Suffering Servant and the Messiah
The Suffering Servant has to come first.
There is an order to things prophesied.
Christians focus on Isaiah 53.
Jews focus on other passages to define who the Messiah is- a king who brings peace.
Both are correct, but how do we piece this together into one unit?
Isaiah speaks of 3 kinds of “Servant:”
1. Israel as the Servant– God’s chosen people, picked to spread the Word of God to the nations. He also indicates that his servant fails Him. This is seen in
42:18 servant is “blind”
43:2, 4-6, 10
44:1, 21, 22 servant told to “return” to God
2. Cyrus as the Servant – to help save the chosen people in a physical way, and lead them
3. A Servant that bears our iniquities– where I want to focus – Isaiah 52-53
New International Version (NIV)
53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
This does not describe the suffering of the persecuted Jew.
Jews in the holocaust, and other times of persecution, as horrific as those times were, never died for the sins and iniquities of others. Their righteousness did not justify others. They did not take up the pain and suffering of others.
They did not pour out their lives for others, because their lives were taken from them. It was not voluntary.
They did not intercede for the transgressors.
The wounds of Jews did not heal anyone.
They were not an offering for sin.
The bible teaches that no man can die for the sins of another, although he can suffer due to the iniquity of others. Sin is a private issue between man and God, and man has to repent and be punished for his own sins.
Isaiah describes this servant as righteous, and innocent. This is further seen in Isaiah 52:
The Suffering and Glory of the Servant
13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
This servant will be exalted by God, and kings will acknowledge him. This is someone who also becomes unrecognizable due to the physical marring of his body and face. This describes an unusual torture and disfiguring.
This would not describe the persecution of the Jews either. They have not been “highly exalted.” They are still persecuted.
So therefore, this servant bears the iniquity of others, dies for their sins, and is highly exalted by God, interceding for the transgressors, bringing in righteousness.
Where Israel had failed God, and Cyrus was just temporary, this servant succeeded, removing iniquity in the one day, when he died, and making God’s righteousness known before the kings of the earth.
So the suffering servant also fulfills Daniel 9:
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Notice that the servant has to reconcile for iniquity before the vision can be sealed up and he can be anointed.
He qualifies himself for the anointing by dying for sin, and reconciling for iniquity with the righteous sacrifice for sins. God exalts him by giving him the kingdom.
Notice also that Daniel also defines the one who fulfills this prophecy as the Messiah, and gives the time he will arrive:
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Notice that Daniel also says that the Messiah will be “cut off,” or killed, and WHEN this will happen, which is what happens to the suffering servant:
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
Notice above, that he is not cut off for himself.
This is because he is cut off for the sins of others.
He is righteous, and has no sin of his own that would merit punishment by God.
Micah 5 further describes this servant – both his earthly and heavenly origins:
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
In verse 3, it is mentioned that he “gives up” his people until she is in travail, and Jews return home again. This is consistent with Yeshua / Jesus “leaving” his people, and telling them he will return:
3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
He shall achieve greatness, and peace will return when he contends with the Assyrian who invades Israel:
4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
Daniel’s 4th Beast and Messiah – Messiah given kingdom and
authority when 4th Beast appears, by the Ancient of Days – this is the time of the end, when Israel has been re-established and Jews have returned to the land, as predicted in Micah 5:
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
9 “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The suffering servant first had to die to remove the iniquity of others. (Is 53)
He would be “cut off” or killed, but he would also voluntarily “pour out” his life for others. (Is 53, Dan 9)
So, he was not doing this for himself, but for others (Dan 7, Micah 5)
God exalts him by giving him the kingdom. (Dan 7)
He would also return when the remnant of the Jews returned to Israel (Micah 5)
He would return when the 4th beast arose to destroy Israel and the
world ( Dan 7)
So he comes twice, with 2 different missions.