ISAIAH 53
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[Yeshayah 53 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm [Zero'a]of Yahweh revealed?

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root [Shoresh] out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

REFERRING to recent criticisms on the doctrine advocated by the Christadelphian concerning Christ, Dr. Thomas's daughter says:-

why should this be so perplexing to many? Why is it not as easy to comprehend 'the union of Spirit with flesh.' as to understand the union of Spirit with the manna in the wilderness? The Spirit preserved the manna from decomposing, yet it was manna in substance still-suitable for food to sustain natural life.

"It appears almost singular how views so different and opposite can be taken of the same author, as seen from different standpoints. We have failed to discern in your teachings concerning the nature of Christ, any of the ideas attributed to you. We have never understood you to teach that the substance of the body of Christ was a 'mixture of human and divine substance,' although you do hold that the operation of the Spirit of God, in and through the 'body prepared,' was according to the Scriptures from the beginning of its formation.

It would scarcely become a question in our minds whether the Spirit had transformed the substance of the manna into 'semi-Spirit substance.' Why, then, should it be more difficult to realise that Spirit operation upon flesh substance should animate the flesh without changing the substance? The Spirit of Deity being subject to the will of Deity, would perform no more and no less than He purposed it to accomplish.

The power that divided the waters of the Red Sea, and brought water out of the flinty rock, could also, under fiat of the same sovereign will, bring forth a 'Plant of Renown.' Plants grow from seed or roots embedded in the earth. Yet, if not subject to the subtle, penetrating, vivifying influence of the sun's rays, they would never come to maturity. Naturalists know well how to estimate the electrical power and life-giving agency of the sun's rays, without which no vegetation would mature, and nature would remain shrouded in eternal winter. And still they do not contend that the plants or the seed have incorporated a particle of the substance of the sun, but simply the electrical influence of its rays.

One of your critics makes the extraordinary assertion that the 'seed of woman' cannot be understood to mean the seed of woman physiologically. If this were true, then of what value are the testimonies which trace the descent from Abraham and David according to the flesh?

The prophet Isaiah says: 'He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground.' With this beautiful figure, we associate the idea of parent earth and Spirit sun in combination. The plant derives nourishment from both, though of a different kind and different nature, yet the substance of the plant remains the same.

We sometimes derived much assistance in studying the figures borrowed from nature, although they may not in every particular be fitted to the heavenly subjects represented. The figures presented in the Word will, doubtless, be more appropriate than those of our own choosing. The 'Tender Plant,' to which we refer, receiving nourishment from its mother earth-colour, size and mature growth from the rays of its father sun, grew and developed to a 'Plant of Renown.' 'The child grew and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.' Although this plant was to be laid low for a time, it was not doomed to decay, because the Father's Spirit preserved it from decomposition, raised it up again, transplanted it into a heavenly atmosphere, where it fully expands into the 'Tree of Life:' retaining life, and giving life to as many as shall be engrafted upon it in the appointed way.

It is further asserted that the Word was made flesh only at the time of anointing with Holy Spirit and baptism. Here we are puzzled again with mathematical definiteness, without reference to the harmonious grouping of testimonies. Is it to be maintained that the wisdom or thought of Deity was not at all incorporated with the mind and thought of the Son, until the anointing? Are we not rather to believe that it was only the fulness of measure that was conferred at the anointing? If the latter, then we may be able to find scope for certain testimonies which otherwise might have to be excluded.

'The child grew, waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom.' Another Scripture says, 'there is a spirit in man:' this we know is 'the spirit of the world,' which inclines the thoughts towards the things of the world. 'The Spirit which is of God' directed the thoughts and mind of Christ towards the things of God, endowed him with wisdom beyond his years, prompted attention towards the Father's business and gave him understanding concerning it which astonished all who heard him. This manifestation of Deity in him was 'mental and moral.' His mind and thoughts tended heavenward, because the 'Spirit of wisdom and understanding rested upon him.' Thus the spirit of his mind was pure and holy. Innocence characterised him, as the Lamb without blemish.

The Deity, as exhibited in the mental and moral characteristics of the Son, can be traced only in a limited degree of manifestation, in the stages of youth and early manhood. We see in this the gradual unfolding of the beauties of 'the Plant;' not an instantaneous or meteor-like development.

In the revelation unto Moses of the name of Yahweh, we see how limited was the first exhibition simply, 'He who shall be.'

The second was fuller and more comprehensive, proclaiming the moral attributes of Yahweh: 'Gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth,' &c. Then there was a manifestation of the glory. Afterwards, the word or law went forth to the children of Israel.

The Mosaic pattern of heavenly things exhibits the order and system according to which Yahweh manifests Himself. Everything has its order and system of development. We must observe times and seasons in this manifestation of Deity.

The real name-bearer of Yahweh, in the time appointed, appeared in the person of Jesus. The manifestation of the Father in and through him was according to the Mosaic pattern: first, his name and existence; afterwards, the development of moral attributes; then the giving of the Word to Israel, with power and miracles; and finally, the manifestation of His glory to certain witnesses. These things, however, were not exhibited all of a sudden; like a shooting star, or a meteoric shower.

When our minds become deeply impressed with the grandeur of this subject, we shall cease defining it in terms of human wisdom; but grouping all the testimonies pertaining to it, combining their separate relations, and arranging them in harmonious combination according to their proper relations and positions, we shall see the grandeur of the subject, and be content to contemplate, wonder and adore.

Let us bear in mind the greatness of the subject before us, the manifestation of Deity in flesh. It is the 'great mystery of godliness,' which we have the privilege of looking into. Let us, then, approach it with reverence; free from cramping imitations, and mathematical lines, which tend to confuse and perplex, instead of to enlighten and build up.

THE PLANT OF RENOWN AND THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS

BY DR. THOMAS'S DAUGHTER.



3 He is despised and rejected of men [chadal ishim]; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried [nasah] our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken (i.e., like a leper is stricken), smitten of Elohim, and afflicted.

Carried our sorrows - cp Num 16:22

5 But he was wounded [pierced] for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities [mei'avonoteinu] : the chastisement [musar] of our peace [shalom] was upon him; and with [at the cost of] his stripes [chaburah (lacerations)] we are healed.

Pierced - cp Isa 51:9, Zech 12:10, Psa 22:17

The NAME Of Jesus Christ comprehends all that is affirmable of him; and is therefore the summary of his character as a prophet, sacrifice, priest, and king. Hence, to understand his name we must know what is testified of him in the law, the prophets, the psalms, and the apostles. From the "Old Testament" we may become acquainted with the Shiloh's name.

This is absolutely necessary; for unless we understand what sort of a person Christ was to be, how can we, when we learn the name of Jesus as described by the Apostles, be able to say that the name of Christ as set forth in the prophets, and the name of Jesus, are the name of one and the same person? But by comparing the apostolic history with the testimony of prophecy, we can intelligentIy confess that "Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ the Son of the Iiving God." This, then, is a first principle of the name of Jesus. Admit that he is the Shiloh, and all things predicted of the Shiloh are solely applicable to him.

Now there are certain things affirmed of Jesus Christ, the belief of which are highly essential to the constituting of a believer an heir of the kingdom. These things have regard to Jesus as an offering for sin. He died, was buried, and rose again. These are facts. But what is the truth, meaning or doctrine, of the facts? "He was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25; Isaiah 53:5,10); that is, for the justification of those who believe the gospel of the kingdom.

It is a great mistake to suppose that the belief in the sacrificial part of the name of Jesus Christ, is sufficient for salvation. Salvation in the kingdom is not promised to those who only believe that Jesus is Son of God, and died and rose again for sin. It is equally necessary to believe in the promises of the covenants; not more so, but equally so: for if one believed the things of the kingdom, but rejected the sacrifice of Jesus, and his resurrection, he could not be saved.

The gospel must be taken as a whole, and not cut up into pieces, and one or two selected which suit the taste, and the rest set aside as unimportant and non-essential. Without the sacrificial ingredient of the name, there would be no means of justification by the name; but then Jesus as a sin-offering is not the end of faith; but a means to the end, which is the inheritance of the kingdom with him in all his glory.

A very circumscribed and superficial view of the gospel is that which finds it stated in the words, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3,4). The "our" for whom Christ died are those who believe the gospel of the kingdom, not those who are ignorant of it; or, as the apostle expresses it, those "who keep in memory A CERTAIN WORD I preached unto them." What word? That which he taught among them a year and six months; and which he preached wherever he went.

The word concerning "the hope of Israel" on account of which he was taken prisoner to Rome; and which the Jews listened to patiently (Acts 18:4), so long as he did not mention the name of Jesus; but when that was introduced, they opposed themselves and blasphemed (vs.5,6). Because, the apostle is made to say in the, common version, that he "delivered first of all" the death and resurrection of Christ, persons, who know no other than their mother tongue, conclude that the sacrifice of Jesus for sin was the first thing spoken, and the very gospel itself!

But the apostle did not write "first of all;" his words are EN PROTOIS, that is, among the first things. And why does he call up the things mentioned in the third and fourth verses in preference to the other things he delivered? Because he was about to refute the Platonic notion taught by some in Corinth, to wit, "that there is no resurrection of the dead;" and to do so it was necessary to remind them of his having preached to them the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, which was all a fable, if there were no future resurrection as they said; because it had "passed already" (2 Tim. 2:18) : "Ye are then," said he, "yet in your sins, and they who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."

Three things were to be preached in the name of Jesus Christ to them who believed in the promises made of God to the fathers, These were first, repentance; secondly, remission of sins; and third, eternal life (Luke 24:44-47; John 20:31). To preach the kingdom in the name of Jesus Christ was to expound the things concerning it; and to offer them to all who would become the subjects of repentance and remission of sins in his name. Neither "flesh and blood," nor "sinners," can inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50).

These are fixed principles. But, why not? Because "the kingdom shall not be left to other people," and because those, who inherit it are to possess it for ever. Now "flesh and blood" is mortal; how then can mortality inherit immortality? It is a physical impossibility. In other words, a man who only lives seventy years, cannot hold office for a thousand years; he must be made deathless before he can retain it for ever.

Again, it is a moral impossibility for sinners to possess the kingdom, because the law of the kingdom is that "he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." It is the inheritance of saints, to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Two things are therefore indispensable before Jew or Gentile can inherit the kingdom -- first, a moral purification; and secondly, a physical, or corporeal, purification. The first is compassed in obeying the truth; the last, by a resurrection unto life.

Elpis Israel 2.5.



6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way [derech]; and Yahweh hath laid on him the iniquity [avon] of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb [seh] to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living [Eretz Chayyim]: for the transgression of my people [mipesha ami] was he stricken.

Cut off - Dan 9:26

9 And he made his grave [kever] with the wicked [resha'im], and with the rich [oisher] in his death [ bemotayv]; because he had done no violence [chamas], neither was any deceit [mirmah] in his mouth.

With the Rich Matt 27:57-60

10 Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; He hath put him to grief: when Thou shalt make his soul an offering [nefesh an asham] for sin, He [(Moshiach)] shall see his seed [zera], He shall prolong His days [yamim], and the pleasure [ chefetz ] of Yahweh shall prosper in His hand.

In the everlasting covenant made with David, the son promised him, who is to sit upon his throne and to wear his crown for ever, is also set forth as a sacrificial victim; as it is written, "In suffering for iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes due to the children of Adam." ...

But, being a sacrifice for sin, who should be the priest in the case, and enter into the Most Holy with his blood to make atonement, or reconciliation, for his people? Where there is a sacrifice there is also of necessity a priest. There were priests under the law of Moses, who went into the Most Holy with the blood of the slain beasts, and sprinkled it upon the lid of the ark called the propitiatory, or, mercy-seat, upon which the cherubic faces looked. But the blood of David's Son was not to be sprinkled there.

It was not to be carried into the Most Holy made with hands, either by himself, or by the high priest of the law; and wherever its memorial was presented, it could only be exhibited by a high priest. The Son of David could not officiate as a priest on earth so long as the covenant from Sinai continued the law of the land; because it permitted only the tribe of Levi to minister in holy things. He belonged to the tribe of Judah, "of which Moses said nothing concerning priesthood."

He could not enter into the temple after his resurrection and present himself before the Lord in its most holy place; neither could the levitical high priest enter heaven with the memorial of Shiloh's death. What, then, was to be done? David's son must appear in heaven in his own person, and as the high priest of a new law offer himself before God.

But the covenant made with David, while it speaks of his son as a sacrifice, and, by implication, of his resurrection, and future occupation of his throne for ever; says nothing about him as high priest of his kingdom. Hence, in order that he might enter his divine Father's presence as a high priest, and hereafter sit as a priest upon the throne of David's kingdom, "the word of the oath '' (Heb. 7:28) was given for the purpose.

This was necessary; for "no man taketh this honor upon himself, but he that is called of God as Aaron was."David's son was called to the high priesthood of the kingdom, as distinctly as Aaron was to the same honor under the Mosaic law. "He glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but He that said unto him, "Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee"; saith also in another place, ''Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 5:4-6; Psalm 110:4).

Elpis Israel 2.5.