365 Prophecies: Prophecy 254
The ultimate purpose of the Messiah’s death was to remove the transgressions of all people.
Old Testament Prediction:
Isaiah 53:8d …For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
New Testament Fulfillment:
1 John 2:1-2 …Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation (payment) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
The plan of God has always been to remove the sins of the whole world. Known to God before the foundation of the world was the fall of Adam, which would result in the need for a Savior. In His wisdom, God planned for this contingency by the provision of His Son to redeem all creation back to His glorious ideal and perfection.
God will make this redemption possible by acts that originate and culminate with Himself. The burden for salvation resting upon God and His actions to save us, while the appropriation of salvation is contingent upon the decision of each individual person to hear and respond by faith.
The process of salvation is actually very simple: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
Acts 16:30-31 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
The work of salvation has been completed by Jesus, the receiving of this salvation depending on our response. God has made eternal life available to every person, as close as the words on our lips.
Romans 10:8-9 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
The importance of this 254th prophecy from Isaiah 53:8 is that Salvation would come by the efforts of one Savior. At the appointed time, God would send His Son to die and thereby make salvation possible. There is no secondary or alternative plan of God by affiliation or membership in a church, an organization, or by some good work or penance of the person wanting to reconcile with God. This 254th Old Testament Prophecy speaks of the Servant of God, described in Isaiah 53, as suffering and dying for the sins of the world. As a result of His death, God removed all transgressions from our record and placed them on the Messiah. In this way, the justice of God was completely satisfied, as God was able to punish all sin while at the same time, exercising great mercy and grace in acquitting all those who believe.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Jesus who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The body of evidence from the entire Old and New Testaments reveals that God has always had only one plan for the redemption of mankind: through His Son, the Messiah.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The Principle of Sin and the Salvation God Offers:
We can see just how much God hates sin by what He allowed His Son to experience in putting away all of our transgressions forever. Jesus did not desire that God’s wrath would be poured out on us. It is not the will of God that any person would be lost, or that they would have to pay for their own sins and be separated from God forever. By this vivid description of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 we see the hatred that God has for sin—illustrated, as well as the great Love that He possesses for each one of us. Jesus’ suffering on the cross was precisely described by the prophecy of Isaiah 53:8d.
The Messiah will be disfigured
At the moment that God allowed Jesus to be beaten so severely that He was barely recognizable as a man, the Lord was showing us what His Holiness was all about. As we study Prophecy 224 and Prophecy 230, we see how brutally Jesus was treated at the hands of sinful men, as they beat Him in His face until He was bloodied and disfigured. The scars that Jesus retained as a result of His beating and crucifixion remained even after His resurrection. It is apparent that they will remain throughout eternity.
The Messiah will be made sin
Because Jesus was made sin for us, the fellowship that He had enjoyed for all eternity with the Father had been broken. At the Cross, when all of our sins were placed in Jesus, He became sin and felt a searing separation that occurred between Himself and the Father for the first time in all eternity. At the precise moment this took place, Jesus cried out: My God, My God, why have your forsaken Me?
We must understand that although God earnestly desires forgiveness for sinners, He will never forgive sin apart from our complete repentance. We must be willing to forsake our old lifestyle dominated by sin and turn to a new life of righteousness, if we are to be saved.
In Jesus’ death, God was punishing our sins. It was by great suffering that we were afforded the opportunity of forgiveness. If we are not serious in our repentance, then God will know. If we come in genuine sorrow for our sins, appreciating the great sacrifice that Jesus has made, then God will extend complete forgiveness and salvation to us, without cost.
The world today does not understand the seriousness of sin nor our present condition before God.
For just one sin, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. For one sin, all the descendants of Canaan fell under God’s curse. For one sin, Moses was forbidden to enter the land that God had promised His people.
Those who do not know God do not understand His Holiness. They cannot reconcile the fact that God is seen as judging sin by the destruction and annihilation of entire nations while at the same time, the Bible proclaims that God is the very embodiment of love. See the chapter Understanding the Wrath of God.
The fact that God does love people is seen in His extreme hatred of sin and the misery that it has caused. Everyday we observe the beauty of creation, the joy that comes from living, yet there is an evil that is all around us that diminishes and detracts from this beauty. We know that inside us is the capacity to create, to love, to give, and to accomplish wonderful and marvelous works. At the same time, we struggle with personal selfishness that is overwhelming. Though many of us sincerely want to be good people, we are constantly plagued with evil thoughts, wrongful words and actions, which come from deep within our heart.
We earnestly desire mercy but find it very hard to give mercy to others when they have hurt or offended us. When injured, we have a burning desire to exact revenge or punishment upon those who perpetrated crimes against us or someone we love. It is nearly impossible for any human being to not be critical, envious, jealous, or covetous. When we hear negative comments about someone, our ears are tickled to take in the news; and often, we can’t wait to tell someone else what we have heard.
Paul, who wrote a large portion of the New Testament, describes the struggle that we all feel in wanting to be good, while at the same time, something evil deep within deprives us of lasting virtue.
The struggle between two natures
Romans 7:15-21 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT)
The first time that I read this passage many years ago, I put my Bible down and immediately said out loud: “This is exactly how I feel!”
Verse 17, Paul says that “I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living within me that does it.” The honest person will read the above text from Romans 7 and concede that what Paul said of himself is true of all of us.
…for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
This is a truth that is known to every person who has been born on the earth. We all know about sin because we live with it inside of us everyday of our life. It is this plague that Jesus died to remove. When Isaiah states that the suffering Servant of chapter 53 was stricken for our transgressions, this is what he meant. Jesus died to set us free from this ever-present reality of sin.
The world hopes that God will ignore or overlook sin, as we so often do when we observe it in ourselves every day. We all know that there is something terribly wrong with this world, and ourselves. The problem is that none of us really knows what to do about it. It has become much easier to just accept sin and tolerate those who live sinful lives than to fight it, confront it, or try to stand up against it. The moment we do oppose someone in sin, we are reminded of the countless times we have done many of the same things that we condemn others for.
As a result of our attitude in accepting the presence of sin—because everyone does it, we just naturally assume that God will also tolerate sin. The problem with this kind of thinking is that God is not at all like us in this regard.
Psalms 50:21 These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes.
The Lord cannot ignore sin. He must do what He has said that He will do: punish all those who sin.
The true condition of the human heart in our present fallen condition is seen by our complete unawareness of the Holiness of God. We diminish sin by calling them “mistakes,” “errors,” or by stating: “Hey, I’m only human,” “no one is perfect,” and “everyone does it.” When we are confronted in our sin by God or others who love us and desire our greater good, we are experts at justifying our sins and making excuses for them—often blaming God or other people for our words or actions.
The Bible describes God as hating the effects of sin
It is interesting that you will not find a single occurrence in the Bible where it states that God “hates sin” not “the sinner.” In fact, what we discover is that God hates what sin has done, but He does not hate people. We could argue that what a person does is closely linked to who he is. Though this may be true, it does not change the fact that God loves people, and He has taken incredible steps to end sin’s plague.
I began this portion of the chapter with the assumption that God hates sin. After doing a search for the term “God hates sin,” I could not find any reference in the Bible where God makes this statement. This really surprised me, as I am sure that it will surprise you also. I had always assumed that God had said that He hates sin. We do find many instances where the Bible describes God as hating certain sinful behaviors, but He does not specifically state that He “hates sin.”
It may be that this is by design: God wanting to keep the focus on what sin does instead of the individuals who sins. There are so many things that are termed “sinful,” yet they all result from one overwhelming truth: every wrong that we do originates in our heart. It is this defect of a fallen nature that has caused all the sins that people commit. Therefore, God directed all of His efforts at changing our nature from sinner to saint (lost to redeemed) instead of individually naming and condemning every possible sin.
The Bible speaks of a future judgement in which all those who have refused to obey the commandment of God to repent of all sin and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation, is certain.
Are some sinners worse than others?
Luke records an event that is otherwise unknown to us from anywhere else in the Bible. Apparently, Pontius Pilate had ordered the death of certain individuals who were attempting to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. In the process, the tower at Siloam fell and many innocent people were killed. Jesus asks the question: Were these people who died as a result of the tower’s fall worse sinners than any other people in Galilee? His answer is “No.” There was no connection between this accident that took place, which resulted in their death, and their own personal sins. This tower at Siloam may have been a part of the wall of Jerusalem, near the pool of Siloam. When it fell and killed many people, God was not personally targeting these individual persons for judgment. Their sins were no worse than any of the others in Israel, or any other person throughout the world.
Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
We have this idea that some sins are worse than others. In this example of those who were killed by the collapse of the Tower of Siloam, Jesus taught that all sins are equal before God. All sins separate us from our Holy God. Jesus said that unless we all repent, will all perish (eternally).
Jesus describes this story of the tragic death of eighteen people as an example that all of us are equally guilty before God for our sins. Every one of us needs a Savior, and none of us are worthy of heaven by our own efforts. Only the blood that Jesus has shed for us on the cross is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus is able to save us all because His life was perfect, without sin, and of eternal value as the Son of God. Having an infinite life of eternal value, Jesus could take our place at the judgment of God and bear the punishment we all deserve.
The Bible is the record which proves that God is ready to forgive us because of the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us all. God validated the sacrifice of Jesus by raising Him from the dead. God has now made complete forgiveness available to every person, if they will believe upon Jesus for their salvation and live the rest of their life for Him.
We can only change our situation by believing what God has Said
The truth is—we are not capable of being good enough to merit our own salvation. Our very nature prevents us from ever being anything more than sinners.
“We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”
We are not born “innocent,” as is commonly believed, and then learn how to sin as we grow older. We are born sinners with our behavior and tendency towards wrongful actions being a manifestation of our true nature. We sin because we can do nothing else.
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
In other words, we commit sin because it is quite natural for us, being a part of who we are. Thanks be to the Lord, that He was not content to leave us in this condition. Though we are lost, He wants us to be found. Though we feel helpless, He offers us mercy from the coming judgment. Every poor sinner who falls at the feet of the Lord for mercy—finds it. He will not refuse anyone who comes to Him in the name of His Son who died for us and took the penalty for all our sins.
What the Holiness of God demanded—judgement for our sins, Jesus has satisfied.
Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Jesus all the fullness of God should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Jesus, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through His death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven…
To honor God
Because God is Holy—this is to say, perfect in every way, we must come to Him with the deepest and most reverent humility.
Psalms 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
We must fall at His feet in worship of Him for His awesome power and mercy.
Psalms 99:5 Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy.
The footstool is the lowest place of humility before a mighty King. When Moses came before the Lord on Mount Sinai, the Lord told him to understand that the place that he was standing was Holy.
Exodus 3:5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
David wrote that when the Messiah arrives, those who come to Him for their salvation must do so with fear (deep respect), rejoicing (worship), and trembling (awareness of His Holiness).
Psalms 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.
The Book of Leviticus establishes the manner and attitude in which we must come to God.
Leviticus 10:3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace.
To regard the Lord as Holy means to understand that He is perfect in every way. He is completely Good, and it is impossible that He could ever do wrong. All those who would stand in the presence of God, must themselves be Holy: To be fully dedicated and set apart from all other things, to belong wholly unto God.
The patience of God, everyday
Although we live in the greatest time of sin and evil since the great flood of Noah, God has continued to be patient with our generation. It is clear that this time of grace is nearly at an end. When in the days of Noah the world reached a place of unprecedented evil, the time for action by God arrived.
Genesis 6:5-8 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
In spite of the world’s wickedness which brought the judgment of God, Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Even in the midst of our perverse generation where evil is called good and good is called evil, God still takes notice when any person cries out to Him for mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus said that when the world once again reaches the level of evil that it had attained during the days of Noah, we could expect the Lord to visit the earth once more with judgement. This will come during the seven-year Tribulation period.
Matthew 24:37,42 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
God reserves His judgement for a later date in order to give us an abundance of time to repent and turn to Him. Though we see a world today that is largely given over to evil, the Lord has still not allowed His judgement to fall. We all enjoy a greater number of days full of the blessings of God rather than days of sickness, pain, or misery.
The earth is full of wonderful food, homes, clothing, transportation and other conveniences that make life much better for us today than at any other period of man’s history.
People often mistakenly blame God for tragic events that have been caused by the sins of men who hurt and destroy others. Little is said of the greater amount of blessings that God visits on us all, whether we love the Lord or hate Him. It often seems like those who are the worst among us are blessed the most. God is always pouring out His grace upon the worst of sinners, in the hope of softening their hearts. God is good to even those who hate Him, because it is most often His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
If God were as mean and vengeful as some claim, people would be dropping like flies all over the earth for their evil deeds. Instead, the Lord is very patient and kind to even the worst sinner. He loves people, otherwise He would never have allowed His Son to die such a brutal and horrible death. If the Lord wanted to judge now—all those who sin, then there would not be a single person left on the planet.
Psalms 130:3-4 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
Lamentations 3:22 Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
Instead, what we observe all over the earth, is a God who sincerely loves people. He is very patient, kind, and generous to all of us. He seldom destroys the wicked but instead bears with us in the hope of turning our hard hearts to Him so that He might remove our sins and grant us the eternal life He so desperately wants to give us.
Consider the angels who had no opportunity for redemption when they sinned against God. If the Lord had ordered the same fate for human beings as He did for the angels, no one could lay charge to His Holy name nor convict Him of being unrighteous. We did not deserve an opportunity for salvation any more than the angels; yet this great and merciful God, who made us in His image, has allowed us the opportunity to have our complete record of sin removed and make us perfect forever.
The Amazing Patience of God:
Because the Lord is the highest form of goodness, He is always very gentle. A person cannot be truly good if he is not also gentle. This is not to say that they do not have the capacity to be strong or could display great power over an individual. The truest definition of meekness, as defined by the example of Jesus in the New Testament, is “great power under equally great control.”
The laws of God that govern our moral behavior are as firm and unchangeable as the laws that govern the material universe. It is impossible that God could make void His laws or violate them Himself, as they are an inseparable part of who He is.
When the Bible speaks of God’s wrath against sin, we should not think of Him in terms of human anger or as having a bad temper when provoked. The Lord does not quickly and suddenly burst forth in anger towards us. God has an allergy to sin and all moral evil. He cannot tolerate sin because it is a perversion and disruption of His perfect creation.
It was for these reasons that Isaiah prophesied that the Servant of Chapter 53, would remove the transgressions of all those who would flee to Him for mercy and the forgiveness of their sins.
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