The Suffering Servant

15 Nov
Christians claim that Isaiah 53 is a messainic prophecy about Jesus, but this is taking Isaiah out of context.

The original author of what’s called “Deutero Isaiah” (Isa. 40 – 66, though some argue for a “Trito Isaiah” which is chapters 55 – 66) did not write “chapters”. Indeed, the chapters that appear in our Book of Isaiah are a later heuristic for making them easier to read. So it stands to reason that Isaiah 53 is more like a paragraph instead of a chapter. Taking Isaiah 53 as one chapter is simply taking the passage out of its context.

Here is the context:

Isaiah 41:8, “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham my friend”
Isaiah 44:1 “But hear, now, O Jacob My servant, Israel whom I have chosen!”
Isaiah 44:21 “Remember these things, O Jacob for you, O Israel, are My servant”
Isaiah 49:3 “And he said to me, “You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory.””
Isaiah 52:13 “Indeed, my servant shall prosper, be exalted and raised to great heights.”

It’s obvious, reading 40 – 55 in context that the servant here is the house of Jacob: Israel. Not Jesus. For all intents, Isaiah 53 is written from the point of view of the nations, not the Jews. Isaiah 53 is what the nations will be saying to the Jews – the suffering servant.

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Posted by on November 15, 2009 in Isaiah 53


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