Isaiah 53 – The Forbidden Chapter
This chapter is so clear, concise and so comprehensive that any fair-minded person, would have to agree that the prophet is speaking about the sufferings of the Messiah of Israel and of the Nations. Sadly though, because it is just so, it has become the ‘forbidden or rejected chapter’ within Judaism and is avoided by most. When pressed the Servant is interpreted as Israel and yet grammatically and exegetically the pronouns are in the personal form of which there are 50 within the 12 verses and so they speak of an individual not a nation. To see Israel as a servant unto G-d we must go to Isaiah 44:1-2 but in context, grammatically and literally Isaiah 42:1-4 and 49:5-6 speak about an individual, the Anointed One of G-d (YHVH) and Messiah. In the past and even today, within the Synagogue readings, this chapter is mainly ignored… Why?
In this present age when so many Jewish people are looking for the Messiah to come, so much comfort can be gained from knowing that He has already come and is coming again. This is the great truth of this chapter and we shall look at it in depth. Firstly, we shall see Yeshua/Jesus as a suffering Servant and then secondly when He returns, as a reigning Saviour and King over Israel and the Nations.
The following facts are of interest to us as background information:
- The Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters just as the Bible has 66 Books.
- Isaiah’s prophecies can be broken down into 2 sections just as there are 2 sections to the Bible. (The Tanakh and the Brit haDashah).
- Chapters 1 to 39 correspond to the 39 Books of the Tanach (O.T.) and chapters 40 to 66 to the 27 Books of the Brit HaDashah (N.T.). We should note that the Tanach lists 36 books counting Kings, Chronicles and Samuel as one book each instead of two books to each.
- The first 39 chapters have a distinctly Old Testament flavour and the next 27 a New Testament ring with its evangel flavour. Within the 27 chapters of section two we find that chapter 53 is the central one which is a fitting honour unto the central figure of the Holy Scriptures.
- Finally, let us now break down these twelve verses of Isaiah chapter 53 in order for the twelve tribes of Israel to fully understand this momentous and crucial chapter:
- Verses 1 – 3 APPROACHING GOLGOTHA.
- Verses 4 – 6 APPROPRIATING GOLGOTHA
- Verses 7 – 12 APPREHENDING GOLGOTHA
THE REJECTED MOSHIACH.
1. THE SCRIPTURES REJECTED – verse 1. ‘Who has believed our report ….’
Just as many within Israel rejected their Messiah even so with many in the World! Just as they turned away, so do most people when confronted with the Gospel. ‘There is then a mirror image of what has been will be again! Let us note that the Suffering Servant section actually starts in chapter 52:13-I5.
2. THE SAVIOUR REJECTED – verses 2 to 3.
- Verse 2 shows us His Promised and then His Personal Appearing
- He is then the unknown child before becoming the unwanted Messiah or Moshiach/Christ.
- His nature – ‘growing up as a tender plant’.
- His nurture – ‘as a root out of dry ground’.
- We can also note His personal appearance in that:
- ‘He has no form nor comeliness’. Verse 3 shows us that He is revealed and then repudiated, and finally rejected to suffer reproach from men.
THE SUFFERINGS OF MESSIAH
1. THE REALITY OF HIS SUFFERINGS – verse 4
- Bearing the burden of our sins – ‘He bore our grief’s, carried our sorrows’
- Bearing the blame for our sins – ‘we esteemed Him stricken’.
2. THE REASON FOR HIS SUFFERINGS – verse 5.
- Our sin brought about an indebtedness that had to be properly paid for under God’s Law through the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11). ‘He was wounded for our transgressions’.
- Our iniquities must be properly punished, again under the Law. ‘He was bruised for our iniquities’.
- Our sin had to be covered as shown in the Law and the Garden of Eden ‘by His Stripes we are healed’.
NB. There are only 5 types of wounds the human body can be inflicted with. Any doctor can confirm this fact and so our Lord took them all.
- a CONTUSION – when hit on the head and punched on the face.
- a LACERATION – through the scourging with the Roman whip.
- a PENETRATION – by the crown of thorns pushed down on His royal head.
- a PERFORATION – with the cruel nails piercing though His hands and feet.
- an INCISION – as the spear cut into His side. The blood & water that flowed give us the medical evidence that death had occurred, proving no swoon theory.
3. THE RESULTS OF HIS SUFFERING – verse 6.
- How God saw the problem – ‘all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way’.
- How God solved the problem – ‘the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all ‘.
OUR MESSIAH’S VIOLENT DEATH.
- HIS SILENCE – verse 7.
- Before the Hebrews – The High Priest, the scribes and elders. – ‘as a sheep before the shearer’.
- Before the Heathen – Pontius Pilate and the Roman soldiers – ‘led as a lamb to the slaughter’.
- HIS SUFFERING – verse 8.
- The invocation of the death sentence – ‘taken from prison and from judgement’.
- The injustice of the death sentence – ‘who shall declare His generation’.
- The infliction of the death sentence – ‘He was cut off from the land of the living’.
It was a vicious death but it also became a vicarious death ‘for the transgressions of My people’.
It is interesting for us to note that Daniel 9:26 teaches the Messiah would be ‘cut of’ but not for Himself but for His people. This had to be before the destruction of the Temple.
THE MESSIAH’S GRAVE AND BURIAL,
- PREPARED FOR HIM BY HIS FOES – verse 9. ‘they made His grave with the wicked’.
- PREPARED FOR HIM BY HIS FRIENDS – verse 9.
- The Divine Provision – ‘but with the rich at His death’
- The Divine Proclamation – ‘because He had done no violence nor was any deceit in His mouth’
Let us note that at His birth and at His death our Lord had a Joseph to tend Him. (Matthew 2:13) (Matthew 27:57-60)
THE RESURRECTION OF YESHUA (JESUS).
Verse 10 shows us the Tragedy and the ultimate Triumph of the Cross. Let us review The Tragedy:-
- The Unfathomable Mystery – ‘it pleased the Lord to bruise Him’.
- The Unforgettable Ministry – ‘His soul an offering for sin’.
Now The Triumph is revealed:-
- His Power – ‘He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days’.
- His Prosperity – ‘the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand’.
THE ASCENDED LORD.
- HIS REDEEMED PEOPLE – verse 11a.
- A Saving Messiah – ‘He shall see the labour of His soul ‘
- A Satisfied Messiah – ‘and be satisfied’
- HIS ROYAL PRIESTHOOD – verse 11b.
- His Greatness – ‘By His knowledge’
- His Grace – ‘My righteous Servant shall justify many’
- His Goodness – ‘for He shall bear their iniquities.’
THE MESSIAH’S ABIDING MINISTRY.
Verse 12 shows us His first and second comings. Even Isaiah the prophet and many readers and hearers of the Word of the Lord could not envisage this. Hindsight is a wonderful gift.
1st Coming – He is to be given a portion – ‘I will divide Him a portion with the great and He shall divide the spoil or plunder with the strong’
The verse tells us this is to be because of what He did for the sins of many, ‘He poured out His soul unto death and was numbered with the transgressors.’ The Holy One took our sin upon Himself as the Suffering Messiah.
This truth has to be spiritually discerned, hence verse 1:- ‘Who has believed our report?’
‘And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’
Here then are two questions for us with eternal consequences!
- Having poured out His soul unto death, bearing the sins of many.
- He made intercession for the transgressors.
From the Cross our Saviour and Messiah cried out – "it is finished!" (We rest then in a finished work).
- Upon the donkey (Zechariah 9:9) and the Tree He was the Suffering Messiah.
- Upon a white horse (Revelation 19:11) and then upon the Throne in Yerushalayim He will be the Sovereign Messiah.
But, on His return He will divide the spoil with the strong – those that have cried out to Him during Jacob’s Time of Trouble will see their Sovereign Messiah face to face. Israel will have to be strong at this time but the spoil or plunder from the coming One in His wrath against the nations will see Israel rightly in her place – as the Head and no longer the Tail of the nations. Amen.
‘So He shall sprinkle many nations, Kings shall shut their mouths at Him’ Isaiah 52:15.
His coming shall be great and awesome. Many will perish during this time of ‘Great Tribulation’ upon the earth. Far better then to put your trust in Him now and be counted worthy to escape all that is about to happen. Those that accept Him as their personal Saviour will be saved and caught away! The decision is yours, you cannot now say that you have not been told!
Accept, believe, confess Adonai Y’shua as the Lord of lords and King of kings. The Scriptures tell us if we do this we shall inherit eternal life in Him. They also record these sayings which He spoke and taught.
"Another will come in My Name, him you will accept." John 5:43.
"If you do not believe I AM you will die in your sins." John 8:24.
"Before Abraham was born, I AM!" John 8:58.
This booklet has been produced with loving care towards the House of Israel scattered spiritually and physically, but being drawn back to her Lord and the Land because of His unfailing love and covenant towards His people. Amen.
Please read Isaiah chapter 53 verses 1 to 12 and decide for yourself, your rabbi may never tell you! Your Lord and God has!
ISAIAH 53 – The Sin-Bearing Servant.
- Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
- or He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground He has no form or comeliness, and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
- He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him: He was despised and we did not esteem Him.
- Surely He has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
- But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
- 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.
- He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
- He was taken from prison and from judgement, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
- And they made His grave with the wicked – but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
- Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He has put Him to grief. When you 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.
- He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
- Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Zechariah 12:9-10. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. But I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they whom the nations were piercing shall look upon Me, and shall mourn over it, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness over it, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (NB. Israel is to weep and mourn for 30 days after recognising Yeshua as their Messiah)
from The Jewish Bible (Masoretic Text).
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