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Isaiah 53 - the Suffering Servant

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant

 

 

The context and introduction for Isaiah 53’s suffering servant is found in the previous chapter 52. It is given completely here for clarity.

 

 

Isaiah 52:

1     Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city:

     for from now on there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.

2     Shake yourself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose yourself from the bands of your neck,

     O captive daughter of Zion.

3     For thus said the LORD, You have sold yourselves for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.

4     For thus said the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there;

     and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

5     Now therefore, what have I here, said the LORD, that my people is taken away for nothing?

     they that rule over them make them to howl, said the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.

6     Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold, it is I.  

 

Comment:

In verses 1-6 we are being told of Israel’s/Jerusalem’s sad state of ruin and captivity, but she must get

up, strengthen and prepare herself, because God will move to save her and they will once again know

His name.

 

 

7     How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace;

     that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that said to Zion, Your God reigns!

8     Your watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye,

     when the LORD shall bring again Zion.

9     Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people,

     he has redeemed Jerusalem.

10   The LORD has made bore his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations;

     and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

11   Depart you, depart you, go you out from there, touch no unclean thing; go you out of the middle of her;

     be you clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.

12   For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

 

Comment:

The good news of God’s salvation has come to Israel and they must watch out for it. God will reveal

His salvation to all which includes Israel. He will comfort, guide and redeem Israel.

 

 

13   Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

14   As many were astonished at you; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

15   So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him:

     for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.  

 

Comment:

The salvation of God is revealed in His servant, who will have no attractive appearance. The salvation in this servant is not just for Israel, but for all nations.

 

 

After the suffering servant has been introduced at the end of Isaiah 52, then we are given more details describing him in Isaiah 53.

 

Isaiah 53:

1     Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2     For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness;

     and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3     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.

4     Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5     But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him;

     and with his stripes we are healed.

6     All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7     He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,

     and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.

8     He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?

     for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9     And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence,

     neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10   Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin,

     he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11   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.

12   Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

     because he has poured out his soul to death: and he was numbered with the transgressors;

     and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   (AKJV)

 

 

 

Jews who do not believe that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah (which are most Jews today) say they believe that Isaiah 53 does not refer to a man at all as the suffering servant, but refers instead to the nation of Israel. However, there are several reasons why their claim it refers to Israel and not the Messiah is untrue.

 

 

 

1) Isaiah 52 makes it clear that God will save Israel and then proceeds to tell us how He will do it – by providing the suffering servant. This clearly shows that there are two parties: the one who is saved and the one who saves. Israel is the one who needs to be saved and the one who saves her is the suffering servant, who is the salvation God provides. Israel is not and cannot be the suffering servant.

 

Isaiah 49 indicates this truth as well:

 

Isaiah 49:

5     And now, said the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him,

     Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

6     And he said, It is a light 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 for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.   (NKJV)

 

 

It is obvious that the servant that raises the tribes of Jacob and restores the preserved of Israel cannot be Israel herself, but someone else.

 

 

 

2) The masculine pronoun of “He” is used to describe the suffering servant. In many places in Scripture and in the immediate context of Isaiah 51:17-18; 52:1-2 and 54:5-6, Israel/Jerusalem is described as a woman – a “she” and not a “he”. This further delineates and separates Israel the saved from the suffering servant, her savior. The suffering servant – the “he”, is not Israel.

 

 

 

3) Isaiah 53:1-3 describes the fact that the suffering servant will actually be rejected by the people He comes to save. This is exactly what has happened and is fulfilled prophecy for almost 2000 years. It alone is a proof that Jesus is the Messiah and Israel is not the suffering servant, because if Israel is the supposed suffering servant, has Israel really rejected herself? Or is it the truth that Israel has rejected the suffering servant who is someone else and a person?

 

 

 

4)   Scriptures have already long ago established the principle of atonement for sin in the sacrificial system and the annual holy day of the Day of Atonement. At the very core of atonement is the understanding that sin results in death and in order that we not die, the atoning sacrifice in our place must itself be completely pure and undefiled. The theme of Isaiah 53 is that the innocent and pure servant will suffer and die for the sins of others and it is repeated throughout (verses 4-12).  

 

Can Israel honestly say that she is guiltless and can bear the sins of others? Or is it the truth that the Scriptures state many times that Israel herself is awash in sin – and is actually guilty of even greater sins than the nations around her, because she is the chosen one of God, but still has turned away from Him repeatedly? Does not the Scripture say that God calls Israel His beloved, but yet she has played the harlot? These are hard words and hard truth, but they come from the Scriptures itself. Here are a few examples:

 

Ezekiel 5:

7     "Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you

     and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances,

     nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,'

8     therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I, even I, am against you,

     and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations.   (NASB)

 

Ezekiel 16:

32   "You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!

33   "Men give gifts to all harlots, but you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you

      from every direction for your harlotries.

34   "Thus you are different from those women in your harlotries, in that no one plays the harlot as you do,

      because you give money and no money is given you; thus you are different."

35   Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD.

36   Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because your lewdness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered

      through your harlotries with your lovers and with all your detestable idols, and because of the blood of your sons

      which you gave to idols,

37   therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure,

     even all those whom you loved and all those whom you hated.

     So I will gather them against you from every direction and expose your nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness.

38   "Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged;

     and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy.

39   "I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines,

     demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare.

40   "They will incite a crowd against you and they will stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.

41   "They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women.

      Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers.

42   "So I will calm My fury against you and My jealousy will depart from you, and I will be pacified and angry no more.

43   "Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things,

      behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head," declares the Lord GOD,

      "so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations.

44   "Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, 'Like mother, like daughter.'

45   "You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters,

      who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

46   "Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you,

      is Sodom with her daughters.

47   "Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little,

      you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they.

48   "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.

49   "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease,

      but she did not help the poor and needy.

50   "Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.

51   "Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, for you have multiplied your abominations more than they.

      Thus you have made your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have committed.

52   "Also bear your disgrace in that you have made judgment favorable for your sisters.

      Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you.

      Yes, be also ashamed and bear your disgrace, in that you made your sisters appear righteous.

53   "Nevertheless, I will restore their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters,

      the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and along with them your own captivity,

54   in order that you may bear your humiliation and feel ashamed for all that you have done when you become a consolation to them.

55   "Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to their former state,

      and you with your daughters will also return to your former state.

56   "As the name of your sister Sodom was not heard from your lips in your day of pride,

57   before your wickedness was uncovered, so now you have become the reproach of the daughters of Edom

     and of all who are around her, of the daughters of the Philistines--those surrounding you who despise you.

58   "You have borne the penalty of your lewdness and abominations," the LORD declares.

59   For thus says the Lord GOD, "I will also do with you as you have done,

     you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant.

60   "Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth,

      and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

61   "Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both your older and your younger;

     and I will give them to you as daughters, but not because of your covenant.

62   "Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD,

63   so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation,

      when I have forgiven you for all that you have done," the Lord GOD declares.  (NASB)

 

Hosea 5:

3     I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, Ephraim, you have played the prostitute. Israel is defiled.

4     Their deeds won't allow them to turn to their God; for the spirit of prostitution is within them, and they don't know YAHWEH.

5     The pride of Israel testifies to his face. Therefore Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their iniquity.

     Judah also will stumble with them.

6     They will go with their flocks and with their herds to seek YAHWEH; but they won't find him. He has withdrawn himself from them.

7     They are unfaithful to YAHWEH; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their fields.

8     "Blow the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah! Sound a battle cry at Beth Aven, behind you, Benjamin!

9     Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke. Among the tribes of Israel, I have made known that which will surely be.

10   The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark. I will pour out my wrath on them like water.

11   Ephraim is oppressed, he is crushed in judgment; Because he is intent in his pursuit of idols.

12   Therefore I am to Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness.

13   "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, Then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to king Jareb:

     but he is not able to heal you, neither will he cure you of your wound.

14   For I will be to Ephraim like a lion, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear in pieces and go away.

      I will carry off, and there will be no one to deliver.

15   I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face.

     In their affliction they will seek me earnestly."   (WEB)

 

 

To say that Israel is the one who suffers for others is a reckless and bold declaration that ignores the Scriptural truth that it is Israel who is the focus of God’s eye and is above all the one who must be redeemed. Scripture consistently says that God will provide for the salvation of Israel and redeem her, and it is only in this salvation of Israel will all others also be blessed as well; Scripture does not say Israel is the one who redeems.

 

Those people who say that Israel is the redeemer who bears the sin of others removes the guilt of Israel herself and makes her the “victim” of the sins of others. They exalt Israel and make Israel appear to be without fault and then deserving to be the redeemer of others. Such a belief contradicts all of Scripture. Nothing that has sin can atone for others. Every man has sin and Israel is a collection of men. And as stated before, the sin of Israel is greater than the sin of the nations.

 

The Scriptural truth that the suffering servant is without sin and therefore qualified to die and atone for the sins of the people, reveals that He is not the nation of Israel, but a person. He is not just a man, but He is much more and in Himself has the attributes of deity, because it is only divinity that can be perfectly pure, holy and unblemished.

 

 

 

5)   Despite what many Jews believe today, the ancient rabbis did believe that Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah and not the nation Israel. But because many could not comprehend that the Messiah can both suffer and be eternally glorious, this has led to the belief that there are two messiahs, one who suffers – Messiah ben Joseph, and one who is glorious in victory – Messiah ben David.

 

However, not only is this evidence that it was understood the suffering servant was the Messiah and not the nation of Israel, but also that in Messiah Himself there is a dual role He serves in the salvation of His people.

 

Jews must realize that the redemption and salvation of Israel is not just a rescue from her physical enemies, but from the greatest enemy: haSatan (the adversary/Satan the devil), where sin and death must be abolished forever.  God’s plan of salvation is comprehensive and covers everything beginning in Genesis 1 – all creation must be redeemed.

 

 

 

6)   Further evidence that Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah as the suffering servant and not the nation of Israel can be seen in the very fact that the suffering servant actually dies. Absolutely nowhere in all Scripture are we told that the nation Israel has died or ever will die.  

 

Truly, the underlying message of the Scriptures about Israel is that Israel will never die.

 

There are some who interpret this death as a symbolic death of the nation Israel for the sins of other nations, but as we read before, there is no Scriptural justification for Israel being worthy to die for the sins of others when her own sins are egregious and greater than the nations.

 

 

 

7)   Isaiah 53 repeatedly says the suffering servant bears the sins of the people & dies for the sins of the people.

 

The question then is : Who is the people that the suffering servant dies for?

 

If the answer is Israel for whom the suffering servant dies, then Israel cannot be the suffering servant.

 

So let us ask, and also prayerfully & honestly answer, for ourselves the following:

 

 

Who is “our” (2 times) and “we” in verse 4:

 

“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

 

Who is “our” (3 times) and “we” in verse 5:

 

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him;

and with his stripes we are healed.”

 

Who is “we” (2 times) and “us” in verse 6:

 

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;

 and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

Who is “my people” in verse 8:

 

“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?

 for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

 

Who is “their” iniquities in verse 11:

 

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.”

 

 

So just who is the people for whom the suffering servant bears and dies for their iniquities?

 

To whom does the “our/us/we” pertain in verses 4, 5 & 6?

 

If we are referring to the writer, Isaiah himself, the prophet Isaiah’s people are the nation of Israel.

 

 

Some Jews say it is the Gentile nations who are speaking and so everywhere it refers to “our/us/we”, it refers to the Gentiles talking about Israel suffering for them.

 

However, this makes absolutely no sense and goes against all Scripture, because the Gentiles are never considered “my people” as verse 8 makes abundantly clear.

 

For to whom does the “my” in “he was cut off…for the transgression of my people” (verse 8) and “their” in “for he shall bear their iniquities (verse 11) refer?

 

It must be referring to God Himself speaking about Israel, saying “my people” and “their iniquities”; therefore, we must admit God’s people is the nation of Israel and not the Gentiles.

 

We also see proof that the Gentiles are not speaking about Israel as the suffering servant when the people are referred to as sheep that have gone astray in verse 6. The Tanakh does not call the Gentile nations God’s sheep, but it is Israel that is referred to God’s sheep repeatedly:

 

Jeremiah 50:

6     "My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains;

      They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place.

 

Zechariah 10:

2     For the teraphim speak iniquity, And the diviners see lying visions And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain.

      Therefore the people wander like sheep, They are afflicted, because there is no shepherd.

3     "My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the male goats; For the LORD of hosts has visited His flock,

      the house of Judah, And will make them like His majestic horse in battle.

 

Ezekiel 34:

1     Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,

2     "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,

     "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?

3     "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.

4     "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up,

      the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost;

      but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

5     "They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

6     "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth,

      and there was no one to search or seek for them."'"

7     Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

8     "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey,

      My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd,

      and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;

9     therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

10   'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds,

      and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep.

      So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth,

      so that they will not be food for them."'"

11   For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

12   "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep,

      so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.

13   "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land;

     and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land.

14   "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel.

      There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

15   "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD.

16   "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;

      but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.

17   "As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another,

      between the rams and the male goats.

18   'Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture,

      that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures?

      Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?

19   'As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!'"

20   Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.

21   "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad,

22    therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

23   "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.

24   "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.   (all NASB)

 

 

This Scriptural truth that Israel is the one who is God’s people and needs her many sins atoned for by another party can be seen in Isaiah 59 when God calls out Israel for her sins, Israel then confesses her sins and God proclaims redemption will come for Israel by an intercessor God will provide. Israel knew she was lost in her sins and sinned greatly against God and needed an intercessor. Yet many Jews today are contradictory and insist Isaiah 53 are the Gentile nations calling Israel the one that dies for their sins? This shows again that Israel is not the suffering servant:

 

Isaiah 59:

1     Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.

2     But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

3     For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies,

     Your tongue has muttered perversity.

4     No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies;

     They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

5     They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; He who eats of their eggs dies,

     And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

6     Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity,

     And the act of violence is in their hands.

7     Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;

     Wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8     The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths;

     Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

9     Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look for light, but there is darkness!

     For brightness, but we walk in blackness!

10   We grope for the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes; We stumble at noonday as at twilight;

     We are as dead men in desolate places.

11   We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us.

12   For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us,

     And as for our iniquities, we know them:

13   In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt,

     Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14   Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter.

15   So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it,

     and it displeased Him That there was no justice.

16   He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;

     And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

17   For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head;

     He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18   According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies;

     The coastlands He will fully repay.

19   So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun;

     When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.

20   " The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," Says the LORD.

21   "As for Me," says the LORD, "this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you,

     and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants,

     nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants," says the LORD, "from this time and forevermore."    (NKJV)

 

 

So if the suffering servant comes and suffers for Israel, how can the suffering servant Himself be Israel? It is absolutely clear in Isaiah 53 that the suffering servant is without sin and suffers for the sins of others, and not for Himself.

 

 

God laments that His people are led astray by their leaders and lack of knowledge:

 

Isaiah 3:

12   As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people!

     Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths."   (NKJV)

 

Hosea 4:

6     My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge,

     I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

7     " The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.

8     They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity.

9     And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds.   (NKJV)

 

 

But God’s word is there and reveals the truth. We must not be blinded by biases and traditions or even our families and communities. For what is more important than truly knowing our God and the Messiah whom He has chosen and sent?

 

Remember this : what is considered the “norm” is only because many/most people follow it; however, it does not indicate what is right. What is the norm can be decidedly wrong though it has the majority.

 

In the days of Noah, the norm was great wickedness and the intent of every man’s heart was evil continually (Genesis 6:5). It was the norm, but it was not right. Only Noah and his family fought the trend and were saved because of it.

 

God has declared that the atonement itself must be pure and without sin. No man can make the claim nor qualify to atone for the sins of mankind, but one. And neither can a nation, which is just a collection of men. However, Jesus/Yeshua did make the claim that He will die for the sins of the world and will be raised in 3 days. Isaiah 53 is referring to a man who will die for our sins. The fact that He qualifies as this atonement is indicative of His deity and He fulfills the prophecy of the suffering servant. There is a duality in the roles of the Messiah, but there is only one Messiah – not two.

 

The one same Messiah both suffers and dies for our sins as the Suffering Servant, but also lives again to be great and divide the spoils of the mighty, returning as the Davidic and conquering King Messiah.

 

 

We must seriously consider the words of the Jewish proverb:

 

“An honest but mistaken man, once shown the truth, either ceases to be mistaken or ceases to be honest.”

 

 

 

 

 

Please see the next article in this series: A person who atones for sin - Genesis 22 - the type/prophecy of the son as atoning sacrifice

 

 

Link to the Prophesied Messiah articles outline

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