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Does Isaiah 53 predict the crucifixion of Jesus?

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An often-quoted chapter used by Christian missionaries, is that of Isaiah 53 from the Jewish Old Testament. The reason they’re so fond of this chapter is because they believe it clearly prophesizes about Jesus’ death and crucifixion for the sins of mankind.

Here is Isaiah 53 in full:

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt 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 of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

So missionaries will quote this chapter saying that it obviously refers to none other than Jesus and his death on the cross.

Now if anyone studies the Christian doctrine of Jesus’ death on the cross for the sins of mankind, they’d know that his death is also linked to his resurrection, the resurrection is one of the most important aspects of the entire crucifixion episode, not merely his death on the cross.

Bearing this in mind, we ask the following questions concerning Isaiah 54:

-That the suffering servant will be resurrected

-That the suffering servant will be resurrected after 3 days

Isaiah 53 says absolutely nothing about a resurrection, which is the central tenant of the crucifixion. In fact according to the apostle Paul, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, i.e. resurrect, then the entire Christian faith is in vain and for nothing:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:14)

So the resurrection of Jesus is THE essential pillar of Christianity, without it Christianity is nothing, and is all in vain.

We must therefore ask why is the resurrection not even mentioned in Isaiah 53, surely if the resurrection is the most important thing then this would’ve been mentioned, yet there’s nothing about anybody rising from the dead in Isaiah 53.

With that said, what do the Jews themselves have to say about Isaiah 53? Who was the suffering servant? Was it the Messiah to supposedly come die for people’s sins?

Jews for Judaism when discussing who the suffering servant explain that:

The fact is that the identity of the servant has already been established by Isaiah in PREViously stated passages. In Isaiah 41 :8-9; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3 the prophet identifies Israel as the servant.

Moreover, the history of Israel, down through the ages shows that the servant is, none other than Israel personified. Chapter 53 reiterates this fact by providing an historic overview of the tragedies and triumphs of the servant, Israel, throughout its history. Who would believe that this exiled nation, this humiliated loathsome Jewish people would be fated to survive the vicissitudes of its historical sufferings to once more have a future entailing prominence, hope, and joy. (http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121:who-is-the-suffering-servant-of-the-lord&catid=48:suffering-servant&Itemid=500)

Here also is a long lecture by a Jewish rabbi belonging to Jews for Judaism Canada explaining Isaiah 53 in detail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TeOtzTaAco

Now the question does have to be asked, if Isaiah 53 is as missionaries allege, that it clearly mentions the death of Jesus for the sins of mankind, then why is that there were no Jews during the time of Jesus, and even before the time of Jesus, awaiting or expecting such a thing?

Surely if it was that clear, that Isaiah 53 prophesizes about the Messiah coming to die for people’s sins, then there would have been this awaited expectation amongst the Jews. Yet we find no such thing, neither during the time of Jesus, or before he ever came onto the scene.

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