Of Whom the Prophet Speaks
A Few Words to Jewish Visitors And Those Who Are Wondering About Who is "Wanted"
The WANTED poster was developed by a Jewish individual, Scott, who was simply struck by the implications of the text of Isaiah 53. The poster only holds relevance because of what Scott discerned from reading the text. And the words leapt off the page as a Divine pronouncement as Scott made a connection between the text and the person's identity! Actually, if you back up some way into Isaiah 52 you encounter these opening words:
13 Behold, My Servant shall rule well; He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at You (so much was the disfigurement from man, His appearance and His form from the sons of mankind);
15 so He sprinkles from many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for they will see that which was not told to them; yea, what they had not heard, nor understood. (Isaiah 52: 13-15 MKJV)
Fair to say, the first question might be "Who is the Servant" and how does this apply to the Jewish reader?
If you scan down the page you will find all of Isaiah 53 reproduced for your reference. In reading the Isaiah passages the answer of relevance can be assessed.
The passage is written by Israel's prophet, a Jew, who is reflecting G_d's words onto a scroll that would be a testimony from the time of Isaiah to this day and these words are on prominent display at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. Right out in the open, any Hebrew reader can see the original text.
• This text is about G_d's Servant, but clearly not Isaiah. (v 13)
• This Servant was cause for something astonishing. (v14)
• In the form of a man, he became disfigured. (v14)
• The world will hear of the Servant, even though they were not witness to his presence and life on earth. (v15)
From Isaiah 53:
• A report of this person goes unbelieved and yet in the same verse is a reference to the arm of the LORD being revealed (v 1)
This passage of Scripture and the identity of the Servant has been tied to Israel, as if the Servant is Israel, but this becomes misconception—the masculine, singular pronouns further define who the Servant is.
• 'He,' a male human being, comes from the earth, is born a Jew, and has no special appearance. (v 2) This unremarkable looking person is astonishing ... we are not reading about any ordinary man.
• He was despised (for his association with specific actions and events) and then rejected, one who also knew the common and lowest of life's experiences. (v 3)
• He takes upon himself—'bourne our griefs'—but Isaiah's contemporaries ('we' being the Jewish people) without thanks 'esteemed him stricken' (to be struck, injured, even deemed undesirable to G_d)
• Specific events associated with the Servant resulted in wounds (as a part of his taking blame for our misdeeds) ... his body was stripped by a wound pattern (read this verse 5 several times and think of who might fit this description).
• We, everyone, have sinned (v 6)
• He was brought as the lamb of sacrifice ... for our sin (v 7) [this lamb's sacrifice removes forever the need for a yearly Temple sacrifice; good thing for there is no Temple today]
• For He was cut off out of the land of the living, v 8, and lost his life for our sake (to be 'cut off' means this person died, but died for a reason, for taking away our sin, to open the way for the LORD's promise of life).
• He was buried, crushed for the LORD's purposes, and by his hand the LORD's will is accomplished (v 9 and 10).
• He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors (v 12).
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Each of the points made here distinctly fit the identity of Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth). While composing the WANTED poster, Scott realized every Jew alive needs to WANT this 'arm of the LORD.' The very last verse declares Messiah's role as a mediator for all sinners. And the fact that "He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth." reveals the Messiah of Israel is Himself sinless. He who is sinless took on all sin that we may be found acceptable in the LORD's sight. This one man completed the Torah, never violated the Law, and thus said "It is finished!" Astonishing!
Historically, so many things have happened to these passages, including being deleted from Hebrew Bibles and replaced with footnotes about how the verses were removed to avoid confusion. Rabbis have historically stated the passages are merely about Israel and thus defer deeper study or making a connection to the Jewish Messiah. That is incredible and sustains a veil before the eyes of Israel!
Did Israel ever die for your sins?
Was Israel buried and raised from the dead and then serve as mediator for sin for all time?
For Jewish readers, the connection to Messiah is an opportunity to "be a fulfilled or completed Jew." Here is a missing piece of the Jewish puzzle. Seeing the connection is like having the veil drop and the eyes opened. Today, many Jews are making the connection. According to Scripture the veil is suppose to drop at some point in time. Perhaps for you, that today is now.
Finally, accepting that Yeshua is Messiah does not have to be a 'Gentile-ish,' churchy, thing. There are Messianic congregations and Jewish believers out there. If you approach them with humility and an open ear, you will find added support and evidence that further confirms "Of Whom the Prophet Speaks!"
1 Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor majesty that we should see Him, nor an appearance that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 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 its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
8 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 He was stricken.
9 And He put His grave with the wicked, and with a rich one in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify for many; and He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors. (Isaiah 53 MKJV)