GOD’S SUFFERING AND EXALTED SERVANT
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Isaiah 52: 13-53: 12
THE GREATEST of the Messianic prophecies is found in Isaiah 52: 13-53: 12. It proves that God’s Servant is an individual. The prophecy is divided into three sections: (1) 52: 13-15 introduces God’s Servant, and briefly summarizes Messiah’s rejection and suffering, followed by His exaltation and work of blessing all the nations; (2) 53: 1-10 describes the confession of the penitent remnant of Israel; and (3) 53: 11, 12 is the prophecy’s climax, showing God’s approval and confirmation of repentant Israel’s message: God’s Servant would prosper and be exalted, and He would cause the justification of many because of His ransom sacrifice.
Introduction of Prophecy
Isaiah 52: 13: “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” The word “behold” gives the thought that what follows is of special importance: God’s Servant would deal wisely, skillfully and would prosper; and that He would be highly exalted in authority and nature.
14: “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” The Jews were astonished at His submission; the world will be astonished at His Kingdom. His face bore the marks of sorrow; and His character lacked in the qualities which the world esteems.
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.” The word “So” indicates a contrast from the previous passage. He shall “sprinkle,” that is, astonish many nations, who shall leap for joy as He pours out blessings for them. The “kings” are those among mankind who shall be restored and gain eternal life. They shall be speechless in astonishment and reverence, for they shall receive and understand the Truth.
Body of Prophecy
Isaiah 53: 1: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” In other words, “Who would have believed what we have heard?” about God’s wonderful Servant, His great sacrifice and high exaltation. The “arm of the LORD” refers to God’s power as it is exercised in the Messiah, the power of God unto salvation, which up until now very few have received.
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.” This verse presents a brief history of God’s Servant while on earth. He did not burst upon the world in a sensational way. Instead He was born of a virgin and grew up before God gradually and silently. Luke 2: 52 states that He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” He was not what the Jews anticipated or desired; He did not possess the qualities they admired in a leader. They had no admiration for the meek and lowly Servant who came to pour out His soul unto death to save the people from their sins. They were not concerned with their sins; it was the Roman yoke that troubled them.
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.” He was looked down upon by both the Jews and the Romans, and after 31⁄(2 ) years the Jews called for His crucifixion, saying, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27: 25). God took them at their word, for within 40 years Jerusalem was destroyed and they were dispersed among the nations. Though the Jews were rejected, they were given the hope of future favor. God’s Servant was full of compassion and acquainted with their griefs, but instead of responding to Him, they turned away from Him.
4: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Repentant Israel will see that their Messiah came in His First Advent especially for them; that He bore His sufferings even unto death as a substitute for Father Adam and the human race. Israel will confess that they regarded Him as being plagued, defeated and suffering for His own sins.
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.” He was weighed down by the heavy burden of our sin, but it was necessary that He suffer unto death, so that mankind may have peace with God. Though repentant Israel will mourn when they appreciate their Messiah and all He has done for them, the result will be glorious, for mankind will receive peace, restitution and joy.
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.” All mankind have wandered away from the Great Shepherd, choosing various paths of sin, error and selfishness. This primarily applies to Fleshly Israel, whom God favored above all other nations.
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.” The death penalty had to be exacted upon God’s Servant to satisfy God’s justice, and He submitted fully to the sufferings and death. He did not make a plea for deliverance because He desired to save others. When He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but He committed Himself fully to the Father.
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.” He was made subject to a mock trial, was falsely accused and judged as the worst of criminals. Who could suppose that He would have offspring, for He was put to death? Repentant Israel will testify as to His ransom sacrifice.
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.” Though He had been convicted as a blasphemer and was appointed a grave with criminals, God overruled and provided Him an honorable burial. The time for humiliation and suffering had ended, and no more indignity was necessary, nor permitted.
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.” The Heavenly Father had provided Him to suffer and die. His human soul or being was the ransom, or sin offering, for Adam and his race. “He shall see His seed” – the whole human race during restitution; after Israel accepts their Messiah, and God gives His Servant the Kingdom in its full sense (Daniel 7: 13, 14). Though His humanity will be dead forever, His New Creature was raised from the dead to the Divine nature, and the will of God shall be prospered by Him.
Conclusion of Prophecy
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.” During restitution and at its end, God’s Servant shall look back upon His suffering and death, and upon seeing how much it accomplished, He shall be fully gratified and experience great delight in the outworking of God’s Plan. The world, by receiving a knowledge of Him in both the intellect and the heart, on the basis of His righteousness, they shall become righteous.
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.” God will give Him the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession (Psalm 2: 8). He will share the rewards of victory with the four elect classes, the quasi-elect and the non-elect (as they take the steps of salvation). The reward of God’s Servant is due to His great sacrifice.
This is a marvelous prophecy of Messiah’s character and works. May Israel and the whole world rejoice in due time!
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