Isaiah 52-53 is a prophecy of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. It is a literal prophecy with a literal fulfillment, a p’shat. In addition, this is a blend prophecy; the two comings of the Messiah are blended together in such a seamless manner that the 2000 year gap between the First and Second Comings is not visible. The First Coming of the Messiah is seen in His sufferings. The Second Coming is connected with Israel’s confession of rejecting Him. The national confession of Israel which will occur just before the Messiah’s Second Coming. We, the Jewish people, have to acknowledge our national sin of rejecting him, confess it and plead for his return. This will not happen until the end of the tribulation period.
Another way to state the same truth is to say that this prophecy is an example of double reference. There are two prophecies referred to here. The first reference, the first prophecy, concerns the Messiah’s First Coming, suffering, death and resurrection. The second reference, the second prophecy, concerns Israel’s national confession of rejecting Yeshua‘s Messiahship. The confession will occur at the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble (the Tribulation Period).
The events of Isaiah 52-53 took place in the first century, during the suffering and death of Messiah. In the tribulation period, the faithful remnant will look back in time when they read those events in the Hebrew Scriptures and realize the significance of this passage and use it as our confession. The prophesied events happened in the first century but some time in our future, we will look back and acknowledge them.
In this passage, the Messiah’s work is summarized and we gain a more detailed knowledge of His work and mission. The difficulties of the Servant’s mission were also discussed briefly in previous passages (Isa. 42:1-6, Isa. 49:1-13, Isa. 50:4-9). In Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, we are told that his physical suffering will lead to death and we learn the purpose of his suffering and death.
Now that we know the background of Isaiah 53, let us continue in the detailed study of this passage.