Isaiah 53: Why it can be said to have been fulfilled by Jesus
<quote> I. Why Isaiah 53 cannot be said to have been fulfilled by J.
<quote> In order to see the problems with associating this prophecy with J. let us examine two important ideas. The first is how the Tenach's prophecies work. Many people do not realize what a future prophecy and its fulfillment should be like. Let's examine two prophecies and their fulfillment in the Tenach and see what they will tell us about how prophecy works. The two we will examine are:
<quote> 1. The prophecy regarding what would happen to the person who would rebuild Jericho.
<quote> In Joshua 6:26 we read: And Joshua swore at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord who shall rise up and build this city Jericho. In his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and in his youngest son shall he set up its gates.
<quote> In 1 Kings 16:34 we see the fulfillment: In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundation in Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates in Segub his youngest, according to the word of the Lord which he spoke through Joshua the son of Nun.
<quote> 2. The prophecy regarding what would happen later to the alters of the northern kingdom of Israel.
<quote> In 1 Kings 13:1-2 we read: 1. And behold, there came a man of God from Judah, by the word of the Lord, to Bethel; and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 And he cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar! thus saith the Lord: Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he sacrifice the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burned upon thee.
<quote> In 2 Kings 23:15-17 we see it fulfilled: 15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, the high place that Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and burned the high place, stamped it small to powder, and burned the Asherah. 16 And Josiah turned himself, and saw the sepulchers that were there on the mount; and he sent and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned [them] upon the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord, that the man of God had proclaimed, who proclaimed these things. 17 Then he said, What tombstone is that which I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulcher of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
All right. These two are really very clear prophecies, together with their clear fulfillment. But now? Have we now dealt with all prophecies that exist in the Scriptures? For Shulman says: "Let's examine two prophecies and their fulfillment in the Tenach and see what they will tell us about how prophecy works." Is the whole system of prophecy and fulfillment explained by selectively taking two very simple examples? Surely, in that way we have not explained how prophecy works. This is a misleading simplification.
There are also prophecies that are much more difficult. There are even prophecies whose fulfillment cannot be found in the Old Testament. An example of such a one is this one. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (Daniel 9:26). The fulfillment cannot be found in the Tanach. Here is another example. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15) Where is the fulfillment of this prophecy recorded in the Old Testament?
From these two examples, which are more difficult, and which are put next to the simple examples of Shulman, it appears that the system of prophecy is sometimes simpler and sometimes more difficult.
<quote> From these verses we can notice a few things: 1. Each prophecy had clear points that would tell us that it was fulfilled. In the first case, the one who violated the ban would bury his first and last sons. In the second case a certain named person of the descendants of David would destroy the alters. 2. All the points described were fulfilled completely and literally. 3. While some specifics were not mentioned, (for example the name of the person in the first, and when either would occur), after they came to pass it was clear that the prophecy was fulfilled. There was no doubt as to whether it was fulfilled and the exact meaning of the prophecy.
<quote> The second idea we should look at is what Christian's (including Messianics) believe about J. There are three beliefs of Christians with regards to J. that relate directly to why this prophecy cannot be said to refer to J.
Now he begins to give a misrepresentation of the Christian faith. After he has distorted our faith, he begins to compare this distortion with the prophecy of Isaiah. The outcome is then that Isaiah says something different from what Shulman calls Christian faith. Of course Isaiah says something different from the misrepresentation, for our faith is based upon the Old Testament. And Isaiah didn't teach a distorted, but a true faith.
<quote> 1. J. is called the 'Son' and is the second person of the trinity. Without going into a deep theological discussion, let me sum up the main points of this concept. The godhead is made up of three 'aspects' or 'personna' that are separate, but are equal and of one essence. They are not three gods. So the 'Son' is equal to the 'Father' although separate. Neither is greater or lesser then the other. This aspect 'Son' is what is incarnate in the body of J.
This distortion of our faith and doctrine needs some correction.
Correction 1. The Son was from eternity. He already existed before His incarnation. The incarnation does add nothing to the concept "Son". Already in the Godhead the Father generated the Son. This appears from the text. His dear Son (...) who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:13,15). If the Son is the firstborn of every creature, and if the world was created thousands of years before Christ's incarnation, then the Son already existed before His incarnation. Moreover, since also time is created, and the world is created, and if God's Son is the firstborn of every creature, then it follows that He existed before the world and before the time. He is then from eternity.
Correction 2. Shulman says, "the Son is equal to the Father". He also says, "neither is greater or lesser then the other". This statement that the Son is equal to the Father, needs some correction and addition. It should be added that, though the Son and the Father are equal in essence, yet the Son is less then the Father with regard to His human nature. This appears from this text. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52). If Jesus increased in wisdom and in favour with God and man, then it appears that He was less in wisdom and favour in the beginning then in the end. So there is increase in Him. From this follows that the Son, with regard to His human nature, was less then the Father.
Afterwards Shulman needs this misrepresentation. He needs it to prove that the Son cannot be referred to in Isaiah 53. He reasons that, when the Son is equal to the Father, then He cannot be less. Then Isaiah 53 would not apply to Jesus.
The real and undistorted doctrine of the Son is that He is equal to the Father according to His divine nature, but less then the Father according to His human nature.
<quote> All three share the same eternal and unchanging essence.
Yes, but only with regard to Their divine natures. According to his human nature Jesus is less then the Father.
<quote> 2. The death of J. is what brings atonement and nothing else. Not his teachings, nor his miracles, nor anything else has any effect on atonement, not even the suffering that occurred to J. BEFORE the crucifixion. It is only the death and resurrection.
I think also this is a beforehand set up trap, to demonstrate that, according to his misrepresentation of the Christian faith, the suffering of Jesus has no atoning function, while it does have an atoning function in Isaiah 53. He wishes to prove then, that since Jesus' suffering does not atone according to him, Jesus cannot be meant in Isaiah 53.
Let it be clear that we Christians teach that not only His death atoned, but also all His sufferings, during His life on earth. What Shulman says about Jesus' suffering, which occurred to Jesus before the crucifixion, is therefore false. To prove that Jesus' sufferings were included in the whole process of atoning for our sins, the next verses may help.
God sent forth his Son (...) to redeem them that were under the law. (Galatians 4:4,5) If God sent forth Jesus to redeem them that were under the law, then all actions Jesus undertook on earth, served that purpose. Also His sufferings before His crucifixion did serve it.
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4) Already before His death Jesus says that He has completed the work. It does appear clearly then that He has already done something that belongs to the work God gave Him to do. For He says He has finished it. By the way, He also looks further, and includes His death.
What about His resurrection? Shulman maintains that the resurrection of Jesus atoned for sin. Is this true? No, this is false. His resurrection had no redeeming function. Instead of that it was a proof of His victory. When sin entered the world, as a sign of that sin also death entered the world. So, when sin was removed, also death was removed. Jesus' removal of death, His resurrection, was a proof that He had defeated sin and death. So, the resurrection is not atoning, but it is a proof of the completed redemption.
<quote> 3. To receive this atonement one must believe that this death was for that purpose. You may be familiar with the doctrine, and know that people believe it, but if you don't believe in it, then you are not saved.
This statement comes somewhat closer to the truth. Yet, it needs correction and completion. For if one merely believes that Jesus' death was for the purpose of atonement, he will not receive that atonement. Only the rebirth, which has the faith as a result, is sufficient. One has not merely to believe the doctrine of atonement in general, but also with a personal appropriation. Not merely "Christ has died for sinners", but also "Christ has died for me, and has atoned for me".
<quote> Now we can examine some of the verses that are part of the prophecy and see how they could never be said to apply to J.
Hear him! First give a distorted representation of the Christian faith, and then tell us that the verses of Isaiah cannot be applied to Jesus! That's the way Mr. Schulman works: by deception. But when once the doctrine is put right, you will see that everything fits perfectly. Starting from Isaiah 53 it appears how Jesus ought to be, and when we look in the New Testament, everything appears to fit the description.
<quote> Some of these are clearer in their contradiction to the above principles and some are more subtle. Each is, however significant enough on it's own to cast doubt on any thesis claiming that J fulfilled this Biblical prophecy according to the rules we have shown above.
Since the rules shown above are not Christian rules, we reject them entirely, together with the conclusions Shulman will draw.
<quote> 1. Verse 52:13 (53:11) refers to the subject of these verses as 'my servant'. The 'my' here is referring to G-d.
<quote> Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. (Isaiah 52:13)
<quote> When we say that Tom is John's servant there are a few things that we understand from that. A. Tom and John are not the same person. The servant and master are totally separate entities. A person cannot be a servant to himself.
It's true. That's what we also say. For the Son is different from the Father. The Father is another Person then the Son, Jesus. Jesus was no Servant of Himself, but of the Father. The unity is not in the Persons but in the Essence of God. It is true that God cannot be a Servant of God. We also don't say that. We say that Jesus, as the Son, as the second Person, was different from the Father, and was His Servant.
<quote> B. Tom is inferior to John. A servant is always inferior in position to his master.
Yes, this is true. Jesus, as Mediator, as Servant, according to His human nature, was inferior in position to the Father.
<quote> C. Tom must do the will of John, but John does not have to listen to Tom. The servant is subject to the will of his master, but the master need not consider the will of the servant.
Well said. Jesus, as the Servant of the Father, always did the Lord's will. Proofs:
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]. (Matthew 26:39)
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42)
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38)
<quote> D. Tom may not do what he wants, unless John allows him. The servant is never free to act outside of the limits the master sets.
Agreed, this is true. You can see this in the life of Jesus. See the next text.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19)
<quote> There are however problems with saying that J is a servant. Since J is the incarnation of G-d (according to Christian theology) ...
Jesus is God, it's true, but that does not mean that the whole Essence of God did incarnate. The Father did not incarnate, neither the Spirit. Only the Son, Who is God, did incarnate. God did incarnate because Jesus was God.
<quote> ... a co-equal member of the trinity and not a separate entity, ...
Jesus is different from the Father and the Spirit, but not separated
<quote> … he must be the same, he could not be inferior.
He is inferior, namely as human and as Servant of the Father.
<quote> He could not be either subject to the will of another, nor could he be said to lack the freedom to act in all areas.
He was subject to the will of God. See someproofs above. With regard to His human nature He was subject to God. But with regard to His divine nature He was equal with God.
<quote> How could part of the godhead be called a servant to another part of itself, and still be coequal? The servant here cannot be a 'part' of the godhead. Either we must assume that J. is not a part of the trinity, or the Messiah of Christians is not the one meant by Isaiah 53.
Shulman is now questioning the Christian doctrine of the trinity. But since we are here discussing Isaiah 53, let us stick to the subject. It's sure that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the Servant of God, and that He is God. Since Jesus is God's Servant, He can be meant by Isaiah 53.
To repeat again, as a human Jesus was God's Servant, but as God He was equal. As Person He was a part of the Godhead.
<quote> The questions of 'wills' here is also one that could not relate. How could J. be subject to the will of the Father, when he is, according to Christian theology, the same?
This again is questioning Christian theology, and not discussing Isaiah 53. However this be, we know that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is subject to the will of the Father, yet being the same. See again someproofs. But to repeat, as a human He was subject to God's will, but as God He does His Own will.
<quote> For these reasons it would not be possible for a Christian to say that J. is the servant of G-d.
As many heretics do, also Shulman subjects the Word of God to his own intelligence, understanding and power of reason. When he does not understand the divine matters of the trinity, he simply rejects them.
<quote> 2. What does it mean 'lifted up', he shall be high? That would imply that at one time he was in a lowly position and after that he was in a higher position. Physically the only lifting up that occurred with J during his lifetime was when he was put on the cross. That is clearly not what this prophecy means, since that is not a sign of greatness, but degradation. If we are talking about the divine nature, how could it be changed and 'lifted up', to higher or lower level? G-d was and is great, mighty, and unchanging before J appeared and after he appeared. Who could imagine that G-d would be in a state of depression and then be lifted up.
The solution is simple. Jesus is lifted up after His humiliation. First He is lifted by His resurrection, and later by His ascension to heaven. Also His sitting at God's right hand is a very great elevation and honor. Further we expect His return to judge the quick and the dead. Also this is a great elevation.
<quote> Similarly we have a problem with the word 'Yaskel'. If we understand it as meaning to prosper, we have the previously stated problem.
All right. Then we also have the previously given solution.
<quote> If it is meant as related to the root 'understand', the meaning would be to acquire knowledge (or deal prudently, i.e. with wisdom). How could this refer to the godhead, since His knowledge is eternal and cannot be said to increase. Was there a time when G-d had less knowledge? Did he deal imprudently? Such things are absurd and cannot fit the verses.
Shulman is giving an absurd representation of the matters. But when we see that all these things are said of Jesus Christ according to His human nature, everything fits well. Note this. All these things in Isaiah 53 are said of "My Servant". This means that they are said of Christ in His human nature, as a Mediator and a Servant of God. Yes, in that form He increased in wisdom.
<quote> 3. If the servant here is J there is another problem. J is the second person of the trinity. If the servant refers to the second person of the trinity, we have a fourth function and hence a fourth member: the 'son'. That means that there are FOUR persons and not three: father, son, holy spirit and servant.
No, we confess that there are only three Persons:
The Son and the Spirit are united in one Person.
A clear text that speaks of Jesus' humiliation and exaltation, is in Philippians 2:
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
Thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
And took upon him the form of a servant,
And was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
And became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
And given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
Of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth,
And [things] under the earth;
11 And [that] every tongue should confess
That Jesus Christ [is] Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.
The error in the reasoning of Shulman lies in the jump from "function" to "member". He stated, "we have a fourth function and hence a fourth member". But this does not follow. When there is a fourth function, then it does not follow that there is also a fourth member. One Person, the Son in this case, can have more functions. Shulman misleads here by jumping from "function" to "member", and then to "Person". Wisely he does not directly go from "function" to "Person", lest his deceit stands out too much.
<quote> 1. What does it mean 'what had not been told them'?
Here is the text: 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. (Isaiah 52:15)
<quote> This would mean that we are dealing with something that was totally unknown until it is finally revealed as the truth. This recognition and astonishment of verse 15 has not occurred yet, so it must be a future event.
Erroneous; it has happened. Previously the gentiles had not heard of God and His salvation. But after the apostles and their fellow-laborers had gone through the world, preaching the gospel, many have heard that, which was unknown to them previously. You may read this in Romans 15:20,21. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
<quote> It must be referring to when J comes again and is fully revealed. However this is a problem. Is there anyone in the world who has not heard of the story of J and the claims made about him?
Since his previous statement already was in error, and this statement builds on the previous one, also this one is false. Further, this second statement falsifies his first one. Here he says: "Is there anyone in the world who has not heard of the story of J and the claims made about him?" So everybody has heard it. Yet, before he wrote, "This recognition and astonishment of verse 15 has not occurred yet". Now, how is it, Shulman: have they heard it or not?
The answer is that, what had not been told them they have seen; and that which they had not heard they have considered. Previously they didn't know it, but presently the gospel is preached throughout the world. At the receipt of the gospel there was and is great astonishment. How it is possible that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
<quote> Certainly if this is referring to the Jewish people, they have heard it, they just didn't believe that it was a fulfillment of the prophecies.
No, it's about the gentiles, as the text says, So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him.
<quote> But the verse claims that they are to have revealed something they never heard, not something they failed to believe in previously. If we say that this refers to the acts of G-d, are they not likewise known? Even atheists are aware of the stories in the Bible. It could not be said that they are in the category of things that were not heard. Just things that were rejected as false. That is not what the verse is saying.
This above saying is entirely superfluous. The great astonishment has already happened when the gospel was preached to the gentiles. But this above saying is based upon the statement that the astonishment has not yet taken place: an erroneous statement.
<quote> 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. (Isaiah 53:3)
The text says that the servant is a "man of sorrows". In Hebrew this is an "'ish mach'ovot". What does this word mean? What is an "'ish mach'ovot", a man of sorrows? By comparison with other places it will become clear what it means. We will go through some texts and see whether this sorrow is of a spiritual or a physical nature, or of both.
Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which [are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows (mach'ovaw). These sorrows of them (mach'ovaw) are physical pains, suffering, but also spiritual sorrows.
Ecclesiastes 2:22,23 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days [are] sorrows (mach'ovim), and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. Here the sorrows can be sorrows of the spirit, mental suffering, but also sorrows of a physical nature.
Jeremiah 30:15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow (mach'ovech) is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: [because] thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. Here the sorrows may be both spiritual and physical.
Jeremiah 45:3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow (mach'oviy); I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Here the sorrows can be both of a spiritual and a physical nature.
Lamentations 1:18 The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow (mach'oviy): my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. The best explanation of these sorrows of the prophet is, that the word indicated his spiritual sufferings. But I don't exclude physical sorrows.
From these texts it appears that a man of sorrows, an 'isch mach'ovot, is a man that suffers both spiritual and physical sufferings and pains. And so it works in a human. We know that when somebody has pain in his body, also his spirit is troubled. Body and spirit are connected together.
<quote> 1. A 'Man of pains' indicates that the person was one who suffered from pain often. For example, Moses is called a 'man of G-d' (heb. ish elokim) because of his constant association with G-d. We do not consider a person who suffered for a short time before dying as a 'man of pains'. Even if the death was a very painful one, we would only say that he died a painful death, and not call him a man of pains.
Agreed, this is true. To be a man of sorrows, one should be exposed to sorrows for a long time. To say and prove then that Jesus is a Man of sorrows, we have to prove that He not only died a very painful death, but that He suffered pains during His whole life. He suffered both spiritual and physical pains and sorrows. When you read through the following texts you will see this.
Matthew 4:1,2 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. Jesus suffered the temping of the devil while He was hungry.
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. Jesus suffered from His own people. They were offended at Him, and He was without honour in Hiw own house.
Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. It was hard to bear it to be so long with this faithless and perverse generation. In particular was this hard for Jesus as God, since He does not dwell with sinners.
Matthew 21:46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. Jesus was exposed to murderers who sought to kill Him.
Matthew 26:4,37,38. 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. Jesus was in danger of death by subtlety. He began to be sorrowful and very heavy. His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
Mark 3:6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. He was in continual danger of being destroyed.
Mark 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
Mark 12:12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
Mark 14:1,34. 1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Luke 2:49,50 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
Luke 9:41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
Other text that prove that Jesus suffered both spiritual and physical pain, are Luke 19:41,47; 22:28; John 8:46. See also the next texts.
John 11:35,53,54,57 35 Jesus wept. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 5:7,8. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.
<quote> The same is with someone 'acquainted with sickness', which can only refer to someone who suffered sicknesses constantly. To say that he was sensitive to others' illnesses makes him no better then Mother Teresa or any other of the thousands of people who felt the pain of others. (Maybe it refers to President Clinton who claimed to have 'felt our pain'?)
He was a man of sorrows, and "acquainted with sickness" (wiydu'a choliy). We know that Jesus was very well known with sickness. In all places where He came, the sick came unto Him, and He healed them. He had compassion on the sick and healed them. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14) When somebody pities another, he does so because he sees and knows the sorrows that person bears. He is acquainted with their sorrows and sicknesses. Rightly it is said of Jesus Christ that He was "acquainted with sickness", for during His whole ministry on earth He was often occupied with the sick.
<quote> 1. This verse says he was considered 'stricken of G-d'. That is just not true. No one said that J was stricken of G-d. He was stricken by the Romans.
He says, "stricken by the Romans", intimating that the words "stricken of God" only apply to His crucifixion. Why only His crucifixion and not the rest of His life? But even when we restrict His being stricken of God to only the crucifixion, then it is still possible to say that Jesus was stricken of God. Though the Romans nailed Him to the cross, yet God works also through those human actions. Yes, Jesus was stricken of God.
Further, the statement that Jesus was stricken by the Romans is only true when it does not exclude that the Jews also struck Him. See Matthew 26:65-68. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
<quote> There are no sources where we see anyone claiming that the crucifixion of J was a sign that he was stricken by G-d, or some type of divine punishment for him.
There are no sources? Certainly there are sources. Matthew 26:65,66. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. They said Jesus was guilty of death because He had, according to their wrong view, blasphemed.
<quote> Certainly that was not the view of the Jews, who are supposed to be the speakers here (according to the Christian interpretation). There is just no support for referring this to J at any time in his life.
Certainly this was the view of the Jews. The text in Isaiah means that we (the Jews) thought He was stricken of God because of His Own sins. But we were in error. He was not stricken because of His, but because of our sins. Note that the verse in Isaiah says that he was considered stricken of G-d. This means that He was not really stricken of God; we only meant it, though erroneous. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4).
Some more proofs that they esteemed Him smitten of God follow here.
1. Jesus was crucified, hanged on the tree. And one that is hanged is accursed of God. Every observant Jew did know that. The hanged is cursed of God, or stricken and smitten of God. See Deuteronomy 21:23: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God. Not without reason Jesus is called in the later literature: "the hanged", or with other words "the cursed of God".
2. It was a general accepted thought, when somebody received an uncommon punishment, that he then was a great sinner. See Luke 13:1-5 for this idea. There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
<quote> 1. According to Christian theology, J had to die and suffer because of the sin of Adam. Since when Adam sinned death came to the world, the death of J ended this punishment. Romans 5:12, 14 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." So how can we say that he was stricken for the sin of 'my people'? It wasn't the sin of the Jewish people or any people in particular. It was the sin of the whole human race from Adam (according to their belief). The inherited sin of Adam needed atonement, not any individual sins.
This is a wrong representation of the matters. Shulman says that only the inherited sin of Adam needed atonement, and no other sin. This is not right. The truth is that not only the inherited sin of Adam needed atonement, but also the individual sins. Therefore it is rightly said that He was stricken for the sin of 'my people', meaning in this text the Jews.
The next texts clearly show that Jesus has died for our sins, and not merely for Adam's sins.
Romans 4:24,25. But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1 Corinthians 15:3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
Galatians 1:4. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
1 John 2:2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
1 John 3:5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
1 John 4:10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
Revelation 1:5. And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
Now we have read these New Testament testimonies, let us read again what Isaiah said. What does the prophet say? For the transgression of my people was he stricken. (Isaiah 53:8) We see to our great joy that Isaiah precisely says the same as the quotes of the New Testament. Again does it appear that the New Testament is based upon the Old Testament.
<quote> 2. Secondly, it does not say his 'death' was for sin, but his 'suffering'! What happened to J before the crucifixion when he suffered for a short time IS NOT WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING ATONEMENT. It is ONLY his death. That is not what this verse or any of the other verses in this passage says.
I am commending Shulman that he, as a Jew, finally does admit that the suffering of the Servant of God was for sin. By the way, also the New Testament does say that. Again agreement.
But let's now comment on the point of Shulman. He first gives a wrong representation of the Christian doctrine, and then he says it does not fit Isaiah 53. Of course a wrong doctrine does not fit the verses. But the real Christian doctrine is in agreement with it. Seeabove for proofs that also Jesus' suffering atoned for sins. See also the next texts. In these texts it is said that Christ ought to suffer. So it was not for naught; it ought to happen.
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Luke 24:46 Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.
Acs 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
That also the suffering of Christ atoned, besides His death, appears from this. Christ has borne the punishment for the transgressors, namely through His death. But He also has done the good works, which the transgressors were obliged to do, but had neglected. This happened during His whole life on earth.
An example may clarify this. When one has stolen $ 1,000,000,000,000, and he is put to death for that, then He still hasn't settled the matter with the owner of the money. The money ought also to be paid back to the legitimate owner. The same is it with Christ. When He was put to death for our sins, then He still hadn't settled the matter with the LORD. The obedience due should also be paid. And this is that which Christ did during His whole life on earth.
By the way, there are many Christian groups, whose doctrine would surely fall for the criticism of Shulman. We see how important it is that we have sound and pure doctrine. This is emphasized here again.
<quote> 1. There is a contradiction to the NT from these verses. According to the NT, J was killed together with two thieves, but buried in the tomb of a rich man. However verse 9 says the opposite. His grave (Heb. kever) is with the wicked, and his death(s) (Heb. meisav) is with the rich.
It should be noted first that the translation Shulman gives is not entirely correct. The Hebrew has: "wayiten et-resha'im kivro". When Shulman this translates as "His grave is with the wicked", then the subject is missing. This subject is included in the word "wayiten": he gave, or it gave, or one gave. A right translation would therefore be, "and one made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His deaths" (Isaiah 53:9). These words exactly tell what happened in the New Testament. "One made His grave with the wicked". This happened in the New Testament. For they had appointed His grave to be with the wicked, namely on the place where He was crucified. When Jesus had died, they intended to bury Him on the place called Golgotha, also called a place of a skull. They intended to bury Him there together with all the wicked people that already lay buried there. So, "one made His grave with the wicked". Then Isaiah continues: "and with the rich in His deaths". That means, everything went differently then they had appointed and prepared. For Jesus' body, that was destined to be buried with the wicked on Golgotha, was taken off the cross, and laid in the grave of a rich man. See this history Matthew 27:57-60. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. Certainly, Isaiah's words are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
<quote> 2. This verse claims that his grave was with the wicked. That means his resting-place was one of a lowly and ignominious character.
As already said, this translation is not correct. The subject is lacking. A right translation is" "and one had given His grave with the wicked". So, they had given His grave with the wicked, but their desire was not carried through. So His grave was not with the wicked, but they had appointed so. Shulman gives a wrong translation, and then begins to draw wrong conclusions.
<quote> This cannot be a reference to the Messiah since in a prophecy that is universally accepted as Messianic the prophet Isaiah says (11:10) that his 'rest will be glorious'. Which is it, glorious, or lowly?
Shulman is quoting Isaiah 11:10. Here is the text. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. It clearly does appear that this prophecy does not speak of His death in the grave. By the way, this death was also glorious, for it was with the rich. It does appear that the prophecy does not speak of Jesus' death in the grave, but it speaks of the rest of the Messiah. Not the rest wherein He lies, but the rest that comes forth from Him; the rest He gives to the gentiles that seek Him. According to the text, the gentiles shall seek Him, and when they have found Him they experience that the rest He gives is glorious. Everybody who has found the "root of Jesse", will experience that His rest is glorious.
Shulman mixed up two texts. He compares two saying that are not related but separated. And then He draws the wrong conclusion. Isaiah 53 speaks about His sufferings, but Isaiah 11 of His elevation and glory. Isaiah 53 says that they had appointed His grave on Golgotha, and Isaiah 11 says that they, that have found the Messiah, will experience that His rest is glorious. All these elements are found in the Christian doctrine of the Messiah. Through His sufferings He came to glory; and all that found Him experience His glorious rest.
<quote> 1. Verse 10 says that there are two rewards that the servant's accepting of suffering causes to occur. The first is that he shall see 'seed'. The word 'seed' (heb. zarah), when applied to humans refers to their physical descendants (it is literally used to refer to male seed: semen). But J had no physical children!
We will see if "seed" (Hebrew zerah), when that is applied to humans, does only refer to their physical descendants. After investigation this appears to be so in the majority of the cases. But there are some exceptions. Here the exceptions follow:
But yet in it [shall be] a tenth, and [it] shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance [is] in them, when they cast [their leaves: so] the holy seed (zera' kodesh, seed of holiness) [shall be] the substance thereof (Isaiah 6:13).
Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, [and] draw out the tongue? Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood (zera' sheker) (Isaiah 57:4).
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed (zera' 'elohim, seed of God). Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth (Malachi 2:15).
They speak about a seed of holiness, about seed of falsehood, and about seed of God. Here we speak not about physical descendants of holiness, physical descendants of falsehood, and physical descendants of God. But these are abstract ways of speaking.
The word "seed" is also used as a collectivity. With the seed of Israel is then meant all the people that descend from Israel. See this in an example.
If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever (Jeremiah 31:36).
As for the verb to sow, that is not used only for material seed. One can also sow wind; one can sow righteousness; one can sow iniquity and reap vanity; one can sow sin. See some examples.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. (Hosea 8:7)
The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness [shall be] a sure reward. (Proverbs 11:18)
He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. (Proverbs 22:8)
Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. (Job 4:8)
It is no problem to indicate the children of God with "God's seed". We've seen that above. Likewise we can indicate the children who are spiritually born or born again from Christ, with the words, Christ's children, or Christ's seed. In short: "He shall see seed"; that is: Christ will see His descendants, His spiritual children.
Isaiah 53 teaches that the suffering Servant of the LORD will see offspring. Does the New Testament also say that? Surely it does. See the examples. One can be a son of the kingdom; one can be a child of God, i.e. born of God. The natural children are called the seed of a father, and have received life from that person. Likewise has a spiritual child received life from God, and so belongs to God's seed.
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]. (Matthew 13:38)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (1 John 5:1)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)
We again see that the New Testament teaches the same as Isaiah 53.
<quote> To answer this many Christians try to counter and say that it refers to disciples, and not physical children, but that is not the case.
Instead of explaining if of disciples, it would be better that Christians explain it as children. Children are born of God. Being born of somebody corresponds better to the word seed. De real meaning of seed is, children who are born from Him. So we speak of the children of Jesus, who are born again by Him.
<quote> The word zarah (seed) always refers to physical children while the word banim (children) refers to disciples or followers.
The expression "seed" does not always refer to physical children, as is proved above.
<quote> The Torah has an interesting story which illustrates this. For a long time Abraham had no children, and G-d came to him and said he would reward him. Abraham said of what value is it since he has no son to inherit, only the head of his household Eliezer. Genesis 15:2-4: 'And Abram said, 'My Lord, G-d, what can you give me seeing that I am childless and the son (ben) of my house is the Damascene Eliezer? 3. Then Abram said, 'See, to me you have given no seed (zarah - physical child), and see the son (ben - son referring to follower) of my house is my heir." 4. Suddenly, the word of G-d came to him, saying: That one will not inherit you. None but him that shall come forth from within your bowels shall be your heir.' So G-d answered him, and told him that not his follower who is referred to as a 'ben' will inherit, but his physical son, his zarah, will inherit from him. Clearly the Torah is teaching that zarah means a physical child and if the verse had wanted to say followers than it would have used the word ben, as is used in other places in the Tenach.
Shulman compares the word ben (son) with the word zerah (seed). But this comparison is not possible in this context. Why is that? Because the verses speak about the ben of the house, and not of Abraham; and about the zerah of Abraham, and not of the house. Shulman may try to prove that zerah refers to children, but he will not succeed in proving that only physical children are meant. Also, since we explain the seed of the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 of His children, any proof Shulman produces is in our advantage.
<quote> We likewise see in 2 Kings 2 where banim is shown to refer to followers or students: 3 "And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace. 5 And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace." Clearly we see that zerah is used for physical 'seed' and ben is used for both physical and spiritual offspring.
Shulman is still skipping those texts we have given above, where also zerah (seed) is used for spiritual offspring.
<quote> Isaiah 57:3-4 is sometimes brought as a proof that 'zerah' can mean non-physical children. However by examining these verses we see the exact opposite. Is. 57:3-4: "But you--come here, you sons of a sorceress, you offspring (zerah) of adulterers and prostitutes! Whom are you mocking: At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring (zerah) of liars?" However it should be noticed that by the word 'sorceress' the word 'benei' (sons) is used. But they were called zerah (physical seed) of adulterers, prostitutes and liars, since their parents had done those sins. When referring to those sins that their parents did, the proper word zerah is used, since they were PHYSICAL CHILDREN of people who were sinners.
There is an error in the last part of the translation Shulman gives. He translates the Hebrew words "zerah sheker" as "the offspring of liars". The word sheker is in the singular, but he translates it as liars, in the plural. This is error number one. The second error is that sheker cannot be translated as liar(s). The word means lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood; not liar. The most literal translation is then: seed of falsehood. Another possible translation is false seed. The most literal translation, seed of falsehood, shows us that seed can refer to spiritual offspring. But does one prefer the other translation, false seed, then seed refers to physical offspring.
<quote> 2. A second reward in verse 10 is that he shall have long life. There are two problems here. First, the verse makes the rewards CONTINGENT upon the servant's performance.
Clarification: contingent means dependent on. With this I agree. Look to the verse. "If thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see seed, he shall prolong days." or: "If his soul shall have make itself an offering for sin, he shall see seed, he shall prolong days."
<quote> It is very problematic to claim that J's suffering resulted in his having long life. If you believe that J. is G-d then the eternal existence of G-d is not, and never can be contingent upon the acceptance of the suffering of this servant or on any other event in the physical world. Both Christians and Jews believe that G-d is eternal and his eternal existence is not contingent upon any outside events.
Shulman makes these words refer to Jesus' divine nature. Then he continues to say that a divine nature cannot be prolonged. His conclusion is then that this verse of Isaiah does not refer to Jesus. But the error lies herein, that he makes the words refer to the divine nature. This is wrong. The words do not refer to Christ's divine nature, but to His human nature. The context requires this. Look to the first part of the verse. "If thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin". Without doubt making His soul an offering for sin refers to the human nature. Then follows: "he shall see seed, he shall prolong days". Since the first part refers to the human nature, also the second part does. The days of Christ's human nature can be prolonged. And we know that this did happen. After His death He arose again. He says of Himself: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).
<quote> Second, This long life can clearly not refer to the 'divine nature'. How can we say that G-d's days will be lengthened? That is basically absurd. He is eternal, and this is not something that is subject to change or lengthening.
Well said. This long live does not refer to the divine nature. That's what I am asserting. It refers to Christ's human nature. His soul has made itself an offering for sin. This happened in His human nature. The connection of the text requires that also the following verses refer to His human nature. The whole chapter speaks of the suffering of the Servant of the LORD. The Person of the Mediator did not suffer in His divine nature, but only in His human nature. All things, which we read in this chapter, should be explained of His human nature.
<quote> If we say this refers to J.'s human part, he died quite young. He clearly did not literally fulfil this.
He indeed died quote young, namely to make "His soul an offering for sin", but after that "He prolonged days". It does perfectly agree. Do not make problems, Shulman, where are no problems. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt 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. (Isaiah 53:10) "He will prolong days" simply means that He, after He is killed, lives on. Surely, Jesus is lengthening His days. He will go on living. This is called "He will prolong days".
In the following examples you can see that "to prolong days" means nothing else then "to live on". So Jesus, after He had offered up His soul, lived on. Here you have the examples showing that to prolong days means to live on.
Deuteronomy 17:20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left: to the end that he may prolong [his] days (ya'arich yamim) in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
Proverbs 28:16 The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great oppressor: [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days (ya'arich yamim).
Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong [his] days (ya'arich yamim), [which are] as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days (ya'arich yamim), and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
<quote> 3. Also this verse says 'IF' his soul makes. The Hebrew word is 'ki', which means 'if'.
Correction: the Hebrew does not have ki, but im-, which means if. If thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see seed, verse 10.
<quote> Do they believe that it was only conditional, and that maybe it wouldn't have happened?
We don't believe that. Also it is not what the text says. The text says that if the first part happens, then he shall see seed. It does not say that the first part maybe wouldn't have happened. Shulman invents that.
<quote> Was there really a choice here? J. could will to do something other than G-d wanted? If J. and G-d are coequal, how could one part have a will different then the other? It is just not possible, but in the verse there is a clear choice. Was there a possibility that one part of the godhead would not agree to what the other part wanted? Sounds a bit absurd.
There was no choice. Also the text allows not for a choice. For it does not offer another option. It just says, if this happens, then that follows.
There is something to say concerning the conditional 'im (if). When this conditional if is used of men (if he does this, then that will happen), then it is possible that the condition is not fulfilled, and that also the consequence does not come to pass. But when it is said of God (if He does this, then that will happen), then no doubt is possible. Some examples prove this.
And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of. (Genesis 28:15) And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God ('im 'elohim) will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on (Genesis 28:20).
Compare both verses; verse 15 en 20. In verse 15 God promises that He will be with Jacob. Yet Jacob uses, in the 20th verse, the conditional 'im. It is not so that there is some doubt in Jacob. For a few verses ago God has promised it. So he does not doubt, but yet uses the word 'im. Therefore it must be interpreted as "God has promised it, but when I indeed will see the promise fulfilled, then I will…". So there is no doubt; yet the conditional 'im is used. If God will be with me.
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God ('im Adonai ha'elohim), follow him: but if Baal, follow him. And the people answered him not a word (1 Kings 18:21).
Elijah says: 'im Adonai ha'elohim. It is not so that he doubts that. He is wholly sure of it. But he means something like: "if according to you the LORD is God, then follow Him".
Both these examples use 'im for God, without doubting but one moment that the condition would be fulfilled. If these things are so then also we need not doubt the fulfillment of the condition in Isaiah 53. The more because it is a prophecy. And we also need not doubt it because verse 11 continues to assume that it will happen.
<quote> 4. We see in this verse the words 'it pleased the Lord to smite him'? If he is part of the godhead it should of said, it pleased HIMSELF to be smitten or something like that. The verse implies that the one who is pleased is not the one smitten. That would contradict the trinity concept as it applies to J.
Shulman keeps explaining the verses of Jesus' Godhead. But as soon as one will begin to understand that the verses speak of Jesus as a Servant of the LORD, then everything is in harmony. It pleased the Lord to smite Him, namely the Servant of God. The Servant is in a certain degree different from the Godhead, though He is not separated from the Godhead. The idea of that it pleased to Lord to smite the Servant does not in the least degree contradict the trinity.
<quote> 1. There is no place in Isaiah 53 which supports the important principle that 'belief' in the death of J is needed for forgiveness of sin.
Shulman misrepresents our important principle of belief. It is not merely belief in the death of Jesus, but it is belief in Jesus. That means, one must believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God. It is that real belief, with all what it involves, and with personal appropriation, that is needed for forgiveness of sin.
<quote> In fact, verse 11 says that he will teach people to be righteous.
I know Jesus will teach His people to be righteous. But this is not the most simple sense and translation of the Hebrew verse. See below for a more detailed explanation.
<quote> It is his knowledge and teaching that brings people to righteousness and not his suffering, death or blood. (This cannot refer to his followers as the one doing the action here is the servant himself, and not an agent of the servant.)
Here is some deceit. It does not say that He will bring the people to righteousness "by His knowledge and teaching", but by His knowledge only. Moreover this does not exclude His suffering, death or blood. Shulman however seems to exclude this. But there is no need for it in the text.
Also the translation Shulman gives is not the simplest sense. The Hebrew has:
beda'to yatzdik tzadik 'avdi larabim
Through His knowledge will My Servant, the Righteous one, justify many.
Shulman said: It is his knowledge and teaching that brings people to righteousness. Against this are the following objections.
1. He says that it is His knowledge and teaching. But the word "teaching" is not in the text.
2. It cannot be interpreted in this way, that He brings people to righteousness, in the sense that they will act justly, and merely by that will be righteous. Then it would be the act of these people. But the text speaks about yatzdik, to make righteous, as an act of the Servant.
3. It should be interpreted just as the text says. De Servant will make the people righteous by His knowledge. Evidently they were unrighteous. But through His knowledge they are made righteous. This is no work of the people, but it is the work of the Servant. The people occur as passive objects here, to whom happens something: they are made righteous.
4. Right after that it is explained how that making righteous takes place. How does that take place? He shall bear their iniquities, says the text. Their iniquities are borne through the Servant. By that the original transgressors are saved from it, and are made righteous in that way.
In short, Shulman gives a twisted and distorted explanation. It's an explanation according to the Jewish errors, and an explanation against the text of Isaiah.
<quote> 1. How did he fulfil verse 12 which says that he will 'divide spoil' (Heb. shalal). This word shalal is used for booty of war as the following collection of verses clearly illustrates: Genesis 49:27 "Benjamin shall ravin [as] a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil (shalal)." Exodus 15:9 "The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil (shalal); my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them." Numbers 31: "11 And they took all the spoil (shalal), and all the prey, [both] of men and of beasts. 12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil (shalal), unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which [are] by Jordan [near] Jericho." Deuteronomy 20:14 "But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, [even] all the spoil (shalalah) thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee." Joshua 7:21 "When I saw among the spoils (shalal) a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they [are] hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it." 1 Samuel 30:20 "And David took all the flocks and the herds, [which] they drave before those [other] cattle, and said, This [is] David's spoil (shalal)." Isaiah 8:4 "For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil (shalal) of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria." Isaiah 9:3 "Thou hast multiplied the nation, [and] not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, [and] as [men] rejoice when they divide the spoil (shalal)." Isaiah 10:6 "I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil (leShalal Shalal), and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." Isaiah 33:4 "And your spoil (shalalchem) shall be gathered [like] the gathering of the caterpillar: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them." How did he fulfil this? How could he? We must conclude that this prophecy has not been fulfilled by J, since it is not clear that he has fulfilled it.
Shulman doubts whether Jesus has divided spoil. We will see if he rightly doubts. What does the Hebrew text say? It says:
we'et-'atzumim yechalek shalal
Translated this is:
And He shall divide the strong ones as spoil; or: And He shall divide spoil with strong ones.
That Jesus has defeated the strong ones, and that their property belongs to Him, is patently obvious from the following texts.
Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Mark 1:24 Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
Acts 26:15-18: 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Colossians 2:15 [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
<quote> 2. How can we ascribe to him that 'he interceded for the transgressors'? To whom could he intercede? The word intercede implies that there is a person who intercedes and the one to whom he intercedes. Since he is a part of the godhead there is no one to intercede with. He himself should be the one to forgive. This shows that the servant IS NOT G-d, but a servant of G-d.
Well said. Jesus does appear as the Servant of God, distinguished from God. And as already said, Isaiah speaks in these verses about the suffering of Christ, not according to His divine nature, but according to His human nature. And in that human nature He indeed was subjected to God. As a Mediator He stood between God and men. This is what Isaiah says here. "And he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12)
<quote> As I mentioned before, when a prophecy has been fulfilled, it is always clear that it has been fulfilled. However, Isaiah 53 is not clearly fulfilled by him.
This is wrong. Every word of Isaiah 53 is clearly fulfilled by Him. Saying He did not clearly fulfill Isaiah 53 rests on a misrepresentation of the Christian doctrines, or on inaccurate reading of the New Testament. Surely, He has fulfilled everything very clear.
<quote> Besides the many reasons above for denying that he fulfilled this prophecy, how do we know that his death did anything? It is claimed, but since so much of Isaiah 53 cannot apply, why should this be assumed to apply.
He says that "so much of Isaiah 53 cannot apply" But this is entirely wrong. Everything can be applied to Him, as is proved above.
<quote> Now look at the full text of Isaiah 53, and consider if ALL the details of the prophecy has been fulfilled, or even if they could be fulfilled by J (as we have seen above). Look carefully where it refers to a servant. Consider verse 10, 11, 12. The text below is from the Authorized Version - KJV. (I will later go through verse by verse and give a fuller understanding of the wordings and the translation).
<quote> Isaiah 52:13-53:12
<quote> 13. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonished at thee; 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. 1. Who hath 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 hath 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 hath 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] upon 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 hath 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 openeth 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 hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt 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 hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Allthe details of the prophecy are fulfilled by Jesus Christ. He is the Servant of God.