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Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53

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The “tour de force” of the Messianic Jew or Christian missionary is often the use of Isaiah chapter 53 in the conversion of Jews to ‘Yeshua’ or “Jesus” respectively. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 sometimes works on the unsuspecting secularized Jew in the culturally ‘Christian’ western world. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 only sometimes works because of the Messianic Jew’s or Christian missionary’s basis for proof lies squarely in the evidence[1] and validity of the New Testament (NT) or Brit Chadashah, which even those most assimilated Jews with a good amount of self esteem knows to avoid like the plague.
The “tour de force” of the Messianic Jew or Christian missionary is often the use of Isaiah chapter 53 in the conversion of Jews to ‘Yeshua’ or “Jesus” respectively. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 sometimes works on the unsuspecting secularized Jew in the culturally ‘Christian’ western world. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 only sometimes works because of the Messianic Jew’s or Christian missionary’s basis for proof lies squarely in the evidence[1] and validity of the New Testament (NT) or Brit Chadashah, which even those most assimilated Jews with a good amount of self esteem knows to avoid like the plague.

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Published by: Menashe Dovid Ben Avraham on Oct 21, 2012
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10/24/2012

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Isaiah 53
By Menashe Dovid (
 
)©by Menashe Dovid ben Avraham The “tour de force” of the Messianic Jew or Christian missionary is oftenthe use of Isaiah chapter 53 in the conversion of Jews to ‘Yeshua’ or“Jesus” respectively. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 sometimes works onthe unsuspecting secularized Jew in the culturally ‘Christian’ westernworld. The use of Isaiah chapter 53 only sometimes works because of the Messianic Jew’s or Christian missionary’s basis for proof lies squarelyin the evidence[1] and validity of the New Testament (NT) or BritChadashah, which even those most assimilated Jews with a goodamount of self esteem knows to avoid like the plague. Christians’ lack of successes in converting Jews are often because of taking the NTstatements at face value without asking in what particular sense Isaiah’sprophecies of the servant of the L-rd apply to Jesus which is a nextphase in the missionary approach. The next phase in the missionaryapproach teaches that the death of Jesus is the universal vicarioussubstitution for the death penalty which all sinners deserve. The earliest‘biblical’ expression of a vicarious substitution for universal sin ONLYoccurs within New Testament[2] and not within the Hebrew Bible. It ishowever, the Christian’s prior doctrinal commitments projected onto andapplied to the Hebrew Bible in general and Isaiah 53 in particular whichChristians assume is G-d’s message to every sinner and to the Jewsespecially.“Yet it was our sickness he was bearing, our sufferings he carried.But we accounted him plagued, smitten by God and afflicted. Buthe was pierced on account of our rebelling, crushed on account of our iniquities, the chastisement that brought us peace was upon
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him, and by his bruises we are healed. All of us like a flock hadgone astray, we had turned each to his own way, and the L-rdinterposed on him the iniquity of all of us.” [53:4-6]If the first person plural language in the above is taken universally, thenthe servant of the L-rd necessarily must be Jesus, because nobody elsebut Jesus bears universal sin. But within the biblical context of theprophecy, the “we” is not universal. In context, the “we” is in the mouthof the non-Jewish kings who have despised and taken advantage of Israel in exile. The kings whose report of Israel’s success would not havebeen believed had the kings (see chapter 52) not seen Israel’s ultimatesuccess with their very own eyes.“Kings shall shut their mouths at him. For what was not told them,they shall see. And what they did not hear, they shall observe.‘Who would have believed our report? Upon whom has the arm of the L-rd been revealed?’ He arose before him like a sucker, like aroot out of dry ground. He had no visage and no majesty. ‘We sawhim, and there was no appearance that we should find himpleasing. He was despised and shunned by men, a man osufferings and familiar with sickness; like one who hides his facefrom us. He was despised, and we held him of no account.’[52:15b-53:3]In view of context, if the “we” of the prophecy is not referring to allsinners ever born on planet earth, then the suffering servant is not Jesusor necessarily any would be messiah. Israeli kids learn Isaiah 53 inschool, along with all the rest of Isaiah. Israelis know chapter 53 goeswith the rest of the book! It may well be only people unfamiliar with theBook of Isaiah, ‘Christianized’ people who have read only chapter 53,who jump to the conclusion that this is all about Jesus because secular Jews who participate in Western civilization are for all intents and
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purposes culturally Christian. Some Jews who are won over to theChristian understanding of Isaiah 53 are therefore, being won over tomajority Christian culture, rather than to fulfillment of Bible prophecy orsimply because of a lack of self esteem and/ or lack of Jewish identity. Taking a look at context, Isaiah 53 obviously prophesies that non-Jewswill someday repent of their mistreatment of Israel, recognize that inGod’s mysterious plan Israel’s sufferings have been to the benefit of others, and acknowledge that Israel has been the true servant of God allalong. The problem however, is with those ‘Jesus glasses’ on, seeingIsrael as the true servant of God certainly is not obvious to many non- Jews!Certain of the prophetic specifications, which Christians often view aspointing exclusively to Jesus, are in fact borrowed from biblicaldescriptions of Israel’s experience. For example, in Isaiah 53:7 theservant of the L-rd is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter. InPsalms 44:22 Israel is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter.“For on your account we are killed all the day; we are consideredas a flock for the slaughter.” To give another example, Isaiah 53:11 says “my righteous servant shallmake many righteous.” We have just such an expression in the Book of Daniel regarding Daniel’s people Israel. Daniel 12:1b-3.“At that time your people will escape, everyone found written inthe book. Many among those sleeping in the dust of the groundwill awake, some to the life of eternity and others to shame and tothe contempt of eternity. And the prudent will shine like thebrilliance of the firmament, and those who make many righteouslike the stars, for eternity and ever.”
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