Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Book of Isaiah

I recently read an article by an atheist called Why Isaiah 53 Is Not About Jesus. I don't know the author personally; nevertheless, I have complete respect for anyone willing to examine their faith, and the Bible in particular. Unfortunately, we don't all reach the same conclusion for a variety of reasons, but it's a well thought out and well written article, and I enjoyed reading it, even though I disagree with the conclusion. The premise of the article is that Christians incorrectly conclude that Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53, doing so based solely on faith, not evidence. I think this article is written more so to Christians that use Isaiah 53 as the only proof for their faith, because the article does allude to the fact that Christianity is not undermined, regardless of who the prophecy refers to.

With that said, even if Christianity is not undermined, I think it's too easy to look at something out of context, and provide alternative theories that seemingly could make sense. For example, I recently had a Muslim friend go to great efforts to prove his theory that it was in fact Lazarus who wrote the 4th gospel (the Gospel of John). In doing so, he provided reasons that it wasn't John the Apostle, then meticulously provided opinions and theories as to why it was Lazarus. The crux of his theory was that Jesus explicitly said He loved Lazarus (John 11:5), so it must have been Lazarus that was the disciple whom Jesus loved, even though we have clear written evidence as to who the disciples were. I have to say, this was one of the better conspiracy theories I've read. Not necessarily because it was believable, but it did make for an exciting didn't see that coming alternate ending. But ultimately it wasn't unique, the goal was to distract us from the obvious truth, and disprove authorship, authenticity, and authority of one of the Gospels, and to no surprise one of the Gospels written by an eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

As already mentioned, I don't think the atheistic point of view of Isaiah 53 is trying to undermine the core beliefs of Christianity, but I still find that it's too easy to take something out of context and confuse matters that simply don't need confused. What I mean is that we can't just look at Isaiah 53 and call it a day. There's sixty-six chapters to consider in the Book of Isaiah, and when we examine the entirety of Isaiah, and the Old Testament, it takes very little effort to see that it preannounces Jesus Christ’s incarnation, His earthly ministry, His death on the cross, His second coming, and His eternal kingdom.

If we search long enough we shall find upon every page of Scripture, standing somewhere in the shadow, the outline of the central Person of the Book – the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Pastor M. R. DeHaan
With the help of David Limbaugh's Finding Jesus in the Old Testament, we find a number of very clear prophecies throughout Isaiah, keeping in mind these are merely a subset of the fulfilled prophecies in Isaiah, let alone the entirety of the Old Testament. But these go to the heart of the matter in that we're talking about someone specifically, not a nation.

The most amazing drama that ever was presented to the mind of man – a drama written in prophecy in the Old Testament and in biography in the four Gospels of the New Testament – is the narrative of Jesus the Christ. One outstanding fact, among many, completely isolates Him. It is this: that one man only in the history of the world has had explicit details given beforehand of His birth, life, death, and resurrection; that these details are in documents given to the public centuries before He appeared, and that no one challenges, or can challenge, that these documents were widely circulated long before His birth; and that anyone and everyone can compare for himself/herself the actual records of His life with those ancient documents, and find that they match one another perfectly.
- British pastor D. M. Panton
As you read through these prophecies in the order they were recorded, remember that Isaiah ministered from 739 to 680 BC, and that the Book of Isaiah is the second most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament, second only to Psalms. Also, with each prophecy ask yourself the following:

  • Does the prophecy make more sense in the context of an entire nation or a single person?
  • Is it reasonable to conclude that the prophecy refers to Jesus, and if not, who does it refer to?
Once we get through the prophecies we'll discuss whether Isaiah is in fact a trusted source.


Hearts are hardened


Prophecy
And he said, "Yes, go, and say to this people, 'Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.' Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing."
- Isaiah 6:9-10

Fulfilled
This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, 'When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
Matthew 13:14

But the people couldn't believe, for as Isaiah also said, "The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts--so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them."
John 12:39-40

And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet, Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes--so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'
Acts 28:25-27


Born of a virgin


Prophecy
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us').
Isaiah 7:14

Fulfilled
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet: "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"
Matthew 1:20-23


A rock of offense


Prophecy
He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
Isaiah 8:14

Fulfilled
God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."
Romans 9:33

And, "He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they do not obey God's word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
1 Peter 2:8


A light out of darkness


Prophecy
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
Isaiah 9:1

Fulfilled
This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: "In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."
Matthew 4:14-16

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!
Luke 2:32


God would be born in human flesh and live with us


Prophecy
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Fulfilled
And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:21

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"
Matthew 1:23

He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"
Luke 1:32-33

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!"
John 8:58

The Father and I are one."
John 10:30

Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.
John 14:19

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
Colossians 2:9


From the seed of Jesse


Prophecy
Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
Isaiah 11:1

Fulfilled
The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David's family line,
Romans 1:3


Full of wisdom and power


Prophecy
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD. In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
Isaiah 11:1-10

Fulfilled
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
Matthew 3:16

For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.
John 3:34

And in another place Isaiah said, "The heir to David's throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him."
Romans 15:12

But to the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else."
Hebrews 1:8-9 


The key of David


Prophecy
I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David--the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family." But the LORD of Heaven's Armies also says: "The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Isaiah 22:21-25

Fulfilled
"This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open: "I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.
Revelation 3:7-8


Death swallowed up in victory


Prophecy
In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven's Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, "This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!" For the LORD's hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. God will push down Moab's people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.
Isaiah 25:6-12

Fulfilled
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: "Death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Corinthians 15:54


A stone in Zion


Prophecy
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
Isaiah 28:16

Fulfilled
Then Jesus asked them, "Didn't you ever read this in the Scriptures? 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing, and it is wonderful to see.'
Matthew 21:42

Haven't you read this passage of Scripture: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
Mark 12:10

Jesus looked at them and said, "Then what does this Scripture mean? 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.' Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on."
Luke 20:17-18

For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, 'The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.'
Acts 4:11

God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."
Romans 9:33

As the Scriptures say, "I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced." Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, "The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone."
1 Peter 2:6-7


The deaf hear, the blind see


Prophecy
In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:18-19

Fulfilled
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Matthew 5:3

The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.
Matthew 11:5

Then Jesus told him, "I entered this world to render judgment--to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind."
John 9:39


A righteous king is coming


Prophecy
Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land. Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly.
Isaiah 32:1-4

For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
Isaiah 33:22

Fulfilled
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"
Luke 1:31-33

All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17

For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
1 Timothy 6:15

On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
Revelation 19:16


The way to the Father


Prophecy
And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God's ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it.
Isaiah 35:8-9

Fulfilled
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going." "No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said. "We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
John 14:16


Healing for the needy


Prophecy
Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you." And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God's ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Isaiah 35:4-10

Fulfilled
This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, "He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases."
Matthew 8:17

Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, "Don't tell anyone about this."
Matthew 9:30

The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.
Matthew 11:5

Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn't speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.
Matthew 12:22

Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.
Matthew 20:34

The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
Matthew 21:14

And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.
Mark 7:30

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath,
John 5:9


Make ready the way of the Lord


Prophecy
Listen! It's the voice of someone shouting, "Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!"
Isaiah 40:3-5

Fulfilled
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
Matthew 9:30

He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the LORD's coming! Clear the road for him!'"
Mark 1:3

Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the LORD's coming! Clear the road for him! The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth.
Luke 3:4-5

John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the LORD's coming!'"
John 1:23


The Shepherd dies for his sheep


Prophecy
Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
Isaiah 40:10-11

Fulfilled
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
John 10:11

Now may the God of peace--who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood--
Hebrews 13:20

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
1 Peter 2:24-25


The meek Servant


Prophecy
"Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction." God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. And it is he who says, "I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations.
Isaiah 42:1-6

Fulfilled
This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: "Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world."
Matthew 12:17-21

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!
Luke 2:32


A light to the Gentiles


Prophecy
He says, "You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: "Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." This is what the LORD says: "At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again. I will say to the prisoners, 'Come out in freedom,' and to those in darkness, 'Come into the light.' They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters. And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt."
Isaiah 49:6-12

Fulfilled
For the Lord gave us this command when he said, 'I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.'"
Acts 13:47

For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2


Scourged and spat on


Prophecy
I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
Isaiah 50:6

Fulfilled
Then they began to spit in Jesus' face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him,
Matthew 26:67

So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Matthew 27:26

And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it.
Matthew 27:30

Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. "Prophesy to us," they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.
Mark 14:65

So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Mark 15:15

And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.
Mark 15:19

The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and said, "Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?" And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at him.
Luke 22:63-65

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.
John 19:1


Rejected by his people


Prophecy
See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the LORD's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Isaiah 52:13-53:3

Fulfilled
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
Matthew 27:2


Suffered vicariously


Prophecy
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5

Fulfilled
Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.” So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!” Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!” “Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time. Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)

Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.” Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.” But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
Luke 23:1-25

One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
John 19:34


Silent when accused, like a lamb led to the slaughter


Prophecy
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Fulfilled
But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. "Don't you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?" Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor's surprise.
Matthew 27:14

Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?"
Mark 15:3-4

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, "You don't know what you're talking about! You don't realize that it's better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed." He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
John 11:49-52


Crucified with transgressors


Prophecy
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
Isaiah 53:12

Fulfilled
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Matthew 27:38

Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, and he was numbered with the transgressors.
Mark 15:27-28

Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified--one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
Luke 23:32-34


Buried with the rich


Prophecy
He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave.
Isaiah 53:9

Fulfilled
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left.
Matthew 27:57-60


New heavens and a new earth


Prophecy
"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
Isaiah 65:17

Fulfilled
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness.
2 Peter 3:13

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Revelation 21:1

And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:5


Remember, this is only a subset of the hundreds of prophecies we find in Isaiah, and just a fraction of the thousands we find in the Old Testament. But given this larger sample size, what makes more sense as you read each prophecy and when you look at them collectively?

Was Israel born of a virgin, or was it Jesus? Was Israel born in human flesh to live among us, or was it Jesus? Was Israel the seed of Jesse, or was it Jesus? Was Israel the key of David, or was it Jesus? Did Israel heal the blind, deaf, needy, and sick, or was it Jesus? Was Israel the righteous king, or was it Jesus? Did Israel die for his sheep, or was it Jesus? Was Israel the light to the Gentiles, or was it Jesus? Was Israel scourged and spat on, or was it Jesus? Was Israel rejected by his people, or was it Jesus? Did Israel die for our sins, or was it Jesus? Did Israel remain silent when led to the slaughter like a lamb, or was it Jesus? Was Israel crucified with transgressors, or was it Jesus? Was Israel buried with the rich, or was it Jesus?

You get the point. When given a full and complete context, it doesn't take much effort to come to the logical conclusion that we're talking about Jesus the Christ. Can we provide an alternative explanation to certain prophecies? Absolutely. But Jesus is the best explanation that consistently and reasonably fits all the prophecies. Concluding otherwise would be subjective at best, and delusional at worst.

As to whether we can trust the prophet Isaiah is an entirely different conversation, but an important one Christians should be prepared to discuss. Because when skeptics read the prophecies of Isaiah they're likely left wondering if they were in fact written over 700 years before Jesus, or perhaps written after Jesus was crucified, making it only appear that He was the long awaited Messiah. For this we have to examine the historical facts.

In 68 AD the Qumran region (West Bank of Israel) was populated by a group called the Essenes. The Essenes were a Jewish sect that resembled the Pharisees. They lived isolated from other societies and dedicated to self-denial. The Essenes are not directly mentioned in Scripture, although some believe they may be referred to in Matthew 19:11-12, Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:18, and Colossians 2:23. One reason scholars believe the Essenes are a trustworthy source is because Josephus gave a detailed account of them in three of his books, listing them as one of the three sects of Jewish philosophy (along with the Pharisees and Sadducees). Josephus is considered a reliable source because he was born in Jerusalem shortly after Christ’s crucifixion, and became a Pharisee at the age of nineteen. Josephus later switched sides and received Roman citizenship and became a military commander in the Jewish resistance. Point being, had he not been a true historian, he would have gladly tried to stop the Jesus movement.

The reason the Essenes are important to history is because they originated 200 years before Christ and disappeared from history after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. As you can imagine, this was an important time period for Jewish and Christian history because it covered the birth of Jesus, His earthly ministry, His death on the cross, His resurrection, the life of the disciples, and the destruction of the Temple. Of significance with the Essenes is the fact that they dedicated their life to preserving literary works of history. Of the 800-900 documents found, about 220 are books from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The most common books found in the scrolls were Psalms and Deuteronomy. The remaining documents were other religious texts and a range of secular writings. These preserved copies allow scholars and historians to prove that the ancient texts remained untouched from the originals.

When the Qumran region was attacked and burned to the ground by the Romans in 73 AD, the Essenes fled with whatever they could carry. For most this would have been their sacred scrolls. The scrolls were stored in jars to help protect them from deterioration. But because these jars were large and heavy, they hid them in nearby caves. The jars and scrolls remained hidden until their discovery over 2,000 years later in 1946. The Great Isaiah Scroll found during the excavation provides us with definitive answers to questions that skeptics previously challenged. Specifically when the prophecies of Isaiah were written and whether they were written by one author. One reason scholars conclude it was written by a single author is that the scroll wasn’t divided into three sections, but rather was one continuous twenty-four foot scroll with all sixty-six chapters.

Furthermore, Jesus Himself affirms that the entire Book of Isaiah was written by Isaiah. Luke 4:17-19 records an occasion where Jesus stands up to read “the scroll of the prophet Isaiah”. Afterwards, Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, sat down and said “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Jesus affirms that Isaiah is inspired and has been preserved since that passage is in the very last section of the book (Isaiah 61:1-2).

From an apologetic perspective, this kind of evidence is why we can trust the Bible. The content of Scripture has a context, with real people and real places, and is supported outside of the Bible, as we find with historians like Josephus. These type of discoveries show that we have historical facts, not corrupted texts. Although evidence isn’t a prerequisite for our faith, the evidence certainly supports our faith. Yet, even without all evidence to answer every skeptic, the evidence is more than sufficient to say Scriptures are trustworthy and historically accurate.

Finally, it’s important to remember that it’s not disrespectful to examine the claims of the Bible under a microscope. In doing so we reinforce our faith. Were it otherwise, the Bible would not say Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). And how do we do that?

We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
In other words, we trust God and His written Word, and we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.


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