251: Isaiah 53:8a


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 251

The Messiah will be arrested and confined by evil men who will commit unjust legal action against Him.

Old Testament Prediction:

Isaiah 53:8a He was taken from prison and from judgment

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 26:47-50 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.


The idea behind Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah taken from prison is that He will not be put into prison. From the Hebrew word: Niph`al, He was excluded from a fair trial.[1] This is language that indicates the unjust treatment the Messiah will receive at the hands of evil men. Jesus was denied the equitable and just process of a fair trial, conducted in a proper manner according to the rules of justice. He was taken from Judgment by unjust means, then put to death without a valid legal procedure or a justifiable reason for His execution.

See the chapter in this book: The Six Illegal Trials of Jesus.

This portion of Isaiah’s prophecy deals with the unjust acts that condemned the Messiah to death. Jesus committed nothing worthy of death; in fact He had committed no crime that would even warrant His arrest. It is clear that the false charges, false witnesses, and unjust arrest, were all orchestrated by satan in his attempt to destroy Jesus.

Unknown to anyone at the time, was that fact that the events which occurred the night of Jesus’ arrest, the illegal trials, and His subsequent death, were all a fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. See The Death of the Messiah.

Although it was the action of evil men, directed by the work of satan, all of the events that led to Jesus’ death were under the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God. It was by Jesus’ crucifixion that God could secure the salvation of all people who would believe in and receive Him as their Savior.

Jesus endures six unjust trials:

Before Annas (Matthew 18:12-14)
Before Caiaphas (Matthew 18:19-24)
Before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 27:1, 2)
Before Pilate (Matthew 18:28-38)
Before Herod (Luke 23:6-11)
Before Pilate (Luke 18:39-19:16)

There were at least twenty one different laws that were violated in conducting the six trials against Jesus which lasted all throughout the night. The following are seven of the most important of those laws that were violated:[2]

1. No legal transactions, including a trial, could be conducted at night.
2. It was illegal for judges to participate in the arrest of the accused (John 18:3; John 18:28).
3. They struck Jesus during the trials. According to the law, it was illegal to strike the accused at any time during their trial. The use of violence during Jesus’ trials was apparently unopposed by the judges who were in attendance (John 18:22,23).
4. In a Jewish court, the accused is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty by two or more witnesses. The Jews failed to find two witnesses who could agree on what Jesus had done (Mark 14:59; Matt 18:63).
5. When it was discovered that the witnesses had disagreed in their testimony, the prisoner should have been released immediately, and all charges dropped (Mark 14:56-59).
6. A guilty verdict was rendered against Jesus, without any real evidence being presented (John 18:30).
7. The voting process to condemn Jesus was illegal. It should have been by roll call, with the youngest voting first. Here, they all voted together at the same time (Matthew 26:66).

Although the Jewish leadership clearly violated their own laws, Jesus never once opened His mouth to defend Himself. Amazingly, Isaiah predicted that this would happen, more than 600 years before Jesus was born (Prophecy 249).

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

Jesus is taken from the Praetorium at the Fortress Antonia, to Pontius Pilate.

There were three primary charges against Jesus. All of these were false:[3]

1. Jesus perverted the nation of Israel.
2. He opposed paying taxes to Caesar.
3. Jesus claimed to be a king, which was sedition and rebellion against Roman authority. This was the most serious crime that Jesus was accused of, as far as the Roman Government was concerned.

John 19:1-5 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

Upon Pilate’s examination of Jesus, he determined that He had committed no crime worthy of death. Instead, he orders Jesus to be scourged.

The Scourge:
Prophecy 223
Prophecy 245

The purpose of the scourge was to exact a confession from the accused, before being put to death. Not that a confession would change the final disposition of the condemned, but for the purpose of setting an example to the crowd who were witnessing the judgment of a convicted criminal. If the condemned would confess their crimes early in the scourging, the Captain of the Roman guard might limit the number of lashes slightly. Literally, everything that was committed against a criminal in punishment was for the purpose of preventing others from committing the same crime themselves.

According to Eusebius, the Christians who were martyred at Smyrna in 155 A.D, had their bodies torn to ribbons with their inner muscles and veins exposed. In some cases, the intestines of those who were scourged would be in view.

“For they say that the bystanders were struck with amazement when they saw them lacerated with scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were exposed to view…”[4]

The punishment of the guilty was intended to be the ultimate deterrent. A vividly bloodied criminal who was publicly put to death before crowds of people, might prevent others from going down the same path. Those who would see the sentence of death being carried out, might think again before committing the crime they were considering. It is certain that every person who watched a man die by crucifixion would leave the scene with a graphic reminder of what the consequences of disobeying the law would mean to them personally, should they commit the same act.

If the criminal should confess their crimes at the beginning of the lashes from the guard throwing the whip to the criminal’s back, they might be spared further suffering or even death. Very often the obstinate criminal who would not confess their crimes, would be forced to endure all 40 lashes upon their body and would perish as a result of the massive tissue damage and extreme blood loss.

Because Jesus had committed no crime and therefore had nothing to confess, each progressive lash laid upon his body became harder and tore deeper into His flesh. As no confession ever came from Jesus lips, he endured 39 of the 40 lashed prescribed. The Jews desiring to be seen as merciful, often ceased the lashing at 39 instead of the prescribed 40.

The scourge was not simply a leather strap that struck the back of Jesus. It was a multi-thonged whip that could have had up to 9 separate leather cords attached to a single leather handle. Attached to the end of each leather cord were pieces of broken bone, jagged pieces of glass, or sharp metal objets. As the nine cords were laid upon the back of Jesus, the handle was then pulled away violently, causing the sharp objects on the ends of the nine cords to grab at the flesh of the back, stomach, shoulders and arms, tearing away ribbons of flesh with each pass. By the time Jesus endured the 39th lash, his body was a piece of torn and shredded flesh that exposed muscle and bone. He was bleeding profusely and by the shear loss of blood alone, Jesus should have expired from the scourge. Jesus was a strong, hard working, carpenter who had built up over many years, a sturdy frame coupled with a body that was Holy and pure. He was stronger than most men, but this was not the power that sustained Him. It was his love for us, that kept him on course to finish the payment for all our sins. He did not falter, nor fail to take the full measure of all God’s wrath for our sins, as He continued to take the punishment until the atonement for all our transgressions was accomplished.

the scourge[5]

Then Pilate ordered that the name “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” be placed on the plaque above Jesus’ cross.

John 19:19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah is a truly amazing and insightful view into a particular aspect of how men would treat God’s representative for the salvation of all people. Jesus was taken from justice and condemned without a valid legal basis to convict Him of any crime—much less the sentence of death He was sentenced to, on a Roman cross. This was God’s plan for the Messiah that ensured that He would receive the full measure of God’s wrath against all sins and permanently remove those sins from the record of all those who would fall beneath the protection of God provision for their redemption.

For an in-depth discussion on all the events surrounding Jesus death by Crucifixion, please see the chapter: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

[1] Strong’s #1504. Gazar, cut down (1), cut off (6), decree (1), decreed (1), divide (2), divided (1), slice off (1).
[2] From the commentary on the gospel of Matthew by Chuck Missler.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Eusebius, Church History, Chapter 15. Under Verus, Polycarp with Others suffered Martyrdom at Smyrna, section 4
[5] From Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the Physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255(11):1455-63. Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, all rights reserved.

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