Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 53’

Report of lecture of Rabbi Chaim at Nijkerk

April 4, 2014

A report of a lecture (4/2/2014) given by Rabbi Chaim Eisen, an orthodox Rabbi in Jerusalem, dean at Yeshivath Sharashim, lecturer at Orthodox Union. Organized by Christians for Israel at Nijkerk, the Netherlands.

Lecture can be downloaded here.

The topic was: Israel, the heart of the nations.

The topic doesn’t come from scripture. Heart isn’t used as a metaphor in the Bible. It comes from Kuzari, a book of Rabbi Jehudah haLevi. (Completed not long before his dead in 1141.)

Rabbi Chaim began with ps. 1:2. Blessed is the man whose delight is in de Torah of the Lord. He desires the word of God. I that sense, she stressed that the audience chose the topic.

The foundation of Israel lies in the verse Ex. 19:5, particular the word segulah, be mine. This word also appears in the verses Ecclesia 2:8 and 1 Chronicles 29:3. Where it means a (royal) property.

Then he goes on showing Israel as to be a light for the nations. This is written so in Deuteronomy 26:17-19. It is about being “for a praise and for renown and for glory” of God.

This is seen in different verses.

Isaiah 60:3 (nations will go by your light)
Exodus 19:6 (Holy nation)
Isaiah 61:6 (Holy nation / priests of God)
Priests are servants of God, teachers (Leviticus 10:11, Deu.34:10)
Ez.44 vision of the future priesthood
Mal.2:1, 6-7 (The Torah of truth was in the mouth of the priests)
Isaiah 42:6, 49:6 (de servant of Israel) Isaiah speaks about the suffering servant.

Priests are there to teach the people. In the time of the temple there were many priests. Priests served in the Temple at least (and usually only) two weeks a year, on a once in 24 week rotation. What did they do in the other time? Teaching.

And who is Israel? Israel is the firstborn son. But he is not the only son! Many are the sons of God. And God cares about all the people, He has compassion on everything, even animals. (Jonah 4:10-11)

Israel leads all humanity. Deu.27:2 When Israel entered the Jordan to go to the land, they wrote down the Torah in 70 languages, well explained. That means for all the people. And verse 9 says: This day, this very day, you’ll become Gods people. If you do this. So it is a priestly task to teach the world.

In the afternoon the part of the suffering servant came. Suffering also is a great deal of the people of Israel. Amos 3:2 states: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

Now he first pointed us to the origin of the expression “Israel as the heart of the nations”.

First it is found in the Zohar, volume 3, page 221b: “The Holy One blessed be He made Israel into the heart of the world.” From that centre (the temple) they have to teach the Torah. But the heart also experience anguish and suffering.

Secondly it is found in the classic work of Rabban Jehudah ha Levi, his book Kuzari. Jehudah haLevi was a physician and he described Israel as the heart among the nations. The heart is the most central part of the body affected by all physical, mental and emotional circumstances. The heart can be most diseased and most healthy. That’s how Israel suffers in an unrighteous world. It’s a curse and a blessing too to be such a people.

I personally was thinking about Romans 9:1 where the apostle Paul was anguishly regisaiah-53-5retting the fact that Israel didn’t accept their Messiah, their suffering Messiah. Paul also rightly saw Israel as the heart of the world. And he knew too that Israel would be completely restored and he ended up in a blessing: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom.11:33-36)

The iniquity must reach its full measure as we can learn from Gen.15:16. In contrast to Israel, the Emorites were not punished constantly, which led to their destruction. Israel is punished continuously. Israel must bear his iniquity.

A principle of Jehudah haLevi is the suffering of the Servant in Is. 53.

Who is My Servant (avdi)?

Rabbi Chaim gave us an investigation. All places in Isaiah where my servant (avdi) is written, are given here:

reference – meaning

Not Israel:
Is. 20:3 – Isaiah
Is. 37:35 – David
Explicit Israel:
Is. 41:8 – Israel /Jacob
Is. 43:10 – Jacob / Israel (it refers to verse 1)
Is. 44:1 – Jacob / Israel (also verse 2)
Is. 45:4 – Jacob / Israel
Is. 48:20 – Jacob
Is. 42:1-  18-19  (verse 22 is people)
Is. 49:  (perhaps Isaiah or Israel)
Is. 52/53 (could be Messiah, Israel or prophet Isaiah.)

The suffering servant who bears the pain of the nations is Israel. And how do we respond to the multiple possible explanations of prophecy? The answer is: humility. Just be humble, until dawn breaks through.

Conversations between Jews and Christians in the past almost 2000 years often were harsh and disputes were one against the other, said Rabbi Chaim. But now times are changed. It’s a blessing to be here together. To learn from scripture. We share the same word, the Tenach. This was also the base of Jesus and the apostles. They were Jews who taught according to the Jewish way of teaching. They often taught in a midrashic way. As an example of approaching midrash, Rabbi Chaim gave us a tradition which shows that the words of Psalm 22:1 were explained as meant for, and used by queen Esther. When she came before the great king Ahasuerus (which was a death sentence to do unsolicited) she was very afraid and said: Eli, Eli, lama asavtani! (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)

In that manner of applying midrash, Jesus and the apostles also explained scripture, he said.

What a beautiful tradition! In the same way Jesus used these words when he came before the Kings of Kings, just before his dead, he cited these famous words! However, (what a blessing!) God didn’t forsaken Him and all those who are with Him.

The most intriguing answer on that day for me was definitely on my question on what does suffering means. His response: “What a blessing!”. Wow, such an answer! Here we are. Just my thoughts: How close did we come together although the differences are as high as the sky? Where’s the real Christian? Where’s the real Jew? Aren’t they both suffering a lot? And they both would answer with Asaph in psalm 73 the last verse: In all the punishment and suffering: It is good for me, to be close with God. Didn’t our Messiah show it? The suffering king is a great King. Didn’t Jesus say: pick up my cross and follow me? Wasn’t there an era of suffering following for almost 2000 years now? What a blessing to have a share among the righteous people, persecuted because of the sins also of another one. Because of the gracious God who wants you to get ready to be his child. He who heals the soul! What a great work does He do! Blessed be He Who build his kingdom already even without worldly countenance!



Our Place (part3)

April 5, 2012

What is “righteous before God”

This is a most important question. According to Judaism the righteous ones of the gentiles keep the 7 Noachides and the righteous ones of the Jews keep the 613 mitswot. However, righteousness is not because of the keeping of the laws. To be righteous before God is something that derives directly from God. He is the source of it. It comes through teshuvah (repentence) and circumcision of the heart. It is both human and divine. Nobody comes to righteousness but through God. That’s the rule of the Messiah who was righteous before God, and will give that to mankind. This Godly righteousness is applied to those “as many as the Lord our God  calls.” (Acts2:19) That’s the righteousness from God which come through faith. (Phil.3:9) That’s what is said: “The righteous shall live by his faith.” (Hab.2:4)

Although it is not because of the law, it is undoubtedly true that the righteous one has a zeal for keeping the law. It’s obvious that there is a distinction between those and the ungodly people and idolaters. And who are the righteous? It’s not a Jew or Gentile, but the man whom is spoken about in Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers: But his delight is in the law of JHWH; And on his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish.”

But to narrow this question of who is righteous further, we have to look at Psalm 2. (Why gether the nations together against the Messiah.) Because there’s a spiritual warfare between true and false faith. Between good and bad. And this all turns out to a battle of the highest order. It is about the Godly King or the human king. It’s about serving yourself or serving God. One who serve his physical pleasures is in slavery of the world and its head, the devil. Every man has this evil inclination and by lack of fear of God the heart and desires are about to fight against the Messiah, the King. Also here, Jew and gentile have to deal with spiritual personal warfare. And the distinction line is where the soul repents and gives the glory to the only King. To take part in this battle causes the righteous soul to find “the King of the Jews”, the hidden Messiah but revealed personal in victory and majesty there were personal desires are buried.


It’s hard to see the right picture of the true people of God. Because they become like their Master. A Man of sorrow and pain, not from this world, hidden before the eyes of the natural people. It’s only in the last days that they should say it and confess: this is the Servant, the one who was despised and rejected. (Is.53) But now they will become spiritually like the new man. (Col.3:10) Who is about to appear when the Messiah appears. Now they are buried, their flesh died in advance to the glorious revelation of the most glorious King, to live in his kingdom as righteous ones, without any blemish. The neshama (soul) is prepared for righteousness by receiving grace. That’s what Paul said: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Col.3:3-4) They are one with the Messiah. In his dead and in his life. And the life in heaven is already but not on earth yet. On earth is dispersion. This is not the world of the righteous.

The state of the true Godly people is given by picture of the Man of sorrow in Isaiah 53. They have a share in it. They share the same state. They have a physically broken state, at least they will die, but spiritually they gain the real life which is to come from above and turns to above. This real life is not the life of this world, but for the world to come.

That’s why almost nobody sees the right picture of true Christianity, the true people, and remain in deviation from the truth. And become organised anti christian and anti semitic powers (within the church) because they deny God, the King to rule over themselves. The church also didn’t appear in a glorious state, the glory you see is all fake. The great buildings in Rome are far, far away from the picture the real people of God should show. Just a few will be saved in respect to the many who perish.

The Messiah, the King, also didn’t appear in a glorious state. He first appeared in Jerusalem on a donkey (Za.9:9) and “the judge of Israel” was smitten. (Micha4:14or5:1)

Our place is like Israel watched by the nations who watched Israel as the Servant who suffered. They suffered together with so to speak the Shechinah, the Kaboth, the glory of God, the great Messiah himself who put the human body on to be one with His brothers. He suffers as long as His brothers suffer. He exiled as long as His brothers are in exile. Are we adopted by this Messiah? Then we suffer like Him and like them. Then we are part of that suffering people.

Our place also is that of the glorified Messiah (but still seen as the Man of sorrow), exalted above all others. Why? Because of Him who is the Messiah and gives salvation and forgiveness of sin, all who have faith in Him. Given to all the nations, however, it turns out in history that only a very small part became true followers. The greatest part is anti-Messiah.

When the time (of the gentiles, Luke21:24) is fulfilled, however, He will build up His kingdom on earth. (Acts1:6)

Jewish Isaiah 53

May 24, 2011
The Jewish learning centre Aish HaTorah offered a brief explanation of the 53th chapter of the prophet Isaiah on their website. The Suffering Servant is painted in the Jewish way. Some interesting issues as mistranslations are dealt with. And I appreciate the honest way of outreaching they do: The intention is not to denigrate another religion, but rather to understand the true meaning of the Divine word. The Christian Church always applies the Suffering Servant to Jesus. This is opposed to the Jews who believe the people of Israel are meant by it. What is interesting is that this Christian view is not found in the early church and the apostles. Were they familiar with the Jewish view of our days in some sense? The Hebrew word Servant (of HaSjem) ( עבד ebed) means someone who does Gods will. This can be someone from a king to a slave. Tom Holland gives an interesting view on it in his book about Paul’s theology on page 81-82. He says about the early church opinion: The servant role was not limited to Jesus, but was shared by the whole people of God.I’m about to agree, we share many, from cross to crown.This is the reason why the early church didn’t apply it to Jesus because of the vicarious atonement according to Tom Holland. That should be limited to one person, the Messiah.I really wonder why the author of the article denies a vicarious atonement at all. Paul and the other apostles clearly shows us that this is the cornerstone of salvation. And this was certainly not something new and not limited to the NT writings. How then does Judaism teach vicarious atonement? In our days? What about sacrificing an animal? Or more specific, the goat on Yom Kippur which bears the sin and was to send away in the dessert?