Pro and Con 518

Posted 5-27-00

Incoming email

Thank you for 'opening the door' so to speak. The Bible, to me, is the most fascinating book in the world. I am convinced it is the literal word of God, in the original writings and am confident the scribes of the old testament who had the responsibility of making copies of them did so with complete accuracy. I also believe translators, such as the translators of the King James Version, truly sought to produce a 'bias-free' translation of the original writings. In some instances their translation of a particular word, or phrase, has been misapplied but such misapplications are very rare. Praise the Lord!

I do not profess to know all there is to know about the Word but I am convinced ALL the scriptures, 'rightly divided' and then correctly reassembled will give us a complete pictures, without any pieces left over - that is, I think, of utmost importance. It there is a piece left over a picture cannot be complete and I think, Dear Lady, you will agree with that. Praise the Lord!

The following is my response to specific portions of your email. I have not commented on the time factors related to the feasts and festivals, etc. There are so many 'ifs' involved in such considerations that many pictures can be painted, depending on the concepts of the artist and the 'colors' used, but there are so many maybes involved I chose to leave such time factors to others.
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> We know that the shortened time will be revealed somewhere in Scripture. In Mk. 13:23 Jesus said, "But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you ALL things."

Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,."
I think there is a pause here that takes us to 30 days beyond the end of the 2nd half of the week, 1,260 + 30 = 1,290 days. (Daniel 12:11)
"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate,." the beast profanes the sanctuary and makes it desolate 30 days after the end of the 7 years. "even until the consummation."
the sanctuary remains desolate, the abomination being set up, during the next 45 days (Daniel 12:12. 1,335-1290=45) 'until the consummation', until the return of the Lord in Glory. "and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." during the 45 days the vials are 'poured upon the desolate' and THESE are the days that I think will be shortened.
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< Thus, the sacrificing stops because the temple is desecrated.>

I do not think the sacrificing stops 'because the temple is desecrated' but because the city and 'the court without the temple' will be under the control of the gentiles for 1,260 days, AFTER the daily sacrifice is taken away at the mid-point of the 7 years, as per Revelation 11:2. This will allow the beast to stop the daily sacrifice but, since the temple is not under the control of the gentiles, he will be unable to set up the abomination at that time.
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> Now you tell me what you think the 2300 days of Dan. 8:14 applies to.

I think they apply to the period during which there was no sacrifice and the temple was desecrated during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. History, not ifs or maybes, but history, records that this prototype of the 'beast' did exactly what the angel told Daniel he would do and I quote from page 118 of Harold S. Paisley's book "This Daniel": "The 2300 days covers the time during which Antiochus Epiphanes devastated Jerusalem and persecuted the Jewish people. Judas Maccabeus cleansed the sanctuary from the idols and abominations in 165 BC. Going back 2300 days from that date brings us to the year 171 BC, the very year Antiochus Epiphanes began his interference with Israel. It is clear, therefore, that the days are literal days and that they have long since been fulfilled."

Other researchers have pinpointed dates and times to account, exactly, for the 2300 days, as above. You appear to be very interested in dates so I will, if you like, dig out the references I have regarding these dates and send them to you.

> Let's put our heads together. Maybe there is more to know about this 2300 days.
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> Eternity has to do with endless time, not place.

You are quite correct, Madam, but then, John 2:24 tells us "God is a Spirit" (It is 4:24) and we know a spirit does not require "space". God, for His own purposes, created 'space', heaven. We know that from Genesis 1:1. He appears to have created more than one of them for, some time after He created the earth, on the day after He said "Let there be light and there was light." God made the firmament, our heaven, which He used to divide the waters from the waters, and, on the fourth day made the stars and placed them in our heaven but He does not inhabit any part of heaven, or earth, or the planets. He inhabits Eternity. I think you must agree that making one of the planets the habitation of a member of the Godhead, even as a summer retreat, is a bit 'far out'. God Bless you both....

My reply

> > I have not commented on the time factors related to the feasts and festivals, etc. There are so many 'ifs'...I chose to leave such time factors to others.

If we don't start right, we have little chance of ending up right. God gave us seven feasts as a framework upon which to build. Each feast is a holy convocation (miqra, REHEARSAL). The feasts are rehearsals of things to come. Think of how Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Pentecost were fulfilled in 30 AD. Without the skeleton of things to come, we have little to anchor anything to. All our reasonings are floating on air.

Out of the seven, there are only three feasts left to be fulfilled during the millennial Day of the Lord, and one of the feasts will bring destruction. Mal. 2:3 says, "your solemn FEASTS; and ONE SHALL TAKE YOU AWAY WITH IT." Which one is it, Trumpets (Tishri 1), Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) or Tabernacles (Tishri 15)?

The first day of the millennial Day of the Lord is the Feast of Trumpets (Tishri 1). It is the Day of the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven and the Day of God's Wrath on Earth.

Hos. 5:7-10 says, "now shall a MONTH (chodesh, NEW MOON, i.e., Tishri 1, Feast of Trumpets) DEVOUR THEM with their portions. Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the TRUMPET in Ramah...Ephraim shall be desolate in THE DAY OF REBUKE: among the tribes of Israel have I MADE KNOWN THAT WHICH SHALL SURELY BE. The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out MY WRATH upon them like water."

Eze. 7:5-14 says, "An evil, AN ONLY EVIL, behold, is come. AN END IS COME, THE END IS COME: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come....THE TIME IS COME, THE DAY OF TROUBLE is near (Preparation Day becomes the Feast of Trumpets at 6:00 PM)...Now will I shortly pour out MY FURY upon thee, and accomplish MINE ANGER upon thee: and I WILL JUDGE THEE (at the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven) according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations....Behold THE DAY, behold, IT IS COME...let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for WRATH is upon all the multitude...THE VISION is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life. They have blown the TRUMPET, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the BATTLE: for MY WRATH is upon all the multitude thereof."

Joel 1:14,15; 2:1-3 says, "Sanctify ye a fast (the coming Day of Atonement), call a solemn assembly (on the Feast of Trumpets), gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, ALAS FOR THE DAY! for the DAY OF THE LORD (the Millennium) is at hand, and as a DESTRUCTION from the Almighty shall it come....Blow ye the TRUMPET in Zion, and sound an ALARM in my holy mountain (i.e., the Temple at Jerusalem): let all the inhabitants of the land (eretz Israel) tremble: for the DAY OF THE LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand (the Feast of Trumpets will start at 6:00 PM on Preparation Day); A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of THICK DARKNESS, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; THERE HATH NOT BEEN EVER THE LIKE (the united nations' army under Gog, Eze. 38), NEITHER SHALL BE ANY MORE AFTER IT, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness."

Jer. 4:19-21 says, "thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the TRUMPET, the alarm of WAR. DESTRUCTION UPON DESTRUCTION is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly "

Zeph. 1:14-16 says, "The great DAY OF THE LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the DAY OF THE LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. THAT DAY IS A DAY OF WRATH, a DAY OF TROUBLE and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a DAY OF DARKNESS and gloominess, a day of clouds and THICK DARKNESS, A DAY OF THE TRUMPET and alarm."

> > Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,."
I think there is a pause here that takes us to 30 days beyond the end of the 2nd half of the week, 1,260 + 30 = 1,290 days. (Daniel 12:11)
> > "and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate,." the beast profanes the sanctuary and makes it desolate 30 days after the end of the 7 years.
> > "even until the consummation."the sanctuary remains desolate, the abomination being set up, during the next 45 days (Daniel 12:12. 1,335-1290=45) 'until the consummation', until the return of the Lord in Glory.

How you can reject Dan. 9:27'S "in the MIDST OF THE WEEK he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" and say that "the beast profanes the sanctuary and makes it desolate 30 days after the end of the 7 years" is beyond me.

There are 7 months between the Day of God's Wrath on Tishri 1 to the Second Advent on Nisan 1, the beginning of the Jewish Regnal and Sacred Year. The Second Advent must be on Nisan 1 (Hos. 6:3; Eze. 29:17,21). This means it has to be a Jewish Leap Year. Eze. 39:12,13 says, "And SEVEN MONTHS shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified (Second Advent), saith the Lord GOD."

Nisan 1 is before the ending of the 1260 days, let alone the 1290 or 1335 days. Surely you don't think the beast will set up the abomination of desolation after Christ returns?

> > I quote from page 118 of Harold S. Paisley's book "This Daniel": "The 2300 days covers the time during which Antiochus Epiphanes devastated Jerusalem and persecuted the Jewish people. Judas Maccabeus cleansed the sanctuary from the idols and abominations in 165 BC. Going back 2300 days from that date brings us to the year 171 BC, the very year Antiochus Epiphanes began his interference with Israel. It is clear, therefore, that the days are literal days and that they have long since been fulfilled."

You reject the 2300 days, saying that Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled that, when Antiochus was a type of what will happen in the Tribulation. You are believing Harold Paisley instead of the Bible. Please take another look at Dan. 8:13-26. It goes all the way to when the False Prophet "shall be broken without hand."

Dan. 8:13,14,23,25,26 says, "How long shall be the vision concerning the DAILY SACRIFICE (they sacrifice during the 1st 1260 days), AND THE TRANSGRESSION OF DESOLATION, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot (1040 days)? And he said unto me, Unto TWO THOUSAND AND THREE HUNDRED DAYS (lit., evenings and mornings); then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (1260 + 1040 = 2300). And in the LATTER TIME of their kingdom, WHEN THE TRANSGRESSORS ARE COME TO THE FULL (i.e., in the Tribulation), a king of fierce countenance (the False Prophet), and understanding dark sentences (he's Satan- possessed at Mid-Trib), shall stand up....And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and BY PEACE HE SHALL DESTROY MANY: HE (the False Prophet) SHALL ALSO STAND UP AGAINST THE PRINCE OF PRINCES (Christ); but HE SHALL BE BROKEN WITHOUT HAND. And THE VISION OF THE EVENING AND THE MORNING (i.e., of the 2300 days) WHICH WAS TOLD IS TRUE: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days."

> > God made the firmament, our heaven, which He used to divide the waters from the waters

The firmament is the expanse of space, or heavens, that is between the waters of Earth and the waters of Heaven. Green's Interlinear Bible makes it clear. Gen. 1:6-8 says, "God said, Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse, Heavens."

Our Heaven is where Christ's throne is, and his throne is where the waters are above the expanse of space. Ezekiel saw the 4 terrestrial planets, whose orbits looked like wheels in the middle of a wheel. The sun was the hub of the wheels, i.e., in the center of the 4 orbits. Eze. 1:26 (Green) says, "And from above the expanse that (was) over their heads (was) an appearance like a sapphire stone, the likeness (symbolic language) of a throne. And on the likeness of the throne (was) a likeness in appearance like a man (Christ) on it from above."

Not only does Sapphire mean "dear to the planet Saturn," from the Sanskrit Sani "Saturn" and priya "dear," Ezekiel saw the ring system of Saturn. In verse 28, he said "As the appearance of the bow that in in the cloud in the day of the rain, so appeared the brightness ALL AROUND." Both the rings of Saturn and our rainbows are made up of ice crystals (or drops of water). The color is because of sunlight on ice crystals. No wonder the Lord called the rainbow "my bow." Gen. 9:13 says, "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." That was a good choice. The rainbow even has 7 colors.

Zech 3:9,10 (LXX) says, "I bring forth my servant The Branch. For as for THE STONE which I have set before the face of Jesus, ON THE ONE STONE ARE SEVEN EYES" (orbs, rings). Saturn has 7 rings. Heaven is a real place.

Heaven has golden clouds that are visible to some. Job 37:3,18-22 (LXX) says, "Wilt thou establish with him foundations for the ancient heavens?...But the light is not visible to all (it is visible to some); it shines afar off in the heavens, as that which is from him in the clouds. From the north (upward) come the CLOUDS SHINING LIKE GOLD (i.e., visible): in these great are the glory and honour of THE ALMIGHTY" (Christ, Rev. 1:8). Saturn has golden clouds.

It only seems far-fetched until you see it in the scriptures for yourself. Agape

Incoming email

Re: Thanks anyway. It looks as though we have reached an impasse. You are unable to understand how I can separate the taking away of the daily sacrifice from the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate and I am unable to understand how you can close your eyes to the past, historical, fulfillment of the 2,300 days nor can I accept that the 'things that are and the things that are hereafter' relate solely and simply to the 'rapture'.

It has been frustrating chatting with you, dear lady, but you may be right, I do not know. One thing is for sure and that is Our Lord is coming again, soon and, God willing, we will both know which, if any, of our interpretations is correct. Praise the Lord! God Bless you....Goodby.

My reply

I believe you when you tell me that 2300 days was fulfilled in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. I just don't shut out the possibility that there could be a double fulfillment, as in so many prophecies. What scares you so greatly about looking into that possibility? We know Antiochus was a type of the "little horn" of Dan. 8:9. This little horn can't be Antiochus himself, because in the next verse, "it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them." Only of Satan or the Satan-possessed False Prophet could this be said. Rev. 12:4 ties in. It says of the great red dragon (Satan), "his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth."

In Rev. 1:19, the "hereafter" refers to what comes after the Rapture. The entire Tribulation is "hereafter" the Rapture. Most of the book is about the Tribulation, but Jesus viewed the Tribulation from the vantage point of the time when the Rapture is "at hand." Look at Rev. 1:3 and 22:10. It is "at hand" in both the first and last chapters. Jesus signs off with Surely I come quickly, and he comes quickly at the Rapture.

You say you believe the Bible is true. Would you persist a little longer? I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to explain a few things to me.

(1) How long will "the daily sacrifice, AND the transgression of desolation" last? You can split it up if you like. How long will "the daily sacrifice" last, and how long will the "transgression of desolation" last?

Dan. 8:11-13 says, "he (the False Prophet) magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the DAILY SACRIFICE was taken away, AND the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, HOW LONG shall be the vision CONCERNING THE DAILY SACRIFICE, AND THE TRANSGRESSION OF DESOLATION, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?"

(2) How much time is required to "take away the daily sacrifice" and "place the abomination that maketh desolate" ?

Dan. 11:31 says, "And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall POLLUTE THE SANCTUARY of strength, AND SHALL TAKE AWAY THE DAILY SACRIFICE, AND THEY SHALL PLACE THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE."

(3) Do the 1290 days of Dan. 12:11 begin at one point in time? If so, when is it?

Dan. 12:11 says, "And FROM the time that the DAILY SACRIFICE shall be taken away, AND the ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."

(4) When do the Jews flee? and when do "those days" that will be shortened begin?

Mt. 24:15,21,22 says, "When ye therefore shall see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea FLEE into the mountains....For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, SUCH AS WAS NOT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THIS TIME, NO, NOR EVER SHALL BE. And except THOSE DAYS SHOULD BE SHORTENED, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake THOSE DAYS SHALL BE SHORTENED."

Mk. 13:20 says, "And except that the Lord had SHORTENED THOSE DAYS, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath SHORTENED THE DAYS."

(5) Which count of days is to be shortened? 1260? 1290? 1335?

Rev. 12:6,14 says, "And the woman (Israel) FLED into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS....And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might FLY into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3.5 years), from the face of the serpent."

(6) Will resurrected Daniel have to wait until the full end of the 1335 days to stand in his own plot of land in Israel?

Dan. 12:13 says, "But go thou thy way till THE END be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at THE END OF THE DAYS."

(7) Will Daniel stand in his lot before or after the Second Advent?

Eze. 45:1 mentions, "when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance."

Eze. 48:29 says, " This is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance."

(8) Why will the sanctuary be cleansed on Nisan 1?

Eze. 45:18 says, "Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and CLEANSE THE SANCTUARY." Agape

Incoming email

Subject: Messianic Jews: testimonies
I think a lot of Messianic Jews were rationally convinced by the O.T. (and sometimes N.T.) that Jesus could be the One. But they often needed a lot of help from God and Messianic Jews (sometimes non-jewish christians) to overcome their emotional doubts. It is a big step for them to take the side of christians who often persecuted them.

www.jewsforjesus.com
(choose: Why believe in Jesus?, then: Stories of Jews who believe in Jesus)Rabbi Leopold Cohn's story shows he was convinced by reading several O.T. prophecies.

www.amfi.org/testimon.htm
Rabbi Max Wertheimer was convinced mainly by reading Isaiah, though once he enjoyed telling Christians that Jesus was not the Me

ssiah. www.chosen-people.com
choose: meet our staff and then a personal story (most very short). I liked the one by Mitch and Zhava Glaser from New York

I hope you'll enjoy reading these testimonies as much as I did. In Christ

My reply

Thanks so much. The sections I have copied below to post may help us all witness to our Jewish friends:

How a Rabbi Found Peace, by Rabbi Max Wertheimer, 1863-1941
...Again I studied Judaism, but it answered no questions; it satisfied no craving in my heart. Then I began to read the New Testament, comparing it with the Old. As I pondered over and meditated on many passages, one in particular made a definite impression. In the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, I was perplexed by the expression, ". . . My righteous servant," found in the eleventh verse. This was the only mention of that phrase I could find in either Testament. We have, "David, my servant," "Isaiah, my servant," Daniel, my servant," but here it is, "My righteous servant."

I said to myself, Who is that righteous servant? To whom does the prophet refer? I argued, Whoever that "righteous servant" of Jehovah is, of one thing I am sure: He is not Israel, because the prophet declares Israel to be a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a leprous nation. The righteous servant of Jehovah must be one who is holy. If it isn't Israel, who could it be? I decided it must be Isaiah. But in Isaiah chapter 6 I found it could never be the prophet, for he confesses himself to be a guilty sinner and a man of unclean lips in God's sight. "My righteous servant." Who could it be?

I began to study the context and in Isaiah 50:6 I found, "I offered my back to those who beat me." Then I read how the chapter began: "This is what the Lord says." I asked, Does God have a back? Did he give it to those who beat him? Then I read, "My cheeks to those who pulled out my beard," and how he did not hide his face "from mocking and spitting." I asked myself, When did Jehovah have these human characteristics? When and why did he suffer these indignities?

In my confusion, I began to read Isaiah from the beginning. I was stopped at the sixth verse of chapter nine: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Here was a most incomprehensible thing!

I was suddenly faced with the doctrine of the Trinity. What now about our familiar monotheistic slogan, Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai ehad ("Hear 0 Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord")? Upon that word ehad ("one"), the entire philosophy of Judaism is based. I had been taught by the rabbi.,; that ehad means "absolute unity." I began to study that word, and found to my amazement it was used of Adam and Eve who became "one." It was used again when the spies returned from Canaan with a cluster of grapes (eshkol ehad). Again it is found when the "men of Judah" stood up as "one man" (eesh ehad). Suddenly, I was struck with the error l had believed and proclaimed all through my ministry. Ehad cannot mean "absolute unity," but must refer to a composite unity.

Next I began to search for the name of Jesus in the Old Testament. In my study, I found that 275 years before Christ, King Ptolemy Philadelphus summoned men from Palestine and commanded them to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek vernacular. They took the Pentateuch first, and when they came to "Joshua" they translated it Yesous, written with a circumflex over it to show that there had been a suppression of the Hebrew that could not be expressed in Greek. When Joshua went into Canaan with the other eleven spies, he was called Yehoshua ("Jehovah is Savior"). That is exactly what the word "Jesus" means.

I could hold out in unbelief no longer. I was convinced of the truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. I cried, "Lord, I believe that as Jehovah Yesous you made the atonement for me. I believe you made provision for me! From henceforth I will publicly confess Yeshua as my Savior and Lord!" Thus, after months of searching, I was convinced that Jesus was the righteous servant of Jehovah, Jehovah-tsidkenu, "The Lord our righteousness."... --- Isa. 53, by Fred Klett
Why Isaiah 53 cannot refer to the nation of Israel, or anyone else, but must be the Messiah

...1. The servant of Isaiah 53 is an innocent and guiltless sufferer. Israel is never described as sinless. Isaiah 1:4 says of the nation: "Alas sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity. A brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters!" He then goes on in the same chapter to characterize Judah as Sodom, Jerusalem as a harlot, and the people as those whose hands are stained with blood (verses 10, 15, and 21). What a far cry from the innocent and guiltless sufferer of Isaiah 53 who had "done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth!"

2. The prophet said: "It pleased the LORD to bruise him." Has the awful treatment of the Jewish people (so contrary, by the way, to the teaching of Yeshua (Jesus) to love everyone) really been God's pleasure, as is said of the suffering of the servant in Isaiah 53:10 ? If, as some rabbis contend, Isaiah 53 refers to the holocaust, can we really say of Israel's suffering during that horrible period, "It pleased the LORD to bruise him?" Yet it makes perfect sense to say that God was pleased to have Messiah suffer and die as our sin offering to provide us forgiveness and atonement.

3. The person mentioned in this passage suffers silently and willingly. Yet all people, even Israelites, complain when they suffer! Brave Jewish men and women fought in resistance movements against Hitler. Remember the Vilna Ghetto Uprising? Remember the Jewish men who fought on the side of the allies? Can we really say Jewish suffering during the holocaust and during the preceding centuries was done silently and willingly?

4. The figure described in Isaiah 53 suffers, dies, and rises again to atone for his people's sins. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 53:10 for "sin-offering" is "asham," which is a technical term meaning "sin-offering." See how it is used in Leviticus chapters 5 and 6. Isaiah 53 describes a sinless and perfect sacrificial lamb who takes upon himself the sins of others so that they might be forgiven. Can anyone really claim that the terrible suffering of the Jewish people, however undeserved and unjust, atones for the sins of the world? Whoever Isaiah 53 speaks of, the figure described suffers and dies in order to provide a legal payment for sin so that others can be forgiven. This cannot be true of the Jewish people as a whole, or of any other mere human.

5. It is the prophet who is speaking in this passage. He says: "who has believed our message." The term "message" usually refers to the prophetic message, as it does in Jeremiah 49:14. Also, when we understand the Hebrew parallelism of verse 1, we see "Who has believed our message" as parallel to "to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed." The "arm of the Lord" refers to God's powerful act of salvation. So the message of the speaker is the message of a prophet declaring what God has done to save his people.

6. The prophet speaking is Isaiah himself, who says the sufferer was punished for "the transgression of my people," according to verse 8. Who are the people of Isaiah? Israel. So the sufferer of Isaiah 53 suffered for Israel. So how could he be Israel?

7. The figure of Isaiah 53 dies and is buried according to verses 8 and 9. The people of Israel have never died as a whole. They have been out of the land on two occasions and have returned, but they have never ceased to be among the living. Yet Yeshua died, was buried, and rose again.

8. If Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Israel, how about Isaiah himself? But Isaiah said he was a sinful man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5-7). And Isaiah did not die as an atonement for our sins. Could it have been Jeremiah? Jeremiah 11:19 does echo the words of Isaiah 53. Judah rejected and despised the prophet for telling them the truth. Leaders of Judah sought to kill Jeremiah, and so the prophet describes himself in these terms. But they were not able to kill the prophet. Certainly Jeremiah did not die to atone for the sins of his people. What of Moses? Could the prophet have been speaking of him? But Moses wasn't sinless either. Moses sinned and was forbidden from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:12). Moses indeed attempted to offer himself as a sacrifice in place of the nation, but God did not allow him to do so (Exodus 32:30-35). Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were all prophets who gave us a glimpse of what Messiah, the ultimate prophet, would be like, but none of them quite fit Isaiah 53.

So what can we conclude? Isaiah 53 cannot refer to the nation of Israel, nor to Isaiah, nor to Moses, nor another prophet. And if not to Moses, certainly not to any lesser man. Yet Messiah would be greater than Moses. As the rabbinic writing "Yalkut" said: "Who art thou, O great mountain? (Zech. iv.7) This refers to the King Messiah. And why does he call him` the great mountain?' because he is greater than the patriarchs, as it is said, `My servant shall be high, and lifted up, and lofty exceedingly' --he will be higher than Abraham...lifted up above Moses...loftier then the ministering angels..."...

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