Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 61
ISAIAH 51 – 53
Once again we’re going to get right back into Isaiah chapter 53. We might as well go back to verse one again, we just closed the last program with it, but in Isaiah 53 verse 1, now remember this is the great chapter foretelling Christ’s death and suffering and yet Israel never comprehended it before nor were they expected to. But this is the number one chapter that we as believers use to enliven Jews, Jewish people, how that this from their Old Testament is a graphic description of the suffering of their Messiah, our Saviour and Lord.
“Who hath believed our report? (in other words, it’s always been a dilemma to believe the Word of God) and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2. For he (speaking now of this Messiah that would be coming) shall grow up before him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground:…” Now use a little imagination. That’s good language. What does that speak of? That seems something so fragile. That’s just something that could almost be flipped away at a thought. Not something that’s coming on the scene as a great conquering hero or anything like that. But just like a little blade of grass in dry piece of ground:
“…he hath no form nor comeliness;…” Like I said, in the last program, He didn’t come as some son of a great monarch. He didn’t come as some great family person.
“…and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” I think it merely speaks of His humility at his first advent. Now to speak of that “branch out of dryground” come back in Isaiah to chapter 11 because I think it behooves us to just constantly compare Scripture with Scripture so that we can understand the language.
“And there shall come forth a rod (or a branch) out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (now that’s capitalized because that’s a term of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament)shall grow out of his roots: “ All right, so here we come, going back to the genealogy of David who was the son of Jesse, here would come a little stem out of the dry ground which would show his humility, his lack of showing power and pomp and circumstance as most leaders tend to do but now back to Isaiah chapter 53, verse 3.
“He is despised and rejected of men;…” Now you know that’s still hard to comprehend, isn’t it? How that when He came to the nation of Israel and began His earthly ministry and with, right off the bat, the miracle of changing the water into the wine. Now you would have thought that something like that would have immediately just sent quivers across the Nation. Here is somebody special.
They might not have recognized Him as the Messiah just yet but they should have known that here is someone special. Now listen communication travels just about as fast in the ancient as it does today. They didn’t have a radio or anything, but word of mouth travels fast. They should have understood. Now here’s something special, but they didn’t. Instead they immediately start reviling Him and rejecting Him.
“…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:…” Now I don’t want to take anything away from His Passion during the hours of the crucifixion. But, all during those three years, how do you suppose His heart must have felt concerning Israel and their rejection of Him? And He saw the untold wickedness and remember, people have been people from day one. There was just as much sin. There was just as much immorality during those three years of His earthly ministry in Israel as there is today. And how do you suppose it affected that righteous, holy God-man. I think it must have just torn at His heart to see the rank unbelief even amongst His covenant people.
And so, He was “acquainted with grief.” He was sorry. You know, we get some weird questions once in a while. And yet I never like to come away from what I’ve always said, I don’t get stupid questions, but once in a while they get kind of weird. And one of them was, “Did Jesus ever tell jokes and laugh?” Did He? Well not that we know of. Because His whole ministry carried the weight of sin and redemption upon Him, how could He be flippant about it? He knew what was coming. As I’ve read in the last program, He knew exactly what was going to happen. How could He be joking around and laughing with that kind of a mindset? No. I don’t think He did. I think it was three years of utter seriousness, realizing the heart-cry of a lost people.
Well, when He used the example of the hundred sheep that comes to mind. The ninety and nine He left out in the wilderness to rescue the one caught in the crevice that knew he was lost. But what was the lot of the ninety-nine? Lost. Lost out there on the desert with no shepherd. Well now just stop and just analyze that a minute. Is that something that you can laugh about? Is that something that makes for a good joke? No. It was just so sorrowful that the vast majority of Israel were like sheep out in the desert without a shepherd. Sorrowful. He was acquainted with grief.
“… and we hid as it were our faces (now remember who were the pronouns? Israel! We’re not talking about the Gentile world back here. We’re talking only in terms of the nation of Israel. That’s the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘our’ and so forth) from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Now how should they have esteemed them? As the Messiah, the King, the Redeemer! But instead they scoffed at Him and they said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” Now let’s just look at a verse all the way back to I Peter chapter 2 verse 21. Now most of you were with us when we were teaching these little Jewish epistles, as I call them. James and Peter and John and Jude and as well as Revelation, they were all written to the nation of Israel. And that’s the only way they make sense and here is a good example, how this compares almost word for word with Isaiah 53. But this is Peter writing to Jewish Kingdom believers that Jesus was the Messiah.
I Peter 2:21-22
“For even hereunto where you called: because Christ also suffered for us, (now he’s not talking about the whole world here yet, he’s talking about Jews. Israel) leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps; 22. Who did no sin, neither was guile (or anything unkind) found in his mouth:” Now let’s come back. A thought just came to me. Now granted, Peter is writing here to Jews, but let’s see how Paul puts it in II Corinthians chapter 5, and you can see again that the God of Israel is also the God of the whole world. But in order to understand Scripture, we have to understand when God is addressing Israel, and when He is addressing the world as a whole. Now through the Apostle Paul who is the Apostle of the Gentiles, it is spoken to the whole world and not just Israel. Whereas Peter is writing to Jews. (Now remember the God of verse 20 is the “He” of verse 21)
II Corinthians 5:21
For he (God ) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, (He) who knew no sin; (See how that rings a bell with Peter?) that we ( the whole world, not just Israel now under Peters’ pen, but) that we (the world) might be made the righteousness of God in him.” In Israel’s Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth. All right, so come back again to I Peter again for a moment. Remember Peter is writing to the nation of Israel. He’s writing to Jewish believers. Verse 23, and here this comes right out of Isaiah 53, same words:
I Peter 2:23a
“Who, when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;…” Now He could have. He was the miracle working God-man. He could speak to the wind on Galilee and immediately it was calm. He could speak, to the fish to find the coin someplace and have it ready for Peter. All those miraculous things were at his disposal but he didn’t revile again. He didn’t use His power to get even.
I Peter 2:23b-24
“…but he committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (which is the Father God in Heaven) 24. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, (the cross) that we, (even Jews) being dead to sins should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (the stripes of the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the same word that Isaiah uses) you were healed.” Not physically, we’re not talking about physical healing! We’re talking about spiritual healing, sin sick souls!
I Peter 2:25a
“(this is all Jewish language) For you were as sheep going astray;…”
See now then I didn’t realize that I was going to use this when I referred to the “hundred” but that’s exactly what he’s got in mind here. Just like the parable of the hundred sheep who were lost without a shepherd. And that’s what Peter says Israel is. “You are like sheep who have gone astray.” Well when do sheep go astray? When there’s no shepherd. They’re dumb. They just go and go and go and they don’t know where they are.
I Peter 2:25b
“…but now you are returned unto the Shepherd (which is their Messiah because Peter’s writing to Jewish believers remember?) and the Bishop of your souls.” Which was a trust in Jesus the Messiah.
And so here we have the perfect parallel with Isaiah chapter 53, after the fact. See now Peter could understand what Isaiah 53 was talking about, but before the cross, he couldn’t.Crucifixion was unknown.
And so that’s why you know, as I said in the very first program today, how many times haven’t we all heard, “Well the Old Testament people they were looking forward to the crucifixion and the cross as we look back.” No. They couldn’t look forward to something they knew nothing of. They didn’t understand Isaiah 53, it was all in veiled language and God didn’t expect them to. All they were to believe was what God revealed to them openly and that they could readily take by faith. All right, back to Isaiah chapter 53 verse 6. Again a reference to the sheep.
“All we like sheep (that’s Israel) have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD (the God of Creation, the Triune Creator God) has laid on him (God the Son) the iniquity of us all.” And again this is what Paul is constantly reminding us of as well, how that He died. In fact let’s go back and look at it. A verse that we use over and over and I’ll never tire of it because too many of Christendom don’t even know these verses are in their Bible and yet it’s the Gospel of salvation that you and I are to use today.
I Corinthians 15:1-4, you all should know them by now, shouldn’t they? Yeah. We’ve got more and more people showing evidence of it wherever we go. But see this is Paul’s approach to salvation in this age of Grace!
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (There’s only this Gospel for us today) which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand.” Now remember Paul is writing to Gentile believers at Corinth so they had been recipients of this Gospel. And they were standing in it. They were positioned in it. Now verse 2.
I Corinthians 15:2a
“By which you are saved,…” I had a lady just recently who was dealing with a young lady in a cult and she took her to this verse, these first four. She had never seen them before. She had never seen these before. And see beloved, this is where it’s at. This is the Gospel by which we are saved.
I Corinthians 15:2b
“…if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed “ In other words, Paul said, you’ve got to understand what we’re talking about. You’ve got to know that this One who was crucified was the Creator God. He was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, rejected, crucified, shed His blood, was buried and rose from the dead! That’s the Gospel and nothing less will do.
I’m afraid multitudes are going into an eternal doom, good people, fine people, church members, choir singers, Sunday School teachers, but they’ve never believed this Gospel for their salvation. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. And so we have to constantly show people that this is the Plan of Salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all, all that which I received, (in other words, Paul’s revelation from the ascended Christ that now this work of the cross becomes God’s Gospel of the Grace of God) how that Christ died for our sins according to (what?) the scripture;” Now what Scripture? After the last two hours, what Scripture do you think he was referring to? Isaiah 53, as well as a few others. But Isaiah 53 made it so plain that the Messiah would suffer at the hands of mortal men for the salvation of the human race. And so Paul can rightly say, it was in the Scriptures, it was in the Old Testament.
I Corinthians 15:3b
“…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, (we’re going to see that a little later in Isaiah 53, how that He took his burial amongst the rich, Joseph of Arimathaea. That’s what it was all talking about and I’m sure this is what Paul is referring to, see?) and he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: “That’s salvation!!! And nothing else will do.
You can’t add to. Or subtract from. That’s it. And oh, we’re finding multitudes that are suddenly, been in church all their life, and they’re finding salvation through these verses. It gives goosebumps!
We share in our seminars, I don’t like to do it on nationwide television, but in some of my seminars I share some of these people that call and it’s just unbelievable the position that they’re in – denominational leaders. And tell us for the first time they see that this is the Gospel of salvation. On the one hand it’s frightening. On the other hand, like I said, it gives us goosebumps. We had a gentleman just the other day who owns several radio stations and a great denominational leader called him and said, “Don’t ever take that program off your radio station. It opened my eyes.” Well you see, those are things we normally don’t share with our audience but listen, it’s not Les Feldick. It’s the Gospel! Because few people are understanding that that is what saves lost sinners. It’s not a baptism. It’s not a works. It’s not a church membership. It’s not a denomination. It’s that finished work of the cross!
And you’re not hearing it anymore. And so we have to kind of get our hackles up and let people understand the Gospel of salvation is so simple and that’s why people can’t understand it. It’s too simple. But that’s it. “When you believe that Christ died for you and was buried and rose again,” and you embrace that, God has promised to declare you righteous. He has promised to put you into the Body of Christ. He has promised to keep you for all eternity.
But oh, people can’t buy that. That’s too simple. No it isn’t! It’s so complex that I can’t understand it, but yet that’s where it is. All right, so now Paul is saying basically the same thing that Peter is saying but in a little different setting. In a little different understanding. Because he’s approaching the whole human race whereas Peter back here is considering the nation of Israel. All right, back to Isaiah and he’s the same way. Isaiah is only addressing the Jew. But we can garner confidence from it that if this was prophesied in such detail 700 years before it happened then who am I or you or anybody else to doubt it? It’s got to the true.
“All we like sheep have gone astray;…” and Israel is always referred to as the sheep of the fold. My, you all know Psalms 23 and what is it? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Israel is always depicted at the sheep of the fold.
“…we have turned every one his own way;…” Now what’s the picture? Well, I’ve given it two, three times already this afternoon. Those 99 sheep and where did they go? Wherever they wanted to go. There was no shepherd. They were out there in the open desert, wilderness. Unless you’ve been to the Middle East you can’t understand it.
I remember coming up from Petra – desert as far as you can see. Once in a while you’d see a few camels but other than that just pure desert. Well, that’s what I picture of these 99 sheep out there on that wide-open desert. All going their separate way, wherever they find a little lump of grass. They don’t care where they’re going. Well that was Israel. Everybody going their own way, most of the time. And they were like sheep without a shepherd. All right, reading on:
“…and the LORD hath laid on him (the chief Shepherd) the iniquity of them all. 7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, (they beat Him, they scourged Him) yet he opened not his mouth:…” Now I don’t have to take you back to Matthew, you all know that, that as the Romans were beating him, He never said a word.
You know I’ve been debating for the last half hour whether I should use this illustration or not. But I’m going to try it, see if I can get away with it. Back in my younger days, I would get to the slaughterhouses once in awhile when I was a livestock farmer. And the first one I was never able to shake from my mind and my thinking was the slaughtering of the sheep.
Many of you may know this and many, especially my city people out there in your big cities, you have no clue. But when they get ready to lead a bunch of sheep into the slaughter what leads them? A goat. And he’s called “Judas” because he’s a betrayer. So what does he do? He runs ahead of the sheep. Takes them up to the door leading to their slaughter and there’s a side gate that he slips out and the sheep go to their slaughter. He comes back and he leads another bunch. That’s his job. He’s a perfect Judas.
He’s the betrayer of the innocent sheep. But you know what the amazing thing was? Not a sound! Everything was perfectly quiet. They just went to their slaughter without making a sound. Now you go to the hog killing floor and what is it? It is so much squealing and screaming it about drives you crazy. But not the sheep.
All right, now that’s why Scripture uses that analogy. When Jesus was being confronted and beaten and everything, did He argue back? Did He say a word? No. And then you remember, I wanted to take time but I don’t think I will. In Matthew it says, they smote Him on the cheek and what did they say? “Who smote you? Who hit you? If you’re God you should be able to tell us.” Did He answer? No. And so all of this was prophesied 700 years before it happened that as He was led to the slaughter, to the cross, He never opened His mouth and it’s just one of the unique fulfillments of Scripture.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, (not without brains but silent. He was absolutely silent and) so he openeth not his mouth. 8. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off (now we’re going to take the next half hour to compare that Scripture reference in Daniel, for he was cut off) out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Now never forget, John tells us so plainly, that He came unto whom? “His own, Israel, first. And His own received Him not.” And from there it went to the whole Gentile world.