Christianity

Were the disciples ignorant about Isaiah 53?

Isaiah 53 has become well known for its use by Christian apologists in trying to prove the foretelling about Jesus’ death, most specifically the following passages:

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 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, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Christian apologists allege that this chapter and the verses within it clearly describe the same events that would eventually happen with Jesus, so Isaiah 53 is a prophecy in the Jewish Bible foretelling of what would come, and therefore the doctrine of Jesus dying for the sins of mankind is true and verified in the previous scriptures.

There is one major problem though, it seems that Christian apologists understand Isaiah 53 better than Jesus’ own disciples, and that Christian apologists have managed to see what Jesus’ disciples (and literally everybody else before Christianity) have not within Isaiah 53.

So what do we mean by this? Well during Jesus’ ministry, up to the point of his crucifixion and supposed resurrection, the disciples of Jesus were never expecting any of it to occur, they were firstly not expecting him to die at the hands of his enemies as a criminal-insurgent, and they certainly weren’t expecting him to come back from the dead. This is why they were very saddened when he did die, and why they were very doubtful when they heard accounts of him being alive again.

Now surely if Isaiah 53 taught what Christian apologists tell us it teaches, then wouldn’t have the disciples of Jesus been expecting and waiting for this? Wouldn’t they have been aware that Jesus was going to die, that he had to die as foretold in the previous scriptures? We find no such evidence of this, in fact we find the opposite that he disciples did not at all have an understanding of Isaiah 53 as Christian apologists do.

So this is the question then, are Christian apologists wiser when it comes to the understanding of the Bible than Jesus’ own disciples? How is that Christian apologists managed to so vividly understand and grasp Isaiah 53, while Jesus’ disciples did not? The answer is quite simple and logical, Isaiah 53 is not about Christian theology as Christian apologists would have us believe, not only do the disciples not share the same understanding of Isaiah 53 as Christian apologists, we don’t find any single other person who believed in the same interpretation of Isaiah 53 as Christian apologists. There was no single person before and during the time of Jesus who read Isaiah 53, and then said we are now waiting for someone, the Messiah, to come and die for our sins.

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8 replies »

  1. It’s quite clear that Phillip the Evangelist understood the text to be about Jesus Christ. You would quite to think that Peter and John and the rest of the apostles didn’t know what Phillp knew in regards to Isaiah 53 and The Lord Jesus.

    This is not some made up thing by Christian apologist but here is someone in the first century contradicting your claims.

    The book of Acts covers around 30 years of the church history which says to me that Phillip would have been alive, by the time we get to chapter 21 the bible says he has 7 daughters.

    Well the verses tell us he connected Isaiah 53 with The Lord Jesus Christ.

    Consider this text…Joh 2:22    When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

    Joh 12:16    These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

    Glorified means raised from the dead and ascending to heaven. Anyway back to the text in Acts

    Act 8:27    And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
    Act 8:28    Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
    Act 8:29    Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
    Act 8:30    And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
    Act 8:31    And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
    Act 8:32    The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
    Act 8:33    In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
    Act 8:34    And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
    Act 8:35    Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
    Act 8:36    And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    • “Consider this text…Joh 2:22    When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

      Joh 12:16    These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.”

      you need to be looking at marks text mate. it’s mark who thinks satan aka peter DOES not know jesus’ interpretation of the word “messiah”,

      ehrman WRITES:

      Bart November 2, 2014
      I don’t think the conversation actually took place; it’s Mark’s attempt to show that precisely as the messiah Jesus had to suffer and die, something that for most Jews made no sense at all.

      I QUOTE :

      The effect is not the same, of course, since in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus
      never appears in the story after he is laid to rest by Joseph of
      Arimathea, and the disciples never appear again once Peter denies
      Jesus for the last time. So I would argue that in Matthew’s Gospel it
      is a confusing non sequitur, while in Mark’s Gospel it is one final
      indictment against a group of followers who failed Jesus at every
      turn. In one last ironic twist, Jesus, who had been telling people to
      be silent throughout the narrative only to be disobeyed, now asks the
      women to deliver the good news to the disciples. But they disobey and
      remain silent.

      Christians reading Mark today would love to imagine that Peter is
      reconciled in the end, that Jesus appears to the eleven, that they all
      kiss and make up — however, those stories (there’s that word again!)
      are not in Mark’s gospel. Drawing attention to these facts does not
      make me hyper-skeptical; I’m merely stating the obvious.

      Second, he very much sees Mark 16:8 as the logical, intentional ending
      of a sustained diatribe against the disciples and Jesus’ family.

      http://vridar.wordpress.com/2012/05/…-story-part-2/

      It is rather because Mark’s story is all about the failure of everyone
      around Jesus to understand his mission, to follow his instructions,
      and to do his will. Kelber explains:

      The disciples’ disobedience, as well as that of the women, does not
      damage Jesus’ credibility for the readers [contra Petersen]. Quite the
      opposite: the readers are to follow, where the disciples have failed.
      (p. 220)

      And make no mistake; we’re talking total, colossal, abject failure
      here — with chapter 16 dealing the final blow.

      Overcome by trembling, astonishment, and fear, [the women] flee. . . .
      As a result, the disciples, who had been absent at the crucifixion and
      have remained ignorant of the resurrection, never learn that the
      signal has been given for the reunion with the resurrected one. They
      are thereby effectively eliminated as apostolic representatives of the
      risen jesus. (p. 129)

      It’s that verse in 16:8 that causes the problems – Mark ended it on a
      down beat. With the women afraid and telling people nothing. That
      verse is the one that doesn’t fit. It isn’t a lack of drama, it’s that
      that isn’t something an “orthodox” believer would consider “Good
      News”! How can it be good news? The women tell nobody – there’s no
      guarantee of the disciples hearing about the Resurrection! Peter, one
      of the Church Founders, was last seen denying Jesus!

      END QUOTE

      mark MADE up a conversation between peter and jesus because he needed to ADDRESS the problem of jewish interpretation of messiah and christian interpretation of messiah.

      • that’s bart ehrman opinion which it is clear and it is not accepted by most respected scholars and why mark didn’t mention further we don’t know new testament scholar daniel b wallace who is probably respected than bart ehrman when it comes to textual critism while bart ehrman is more respected in new testament validation has given a reason why that might be here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEnKMLpclUc

    • what would they have connected? like what christian apologists do today by picking one sentence or one word and reading jesus into it? if jesus was teaching daily in the temples and CLARIFIED in PRIVATE the meaning of his parables, why didn’t the deciples get it? is it more likely that the deciples didn’t get it or the author of mark DIDN’T want the deciples to get it? if peter could have a DIFFERENT understanding of the word “messiah” here

      16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

      17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter,b and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadesc will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will bed bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will bee loosed in heaven.” 20Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

      (notice THIS is the first time jesus is INFORMED about what people think of him and jesus PRAISES peter for having an INCORRECT interpretation ?)

      then get REBUKED
      for not having jesus’ UNDERSTANDING :

      1From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

      22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

      23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!

      maybe you are lost like the deciples for not seeing muhammad in the bible even though muhammads name is mentioned in there and messiah is not mentioned in ss passages?

  2. 13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

    14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

    15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

    16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

    17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter,b and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadesc will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will bed bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will bee loosed in heaven.” 20Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

    quote:
    The reasons it is thought to be unlikely that Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection (aside from the fact that most sane people do not intentionally seek out one of the most brutal and agonizing forms of execution in history) is that there was no pre-Christian expectation that the Messiah was supposed to do that. It would have made no sense within the religious or historical context of Jesus and the disciples for a Messianic aspirant to say he would die. The notion of a Messiah dying for people’s sins was a Christian redefinition of the Messiah built around a need to explain the crucifixion.

    what i don’t understand is why is jesus’ blessing peter when peter does not even have jesus’ understanding of messiah in mind? in your ARTICLE you have quoted isaiah 53, apologists assume thier flesh god understood the word “messiah” in light of isaiah 53

    after all that blessing, jesus does a 360 degrees turn and starts rebuking peter:

    21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

    22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

    23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

    what? stumbling block who got blessed and rewarded? think about it from peters perspective , he heard that he would get rewarded and later on is told that he is a stumbling block for not having jesus’ interpretation of messiah in mind?

    remember these gospels are trying to prove that the failed “savior” is” messiah” but there seems to be give away signs of TENSIONS between jews and christians on this issue .

  3. Peter believed that Christ was the Son of the living God. In the eyes of Jesus that is already enough in itself to be called blessed. Even if he did not understand what Jesus came to do.

  4. Hi Mansubzero
    Righteous men that walked and saw Jesus do some incredible miracles and saw him crucified and risen again…do not need to lie about a conversation with Jesus and Peter.

    The problem we have is a book that came 600 years after the gospels contradict the gospels…basically Prophet Muhammad contradicts what Jesus said.

    1. What sura quotes the actual biblical text in the gospel or the Torah where Muhammad’s name is written? Don’t quote Song of Solomon that’s poetry or Isaiah that’s from the prophets.

    As for Bart Erhman here is a man that said his whole faith was shaken because a text in Mark was supposedly wrong that any rational person reading the text would know it was a prolepsis

    You said

    The notion of a Messiah dying for people’s sins was a Christian redefinition of the Messiah built around a need to explain the crucifixion.

    Act 8:30    And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
    Act 8:31    And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
    Act 8:32    The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
    Act 8:33    In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
    Act 8:34    And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
    Act 8:35    Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    This is a first century Christian explaining the text in Isaiah 53 relates to Jesus and the death and resurrection. It’s because it doesn’t sit well with what Muslims believe, wasting 1000 years trying to prove that the bible has been changed.

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