COMPE SATI G VISIO S By C. I. Scofield, D. D.

"When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed . . . He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied:" — Isaiah 53:10, 11 THE fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is one of the prophetic foreviews of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It should be studied with the twenty-second Psalm. The latter is descriptive. "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." — Psalms 22:14-18 A marvelous description of death by crucifixion. The profuse sweat of intense physical agony, the dislocation (of shoulders and pelvis), heart failure, thirst, the pierced hands and feet, semi-nudity and 279

280 I MA Y PULPITS hurt modesty — all these accompanying agonies of that most agonizing death are set forth with literal exactness. Even the desolate cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" — Psalms 22:1 is given. What a proof to any candid mind of the inspiration of the Bible ! How should David foresee these things. Crucifixion was a mode of execution wholly unknown to ancient Israel. It was a Roman invention of later date. The answer is that David was an inspired man. But if the twenty-second Psalm is a description of the death of Jesus Christ written a thousand years before the event, the fiftythird chapter of Isaiah is a doctrinal explanation of the crucifixion written 700 years before the event. When we have read David's wonderful vision of the cross we are moved to ask with the divine Sufferer Himself, "Why?" Why was such a Being forsaken to such a death? Isaiah answers the question: Jesus Christ suffered vicariously. He who had never sinned was forsaken that we who have sinned might not be forsaken. "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: . . . 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. 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." — Isaiah 53:4-6

"for the transgression of my people was he stricken." — Isaiah 53:8

WITH DR. C. I. SCOFIELD 281 And absolutely no other explanation consistent with the goodness of God can be given. Whatever any other man has suffered was but "buffeting for his faults," who deserved, in strict justice, far more. But Jesus Christ had no faults. He had always ] perfectly loved, perfectly obeyed God. Such a Being, in a morally governed universe, could only suffer for others. And since, as Plato said, "Sin and suffering are riveted together," whoever would 'bear our sins/ must of necessity take our place in suffering. But while He, as our Substitute, must suffer in our stead, the compassion of His father could and did Mght up that awful darkness with the vision of the results of so great suffering. Christ, in other words, was given to see that His pains were birth pangs; that His agonies were not merely a doing right by the moral order of the universe, an awful but perfect vindication of the holy law, a final demonstration of His own horror of sin and of God's necessary hatred of it — not merely thus were His sufferings to be interpreted; but that those very sufferings were truly material, the "travail" out of which was being born the new creation — this He was permitted to see. Who can estimate the enormous joy of that vision? "He shall see his seed," — Isaiah 53:10 "He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." — Isaiah 53:11 The

"corn of wheat" — John 12:24 had indeed come to the moment of death, but in the

282 I MA Y PULPITS very act of dissolution He felt Himself passing into countless corns of wheat. If a grain of actual wheat were conscious of itself, could feel all our human drawing back from death, but could just at the moment of ceasing to be, find its consciousness reborn into the hope of the new powerful upspringing life of the blade forcing itself upward toward the light and downward into the warm soft soil, — if this, I say, could be, it is easy to see that the new joy of the new life would swallow up the transitory pain of death. Just so, Isaiah tells us, Jesus Christ saw the myriads of the redeemed all born again into the very divine life which was, for three days and nights, to forsake His torn and agonized body. Think what Jesus saw as He hung there in the darkness. He saw every individual who would be saved through His death. Paul said: "who loved me, and gave himself for me." — Galatians 2:20 And if Paul, then each of us. Does this seem hard of belief? Why, even finite creatures, men and women, by thousands, have testified that in the act of drowning, every act of their lives passed before them in an instant of time! And He who hung dying on the cross was the God-man. To His human consciousness, His human capacity, must be added the divine consciousness — the divine capacity. He saw a little group of fishermen, who, for the

most part were Galileans, uncouth of speech, untaught in the wisdom of the world, inelegant and

WITH DR. C. I. SCOFIELD 283 poor, invade in His name the Greek world of culture and the Roman world of power. He saw hell moved to its depths, and the whole power of Rome, ten times in two centuries, launched against an ever-growing but always small and obscure band of believers. He saw them in the arena, in prisons, in slave pens and catacombs; and He saw them, pale with 200 years of suffering, mount the throne of the Caesars. He saw the dawn across the long night of centuries. He saw the world acknowledge His ethic. He saw hospitals and orphanages and schools. He saw woman no longer the slave of man. He saw childhood made sacred. Across the long conflict of good and evil He saw His own second coming in glory, and the earth, so long drenched with blood and tears, swing into the peace and blessing of the millennium. And He saw till God had wiped away all tears from all faces, till there was "no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying," — Revelation 21:4 He saw " a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb " — Revelation 21:4 and He saw His servants, reigning "forever and ever." — Revelation 22:5

His was the triumph of joy over pain. When the vision was at its climax He said,

284 EST MA Y PULPITS "It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." — John 19:30 This is what the writer of Hebrews means when he says that Jesus "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame" — Hebrews 12:2 Have we not here a divine law? Is the compensatory vision of Jesus Christ a solitary instance? By no means. Undoubtedly the crucifixion vision vouchsafed to the dying Lord was unique in its extent and power. But it was after all but the highest, most sublime instance of a great principle of the divine dealing. When Moses was about to die he "went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of ebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all apthali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar." — Deuteronomy 34:1-3 What did that mean? It meant that Moses was permitted to see that in behalf of which he had labored and suffered. As his eye swept that match-

less panorama of verdure and fruitfulness, the blue of distant mountains, whose clefts in the afternoon sun seemed inlaid with sapphire and emerald, as

WITH DR. C. I. SCOFIELD 285 he saw the flashing of distant waters and the waving of tall trees, we may well believe that his great heart beat high, even though its beatings were soon to be stilled under the kiss of God; and that as he turned to see the desert of the wanderings, and recalled all its weariness and pain, Moses murmured: "The least of yonder glories is compensation for it all." When Paul was "ready to be offered" — // Timothy 4:6 and knew that the time of departing was near, he sang his swan song of triumph. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:"—// Timothy 4:7,8. He thought of the years of storm and stress since he met Jesus on his way to Damascus. He said: "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep." — // Corinthians 11:24, 25 "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

— // Corinthians 11:27 But one gleam of the jewels of that crown, one look into the deep eyes of the blessed Lord, one tone of His voice as He said, "Well done, Paul; well done,

286 I MA Y PULPITS valiant soldier, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," more than paid for it all. We have these balancings of glory against pain. Where do we find them? In the promises of God. You who are weary of heart look up! 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer we shall also reign with him" — // Timothy 2:11, 12



Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful