“Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, And made Me a polished shaft; In His quiver He has hidden Me.” “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.’ Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord, And my work with my God.’”
“And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant , To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:1-6
This portion of scripture is talking about Christ, and just about every bible commentator agrees with this assertion. And Simeon prophesies in Luke 2:32, when he sees the Child, and says, “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” And wouldn’t you agree that Simeon is making reference to verse six of Isaiah 49? Yes, Simeon is prophesying the fulfillment of Isaiah 49:6
Now if all of this is true (and it certainly is), then I find it very interesting that Paul attributes this portion of Isaiah 49 to himself and to Barnabas. Hear what the Spirit of God says in Acts 13:47, “For so the Lord has commanded us: “I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.” Notice the words, “the Lord has commanded US.” Technically speaking…the Lord had not commanded them (as the verse was penned almost 700 years earlier). Yet Paul sees this verse as a command to himself and Barnabus. Just what exactly did Paul really see?
Now isn’t that interesting? Paul takes a verse that is attributed to Jesus Christ and applies it to himself personally. I think Paul saw a very deep truth here. He had such a revelation that Christ was in Him (that the “light to the Gentiles” was in him) that he saw himself as “a light to the Gentiles.” Just think about this truth for a minute, and the ramifications of it. Paul pulls a verse from Isaiah 49 that is clearly talking about Christ alone, and sees this verse as talking about himself. How could he do this? We will address that question a bit further on.
Isaiah prophesies in Isaiah 44:28 – 45:7 about a Persian king named Cyrus. Isaiah prophesied about a lot of things in his book; about events and people and even Christ. But the interesting thing about Isaiah 44:28 – 45:7 is that Isaiah is writing about a king of Persia that won’t be born for another 150 years!! And it would be 200 years in the future that Cyrus would give the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. But yet he (Isaiah) names him by name. Flavius Josephus (a Roman/Jewish historian) wrote that when Cyrus read of his name and his calling in the book of Isaiah that he was so moved by the divine sovereignty of God “that an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written.” Flavius Josephus “Antiquies” book 11, Chapters 1-2.
Isaiah (the Holy Spirit) calls Cyrus God’s “shepherd” – His ”anointed”. He even says that God will hold the right hand of Cyrus. God even says to Cyrus (knowing that Cyrus would be reading this almost 200 years later), “I have called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”
Many bible commentators attribute this section of Isaiah, that refers to Cyrus, as a type of Christ. For Cyrus is named “My Shepherd, His Anointed, whose right hand I have held, etc., etc.”
Cyrus read the word of God and he believed that what was written in the volume of the book concerned him. He took something that is clearly a type and shadow of the coming Christ and made it his own, because he was able to see himself written upon the pages of eternity. He saw his divine call and acted upon it. Nebuchadnezzar was the king that sent the Jews into exile, but Cyrus was the king who liberated them. To this day there are no artifacts of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom or reign and no one knows where he is buried. But God has preserved the name of Cyrus. The Cyrus cylinder (an ancient artifact attesting to King Cyrus’ reign) can be viewed in the British Museum in London; and his tomb can still be viewed to this day. In other words, the memory of his obedience still lives on to his day. He died in the summer of 530 BC, but the spring of his life still lives on 2,500 years later.
“Then said I, Lo, I come: (in the volume of the book it is written of me), to do Thy will O God.” Hebrews 10:7 [quoting Psalm 40:7].
Paul took a verse that pertained to Christ alone and made it his own. He saw that in the volume of the book it was written of him to go to the Gentiles. Cyrus took a large section of scripture (that if you read very carefully, it is definitely pointing to Christ and His ministry on the earth) and saw that in the volume of the book it was written of him to deliver the decree to set the Jews free and rebuild the city and the temple.
Did you know that “in the volume of the book it is written of” YOU?? “In the volume of the book it is written” that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. “In the volume of the book it is written” who you are in Christ. “In the volume of the book it is written” that you are healed. “In the volume of the book it is written” that you are seated with Christ in heavenly places. And there are over 140 other things in the New Testament that it says you are in Christ.
Can you find yourself within the pages of the volume of the book? Can you see your calling hidden within its promises? The word of God is timeless my friend. Things that were written thousands of years ago were written about YOU!! Be like Cyrus – be like Paul, and find yourself in the pages of scripture doing His will. I have news for you brother and sister: in the volume of the book it is written of you. You have now come to do his will.
When the Lord revealed this to me one day in prayer, I wept much before Him. For He caused me to see that in the volume of the book it was written of me. It was written that I had come to do His will and to fulfill His will; it was written that I was to be a light to the Gentiles. It was written that I was to be a shepherd for Him, and that I was to be anointed for His service. It was written that He would hold my right hand and that I would do His will. “In the volume of the book it is written of me.”
Paul saw this truth, Cyrus saw this truth, and many others have seen this truth. Can you see it? Can you make it your own? Can you run with it? Can you take something timeless and pull it into time by your faith? This is what the Syrophoenician woman did in Mark 7:25-30. It wasn’t the time yet for the Gentiles to receive divine healing. This was to happen under the ministry of Paul 21 years in the future. But this woman leapt over the wall of time and took something that was at least 21 years away and pulled it into her timeframe. And she did it all by faith. Her faith traveled through time.
Can your faith travel also? Sure it can. If you can only believe…if you can only believe that “In the volume of the book it is written of… YOU.”