Isaiah 53: Two remaining questions
<quote> Now that I have finished explaining the passages, …
You mean, I've finished putting my own idea into the text, and perverting the true meaning.
<quote> … there remains two questions that are asked.
<quote> 1. What you say is fine but everything that you have said is not the authentic ancient traditional explanation of the Jews. This was just made up by Rashi in the 11th century so that Jews shouldn't convert. The Jews before that all knew that it meant the Messiah. The answer to this is that it is an outright lie. First, the Zohar on Exodus, and the Midrash Rabbah on Numbers both ancient Rabbinic works bring that Is. 53 refers to Israel. Second, and more importantly than that, one of the oldest references to this chapter by a Christian source (in Contra Celsum), has Origin (late 2nd century) quoting the ancient Jewish understanding that this refers to the Jewish people and their sufferings. "I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies (Is 53). At this the Jew said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual..." Even Origin in the second century knew that the Jews understood Isaiah 53 as referring to Israel.
The writer is silently skipping the following Jewish commentaries and reading. They all explain Isaiah 53 of the Messiah. Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 52:13. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b. Ruth Rabbah 5:6. Maimonides, Letter to Yemen (12th c.). Nachmanides (R. Moshe ben Nachman) (13th c.).
<quote> But even more than that, it can be shown that in the time of J. they NEVER associated this with a dying Messiah. How do I know. Look at Matthew 16:16-20 where we see that according to the NT, Peter correctly understood that J. was the Messiah, and he is told not to reveal it. But let's see Matthew 16:21-22 (right after that) "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (22) Then Peter took him and began to REBUKE him saying, 'BE IT FAR FROM THEE, LORD: THIS SHALL NOT BE UNTO THEE!'" What's going on here? If it was true that the Jews knew that Is 53 referred to the Messiah, Peter should have said 'Yes Lord we understand, that is what it says in Is 53, the Messiah has to suffer and die.' But what does he do? He REBUKES J. and tells him, are you crazy? The Messiah is not supposed to die. Peter never knew, and the Jews never knew, because it never meant the Messiah. In the time of J. nobody attached Is. 53 to the Messiah.
Peter was exceedingly wrong in rebuking Jesus. Hear what Jesus answers him.
Mark 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
So the one that thinks that the Messiah should not suffer, is here called a Satan. Let those that make the same error as Peter, keep this in mind. Thinking that the Messiah should not suffer, is called: to savor not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. So the Jewish opinion that the Messiah should not suffer, is not of God but of men. It's their wrong idea.
Even in the time of Isaiah very few know that the Messiah had to suffer, to die and to atone for the sins of the people. That is why Isaiah justly said: "who hath believed our report?", Isa. 53:1. Just a few understood this.
Also in Jesus' time there was much lack of understanding of the true function of the Messiah. But later on Jesus explained it to them, so that they began to understand the truth. See an example hereof in Luke 24:45,46. Jesus was speaking to the two going to Emmaus. They did not understand the Scriptures regarding Jesus' suffering, but Jesus opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And He said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. Also Philip understood the right meaning. He applied Isaiah 53 to Jesus. Acts 8:32-35. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. Also Matthew understood that Isaiah 53 was speaking of the Messiah. For in the Old Testament you read: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4) And Matthew sees the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus. He writes, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses (Matthew 8:17).
<quote> 2. You might say, listen Moshe. What you say is how Jews understand it, but Christians understand it another way. Who knows what is right? It just depends on who you are. A Jew says it's Israel and a Christian J. But that is NOT true. There are a number of Christian Bibles, that have been translated with commentaries from Christian sources.
We have already seen that the first Christians understood it of Jesus. The two people going to Emmaus understood that Christ ought to suffer. Philip also explained the passage of Isaiah 53 of Christ Jesus. And Matthew did the same. So the early Christians understood the passage of Jesus Christ. When Shulman is going to quote some Christian commentaries that have a different view, then the only thing he demonstrates is that those Christians differ from the New Testament. That's why they are unbelievers.
<quote> One of the most well known is called the New English Bible - Oxford Study Edition. And there we read: "52:13-53:12. Fourth servant song. The suffering servant. See 42.1- 4 n. Israel, the servant of G-d, has suffered as a humiliated individual. However, the servant endured without complaint because it is vicarious suffering (suffering for others). 13-15: Nations and kings will be surprised to see the servant exalted. 53.1: The crowds, pagan nations, among whom the servant (Israel) lived, speak here (through v.9) saying that the significance of Israel's humiliation and exaltation is hard to believe. 2: In traditional Hebrew though, the good man prospers like a tree by water but the wicked is like a plant growing in parched ground: see Ps. 1.3-6. 3: Turn away their eyes; lit. hide their faces, an expression used in relation to lepers, whose sickness, considered a sign of sin, made them despised. 4-5: The vicarious suffering expressed here is in contrast both to the traditional solidarity of guilt of Exod. 20.5 and to individual responsibility proposed by the prophets at the time of the Exile; see Jer. 31.30; Ezek. 18 5: Health for us: lit. "our peace" which means "general welfare" 6-7 The servant is led like a sheep in contrast to the peoples going their own way. 8: Although some legal process seems to be involved, the servant does not receive justice; see Jer 39:5-6. 9: The death probably refers to the destruction and Exile of Israel. Compare Ezek. ch 37. 10- 12: The theme of 52:13 is resumed. Israel, which has suffered for all mankind, will now be granted her rightful place. 10: long life and childrens children are the signs of a final vindication before G-d; see Job 42:16-17. 11: Bathed in light; enjoying G-d's favor; Ps. 80.3. There you have it, even the Christian scholars KNOW who Isaiah 53 refers to. It is ISRAEL, G-d's SUFFERING SERVANT." This shows that this is not just a 'Jewish' idea but one that is supported by Christians also!
I see. This Christian dares to have another opinion than the New Testament has. He does that against much light. For the New Testament is clear enough about Isaiah 53. Shows the willful unbeliever he is.
<quote> Likewise in volume 5 of 'The Interpreter's Bible' published by Abingdon Press on page 629 we find: "The great surprise of the nations reflected in vs 1 and in 52:13 need not imply that an individual is meant: surely the elevation and "success" of Israel, conceived with great elasticity and fluidity, would occasion a similar reaction (cf. Ezek. 37:1-14)."
Yet another unbeliever, who will have his due reward.
Isaiah 53:1 applies here: Who has believed our report?
Now matter what the people will think of this passage, I am sure that God's cause will prosper. Straight through all opposition the truth will stand and hold up the banner. For God is our LORD. He is in our midst.