Is Isaiah 53 referring to Jesus when it speaks of the ‘suffering servant’?

Answer:

No.

Isaiah is from the Jewish scriptures, the Tanakh. There is nothing in the Tanakh about Jesus. They were written thousands of years BEFORE Jesus was even born.

Jesus does not feature in Judaism. So why on earth would he appear in the Tanakh? That’s about as logical as me claiming Mohammed is mentioned in the ‘new testament’!

If you read the whole of Isaiah, without the page breaks that the Church added when it created the ‘old testament’, you will see that the suffering servant is ISRAEL. It is named as ISRAEL over, and over and over and over:


saiah 41:8, “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham my friend”
Isaiah 44:1 “But hear, now, O Jacob My servant Israel, whom I have chosen!”
Isaiah 44:21 “Remember these things, O Jacob for you, O Israel, are My servant”
Isaiah 49:3 “And he said to me, “You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory.””

– Because Isaiah identifies the servant previously as Israel we know that references to the servant (such as those found in Isaiah 52 & 53) are not references to Jesus.


And even if Christianity tries to ignore what the original Hebrew says, it still can’t be about Jesus:

Isaiah 52:14 states, “So marred was his appearance, unlike that of a man, his form, beyond human semblance”

-Even though Jesus was whipped and crucified, his form was not marred beyond human semblance. He still resembled a human being, and his form was still like that of a man. Jesus doesn’t fit.

Isaiah 53:4 states, “Yet it was our sickness that he was bearing, our suffering that he endured, we accounted him plagued, smitten and affected by God.”

Isaiah 53:3 contains, “A man of suffering, familiar with disease.”

Isaiah 53:10 states, “But the Lord chose to crush him by disease”

-Now, these passages tell us that the suffering servant being described was not only familiar with disease, but also afflicted with it, and crushed by it. It may be argued that Jesus was familiar with disease; however, he was not crushed by disease.

And no, disease does not mean sin or any other metaphorical interpretation. The historical context confirms this, early Jewish sources confirm this – it refers to leprosy.


“The Rabbis said: His name is ‘the leper scholar,’ as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Sanh. 98b)
Jesus was no leper. He wasn’t smitten, afflicted, plagued, crushed by disease. Jesus doesn’t fit.

Isaiah 53:10 also states, “That, if he made himself an offering for guilt, he might see offspring and have long life”

-Jesus made a guilt offering? This is recorded nowhere. He had offspring? The gospels don’t mention this, rather Christian tradition teaches that he had no wife or children. He had a long life? He lived to his mid-30s. Jesus just doesn’t fit.

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