Here in Part 3 we continue with the study of Isa. 53:4-6, starting with Isa. 53:6. These excerpts were taken from chapter 2 ("A Study on the Meaning of the Hebrew Noun 'Awon' ") of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Now we come to Isa. 53:6. I'll read the verse, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity [the awon] of us all to fall on Him." First we'll discuss the words, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way." (See 1 Pet. 2:25.) These words picture mankind in rebellion against God - doing their own thing - and in desperate need of the Savior and Shepherd. They are (in a preliminary sense) bearing the penalty for their sin, but the greater penalty (the much greater penalty) is yet to come, starting with the day of judgment.
Now we'll discuss the words, "But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity [the awon] of us all to fall on Him." In Part 2 I showed that it is very important to understand that the Hebrew noun awon includes within its range of meaning the ideas of iniquity, guilt of iniquity, AND PENALTY FOR INIQUITY. There is no substantial difference between our awon falling upon the Lamb of God here in verse 6, the Lamb being crushed by our awon in verse 5, the Lamb bearing our awon in verse 11, or the Lamb bearing our chet in verse 12. He bore our iniquities, our sins, and our transgressions with the guilt and with the penalties in His atoning death. I am not satisfied with the translation "iniquity" for awon here in verse 6. Something like the following is required, "But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity of us all [with the guilt and with the penalties] to fall on Him," and there is a strong emphasis in Isaiah chapter 53 on His bearing the penalty for our iniquities.
We come to the subheading, "Commentators on Isaiah 53:6." F. Delitzsch (Vol. 7 of the Keil and Delitzsch "Commentary on the Old Testament") says (in part), "But awon is used to denote not only the transgression itself, but also the guilt incurred thereby, and the punishment to which it gives rise. All the great multitude of sins, and mass of guilt, and weight of punishment, came upon the Servant of Jehovah [Yahweh] according to the appointment of the God of salvation, who is gracious in holiness."
E. J. Young (Vol. 3 of the "Book of Isaiah") says (in part), "The guilt that belonged to us God caused to strike him, i.e. he as our substitute bore the punishment that the guilt of our sins required."
D. A. Kidner, ("New Bible Commentary: Revised" [Eerdmans, 1970]) says (in part), "[Isa. 53:6] is perhaps the most penetrating of all descriptions of sin and atonement, uncovering the fecklessness which is second nature to us, and the self-will which isolates us from God and man alike; but also the divine initiative which transferred our punishment to the one substitute. The metaphor whereby iniquity is laid on him is clarified by, for example, Genesis 4:13; Leviticus 5:1, 17 (where one pays one's own penalty) and by, for example, Leviticus 10:17; 16:22 (where the liability falls on another)." Either we are bearing our sins with the guilt and with the penalties, or we repent and submit (by faith) to the very full salvation that was purchased for us when the Lamb of God bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties. Praise God for such a salvation plan!
Now we have the privilege to discuss ISAIAH 53:11. I'll turn to page 26 of my book and read the verse, "As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge [or, "By the knowledge of Him"] the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify [or, "will make righteous"] the many, As He will bear their iniquities [plural of awon]."
This is another verse that the BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under awon) lists under the subheading, "consequences of, or punishment for, iniquity." Commenting specifically on Isa. 53:11, the BDB Hebrew Lexicon says (in part), "the consequences of their iniquities he shall bear, compare...Lamentations 5:7...." The KJV and the NIV both translate the plural of awon as "iniquities" here in Isa. 53:11, as does the NASB. I would translate, "He will bear their iniquities with the guilt and with the penalties," or the equivalent. Through His all-important atoning death, the Lord Jesus Christ earned the right to overthrow spiritual death and sin and to make believers righteous with the very righteousness of God, and to ultimately take us to eternal glory.
We'll discuss the first words of Isa. 53:11, "As a result of the anguish of His soul." The Lamb of God underwent this "anguish of His soul" when He took upon Himself all our iniquities with the guilt and with the penalties in His atoning death. The physical pain that the Lamb of God bore for us in His atoning death was only a small part of what He bore for us when He took our place. For one thing, our sins separated Him from God the Father, and He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me."
Now we'll discuss the next words of verse 11, "He will see it and be satisfied." What will He see? Isaiah 53:10 says that "He will see His offspring." Verses 10 and 11 use the same Hebrew verb for "He will see," and I believe the use of this verb in verse 11 builds on its use in verse 10. "He will see His offspring." "His offspring" embraces all the people who will be born into the fullness of eternal life through His atoning death. "His offspring" is the equivalent of "(the) many" of Isa. 53:11, 12. ... He will see His offspring and be satisfied. "...And the good pleasure of the LORD [Yahweh] will prosper in His hand" (Isa. 53:10).
The Lord Jesus Christ knew that it was the Father's will for Him to die in our place; He knew that He was earning the right to save all believers; and He knew that the devil and those who follow him would be judged and removed from God's kingdom forever through His all-important death.
Now we'll discuss the words "By His knowledge [or, "by the knowledge of Him"] the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify [or, "will make righteous"] the many" of Isa. 53:11. I agree with the many who understand the words, "by His knowledge" in the sense "by the knowledge of Him" (as in the margin of the NIV). The Hebrew can be translated either way. People are saved by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, in accordance with the gospel, by faith and by the Holy Spirit.
The words "the Righteous One, My Servant" here in Isa. 53:11 refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the very special Servant of God the Father. He always was, and always will be, righteous in every way, and He earned the right to make us righteous.
Now we'll discuss the words, "the many" of verse 11. The same Hebrew adjective ("rabbim") that is translated "the many" in verse 11 is used twice in verse 12. (Isaiah 53:12 is discussed in chapter 3 of this book, but, as I mentioned, I won't include any excerpts from chapters 1 or 3 in this paper.) "The many" embraces all believers (all the elect). They are the "offspring" of the Lord Jesus Christ spoken of in Isa. 53:10.
Now we'll discuss the words "will justify [or, "will make righteous"] the many." The Hebrew verb that is translated "will justify" or, "will make righteous" here is one of the most important words (it is probably the most important word) used in Isaiah chapter 53 to speak of the benefits that come to believers through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does "justify" mean? As I mentioned we could also translate "will make righteous." (I'll supplement what I said in the book on this super-important topic.)
Many Christians understand "justify" here to mean only that we are forgiven the guilt of our sin and are declared righteous by God. To be forgiven and declared righteous is an important part of what "the Righteous One" earned for the many, but if we stop here, we stop very far short of what this Hebrew verb means in Isa. 53:11. The Lord Jesus Christ didn't just bear the guilt of our sin in some isolated legal sense so we could be forgiven and declared righteous - He bore our sin with the guilt and with the penalties so we could have full salvation. For one thing, as I discuss in some detail in this book, when God declares us righteous when we submit (by faith) to His new-covenant plan of salvation, He is, at the same time, declaring the overthrow of sin and spiritual death, which reigned over us before we became born-again Christians. Sin, spiritual death, and the demons have lost the authority they had over us.
Jesus bore our spiritual death (which came as a penalty for sin, especially Adam's sin [cf., e.g., Gen. 2:17; 3:3, 22-24; Rom. 5:12-21; and 6:23]), so we could be born again; and He bore our bondage to sin (which came with spiritual death), so we could be live in the righteousness and holiness of God (by grace through faith) with the victory over all sin.
A major feature of new-covenant salvation is our being set free from the authority and power of sin through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament repeatedly declares that Christians are transformed and made righteous through His atoning death. (See, for example, Rom. 6:1-14; 7:4-6; 8:1-17; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Gal. 1:4; 2:19-21; 3:13, 14; 5:16-25; 6:14, 15; Eph. 5:25-32; Col. 1:21-23; 2:10-15; 3:1-11; Titus 2:11-14; 3:1-8; Heb. 9:11-10:31; 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:13-2:25; 3:13-4:6; 1 John 1:7, 9; 2:28-3:12; Rev. 1:5; 7:14; and 12:11.) The Greek verb "dikaioo," which is normally translated "justify" in some form in the New Testament, is frequently used in a very full sense that includes the ideas of being forgiven and declared righteous; being set free from sin, spiritual death, and Satan; and being made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God.
See chapter 6 of this book which is titled, "A Study on the Meaning of Justify/Justification as These Words Are Used in the New Testament." If the Hebrew verb in Isa. 53:11 is to be translated "will justify," then "justify" must be understood in a very full sense. It is important to understand that God doesn't offer forgiveness and a right legal standing in isolation from the transformation to righteousness that is manifested when Christians (having been set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin) begin to walk by the Holy Spirit, by faith, in accordance with the terms spelled out in the gospel of new-covenant salvation.
I believe it would be better to translate the Hebrew verb "WILL MAKE RIGHTEOUS [my emphasis]" instead of "will justify." In the Hebrew text this verb stands next to the adjective "tsaddiq," which is translated "THE RIGHTEOUS ONE [my emphasis]." (The Hebrew adjective and verb are closely related, both having the same root.) "The Righteous One," the Lord Jesus Christ, makes His people like Himself. Through His atoning death, His resurrection, and His subsequent ministry as our Great High Priest, HE MAKES US RIGHTEOUS. His ministry includes giving the Righteous, Holy Spirit to dwell in us believers. He enables us to walk in the righteousness of God, with the victory over all sin. Victory over all sin is the ideal to which we are called. But as I discuss in some detail in this book, we must walk by faith and by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis (which we are called and enabled to do), or the total victory over sin will not be manifested in our hearts and lives. We must aim at the target of walking with the victory over all sin by God's grace. After we are glorified, we will be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 8:29).
I'll read the Amplified Bible on Isa. 53:11. I'll emphasize the translation of the Hebrew verb we are discussing and the full sense in which the Amplified Bible translates awon by using capital letters. "He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] SHALL My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, JUSTIFY AND MAKE many RIGHTEOUS - UPRIGHT AND IN RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD; for He shall bear their INIQUITIES AND their GUILT [WITH THE CONSEQUENCES, says the LORD (Yahweh)]."
I'll also quote a few sentences from Ross Price as he comments on Isa. 53:11. (This quotation is taken from Vol. 4 of the "Beacon Bible Commentary," published in 1966.) "Thus by His wise submission to His Father's will He imparts to many His own righteousness. ... 'Justify many' means 'make the masses righteous.' ... It is through Him that they attain that new quality of life on a higher plane."
That completes our study of Isa. 53:11 and our somewhat brief study of the Hebrew nouns, pesha, awon, and chet. I trust you can see that it is very important for us to understand the breadth of meaning of these Hebrew nouns.
There is an important discussion titled "Galatians 3:13, 14 and Isaiah chapter 53" in chapter 2 of my book that I am not including in these excerpts that covers 5 pages (including the endnotes).
Now we'll go on the chapter 4 titled, "A Study to Show that under the Old Covenant Sickness Was Typically Considered to be Part of the Punishment/Penalty/Chastisement for Sin."
I'll include most of what I had in this 15 page chapter in these excerpts, including 2 pages on the book of Job, except for the page on Psalm 91 and the two and a half pages on John 9:1-5 that deal with Jesus healing the man who was born blind.
There was no sickness in the Garden of Eden, but with sin came death (spiritual death and physical death), just as God had promised (Gen. 2:17; 3:3, 19, 24). With death came sickness; it is very closely related to death. Even though it is not true that all sickness comes directly as judgment for sin, it is true that all sickness traces back to the rebellion and fall of man. When all sin has been removed from God's kingdom, there will be no sickness.
In the first section we'll consider four passages from the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy chapter 28; Ex. 15:26; 23:24-26; and Deut. 7:12-16); the Law provided the foundation for the old covenant. Then we'll consider 1 Kings 8:37-40.
DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 28. (Leviticus chapter 26, which we will not discuss in this study, is similar to Deuteronomy chapter 28.) The first fourteen verses of this chapter list some of the blessings that God said would come upon the sons of Israel if they would be faithful to Him and obey Him. The rest of this somewhat lengthy chapter (verses 15-68) spells out some of the curses (penalties for sin) that God said would come upon the sons of Israel if they were unfaithful to Him and disobeyed Him. Many of the curses were physical sicknesses (cf. Deut. 28:21, 22, 27, 28, 35, 59-61). Let's look at Deut. 28:58-61.
DEUTERONOMY 28:58-61. "If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD [Yahweh] your God, (59) then the LORD [Yahweh] will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses [plural of Hebrew "choli"]. (60) And He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. (61) Also every sickness ["choli"] and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the LORD [Yahweh] will bring on you until you are destroyed."
Note that "choli" is used twice in these verses. (On choli see under Isa. 53:4 in chapter 2 of this book.) These verses help show that all sickness was considered part of the curse/penalty for sin.
EXODUS 15:26. And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD [Yahweh] your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD [Yahweh], am your healer."
"Diseases" is a translation of the Hebrew noun "machalah." This noun was derived from the verb "chala," as was "choli." Machalah is used three other places in the Old Testament: Ex. 23:25; 1 Kings 8:37; and 2 Chron. 6:28. (Exodus 23:25 and 1 Kings 8:37 are discussed below. Second Chronicles 6:28 is the same as 1 Kings 8:37.)
EXODUS 23:24-26. "You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them, and break their sacred pillars in pieces. (25) But you shall serve the LORD [Yahweh] your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness [machalah] from your midst. (26) There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days."
Especially note verse 25. "I will fulfill the number of your days" (verse 26) was a way of saying that they would not be cut off by premature death, whether by sickness, plague, sword, famine, accident, etc. (Cf., e.g., Ps. 91:16 [with all of Psalm 91]; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 4:40; 5:16, 33; 6:2; 32:46, 47.)
DEUTERONOMY 7:12-16. "Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD [Yahweh] your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. (13) And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. (14) You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle. (15) And the LORD will remove from you all sickness [choli]; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you. (16) And you shall consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that (would be) a snare to you."
Especially note verse 15.
1 KINGS 8:37-40. "If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague [Hebrew "nega"], whatever sickness [Hebrew "machalah"] there is, (38) whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Thy people Israel, each knowing the affliction [nega] of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; (39) then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest, for Thou alone dost know the hearts of all the sons of men, (40) that they may fear Thee all the days that they live in the land which Thou hast given to our fathers."
These verses are part of Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple ("this house" of verse 38). Throughout this prayer, which covers verses 22 through 53, it was taken for granted by Solomon that all Israel's problems (including sickness) would come as a result of (as a penalty for) their sin. (The noun "nega," which is used in verses 37 and 38, is discussed under Ps. 39:10a in chapter 1 of this book.)
SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT WHERE SICKNESS/PLAGUES CAME UPON THE SONS OF ISRAEL AS A RESULT OF SIN
Typically throughout the Old Testament (but not always), whenever a sickness/plague came upon the sons of Israel, the Scriptures spell out the particular sin(s) which led to that sickness/plague. The curse of sickness did not just arbitrarily come upon the sons of Israel. They had a covenant with God that covered this area, as I showed earlier in this chapter.
NUMBERS 11:1-35, Especially Verses 33, 34. "While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD [Yahweh] was kindled against the people, and the LORD [Yahweh] struck the people with a very severe plague. (34) So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy."
NUMBERS 12:1-15, Especially Verses 9-11. "So the anger of the LORD [Yahweh] burned against them and He departed. (10) But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. (11) Then Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned."
2 KINGS 5:1-27, Especially Verses 25-27. "But he [Gehazi] went in and stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, 'Where have you been, Gehazi?' And he said, 'Your servant went nowhere.' (26) Then he said to him, 'Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? (27) Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever.' So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."
2 KINGS 15:1-5, Especially Verse 5. "And the LORD [Yahweh] struck ["naga"] the king [Azariah], so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, while Jotham the king's son was over the household, judging the people of the land."
(The Hebrew verb "naga" is also used in Isa. 53:4 [translated "stricken"], and in many other verses.) This verse tends to take us by surprise in that there is nothing in 2 Kings 15:1-7 sufficient to explain why King Azariah (Uzziah) was stricken with leprosy. Fortunately, however, 2 Chronicles chapter 26 rather fully explains how King Uzziah became a leper. Let's look at 2 Chron. 26:16-21:
2 Chronicles 26:16-21. "But when he [Azariah/Uzziah] became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD [Yahweh] his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. (17) Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the LORD, valiant men. (18) And they opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, 'It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful, and will have no honor from the LORD God.' (19) But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense. (20) And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the LORD had smitten [naga] him. (21) And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king's house judging the people of the land."
Second Chronicles 26:16-21 show what sin led to the leprosy of King Uzziah. King Uzziah, Miriam (Num. 12:9-11), and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:25-27) were all stricken with leprosy, and in each case the leprosy came as a penalty for sin. Incidents like these (cf. the incident involving Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11) were effective, to some extent at least, to humble the hearts of many and cause them to turn from sin.
NUMBERS 13:1-14:38, Especially 14:32-38. " 'But as for you, your corpses shall fall in this wilderness. (33) And your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they shall suffer for ["nasa"] your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. (34) According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear [nasa] your guilt ["awon"] a year, even forty years, and you shall know My opposition. (35) I, the LORD [Yahweh], have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they shall die.' (36) As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land, (37) even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the LORD [Yahweh]. (38) But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land."
The meaning of the Hebrew noun "awon," which is used in verse 34, is the topic of chapter 2 of this book. The BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under awon) lists Num. 14:34 under the subheading "consequences of, or punishment for, iniquity." The KJV has, "shall ye bear your iniquities." The NIV has, "you will suffer for your sins." I would translate something like "you will bear the penalty for your iniquities." The sins that led to this judgment by God are clearly spelled out in Num. 13:1-14:38. There were also many sins before those mentioned in Num. 13:1-14:38 (cf. Num. 14:22). Numbers 14:36, 37 tell of the fate of the ten spies who brought back the "very bad report."
NUMBERS 16:1-50, Especially Verses 41-50. (I didn't quote these verses in the book, but they are important.) The number of those who died by this plague, which came as a result of the rebellion of the sons of Israel, was 14,700 (Num. 16:49).
NUMBERS 25:1-18 with DEUTERONOMY 4:3, 4.
The rebellion (of Baal Peor), which is described in Num. 25:1-6, took place a short time before Israel crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land. Those who died by the resulting plague were 24,000 (Num. 25:9). Deuteronomy 4:3, 4 shed significant light on this judgment by God; let's look at these verses:
DEUTERONOMY 4:3, 4. "Your eyes have seen what the LORD [Yahweh] has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, the LORD your God has destroyed them from among you. (4) But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you."
We will continue these excerpts from chapter 4 of my book in Part 4 of this paper.
For those who appreciate my teaching on the super-important topic of righteousness, holiness, and victory over sin through the all-important atoning death of the Lamb of God, the book is available at amazon.com and on my website (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). I trust that many of my readers will want to get a copy of the book.