The Exaltation of the Messiah in Isaiah

Additional OT Evidence for the Deity of Christ

Sam Shamoun

This article is intended to supplement the following discussion:

According to the prophet Isaiah Yahweh God is highly exalted, being King over all:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’" Isaiah 6:1-5

"The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness." Isaiah 33:5

"For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.’" Isaiah 57:15 NASB

What makes this rather amazing is that Isaiah uses this very same language in relation to the exaltation of Yahweh’s Servant, the One sent to die as atonement for the sins of God’s people:

"See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness — so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-12

The Servant will be highly exalted and lifted up, the very language used for Yahweh, specifically in Isaiah 6 where the prophet saw God seated on the throne in all his glory. The language implies that the Servant will be exalted to Yahweh’s throne, that God will enthrone him next to himself to rule from the highest position of authority possible. And since Isaiah also says that Yahweh alone will be exalted:

"The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) … The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear." Isaiah 2:11-12, 17-18

This actually suggests that the Servant is God.

In fact there is additional corroboration that the Servant is God Almighty since the evidence from Isaiah indicates that he is the Messiah. For instance, the Servant is said to come out of a dry root in 53:2, a term used in Isaiah 11 for the Branch of Jesse, the father of David, who will rule and judge the nations:

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist… In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea." Isaiah 11:1-5, 10 (1)

This clearly demonstrates that the Root of Jesse is the Messiah, Son of David, since God promised that one from David’s line would rule on the throne:

"In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it — one from the house of David one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness." Isaiah 16:5

And according to Isaiah the Messiah rules over David’s kingdom forever as the Mighty God:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7

Moreover, the Messianic Servant is called the Arm of Yahweh in 53:1, a title denoting that he is the power of God sent to save God’s chosen ones (Isaiah 33:2; 51:5; 52:10; 59:15b-21; 63:1-6).

For additional details concerning the use of this metaphor as well as for a more thorough discussion of Isaiah 9:6-7 please consult our article on the Messiah being the Mighty God (*).

With the foregoing in perspective it makes perfect sense that the Messianic Servant is ruling from the highest level of authority there is, being exalted to the very status of God, since he is God in the flesh (and yet, at the same time, distinct from God).

And since both the NT and the Quran agree that Jesus is the Messiah this provides additional evidence that Christ is God Incarnate, further proving that Muhammad was a false prophet.

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptural quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.

Further Reading


(1) Some of these very functions which the Root of Jesse carries out in Isaiah 11 are said to be done by Yahweh in other texts, such as striking or shattering the wicked with his breath and his rod,

"As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish." Job 4:8-9

"Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray… The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod. And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them." Isaiah 30:27-28, 31-32 ESV

As well as judging in righteousness and with justice:

"Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’ Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.’ … before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness." Psalm 96:10. 13 ESV

"let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity." Psalm 98:9

Again, we would expect to find such similarities in light of the Messiah being God Incarnate.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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