The Tested Integrity of the “Servant” Rewarded
1. (a) What is a scapegoat? (b) Is the suffering involved made easier by one’s having to die for all mankind?
IT IS not an easy thing to suffer as a scapegoat and at the same time maintain one’s integrity toward the God of Justice. An individual who serves as a scapegoat is an innocent person and yet he is made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in the place of them. The test of one’s integrity in such a position is not made any lighter when one has to bear the blame and suffer even to the death for the whole world of mankind. As one inspired writer presented the case: “For hardly will anyone die for a righteous man; indeed, for the good man, perhaps, someone even dares to die.”—Romans 5:7.
2. In its instructions concerning the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement, what does the Bible say about a scapegoat?
2 And yet, as early as the sixteenth century before our Common Era, it was revealed for the first time that someone would serve as a scapegoat for the entire race of mankind. In the code of laws that was given to the nation of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai in 1513 B.C.E., Jehovah God made provision for the Israelites to hold a solemn Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh lunar month (Tishri) each year. In connection with the atonement for sins that was made through the blood of a bull and a goat, which was taken into the Most Holy of the tabernacle and sprinkled before the golden ark of God’s covenant, there was a goat that was made a scapegoat. How this goat was determined upon and what was done with it is described for us in chapter sixteen of the third book of Moses, in the following way:
And [Aaron] shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.—Leviticus 16:5-10, 20-22, Authorized Version.
3, 4. How do we know that the Atonement Day scapegoat had a typical significance?
3 Modern translations render “the scapegoat” as ‘the goat for Azazel.’ The ancient Septuagint Version as made by Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, and as translated by Charles Thomson, speaks of the lot for this goat as “one lot, ‘For escape.’” Also: “to make atonement on it, so as to let it escape.” (Leviticus 16:8-10) The ancient Latin Vulgate renders it as “the emissary goat” (caper emissarius), which corresponds with “scapegoat.” Now this goat, which was a feature of the annual Atonement Day of ancient Israel, had a typical significance. It typified something good to come for mankind. In Hebrews 10:1 it is written: “The Law has a shadow of the good things to come.” And, speaking about the sacrificial victims of the Atonement Day, Hebrews 13:11-14 says:
4 “The bodies of those animals whose blood is taken into the holy place by the high priest for sin are burned up outside the camp. Hence Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us, then, go forth to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach he bore, for we do not have here a city that continues.”
5. How does the language of Isaiah 53:4, 5 indicate that Jehovah’s “Servant” was to serve as the antitypical “scapegoat”?
5 According to Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter fifty-three, Jehovah’s “Servant” is the sin-bearer who was typified by the scapegoat of the Atonement Day that continued being observed at Jehovah’s temple until the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E. That the Messianic “Servant” was to serve as the antitypical “scapegoat,” the prophet Isaiah proceeds to show, saying: “Truly our sicknesses were what he himself carried; and as for our pains, he bore them. But we ourselves accounted him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted. But he was being pierced for our transgression; he was being crushed for our errors. The chastisement meant for our peace was upon him, and because of his wounds there has been a healing for us.”—Isaiah 53:4, 5.
6. With what activity on Jesus’ part did the apostle Matthew connect the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4?
6 There is another inspired Bible writer who applies Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jehovah’s “Servant” to Jesus Christ, and that is Matthew Levi, the aforetime tax collector. Telling of Jesus’ miracles of curing human sickness, Matthew 8:14-17 says: “Jesus, on coming into Peter’s house, saw his mother-in-law lying down and sick with fever. So he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began ministering to him. But after it became evening, people brought him many demon-possessed persons; and he expelled the spirits with a word, and he cured all who were faring badly; that there might be fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He himself took our sicknesses and carried our diseases.’”—Isaiah 53:4.
7. How do the Scriptures indicate that there was an outflow of vitality from Jesus’ body when he performed cures?
7 Just how much this performance of miraculous cures drew upon Jesus’ vitality, we cannot say. But it is written, at Luke 6:18, 19: “Even those troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd were seeking to touch him, because power was going out of him and healing them all.” That Jesus was sensitive to this outflow of vitality from his body, in the case of even one cure, is evident from this instance recorded in Luke 8:42-48: “As he was going the crowds thronged him. And a woman, subject to a flow of blood for twelve years, who had not been able to get a cure from anyone, approached from behind and touched the fringe of his outer garment, and instantly her flow of blood stopped. So Jesus said: ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When they were all denying it, Peter said: ‘Instructor, the crowds are hemming you in and closely pressing you.’ Yet Jesus said: ‘Someone touched me, for I perceived that power went out of me.’ Seeing that she had not escaped notice, the woman came trembling and fell down before him and disclosed before all the people the cause for which she touched him and how she was healed instantly. But he said to her: ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go your way in peace.’”—Compare Mark 5:25-34.
8. What incident indicates that the cures that Jesus performed had something to do with his role as Sin-bearer?
8 In the case of Jehovah’s “Servant,” the cures that Jesus thus miraculously performed were an evidence that he was the Sin-bearer. For example, when religious critics accused Jesus of blaspheming for saying to a paralyzed man: “Take courage, child; your sins are forgiven,” this is what followed: “And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: ‘Why are you thinking wicked things in your hearts? For instance, which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Get up and walk? However, in order for you to know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins—’ then he said to the paralytic: ‘Get up, pick up your bed, and go to your home.’ And he got up and went off to his home. At the sight of this the crowds were struck with fear, and they glorified God, who gave such authority to men.”—Matthew 9:2-8.
9. (a) Why is cleansing from sin more vitally needed by mankind than physical healing? (b) As a basis for such cleansing, what provision was required?
9 Although the many marvelous miracles testified to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed One (Acts 10:38), he was more concerned about healing all mankind of that which was the root cause for all this sickness. The chief cure needed was the curing of sin, the wages of which is death with all its associated bodily infirmities and ailments. (Romans 6:23) The spiritual healing was more vital than the physical healing, for one’s having a bodily cure performed upon one by Jesus or by his authorized disciples did not mean the eternal salvation of the cured one. The cleansing from sin required the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ in sacrificial death on the antitypical Day of Atonement.—Hebrews 9:22.
10. (a) What made it appear as if Jesus were “plagued” by God? (b) How was the chastisement upon him “meant for our peace”?
10 Because of the religious persecution heaped upon him by those who were legitimately serving at the temple in Jerusalem and by other highly esteemed religious leaders, it appeared as if Jesus were “plagued” by God himself. He appeared to have wounding stripes laid upon him by God through those who were apparently engaged in God’s true service. But the uncomplaining endurance of this was excellent discipline for Jesus from his heavenly Father. In view of its severity, it was like chastisement for him. (Hebrews 12:2-8) But this chastisement was “meant for our peace,” that is to say, the endurance of this chastisement by Jesus was meant to work for our coming into peaceful relationship with God.
11. How did Jesus react to the suffering heaped upon him, and with what benefit to us?
11 If Jesus had rebelled against this disciplinary experience on earth, all would have been lost for us. But one of his most intimate apostles, Simon Peter, writes to us, saying: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely. He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously. He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’” (1 Peter 2:21-24) Here the apostle Peter quotes from Isaiah 53:5, and thus becomes another Jew who, under divine inspiration, identifies Jesus Christ as the “Servant” foretold in Isaiah’s prophecy.
LIKE AN UNRESISTING SHEEP
12. How was the submissiveness of Jesus Christ to what Jehovah permitted foretold in Isaiah 53:6, 7?
12 Jesus Christ would have to be very submissive to Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, if he was to fulfill what Isaiah says further about the “Servant” when making comparisons with sheep. Showing the difference between us and the “Servant,” Isaiah 53:6, 7 says: “Like sheep we have all of us wandered about; it was each one to his own way that we have turned; and Jehovah himself has caused the error of us all to meet up with that one. He was hard pressed, and he was letting himself be afflicted; yet he would not open his mouth. He was being brought just like a sheep to the slaughtering; and like a ewe that before her shearers has become mute, he also would not open his mouth.”
13. (a) To whom did Philip the evangelizer apply this scripture? (b) Spiritually speaking, how were we like sheep wandering about, and what was needed in order to bring us relief?
13 When an Ethiopian eunuch asked about whom the prophet Isaiah was here speaking, whether about himself or some other man, Philip the evangelizer applied the scripture to Jesus Christ. (Acts 8:26-35) Also, Peter doubtless had this scripture in mind when he wrote to fellow Christians: “And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’ For you were like sheep, going astray; but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24, 25) Yes, because we were spiritually like sheep wandering about, going astray in ignorance, error and sin, we needed to be recovered. This called for an unblemished substitute “sheep” to be slaughtered for us, because of our erroneous course. In fine harmony with Isaiah’s prophecy, John the Baptist pointed to the baptized, anointed Jesus and said: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”—John 1:29, 36.
14. How does Revelation 5:8-10 indicate who that ‘sheep brought to the slaughtering’ proved to be?
14 Repeatedly, in the book that is listed last in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation, Jesus Christ is referred to as “the Lamb,” and to him it is said: “You were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”—Revelation 5:8-10; 22:1; compare 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
15. (a) When brought to trial, how was it true that Jesus was “mute,” like a ewe before her shearers? (b) Why did he choose this course?
15 When, finally, on trial for his earthly life, this “Lamb” refused to answer the false accusations of those witnessing against him. He remained “mute,” for he did not desire to say anything that would interfere with the carrying out of his heavenly Father’s will, as expressed, for instance, in Isaiah 53:5. He chose to let the public record that he had made for himself before the nation of Israel speak for itself. If his earthly judges did not choose to abide by this true and valid testimony, then the responsibility was theirs before the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God. They showed, however, that they would not be guided by the true facts, even if Jesus had broken his purposeful silence. He did not fight against dying like a slaughtered lamb for the redemption of all mankind from sin, sickness and death. He trusted in the power of Almighty God to resurrect him from the dead to life immortal.—Matthew 26:65; Luke 23:8-11; John 19:8-11.
DEATH AND BURIAL OF THE “SERVANT”
16. Why did God not impose a restraint upon the enemies who seized his “Servant”?
16 There was no restraint imposed by the Almighty God upon the enemies when the due time came for Jehovah’s “Servant” to be given over to them. He let them go to the limit and thereby show the degree of their viciousness and maliciousness. As Jesus said to those who had come to the Garden of Gethsemane on Passover night to arrest him: “Did you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber? While I was with you in the temple day after day you did not stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour and the authority of darkness.”—Luke 22:52, 53.
17, 18. By whom was “restraint” applied, as foretold in Isaiah 53:8, and in what way?
17 By whom, then, is there a restraint applied and upon whom or upon what is it applied, according to what the prophet Isaiah now proceeds to say about Jehovah’s “Servant”? “Because of restraint and of judgment he was taken away; and who will concern himself even with the details of his generation? For he was severed from the land of the living ones. Because of the transgression of my people he had the stroke. And he will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death, despite the fact that he had done no violence and there was no deception in his mouth.”—Isaiah 53:8, 9, NW; Young.
18 It is evident from this that the restraint was applied by the foes of the “Servant” of Jehovah. Also, it was a restraint upon justice, fairness, so that this should not be respected and carried out. (Compare Psalm 40:11; Isaiah 63:15) This is in agreement with the way in which this verse (Isaiah 53:8) is quoted in Acts 8:33, where the reading of the Greek Septuagint Version (LXX) is quoted. This reads: “During his humiliation the judgment was taken away from him. Who will tell the details of his generation? Because his life is taken away from the earth.” Thus “humiliation” is the word used instead of “restraint.” But we note that the verse does not say, ‘During his humility,’ to refer to the “Servant’s” humility and submissiveness; but it says, “During his humiliation.” So the enemies of Jesus humiliated him by restraining justice. While they were thus withholding justice and equity, the “judgment” of a fair trial and of a correct, unbiased ruling was “taken away from him.”
19. How do other Bible translations convey the idea there expressed?
19 Thus, as Isaiah 53:8 foretold, “because of restraint and of judgment he was taken away.” The substance of what actually took place is simply given in the Bible translation by S. T. Byington, which reads: “He was taken out of law and order.” Of course, everything seemed to be legal, not brushing aside the legal courts; but the way in which the case of Jehovah’s “Servant” was handled was an outrage to justice. As The Jerusalem Bible reads: “By force and by law he was taken.” Correspondingly, The New English Bible reads: “Without protection, without justice [or, in the marginal reading: After arrest and sentence], he was taken away.”
20. In connection with this, what question does the prophet Isaiah go on to ask?
20 Then, Isaiah 53:8 goes on to ask the question: “And who will concern himself even with [the details of] his generation?” The Greek LXX rendering of this reads: “Who will tell the details of [or, relate in full] his generation?”—Acts 8:33.
21, 22. (a) To whom does the word “generation” here not apply? (b) How do various Bible translations show this?
21 The word “generation” here does not apply to the “crooked generation” of people, according to Acts 2:40, in the midst of which Jesus Christ lived. The prophet Isaiah is not turning our attention away from the suffering “Servant” to the contemporaries of the “Servant” who caused his sufferings; as is suggested in the reading by the Jewish Publication Society translation, “And with his generation who did reason?” to which reading the footnote comment is added: “No one. The martyrdom was inflicted upon him without interference or protest from anybody.”—See the book Isaiah, by The Soncino Press, page 263, published 1949.
22 Rather than such a thing, the prophet Isaiah keeps our attention focused upon the “Servant” even when using the Hebrew word for “generation.” This is stressed in a number of modern translations: “And who gave a thought to his fate?” (NE) “Would anyone plead his cause?” (Je) “And who would have thought any more of his destiny?” (The New American Bible) “And who gave thought to his fate?” (An American Translation) “And who heeded how he fell?” (Moffatt) And the translation from the ancient Peshitta Aramaic Version reads: “And who can describe his anguish?” (Lamsa) In this way our attention is not shifted from the “Servant.”
23. In what sense, then, are we to understand the question raised at Isaiah 53:8?
23 Jehovah’s “Servant” was to have no earthly children naturally. So the word “generation” does not ask about any offspring of the “Servant,” the Messiah. The word “generation” may have the thought of “birthright,” or “descent,” one’s natural background. In this sense, then, is to be understood the question raised by Isaiah: “And who will concern himself even with [the details of] his generation?” “Who will tell the details of his generation?” (Isaiah 53:8; Acts 8:33) Accordingly, at the time of the court trials of Jesus the Messiah, could not this question have been raised? Who of the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, took into account who this man on trial before them was? Did they honestly concern themselves with getting at the true facts of this man’s background—that he fulfilled all the requirements that proved that he was in all verity the promised Messiah? When the high priest, as president of the Sanhedrin, put Jesus under oath to make a true admission of his identity, the whole court joined in accusing him of blasphemy and therefore of being deserving of death by the Mosaic Law.—Matthew 26:59-68.
24. (a) When Jesus was before Pontius Pilate, how did Pilate too fail to give due weight to “the details of his generation”? (b) So, as foretold at Isaiah 53:8, what was the outcome?
24 The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, on learning that Jesus was held by many to be the Messiah, the Christ, became concerned and took steps to ascertain something of his original background. But in spite of his misgivings, he yielded to the pressure of the fanatical mob that was clamoring for the impalement of Jesus the Messiah, and sentenced him to death on an execution stake. (Matthew 27:24-26; Luke 23:6-25; John 18:33 through 19:16) In this way “the details of his generation” were not fairly examined and given due weight, and due concern was not felt by those handling the Messiah’s case. Since the answer to Isaiah’s question was, No one in temporal authority, it is no wonder that the rest of Isaiah 53:8 goes on to make this observation: “For he was severed from the land of the living ones. Because of the transgression of my people he had the stroke.”
25. When was Jesus Christ “severed from the land of the living ones,” thus getting the “stroke” that others deserved?
25 This signified that the earthly life of the Messiah was to be cut short. And it was even so, for Jesus Christ was put to death at the age of thirty-three and a half years. He got the stroke that others deserved because of their transgression. However, this was not before God’s fixed time for his Messianic “Servant” to be cut off from the midst of those living on the earth. In the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, Jehovah said concerning the seventieth and last week out of the seventy weeks of years that were involved with the Messiah: “And after the sixty-two weeks [that followed the previous seven weeks] Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for himself. . . . And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week [from autumn of 29 C.E. to autumn of 36 C.E.]; and at the half of the week [in spring of 33 C.E.] he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease [by virtue of his own perfect human sacrifice].”
26. To whose “transgression” does Isaiah refer in Isa chapter 53, verse 8?
26 Again the prophet Isaiah, at Isa chapter 53, verse 8, implicates his own people, by saying “my people,” which people were also then God’s chosen people. So, too, Isaiah admits to the “transgression” of his own nation and points to the innocence of the Messianic “Servant,” Jesus Christ. However, this Messiah was willing to suffer innocently for the sake of the Jewish nation, “my people,” as Isaiah calls them. This nation in particular was guilty of transgression against Jehovah their God. Through the mediator Moses they had been brought into a covenant of Law at Mount Sinai in Arabia in 1513 B.C.E. For not keeping that Law covenant perfectly, they became a cursed nation, subject to all the curses of which Moses had forewarned them in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. This was a curse that did not rest upon the remainder of the human family inasmuch as none of these Gentiles were taken into the Mosaic Law covenant.
MESSIAH IS MADE A CURSE FOR A NATION
27, 28. (a) How could the curse for violation of the Law covenant be lifted from the Jewish nation? (b) What did the Law say about how God viewed one who was hung upon a stake?
27 How would this curse be lifted from the Jewish nation? By the death of someone of their own nation upon an execution stake or tree. In Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 it is written:
28 “And in case there comes to be in a man a sin deserving the sentence of death, and he has been put to death, and you have hung him upon a stake, his dead body should not stay all night on the stake; but you should by all means bury him on that day, because something accursed of God is the one hung up; and you must not defile your soil, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.”
29. Thus, as the apostle Paul explains, how did Jesus provide a means of release for the Jewish nation from the curse for violation of the Law?
29 It was necessary for Jesus, not just to die as a ransom sacrifice, but also to die on an execution stake. “For,” says the apostle Paul, “all those who depend upon works of law are under a curse; for it is written: ‘Cursed is every one that does not continue in all the things written in the scroll of the Law in order to do them.’ Moreover, that by law no one is declared righteous with God is evident, because ‘the righteous one will live by reason of faith.’ Now the Law does not adhere to faith, but ‘he that does them shall live by means of them.’ Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: ‘Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.’ The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.”—Galatians 3:10-14; Deuteronomy 27:26; Leviticus 18:5.
30. As to Messiah’s place of burial, what did Isaiah 53:9 foretell?
30 Jesus the Messiah became a curse in place of the Jewish nation when he died on the execution stake at Calvary, outside of Jerusalem, on Passover Day of 33 C.E. The dead Jesus had no control over where he was to be buried. His body might have been taken, like that of an accursed criminal undeserving of a resurrection and pitched into Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom to the south and southwest of Jerusalem where the incinerator fires for the refuse of the holy city were kept burning, even being mingled with sulphur. But the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9 had to be fulfilled in him: “And he will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death, despite the fact that he had done no violence and there was no deception in his mouth.”
31. How was it true that Jesus’ burial was “with the wicked ones” and “with the rich class”?
31 The fact that Jesus died between two known criminals on stakes would class Jesus’ burial as being “with the wicked ones,” even though he was not buried right alongside them. According to God’s law through Moses, Jesus had to be taken down from the stake and buried that same day before sundown. Time was running out, and the Jews requested Pilate to have his soldiers take down the bodies of all three men before the Passover Day ended. (John 19:31-37) Anticipating such a thing, a secret disciple of Jesus Christ, a rich man called Joseph of Arimathea, went and got permission from Governor Pilate to take down Jesus’ body and bury it. So Jesus was buried in a newly cut tomb in which no corpse had yet lain. When having this done, this rich man Joseph did not realize that he was having a part in the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9 that Jehovah’s “Servant” would make his burial place “with the rich class in his death.”—John 19:38-42; Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-53.
32. Even after Jesus’ death, how did the enemy Jews show that they rated Jesus as a wicked impostor?
32 This burial of Jesus the Messiah “with the rich class” did not take away the stigma of his dying with wicked ones and being buried as a wicked one. The enemy Jews found out where Jesus’ body was buried, and they had Governor Pilate seal the tombstone and allow a soldier guard to be posted at the tomb, because they rated Jesus as a wicked impostor. They feared that Jesus’ disciples would otherwise steal his body and then say that he had been resurrected, and thus “this last imposture will be worse than the first.” Although on the third day the soldier guard reported that it was a glorious angel from heaven that broke the governor’s seal and rolled away the tombstone, the chief priests and the elders bribed the soldier guards to tell people that Jesus’ disciples had performed this “last imposture” and were worse impostors than Jesus himself was.—Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15.
33, 34. (a) Why did Jehovah permit all this humiliation of his “Servant”? (b) How did the prophecy at Isaiah 53:10 indicate that the Messiah’s maintaining of integrity would not be in vain?
33 All this humiliation of Jesus the Messiah took place at the hands of his enemies although, as Isaiah 53:9 foretold, “he had done no violence and there was no deception in his mouth.” Why did the Almighty God permit this? It was because the challenge that Satan the Devil had raised involving even Jehovah’s “Servant” had to be stifled forever. His “Servant” had to be tested right here on earth and shown to be unswervingly loyal to Jehovah’s universal sovereignty regardless of all the suffering and humiliation that Satan the Devil would be allowed to bring upon the “Servant.” The maintaining of godly integrity under this unparalleled testing of Jehovah’s “Servant” would not be in vain or without a satisfying reward. Hence, Isaiah 53:10 says:
34 “But Jehovah himself took delight in crushing him; he made him sick. If you will set his soul as a guilt offering, he will see his offspring, he will prolong his days, and in his hand what is the delight of Jehovah will succeed.”
THE REWARD FOR TESTED INTEGRITY
35. (a) In what sense did Jehovah ‘crush’ his “Servant” and ‘make him sick’? (b) Actually, in what was it that “Jehovah himself took delight”?
35 Jehovah God did not personally and directly ‘crush’ his Messianic “Servant.” He did not directly make him “sick,” to all appearances, figuratively speaking. More than four millenniums earlier, at the Garden of Eden, Jehovah had said to the serpent in the hearing of the invisible one who had manipulated that serpent: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15) In fulfillment of that prophecy, Jehovah had to permit the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, to bruise the Messianic “Servant” in the heel, even to the death. He was perfectly pleased in having the Great Serpent do this. In the sense that He allowed it according to his purpose, Jehovah “made him sick,” even to the death. The thing that was proved under the crushing and the mortal sickness was what delighted Jehovah God, namely, Jesus’ integrity.
36. Why must it be Jehovah who, as the scripture says, “will set . . . as a guilt offering” the soul of his “Servant”?
36 In the light of what Isaiah chapter fifty-three says about Jehovah’s “Servant,” this one provides a “guilt offering” for others. Says the American Revised Standard Version: “When he makes himself [marginal reading: “Hebrew, thou makest his soul”] an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10b) In saying, “If you will set his soul as a guilt offering,” as the Hebrew reads, the person thus spoken to would have to be Jehovah God, inasmuch as to Him the typical guilt offerings were offered by ancient Israel and to him also the antitypical guilt offering is offered by Jesus Christ for all mankind. (Hebrews 9:24 through 10:14) Jehovah is the One who determines the value of a sacrifice, as to whether it meets the requirements for freeing sinners from their guilt and its consequences.
37. In fulfillment of what was foreshadowed on the Jewish Day of Atonement, how did Jesus present an acceptable guilt offering to God?
37 That the acceptable guilt offering might be presented to Him in the heavens, Jehovah raised his “Servant” from the dead on the third day. Since he laid down his human soul as a guilt offering, the Messianic “Servant” was prevented from being raised to life again as a human soul with a body of flesh and blood and bones. So the Almighty God resurrected him as a spirit person, but still in possession of the merit or value of his perfect human sacrifice. So, when Jesus the Messiah ascended finally to heaven and entered into the presence of his heavenly Father, he did not enter empty-handed. He had in hand that which corresponded with the blood of animal victims on the Jewish Day of Atonement, namely, the merit of his sacrificed human life as a guilt offering. This is what he presented on the great antitypical Day of Atonement, and Jehovah accepted it in behalf of all mankind.
38. By what means does Jesus the Messiah come to have “offspring,” as referred to at Isaiah 53:10?
38 As far as Isaiah chapter fifty-three shows, the Messianic “Servant” would die without offspring. That is the way that Jesus Christ died, childless, unmarried. In contrast with the first Adam, who sinned and forfeited life for his offspring, it is written concerning Jesus the Messiah: “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45) By means of his guilt offering he could purchase back from sin and death all the offspring of Adam and Eve and could restore life to them, perfect life free from divine condemnation. Will the “life-giving spirit,” Jesus the Messiah, do this wonderful thing? Yes, and that is the significance of the words of Isaiah 53:10: “If you will set his soul as a guilt offering, he will see his offspring, he will prolong his days, and in his hand what is the delight of Jehovah will succeed.” This promises “offspring” to the “Servant.”
39. What other scriptures indicate that the Messianic King would have offspring?
39 Parallel to that promise of offspring is the one made to the Messianic King in these words in the prophetic psalm: “In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons, whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.” (Psalm 45:16) And as for the associated promise in Isaiah 53:10, “he will prolong his days,” this would mean that Jehovah’s resurrected “Servant” would be a father of offspring for a long time. For how long? Everlastingly, according to the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 with respect to the Messianic descendant of King David. There we read: “There has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” So this Messianic King would have children, but not to become his successors in office, for he would be an Eternal Father, one giving eternal life to children.
40. Why is it that “the delight of Jehovah will succeed” in the hand of the Messianic “Servant”?
40 This resurrected “Servant” of Jehovah would not only be successful in restoring the purchased, adopted offspring of the first Adam to life for eternity but also be successful in all other things that Jehovah would entrust to his hand of control. The Messianic “Servant” will be careful to carry out conscientiously “what is the delight of Jehovah.” So under God’s assured blessing, what the “Servant” puts his hand to will succeed, for the glory of Jehovah and for the benefit of all others concerned.
“SATISFIED” AFTER THE TROUBLE OF HIS SOUL
41. After all the trouble that he experienced as a human soul, how would Jehovah’s “Servant” feel, as foretold at Isaiah 53:11?
41 A joyous prospect was set before the Messianic “Servant.” After all the trouble that he would go through as a human soul, he was to be satisfied with what he would see realized. He would have no grounds for being resentful over all that he had been permitted to suffer on earth. The prospect set out in Isaiah 53:11 was: “Because of the trouble of his soul he will see, he will be satisfied. By means of his knowledge the righteous one, my servant, will bring a righteous standing to many people; and their errors he himself will bear.”
42. What would be particularly satisfying to this “Servant”?
42 The most satisfying thing that this “Servant” of integrity would see was the vindication of the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God, his heavenly Father. The maintaining of his integrity to the Universal Sovereign under the most severe testing down here on earth provided his heavenly Father with a valid reply to Satan the Devil, who was taunting Jehovah God. Never again could this Adversary open his vile mouth in an attack upon the highest servant in the universal organization of Jehovah.—Proverbs 27:11.
43. By means of what “knowledge” would the Messiah bring a righteous standing to many who had inherited sin from Adam, and how so?
43 Associated with the vindication of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah would be the giving of a righteous standing to many here on earth who had inherited unrighteousness and condemnation from sinner Adam. (Romans 5:12) The “knowledge” by means of which he brings this about is evidently an acquired knowledge. This was the knowledge that he acquired by becoming a man on earth and suffering unjustly in contact with sick and sinful mankind. He became a “man meant for pains and for having acquaintance with sickness.” (Isaiah 53:3) His “knowledge” here denotes or implies suffering under a test of integrity down to the bitter death. What he had not known in his prehuman life up in heaven, namely, painful suffering for his faithfulness to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, he got to experience and really know down here on earth during the time that Satan the Devil is “the god of this system of things,” “the ruler of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31) By getting to know suffering to the death in this personal experience he was able to provide the atoning sacrifice for making many righteous.
44. To whom does this “righteous standing” come, and when?
44 This righteousness or righteous standing before God comes first to the 144,000 joint heirs of Jesus Christ, in an imputed way. To such ones as these the apostle Paul wrote, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, saying: “The one who did not know sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness by means of him.” Also, in Romans 5:19: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person many will be constituted righteous.” In due time the righteous standing will come to the children of the Eternal Father, Jesus Christ. During his reign over the earth for a thousand years he will uplift his earthly “offspring” to a righteous standing in perfection, that they may prove themselves loyal and faithful to Jehovah’s universal sovereignty in a perfect sense, to their gaining the gift of eternal life.—Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15.
45. Why do we have reason to be very grateful to Jehovah for providing such an integrity-keeping “Servant”?
45 In behalf of the many who will thus be brought to a righteous standing, the prophecy of Isaiah 53:11 is fulfilled: “And their errors he himself will bear.” That is, he himself as the Messianic “Servant” of Jehovah would bear the penalty for their errors, and thereby relieve them of condemnation to death. How this was done, the apostle Peter describes, saying with reference to the “Servant” of Jehovah: “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’ For you were like sheep, going astray; but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24, 25) How grateful we should be for what this Messianic “Servant” has done for us! How thankful we should be to Jehovah for providing such a “Servant” of integrity!—Romans 3:24-26.
“A PORTION AMONG THE MANY” FOR THE “SERVANT”
46, 47. Explain the prophetic promise, “I shall deal him a portion among the many.”
46 Prior to the coming of Jehovah’s Messianic “Servant” there were “many” faithful servants of Jehovah who had remained faithful to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah and to whom Jehovah dealt an appropriate portion even during this life. Take, for instance, the cases of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), Joseph, and Job. A portion is reserved for those many persons of godly integrity in Jehovah’s coming new system of things under the kingdom of the Messianic “Servant” over all the earth. Those faithful worshipers of Jehovah were among the “many people” for whom His “Servant” carried the load of sin. Just as Jehovah showed appreciation in this way for the integrity maintained by those “many” loyal ones of earlier times, so he would consistently deal out a portion to his Messianic “Servant” among those “many” faithful ones of old. Hence, Isaiah 53:12 says:
47 “For that reason I shall deal him a portion among the many, and it will be with the mighty ones that he will apportion the spoil, due to the fact that he poured out his soul to the very death, and it was with the transgressors that he was counted in; and he himself carried the very sin of many people, and for the transgressors he proceeded to interpose.”—NW; Young; Leeser.
48. Who are the “mighty ones” with whom Jehovah’s “Servant” apportions spoils, and as a result of warfare fought where?
48 Not only does the “Servant” receive from Jehovah a “portion among the many,” but he also gains the spoils of war by a victory over his enemies and the enemies of the God to whom he is the principal servant. His apportioning of spoils with the “mighty ones” indicates that he himself is also “mighty.” Who, now, are these “mighty ones”? The mighty ones with whom he apportions the spoils are those who participate in the warfare with him. (Isaiah 60:22) The “mighty ones” do not appear to be the heavenly angels with whom the Messianic “Servant” will fight the coming war at Har–Magedon against the enemies of Jehovah God. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-14) Rather, the “mighty ones” are those who share in the same kind of warfare that the “Servant” fought here at the earth. Isaiah 53:12 ties in his apportioning the spoil with others because of what he did at the earth down to the time that he was cut off from the earth, “from the land of the living ones.”—Isaiah 53:8.
49. What do the Scriptures say as to victories enjoyed by Jesus and his followers here on earth?
49 On Passover night of the year 33 C.E., shortly before Jesus was arrested and brought to trial and sentenced to death, he said to his faithful apostles: “In the world you are having tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) Also, with evident reference to a victory procession, the apostle Paul writes, in 2 Corinthians 2:14: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in a triumphal procession in company with the Christ and makes the odor of the knowledge of him perceptible through us in every place!” Further, in speaking of what God did through Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul writes: “He has taken it [the handwritten document against us] out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake. Stripping the governments and the authorities bare, he exhibited them in open public as conquered, leading them in a triumphal procession by means of it.”—Colossians 2:14, 15.
50, 51. Since the warfare is spiritual, what is the “spoil” that Jesus apportions with his congregation?
50 Since, therefore, the reference of Isaiah 53:12 is obviously to a spiritual warfare that the Messianic “Servant” had to fight, what is the “spoil” that he apportions with the 144,000 “mighty ones” of his congregation? Scripturally, it would be the “gifts in men,” “gifts in the form of men,” that he bestowed upon his congregation from Pentecost of 33 C.E. forward. With reference to the warlike sixty-eighth Psalm 68:18, and quoting verse eighteen, the apostle Paul writes with regard to Jesus Christ:
51 “Wherefore he says: ‘When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.’ Now the expression ‘he ascended,’ what does it mean but that he also descended into the lower regions, that is, the earth? The very one that descended is also the one that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might give fullness to all things. And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ.”—Ephesians 4:8-12.
52, 53. (a) How do Christ’s joint heirs prove to be “mighty ones”? (b) As referred to at Isaiah 53:12, what is a “spoil” that they seize from the enemy, and why so?
52 These “gifts in men” were among the captives that he led away as a result of his giving his human soul as a ransom for the condemned world of mankind. (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6) Such “gifts in men,” the resurrected, ascended Jesus Christ bestows upon his congregation of 144,000 anointed joint heirs, to strengthen them all to fight a triumphant warfare against this world and its god and thereby to share with Jesus in vindicating the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God. To them he says, in Revelation 3:21: “To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” By reason of their conquest over the wicked world and its god they prove themselves to be “mighty ones,” and the Messianic “Servant” of Jehovah apportions also to them a share in the Kingdom privileges. What they have wrested from the conquered enemy is the enemy’s basis for taunting Jehovah with regard to the unselfishness of the devotion of Jehovah’s worshipers to his universal sovereignty.—Proverbs 27:11.
53 This sharing in the vindication of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah with Jesus Christ the “Servant” is a precious “spoil” in which the 144,000 conquerors are given a portion. This, of course, does not mean that they will not share the glorious spoils of victory that Jehovah’s “Servant” gains in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. (Revelation 19:11-21; 2:26, 27) However, this is not what is particularly dealt with in Isaiah 53:12, which refers plainly to a propitiatory or intercessory work on the part of Jehovah’s Messianic “Servant.”
54. According to the explanation recorded by Isaiah, why is the “Servant” rewarded in this way?
54 Why is it that the “Servant” is rewarded in this exalted way? The verse answers: “Due to the fact that he poured out his soul to the very death, and it was with the transgressors that he was counted in; and he himself carried the very sin of many people, and for the transgressors he proceeded to interpose.”
55. With what objective in view did Jesus ‘pour out his soul to the very death’?
55 In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to his faithful apostles before his arrest there: “My soul is deeply grieved, even to death.” (Matthew 26:38) Nevertheless, he bared his human soul to death, and held fast to the purpose of his becoming a human soul: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” He gave his human soul in an exchange by dying as a man. (Matthew 20:28) He emptied himself, pouring out his soul to death itself. This enabled Jehovah God to “set his soul as a guilt offering,” that a righteous standing might be given to those accepting the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.—Isaiah 53:10, 11.
56, 57. (a) Was Jesus aware that he was fulfilling what was foretold in Isaiah chapter 53 concerning Jehovah’s “Servant”? (b) By whom was he counted in “with the transgressors,” and why did he endure such humiliation?
56 Jesus Christ recognized himself as being the “Servant” foretold in Isaiah, chapter fifty-three. He admitted that he was the “Servant,” when he said to his faithful apostles on the Passover night of his betrayal and arrest: “But now let the one that has a purse take it up, likewise also a food pouch; and let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be accomplished in me, namely, ‘And he was reckoned with lawless ones.’ For that which concerns me is having an accomplishment.” (Luke 22:36, 37) So it was that, later that night, when the mob came to the garden to arrest him, they came armed with clubs and swords as if to apprehend a lawless man, a transgressor, a robber. (Mark 14:48, 49) That was a secret action by the mob, under cover of night. But later, during the daylight hours, Jesus was publicly exposed as being counted in among the transgressors by being impaled as a lawbreaker, and, to intensify this reckoning of him among the transgressors, “they impaled two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.” (Mark 15:27) But Jesus endured this humiliation of himself, that Jehovah’s Word might be vindicated as true and infallible and that for the transgression of his own people he might have the stroke of the penalty.—Isaiah 53:8.
57 The fact that Jehovah God rewarded and highly exalted his Messianic “Servant” proves that He himself did not count this “Servant” in with the transgressors. He merely foretold that the world would classify the Messianic “Servant” in that way. Yet Jesus Christ endured such a humiliation, which would be hard for a faithful servant of God to bear, seemingly to the reproach of his God and to the credit of the one taunting God. But Jesus drank such a cup of public humiliation, that he might prove himself to be merciful toward condemned and dying mankind. This is the very thing that Isaiah 53:12 calls to our attention in saying: “And he himself carried the very sin of many people, and for the transgressors he proceeded to interpose.”—Compare Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15.
58. (a) Whose mercy outstandingly was thus being displayed toward human transgressors, and to what extent? (b) Why was it his only-begotten Son that he chose to fulfill the role of his “Servant”?
58 He himself interposed and carried the very sin of the many transgressors, in order that the mercy of Jehovah God himself might be extended to all mankind. In sending his Messianic “Servant” and letting him endure all this suffering and humiliation to the very death, Jehovah was displaying his own boundless mercy toward us transgressors. The whole idea of mercy toward condemned mankind originated with Jehovah God. His mercy was so great that he did not spare even his most loved heavenly Son in this behalf. (Romans 8:31, 32) He did not desire his purpose for extending mercy to fail because of his depending upon an agent of whom he could not be absolutely sure. He did have the highest confidence in his only-begotten Son, that this Son would not fail Him under any and all circumstances, and so he chose this Son to fulfill the role of “My Servant.” (Isaiah 52:13; 53:11) In putting this Son through the severe discipline that was prescribed for this “Servant,” God showed that he loved him most dearly.—Hebrews 12:3-6.
59. To whom do the Scriptures ascribe this marvelous expression of “love for man”?
59 All thanks to Jehovah God for raising up such a dependable “Servant,” by means of whom His own love and mercy are magnified. This action was indeed a display of His own philanthropy; just as it is written: “When the kindness and the love for man on the part of our Savior, God, was manifested, owing to no works in righteousness that we had performed, but according to his mercy he saved us through the bath that brought us to life and through the making of us new by holy spirit. This spirit he poured out richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.”—Titus 3:4-6.
60. (a) Though Job was richly rewarded for maintaining his integrity, why was Jesus Christ given a far greater reward? (b) Of what does Jesus’ faithfulness under test when on earth give assurance for the future?
60 We rejoice that the tested integrity of the faithful “Servant,” Jesus Christ, has been so worthily rewarded, with higher rank and greater responsibility in Jehovah’s universal organization. As an illustration of this in advance, for unbreakably maintaining his integrity the patient Job of ancient times was rewarded with double the amount he had had before his severe test. (Job 42:10) Vastly more was involved in the testing of Jesus Christ on earth and in the keeping of his integrity, and properly his reward was far greater. Just as certainly as he was faithful under so severe a test of his integrity when on earth, he will be fully faithful in the discharge of his grander responsibilities now at this critical time and in all the future.—Luke 16:10.