Revisiting the Prophecy of Isaiah 42
This article is intended to supplement the following response by providing further details showing that the Servant spoken of in Isaiah 42 is not Muhammad. Rather, the Servant of Yahweh is the Messiah who comes to accomplish God’s plan to establish salvation and justice throughout the entire world.
Here is Isaiah’s prophecy in its entirety:
“Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights—I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout, nor raise his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a dimly burning wick. He will faithfully bring justice. He will not fail nor be discouraged, until he has set justice in the earth, and the islands will wait for his law.’ Thus says God Yahweh, he who created the heavens and stretched them out, he who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it, he who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk in it. I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make you a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations; to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison. I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images. Behold, the former things have happened, and I declare new things. I tell you about them before they come up.’ Sing to Yahweh a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the islands and their inhabitants. Let the wilderness and its cities raise their voices, with the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing. Let them shout from the top of the mountains! Let them give glory to Yahweh, and declare his praise in the islands. Yahweh will go out like a mighty man. He will stir up zeal like a man of war. He will raise a war cry. Yes, he will shout aloud. He will triumph over his enemies.” Isaiah 42:1-13
What we intend to do here is to show how the same language that Isaiah employs to describe the Person and mission of the Servant is found in other texts, texts which help us see more clearly who this extraordinary figure is.
1. My servant.
“Listen, islands, to me. Listen, you peoples, from afar: Yahweh has called me from the womb; from the inside of my mother he has mentioned my name. He has made my mouth like a sharp sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. He has made me a polished shaft. He has kept me close in his quiver. He said to me, ‘You are my servant; Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’” Isaiah 49:1-3
The Servant here is called Israel, not because he happens to be the nation, but because he is an individual Israelite who represents and saves the nation. More on the Servant’s ethnicity a little later.
2. God’s Spirit rests upon the Servant in order to empower him to accomplish God’s will perfectly.
“A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit. Yahweh’s Spirit will rest on him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.” Isaiah 11:1-2
“The Lord Yahweh’s Spirit is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble.” Isaiah 61:1a
Jesse was the father of King David:
“and Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.” Ruth 4:22
This further confirms that the Servant is not an Arab, but an Israelite from the line of David.
3. The servant is a light and covenant for the nations and who establishes justice in the world, as well as bringing salvation and miraculous healing for all the inhabitants of the earth.
“But there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time he has made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined… For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on David’s throne, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
“His delight will be in the fear of Yahweh. He will not judge by the sight of his eyes, neither decide by the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. Righteousness will be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together; and a little child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze. Their young ones will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play near a cobra’s hole, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea. It will happen in that day that THE NATIONS will seek the root of Jesse, who stands as a banner OF THE PEOPLES; and his resting place will be glorious.” Isaiah 11:3-10
“But I said, ‘I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength in vain for nothing; yet surely the justice due to me is with Yahweh, and my reward with my God.’ Now Yahweh says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, and to gather Israel to him, for I am honorable in Yahweh’s eyes, and my God has become my strength. Indeed, he says, ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel? I will also give you as a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.’ Yahweh, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, says to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: ‘Kings shall see and rise up; princes, and they shall worship; because of Yahweh who is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’ Yahweh says, ‘In an acceptable time I have answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage: saying to those who are bound, “Come out!”; to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves!” They shall feed along the paths, and their pasture shall be on all treeless heights. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun strike them: for he who has mercy on them will lead them. He will guide them by springs of water.’” Isaiah 49:4-10
“… He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;” Isaiah 61:1b-2
From the foregoing we see that Yahweh’s Servant is God’s means of bringing salvation and justice to the ends of the earth, being the One who establishes God’s covenant with all the nations. The Servant is also said to be the Child who is born to reign on David’s throne as the Mighty God forever and ever!
Now that we have established that Yahweh’s Servant is an Israelite, and a descendant of king David who rules over David’s throne forever as the Mighty God in the flesh, we can proceed to our next points.
4. The Servant saves the nations by offering his life as a vicarious sacrifice for their sins.
See next point for the details.
5. Once the Servant accomplishes the salvation of the world by his sacrificial death, Yahweh will then raise him up to share in his own exalted status and sovereign authority over creation.
“Behold, my servant will deal wisely. He will be exalted and lifted up, and will be very high. Just as many were astonished at you (his appearance was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), so he will cleanse many nations. Kings will shut their mouths at him: for they will see that which had not been told them; and they will understand that which they had not heard.” Isaiah 52:13-15
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no good looks or majesty. When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease. He was despised as one from whom men hide their face; and we didn’t respect him. Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he didn’t open his mouth. He was taken away by oppression and judgment; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living and stricken for the disobedience of my people? They made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him. He has caused him to suffer. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his offspring. He will prolong his days, and Yahweh’s pleasure will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light and be satisfied. My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself; and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore will I give him a portion with the great, and he will divide the plunder with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:1-12
Astonishingly, Isaiah uses the same exact words to refer to the Servant’s exaltation that he does in describing Yahweh’s enthronement as King of heaven and earth:
“In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. One called to another, and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Armies! The whole earth is full of his glory!’ The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, ‘Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies!’” Isaiah 6:1-5
“Yahweh is exalted, for he dwells on high. He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness… ‘Now I will arise,’ says Yahweh; ‘Now I will lift myself up. Now I will be exalted.’” Isaiah 33:5, 10
“For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” Isaiah 57:15
This means that Isaiah is indicating that the Servant is a co-occupant of Yahweh’s very own heavenly throne, and therefore shares in Yahweh’s exclusive sovereignty over the entire creation.
Suffice it to say that none of this applies to Muhammad, but it does perfectly fit the Lord Jesus.
1. Muhammad was not an Israelite from the root of Jesse, the father of king David. Jesus was/is.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham:” Matthew 1:1
“When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many ordered him to keep silent. But he cried out even more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!” Mark 10:47-48
“concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:3-4
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David, according to my gospel,” 2 Timothy 2:8
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I AM the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” Revelation 22:16
2. Muhammad was not the Mighty God who was born to rule on David’s throne forever. Jesus was/is.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that has been created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind... The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know him... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14
"Thomas answered Him, 'My Lord AND MY GOD!'" John 20:28
"who are the Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises, to whom belong the patriarchs, and from whom, according to the flesh, is Christ, who is over all, GOD FOREVER BLESSED. Amen." Romans 9:5
"But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O GOD, lasts forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." Hebrews 1:8-9
See the next point for additional details.
3. Muhammad wasn’t the great light which shined forth throughout the region of Galilee. Jesus was/is that great light who still shines in the hearts of all believers till this day.
“Now when Jesus heard that John was put in prison, He left for Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness aw great light. And on those who sat in the land of the shadow of death, light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:12-17
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’ When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God. ‘” Luke 1:26-33
“But the angel said to them, ‘Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’… Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Spirit, he came into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he received Him in his arms and blessed God and said: ‘Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 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 the glory of Your people Israel.’” Luke 2:10-11, 25-32
“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12 – cf. 1:4-5, 8-9; 9:4-5; 12:35-36, 46
4. Muhammad did not offer his life as an atoning sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Jesus did.
“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take and eat. This is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and after He gave thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 – cf. Matthew 20:28
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.’” John 1:29
“Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to remain with them. And He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this Man is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42 – cf. 3:17; 12:47
“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6:50-51
“My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2
“In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins… And we have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:10, 14
5. Muhammad never made a covenant with the people. Jesus did, and even ratified it by his blood.
“Then He took the bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you.” Luke 22:19-20
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, because He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the sins that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:14-15
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven; to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
6. Muhammad was never raised to sit enthroned alongside Allah in order to rule creation. Jesus was exalted to reign on God’s throne over the entire creation for all eternity.
“Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18
“After the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. Then they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Mark 16:19-20
“But being a prophet [David], and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear. For David has not ascended to the heavens, yet he says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ Therefore, let all the house of Israel assuredly know that God has made this Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:30-36
“and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE ALL principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and EVERY NAME that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all things in all ways.” Ephesians 1:19-23
“For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Ephesians 5:5
“Figuratively this is like baptism, which also saves us now. It is not washing off the dirt from the body, but a response to God from a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22
“For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly provided for you.” 2 Peter 1:11
“The seventh angel sounded, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying: ‘The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15
“… The dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as He was born. She gave birth to a male Child, ‘who was to rule all nations with an iron scepter.’ And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne… Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’” Revelation 12:4b-5, 10
“These will wage war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those who are with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 – cf. 19:16; 22:1, 3
Hopefully, this will now put to rest the desperate attempt by certain Muhammadans to misapply Isaiah 42 to their prophet. The fact is that the theology of not only Isaiah, but also the Holy Bible as a whole, condemns Muhammad as a false prophet and an antichrist. See our addendum for the details.
All OT references taken from the World English Bible (WEB).
All NT citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.