Originally Posted by gospelsaves
... it just makes no sense.
Christian Claim: The Christian Bible mentions Isaiah 53 in three places:
- Luke 22.37
- Acts 8.32-33
- 1 Peter 2.22
This chapter in Isaiah has been established by Christians as the "suffering servant" chapter. To Christians, it is an explicit prophecy of Jesus, who suffered for the sins of others on the cross. It allegedly contains several key indicators that leave no doubt in Christian minds as to its reference to Jesus.
Jewish Refutation: While Christians believe their case for Isaiah 53 representing Jesus is absolutely supported by the verses, a more careful and serious reading of Isaiah 53 will inevitably support no such belief.
Isaiah 53 in the broader scope of the Tanach tells us of a nation that suffered at the hands of others for many years. It tells of a people stricken by G-d with famine and disease, and a people who continued on and on without ever abandoning its heritage completely. It is the story of how the nations bruised and scarred that people, for they thought it was right to do so. Yet they were astonished in the end to find out how wrong they were. Only in the era of Israel's final redemption did the nations begin to understand how all of Israel's suffering was on their behalf. Israel represented the peoples of the world before G-d and was punished in their stead, for their sins. It was Israel's job to see to it that the world became a place where G-d was welcomed among all. They were to be a light unto the gentiles (Isaiah 42.6, Isaiah 60.3), and when they failed to be that, they were held responsible for the nations' failures.
The Jewish view of Isaiah 53 is supported extensively in several ways. The following paragraphs contain some of the more outstanding reasons why the Jewish view of Isaiah 53 is in complete harmony with the Jewish scriptures. There are more reasons for such, but a more complete examination of this issue is beyond the scope of this FAQ. For a more comprehensive presentation of the Jewish view of Isaiah 53 in accordance with the Jewish scriptures, you are invited to read Michoel Drazin's book "Their Hollow Inheritance: A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries" at his website.
1 - For one thing, the "servant" spoken of in Isaiah 53 was already identified throughout the book of Isaiah. Would G-d suddenly change his subject for one chapter within the book of Isaiah? The rational individual would answer in the negative.
Isaiah 41.8: "But thou, Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend."
Isaiah 41.9: "Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art My servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away."
Isaiah 43.10: "You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen ..."
Isaiah 44.1: "But now hear, O Jacob, My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen."
Isaiah 44.21: "Remember these things, O Jacob and Israel, for you are My servant. I formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me."
Isaiah 45.4: "For the sake of My servant, Jacob, and My chosen, Israel, I call you by your name ..."
Isaiah 48.20: "Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth, say: 'The Lord has redeemed His servant, Jacob'."
Isaiah 49.3: "And He said to me: 'You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified'."
2 - The following verse eliminates Jesus as the subject of Isaiah 53
Isaiah 42.19: "Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as My messenger, whom I send? Who is blind as My dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord?"
If we accept that the chapters leading up to Isaiah 53 are consistent in their message, Isaiah 42.19 poses a dilemma for any Christian who wants to call Jesus the servant of G-d in reference to Isaiah's prophecies.
3 - Chapter 53 in Isaiah contains an abundance of indicators that incontrovertibly invalidate Jesus as the subject. Here follow some such indicators:
(a) Isaiah 53.3: "A man of pains and acquainted with disease ..."
In the Christian Bible, Jesus was not said to have been afflicted with any disease, and the only time he could have felt any pain was on the cross. Isaiah 53.3 is referring to pain that is continuous and which spans a lifetime, for the entire chapter speaks of a matter that took place over time, and not an isolated event.
(b) Isaiah 53.7: "And opened not his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter ... yea, he opened not his mouth."
This could not have been referring to Jesus due to the following Christian Bible verses:
Matthew 27.46: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani'? that is to say, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me'?"
Matthew 26.39: "And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt'."
According to these verses, the Christian Bible recorded that Jesus did not go so willingly to his death, and did speak out in protest against it.
(c) Isaiah 53.9: "Although he had done no violence ..."
In the Christian Bible, it is recorded that Jesus was indeed violent:
Matthew 21.12: "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves."
(d) Isaiah 53.10: "To see if his soul would offer itself in restitution ..."
Was it possible that the Christian god would not offer itself for the good of all of mankind? Was the Christian god testing the Christian god?
(e) Isaiah 53.10: "That he might see his seed, prolong his days ..."
Even though the Christian Bible claims that Jesus did offer his soul for restitution, Jesus had no offspring, and his days were not prolonged.
(f) Isaiah 53.12: "Therefore, I will divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty ..."
Would the Christian god's reward for offering himself to himself be a mere portion among the great? Who were the other "greats" who were to share the reward with him? Were they equal to him? And if he receievd a portion, then wasn't the one distributing it greater than he?
Thus, it is clear from the proofs presented above that Isaiah 53 has nothing to do with Jesus. It makes far better sense when the subject of that chapter is Israel, who as a nation watched its seed carrying on from generation to generation despite attempts by the nations to destroy it. Israel suffered the sins of all, for they were G-d's model people affected by every wrong that occurred in the world. Israel is and always has been G-d's chosen servant, and there is no other.
Deuteronomy 7.6: "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy G-d; the Lord thy G-d hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Him, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."
* Isaiah 55.3
"Incline your ear and come unto Me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
Christian Claim: Acts 13.34 translates the last part of that verse as follows: "I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David." The author of Acts claims that that verse speaks of Jesus, who was allegedly raised from the dead by G-d and was not left to decay.
Jewish Refutation: The Hebrew for that verse indicates no such thing. It says: "ve'echresoh lochem bris" ("and I will make a covenant with you"), whereby "lochem" is "you" in the plural form. G-d was not speaking to the messiah, but to those of Israel, who will obey His word. He tells them that He has appointed one from David's lineage as their future king.
Isaiah 55.3 makes no mention of anything having to do with the avoidance of decay in a grave.
Source: Isaiah (Yeshayahu)