Chapter 22o - Isaiah 53:6

Continued from Chapter 22n

53:6: “the Lord has visited upon him the iniquity of us all”

The pre-Gospel church and its developing christology

The pre-Gospel church developed its christology by utilizing biblical passages. The phrase “the Lord has visited upon him the iniquity of us all” found in Isaiah 53:6 was a significant source for the christological belief that Jesus died for the sins of the world.

This unverifiable contention is belied by Jesus’ non-fulfillment of the sum total of Isaiah 53’s prophecy. The New Testament teaches that an innocent sinless Jesus literally took upon himself someone else’s guilt!

The Jewish Scriptures teach something entirely different.

Only the blood of the sinner will suffice, where blood of the innocent has been shed: “[T]he land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:33). Only the blood of the actual murderer (i.e., the sinner) can expiate the crime. The scriptural teaching has far wider application for “No man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him” (Psalms 49:8). Each individual must personally atone for his sins; his sins cannot be literally transferred to another human being. The biblical doctrine is that God does not want innocent human blood to be shed. One person cannot transfer his guilt to another.

The New Testament doctrine that Jesus’ blood was shed as atonement for sinners is totally inconsistent with the teachings of the Torah. The New Testament idea of a sinless human sacrifice totally contradicts the biblical concept against the shedding of the innocent blood of a human being. Those who claim Jesus was also part of the Godhead have to explain how any part (in any form) of the everlasting eternal God of Israel could die even for a moment. The blood of Jesus, it is said, had to do with the principles typified by those sacrifices. But who says so? This notion is not found in the Jewish Scriptures; it is the author of Hebrews who makes this non-biblical claim. But, even he attempts to show as much literal fulfillment as his imagination can cull from the commandments governing sacrifices.

Consequently, he says: “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest [as an offering] for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate” (Hebrews 13:11-12). Notice that in the biblical system the blood of the animal sacrificed was offered within the Sanctuary and the body burned outside the camp (Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12, 21, 16:27).

Where is the coherent actual or typological comparison with Jesus who is said to have suffered and sanctified the people with his blood “outside the gate” and whose body was not burned?

Throughout the New Testament, whatever its authors think they can claim as literal fulfillment of prophecy is seized upon (e.g., John 19:24, 33-37). The rest is relegated to the category of Jesus figuratively fulfilling the image and purpose of the biblical system. They speak of the Torah’s commandments as being a “shadow of what is to come” (Colossians 2:17) and emphasize Jesus receiving a “more excellent ministry … a better covenant … enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). The only way the early Christians could keep their group alive after Jesus’ failure was to hide behind the unverifiable claim that he figuratively fulfilled with his blood the “image and purpose” of blood sacrifices and that this act pointed to something greater than animal sacrifice? The Christian claim has no basis in the word of God and their use of verse 6 does not bring Jesus any closer to being the servant spoken of.

© Gerald Sigal