Meditations in Isaiah 53: The Pearl of Prophecy (7)

Varied Voices and Viewpoints

It is evident as we read through these verses that the voices change. Isaiah the prophet was inspired to write all these words of Scripture, but in many passages we have a record of what others have said.

In Isaiah 52:13-15, we have the words of the Father Who speaks of His Son as “My Servant.” Here Jehovah speaks.

In verse 1, the prophet Isaiah is speaking and asks, “Who hath believed our report?”

In verses 2-3 the “we” can only refer to the unbelieving nation that rejected its Messiah; in her blindness, Israel is speaking here.

In verses 4-6 it is not the voice of unbelief, but the remnant, those who have come to realize the truth of His death.

In verses 7-9 we have a testimony of the Lord Jesus in judgment and death. Here it is the Spirit that speaks.

In verses 10-12 the voice will change again, for we read the declaration of Jehovah as He says, “therefore will I divide …”

There is no record of the voice of the Lord Jesus in this passage. This is the cross as seen by others. To see Calvary from the viewpoint of the Lord Jesus one needs to read Psalm 22.

God Speaking

We quickly notice that this passage begins with God the Father’s speaking of the Son as He comes to earth as the perfect Servant. The passage ends with the Father’s speaking again of His Son’s coming a second time as the King “dividing the spoil.” He is coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The passage begins with the first coming of our Lord Jesus to earth and ends with the second coming in glory of our Lord Jesus. It begins with God’s speaking and ends with God’s speaking. He Who spoke first in creation will speak last in the conclusion. All begins with God; all will end with God. At the beginning the Father speaks of the Son as Servant; at the end the Father speaks of the Son as Sovereign. Like the Bible, this passage speaks of Christ from beginning to end.

The Prophet Speaks

Verse 1 gives us the prophet’s question. The apostle Paul in Romans 10:16 shows that this verse is indicative of Israel’s unbelief. We see two truths of salvation: man’s responsibility in believing a report, and God’s work in revealing Christ. “Our report” is the message that Isaiah and other prophets had proclaimed. “The arm of the Lord” as used in Isaiah 51:9 is a reminder of the God of salvation of a former day – the great deliverance out of Egypt. In this verse it speaks of the salvation of the Lord as seen in the suffering Servant. The “arm of the Lord” of verse 1 is the “He” of verse 2.

The Nation in Unbelief Speaks

Verse 2 shows the Servant as heaven looks down: a “tender plant” and a “root out of dry ground,” a sad picture of the spiritual condition of Israel as the Lord Jesus walked upon earth. In the remainder of verse 2 and in verse 3, we see Him as earth looked on: “no form nor comeliness … no beauty.” This is not a reference to His physical appearance, but rather they did not see in Him what they expected to see in their Messiah. They saw Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter’s son. They saw One Who walked the roadways of Galilee and Judea, showing love and kindness to the poor and needy. They saw One Who received sinners and ate with them. They saw One Who might be hailed as a prophet, but certainly not as their promised king. A king should gather an army, take the throne, drive out the occupying Roman armies, bring in the promised Kingdom. They did not see what they expected to see and therefore they rejected Him, they esteemed Him not. Verses 2-3 then reflect the attitude and unbelief of Israel.

The Remnant Speaks

The voice changes in verses 4-6 where the personal pronoun “our” appears five times. There is coming a day when a remnant of Israel will realize the tragic mistake of the past and will recognize the truth of the Savior of Calvary. It takes us to a time when a believing remnant “shall turn to the Lord and the vail shall be taken away” (2 Cor 3:16). These verses have been used by the Holy Spirit to bring many sinners to the Savior, but the same Spirit, Who has used them to the blessing of Jew and Gentile since the cross, will in a coming day use them with the remnant of Israel.

The Spirit Speaks

In verses 7-9 we see the Lord Jesus, not now on the cross, but standing in judgment and then His body laid in the rich man’s tomb. Here we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit. We see His submissiveness: “as a lamb;” His silence: “open- eth not His mouth;” His sinlessness: “done no violence, no deceit,” perfect both externally and internally. Last of all, the Spirit points to His suffering: “for the transgression of My people was He stricken.” These four features mark the true Lamb of God.

God Speaks

Verses 10-12 give the concluding statements on the work of the Savior. Here we see God’s purposes in it all. In verse 12 of our chapter we read, “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great.” Daniel 7 shows us the Ancient of Days giving to the Son of Man an everlasting Kingdom. Here we see the Father giving to His Son the Victory over His enemies. He will “rule in the midst of His enemies” (Ps 110), and the Kingdom shall be established. He “will divide the spoil with the strong,” those who are His own will be with Him in that day.