. … But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:1-10)
New Testament – Partial fulfilment: “And he came to Nazareth … and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, … he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him … “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, …” He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”” (Luke 4:16-21)
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. …” (Luke 7:21-23)
Isaiah 42:10-11 “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the see, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.”
New Testament “… For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will SING hymns to your name. ” … And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and SING praises to him, all you peoples.” And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.“” (Romans 15:5-13)
The evidence from Isaiah, and the New Testament all point to the Servant being the Messiah. The New Testament and the Quran both agree that the Messiah is Jesus, which means that Muhammad cannot be the Servant spoken of by Isaiah c42.
Isaiah 42 says nothing about the Servant being a Kedarite or that He would speak in Arabic, but simply says that Kedar is among the nations who would proclaim the praises of the true God. The fulfilment of this will happen in the Millennium which is part of the kingdom of the risen and immortal Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Saviour of all those who out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (Revelation 14:6) trust in Him for their eternal salvation.