Failed Prophecy: Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is the other chapter that apologists point to as predicting the death of Jesus, but, like the claims for Psalm 22, we’ll see that this also falls flat.

First, give the apologists their turn. They’ll point to several phrases in Isaiah 53 (and the last few verses of the preceding chapter) that parallel the crucifixion.

Verse 52:14: “there were many who were appalled at him; his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being.” Some say that this refers to the beatings Jesus received, though his ugly appearance is never mentioned in the New Testament.

Verse 53:3: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Jesus should have been recognized as the Messiah, but the gospels tell us that his own people rejected him.

On the other hand, “he was despised” doesn’t sound like the charismatic rabbi who preached to thousands of attentive listeners and had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And “a man of suffering … familiar with pain” might’ve been the life of an ascetic like John the Baptist, but this doesn’t describe Jesus.

Verse 53:7: “he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent.” The synoptic gospels agree that Jesus was silent before his accusers (though John 18:34–19:11 doesn’t).

Verse 53:8: in response to the trial and sentencing of Jesus, “who of his generation protested?” Jesus was on his own, and none of his disciples tried to intervene.

Verse 53:9: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” This is often interpreted to mean that Jesus ought to have been buried with criminals but was actually buried with the rich. This ties in with the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

Finally, from 53:5 to the end of the chapter, almost every verse gives some version of the idea of the suffering servant taking on the burdens of his people—“he was pierced for our transgressions … by his wounds we are healed” (:5), “for the transgression of my people he was punished” (:8), “he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (:12), and so on.

Taken as this collection of verse fragments, the case looks intriguing, but taken as a whole—that is, letting the chapter speak for itself—the story falls apart.

First, let’s look at some of the verses discarded by the apologists.

Verse 52:15: “so will many nations be amazed at him and kings will shut their mouths because of him.

The nations will be amazed and the kings speechless? Nope, not only was Jesus not internationally famous during his lifetime, history records nothing of his life outside the gospels. True, we have evidence of his followers from historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, but it is curious that we have nothing about the works of Jesus himself from prolific contemporary authors such as Philo of Alexandria, Seneca, and Pliny the Elder. Apparently he wasn’t as famous as imagined prophecy would have him be.

Verse 53:10: “he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” This is a nice thought—Jesus endures great trials but then, like Job, he is rewarded with children, prosperity, and long life. As Proverbs says, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men.”

Too bad this isn’t how the gospel story plays out.

Verse 53:11: “my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” Let’s revisit this suffering servant thing. Jesus, a person of the Trinity and equal to God the Father, is now God’s servant?

Note that “messiah” simply means “anointed one” and that the Old Testament is fairly liberal with the title messiah. Kings and high priests were anointed as messiahs. Heck, Cyrus the Great of Persia was even a messiah (see Isaiah 45:1). But surely no Christian can accept the logic, “Well, David was a messiah, and he was a servant of God; why not Jesus as well?” Jesus was certainly not in the same category as David.

And here’s the big one: “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great [or many] and he will divide the spoils with the strong [or numerous]” (verse 53:12). Like a warrior who gets a share of the spoils of the battle, the servant will be richly rewarded. This servant is just one among many who gets a portion.

Wait a minute—Jesus has peers? He’s one among equals, just “one of the great”? What kind of nonsense is this? Again, this bears no resemblance to the Jesus of the gospels.

This all makes more sense if the “he” of this chapter is seen as Israel, not Jesus.

And, as with our analysis of Psalm 22, the point of any crucifixion story would be the resurrection, which is not present in this chapter. Only with the naïve confidence of a student of Nostradamus could this baggy sack of a “prophecy” be imagined to be a trim fit.

Religion is the diaper of humanity’s childhood;
it’s OK to grow out of it
— PZ Myers

Photo credit: Jens Cramer

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Maxximiliann

    Small problem. Jesus is not (and never has been) Almighty God Jehovah, The Father: http://bit.ly/13Y8mua

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Where’s the problem?

      • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

        Joseph’s logic is the problem.

      • Maxximiliann

        You forgot that you claimed “Verse 53:11: “my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” Let’s revisit this suffering servant thing. Jesus, a person of the Trinity and equal to God the Father, is now God’s servant?”

  • utwwhears

    This is such a laughable commentary and easily discernible as someone who has no familiarity with the scriptures, prophecy or what it predicted. I am not stating this out of anger or discontentment, but rather coming from a place where you just lack complete insight and understanding. The right to dispute and research is fine and something the bible tells us to do, check for yourself. But, it is another thing to be disingenuous with the hope of putting misinformation into the public eye for someone who may be grasping for a reason to believe this stuff and find hope that somehow the scriptures and rationale you have quoted are somehow false. I have to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope that you are not very well researched and hopeful that you are not just an outright liar with an agenda and an attempt to misinform. When I come across things like this I just laugh. I am not a person spewing non-sense based on things that have been told to me and just believe blindly. I am actually well researched and very informed. I would ask anyone reading this information to research for themselves and see if the scriptures hold weight. Don’t even research from a religious perspective, but as a person searching for an honest assessment. Comical.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Actually, what’s comical is your long discussion that makes clear that you disagree … but with zero evidence to show me how your view is correct.

      My suggestion: try again, but this time keep your smugness to yourself. Clearly show me an erroneous statement that I make, and then correct it. Y’know, give the evidence for your position.

      • Pofarmer

        You are a bad, bad, man Bob, and wrong, clearly wrong. So clearly wrong in fact, that utwwhears isn’t even going to bother telling you why you are wrong. Just wrong.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ah–it’s so much clearer now. Thank you, brother.

          I shall go away until I have properly repented and ritually purified myself.

      • wtfwjtd

        ‘cmon Bob, it’s not like the gospel writers quote-mined passages like this and then incorporated it into their fictional narratives, did they? Did they? Oh, wait….

      • Son of man

        Hello Bob, why don’t you have a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? The Son of the one and only living God. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and that’s probably for the same reason that you don’t have a relationship with Xenu or Quetzalcoatl.

        • adam

          ..

    • wtfwjtd

      “I am not a person spewing non-sense based on things that have been told to me and just believe blindly. I am actually well researched and very informed.”

      …right, so you just spewed a bunch of nonsense, and then inform us that you *don’t* spew nonsense, apparently about a bunch of stuff that you believe blindly, without doing any research or being informed. ‘Cause if you really had something informative and well-researched to say about Isaiah 53 or Bob’s commentary, I assume you would have said it. Is that about right?

  • veritatis_splendor

    //Verse 53:3: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Jesus should have been recognized as the Messiah, but the gospels tell us that his own people rejected him.

    On the other hand, “he was despised” doesn’t sound like the charismatic rabbi who preached to thousands of attentive listeners and had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And “a man of suffering … familiar with pain” might’ve been the life of an ascetic like John the Baptist, but this doesn’t describe Jesus.//

    First, the verse doesn’t exclude that it alluded to the Passion of Christ, not necessarily to the entire public life of Jesus. Even so, he also lived in poverty and suffering and even at the beginning of his ministry, those from his own hometown rejected him.

    Also, why did you limit the fulfillment of the prophecy to Jesus earthly life? After he ascended, the Church grew and emperors and kings eventually submitted to his name, this despite the initial rabid persecutions against early Church (which should be evidence enough that the Christian religion is the real deal)

    Your rebuttal isn’t a rebuttal at all. What you’re doing is that you’re misinterpreting the verses so that it won’t fit what happened.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Show me an interpretation of the entire set of verses that is better than the one I have above.

      • veritatis_splendor

        I read the entire Isaiah 53 and I couldn’t see a verse that absolutely cannot apply to Jesus.

        How in the world can Jesus not serve and do the will of God the Father? Which logic on earth prohibits this?

        In Philippians 2:5-11:

        “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
        6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,
        7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
        8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
        9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name;
        10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,
        11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

        Christ died in the Gospel, but was resurrected. So God ultimately “prolonged his days,” in fact until forever. In Galatians 3:26, Christians were told “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” The “offspring” in Isaiah may not be referring to children through the flesh (ie, biological children), but spiritual children of God through baptism. In heaven, Christ has witnessed how his offspring continued for generations onto the present day.

        Christianity holds that Jesus will be the King of the New Heavens and the New Earth, and his kingdom will last forever. He will share this kingdom with those who are saved through him. This explains Isaiah 53:12

        Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I read the entire Isaiah 53 and I couldn’t see a verse that absolutely cannot apply to Jesus.

          That’s nice. Now reread it and show that every verse can be applied to nothing else but Jesus.

          Let’s pretend that we’re honest seekers of the truth who will follow the evidence where it leads. If God were going to put in the passion + resurrection story, it would be clear. This isn’t.

          If something this obtuse were given to you as “fulfilled prophecy” from another religion, you think you’d buy it?

    • Pofarmer

      “despite the initial rabid persecutions against early Church (which
      should be evidence enough that the Christian religion is the real deal)”

      Why? Even if Candida Moss isn’t right, that Christian Persecution was highly overstated, why would someone attempting to squelch a competing belief system indicate that it is genuine?

  • veritatis_splendor

    What was ignored: that THESE so-called “novelists” died attesting that what they witnessed were true.

    Easy to accuse them of lying. But can you suffer and die for a blatant lie?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      ‘Cause it didn’t happen. The “Who would die for a lie?” argument falls flat.

      • veritatis_splendor

        What you wrote there was just that SOME other sources contradict SOME details of how SOME of the apostles died. In no way will the conclusion from this premise be “it didn’t happen.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I argue that there is insufficient reason to believe the “who would die for a lie?” argument.

        • Pofarmer

          People die for false beliefs all the time. How many are willing to die for Islam? How many are willing to suffer because of the Caste system in Hinduism? How many were willing to die for Hitler, or Stalin? Being willing to die for something doesn’t in any way indicate that that something is true.

  • eleventh hour hero

    failed prophecy? i call this failed propaganda.

    utwwhears succinctly summarises my review of this article

    “This is such a laughable commentary and easily discernible as someone who has no familiarity with the scriptures, prophecy or what it predicted”

    To me bobby you are just another one of those modern age free thinking atheists that wish for a godless world in which you are servant to nobody but yourself. A common characteristic amongst atheists – they despise following a religion and are disgusted by being superseded in knowledge and truth known to even the most simple people around the world. It’s ok bob, we understand you are an honest seeker of the truth, who will follow the evidence where it leads, and thats a good thing. But when evidence presents itself to you, you absolutely refuse to accept it. Then you all be hypocritical and try and bash creationists for refusing “scientific evidence” for evolution. It’s clear to me that you thrive on discrediting anything which favours the reality of Jesus Christ and the truth in Christianity to get by day by day. I can tell you now, this will be an infinite process for you until the day you cease spinning your own biased and arrogant interpretations of holy scripture to fit your false world view and humanist perspective. I repeat, it will be a journey that has no end for you until you relax your guard and humble yourself to accept a universal truth. Its ok bobby, there is no shame in admitting an incorrect understanding in the face of everyday, ordinary people who have known the truth their entire life. I understand atheists pride themselves on claiming to have a superior understanding and knowledge of the world and to submit to religion and christianity in particular, is personally a very tough thing to do. Some find it impossible IRRESPECTIVE of the mountain of evidence which points in favour of the christian religion. But you and I both know many atheists in the past have made the conversion and are living a life that is immeasurably more fulfilling and awake then they had before. So here it is, if you are scraping the bottom of the pit to find more reason to reject religion and christianity and you have to resort to twisting scripture to give your side some credence, then I really suggest perhaps taking a couple of weeks or so to drop your guard and sword, drop the pride, drop the arrogance, destroy the pedestal, be humble and get to know more christians, ordinary everyday christians, and get to know their story and come to their understanding as to why they see truth in what is written. Ask them about their lives ask them about their hopes and just get to know them. Oh and please, no trying to push a ludicrous atheist agenda onto them while you are at it, remember we are being humble and dropping our pride for this.

    btw what’s with all the irrelevant tags to this article?
    same sex marriage, abortion, frank turek, santa claus ?!?! what the fuck?

    • Pofarmer

      Might I suggest coming to the current thread n fallacious thinking?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Your name is apt. Good thing you swooped in at the 11th hour to set things straight.

      My response to utwwhears was that it was much wind with zero content. He didn’t like the post—that’s all he conveyed. My post was full of errors? I invited him to actually, y’know, show them to us. Crickets.

      And you’re worse. He at least spent the time to compose drivel. You can only copy someone else’s.

      If you’d actually like to point to specific errors, do so. Or shut up.

  • dfdfdfdfd

    *test*

  • me

    “God is a loving God and He is also a just God”. Then someone please tell me why in the book of Exodus and Joshwa does he order his chosen people to kill evey living thing in the promised land. They killed every living thing-old men woman innocent childern-even all the animals. Now beheading, killing and extermination of cultures was a common theme at the time and appears in historical tex, but I got a real problem reconsiling the fact that people use the bible( which is full of violance) as a guide to their lives. A book that tells u to believe in myths, magic, and fantasy ( man who lives in the belly of a fish for 3 days, magician that flies over Rome , trees that turn into monsters, demons that come out of people and jump into sheep etc.) Now either history is wrong–and I bellieve its not–or God is an eveil vicious creature in that the bible is certainly full of enough violence to give rise to the question–what kind of God–if there is one-would permit and or order such a thing.

  • thewordsservant

    the whole “JESUS” story is not over

    • adam

      Yes, it was over almost 2000 years ago, when Jesus FAILED his own prophesy to ‘this generation’ and to ‘those standing here’

      • Pofarmer

        Done, Kaput, failed, history, finito. It is, most certianly, over.

        • adam

          What do they say?

          Ye shall know them by their fruits……

  • Jerry

    LOL. Jesus is one of the most influential persons in history. All of this is fulfilled.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Huh? You think Is. 53 says that?

      You’ll have to show me the verse.

    • adam

      You write influential as if it is a good thing.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5gLf455Q8

      • Aaron Siering

        The first problem with this hypothetical is that knowledge of the Holocaust would never have become widespread. The Nazis took great pains to keep this secret even from their own citizens, and even the towns where it was happening there was the type of familial cognitive dissonance that has always allowed mankind to evil things to one another. There is no hypothetical where anybody is okay with the Holocaust. If the Nazis had won the facts of the Holocaust would have been suppressed.

        The second problem is that Israelis it seems never supported a holocaust of their own. This is simply a type of rhetorical hyperbole used in that language in that culture. For even after there was supposedly a genocide carried out against the the Canaanites a few chapters later we read without irony Canaanites living among the Israelites.

        The third problem is the argument assumes that Judeo-Christianity is the reason for any of the immorality in the world as opposed to a counter-balance that did to the degree that it was actually internalized help retard it. A distinction needs to be made between the claims of Judeo-Christianity and those who persons and cultures who profess to be Christians but act in a way that is contrary to claims.

        So there is a pattern here both with this video and that of the original blog, both need to rely on anachronistic readings of the Bible to support their argument.

        • adam

          “The first problem with this hypothetical is that knowledge of the Holocaust would never have become widespread.”

          Doesnt matter to those who did it or those who directed it from what they BELIEVED ‘god’ wanted them to do.

          ” If the Nazis had won the facts of the Holocaust would have been suppressed.”
          Doesnt matter to those who did it or those who directed from what they BELIEVED ‘god’ wanted them to do.

          “The second problem is that Israelis it seems never supported a holocaust of their own.”

          Matters not.
          Their ‘god’ did, thats the point.

          “The third problem is the argument assumes that Judeo-Christianity is the
          reason for any of the immorality in the world as opposed to a
          counter-balance that did to the degree that it was actually internalized
          help retard it.”

          LOL

          A counter balance to WHAT?

          The Romans killing a character called Jesus in a book?

          “A distinction needs to be made between the claims of Judeo-Christianity
          and those who persons and cultures who profess to be Christians but act
          in a way that is contrary to claims.”

          Christianity?

          Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and
          shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • Aaron Siering

          Yea, I am not interested in anything you have to say. You have demonstrated that in your prejudiced to be rabidly irrational. There is no reasonable argument you’d be willing to accept and no rational discourse to which you can be engaged. What I said stands for any reasonable third party to consider.

        • adam

          “Yea, I am not interested in anything you have to say.”

          Of course not you have demonstrated in your prejudiced to be rabidly irrational and afraid of truth.

          “There is no reasonable argument you’d be willing to accept and no rational discourse to which you can be engaged.”

          Of course there is – the TRUTH.

          Which you are rabidly opposing by your prejudice.

          ” What I said stands for any reasonable third party to consider.”

          Yep, your shite stands as shite.

        • Greg G.

          Video is restricted on the network I am on so I haven’t seen the video so I don’t think I am following your argument. I’m barging in anyway.

          The second problem is that Israelis it seems never supported a holocaust of their own. This is simply a type of rhetorical hyperbole used in that language in that culture. For even after there was supposedly a genocide carried out against the the Canaanites a few chapters later we read without irony Canaanites living among the Israelites.

          Archaeology does not support the genocide story. There was no abrupt change in culture during that time. There were sites that had pig bones and some that didn’t but that was the only difference they have found.

          I saw a video many years ago where Israeli students (I think it was done in Israel) were told the story of the Canaanites without identifying characteristics and were asked what they thought. The students thought it was a horrible thing. Then they were told that it was from the Bible and the Hebrews had done the killing. They all started to rationalize it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is simply a type of rhetorical hyperbole used in that language in that culture.

          So the Bible is unreliable then.

        • Aaron Siering

          It depends what you mean by unreliable. Is it unreliable as a scientific document? Absolutely, it is. The Bible expresses itself in the terms of what was the contemporaneous scientific worldview of the time, but what it expresses through that worldview are the profoundest human truths in all of literature. As for understanding what it means to assert well their are a couple ways to go about it, but for our purposes here we can say it is necessary to understand what it was suppose to mean within the culture that produced it doing our best to avoid anachronism.

          The other thing to keep in mind is the Bible is a book composed by the Catholic Church, and it was always meant to be understood in terms of the liturgy. It is subset of the tradition that was handed onto the Church through the Apostles. So I would assert that even the singular focus of the Bible representing itself as source of truth is as, I’ve commented elsewhere, to understand Christianity through puritanical filter.

          Anyway, I certainly believe the Bible to be totally reliable, but how its reliable is as a liturgical book. Which is to say that its something like a family history that is meaningful to my family as we meet together for communal meals. It is a reliable means for us to understand ourselves as a family better, and along these lines it is amusing that people who are not actually part of the family, if only because they don’t want to be, believe that its a book that has anything to say to them or that they believe that they are even in a position to understand anything about.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Is it unreliable as a scientific document? Absolutely, it is.

          Good, but you said it was unreliable as a historical document.

          what it expresses in through that worldview are the profoundest human truths in all of literature.

          That’s one opinion. It’s not mine.

          I certainly believe the Bible to be totally reliable, but how its reliable is a liturgical book.

          So what you mean is that it’s not at all reliable, except as a liturgical book.

  • David

    This is a horribly inaccurate that shows you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Have you even read the Gospels?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You’ve got to give me more than this. “This is stupid!” doesn’t help anyone. Give me specifics.

      • Jake

        Honestly, I was wondering the same thing. Here’s my take.

        “On the other hand, “he was despised” doesn’t sound like the charismatic rabbi who preached to thousands of attentive listeners and had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And “a man of suffering … familiar with pain” might’ve been the life of an ascetic like John the Baptist, but this doesn’t describe Jesus.”

        The fact is… He was despised, and he was a man of sorrows. He was familiar with pain. All through the gospels, you will see Jesus’ demeanor is that his heart is poured out for the hurting and the suffering. You depict him as though his preaching was self-indulging, like he was living it up and soaking in glory. His life and ministry were driven by compassion, not self-glorification. You’ll see over and over he tells people not to speak about what he was doing (healings, miracles, etc.). He wasn’t after the glamorous life. In fact, he was vey close with John the Baptist. John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus is told about it, and what happens next? There is a crowd of people that desperately need him, and he heals their sick and feeds them. Have you ever lost someone close to you? You know what that feels like? You want to be alone. You want to grieve. Yet he again poured out his life for others in a moment where he would have been perfectly justified in taking a minute for himself. Try to ague that this isn’t a man of sorrows. By the way, his “triumphant entry” happened on a donkey. That’s the modern-day equivalent of riding into town in a beat up, rusty Honda Accord. Not exactly a lavish entry.

        Despised is the perfect word for him as well. The religious leaders hated Jesus with a passion! Do you know why? Because he was a threat to everything they had built. The religious leaders of that time used their power to elevate themselves over the people. Jesus came in and showed humanity that God’s plan is for the common man as well as the well-off to experience God, love, and healing. He didn’t use his power as a means to belittle people around him, but to elevate and heal. For this reason, he was absolutely, 100% despised and rejected. They sneered at him. They tried to stone him. They tried to throw him off a cliff. Charismatic rabbi? They wanted him dead. Not just silent, dead. That verse completely and perfectly describes Jesus.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The fact is… He was despised, and he was a man of sorrows.

          Meh. Ask any Christian to summarize his life, and “he was despised” will be way down on the list.

          For something to be a prophecy, it had better fit like a glove. Isaiah 53 fits like a sack, I’m afraid.

          You’ll see over and over he tells people not to speak about what he was doing (healings, miracles, etc.).

          And yet Jesus uses miracles as evidence (John 10:37–8).

          Yet he again poured out his life for others in a moment where he would have been perfectly justified in taking a minute for himself. Try to ague that this isn’t a man of sorrows.

          Uh, he’s God. On the day that John the Baptist died, how many thousands of other people also died? Even if he cared just about the Jews like Yahweh, that’s a lot of people to worry about. And who cares if John died? Jesus would see him soon.

          And why marvel about the pressure on Jesus? He was perfect. A load that would be difficult for you or I would be trivial for him.

          By the way, his “triumphant entry” happened on a donkey. That’s the modern-day equivalent of riding into town in a beat up, rusty Honda Accord. Not exactly a lavish entry.

          Or so the story says. I wonder … do you suppose that Mark threw the donkey thing in to imagine that Jesus fulfilled a prophecy (Zech. 9:9)?

          Despised is the perfect word for him as well.

          By everyone? If not, then you see my point.

          The religious leaders hated Jesus with a passion! Do you know why?

          Yeah, because it’s a story. The different figures in the story are just puppets who move around as the author (writing 40 years after the events, whatever they were) dictates.

          he was absolutely, 100% despised and rejected

          “Many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”

          Doh!

        • Greg G.

          By the way, his “triumphant entry” happened on a donkey. That’s the modern-day equivalent of riding into town in a beat up, rusty Honda Accord. Not exactly a lavish entry.

          A king rode a warhorse when they went to battle. They rode a donkey to show they came in peace. In 1 Kings 1:32-34, Solomon rode a donkey to his coronation. Judges 5:10; Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2 talk about royalty riding donkeys. Mark made up the story, basing it on Zechariah 9:9-10. Early Christianity thought Isaiah 53 was historical. Even Origen argued for it.

  • Charles

    Verse 53:3: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Jesus should have been recognized as the Messiah, but the gospels tell us that his own people rejected him.

    Hi Bob, Can you provide clarification of your stance on this statement? Are you saying Jesus was not rejected by his own people?

    • Greg G.

      He addressed that in the very next paragraph:

      On the other hand, “he was despised” doesn’t sound like the charismatic rabbi who preached to thousands of attentive listeners and had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And “a man of suffering … familiar with pain” might’ve been the life of an ascetic like John the Baptist, but this doesn’t describe Jesus.

  • http://sarasohaib.wordpress.com/ Sara Sohaib Awan

    She was despised and rejected by womankind, a woman of suffering, and familiar with pain.”Meriam women kind ruined.

  • Aaron Siering

    Your argument is fallacious because it assumes a mistaken understanding of the literary genre of Prophecy. The one that Protestants invented in the modern age.

    Prophecy in the scriptures is the counterpoint to history and like their history the actual events are not as important as the theological meaning for those events in their present. Now if there may very well be some comment by the theology that the prophecy was meant illuminate (again in their present) and the future event that is then associated with it. However the way you go about trying to associate the two versions of the events, in a level of detail that would be alien to them, does great violence to the text, and is not a way anybody would have understood it before the modern age. It is certainly not something that would have made sense to either the people in Isaiah’s time or the people in Christ’s.

    In short then your argument relies on an anachronism, and this is why I assert that it is fallacious.

    So really your argument goes more toward demonstrating a contradiction underlying Protestant, or modernist Biblical exegesis, and to this end I would agree with you: if you are going to attempt to read the Bible in the way you’ve just demonstrated then major contradictions will emerge.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Are you saying that New Testament writers were wrong to apply pesher to the OT? I agree.

      your argument relies on an anachronism, and this is why I assert that it is fallacious.

      My argument? You do realize that I’m rejecting the clumsy finding of prophecy in the OT, right?

      • Aaron Siering

        Actually no I didn’t read you that way. I guess I took the heading “failed Prophecy” too much at face value.

  • Nudist

    A couple of questions: why would anyone record prophesy in the past tense? Secondly, is there any record anywhere of successful prophesy? So much of the Old Testament prophecy actually appears to be written at the same moment it’s fulfillment was written… it’s a lot easier to get it right that way.

    • Greg G.

      Retrodiction is far more accurate and specific than prediction.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No nudists here, sir or madam! This is a family site.

      But to your question, I’ve seen no successful prophecy. I’m amazed that Christians pursue this avenue when the “prophecies” they trot out are so weak that even they’d see it if they came from another religion.

      • Greg G.

        No nudists here, sir or madam! This is a family site.

        At least, the respondent doesn’t have a graphic avatar.

      • Nudist

        A month passed and somehow I missed your response… Anyway, I just wanted to say in regard to “No nudists here, sir or madam! This is a family site…” that nudist resorts and beaches welcome families! We believe lawmakers who imply human bodies are “indecent” are hypocrites in the extreme. “Victorian” modesty, and Puritan prudery should be as unwelcome to an enlightened citizenry as stoning for adultery.

        While reading Plato’s Republic, I discover this passage discussing the needs of society. As a preface, Socrates has begun by postulating that people associate and create societies because, as a rule, all people are different and have special interets and talents, and the success of their venture requires these individuals to contribute to society at large. First they need food producer / gatherers, as well as shelter builders, weavers and shoemakers, etc.

        Here’s the particular quote (Socrates speaking) I found interesting:

        “…we must press on with our inquiry. So let us first consider how our citizens, so equipped, will live. They will produce corn, wine, clothes, and shoes, and will build themselves houses. In the summer they will for the most part work unclothed and unshod, in the winter they will be clothed and shod suitably.”

        Ah, for the good old days. (This quote circa 421 BC)

        Even earlier, supposedly, read Isaiah 20:3 ““As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,…”
        The world will be a better place when people are recognized for what they say and what they believe rather than for the clothes they (may or may not) wear.
        Here’s a thought… when it comes to seduction, isn’t it true that 99.999% of all seductions are instigated by people in clothes falling for other people in clothes… co-workers eyeballing each other, high school kids lusting after each other, patrons and waitresses, drinkers and bar maids, etc.?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, I was kidding. In fact, when the Seattle Atheists has a booth at the local University of WA street fair, we’re often put in the same row as the local naturist group (I believe that’s what they called themselves—perhaps you can correct me). They’re nice people.


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