Isaiah 53 does not = Jesus

In Isa 49:3, which closely precedes Isa 53, the servant is identified as Israel.
Israel, the servant, would be the light that shows the way to God and salvation as said in Isa 49:6

In order to claim that Jesus, and not Israel, is the servant in Isa 53, the prior identification of the servant by Isaiah must be discounted, ignored, or rationalized away; which I understand that most do not have a problem doing… but just to make it clear, I do believe God meant it when He said His counsel would stand and that He declared these things Himself (Psa 33:1; Prov 8:13-15; Prov 19:21; Prov 22:20; Isa 25:1; Isa 45:21; Isa 46:10 and that the counsel of the people would not stand (Psa 33:10; Psa 81:12; Psa 83:3; Isa 30:1; Isa 47:13) and that He would not change (Malachi 3:6) and this is where my hope rests. :slight_smile:

Isaiah 53:1-12 God stated in Isa 49:6 that Israel would be given/revealed as the light to the Gentiles

Vs 2: Ezekiel 17:22-24; Isa 5:6-7

Vs 3: Isa 49:7 (the servant declared in vs 3 of this chapter :wink: )
In Psa 44:13-15 Israel is portrayed as being scorned by people of the nations.
According to the New Testament Jesus often had large crowds following him. Jesus was portrayed as being quite popular in Luke 4:15.

Vs 4: Isa 48:1 (note that Jacob is called by the name of Israel… very true in today’s world) and then 48:10 the servant was afflicted by God.
Psa 44:11,13-15 depicts Israel as being stricken by God.

Vs. 5: In Jer 30:12, Israel is depicted as being wounded.
Israel was wounded through foreign conquest and exile but in this wounding, the Gentile nations would be “healed” because when Israel was later uplifted, restored, and glorified, the nations would come to see that the God of Israel was the one true God.
(Ezek 37:11-12, Isa 49:22-23, Isa 52:13-15, Isa 56:1-8, Isa 60:10, Isa 61:5-6, Jer 30:10-22)

Vs. 6 and 7: Psa 44:11,22 depicts the afflicted Israel as a sheep led to slaughter, scattered among the Gentiles.
Jesus did open his mouth at both his trial and execution. Also Zechariah 13 (note verse 1 before claiming this is Jesus… God said HIS counsel will stand).

Vs 8: Israel was taken away to exile by the Gentile nations.
Jer 31: 27-28; Isa 52:13-15

Vs 9: Jesus did the reverse of what this verse says.
Jesus made his grave with the rich, being buried in a fancy tomb.
Jesus was with the wicked, the two thieves, in his death.
Jesus did violence when he used a whip and overturned tables at the Temple(John 2:13-15).
Jesus claimed that he did not come to bring peace but a sword(Matt 10:34).
In Zeph 3:13 the righteous remnant of Israel are described as having no iniquity and no deceit in their mouths.

Vs 10: The travail of Israel would eventually be finished and in the future Messianic era, the servant Israel would be restored, would expand and prosper, and be glorified before the world.
(Isa 52:13-15, Ezek 36:37, Isa 65:22-23, Zeph 3:20)
And look ------> (Zech 8:23). IMMANUEL (GOD WITH US) The Jewish have been declared as Immanuel… again (GOD WITH US!!) Named by the Virgin, who you will find in Amos 5:1-6… it all fits together quite perfectly once you understand the beginning. :slight_smile:
Jesus had no seed, did not prolong his days, and did not prosper during his life according to the popular Christian view.

Vs.11: The servant is Israel, which was identified by Isaiah in the preceding chapters.
Isa 49:3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Vs 12: a restored Israel would gather the wealth of the surrounding nations(Zech 14:14; Psa 68:10-12;).
Through its displayed suffering and subsequent restoration, Israel would pave the way for the “heathen” of the world to be brought to knowledge of the one true God(Ezek 34:27-30).
Israel is the vehicle that God uses to bring other nations to knowledge of him(Isa 49:6).

There are many reasons why the verses in Isa 53 don’t clearly point to Jesus.
Jesus can be inserted into Isa 53 by believers if they need Jesus to be there, but there is no solid justification for asserting that the passage is actually about Jesus. :blush:

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

It is difficult to see what point you are making. What “Israel” are you concerned about?

Jesus is Israel. He is the King of Israel; He is the Head of the Church, the New Israel, or the True Israel, which is His Mystical Body.

So, it is unclear where your argument goes. To read the text properly, one must make an effort to understand its meaning. One cannot suppose that every sentence or dozen lines must be free of ambiguity when taken in a vacuum. Such ambiguities are only resolvable in retrospect. As the Book of Revelation says:

And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to into into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation (RSV) 5:3-5.)

As with any text, the amazing thing is that it can be understood correctly, not that it can also be misunderstood by hostile or incomplete readings.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

Your point about the tomb is interesting. You say, “Jesus made his grave with the rich, being buried in a fancy tomb.” However, St. John writes:

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John (RSV) 19:41-42.)

This suggests a tomb in the area of the place of execution. Even if no other convicted criminals were buried there, certainly the grave was “with the wicked” who were being crucified in the neighborhood. But, either Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus, or both in cooperation, arranged for the tomb. Either or both of these men may have been the “rich man” connected with the grave by the prophecy. This does not seem inconsistent with:

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death . . . (Isaiah (RSV) 53:9)

Though again, if one demands that the text be such that it can have no other possible reading before one accepts its correct reading, then one is not engage in a reasonable effort to fairly read the text.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

Read up on history. Crucifixion was not used for criminals such as thieves. So, in actuality, even this explanation falls short.

You gotta be kidding me…:shrug:

What is that? That I believe the declarations of God over the declarations of man? No… trust me… this is ONE area of Life that I take VERY seriously! :slight_smile:

Engaging analysis. Would you be prepared to detail the presuppositions you held as you approached the text together with the sources/commentators you consulted in order to formulate your arguments?

Curiously,
Mick
:thumbsup:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah_53

Yes it does too.

So there! :stuck_out_tongue:

The Ten Reasons

  1. The consistent use of pronouns in the passage makes it clear that the suffering servant is an individual who is distinct from the Jewish people to whom Isaiah was speaking. Throughout the passage, the suffering servant is always referred to in the singular (he, him, himself, and his), while the people of Israel are referred to in the plural (we, us, and our) or simply as “my people.” Thus, the suffering servant cannot be Israel. For example, Isaiah 53:3-8 states:

He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely our disease he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way;

And the Lord hath made to light upon him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, though he humbled himself, and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that is before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? For he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.[1]

In addition, when “Israel” is inserted for the pronouns, the passage makes no sense. For example, the servant is righteous yet is dying for Israel’s transgressions. (See, for example, verses 8 and 11.) Either Israel is righteous or she isn’t, not both. In addition, Israel cannot die vicariously for her own sins.

  1.  Israel is distinct from the suffering servant for three additional reasons:
    

a. In this passage, Israel observed the suffering of the righteous servant. (See, for example, verses 3-6.)

b. The suffering servant died for the transgressions, or sins, of the Jewish people. This is seen in the closing sentence of Isaiah 53:8, which says:

For he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.

Clearly, “my people” is Isaiah’s people, the people of Israel. The passage would make no sense if the suffering servant were Israel. In that case, Israel would die for Israel’s sins. In other words, Israel would have gotten what she deserved, which makes no sense. The entire passage speaks of the suffering servant suffering and dying for, on behalf of, or in place of Israel.

c. In verse 10, the suffering servant is offered as an “asham,” or guilt offering. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, or Jewish Bible, the guilt offering was never Israel, nor could it ever have been Israel. The guilt offering, or “asham,” was always offered on behalf of or in place of the one who had committed the trespass or sin.[2] It was never offered for or on behalf of the asham itself. (No one could ever be an “asham” for his or her own sins.) An asham offering was always offered by an individual and never by the nation of Israel. (See Art Scroll commentary on Leviticus, volume 1.) In addition, the offering had to be without blemish, or sinless. Because the offering was without blemish, it was always offered for the sins of someone other than the asham itself. For all of these reasons, Israel cannot be the suffering servant who offers himself as an asham offering.

  1. The “asham” always had to die. Likewise, the suffering servant clearly died. See Isaiah 53:8, 9, 10, and 12. He was “cut off out of the land of the living,” he had a grave; he was with the rich “in his death;” and he “poured out his soul unto death.” However, Israel never died. In fact, it is impossible for Israel to ever die, because G-d promised Israel that she would live forever. (See, for example Jeremiah 31:35-37.)

  2. The suffering servant suffered a vicarious and substitutionary death (Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 10, 12). He suffers for the sins of others, so they need not suffer for their own sins. Nowhere in the Jewish Bible nor in Jewish history do we ever see Israel suffering for, on behalf of, or in place of the Gentiles, so that the Gentiles do not have to suffer. Israel often suffered at the hand of Gentiles or because of Gentiles, but never for, on behalf of, or in place of the Gentiles. Israel suffers, but she always suffers for her own sins.

  3. The suffering servant “sprinkles” many nations (or Gentiles) in Isaiah 52:15. The Hebrew word for sprinkle is repeatedly used for the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice, which was always offered for, on behalf of, or in place of Israel.[3] Israel’s blood was never “sprinkled”, as Israel could never be a sacrifice for herself.

hopeinmessiah.org/10_Reasons.htm

  1. The suffering servant has qualities that were never true of Israel:

a. The suffering servant is depicted as being innocent. He did no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth (Isaiah 53:4-6, 8b, 9b). Israel is never told she would suffer for being innocent. (See, for example, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.) In addition, Israel is never depicted as being innocent. A cursory reading through Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, and all the prophets make this abundantly clear. (See, for example, Isaiah 59:1-15, esp. verses 4-7 and Psalm 14:3. These are just two of hundreds of examples that could be cited.) That was why so many sacrifices were needed. Israel was never righteous, or even close to being righteous. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel is pictured as continually rejecting God and being repeatedly judged for her sins. This is in sharp contrast to the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, who is portrayed as an innocent sufferer.

b. The suffering servant is the most righteous person described in Scripture. In Isaiah 53:11, he is called “Tsadeek ahvdee”, or “My righteous servant.” This is the only place in the entire Hebrew Bible where this phrase is used. It certainly is never used of Israel. In addition, neither Abraham, Moses, David, nor any other prophet or ruler was ever called “Tsadeek ahvdee”, or “My righteous servant” in the Hebrew Bible—except for the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Only one righteous or without any blemish could die as a sacrifice for sin. However, no normal human was ever considered righteous on his or her own. (See, for example, Psalm 14:2-3 and Psalm 53:2-3.) This suffering servant must, therefore, be someone greater than Abraham, Moses, or David. It is no wonder that the great majority of rabbis throughout the ages concluded that this righteous servant was none other than the Messiah of Israel.

c. The suffering servant is depicted as being a silent sufferer, in that, like a lamb, he did not protest his execution nor did he defend himself (verse 7). He, instead, suffered willingly and voluntarily. While Israel has suffered immeasurable persecution, she has never done so willingly or voluntarily. Israel has always cried out against the inhumanity of people against her.

  1. In this passage, the suffering servant is depicted as suffering for, on behalf of, or in place of others. This was never true of Israel. In the Jewish Bible, every time Israel suffers, including the Babylonian captivity and the present day Dispersion or Diaspora, Israel suffered for her own disobedience—not for the sins of others.

  2. The Jewish people (Israel) were promised that if they obeyed G-d, they would be greatly blessed. Only if they were disobedient would they be cursed. (See, for example, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.) If Israel were the righteous servant of Isaiah 53, it would have been impossible for her to have suffered and died under the conditions and in the manner described in this passage.

  3. In this passage, the suffering servant bore the sins of the people, so they would not have to bear their own sins or be judged for them (Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 10, 12). If the servant is Israel and the people are the Gentiles, then the Gentiles would not need to be punished for their sins, as they would have been vicariously borne by Israel. This has never been the case. The Gentiles were never deemed innocent after Jews suffered at their hands. Instead, they were judged for mistreating Jewish people. (See, for example, Genesis 12:3, Numbers 24:9, and Jeremiah 46:28.)

  4. Isaiah 53:1 refers to the suffering servant as “the Arm of the Lord.” There are 37 references to the Arm of the Lord in the Tanakh. Never does that phrase refer to Israel. The Arm of the Lord acts on behalf of Israel, but is never Israel. Among other things, the Arm of the Lord redeems and delivers Israel when Israel is not able to deliver herself. (See, for example, Exodus 6:6, Exodus 15:16, Deuteronomy 4:34, 5:15, 9:29, 26:8, II Kings 17:36, Psalm 44:3, and Ezekiel 20:33-34.) Clearly the suffering servant, the Arm of the Lord, cannot be Israel.

I have grown up being taught that Isaiah 53 was indeed referring to Jesus and just like anything we learn before we can rationally think for our own selves, it WAS very hard to approach with out that powerful suggestion. As for sources/commentators, there was none in particular. I was shown Isaiah 8:20 by a Jew and that was all it took to realize that anything that I need to know will be found in the Tanakh. I came across verses/passages in my studies and they were worded the same and the declaration to who it referred to was written there, plain as day (either I would be reading the Scripture or I would see a post with a verse and it connects in my head). The funny thing is, I came across an AGNOSTIC who could see that the NT was not founded in the Tanakh as well, and he saw the same references as I did and connected them as well, the same way I did. He is the one I was discussing this with elsewhere, thus, I used that conversation to formulate the OP… organize it, that is. Other than that… well, I mean, there should be no reason to get interpretations outside of the scriptures as it is all there in front of us. Sure enough, all these verses/passages that were worded the same as Isaiah 53 and declared Israel in those passages as being the one talked about is consistent with the servant of Isaiah 53 being declared just a few chapters prior in Isaiah 49:3.

Being honest with myself, I could see that it was not an individual who fit this chapter to the dotting of an “i” and the crossing of a “t,” but rather it WAS/IS Israel. Many individuals though can relate to this chapter. I know I can. I read it and think, “yeah, I know how that feels” and that is what makes it ALL the more powerful… and to know that I can join myself with that servant NOW (and not some unknown and distant future date) makes SO personal and real. I think God is brilliant that He gave us His Son and that HIS Son is here with us on this earth now! Hosea 11:1; Exo 4:22, 23. :o

If you do not mind letting me know exactly what it is that you are trying to point out there, I would appreciate it. :slight_smile: Yes, there are many commentaries on it and this thread is about mine (well, the Scriptures technically since I only used the declarations already made in the Scriptures as to who Isaiah 53 is referring to).

So, what… I am to believe your word over the obviously Divinely inspired Scriptures aka, the Tanakh, aka the WORD of GOD? Sorry, I never actually believed that God would expect faith (as defined in the NT by Paul) in exchange for eternal life. Sure enough, He does not, but rather He is clear that w/out knowledge, we are destroyed (Hosea 4:6). And THIS is a God worthy of my trust! :wink: The god/s (thinking trinity) in the religion (christianity) I was brought up with were too shady, it seemed… though, I do say that without the slightest bit of arrogance (it is hard when you cannot hear the tone of my voice and God forbid that anyone think I assume to be ALL knowing… I do not see myself that way at all)… I AM open to the truth, so if I can be proved wrong, then please do so. :slight_smile:

Your problem is that you have a rigid view of scripture. Who says that it doesn’t signify both Israel and Christ?

Nice try! :wink: In Zeph 3:13 the righteous remnant of Israel are described as having no iniquity and no deceit in their mouths.

b. The suffering servant is the most righteous person described in Scripture. In Isaiah 53:11, he is called “Tsadeek ahvdee”, or “My righteous servant.”

Your misperception of what makes a person righteous is due to your looking at it through the interpretations of man. Why not give Proverbs 2:1-7 a try and see what God will open up to you. :slight_smile:

c. The suffering servant is depicted as being a silent sufferer, in that, like a lamb, he did not protest his execution nor did he defend himself (verse 7). He, instead, suffered willingly and voluntarily. While Israel has suffered immeasurable persecution, she has never done so willingly or voluntarily. Israel has always cried out against the inhumanity of people against her.

Uhm, the verse says, “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 openeth not his mouth.” Do you know what a shearer of sheep actually does? THAT is key to understanding how Jesus was not the one being depicted here and that it WAS rather the Chosen of God being depicted here. :slight_smile: Check out Genesis 9:20-26 and really think about the job of a sheep shearer and who it was that was done in JUST THAT MANNER and how their not opening their mouths about THAT really is just as it is declared here… the servant really did NOT open their mouths when brought before HER shearers. :slight_smile: This all supports it being Israel.

I LOVE Zechariah 13 by the way, especially verse 9. HOW blessed to be a part of His creation. Just an FYI. :wink:

I think it signifies Israel and that it speaks very personally to those who are to join themselves to Israel. It does not, however, fit wholly Jesus as an individual. It just doesn’t! And not only that, but the suffering servant is already declared. If believing that God meant it when He said “My counsel SHALL stand” makes me rigid in your eyes… so be it. I trust God because He has proved Himself to me, so I have no reason to doubt that His declaration is as He said…that is, still standing. Malachi 3:6

Jesus is the new Isreal. He relived Israel’s history, beginning with 40 days in the desert, and showed her how she ough to have lived.

From the Gospl of John:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2
He was in the beginning with God.

3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be
4
through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;
5
4the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6
A man named John was sent from God.
7
He came for testimony, 6 to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
8
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
9
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.
11
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
12
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
13
who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
14
And the Word became flesh 9 and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
15
John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’"
16
From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
17
because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

2 [1-11] Wedding at Cana. The first sign. This story of replacement of Jewish ceremonial washings (John 2:6) presents the initial revelation about Jesus at the outset of his ministry. He manifests his glory; the disciples believe.

usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john2.htm

He is the end of symbolic ceremonial washing as the way to be spiritually clean. He replaces it with the new wine of the Kingdom

I have grown up being taught that Isaiah 53 was indeed referring to Jesus and just like anything we learn before we can rationally think for our own selves, it WAS very hard to approach with out that powerful suggestion. As for sources/commentators, there was none in particular. I was shown Isaiah 8:20 by a Jew and that was all it took to realize that anything that I need to know will be found in the Tanakh. I came across verses/passages in my studies and they were worded the same and the declaration to who it referred to was written there, plain as day (either I would be reading the Scripture or I would see a post with a verse and it connects in my head). The funny thing is, I came across an AGNOSTIC who could see that the NT was not founded in the Tanakh as well, and he saw the same references as I did and connected them as well, the same way I did. He is the one I was discussing this with elsewhere, thus, I used that conversation to formulate the OP… organize it, that is. Other than that… well, I mean, there should be no reason to get interpretations outside of the scriptures as it is all there in front of us. Sure enough, all these verses/passages that were worded the same as Isaiah 53 and declared Israel in those passages as being the one talked about is consistent with the servant of Isaiah 53 being declared just a few chapters prior in Isaiah 49:3.

Being honest with myself, I could see that it was not an individual who fit this chapter to the dotting of an “i” and the crossing of a “t,” but rather it WAS/IS Israel. Many individuals though can relate to this chapter. I know I can. I read it and think, “yeah, I know how that feels” and that is what makes it ALL the more powerful… and to know that I can join myself with that servant NOW (and not some unknown and distant future date) makes SO personal and real. I think God is brilliant that He gave us His Son and that HIS Son is here with us on this earth now! Hosea 11:1; Exo 4:22, 23. :o
[/quote]

Thanks for furnishing such a comprehensive response.

Appreciatively,
Mick
:thumbsup:

If you do not mind letting me know exactly what it is that you are trying to point out there, I would appreciate it. :slight_smile: Yes, there are many commentaries on it and this thread is about mine (well, the Scriptures technically since I only used the declarations already made in the Scriptures as to who Isaiah 53 is referring to).

The link was just providing background information for those of us without a firm opinion.

I’m simply interested in listening to the debateb - from the different viewpoints.

Thanks for starting the thread.

Just 4 points to the OP:

  1. Isaiah 53 has a long and established talmudic and early rabbinic interpertative history as referring to the Messiah. Not only does this appear in the Talmud and midrashes and other early rabbinic commentaries, but the NT itself is the greatest testimony that this was the understanding of Jews at the time of Christ, otherwise they would not have made the direct comparisions to the suffering servant passage.

  2. There is not as single reference in the Talmud or in the midrashes or in any acknowledged rabbinic commentary associating Isaiah 53 with the nation of Israel until the time of Rashi (1,000 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus) - why is that?

  3. When you read Isaiah 53, it says that the Servant died for the sins of Israel and was righteous (without sin). The nation of Israel was not without sin - indeed, the scriptures tell the story of a stiff necked people constantly sinning (there is not one that is rigtheous, not one - as Isaiah says, their deeds are as dirty rags to God).

  4. Isaiah 53 says that by the suffering of the Servant, those who wounded him are healed. Those who have persecuted Israel are/were not healed - they were punished. As God wrote in the Hebrew scriptures, those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed - and this has happened through history.

Contrast this with the Messiah (Jesus) who was sinless and whose death was indeed an atoning sacrifice for the sins of those who killed him.

Blessings,

Brian (I am a Jewish believer).

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