Meditations in Isaiah 53: The Pearl of Prophecy (5)

The previous article correlated the last three verses of Isaiah 52 and the first three verses of chapter 53 with Genesis and Exodus.

The Sections of the Prophecy (2)


Verses 4-6, the next group of three verses, bring before us language and pictures from the offerings of Leviticus. Verse 5 has been used of the Holy Spirit to bring many to salvation by accepting Him Who suffered on the cross. The words, “our transgressions,” “our iniquities,” and “our peace” remind us of three of the five offerings given in Leviticus 1-5.

The order of the Offerings of Leviticus is from God to man. The reverse order shows a progression from man to God. The Trespass Offering has to do with what man has done; he is a sinner by practice, he is a transgressor before God. The Sin Offering is a reminder of what man is: he is a sinner by nature; he is full of iniquity. The Peace Offering shows us what man needs, he is in need of peace with God.

This is the experience of all who are saved. First there is a consciousness of what we have done, then of what we are; finally it is of what we need. The answer is, “Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). These verses show that each need is met by this one great offering, the sacrifice of Him who died on Calvary’s cross.

A careful reading of this section of Leviticus will show that a variety of sacrifices were used in these offerings. Each one, in picture form, would show us features of the true sacrifice Who would one day come to the altar of Calvary.


In verses 7-9 we see Him as the Lamb. The book of Numbers, with over 60 occurrences of the word “lamb,” speaks more about lambs than does any other book in our Bible. The J. N. Darby translation of verse 9 reads, “And men appointed His grave with the wicked, but He was with the rich in His death.” If men had had their way, the body of the Lord Jesus would have been disposed of as that of a common criminal, “with the wicked,” but God had other plans. A rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, had prepared a new tomb and the body of the Lord Jesus was placed in a rich man’s tomb. He indeed was “with the rich in His death.”

In Numbers we also see the plans of man are overruled in the purposes of God. As Israel traveled through the wilderness, Balak the King of Moab hired Balaam, a false prophet, to curse the people. However, God had other plans (Neh 13:2). Balaam was told that he was not to curse what God had blessed (Num 22:12). This prophet spoke four parables in relation to Israel. Following the third of these, Balak, in anger, says, “I called thee to curse mine enemies and behold thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.” In his fourth parable Balaam spoke of the Star of Jacob, the Sceptre of Israel Who would one day have dominion. Joseph’s tomb is now empty and a risen Savior awaits the day when He will “rule in the midst of His enemies.” Every plan of man will come to naught if it is contrary to the purposes of God. Just as God overruled Balak’s purposes, so He will overturn all the purposes of men to displace Christ.


Verses 10-12, the closing three verses of this chapter, show God’s purposes in all that the Servant has done. Here we learn that the One Who died “for our transgressions” was actually “bruised” by the Lord. We have read of “our” transgressions, “our” iniquities, “our” peace, but here, “Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” In this portion we read of God’s full satisfaction in the work of the sinless sacrifice. Yet verse 12 takes us beyond the cross to a coming day of glory. The words, “therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong,” are reminders of another historical scene. In the song of deliverance when Israel had crossed the Red Sea, we read these words, “The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil.” Pharaoh and his army would have taken all that Israel had. The phrase is commonly used in this sense. The victor takes from the vanquished. There will come a day when our Lord will “again restore the kingdom.” As Son of David He will rule upon the throne, as Son of Man He will be given an everlasting kingdom. His enemies will fall before Him; “a King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment” (Isaiah 32:1). The writer to the Hebrews said, “we see not yet all things put under Him, but we see Jesus.” The day is coming when dominion will be given to God’s beloved Son, to Israel’s rejected King, to the Savior of sinners.

The book of Deuteronomy is given in the fortieth year after Israel came out of Egypt. In it, Moses gives a reminder to the people of God’s purposes in all that had happened. The years of sorrow and trial were left behind. Ahead of them is the land to be possessed. This land of “milk and honey,” promised long before to Abraham, is now to be taken and divided between the tribes, and all that the land possesses is to be theirs. In the closing verses of Isaiah 53, Jehovah gives to His perfect Servant, the Lord Jesus, “a portion with the great.” He Who “loved righteousness and hated iniquity,” the One “anointed with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows,” will be given His rightful place as King. Those who are His own, “the strong,” will reign with Him. In that day, “a King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment” (Isa 32:1).