Isaiah 53 the Forbidden Chapter in the Tanakh: ISRAEL You Missed Your Messiah

After I was saved in 1983, I called a Messianic Congregation in my area and spoke to a lovely lady – a fellow Jewish Christian. She was so excited over my coming to know Yeshua as my Savior! We must have talked for well over an hour, but the thing I remember so vividly was when she brought up Isaiah 53.  She asked if I had ever read that portion of Scripture.  I had not – but promised that I would after we hung up.

To say that I was shocked would be a gross understatement.  I remember reading the words over and over.  I wondered why I had never heard this in my synagogue.

It was a clear picture of our Redeemer – Yeshua – and why He went to that Cross to suffer and die.  I’m sure that most of the readers of this article have read Isaiah 53 numerous times.  But for those who have not – I am placing it here:

*All bolded words are for emphasis for the reader.  

“Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs

And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

 And they  made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.   

 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.   

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.   

 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”  (Isaiah 53: 1-12).

Perhaps you have Jewish friends for whom you are praying. Showing them this passage of Scripture is very powerful! But please pray for the Lord to show you the right time to do this.

From oneforisrael.org

Isaiah 53 – The Forbidden Chapter

The 17th century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused “arguments and great confusion” the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues. That’s why today when we read Isaiah 52, we stop in the middle of the chapter and the week after we jump straight to Isaiah 54.

What happened to Isaiah 53, you might be wondering? That is exactly what this article is about.

In the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, chapter 53 the prophet prophesies about the Messiah that he would be rejected by his people suffer and die in agony and that God would see his suffering and death as an atonement for the sins of humanity. Isaiah lived and prophesied about 700 BCE. According to his prophecy in chapter 53 the leaders of Israel would recognize they had made a mistake at the end of days when they rejected the Messiah, so Isaiah put the prophecy in past tense and because he saw himself as part of the people of Israel he used third person plural (we).

At the end of chapter 52 Isaiah writes an introduction to chapter 53:

“Behold, my servant shall prosper…” 

The term “servant” is supposed to connect back to sections earlier in the book that speak of “the Servant of the Lord” (for example, in chapters 42, 49 and 50, where the Messiah is described as a servant that suffers).

“He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.”

This is to emphasize the eminence of the Messiah who would in fact rise from the dead, and ascend to the heavens and sit next to the Father.  His actions would give him a higher status that every human king or ruler.

“Just as many were appalled at You—His appearance was disfigured more than any man, His form more than the sons of men.”

Before the Messiah is exalted he would suffer and be humiliated. His body would be abused and tortured so badly that he would be completely disfigured and unrecognizable.

“So He will sprinkle many nations. Kings will shut their mouths because of Him, for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will perceive.”

Despite the horrific suffering the day would come when even kings would come to look to him with reverence.

And now, let’s dive into chapter 53 itself…

“Who has believed our report?”

This is describing the lack of faith among the people of Israel who don’t believe what they’ve heard.

“To whom is the arm of Adonai revealed?”

Isaiah calls the Messiah the “Arm of the Lord”. Earlier, in chapter 40 Isaiah declares that the “Arm of the Lord” would rule for him. In chapter 51 the gentiles put their hope in the “Arm of the Lord”, and the “Arm of the Lord” would redeem. In chapter 52 the “Arm of the Lord” brings salvation. Now, in 53, Isaiah reveals to us that the “Arm of the Lord” is in fact the Messiah. The Messiah is very much part of God himself.

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
like a root out of dry ground.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
nor beauty that we should desire Him.

He was a shoot in spiritually dry ground – there had been no word from God for 400 years.

“He had no beauty that we should desire Him”.

He was not appealing to us. We didn’t want him. His appearance wasn’t particularly glorious or impressive, and the way he showed up didn’t cause people to desire him. In contrast to what rabbinic Halacha teaches today, according to this prophecy, the Messiah would not be born to a prestigious rabbinic family or grow up in the grand residences of wealthy rabbis. We can say with near certainty that the external appearance of the Messiah was nothing extraordinary at all.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief,
One from whom people hide their faces.
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

The life of the Messiah was characterized by pain, rejection and suffering. He didn’t get the honor due to the Messiah, but was despised and rejected by the leaders of his people. We considered him some kind of social misfit – someone we might hide our faces from when we pass someone on the street that we are embarrassed to see.

We didn’t think he was the Messiah. We didn’t even register it could be him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our pains.
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
struck by God, and afflicted.

The Messiah suffered in our place – he carried our sicknesses, our suffering, our pain… and the sins we committed, while our people – while we – thought he was being punished, and that his suffering was God’s punishment for sins that he himself had committed. We didn’t understand that it was for OUR sin.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities.
The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.

The Hebrew says wounded, pierced. He died. Like someone who has fallen wounded, or someone perforated with bullets – not for any fault of his own, but it was our wrongdoing. He was crushed because of our inequities, our sins – the punishment and discipline we deserved went to him. The “stripes” are hard blows that leave marks, and by his scars we are healed. In exactly this way, hundreds of years later, the prophecy was fulfilled. Yeshua was went to the cross in order to take the death we deserved.

We all like sheep have gone astray.
Each of us turned to his own way.
So Adonai has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The Hebrew talks of going astray like sheep wander off and get lost. We all, people of Israel, ignored him and went on our way, but despite this, God put all our sin and iniquity on him – on the Messiah.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted
yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter,
like a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so He did not open His mouth.

The Hebrew says he was exploited, abused… his dignity and right to a fair trial were taken from him. The Hebrew says he was afflicted – tortured – but he didn’t open his mouth. This shows that he did not resist his unjust sentence. He didn’t try to rebel or escape, and he didn’t take legal representation in spite of the fact he was facing a death sentence, but he was led like a sheep to the slaughter, or to be sheared without resisting the injustices being done to him.

Because of oppression and judgment He was taken away.
As for His generation, who considered?
For He was cut off from the land of the living,
for the transgression of my people—
the stroke was theirs.

They arrested him and took his to trial. As a result of the trial he was “cut off from the land of the living”. A death sentence. Not for his own crimes, but those of his people. In the Scriptures, “My people” always means the people of Israel. The Messiah would die not for his own sin but for the sin of his people – the people who should be taking the punishment for their own sins – but the Messiah took it upon himself. He is the one who died.

His generation wouldn’t care to bring him up in conversation, but would rather sweep his existence under the carpet. So for the last 2000 years, Yeshua the Messiah has been the best kept secret in Judaism, and this is precisely why he was labelled “Yeshu” in Judaism, which stands for “May his name and memory be blotted out”.

His grave was given with the wicked,
and by a rich man in His death,
though He had done no violence,
nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Even though he was taken out to be executed like a criminal, even though he did nothing wrong, and never lied, in his death he was to be buried in the fancy tomb of a rich man. Yeshua really was killed on the cross and was buried in the grave of a rich man a member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea. It’s a clear symbol of the ironic situation in which the Messiah receives honor for the noblest deed of them all – taking the death sentence we deserve on himself.

Yet it pleased Adonai to bruise Him.
He caused Him to suffer.
If He makes His soul a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days,
and the will of Adonai will succeed by His hand.

So who is responsible for the death of the Messiah? “The Jews”? As so many Catholics have accused us of in the past? Maybe the Romans? They were the ones who actually crucified him? No.

“God was pleased to bruise him”. God is the only one able to forgive and bring salvation to the world and he turned himself into a sacrifice. What kind of sacrifice? A guilt offering. The death of the Messiah was no accident – God used his own stiff-necked people as priests in order to bring about the forgiveness of sins not only for his people Israel, but for the whole of humanity. In contrast to the Yom Kippur sacrifice which was only valid until the following year and just ‘covered over’ sin, the atonement of the Messiah took away our sin once and for all! None of us as human beings are perfect – we are not able to be that perfect sacrifice. Only God himself could do that.

After that comes a very interesting statement:

“He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days,”

In spite of the fact he would be killed, he would also prolong his days. He would rise again from the dead and would see the “fruit of his seed”, planted in his resurrection. By the way, we also have a video on the resurrection of Yeshua.

As a result of the anguish of His soul
He will see it and be satisfied by His knowledge.
The Righteous One, My Servant will make many righteous
and He will bear their iniquities.

The Messiah would see and be satisfied by his labor, because many would be made righteous by the suffering he endured, as a righteous man when he took on himself the sins and iniquities of many. All who recognize him as the Messiah will be his “seed” in a spiritual sense.

Therefore I will give Him a portion with the great,
and He will divide the spoil with the mighty—
because He poured out His soul to death,
and was counted with transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many,
and interceded for the transgressors.

The Messiah was the one interceding for us an advocate for us as sinners before a holy God. The Messiah took on his shoulders the sin of all who believe in him. It’s an encouraging prophecy of hope and a future. God is not just interested in forgiveness expressed in words but also demonstrated in actions. That’s why he took on the appearance of a servant and took the punishment that we deserve on himself.

Read rest of article here

Isaiah 53 may be the most compelling and powerful source from the Word of God to the unbelieving Jew.  No wonder I never heard this chapter of Isaiah in my synagogue!  Our rabbi did not stress reading the Tanakh (the Old Testament.)  The leaders in the synagogue would show us the most important passages to read (according to them).  This reminds me of the Catholic Church!

I have to wonder how many of my people came to a saving knowledge of Yeshua because of Isaiah 53.  I have read that some rabbis tore out this part of Scripture to avoid any confrontation or demands for explanation from members of their congregation.

I believe that a Jew who was truly searching for Truth about the Messiah, quickly realized that a chapter of Isaiah was missing. This would only encourage the inquisitive Jew to search out Isaiah 53!  I am certain that a serious student of the Tanakh would have been shocked and most likely caused them to further search the Scriptures, and perhaps even read the New Testament  out of curiousity!

God makes no mistakes.  Isaiah 53 is part of the Old Testament – just as our Lord ordained it to be. This passage of Scripture is like a diamond sitting in plain site, but overlooked by most of the Jewish people for centuries.

Romans 11

As we read this chapter of Romans, it is clear that the partial hardening of the Jewish people towards Yeshua, was instrumental in opening up heaven to believing Gentiles. It also says that my people will become jealous of the Gentiles and their relationship with God.  I believe that we are seeing this clearly today.

This Scripture always made me understand that Jesus did not just come for His people Israel – but ultimately for the whole world:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)  (emphasis added).

ISRAEL:  A man is coming who will deceive you. You will think that he is the long awaited Messiah, but he will be indwelled by Satan. You will sign an enforcement of a seven year treaty with this devil.  I pray that you will never forget these words.  NEVER.

The Lord is Good and True and Righteous; and His Word never changes!

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA

 

The Persecuted Church in China Will Flourish Under the Hateful Regime of Xi Jinping: They Will Be Praying For Us!

I will never forget something that was told to me back in 1983 when I was saved.  I was attending a home group and the Bible teacher said to us:

“The Christians who must go underground to worship in China are praying for the Christians in America.  They are saying that the persecution of believers in China is causing them to draw closer to God and His Word, and they are evangelizing the lost like never before.  The reason that they are praying so hard for us here in America, is that they know that the distractions and freedoms we enjoy will cause complacency, and many will fall away or become prey for heretical teaching.”

When I think about this now, in light of the mainline churches becoming apostate; and the many mega-churches which corrupt the Word of God – it sends chills up my spine. I believe that what the persecuted church said about America was prophetic.

Xi Jinping and his Hatred for Christians

Xi Jinping of China has a hatred of Christians that has not been seen in China since the reign of Mao Tse-tung. And now, since Xi has declared himself ruler for life in China, nothing short of a revolution will change the hateful regard for Christians by the Chinese government.

From express.co.uk

China President Xi Jinping thinks churches are ‘severe national security THREAT’

CHINA’S President Xi Jinping has been accused of having “particular animosity” against Christians in the country and sees underground churches as a “severe national security threat” as the communist state continues to crack down on how citizens practice the religion, the leader of a Christian persecution group has warned.

The outburst came from China Aid founder Bob Fu, when speaking during a discussion on religious oppression sponsored by the Heritage Foundation in the US, claimed Mr Xi sees the rise of Christianity as a threat to his rule.

There are now more than 38 million Protestants in China but according to Mr Fu, the number of persecuted Christians in the country over the course of just 12 months has “dramatically increased”.

“The number of people we documented who are persecuted among just Christians alone last year reached 223,000 compared to these 48,000 in 2016.”

The China Aid founder said “persecution will only help accelerate the growth” of the faithful, noting that even the number of Christians “who worship at the government churches” has also risen significantly.

Mr Fu said: ”You can see that he [Xi] has particular animosity against Christianity in particular,” acknowledging that the communist regime has identified “underground churches” as a “severe national security threat”.

He added that in efforts to better control religion, Beijing is forcing churches to install facial recognition systems to identify those who attend services.

“Every church is forced to install face recognition systems and every church building … is forced to put a sign [up] banning children, students, civil servants, military personnel, and communist party members from entering.

Mr Xi has cracked down on Christianity and asserted state control over religion, having previously said that “all religions must be Chinese-orientated”.

Last month, Christians were placed under house arrest as the Communist government continued to crack down on churches in an Easter purge.

Authorities imposed an effective ban on Christian gatherings with police requiring Christians to report where they are going every time they leave their home in the Henan province.

During Easter, China removed sales of the Bible from online stores having previously only allowed for the holy book to be distributed and printed by state-sanctioned churches.

Chinese Catholic bishops are not appointed by the Pope, stemming from a breakdown in relations between Beijing and the Vatican in 1951. – source

Much thanks to my sister in Christ Rebecca Clark  for this:

Her words to me:

“Now that he has declared himself a ruler for life, Xi is going full tilt against Christianity, and I feel that this is only the beginning. You know how bad it has become when the liberal Miami Herald decries it in its paper!”

And I could not agree more that for the “Liberal” Miami Herald to post this story; it has to be REALLY bad!

From miamiherald.com

Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul

The 62-year-old Chinese shopkeeper had waited nearly his entire adult life to see his dream of building a church come true — a brick house with a sunny courtyard and spacious hall with room for 200 believers.

But in March, about a dozen police officers and local officials suddenly showed up at the church on his property and made the frightened congregants disperse. They ordered that the cross, a painting of the Last Supper and Bible verse calligraphy be taken down. And they demanded that all services stop until each person along with the church itself was registered with the government, said the shopkeeper, Guo, who gave his last name only from fear of retribution.

Without warning, Guo and his neighbors in China’s Christian heartland province of Henan had found themselves on the front lines of an ambitious new effort by the officially atheist ruling Communist Party to dictate — and in some cases displace — the practice of faith in the country.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

The crackdown on Christianity is part of a broader push by Xi to “Sinicize” all the nation’s religions by infusing them with “Chinese characteristics” such as loyalty to the Communist Party. Over the last several months, local governments across the country have shut down hundreds of private Christian “house churches.” A statement last week from 47 in Beijing alone said they had faced “unprecedented” harassment since February.

A dozen Chinese Protestants interviewed by the Associated Press described gatherings that were raided, interrogations and surveillance, and one pastor said hundreds of his congregants were questioned individually about their faith. Like Guo, the majority requested that their names be partly or fully withheld because they feared punishment from authorities.

“Chinese leaders have always been suspicious of the political challenge or threat that Christianity poses to the Communist regime,” said Xi Lian, a scholar of Christianity in China at Duke University. “Under Xi, this fear of Western infiltration has intensified and gained a prominence that we haven’t seen for a long time.”

Officials once largely tolerated the unregistered Protestant house churches that sprang up independent of the official Christian Council, clamping down on some while allowing others to grow. But this year they have taken a tougher approach that relies partly on “thought reform” — a phrase for political indoctrination. Last November, Christian residents of a rural township in southeast Jiangxi province were persuaded to replace posters of the cross and Jesus Christ inside their homes with portraits of Xi, a local official said.

“Through our thought reform, they’ve voluntarily done it,” Qi Yan, a member of the township party committee, told the AP by phone. “The move is aimed at Christian families in poverty, and we educated them to believe in science and not in superstition, making them believe in the party.”

The poster campaign appears to symbolize what analysts see as the underlying force driving the change in the party’s approach to religion: the ascendance of Xi.

“Xi is a closet Maoist — he is very anxious about thought control,” said Willy Lam, a Chinese politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “He definitely does not want people to be faithful members of the church, because then people would profess their allegiance to the church rather than to the party, or more exactly, to Xi himself.”

Various state and local officials declined repeated requests to comment. But in 2016, Xi explicitly warned against the perceived foreign threats tied to faith, telling a religion conference: “We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means.”

Those who resist pay the price. After Jin Mingri, a prominent pastor who leads Zion Church in Beijing, refused local authorities’ request to install surveillance cameras inside his house church, police individually questioned hundreds of members of the 1,500-person congregation, he said. The congregants faced veiled threats, Jin said, and many were asked to sign a pledge promising to leave Zion, which the government agents called illegal, politically incorrect and a cult. Some people lost their jobs or were evicted from rented apartments because police intimidated their bosses and landlords.

“A lot of our flock are terrified by the pressure that the government is putting on them,” he said. “It’s painful to think that in our own country’s capital, we must pay so dearly just to practice our faith.”

In Zhengzhou, Henan’s capital, all that is left of one house church is shattered glass, tangled wires and torn hymnbooks, strewn among the rubble of a knocked-down wall. Pegged to another wall is a single wooden cross, still intact.

The church inside a commercial building had served about 100 believers for years. But in late January, nearly 60 officials from the local religion department and police station appeared without warning. Armed with electric saws, they demolished the church, confiscated Bibles and computers and held a handful of young worshippers — including a 14-year-old girl — at a police station for more than 10 hours, according to a church leader.

Even Protestant churches already registered with the state have not been spared greater restrictions. When reporters visited five such churches in Henan this June, all bore notices at their entrances stating that minors and party members were not allowed inside. A banner above one church door exhorted members to “implement the basic direction of the party’s religious work.” Another church erected a Chinese flag at the foot of its steps.

Guo’s brick house was largely deserted this summer. Around the door frame, tattered red outlines remained of a scroll that once read “God’s love is as deep as the sea.”

Inside, Guo has refused to remove the cross and other decorations, telling authorities they are within his private property.

Among them, pinned to a wall in the nave, is a bright blue poster that quotes China’s constitutional promise of religious freedom. source

Brethren, there is legislation pending in California to outlaw the Bible in that state.  I believe that if the Democrats are victorious in the mid terms and take back the White House in 2020, we are going to see persecution like we never could have imagined in America.

But I remind the reader to go back to the beginning of this article.  You will see clearly that our God uses the persecution of His saints to bring revival.  I believe that this is the only way that a revival will happen in our country.

Will we have to go underground to worship?  Probably.

Will be be arrested for hate speech?   Most likely.

Will the Bible be banned across America?  I believe that it will.

Will Christianity flourish underground and revert back to Sound Bible Based teaching?  MOST DEFINITELY! 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jesus was not speaking in the aforementioned passage of Scripture about the coming “Tribulation.”  He was speaking about the constant battles and persecutions  against us in this world which is not our home.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

We have not been persecuted to the degree of being incarcerated or killed in America – not yet.  And please do not think that I am saying that this will definitely happen to us .

But keep this in your hearts that the persecution which our brethren are suffering in China presently; God will use to grow His body there – not just in number, but in deep spiritual discernment of the Word of God.

Pray for our brethren in China as they pray for us!

How Can I Be Saved?

A Sermon for Sunday

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA