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Featured Isaiah 53 Suffering Servant

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by sooda, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for posting this. It provides much to think about. There is no specific Baha'i interpretation for this verse but there appears to be strong universal themes that would be applicable to Judaism, Christianity as well as other Faiths. There is a strong case to be made that Christians have read too much into Isaiah 53 to claim it as being exclusively about Jesus. A careful analysis of this chapter considering Isaiah as a whole doesn't support the traditional Christian perspective.
     
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  2. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I agree and I was shocked .. I had always assumed the Servant Song was about Jesus until I settled down and read Isaiah carefully.... and then in my denial I had to read it again and again to accept it was about Israel.

    The claim that the servant would be despised of men triggered me..
     
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  3. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg Ocean Immersion
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    From my first reading of verse 53, I am seeing that it may speak of all Gods Prophets/Messengers and what befalls them upon giving Gods Message.

    I hope to get to it verse by verse when time allows. May be tomorrow now. Adrian has far more knowledge about the Bible than me. Thus I would be interested what he sees within that chapter as well.

    Regards Tony
     
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  4. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    I do like how God raises the question in Isaiah 51 to get the reader to think about how Abraham became righteous and of course 'Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness' Good lead in to the section about 'the suffering servant' who will justify many
     
  5. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Far be it from me to question, to challenge, or to discourage a self-proclaimed Christian's act of affirming that Isaiah 53 refers to the Jewish people and does not describe an as yet unborn Messiah nor--much less--Jesus. Instead, I'd be fascinated to hear of your efforts in convincing members of Christians United For Israel of the errors in their underlying theology. In case you've never heard of CUFI, Homepage | Christians United for Israel, here's what their homepage says about them:

    "Who We Are
    As the largest pro-Israel grassroots organization in the United States, Christians United for Israel is also the only Christian organization devoted to transforming millions of pro-Israel Christians into an educated, empowered, and effective force for Israel."

    If you find it difficult to find out what CUFI's underlying theology is, it might help to know that CUFI's founder is Pastor John Hagee who is founder, leader, and spiritual guide of Hagee Ministries Home

    OUR MISSION
    To fulfill the commission that Jesus Christ gave to His followers to go into the world and make disciples of all people. Our purpose is to save the lost and to build up and encourage those who are already believers. We pledge to our viewers & supporters to take...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Notice that Hagee Ministries' purpose is "to save the lost." Hagee's Ministries' "lost" includes anyone and everyone who does not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, which includes a whole lot of Jews..
     
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  6. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Paul neither knew anything about an historical Jesus nor cared to know. His biography of a real Jesus takes up two lines or less. Mark's author, if he knew anything, knew very little, and got his story from interpretations of Tanakh passages (and, says Ted Weeden, his trial scene from the trial of Jesus of Jerusalem in Josephus' Wars) ─ though the 'physician, heal thyself' scene, the 'prophet is not without honor except' scene and Jesus' contempt every time bar one he mentions his mother, may be the only clues to a real human in there somewhere. (Or they could be written to 'fulfil' Tanakh 'prophecies' too obscure for our grasp at this distance.)

    But the truth? It's possible to detail a lot that never happened. Further useful knowledge of what really happened is dependent on new evidence, which I fear probably means out of reach forever.
     
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  7. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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  8. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    In Isa 53, each verse is comparing / speaking about Israel as a "root" in the ground. In Hebrew the word "shoresh" ( root ) is masculine.

    I think this is why the pronouns of 53 are all masculine.
     
    #48 dybmh, Apr 10, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  9. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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  10. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Wow.. that's good. How did you know that?
     
  11. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I have no interest in Israel and particularly dislike Netanyahu and the Likud. My attitude about Israel has nothing to do with the Servant Song or who Isaiah is writing about.
     
  12. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    I dunno... I just read the verses and I recalled previous explanations by Rosends and Tumah. When looking at the pronouns, it's important to look for the subject.

    Also, for me, it's easy to remember Shoresh is masculine. I'm guessing that if we look at other verses where Isaiah speaks about Israel in the feminine, Israel will be blooming?

    The root is not nearly as beautiful as the blossom.

    Also, Shoresh is a common word when studying Hebrew language. It is the "root" meaning.

    To put it another way in terms of masculine / feminine:

    The shoresh of a word in Hebrew is the "point".
     
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  13. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Well then, Good catch. I learned something.
     
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  14. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    54, switches to feminine... Israel is compared to a barren woman

    55 switches back to masculine, the subject is the "thirsty ones" or the "roots" in dry land from chap 53...
     
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  15. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I sure am happy you're here. Your input is HUGE.
     
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  16. MJFlores

    MJFlores Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much.
    Isaiah 53 - all pronouns are masculine.

    Jesus Christ is a man.

    John 8:40 New King James Version (NKJV)

    But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.



    In Isaiah 53, I do not see a nation here but rather a man suffering - the Man Christ Jesus
    In Isaiah 54, Israel is mentioned
    In Isaiah 55, the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ are mentioned.

    Now we know who this suffering servant is!

    The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. Acts 3:13 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:26 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together Acts 4:27 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30
     
  17. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    This is what Rabbi Michael Skobac has to say on this matter (his footnotes are shown in brackets):

    ‘One of the major problems facing the Christian enterprise has been its inability to produce even one passage from the Jewish Scriptures that clearly articulates their theology. The centrepiece of Christian doctrine is the claim that Jesus came to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and that unless one believes in him one is doomed to eternal damnation in hell. There is no place in the Tanach that teaches this, and all attempts by missionaries to shoehorn this belief back into the text are as futile as trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

    ‘When pressed to offer a definitive source for their foundational doctrine, missionaries will confidently point to the fifty-third chapter of the book of Isaiah (the fact that Christians are only able to produce one dubious source in the Jewish Scriptures for their central doctrine is itself a significant problem. The Jewish concept of the Messiah is based upon a solid foundation of numerous indisputable passages throughout the Bible. As well, the contention that it is only the death of the Messiah that can alleviate the burden of our sins would negate the mountain of Biblical teaching concerning the effectiveness of repentance).

    ‘In order for this passage to serve as a proof for Christian doctrine, it would have to be clear and unambiguous that the suffering servant of the Lord is understood to be the Messiah. What is immediately self-evident is that this assumption is far from clear. Many Christian commentaries to Isaiah concede that this chapter is not about the Messiah or about Jesus. They understand that the Servant here is the nation of Israel. Why would they take such a view if the chapter were clearly portraying Jesus as the Messiah? Early followers of Jesus did not understand this chapter to be about the suffering of the Messiah (Matthew 16:21–22; Mark 9:30–32; Luke 9:43–45).

    ‘The book of Isaiah doesn’t begin in the fifty-third chapter. In the preceding chapters, Isaiah identifies God’s servant as the nation of Israel: 41:8–9, 43:10, 44:1–2 and 21, 45:4, 48:20, and 49:3. Isaiah describes Israel as God’s servants in subsequent chapters as well: 54:17, 65:8–9, 13–15, and 66:14.44. Throughout the Tanach, Israel is repeatedly identified as God’s servant: Leviticus 25:42, 55; Deuteronomy 32:36, 43; Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27–28; Ezekiel 28:25; Psalms 79:10, 135:1, 136:22; Nehemiah 1:6, 10–11; I Chronicles 16:13. Interestingly, even the New Testament, in Luke 1:54, identifies Israel as God’s servant.

    ‘Significantly, the surrounding chapters 52 and 54 movingly describe the historical suffering and ultimate redemption of Israel. It would be reasonable to assume that Chapter 53 follows this theme as well. (Missionaries erroneously insist that this is a late view that was first advanced by Rashi in the eleventh century. This is simply not the case. There are numerous references in Rabbinic literature, going back long before Rashi, identifying God’s servant with Israel. The second century church father Origen, in his Contra Celsum, writes that identifying God’s servant with the nation was the way Jewish sages understood this chapter in his time). The vast majority of Jewish Biblical commentaries, and numerous Christian scholars, understand God’s suffering servant to be the people of Israel or a righteous remnant of Israel. Some Rabbinic sources view the servant as the Messiah. However, it is crucial to understand that their view of Messiah is vastly different from the Christian concept.

    ‘The normative Jewish understanding is that the Messiah is the leader of the nation. As such, his fate is intertwined with that of the people. When Isaiah speaks of the exaltation of the servant (52:13), he is speaking of the nation at the time when the Messiah will be at their helm. However, in the Christian perspective, the Messiah is seen as a divine being totally disconnected from the nation of Israel. His fate has nothing to do with the fate of the people.

    ‘Of course, even if we were to assume that the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy is the Messiah, there is no proof it is speaking about Jesus. This is simply an assumption that Christianity makes, lacking any compelling evidence.’ (‘You Turn! The Jewish Response to a Christian Challenge’).

    I have nothing to add.
     
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  18. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I don't know much about Hagee. I'll have to read up on him.. I have a vague notion that he's a crackpot.
     
  19. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    What a great post.

    This really jumped out at me.

    ‘The book of Isaiah doesn’t begin in the fifty-third chapter. In the preceding chapters, Isaiah identifies God’s servant as the nation of Israel: 41:8–9, 43:10, 44:1–2 and 21, 45:4, 48:20, and 49:3. Isaiah describes Israel as God’s servants in subsequent chapters as well: 54:17, 65:8–9, 13–15, and 66:14.44.

    Throughout the Tanach, Israel is repeatedly identified as God’s servant: Leviticus 25:42, 55; Deuteronomy 32:36, 43; Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27–28; Ezekiel 28:25; Psalms 79:10, 135:1, 136:22; Nehemiah 1:6, 10–11; I Chronicles 16:13.

    Interestingly, even the New Testament, in Luke 1:54, identifies Israel as God’s servant.
     
  20. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    David is prophesied as the Messiah across the Tanakh (Ezekiel 34:23-24, Ezekiel 37:24-25, Jeremiah 23:5, Jeremiah 30:8-9, Jeremiah 33:15, Hosea 3:5, Isaiah 55:3, Isaiah 22:22, Isaiah 9:6-7, etc).

    Yehoshua is a symbolic name given to the Branch of David, with Yehoshua (Hosea) son of Nun, Yehoshua son of Yehozadek, and Yehoshua son of Yoseph.

    The Salvation (Yeshua) from God performed many marvelous works (פּלא - H6381) in the Tanakh, and prophesied it would become the root of David.

    H3444 (Yeshua) + H1961 (To become) = Exodus 15:2-3, Psalms 118:14-21, Isaiah 12:2 (2 Samuel 10:11 David Vs Ammon) +5 Verses Isaiah.

    H3444 (Yeshua) + H7200 (To see) = Exodus 14:13, Psalms 98:3, Isaiah 52:10 (2 Chronicles 20:17 Jehoshaphat Vs Ammon).

    Arm of the Lord is used as a header from Isaiah 52:10 to Isaiah 53:1 (Rumour), which means contextually it is all applicable, and thus it defines who it is talking about precisely:

    The spirit of salvation is put into a righteous vessel from the root of David, this person then leads many to righteousness through their knowledge; yet since some turn him into a sacrificial offering, it creates a Bed of Adultery (Isaiah 28:9-21 - Rumour to Rumour), to catch out those who swear falsely, and those who steal what isn't theirs (Isaiah 8, Zechariah 5).

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
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