Table of Contents
Introduction to Isaiah 40:7-12
In Isaiah 40:1-11 we read how the Lord God of Israel wants to deliver His people. The Lord does not give up on us because of repeated sinning, but is always calling us back to His holy and righteous ways, to repentance, and to faith and faithfulness. This gives us continued hope and reason to continue fighting against sin and this world to remain faithful to the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua! The Lord God says through the prophet Isaiah that He will come to get His people (Isaiah 40:10-11) and the reason is the Lord is not defeated by Israel’s sin. God’s desire is for restoration and we note how this restoration is possible because God’s Word stands forever, God’s Word is eternal. (Isaiah 40:8) The point is that God had delivered Judah and Jerusalem from Assyria (Isaiah 37:36-37) but again we see how the Lord is bringing the Babylonians to finish what was started. The idea here is related to the eternality of God’s Word according to the Torah. We note what it says according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1-14 and 28:15-68.
ספר דברים פרק כח
א וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּנְתָנְךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל-גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ: ב וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַבְּרָכוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגֻךָ כִּי תִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ: ג בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה בָּעִיר וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה בַּשָּׂדֶה: ד בָּרוּךְ פְּרִי-בִטְנְךָ וּפְרִי אַדְמָתְךָ וּפְרִי בְהֶמְתֶּךָ שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרוֹת צֹאנֶךָ: ה בָּרוּךְ טַנְאֲךָ וּמִשְׁאַרְתֶּךָ: ו בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה בְּבֹאֶךָ וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה בְּצֵאתֶךָ:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1–6
28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 28:3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 28:4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 28:5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 28:6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. (KJV)
ספר דברים פרק כח
טו וְהָיָה אִם-לֹא תִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְוֹתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:15
28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (KJV 1900)
What we note about these verses here is how according to Isaiah 40:8 God’s word is eternal, and how Devarim / Deuteronomy 28 is related to being faithful to God and His Word. It is one thing to have the desire to act and live according to God’s Word, and it is quite another to actually do the act of living according to God’s word. Notice how significant this is in relation to our willingness to live our lives for the Lord. The question then is what does the Scriptures say from the sense of hope, that we will both be willing and able to live for the Lord, that we will have the desire to act and actually have the ability to act with the help of God? It is interesting when we survey the NT text, looking for the major themes; the one overarching theme is hope. Hope is the confident expectation of God’s promises and the assurance of His presence and power. Hope is not wishful thinking or blind optimism, but a solid conviction based on God’s character and actions. Hope is a gift from God that enables us to endure trials, overcome temptations, and face the future with joy and peace of heart. The NT text provides us hope in a number of ways. The Scriptures show us how God loves us and because of this He sent His Son to die for our sins and rise again to give us eternal life. This is the good news that we are told about in the NT text. The good news provides us hope that we are forgiven, accepted, and adopted by God as His children through faith. (Colossians 1:13-14, Ephesians 1:5-6, John 1:12) Through faith, as adopted children of God, the NT text tells us that God has given us His Holy Spirit which is the source of our life and power to live and remain faithful to the Lord. (Acts 2:38, Romans 8:9-11, Galatians 5:22-23) The Holy Spirit dwells in us and transforms us into the image of the Messiah. We are told that the Holy Spirit also guides us, teaches us, comforts us, and intercedes for us. In addition, the NT teaches us that God has given us His Word, which is the inspired and authoritative revelation of His will and ways. We note again how Isaiah tells us that God’s word is eternal! (Isaiah 40:8) The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:10-14) The Word of God instructs us, corrects us, trains us, and equips us for every good work. The Word of God gives us hope and functions as a reliable and sufficient guide for our faith and practice. In addition, being a member of the family of God, we have fellow believers who are united by our common faith in Yeshua. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Hebrews 10:24-25, Matthew 28:18-20) The faithful believers are called to worship God, serve one another, proclaim the gospel, and make disciples of all nations. The body of believers provides us with hope since we have a community of support, accountability, and fellowship in our walk with God. And the NT assures us that God has given us His promises, which are the expressions of His faithfulness and goodness to us. (Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6, John 14:1-3) The Lord God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God has promised to work all things together for our good according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) God has promised to complete the good work He began in us until the day of Christ. God has promised to come again and take us to be with Him forever. These promises that God has given us in His Word provide us with hope that we have a secure and glorious future with Him. In addition, these things remind us that we should never give up in our struggle against sin and always seek the Lord for help to overcome sin! These are the ways that the Scriptures provide us hope that we will both be willing and able to live for the Lord. Notice how important it is to be in the Word of God daily for the purpose of realizing these truths and so we can live by them! All of these things are consistent with what we read according to Isaiah 40:1-11 how the Lord God of Israel seeks to deliver His people!
The MSS (Masoretic Text) on Isaiah 40:7-12
Isaiah continues saying the following according to Isaiah 40:7.
ספר ישעיה פרק מ
ז יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ כִּי רוּחַ יְהֹוָה נָשְׁבָה בּוֹ אָכֵן חָצִיר הָעָם:
Isaiah 40:7 states, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. (יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ כִּי רוּחַ יְהֹוָה נָשְׁבָה בּוֹ אָכֵן חָצִיר הָעָם)” Here Isaiah speaks of the how it is the Lord who sustains life, and if He chooses he can destroy as easily as the flower or the grass fades. This indicates how mankind is unable to stand in any type of conflict with the God of Israel. Here Isaiah uses the word רוּחַ which has the connotation “breeze, breath; wind; spirit; sense, mind, intellectual frame of mind” and so Isaiah can draw in all of these nuances about this word from the sense that the Spirit of the Lord does these things, just as the Spirit of the Lord was present at the creation according to Bereshit / Genesis 1:2, so too it is the Spirit of the Lord that motivates men halting pride and presumption. In the NT text, Peter uses Isaiah 40:6-8 in his epistle according to 1 Peter 1:22-25.
1 Peter 1:18–25
1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (KJV εἰδότες ὅτι οὐ φθαρτοῖς, ἀργυρίῳ ἢ χρυσίῳ, ἐλυτρώθητε ἐκ τῆς ματαίας ὑμῶν ἀναστροφῆς πατροπαραδότου ἀλλὰ τιμίῳ αἵματι ὡς ἀμνοῦ ἀμώμου καὶ ἀσπίλου Χριστοῦ προεγνωσμένου μὲν πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, φανερωθέντος δὲ ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων διʼ ὑμᾶς τοὺς διʼ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν. Τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν ἡγνικότες ἐν τῇ ὑπακοῇ τῆς ἀληθείας εἰς φιλαδελφίαν ἀνυπόκριτον ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας ἀλλήλους ἀγαπήσατε ἐκτενῶς ἀναγεγεννημένοι οὐκ ἐκ σπορᾶς φθαρτῆς ἀλλʼ ἀφθάρτου διὰ λόγου ζῶντος θεοῦ καὶ μένοντος. διότι πᾶσα σὰρξ ὡς χόρτος καὶ πᾶσα δόξα αὐτῆς ὡς ἄνθος χόρτου· ἐξηράνθη ὁ χόρτος καὶ τὸ ἄνθος ἐξέπεσεν· τὸ δὲ ῥῆμα κυρίου μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ ῥῆμα τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν εἰς ὑμᾶς.)
Peter uses the verses from Isaiah 40:6-8 to contrast the perishable nature and achievements of mankind with the eternal and enduring word of God. We note something that Peter calls the enduring Word of God the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. He encourages his readers to trust in God’s promises and to live holy lives in obedience to God’s Word, and in truth and love for one another. Peter quotes these verses from Isaiah 40:6-8 to show that all human efforts and glory are futile and fleeting, but God’s word and salvation are everlasting and reliable. He urges his readers to base their faith and hope on the Lord God Almighty, who has redeemed them by the blood of Mashiakh (Messiah), and to purify their souls by following the word of God, which is the source of their new birth. Notice how Peter describes the Word of God as functioning to purify, protect, and provide new birth. This is consistent with rabbinic Judaism understanding the scriptures as the word of God, which Purifies: The scriptures teach the people how to purify their souls by obeying the truth and following the commandments of God. For example, Tehillim / Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Protecting: The scriptures provide protection and guidance for the people in times of trouble and danger. For example, Tehillim / Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” In addition, new birth is alluded to in the scriptures as the source of new life and regeneration for the people who believe in God and his promises. For example, Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Peter applies this understanding in order to explain the situation to his readers from Isaiah 40:6-8 who are suffering persecution and trials for their faith. He reminds them that they have been ransomed from their futile ways by the blood of the Messiah, who was foreknown by God before the creation of the world. He exhorts them to love one another sincerely, as those who have been born again by the word of God, which remains forever.
This truth applies not only to the oppressors but also to the oppressed. The great powers of this world will not be able to prevail against God to keep him from delivering his own, but neither are the people of God able to save themselves. The last phrase of the verse underlines this thought to make clear that the weakness of humanity applies to both Israel as well as to the non-Jewish believers. Truth, trust, and salvation are from the Lord God alone.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 40:8-9.
ספר ישעיה פרק מ
ח יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר-אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם: ט עַל הַר-גָּבֹהַ עֲלִי-לָךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלָם הָרִימִי אַל-תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם:
Isaiah 40:8 states, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר-אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם)” Isaiah 40:9 “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! (עַל הַר-גָּבֹהַ עֲלִי-לָךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלָם הָרִימִי אַל-תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם)” Here in Isaiah 40:8 the Lord God says according to Isaiah that the Word of God is eternal, whereas the frailty of man is compared to the grass and the flower. We note something here, the same everlasting Word of God that brings life can also bring destruction. This is the significance of seeking the God of Israel as opposed to fighting against the God of Israel and His holy ways. We note that in Isaiah 40, Paul uses Isaiah 40:9–31 in his epistle to the Romans in Romans 11:33–36, let’s look at these verses from Romans 11:25-36.
11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (KJV Οὐ γὰρ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο, ἵνα μὴ ἦτε [παρʼ] ἑαυτοῖς φρόνιμοι, ὅτι πώρωσις ἀπὸ μέρους τῷ Ἰσραὴλ γέγονεν ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ καὶ οὕτως πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται, καθὼς γέγραπται· ἥξει ἐκ Σιὼν ὁ ῥυόμενος, ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβ. καὶ αὕτη αὐτοῖς ἡ παρʼ ἐμοῦ διαθήκη, ὅταν ἀφέλωμαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν. κατὰ μὲν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐχθροὶ διʼ ὑμᾶς, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐκλογὴν ἀγαπητοὶ διὰ τοὺς πατέρας· ἀμεταμέλητα γὰρ τὰ χαρίσματα καὶ ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ. ὥσπερ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ποτε ἠπειθήσατε τῷ θεῷ, νῦν δὲ ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ, οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαν τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ [νῦν] ἐλεηθῶσιν. συνέκλεισεν γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς πάντας εἰς ἀπείθειαν, ἵνα τοὺς πάντας ἐλεήσῃ. Ὦ βάθος πλούτου καὶ σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως θεοῦ· ὡς ἀνεξεραύνητα τὰ κρίματα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀνεξιχνίαστοι αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτοῦ. τίς γὰρ ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου; ἢ τίς σύμβουλος αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο ἢ τίς προέδωκεν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἀνταποδοθήσεται αὐτῷ. ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.)
Here Romans 11:25-36 is the conclusion of Paul’s argument about the relationship between Israel and the Gentiles in God’s plan for salvation. Paul speaks of the μυστήριον (mystery) that God has not rejected Israel completely, but only partially and temporarily, until the full number of the Gentiles (πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν) has come in. Then, all Israel (πᾶς Ἰσραήλ) will be saved, as God will fulfill his covenant promises to them through the Deliverer (ῥυόμενος) who will come from Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. We note here how this is an example on how the Lord God works all things together for good, and Paul is speaking of this mystery from the sense that we do not always see or understand all that is taking place or going on in the world around us or what God’s ultimate plan is. The Greek text of this passage has some significant features that may not be apparent in English translations. For example, the word for mystery (μυστήριον) does not mean something hidden or secret, but something that was previously unknown but now revealed by God. We note this by hindsight, how the Scriptures in the Tanakh and the Torah reveal these things to us, but only after having the revelation of God in the NT text do we see and understand. Take for example how God delivered both Jew and Gentile in the Exodus. The Scriptures say that God delivered a mixed multitude from Egypt in Exodus 12:38, where it is written: “A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.” The Hebrew word for “mixed multitude” is עֵרֶב (ereb), which means a mixture or a mingled throng of people. According to the rabbis, this mixed multitude consisted of Egyptians or other foreigners who joined the Israelites for various reasons, such as being their servants, escaping from oppression, or being attracted by God’s mighty works. According to Jewish tradition, they were accepted by Moses as part of the people. However, the rabbis reason that it was their inclusion that caused the problems and complaints among the Israelites during their journey in the wilderness. Here Paul is explaining how through faith and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God that the Lord God will transform the gentile to be wholly devoted to the Lord and live righteous lives, how there is hope by faith in Yeshua. This is what Paul means according to the Greek text using the word for fullness (πλήρωμα) which can also mean completeness or fulfillment, implying that the Gentiles have a definite role and number in God’s plan. In the Isaiah text according to Isaiah 40:9 there is hope as Isaiah says, הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם “behold your God” using the plural pronomial suffix referring to all of Israel. The Lord God is calling Jerusalem and Judah how they will become a part of God’s great work of restoration and salvation. We note that Isaiah says the salvation of Israel is for the sake of the world according to Isaiah 2:1-5 and 66:18-19. We note a Torah central principle here, that God’s salvation comes when His presence dwells among His people. We notice how the Lord God Almighty Himself comes down to deliver His people, and in the NT text the presence of God is in the lives of every believer through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. This is the great news that we have today by faith in the Messiah of God (Yeshua) we receive the power of God from on high through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 40:10-11.
ספר ישעיה פרק מ
י הִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה בְּחָזָק יָבוֹא וּזְרֹעוֹ מֹשְׁלָה לוֹ הִנֵּה שְֹכָרוֹ אִתּוֹ וּפְעֻלָּתוֹ לְפָנָיו: יא כְּרֹעֶה עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא עָלוֹת יְנַהֵל:
Isaiah 40:10 states, “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (הִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה בְּחָזָק יָבוֹא וּזְרֹעוֹ מֹשְׁלָה לוֹ הִנֵּה שְֹכָרוֹ אִתּוֹ וּפְעֻלָּתוֹ לְפָנָיו)” Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (כְּרֹעֶה עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא עָלוֹת יְנַהֵל)” The interesting aspect of Isaiah 40:10 is how the word הִנֵּה is repeated twice for emphasis, which is meant to call to the listener to attention to what God is going to do and how He is going to do it. The Lord God will move by his strong arm to deliver, which draws in Torah imagery to God delivering all of Israel from Mitzrayim (Egypt). We note how significant the “arm of the Lord” is here in Isaiah, and how it is tied to the messianic figure in the Torah. The arm of the Lord is a metaphor for God’s power and action in the world, especially in relation to God’s people. The Torah uses the term (arm of the Lord) to describe God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt by his mighty hand and outstretched arm (Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:15, 6:21, 26:8). The arm of the Lord is also associated with God’s covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his oath to give them the land of Canaan (Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:8-9, 9:5). The Torah does imply that Moses was a chosen instrument of God’s mighty acts. The Torah often describes God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt by his “mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:34, 5:15, 7:19, 9:26-29, 11:2, 26:8, and Tehillim / Psalm 136:12). The phrase “outstretched arm” is synonymous with the “arm of the Lord” in other parts of the Tanakh, and it signifies God’s power and action in history. Moshe was the one who confronted Pharaoh and brought the Ten Plagues upon Egypt by God’s command. He was also the one who led the Israelites out of bondage and through the Red Sea by God’s guidance. He was the one who received the Torah from God on Mount Sinai and transmitted it to the people. He was also called a prophet like no other, who spoke to God face to face (Devarim / Deuteronomy 34:10-12). Therefore, Moses has been closely associated with God’s arm, even if he was not directly called by that name, he used the power of God as a messianic figure to deliver God’s people. It is important also to note that there are also some passages in the Torah that suggest that Moses was not able to fully display God’s arm or fulfill God’s purposes. For example, in Bamidbar / Numbers 11:23, God challenges Moshe’s faith by asking him, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” when he doubts God’s ability to provide meat for the people. In addition, according to Bamidbar / Numbers 20:11-12, Moses disobeys God’s instruction to speak to the rock to produce water, and instead strikes it twice with his staff. As a result, God tells him, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Thus, Moses failed to demonstrate God’s holiness and power by his actions, and he was prevented from entering the Promised Land. The major point however is how the Torah identifies Moshe as a deliverer, and there is a connection to the arm of God to the deliverer that God sends to His people. Noting this in the Torah, the connection between the arm of the Lord and the messianic figure is more evident in the later prophets, especially Isaiah. Isaiah uses the term to refer to God’s servant, who will bring justice and salvation to the nations, and who will suffer for the sins of his people (Isaiah 40:10-11, 42:1-4, 49:2-6, 50:2-3, and Isaiah 52:10 through Isaiah 53:12). The servant is also called God’s chosen one, his beloved, and his anointed (Isaiah 42:1, 61:1). These are all titles that imply a messianic role for the servant. We note how some Jewish interpreters (and the anti-missionaries) have understood the servant as a collective symbol of Israel or a righteous remnant within Israel. However, when we look at the Hebrew text, especially in Isaiah 53, the passages suggest that the servant is an individual who represents and redeems Israel (Isaiah 49:3-6, 53:4-6). We will discuss these things at length when we look at Isaiah 53. The NT text states that Yeshua the Messiah is the fulfillment of the prophecies about the servant, and that he is the arm of the Lord revealed to the world (see John 12:37-41, Acts 8:26-35, Rom. 10:16). Yeshua HaMashiakh is also called the power of God and the wisdom of God by the apostles (see 1 Corinthians 1:24) So, what we read in Isaiah 40:910 denotes the significance of calling attention to the presence of God and the power of His presence in the lives of His people. Isaiah informs the people that God comes as a mighty man on his own strong arm to achieve the victory they need. Again we see the arm of the Lord used in conjunction to the power and deliverance of God throughout Isaiah according to Isaiah 30:30, 33:2, 48:14, 50:2; 51:5-9, 52:10, 53:1, 59:15–21, and 63:1–6.
Isaiah 40:11 says, כְּרֹעֶה עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא עָלוֹת יְנַהֵל “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” speaks of God feeding his flock as a shepherd does. Here Isaiah provides us with the imagery of the power of God as a warrior, and the gentleness of God as a shepherd on behalf of His people. These are passages that describe our God as compassionate, caring, and understanding the needs of His people. He is willing to supply for our needs because He loves us. We note how the shepherd analogy can also function as a messianic expectation foreshadowing the greater prophet and leader that would come to deliver us (Isaiah 40:10-11, 53:1) and how the Messiah would be a human instrument, how he would reveal the glory of God and salvation to the nations through the One who was sent to give His life for ours!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 40:12.
ספר ישעיה פרק מ
יב מִי-מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם וְשָׁמַיִם בַּזֶּרֶת תִּכֵּן וְכָל בַּשָּׁלִשׁ עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וְשָׁקַל בַּפֶּלֶס הָרִים וּגְבָעוֹת בְּמֹאזְנָיִם:
Isaiah 40:12 states, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? (מִי-מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם וְשָׁמַיִם בַּזֶּרֶת תִּכֵּן וְכָל בַּשָּׁלִשׁ עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וְשָׁקַל בַּפֶּלֶס הָרִים וּגְבָעוֹת בְּמֹאזְנָיִם)” This verse provides us with imagery that is similar to the book of Job, in the power of God to create the heavens and the earth with the statement, מִי-מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand.” We notice how this echos the Shema from the sense that God is one and he is alone, there is no pantheon of gods, there is only one Creator who is beyond this world!
ספר דברים פרק ו
ד שְׁמַע יִשְֹרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה | אֶחָד: ה וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ: ו וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם עַל-לְבָבֶךָ:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4–5
6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (KJV)
The significance here is recognizing the oneness of God. When Isaiah states מִי-מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand” he is speaking of the oneness of God from the sense that there is no other who supervises the Lord God Almighty. We note how the world religions speak opposite to this with their pantheon of gods. What Isaiah is saying here is not a new idea, but a Torah centric principle on the oneness of God. The importance of this is in the fact that we trust in our Father who is in heaven based upon His eternal word! (Isaiah 40:8) We also note that the revelation that is from God will also reiterate these truths, just as Isaiah states that he received his understanding from the revelation of God (Isaiah 1:1, 2:1, 5,9, etc). We note that any new revelation will always be consistent with what God has said previously in His Word! We also note that the revelation of God does not nullify God’s word! It is interesting how modern theologies however do this very thing, those who teach against the Torah, are those who nullify the commands of God. The point and importance of these things is pretty straightforward here, the way that we know God is according to His Word, and according to His Messiah Yeshua. We note that Yeshua walked in the ways of the Torah, He taught the Torah, and He provided instructions on how to live out the Torah. It is important to note the continuity here that is throughout the Scriptures, and the reason this continuity is important is so that we can recognize the correlation of these things between the power of God, the Arm of the Lord, the Prophet whom God would send, the salvation and deliverance provided by God in His deliverer, and how all of these things from the Scriptures work harmoniously to provide us with a picture of the Lord God Almighty our Father in heaven, and who the Messiah is who was went to save us from our sins! All of the scriptures point and direct us to these truths to recognize the One whom God had sent!
Rabbinic Commentary on Isaiah 40:7-12
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a valuable resource for continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק מ:ז-יב
ז יְבֵיש עִסבָא נְתַר נִצֵיה אְרֵי רוּחָא מִן קֳדָם יוי נְשַבַת בֵיה בְכֵין כְעִסבָא חְשִיבִין רַשִיעַיָא בְעַמָא׃ ח מִית רַשִיעָא אְבַדוּ עַשתֹונֹוהִי וּפִתגָמָא דַאְלָהַנָא קַייָם לְעָלְמִין׃ ט עַל טוּר רָם סַקוּ לְכֹון נְבִיַיָא דִמבַסְרִין לְצִיֹון אְרִימוּ בְחֵילָא קָלְכֹון דִמבַסְרִין לִירוּשלַם אְרִימוּ לָא תִדחְלוּן אֵימַרוּ לְקִרוַיָא דְבֵית יְהוּדָה אִתְגלִיאַת מַלכוּתָא דַאְלָהְכֹון׃ י הָא יוי אְלֹהִים בִתקֹוף מִתגְלֵי וּתקֹוף דְרָע גְבוּרְתֵיה שָלְטָא קֳדָמֹוהִי הָא אְגַר עָבְדֵי מֵימְרֵיה עַמֵיה דְכָל עֹובָדֵיהֹון גְלַן קֳדָמֹוהִי׃ יא כְרָעְיָא דְעַדרֵיה רָעֵי בִדרָעֵיה מְכַנֵיש אִימְרִין וּבחַנֵיה מְסֹובַר רַכִיכִין מֵינְקָתָא בִניָח מְדַבַר׃ יב מַן אְמַר אִלֵין קַייָם אָמַר וְעָבֵיד דְכָל מֵי עָלְמָא חְשִיבִין קֳדָמֹוהִי כְטִיפָא בִשעוּלָא וּמִשחָת שְמַיָא כְאִלוּ בְזַרתָא מְתֻקְנִין וְעַפרָא דְאַרעָא כְאִילוּ בִמכִילָא אִיתְכָל וְטוּרַיָא כְאִילוּ מִתקָל תְקִילִין וְרָמָתָא הָא כִיד בְמֹוזְנַיָא׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 40:7-12
40:7 The grass withereth, its flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the wicked among a people are considered like grass. 40:8 The wicked dieth, and his thoughts perish; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. 40:9 Upon a high mountain get up, ye prophets, that bring good tidings unto Zion; lift ye up your voice with strength that bring good tidings to Jerusalem; lift it up, be not afraid, say to the cities of the house of Judah, The kingdom of your God is revealed. 40:10 Behold, the Lord God shall be revealed, and the strength of the arm of His might shall rule before Him: behold, the reward of those who perform His word is with Him, because their works are manifest to Him. 40:11 He shall feed those that are of His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and He shall carry the tender ones in His bosom; He shall lead gently those that give suck. 40:12 He who hath promised these things, shall confirm them: He hath spoken it, and He will do it; He in whose sight all the waters of the world are accounted as a drop in the hollow of the hand, and the expansion of the heavens as if they had been prepared with the span; and the dust of the earth as if measured in a measure, and the mountains as if weighed in scales, and the hills in a balance. (TgJ)
There the Targum translates these verses slightly different from the MSS saying the following, ז יְבֵיש עִסבָא נְתַר נִצֵיה אְרֵי רוּחָא מִן קֳדָם יוי נְשַבַת בֵיה בְכֵין כְעִסבָא חְשִיבִין רַשִיעַיָא בְעַמָא׃ 40:7 The grass withereth, its flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the wicked among a people are considered like grass. ח מִית רַשִיעָא אְבַדוּ עַשתֹונֹוהִי וּפִתגָמָא דַאְלָהַנָא קַייָם לְעָלְמִין׃ 40:8 The wicked dieth, and his thoughts perish; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (TgJ) The TgJ is a rabbinic and Aramaic translation of the Scriptures, and sometimes we find a slightly different translation when compared to the Masoretic text. In some places the TgJ adds or changes some details to clarify the meaning or to make connections with other parts of the Tanakh. For example, in these verses, the Targum changes the word “grass” to “wicked” in both verses, and adds the phrase “among a people” in verse 7. This makes the metaphor more explicit and emphasizes the contrast between the wicked and the word of God. The Targum also changes the word “flesh” to “thoughts” in verse 8, which may reflect a different understanding of human nature or a different Hebrew source. The Targum also adds the word “our” before “God” in verse 8, which may express a sense of loyalty or identity with God. The question is how do these modifications help to clarify what is being said? The slight change or modification from grass to wicked and the addition of “among a people” provide for us the context of emphasis for perspective on who is the one in control, us or God? Notice how the commentary Duties of the Heart discusses these things. Note that the Duties of the Heart, Fourth Treatise on Trust is a part of a classic work of Jewish ethics and philosophy by Rabbi Bahya ibn Paquda, who lived in Spain in the 11th century. The work is divided into ten treatises, each dealing with a different aspect of the service of the heart, or the inner devotion to God.
Duties of the Heart, Fourth Treatise on Trust 2:14
ושתועלתו והזקו אינם ברשות אדם כי אם ביד הבורא יתעלה לבדו כמו שנאמר (איכה ג לז-לח) מי זה אמר ותהי ה׳ לא צוה מפי עליון לא תצא הרעות והטוב, ואמר (ישעיה מ ח) יבש חציר נבל ציץ ודבר אלהינו יקום לעולם, ואמר (ישעיה מ ז) אכן חציר העם. וכבר התברר הענין הזה במאמר השלישי מן הספר הזה במה שיש בו די
That one’s benefit or harm is not in the hands of people but rather, only in the hands of the Creator, as written “Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the L-ord ordained it? Out of the mouth of G-d, evil and good do not go out (of the boundary He has set – PL)” (Eicha 3:37), and “[All flesh is like grass, and all their kindness is as the flower of the field]; The grass shall dry out, the flower shall wilt, but the word of our G-d will stand forever” (Yeshaya 40:8), and “…surely the people are like grass” (Yeshaya 40:7), and we have already explained this sufficiently in the third gate of this book.
The idea here is considering how the commentary compares what happens in this world, that benefit (blessing) and harm are not in the hands of people but are in the hands of God. Notice how this is in contrast to the world’s view on our actions, and is related to the topic of karma. Comparing the Tanakh and the NT to karma we see how these each have different views on how our actions affect our destiny. Karma is based on the idea that we are responsible for our own fate, and that our actions in this life and previous lives determine our future lives. The Bible teaches that we are accountable to God, and that our actions in this life determine our eternal destiny. The Bible also teaches that we do not get what we deserve, because God is gracious and merciful, and He delays punishment for our sins. He also offers us forgiveness and salvation through Yeshua the Messiah, who died for our sins and rose again. Therefore, the Bible does not support the concept of karma, which speaks to what goes around comes around. Instead, the Bible speaks to what God has done for us, and what He expects from us. Some verses that illustrate this contrast are as follows:
Verses that Illustrate how the Bible does not Support the Concept of Karma
- Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
- Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
- 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What we note here are NT references is how our sinful actions lead to death, and how we reap what we sow. Notice how eternal life is called a gift. This is consistent with the rabbinic commentary which states “That one’s benefit or harm is not in the hands of people but rather, only in the hands of the Creator.” The gift of God is eternal life, what paul is teaching us is consistent with how the rabbis view our position here on earth before God and Isaiah 40:7-8. The Midrash Rabbah on Bamidbar / Genesis writes about the reasons why we can trust in God, because His promises are eternal.
Midrash Bamidbar Rabbah 16:3
שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, רַבִּי אַחָא הַגָּדוֹל פָּתַח (ישעיה מ, ח): יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם, לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ אוֹהֵב וְהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ לֵךְ עִמִּי וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ מַתָּנָה, הָלַךְ עִמּוֹ וָמֵת, אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לִבְנוֹ שֶׁל אוֹהֲבוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֵּת אָבִיךָ אֵינִי חוֹזֵר בִּי בַּמַּתָּנָה שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לוֹ, בּוֹא וְטֹל אַתָּה. כָּךְ הַדָּבָר, הַמֶּלֶךְ, מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְהָאוֹהֵב, זֶה אַבְרָהָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מא, ח): זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בּוֹא לֵךְ עִמִּי (בראשית יב, א): לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, הִתְנָה עִמּוֹ שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ מַתָּנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יג, יז): קוּם הִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּאָרֶץ, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (בראשית יג, טו): כִּי אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה רֹאֶה לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְנֵתִי עִם הָאָבוֹת לִתֵּן לָהֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וּמֵתוּ, אֵינִי חוֹזֵר בִּי אֶלָּא (ישעיה מ, ח): וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם.
3 (Numb. 13:2) “Send men”: R. Aha the Great opened [his discourse] (with Is. 40:8), “Grass withers, flowers fade, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” To what is the matter comparable? To a king who had a friend. Now he made an agreement with him and said to him, “Come with me, and I will give you a present.” He went with him but died. The king said to the son of his friend, “Although your father has died, I am not withdrawing the present that I had promised to give him. Come and get it.” This king is the Holy One, blessed be He, and the friend is Abraham, as stated (in Is. 41:8), “the seed of My friend Abraham.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “Come with me,” as stated (in Gen. 12:1), “Go from your land….” He made an agreement with him to give him a present, as stated (in Gen. 13:17), “Arise, walk about the land [… for I am giving it to you].” It also says (in vs. 15), “For all the land which you see, [to you will I give it, and to your seed forever].” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Although the ancestors have died, I had agreed with them to give them the land. I am not going back on [My word].” Instead (as in Numb. 13:2), “Send men.” Ergo (according to Is. 40:8), “but the word of our God shall stand forever.”
The rabbis connect the faithfulness of God to His promises by drawing upon the Torah as a proof text stating how God is faithful to His promises and does not change His mind even when the recipients of the promises are no longer alive. God had commanded Abraham to walk throughout the Land of Canaan and declared that He would give the land to his children. The Midrash parallels this to Moshe sending spies, not by God’s command, and this resulted in a tragic outcome for the Israelites. The midrash then connects the history of the spies with the prophecy of Isaiah, which affirms the eternal word of God and His plan for Israel and how the promises of God are eternal and forever. The significance of God’s promises being eternal is that of what Isaiah is saying according to Isaiah 40:8 on the eternality of God’s word, which shows God’s faithfulness, power, and love for His people. God’s promises are not dependent on human circumstances or conditions, but on His unchanging character and purpose. God’s promises are not limited by time or space, but transcend them and reach every generation and every place. God’s promises are not subject to decay or destruction, but endure forever and bring life and hope. The eternality of God’s promises in the Torah and the Tanakh function as a foundation upon which the NT text rests, for example in how the promise of salvation through faith in Yeshua the Messiah; God promised to send His Son to die for our sins and to give us eternal life if we believe in Him (John 3:16). The promise of the Holy Spirit was also given to us as our Helper and Counselor. God promised to send His Spirit to be with us forever, to teach us, guide us, comfort us, and empower us. (John 14:16) In addition, we are also given the promise of the resurrection and the new creation in the NT where God promised to raise us from the dead and to give us a new body and a new home in His presence, where there will be no more pain, sorrow, or death (1 Corinthians 15:51-57, Revelation 21:1-5). What these things reveal to us is God’s eternal nature and His eternal plan for His glory which is for our good. They also invite us to trust Him, love Him, and obey Him, knowing that He will never fail us or forsake us.
Isaiah goes on according to the TgJ saying, ט עַל טוּר רָם סַקוּ לְכֹון נְבִיַיָא דִמבַסְרִין לְצִיֹון אְרִימוּ בְחֵילָא קָלְכֹון דִמבַסְרִין לִירוּשלַם אְרִימוּ לָא תִדחְלוּן אֵימַרוּ לְקִרוַיָא דְבֵית יְהוּדָה אִתְגלִיאַת מַלכוּתָא דַאְלָהְכֹון׃ 40:9 Upon a high mountain get up, ye prophets, that bring good tidings unto Zion; lift ye up your voice with strength that bring good tidings to Jerusalem; lift it up, be not afraid, say to the cities of the house of Judah, The kingdom of your God is revealed. (TgJ) Here we find a discussion in the Midrashim on how there is a Messianic expectation in this verse from Isaiah 40:9 however the messenger is hidden. Midrash Tanchuma Buber writes the following concerning this:
Midrash Tanchuma Buber, Toldot 16:2
ד”א הקול קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו, ידיו של עשו מתמוטטות כשיבא קולו של יעקב, זה מלך המשיח, שנאמר על הר גבוה עלי לך מבשרת ציון הרימי בכח קולך (ישעיה מ ט).
Another interpretation (of Gen. 27:22): THE VOICE IS THE VOICE OF JACOB, BUT THE HANDS ARE THE HANDS OF ESAU. The hands of Esau shall be shaken when the voice of Jacob comes. This (coming voice of Jacob) refers to the Messianic King, according to what is stated (in Is. 40:9): GO UP UPON A HIGH MOUNTAIN, O HERALD OF GOOD TIDINGS TO ZION, RAISE YOUR VOICE WITH STRENGTH.
Jewish midrash is a form of scriptural interpretation that goes beyond the literal meaning of the text and seeks to uncover its deeper implications and applications. The midrash often uses creative methods such as stories, analogies, wordplays, and comparisons to reveal the hidden wisdom of the Torah. The midrash suggests in connection to Isaiah 40:9 that the voice of Jacob represents the Messianic King, who will come to restore Israel and shake the hands of Esau, who symbolizes the enemies of Israel. What is interesting is how this midrash may be used to understand how the interpretation of the scriptures has been hidden, indicated by how Jacob hid himself Bereshit / Genesis 27:22 “THE VOICE IS THE VOICE OF JACOB, BUT THE HANDS ARE THE HANDS OF ESAU” and how Jacob is representative of the Messianic King which is a hidden truth in relation to who Yeshua is as the Messiah of God. One way to use this midrash is to help us understand how the interpretation of the scriptures in Judaism has been misunderstood concerning who Yeshua is as the Messiah of God. We could use this Midrash to argue how there is a hidden connection between Jacob and Yeshua, who are both seen as the Messianic King. According to this view, Jacob’s voice represents the voice of Yeshua, who came to fulfill the promises of God and to reconcile Israel with its enemies. This view may also be used to demonstrate how the Jewish rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah is based on a literal reading of the text that misses the deeper meaning and symbolism of the midrash. We have noted this approach of the anti-missionaries previously, how the ant-missionaries will focus only upon the Peshat of the Scriptures, and neglect to draw out the deeper meaning based upon the Jewish Hermeneutic PaRaDeS. https://www.matsati.com/index.php/hermeneutics/ Neglecting the proper Hermeneutics for biblical interpretation is the telltale sign of the anti-missionary for causing deception and ultimately to make a plea to get people to turn from their faith in Yeshua as the Messiah of God. The anti-missionary, for example, will take this midrash saying that Judaism is being faithful to the original intention and inspiration of the text concerning Yeshua to argue that the midrash is referring to Jacob’s voice as representing the voice of Israel, who is still waiting for the true Messiah to come and restore the Temple, bring peace, and gather the exiles. The anti-missionaries will claim that Christians who accept Yeshua as the Messiah hold to a distorted reading of the text. However, as we had demonstrated previously in the Isaiah studies, according to the Rabbinic literature, the prophetic scriptures the NT text uses to support Yeshua as being the Messiah sent of God, are the very same scriptures the rabbis also believe are in reference to the coming Messiah of God. We note again the hidden nature of how God reveals Himself, which requires us to diligently search and seek out these things. What is important to note is how the NT approach to the Tanakh is to use the entire corpus of the Jewish Hermeneutic PaRaDeS, whereas the anti-missionaries like to narrow down and focus upon only one piece of the puzzle (the peshat) for the purpose of manipulation of the one whom they are speaking with. As we note here, the midrash can be used to understand how the NT text parallels the rabbinic thought and so the conclusion is due to the hidden nature of these things, there are many who have misunderstood the prophetic scriptures and in doing so have taken the literal meaning of the text as the only or final meaning. The midrash shows that there is more to the story than meets the eye, and that there is a hidden connection between the past and the future, between Jacob and the Messiah, between Israel and God.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to the TgJ, י הָא יוי אְלֹהִים בִתקֹוף מִתגְלֵי וּתקֹוף דְרָע גְבוּרְתֵיה שָלְטָא קֳדָמֹוהִי הָא אְגַר עָבְדֵי מֵימְרֵיה עַמֵיה דְכָל עֹובָדֵיהֹון גְלַן קֳדָמֹוהִי׃ 40:10 Behold, the Lord God shall be revealed, and the strength of the arm of His might shall rule before Him: behold, the reward of those who perform His word is with Him, because their works are manifest to Him. יא כְרָעְיָא דְעַדרֵיה רָעֵי בִדרָעֵיה מְכַנֵיש אִימְרִין וּבחַנֵיה מְסֹובַר רַכִיכִין מֵינְקָתָא בִניָח מְדַבַר׃ 40:11 He shall feed those that are of His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and He shall carry the tender ones in His bosom; He shall lead gently those that give suck. יב מַן אְמַר אִלֵין קַייָם אָמַר וְעָבֵיד דְכָל מֵי עָלְמָא חְשִיבִין קֳדָמֹוהִי כְטִיפָא בִשעוּלָא וּמִשחָת שְמַיָא כְאִלוּ בְזַרתָא מְתֻקְנִין וְעַפרָא דְאַרעָא כְאִילוּ בִמכִילָא אִיתְכָל וְטוּרַיָא כְאִילוּ מִתקָל תְקִילִין וְרָמָתָא הָא כִיד בְמֹוזְנַיָא׃40:12 He who hath promised these things, shall confirm them: He hath spoken it, and He will do it; He in whose sight all the waters of the world are accounted as a drop in the hollow of the hand, and the expansion of the heavens as if they had been prepared with the span; and the dust of the earth as if measured in a measure, and the mountains as if weighed in scales, and the hills in a balance. (TgJ) Here we see how the Lord God comes with strength and power to perform what His word has declared to His people! The Lord God Almighty comes not just as a conquering king, but also as a loving shepherd to care for His people and provides for their needs. The Jewish commentary relates these verses in the following way:
The Sabbath Epistle, Third Gate; On the Beginning of the Day 16
והנה החשך היה לפני האור, וככה כתוב. והתנועה הגדולה כוללת זמן החשך והאור, והיא נקראת ״יום״, שהוא יום שלם, עשרים וארבע שעות. ואין טענה בעבור שהקדים להזכיר ״ויקרא אלהים לאור יום״ (בראשית א ה) לפני הלילה, כי כן משפט הלשון, כאשר יזכיר שני דברים יתחיל מן האחרון. כמו ״ואתן ליצחק את יעקב ואת עשו ואתן לעשו״ (יהושע כד ד). וככה ״לך יום אף לך לילה״ (תהלים עד טז), והזכיר המאור הקטן שהוא מושל בלילה לפני הגדול שהוא נכבד ממנו. גם אין לטעון שאמר הכתוב ״יוצר אור ובורא חשך״ (ישעיה מה ז), כי הקדימו לפי שיש לו יתרון מן החשך, אף על פי שהחשך היה לפני האור. כמו ״יצחק וישמעאל בניו״ (בראשית כה ט). וכן ״שמה קברו את אברהם ואת שרה אשתו״ (שם מט לא), והוא קבר אותה.
Now the darkness proceeded the light, as it is written (Genesis 1:2). The great movement (diurnal movement) includes the time of darkness and light, and that is called “yom” (day), that is, a complete day of twenty-four hours. * Thus “day” includes a period of darkness and a period of light, in that order. This does not conflict with the fact that Scripture first mentioned “God called the light ‘day’” (Genesis 1:5) before the night, for this is common with the Hebrew language, namely, when someone mentions two things he should begin with the latter. * Verses 3 and 4 refer to the light, therefore verse 5 begins by calling the light “day.” For example, “I gave Jacob and Esau to Isaac, and I gave to Esau…” (Joshua 24:4). In the same way, “Your’s is the day also the night” (Psalms 74:16), and he mentions the minor luminary (the moon) that governs the night before the greater luminary (the sun), although the latter is more important than the former. Also, do not be perplexed when Scripture says “He formed the light and created darkness” (Isaiah 40:12). Scripture puts the light first because it has advantages over darkness, even though darkness came before the light. Similarly, in the verse “His sons Isaac and Ishmael” (Genesis 25:9). * Isaac is mentioned first, even though he was the younger son. Also, “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife” (ibid. 49:31), although he buried her. * Abraham is mentioned first although Sarah was buried first.
This commentary explains how the Hebrew language often mentions two things in reverse order, such as light and darkness, day and night, Isaac and Ishmael. The commentary also states that light has advantages over darkness, even though darkness came before light and affirms that God’s promises are eternal and that He works in mysterious ways. We also note how the darkness was present first, and it required an act of God to bring light into the world. What is interesting is how these things parallel a NT concept regarding light and darkness, the creation and the Messiah. According to the NT text, Yeshua said he is the light of the world in John 8:12, where he declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” He also repeated this statement in John 9:5, where he said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” These verses show us how Yeshua claimed to be the source and origin of light, and that he came to illuminate the world with the truth and mercy of God. In addition to these things, the commentary may imply how Yeshua has supremacy over the forces of evil and sin, which are associated with darkness in the Scriptures. Why does the Hebrew language mention things in the reverse order? It is very important to note that this requires some knowledge of the Hebrew language and culture, as well as the biblical context and theology. One reason why the Hebrew language mentions things in the reverse order is that Hebrew follows a different logic and syntax than English and other languages. Hebrew is a Semitic language that is written from right to left, unlike English, which is written from left to right. This means that the order of words and sentences in Hebrew may not match the order of words and sentences in English. For example, in English, we say “light and darkness”, but in Hebrew, we say “darkness and light” (חֹשֶׁךְ וְאוֹר). This does not mean that Hebrew speakers think of darkness before light, but rather that they express their thoughts in a different way than English speakers. This illustrates for us why it is so important for us to obtain a Hebraic perspective and understanding of the Scriptures, and the importance of digging into the original languages. This characteristic of reversing the order of things in the Hebrew language has significant implications for the Scriptures in relation to light and darkness, and the coming of the Messiah. For instance, some scholars suggest that the reverse order of light and darkness in Bereshit / Genesis 1:4, where God separates the light from the darkness, implies that darkness existed before light, and that light was created by God as a response to darkness. This implies that God’s creation from the beginning involved a process of overcoming chaos and evil. This may also imply that God’s plan for salvation involves a similar process of bringing light into the world. Notice how Yeshua uses this hebraic understanding to say how He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). We also note how the reverse order of things in the Hebrew language having significant implications in relation to light and darkness, and the coming of the Messiah, according to Isaiah 9:2, where the prophet says: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” The order of the words “darkness” and “light” are reversed in this verse, creating a contrast between the past and present situation of the people. This is significant for us today, we know what we have done in the past, and we know what is being asked of us in this present time, to believe, have faith, to repent and be forgiven and saved! This is a present-day reality for each of us! This verse is quoted by Matthew 4:16 as a prophecy fulfilled by Yeshua, who came to Galilee to preach the gospel and heal the sick. This shows how Yeshua the Messiah is the great light that shines upon those who walk in darkness, and how He is the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel and the nations. We note again how understanding these things requires this Hebraic mindset and taking careful note how the language mentions things in the reverse order for the purpose of forming parallelisms. Again, this is illustrated for example, in Isaiah 6:10, where God says to the prophet: “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” Here, the order of the words “heart”, “ears”, “eyes” are reversed in the second half of the sentence, creating a chiastic structure that highlights the stubbornness and blindness of the people. We notice how the Hebrew language itself becomes a literary device to create tension in the text for the purpose of comparison, parallelisms, and for requiring one to have a much deeper thought process. Notice how all of these things work hand-in-hand for interpreting the Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures are very deep and vibrant and require much thought and effort to dwell upon. This much is obvious when we consider these things, and it does become apparent how and why the anti-missionaries choose to look only at the Peshat of the text, and deliberately choose to neglect the deeper meanings! This is how the evil one keeps people in bondage from the Truth!