The Signature of God

20 Gather yourselves and come;

Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations;

They have no knowledge,

Who carry about their wooden idol,

And pray to a god who cannot save.

21 Declare and set forth your case;

Indeed, let them consult together.

Who has announced this from of old?

Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD?

And there is no other God besides Me,

A righteous God and a Savior;

There is none except Me.

22 Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth;

For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:20-22).

We all know what a signature is. That is when you write your name in such a way as to give it your own personal distinctive. A signature on a check or on a letter is given as evidence that you have endorsed the contents of what is set on that paper. In the same way, the Lord gives a divine signature to the Bible. He does this through revealed prophecies. They are given as evidence that the message contained therein does indeed come from Him.



Prophecy is given for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is to build faith. It is to establish confidence in the Lord who miraculously foretold events which then came to pass.

Jesus used this technique to instill faith in His disciples.

"From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He." (John 13:19).

"And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe." (John 14:29).

The words of Jesus are echoed in the Old Testament where God said that the purpose of prophecy was to affirm and substantiate that the message of the prophets had indeed come from God.

8 I am the LORD, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another,

Nor My praise to graven images.

9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,

Now I declare new things;

Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. (Isaiah 42:8-9).

Notice that the Lord says that He is the One who declares new things before they spring forth.

6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel

And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:

"I am the first and I am the last,

And there is no God besides Me.

7 And who is like Me?

Let him proclaim and declare it;

Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,

From the time that I established the ancient nation.

And let them declare to them the things that are coming

And the events that are going to take place. (Isaiah 44:6-7).

The issues a challenge against the false deities that were worshiped throughout the ancient world. The challenge is whether they can also produce prophecies that are fulfilled.



But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. (Deuteronomy 18:20).

The Biblical prophets were under a tremendous responsibility. They were to proclaim the words of the Lord. Those who said, "Thus saith the Lord" when the Lord did not say thus were to have their very lives forfeit.

This brings up an obvious question. How were they to tell whether on not a prophet was really speaking from God?

And you may say in your heart, "How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?" 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

The requirement for a true prophet was that all of his prophecies must come to pass with complete accuracy. If he was wrong, that would put an end to his prophetic ministry because that would also put and end to his life.

There are a lot of modern-day prophets who make all sorts of predictions every year. Were they to be judged in accordance with the standards of a Biblical prophet, they would all be out of business. Permanently.



24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,

"I, the LORD, am the maker of all things,

Stretching out the heavens by Myself,

And spreading out the earth all alone,

25 "Causing the omens of boasters to fail,

Making fools out of diviners,

Causing wise men to draw back,

And turning their knowledge into foolishness,

26 "Confirming the word of His servant,

And performing the purpose of His messengers.

It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’

And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’

And I will raise up her ruins again.

27 "It is I who says to the depth of the sea, "Be dried up!"

And I will make your rivers dry.

28 "It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd!

And he will perform all My desire.’

And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’

And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’" (Isaiah 44:24-28).

Isaiah pens these word in the days of king Hezekiah -- around 700 B.C. He writes about one named Cyrus who would come on the scene to rebuild the temple. There is only one problem. In the days of Isaiah, the Temple did not have to be rebuilt because it had never been destroyed.

It was not until 586 B.C. that Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar broke into Jerusalem and burned the Temple to the ground and pulled down the walls of the city. It was another 50 years before the Babylonians were finally overcome by Cyrus the Great who had combined the Medes and the Persians into a single empire.

Cyrus saw himself as a liberator of all oppressed peoples and his first decree was that everyone who had been dispossessed by the Babylonians were now free to return to their homelands. This included the Jews who were now living in Babylon. Although Cyrus did not know the Lord, he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah to the letter.

Isaiah’ prophecy goes on in the next chapter to speak of the great success that Cyrus would enjoy.

1 Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed,

Whom I have taken by the right hand,

To subdue nations before him,

And to loose the loins of kings;

To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:

2 I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;

I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars.

3 And I will give you the treasures of darkness,

And hidden wealth of secret places,

In order that you may know that it is I,

The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

4 For the sake of Jacob My servant,

And Israel My chosen one,

I have also called you by your name;

I have given you a title of honor

Though you have not known Me. (Isaiah 45:1-4).

Notice that there is no claim made that Cyrus would be a believer. To the contrary, Isaiah points out that Cyrus would be doing God’s will without any knowledge of God.



Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, "Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste," 3 therefore, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves." (Ezekiel 26:2-3).

Early in January 332 B.C. Alexander the Great came to Tyre, the most powerful naval port in the Mediterranean at that time. The city of Tyre stood on rocky island about a half mile off the coast. It was surrounded by massive walls that rose to a height of 150 feet. The city was considered invincible.

Nebuchadnezzar had attacked Tyre in Ezekiel’s day and had finally destroyed the mainland city. Even after a 13 year siege he had not been able to capture the island city.

Alexander sent envoys asking that the city come to terms with him. The envoys were murdered and their bodies thrown into the sea. Alexander settled down in what was to be the longest siege of his career.

Alexander had no navy and so he decided to bring the island to him. He began by demolishing the ruins of the mainland city and using the rubble to construct a causeway across the water which separated the island from the coast. It was grueling work and further hampered by constant raids that the people of Tyre made in their swift warships.

Alexander went to Sidon and Byblos and confiscated a fleet of ships which could bottle up the fleet of Tyre. The causeway was finally completed and Alexander launched a three-pronged simultaneous attack.

The city of Tyre fell to Alexander on July 29, 332 B.C. The siege had taken 7 long months. Thousands of the inhabitants were slaughtered. The 30, 000 remaining survivors were sold into slavery while 2000 captured troops were crucified.

Writing at some time between 592 and 570 B.C., the prophet Ezekiel gave the following predictions concerning the overthrow and eventual destruction of the city of Tyre.

Behold, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.

"And they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a hard rock.

"She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken," declares the Lord God, "And she will become spoil for the nations." (Ezekiel 26:3-5).

Beginning in verse 7, we are given a more detailed picture of the destruction that will come against Tyre in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. However, in verse 12, there is a change as Ezekiel turns from what "he" will do to those whom he simply refers to as "they."

"Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timbers into the water.

"So I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.

"And I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will he built no more, for I the Lord have spoken," declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 26:12-14).

There are a number of points to this prophecy. Let’s list them:

The fulfillment of this prophecy was not the product of blind chance. There is not another city in all of the ancient world that had the same kind of destruction which Alexander brought against Tyre. Alexander was the unwitting servant of the Lord, bringing Divine judgment against the pagan city.

If you go to site of ancient Tyre today, you will find a place for the spreading of nets. A small fishing village occupies the site while, several miles down the coast, a modern city had taken for itself the name Tyre.



The city of Babylon was the object of a number of Biblical prophecies. The city was one of the most ancient in all the world and had been in existence from earliest recorded history. Not only was it an ancient city, it was also a mighty city.

1. Physical Description of the City.

Herodotus, writing 150 years after Nebuchadnezzar, tells us that the city of Babylon was a vast square in design, each side having a length of 14 miles and making a complete circuit of 56 miles. He adds that the walls of the city were 300 feet high and were so wide that three chariots could race along the top side by side.

The Euphrates River ran straight through the center of the city. The banks of the river were lined with brick and large gates crossed the river where it entered and exited from the city.

A large part of the city was given over to farmland. With both a food and water supply, Babylon could withstand a siege indefinitely.

2. The Defenses of the City.

Herodotus states that the outer wall of the city was 300 feet high and 80 feet thick. Surrounding this outer wall was a huge moat which was fed through canals from both the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers.

Around the center of the city was a second double-wall. If an invader managed to pass the outer wall and then also passed through the inner wall, he would find himself within a narrow space between the first and second inner wall which could be flooded in times of emergency.

3. The Hanging Gardens.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered by the Greeks to be one of the seven wonders of the world. They were 400 feet square and were raised on terraces one above the other to the height of the city wall. Viewed from a distance, they had the appearance of a forest-covered mountain, standing in marked contrast to the level plains of the Mesopotamian Valley.

It is said that Nebuchadnezzar built the Gardens for his wife, Amyhia, the daughter of Cyaxeres, the king of the Medes. The Gardens were to relieve her homesickness for the mountains of her native Media.

In order to maintain the exotic plants of the Gardens under the blazing sun of the Babylonian plains, a powerful pump was built inside the terraced wall which kept a steady flow of water, insuring that the soil was always moist.

4. Temples.

Under Nebuchadnezzar, every temple in Babylon was rebuilt. He lists eight which were built within the city itself.

The greatest of all was the Temple of Bal-Merodach. It stood in a square enclosure with each side measuring 1200 feet and entered by 12 gates. In the middle rose a tower of solid brick, like a pyramid. The sanctuary on the top rose in eight stories and was 300 feet high.

If ever a city could have been considered eternal, it was Babylon. Yet the prophets of the Bible predicted quite a different future for the city.

17 Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them,

Who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold,

18 And their bows will mow down the young men,

They will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb,

Nor will their eye pity children. (Isaiah 13:17-18).

Isaiah predicts that it will be the Medes who rise up and conquer Babylon. This took place in 539 B.C. when the Medo-Persian king Cyrus captured the city. We have already seen where, in Isaiah 45:1, Isaiah actually names Cyrus by name. The astounding thing about this is that Cyrus would not be born for another 150 years.

19 And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans' pride,

Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation;

Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there,

Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.

21 But desert creatures will lie down there,

And their houses will be full of owls,

Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.

22 And hyenas will howl in their fortified towers

And jackals in their luxurious palaces.

Her fateful time also will soon come

And her days will not be prolonged. (Isaiah 13:19-22).

The city of Babylon was in that day one of the most powerful and magnificent cities in the world. It was an old city and had never before been abandoned. But it would be. It would become a wasteland.

This did not happen overnight. It took place over many years. Eventually the River Euphrates changed her course and Babylon became an abandoned swamp.

"And I will rise up against them," declares the LORD of hosts, "and will cut off from Babylon name and survivors, offspring and posterity," declares the LORD. 23 "I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog, and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 14:22-23).

Notice that the end of Babylon is specifically described as being a place that is covered with swamps of water. The end of Babylon was fulfilled quite literally.


Some of the most striking prophecies of the Old Testament are those which predict the coming of a Messiah. The fulfillment of these is found in the person of Jesus.

1. A Blessing from Abraham.

Now the Lord said to Abram,

"Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father's house,

To the land which I will show you;

And I will make you a great nation,

And I will bless you,

And make your name great;

So you shall be a blessing;

And I will bless those who bless you,

And the one who curses you I will curse.

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3).

The very last sentence tells of how in Abraham all of the families of the earth would be blessed. This blessing is fulfilled in the person of Jesus who was born as a descendance of Abraham.

2. A Son of David

"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant [seed] after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.

"He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his kingdom forever.

"I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but my lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.

"And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:12-16).

The promise to David revolves around the establishment of a SEED. This takes us all the way back to Genesis 3:15. It was there that the Lord had promised Adam and Eve that there would come One who would be of the seed of the woman. This Seed would crush the serpent’s head. He would be the destroyer of the works of Satan.

This promise is fulfilled in two parts. The immediate fulfillment will be in the person of Solomon. He will be the seed who will build a house in the name of the Lord. It will be Solomon who constructs the temple of God in Jerusalem. Solomon will found the Davidic dynasty.

But the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is seen in Jesus.



Son of David.

Ultimate son of David.

Established the united monarchy of Israel.

Established the kingdom of God upon earth.

Built the temple.

He WAS the temple.

Established a kingdom that would continue until 586 B.C.

Established an eternal kingdom that will never end.

Chastened because of his iniquity.

Took upon Himself the sins of the world.

The first part of verse 14 ("I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me") is quoted twice in the New Testament.

3. Born in Bethlehem.

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

Too little to be among the clans of Judah,

From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.

His goings forth are from long ago,

From the days of eternity. (Micah 5:2).

Bethlehem was the city from which David had come. This was its primary claim to fame, as it was really only a small village. Ephrathah was the place name of the general area, a name that went all the way back to the days of the judges (Ruth 4:11).

Just as David had come from Bethlehem, so also the future ruler of Israel would also come from Bethlehem. He would be the One whose coming had been promised and described from ages past.

4. Born of a Virgin.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).

There is a "child motif" that runs through this section of Israel from chapter 7 to chapter 9 and include the mention of five different children.

Immanu-el stands out in contrast to the other children in that there is no father mentioned. Even the mother is not named except to refer to her as "the virgin." In this regard, Immanu-el and the Royal Child of chapter 9 are seen to be similar. The sign is that a young maiden shall be with child. She shall have a son. He will be called Immanuel. But the prophecy does not end here. It goes on to tell what the sign will signify. The sign has been given for a specific localized reason.

He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken. (Isaiah 7:15-16).

The sign was not to end with the birth of Immanuel. It was only to begin there. The rest of the sign was that the child would grow and develop into a young boy. Before that boy had reached the age of being able to tell the difference between right and wrong, the kings of both Aram and Israel would die.

This prophecy has a double fulfillment. On the one hand, it had an immediate application in that a young maiden living in Isaiah’s day had a child and before that child was eating solid food, two specific kings were uprooted.

I believe that the sign of Immanuel was given as a partial fulfillment in the days of Ahaz. This is seen in the following chapter where Immanuel himself is addressed (Isaiah 8:8). But that is not the end of the story. Even though his name was Immanuel and expressed the truth that God was working in the lives of His people, there remained a further and more complete fulfillment.

That fulfillment is seen in the person of Jesus. Matthew 1:22-23 presents to us the truth that Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the Immanuel. He is God with us.

It is no mistake that Isaiah used the specific word that he did. The Hebrew word Almah (translated "virgin") technically means a "young maiden." Every time it is used in the Old Testament, it describes a young unmarried damsel.

What is it about the virgin birth of Christ that is so important?

No! It is because this was the promised sign. This sign points to the fulfillment of the promise that God would be with us.

5. Ministry in Galilee.

1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

2 The people who walk in darkness

Will see a great light;

Those who live in a dark land,

The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1-2).

You can go to Galilee today and it is a beautiful land. But that was not always the case. Galilee in the past lived under the shadow and threat of invasion. But in the midst of this gloom and doom, there was brought through those dark clouds a shining ray of hope.

In anguish


Walk in Darkness

Live in a Dark Land

No more gloom


See a great Light

The Light will Shine on them

Zebulun and Naphtali were beautiful lands with a major problem. The problem is that they were the buffer zone between Israel and the hostile forces to the north. Every time the Assyrians came down, the first place through which they would come were Zebulun and Naphtali.

By the days of Jesus, this region had come to have a high Gentile population. It would be known as "Galilee of the Gentiles." This would give rise to a proverb: "Can anything good come out of Galilee?"

This is the place where God chose to send His Son.

Not Jerusalem.

Not the Temple.

Not Rome, the capital of the Empire.

But Galilee.

6. Titles by which He would be Known.

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7).

I mentioned earlier that there is a "son motif" running through the pages of Isaiah. It begins in Isaiah 7 with the virgin-born son named Immanuel. Throughout chapter 8 we read of Isaiah giving names to his children that had prophetic significance. Now we come the final promise of a Son.

The Hebrew word here for "the government" is used only here and in verse 7. It is derived from the Hebrew word describing a prince or ruler.

To which government does this refer? Verse 6 does not say. But verse 7 indicates that it is HIS government. It is the government of the Throne of David.

The problem with this is that, from a physical perspective, the throne of David is long gone. There is a nation of Israel today, but no one identifies modern Israel with the throne of David.

And yet, the promise says that this will be a reign of righteousness which shall last forever. And that of this government there shall be no end.

What is this government? I would suggest that this "government" refers to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the government which has gone out to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18). It is the government which shall survive when all other rule and authority and power has been abolished (1 Corinthians 15:24). It is the government of God's people. Today we call it the CHURCH.

When we think of a counselor, it brings to mind one who has the answers to our problems. Jesus has the answer because He IS the answer. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

This points to the true identity of Jesus. He is God incarnate. He is the mighty God.

The Hebrew of Isaiah 9:6 speaks of the Messiah being the "eternal Father." What does this mean? Some have taught this is an indication of Modalism - that Jesus IS the Father and that they are both one person in the same way that I am a son and I am also a father.

The Hebrew phrase is a compound word. This seems to be a Hebraism. There are a number of examples of this:

If this is the same sort of Hebraism, then the term "Father of eternity" in Isaiah 9:6 means simply that the promised Son would be eternal.

Jesus brought peace to the world. Anyone who has truly followed His teachings has lived a more peaceful life as a result.

7. Pictures of His Sufferings.

13 Behold, My servant will prosper,

He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.

14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man,

And His form more than the sons of men.

15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations,

Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;

For what had not been told them they will see,

And what they had not heard they will understand. (Isaiah 52:13-15).

Isaiah 52:13 to the end of Isaiah 53 is set forth in the form of a chiasm. It is a parallel that begins and ends of the same note. The important point of this parallel is see in that which is at the pivotal point.

Exaltation; 52:13-15

Exaltation; 53:10-12



Rejection; 53:1-3

Rejection; 53:7-9



Suffering; 53:4-6

Notice that the aspect of suffering is the central and pivotal point of the passage. But before we read of the suffering of the Servant, we are first guaranteed of the exaltation of the Servant. He will prosper. This is the same message as is found in the book of Revelation. Jesus Wins!

What sort of image would come to mind if you suddenly heard one day that God was coming to town?

A conqueror?

A giant?

One with great glamour and appeal?

Every movie that I’ve ever seen depicting Jesus presents Him as a tall, good-looking man. You’ve known people like that. The movie star stereotype.

We have this idea that we want Jesus to be pretty. But this passage says that He wasn’t that way.

That says something comforting to us.

We tend to believe that if you are strong and good-looking and smart, then Jesus must love you more. We watch a Christian athlete wins a race and he crosses the finish line and says that they owe it all to Jesus and we think that Jesus must love him.

And then some little scrawny fellow who couldn’t run around the block thinks, "Jesus must not love me very much."

Television and magazines always lift up the beautiful people. Jesus would have been overlooked by them. He had no form or beauty. You remember that the next time you pass by someone who is not pretty. If you take a second look, you might find that Jesus is there.

Behold, My servant will prosper,

He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. (Isaiah 52:13).

Verse 13 begins with a command. It is to BEHOLD! God is commanding us that we should come and look and examine the One whom He has chosen to become His Servant.

Jesus took for Himself the title of a Servant. We read in Philippians 2:6-7 that although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. The One who was from eternity took the form of a servant.

Verse 14 points to the sufferings of the Messiah that preceded the cross:

Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man,

And His form more than the sons of men. (Isaiah 52:14).

We learn in the gospels how the Roman soldiers beat Jesus, first blindfolding Him and then hitting Him in the face as they mocked Him and called upon Him to prophesy and to name the identity of the attacker. There is coming a day when we will stand before Him as our judge and He will indeed name each one of us, calling us to account.

Isaiah goes on to tell us that the Messiah would be rejected and misunderstood in His ministry.

1 Who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3 He was despised and forsaken of men,

A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

And like one from whom men hide their face,

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1-3).

Verse 1 is a rhetorical question. After all, this is a message that everyone ought to have believed. But the truth of the matter is that many have not believed the report of the prophet. Why not?

It is because of what we read in verse 2:

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Jesus was not the stereotype of a heroic figure. He didn’t come across as a conquering king or a majestic ruler. He grew up as a simple carpenter. There was nothing about His appearing that would attract the natural man.

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Isaiah 53:4-6).

In these verses we go back and forth between the truth about the work of Jesus versus what people THOUGHT about Jesus. It is a contrast between reality versus delusion.



Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;


Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.



But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.



All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;


But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

Unbelieving Israel looked at Jesus on the cross and said, "He got what He deserved." The truth is that He got what WE deserved. The death of Christ was substitutionary in nature. He died in our place.

This was graphically illustrated in the case of Barabbas. This man was a thief and a robber. He had been caught and tried for his crimes and sentenced to death. Seeking to pacify a hostile crowd, Pontius Pilate released Barabbas and crucified Jesus. The one who deserved to die was given life and the One who had done no wrong was sent to the cross. It was a cross that was meant for Barabbas.

Verse 6 widens the scope of the cross to show how it extends itself to all.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:6).

This is the same concept that Paul presents in Romans 5:12-18. It is the concept that all were under sin and that all sins were subsequently atoned.

Sheep are not known for their organizational skills. Left to themselves, they will wander and they will keep on wandering. We are like that. Left to ourselves, our tendency is to wander away from God. This is why we need a Savior.

In verses 4-8 we see a contrast between our need over against the Servant’s divine remedy for that need.

Israel’s Need

The Servant’s Remedy

Our griefs (53:4).

He Himself bore (53:4).

Our sorrows (53:4).

He carried (53:4).

For our transgressions (53:5).

He was pierced (53:5).

For our iniquities (53:5).

He was crushed (53:4).

For our well-being (53:5).

The chastening... fell upon Him (53:5)

In need of healing (53:5).

By His scourging (53:5).

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way (53:6).

The LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (53:6).

For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due (53:8).

He was cut off out of the land of the living (53:8).

The innocent was punished in place of the guilty. The guilty as permitted to go free.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation,

Who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living,

For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?

9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7-9).

In verse 7 we move from the universal to the particular. The focus shifts from the many to the One as we come again to consider the rejection of the Servant.

Verse 6

Verse 7

Many sheep

One lamb

We have wandered

He was brought to the slaughter



Our sins were taken away

The sins of the world were laid upon Him

The Messiah is likened to a lamb. That had special ramifications to the Jewish mind because when you spoke of a lamb to a Jew, you thought of more than wool or lambchops. The first think that would come to mind would be the idea of a SACRIFICE.

For hundreds of years now in the city in Jerusalem, the first thing that would happen in the morning in the Temple Courtyard is that a lamb would be slain. And for hundreds of years, the last thing that would happen before the sun went down is that another lamb would be slain. Thousands of lambs over hundreds of years. Always another lamb. Always another sacrifice.

They all pointed to the Lamb of God who would die on a rough-hewn cross as a sacrifice for sins. Do you remember what happened when Jesus died? His closing words: "It is finished." No more lambs. No more sacrifices. No more Temples.

And as if to give a divine signature from heaven, the veil in the Temple in Jerusalem was ripped from top to bottom. The way to God has been made open.

What is pointed out in this passage is the Silence of the Lamb:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7).

This verse is chiastic in its outline and in reality should be seen as a part of the first line of verse 8 (the lesson here is that the verse divisions are helpful, but are not inspired).

He was oppressed and He was afflicted

Yet He did not open His mouth

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers

So He did not open His mouth

By oppression and judgment He was taken away

The fact that Jesus did not open His mouth is all the more striking in that one of His titles is the Word. He came to communicate God to men. I love the comment of St Francis of Assisi, "Always preach the gospel, and when necessary use words." Jesus did that. He communicated the love of God both in His words and in His silence.

And as for His generation,

Who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living,

For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? (Isaiah 53:8).

While verse 7 shows the Servant’s suffering and His response to that suffering, verse 8 shows the Servant’s death and the response of others to that death.

This is another rhetorical question. Who was it who recognized that the Messiah’s death was for the transgressions of others who were deserving of that death? The question is similar to that in verse 1. The answer is no one.

Who believed our report? No one did.

Who recognized that the Servant’s death was for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? No one did.

Not only was the death of Jesus foretold, but also the people’s reaction to that death was also foretold. It was a reaction of unbelief. Even the disciples of Jesus did not immediately understand that His death was for their sake.

It is not that people are ignorant of the fact that Christ died. Nearly everyone knows that. But people have not truly considered that death and recognized and accepted and appropriated the implications of that death.

Have you? Certainly you are aware of the message of the Gospel; that Jesus died upon the cross for your sins and that He was buried and that He rose again from the dead. But have you appropriated the gospel in your own life? Have you trusted in Jesus as your Lord and as your Savior? Have you committed your life into His keeping? Have you entrusted yourself to Him?

To know only the facts of the gospel without faith is like knowing all about a cool glass of water and to remain thirsty. That is why the Lord’s Supper is such an excellent picture of our communion with Christ. It portrays that need to eat and drink and believe.

His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7-9).

How could a man be both assigned with wicked men as well as with a rich man in his death because he had done no wrong himself? The mystery is unveiled in Jesus.

Jesus was judged and condemned to die the death of those who deserved death. He was crucified between two criminals who had done deeds worthy of death. Once they were dead, they would have been taken down and dumped unceremoniously into a common grave.

But something happened that hinted at the special meaning of the death of Christ. It was when a wealthy Jewish nobleman named Joseph of Arimathea took it upon himself to gain permission to give the body of Jesus a more appropriate burial.

There is a lesson here. It is that when the death of Christ was completed, also completed and finished was His humiliation. No longer would He be treated like a common criminal. Instead His body was taken with the greatest reverence and placed in a tomb that had never before been used. This pointed to His innocence.

10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

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

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11 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 justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12).

Back in the first chapter of Isaiah, he pointed out that the Lord takes no pleasure in the sacrifices of wicked men: I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats (Isaiah 1:11).

Verse 10 makes a twofold reference to the pleasure of the Lord.

This seems like odd language until we remember that the writer to the Hebrews described Jesus who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Why did the cross please the Lord? The answer is given in verse 11. It is seen in the fact that He was satisfied. God is satisfied in the cross.


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