We learn in Isa 53.7-9 that he was like a lamb led to the slaughter. He was “cut off” (Dan 9.26) out of the land of the living, for the transgression of Israel. His grave was assigned to be with wicked men (the two thieves) yet with a rich man in his death (buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea). Isa 53.10 says that the Lord was pleased (it was his will) to crush him (bruise-Gen 3.15), putting him to grief (to become weak-Heb 4.15-16, 9.14; Luke 22.42). He was rendered a guilt offering (an Asham) and yet he will see his offspring (spiritual seed).
In Isa 53.11-12 it says he will “bear their iniquities” and “he himself bore the sin of many.” But what does that mean? How did he bear the sin of many? Here is the understanding of what the Lord is saying. Yeshua gave his blood for the remission of sin (Matt 26.28) and it means to “cancel a debt.” By his suffering and death comes healing and salvation. The word “bore” (Hebrew “nasa”) can mean “forgive.” He “took up” (nasa) sickness. We see this in Matt 8.16-17 where it says that “And when evening had come, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled (given meaning), ‘He himself took our iniquities, and carried away our diseases” (Isa 53.4). This was not at the cross, but during his ministry.
God is burdened by sin and understands the sufferings caused by sin. He “bore” our sins in his heart. He was the perfect korban (Rom 4.25, 5.9). He gave what we could not, a perfect life. He bore in his flesh and heart our sins. Yeshua showed how much he loved us. He suffered not because he was punished by God. That is the impression his persecutors wanted (53.4). Yet Yeshua allowed himself to be taken because it was the will of the Father and it was for our own good. To heal us of sin, he offered his perfect life. He was deprived of justice (1 Pet 2.21-23) like Stephen and the Talmidim. Far from being the embodiment of sin (what Satan wanted to portray and what is taught in some Replacement Theology) he was punished unjustly. He was the one who brought peace. He was the lamb without blemish. He was not made “guilty” for our sin, that is unjust. He was the guilt offering (the Asham) and was righteous, and gave his life for us, by which we live.
There is a good book on Isaiah 53 called “The Servant of Jehovah” by David Baron. He was a contemporary of Alfred Edersheim and a Jewish author. The name “Jehovah” is a made up Christian name for the the Lord (YHVH), however, and we would not have used that in the title. However, in this book it says that Isa 40 through 66 is made up of twenty-seven chapters with three sections of nine chapters each. At the end of Isa 48.22, we have the phrase “no peace for the wicked.” At the end of Isa 57.21 we have “no peace for the wicked.” Then at the end of Isa 66 we have what happens with the same message of “no peace” (v 23-24).
We love patterns with the same wording. The repetition of the same message means something. The basic message is the Messiah and his victory over evil. The first section (Isa 40.1 through 48.22) is telling us about how the redeemed will go forth from Babylon, proclaiming the Messiah and his victory over evil. They will use the example of the first redemption and imagery associated with it (desert, thirst, water from rock, etc). The second division (Isa 49.1 through Isa 57.21) has the same subject, but with more intensity and information. The third section (Isa 58.1 through Isa 66.24) tells us the destiny of both the righteous and the wicked.
In Isa 65.17 it says, “For behold, I create a new heavens and new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Going forward to Isa 66.22, we have the new heavens and the new earth. Isa 66.24 gives what happens to the wicked, carrying on with the theme “no rest for the wicked” at the end of the first two sections (48.22, 57.21). These are actual patterns. There is a chiastic structure and theme to these chapters. In the first section, Isa 44 is the center of the chiastic structure, with the middle point being the theme or focal point of that section. The second section has Isa 53 as the chiastic center and focal point. The third section has Isa 62 as the focal point and theme.
In the first section (Ch 40-48) the restoration from Babylon is portrayed in terms that far exceed what really happened because it is dealing with a restoration out of “Babylon” in the “last days” (second redemption). In the second section, this great redemption will be accomplished by one who is a greater “Cyrus” (Koresh) of the first section. This would be the “Servant of the Lord.” He not only restores the tribes to the land, but he will be a light to the non-Jews. In the third section, it shows a converted and redeemed Israel as a channel of the Basar of the Messiah.
The heart of this prophecy can be found in Isa 52.13 to Isa 53.12. Isa 52.13-15 is the “preamble” to the center theme of Isa 40 through 66, which is Isa 53. Isa 53 reads like a history summary of what the Gospels portray about the Suffering Servant, who is identified in the Gospels as Yeshua of Nazareth. We realize that this prophecy reads like an eye witness account of the events found in the Gospels. Another good source for more information on this is “The Case of Mistaken Identity” by Rachmiel Frydland.
We have heard in churches that the Jewish people “rejected” Yeshua. The reality is, proportionally, one out of every six Jews in the first century were believers. That would be over one million people. That would equate to 53 million people in the United States, with a population of 318 million people. Now, do we really believe there are 53 million true believers in the USA? Not everyone who says they are a believer really is one, they profess to be one, but they really aren’t. Some go to church, some don’t, but they “believe in God.” Ever been to a funeral for one who was portrayed as an unbeliever? We haven’t.
In Judaism it is the same way. Just because one is religious does not mean that person is a believer in God or the Messiah. We have a large amount of people who will be under one of these two banners, Christianity or Judaism. In reality, we have no idea how many are actual believers. If you look at the city you live in, how many are truly believers? Not who profess to be a believer, but real believers? Proportionally, do we have one-sixth of the population in this country as true believers? We would have to guess “No” so it is not an accurate statement to say “the Jews rejected Yeshua.”
Jews as a nation, people rejected Yeshua. God required more than one-sixth to be believers. The corporate nation rejected him, and God required the whole nation. But the proportion of true believers in the first century was much higher than in this country. In Rachmiel Frydland’s book “The Case of Mistaken Identity” he says that Jews made a mistake when Yeshua came. Could the Jews be mistaken again? If they prefer to follow man’s view of the Messiah instead of God’s, they will. Orthodox Jewish scholars follow the view of Maimonides that says that Messiah is to fight Israel’s battles, be victorious, and force the Jews to keep the Torah and the Halakah as interpreted by the Rabbis. In such a case, any military leader who is of Israeli descent and is successful could “claim to be Messiah” if only they were more “religious.” In fact, this is exactly what the false messiah is going to do.
But Israel will not be mistaken again if they accept the plain teaching of God’s word about the Messiah. The Scriptures are very clear, and here area a few examples. The Messiah will have a supernatural birth (Isa 7.14); born in Bethlehem (Micah 4.8, 5.2); performed supernatural deeds (Isa 35.5-6); his death was an atonement for sin (Isa 53.5-8; Psa 22); he resurrected from the dead (Psa 16.10-11); his coming had to be before the second Temple was destroyed (Dan 9.24-27); Messiah will win the obedience of a large number of non-Jews (Isa 49.6). There are many, many more examples, but the Jewish people were attacked by Christianity before Christianity ever became a “legal” religion in the Roman Empire. In Part 26, we will pick up here and discuss the concept of Christianity and how it developed from being persecuted as a “new religion” by Rome; how it countered those charges by likening themselves to Israel; to being the persecutor and the author of what we call Replacement Theology. Then we are going to look at the concept of the “Suffering Tzaddik.”