Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation

Part LXII: Messiah's Suffering And Glory, Isaiah 52:13-53:12

B. Israel's Confession Regarding Messiah At His Second Coming, Isaiah 53:1-12

2. Israel's Confession Regarding Messiah's Substitutionary Atonement

(Isaiah 53:4-6)


I.              Introduction

A.    When Israel repents at Christ's Second Coming, she will realize the significance of His earthly life, ministry, death and resurrection, what is predicted to occur in Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1107.

B.    Israel's resulting future confession about Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross in His first advent is thus predicted in Isaiah 53:4-6, and we view this important passage for our insight and edification (as follows):

II.           Israel's Confession Regarding Messiah's Substitutionary Atonement, Isaiah 53:4-6.

A.    Israel's believing remnant at the start of the Messianic Kingdom will admit that as a nation, she in Christ's first advent had "thought, considered" (hashav, B. D. B., A Heb.-Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 362-363) Him to have been stricken, smitten and afflicted of God as a sinner, thus vastly misunderstanding the purpose of Christ's first coming, Isaiah 53:4b (Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, 1974, p. 294).

B.    Accordingly, Isaiah introduces Isaiah 53:4a with the strong assertive adverb, 'aken, rendered, "Surely" (Ibid., B. D. B., p. 38) to announce that Messiah would have born our [Israel's] sicknesses and carried our [Israel's] griefs, sufferings representative of all sufferings that are the result of our [Israel's] sin, Ibid., Alexander.

C.    The verbs "bear" and "carry" clearly point to the Mosaic law on sacrifices where a sacrificial animal's life was spent for the sinner since that animal bore the sinner's sins.  If the sinner failed to provide a sacrifice to atone for his sin, he was "said to bear his own sin (See Lev. 5:1, 17; 17:16; 24:15; Num. 9:13; 14:33; Ex. 23:38; Lev. 10:17; 16:22)," Ibid., Alexander.  John 1:29 presents Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, so Isaiah 53:4 presents Christ's substitutionary atonement not only for Israel, but for the world!

D.    Though the KJV starts Isaiah 53:5 with the adversative word "But," the Hebrew text simply uses the letter waw, which contextually carries here the supplementary force of "And" (Kittel, Bib. Heb., p. 683) followed by the word "He" in the emphatic position to show that the Messiah Himself suffered in man's behalf.

E.     The Hebrew verb for "wounded" (KJV) is halal, "bored, pierced, wounded" (Ibid., B. D. B., p. 319) and the KJV verb "bruised" is from daka', "crushed" (Ibid., p. 193-194), verbs used as metaphors for extreme suffering rather than being literal descriptions of Christ's crucifixion (Ibid., Alexander, p. 295; Isaiah 53:5a,b). 

F.     The "chastisement" (KJV), better, "punishment," of (or for) our peace was upon Him, and by his stripes we were healed, Isaiah 53:5c KJV; Ibid.  The Hebrew noun haburah, "stripe," is a collective noun, the singular put for the plural, with stripes in flogging figuratively signifying God's punishment leveled on Messiah for the sins of man, Ibid., p. 296; 1 John 2:2.  Note the expressive contrast involved: Christ was wounded on the cross in taking our punishment, our "flogging" from God, that our wounds created by our own sin might be fully healed through Christ's substitutionary atonement!

G.    What had created the need for this substitutionary atonement was the fact that all men like sheep had gone astray, each turning to his own way in rebellious sin against God and His way, and the Lord had laid upon Him, the suffering Messiah, the iniquity of us all, Isaiah 53:6; Ibid., p. 296-297.  "The figure of wandering, or lost sheep is common in Scripture to denote alienation from God and the misery which is its necessary consequence (see Ezek. 34:5; Matt. 9:36)," Ibid., p. 297.  Indeed,  this theology applies to all mankind, "(f)or all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" as Romans 3:23 KJV clarified later in the Church era!


Lesson: Israel at Messiah's Second Coming will confess that she had badly mistaken the sufferings of Christ as divine punishment upon Him when in reality they were His substitutionary atonement for her to absorb God's wrath against not only Israel, but the whole human race, that men might have their sin problem handled by grace.


Application: (1) Isaiah 53:4-6 via John 1:29 applies to all men, not just to Israel, so may we see our need to trust in Christ to escape eternal hell!  (2) May we also realize that since we are FULLY "healed" from sin by His "stripe" in taking our punishment, Christ FULLY achieved atonement for our sin so that salvation is FULLY achieved for the believer to where he needs to add nothing to it by human merit or works!  (3) Similarly, may we realize that since Christ's death fully atones for the penalty of sin before a righteous God apart from our merit or works, our salvation status is unconditionally secured in Christ.  It cannot be undone by our subsequent spiritual failures!