Cyrus the Great, circa 590-529 BC, ruler of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, was neither a Jew nor a Christian. Indeed, Isaiah 45:5 plainly says, though the LORD surnamed Cyrus (in Hebrew, Cyrus is “Koresh”) and stirred him to take Babylon to set free the people of Judah (ref. Ezra 1:1-2, Jeremiah 29:10), Cyrus never knew God at all. When Cyrus did the things he did, it is fair to say he did not call upon the name of God – neither the name of God the Father יהוה nor the name of the Son of God Jesus Christ.
For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.Isaiah 45:4-6
What is more, though the Achaemenid Persian Empire was east of Jerusalem, it was no where near the rising of the sun, the far east.
To add to that, Cyrus was a human, a man of flesh and blood. As such, Cyrus could not have, and he never did, destroy “princes”. In the Bible, the word “prince” often refers to an angel or a saint, whether good or evil (ref. Daniel 12:1, Ephesians 2:2, Ezekiel 34:24). Such a being is technically described as a “prince” because God is the “King”.
For these three reasons – that he did not know God, that he was not from the rising of the sun, that he did not have the power to tread on princes – the second half of Isaiah 41:25 cannot be Cyrus.
I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.Isaiah 41:25
The expression “as the potter treadeth clay” brings to mind godly power. This is because elsewhere in the Bible, God is described as “the potter”, and we humans, his creation, “the clay”.
… O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.Isaiah 64:8
This thing about the potter and clay is why I initially thought the second half of Isaiah 41:25 pointed to the Son of man Jesus Christ, who is one with God the Father.
But now, having learnt of the concept of the saints, an army of Christ, each soldier given god-like power, “the morning star” (ref. Revelation 2:26-29), I read the said verse to mean a particular saint. For after the reaping, every saint will be able to break a human the way a potter breaks a vessel of clay.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.Revelation 2:26-29
The next verse, Isaiah 41:26 further implies that the second half of Isaiah 41:25 cannot be the Son of man Jesus Christ because it asks the question, Who has declared beforetime that this man is righteous?
Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.Isaiah 41:26
John the Baptist did in fact declare beforetime that Jesus Christ, righteousness itself, would come to Zion. John prophesied both the First and the Second Coming (ref. Luke 3:22, Luke 3:16-17, Matthew 3:11-13) – the Second through the idea of baptism by fire.
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.Luke 3:16-17
There is also Isaiah 41:28, which in the KJV reads to the effect, There was no man, even among them, that could answer a word. Since Jesus Christ is the Word of God, the source of all wisdom about God, Isaiah 41:28 again makes the point that the second half of Isaiah 41:25 must refer to someone else.
I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay… For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.Isaiah 41:25-28
Now, Isaiah 41:29 is something that prima facie does not make sense, at least to me: “their molten images are wind and confusion”. It stands to reason, a “righteous” saint, who calls on the name of God, would not do idolatry, breaking the first of the ten commandments. It is only the first half of Isaiah 41:25, the one from the north, namely the Assyrian, that will create a molten image in order to pretend to be the Creator. This is something that will happen in these last days, and it will involve both the Assyrian of ISIS and the False Prophet of Babylon (ref. Jeremiah 10:14). The saints, “the portion of Jacob”, is not like them.
Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.Isaiah 41:29
Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them…Jeremiah 10:14-16
If you are a native Hebrew speaker, could you help analyse the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 41:25-29, just in case I have missed or misunderstood something?
העירותי מצפון ויאת ממזרח שׁמשׁ יקרא בשׁמי ויבא סגנים כמו חמר וכמו יוצר ירמס טיט
מי הגיד מראשׁ ונדעה ומלפנים ונאמר צדיק אף אין מגיד אף אין משׁמיע אף אין שׁמע אמריכם
ראשׁון לציון הנה הנם ולירושׁלם מבשׂר אתן
וארא ואין אישׁ ומאלה ואין יועץ ואשׁאלם וישׁיבו דבר
הן כלם און אפס מעשׂיהם רוח ותהו נסכיהם
I have found a Hebrew analysis of Isaiah 49:7, a very complex sentence that explains the servant “O Israel” of Isaiah 49. But nothing on Isaiah 41.
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.Isaiah 49:7
In the original Hebrew of Isaiah 49:7, there is actually more information. Whereas the KJV reads “to him whom man despiseth”, the Hebrew apparently reads “to the soul that man despises”.
All servants of God, chosen by God, are “despised” by this world (ref. John 15:18-20). In his day, the Son of man himself was despised, as prophesied in Isaiah 53.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Isaiah 53:3
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.John 15:18-20
Isaiah 49:7 says, this servant described as “O Israel” – the first of the saints of the ancient kingdom of Israel, me – will be particularly despised after the reaping. I suppose, I will be despised for the work that I will do for the kingdom of God. So, I am thinking, “the waster”, aka “the destroyer” (ref. Isaiah 54:16), the same saint from the east that will prevail against Gog of Magog at the time of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (ref. Ezekiel 39:21).
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.Isaiah 54:16
Now, moving on to Isaiah 41:2.
Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.Isaiah 41:2
This verse about “the righteous man from the east” must mean the Son of man Jesus Christ.
In Isaiah 53, God describes the Son of man as his “righteous servant”.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.Isaiah 53:11
The Son of man was born in the eastern most part of the Roman Empire, and at the time of the seventh trumpet and vial, he will return to the earth in the clouds from the direction of the east.
The Son of man Jesus Christ will also sit on the throne of the kingdom of God and reign as the king. At some point, he will even “rule over kings”, as the King of kings. His government will eventually cover the entire world. To rule as sovereign is to be the supreme authority and the source of all law.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.Isaiah 2:3
The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.Isaiah 42:21
Isaiah 41:2 must be Jesus Christ rather than Cyrus because in his day Cyrus never ruled the entire world. Cyrus might have thought he did (ref. Ezra 1:2), but with hindsight we know that he actually did not: Persia did not encompass the entire world.
Nor for that matter can Isaiah 41:2 mean a saint after the Millennial Reign when Jesus Christ is in heaven.
To be sure, Isaiah 41:7 with “the hammer” and “the anvil”, and also “nails”, brings up the question, Is this a furnace or is this the cross?
So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.Isaiah 41:7
But then Isaiah 41:8 begins with the following words: “But thou, Israel…”
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Isaiah 41:8-10
This means, the subject of Isaiah 41:2, which is expressed before the conjunction, must be different from “Israel” and “Jacob”, whom God has taken from the ends of the earth, as in the redeemed of the 12 tribes of Jacob.
Therefore, Isaiah 41:2 cannot be a saint, and must be the Son of man Jesus Christ himself, the King of the saints.
Even the saint that is crucial to the defeat of Gog of Magog over a thousand years from now will not actually “rule” the world because the laws of the kingdom of God and therefore the world will still be that of God in heaven. At that time, God will still be the one that rules the world.
In Isaiah 41:4, the LORD describes himself as “the first, and with the last”.
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.Isaiah 41:4-5
Since Jesus Christ is “the first and the last” (ref. Revelation 22:13), “the LORD” in this context must be God the Father. And so, the one who raises up the righteous man from the east, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings, must be God the Father. This means, the righteous man from the east that will rule over kings is none other than Jesus Christ.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.Psalms 2:6-8