South-hill, Bradford co., Pa., Jan. 1, 1844
BROTHER BEEBE: – I once thought that I had no wish to live only to serve and enjoy God and his people; and I hope the principle has not wholly left me yet; thought my feelings are much altered from what they were then. But as I have been almost confined to my home for several days, with the rheumatism, I wanted to be doing something; for the living, you know, are all that can work to advantage, the dead cannot: for as the dead know nothing, so they can do nothing but dead works. So, as I wanted to be busy at something, at intervals from keen distress, I took up the 53d chapter of Isaiah, and compared it with other passages, – and so I began.
The 53d chapter of Isaiah compared with passages in different places in the testimony of God, by the Evangelists, Apostles, and Prophets; with some few remarks.
Isaiah liii. 1, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” compared with John xxxvii. 3 – “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him; that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: Lord who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?” In Matt. xi. 25, we find an answer: “Jesus said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou has hid these things” (the things reported by the prophets respecting the kingdom, coming, person, work, suffering, doctrine, and glory of Christ,) “from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” And we learn by whom the arm of the Lord was revealed, (Matt. Xvi. 17:) “Jesus said, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it” (that Christ was the true Messiah,) “unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Also John i. 6-9, speaks of John the Baptist being sent to bear witness of Christ, “the true Light, that all through him might believe.” And the 10th and 13th verses, “He was in the world, and the world knew him not: he came to his own, and his own received him not: but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Verse 2d, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him,” compared with Matt. xxvii. 30-44 – “And they that passed by” (when he hung on the cross) “reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests, mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said: He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted God; let him deliver him now if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Surely they saw not his beauty – they did not desire him. See also Matt. xiii. 57, “They were offended in him; but Jesus said – A prophet is not without honor save in his own country, and in his own house.” Though the Jews saw him as a man, and did see him do many mighty works, they saw no beauty in his doctrine, they had no appetite for the spirituality of his kingdom, nor delight in the riches of his grace, more than many flaming professors of religion have at the present day. The doctrine of salvation by grace alone, and that according to God’s unchanging purpose, was loved as little by learned pharisees then, as now.
Verse 3d, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not,” compared with Matt. xxvi. 56, – “Then,” (as Jesus was taken by his enemies,) “all the disciples forsook him and fled.” Though we find Peter following afar off, yet he hid his face, he denied that he knew the Man. And also Luke xxiii. 18-21; “And they,” (his enemies,) “cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas. Pilate, willing to release Jesus, spake again. But they cried, Crucify him! Crucify him!” See also Acts iii. 14, 15; “But ye denied the Holy One, and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of life.” The Jews, then, preferred rather a murderer released from punishment, than not to have Jesus crucified; and so do the popular religionists at this time. See John xii. 39-41: Ah, “They could not believe, because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” Next, compare Heb. iv. 15, “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” How kind! what a great mercy, that Christ our High Priest and Advocate should suffer being tempted; that he might from experience know how, be able to, succor them that are tempted. See also Heb. ii. 17, 18.
Verse 4th, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” compared with Matt. xxvi. 37, 38; “And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be very sorrowful. Then saith he to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” See also Mark xiv. 33; and Luke xxii. 44: “And being in agony, his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Verse 5th, “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,” compared with 1 Peter ii. 24, 25; “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed: for ye were as sheep” (not goats) “going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” See also John xiv. 27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Eph. ii. 14, “For he” (Christ) “is our peace.”
Verse 6th, “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,” compared with Luke xv. 4, 5, (see the lost sheep,) and with xiii. 10, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Also Matt. xv. 24, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And with John x. 16, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold;” (which were among the gentiles,) “them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.” Also 1 Peter iii. 18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.” And Rom. iv. 25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Verse 7th, “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 opened not his mouth.” We learn from Acts viii. 35, that Philip, from this text, preached Jesus to the eunuch. Hence we conclude that it is incontrovertably true, that it respects his sufferings for, or instead of his people.
Verse 8th, “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generations? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken.” Acts viii. 33 reads “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away,” &c., and we think, refers to his being condemned at Pilate’s bar, when the judgment of Pilate was, that he was an innocent man, as is perfectly plain from his declaring that he found no fault in him, and sought his release. But the outcries of the Jews prevailed, and the judgment of Pilate, that he had done nothing worthy of death, which yet stands recorded on the docket, was taken away; and he gave sentence against him, and delivered him to be crucified. See Matt. xxvii. 11-26; Mark xv. 4-15; Luke xxiii. 1-25; also, Dan. ix. 26: “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.”
Verse 9th, “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.” Compare Matt. xxvii. 57, and on; “A rich man, Joseph of Arimathea,” laid the body of Jesus in his own new tomb. Also with 1 Peter ii. 22, “Who” (Christ) “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”
Verse 10th, “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,” compared with 2 Cor. v. 21, and others: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Heb. ix. 24, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Next, Heb. x. 4, and onward, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and the goats should take away sins. Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sins thou hast had no pleasure, which are offered by the law; then said I, Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” Again: see chapter ix. 23, 26; “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year, &c., for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Psalm xxii. 30, “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” Matt. ii. 15, where he is spoken of as seeking “a goodly seed.” They are also in Isa. vi. 13 called, “The holy seed.” Romans ix. 8, “The children of the promise are counted for the seed.” But, it is asked, “Who shall declare his generation?” Answer, God shall declare it. See Gal. iv. 6, “Because ye are sons,” (not to make you such,) “God sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father.” Thus God by sending the Spirit of Christ into their hearts declare his generation. His days were prolonged far beyond the wish of his enemies, for they could not take him until he had finished the work his Father gave him to do, or until his hour was come. John vii. 30, “Then they sought to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.” Also, xvii. 4, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
Verse 11th, “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,” compared with 2 Timothy ii. 19, and others; “Having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” John x. 14, “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep.” Verse 3, “The sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” Heb. iv. 13, “All things are naked and open to the eyes of him.” He knows whose iniquities he bare; he knows the sheep for whom he laid down his life; he knows them that he purchased with is blood: and knowing all things, knows which are his sheep, so he knows who to justify: and he justifies them by his grace, by the faith of himself, by his blood, and form all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.” See Rom. iii. 22-30; & v. 1-9; Titus iii. 7; and Acts xiii. 39.
Verse 12th, “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 sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” That all mankind were spoiled by sin, is perfectly clear to every sober, candid mind, from Romans v. 12, and much more testimony than is needed here: “By one man,” (Adam,) “sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death hath passed upon all men, for all that have sinned.” The destruction of the old world by the flood, and the cities of the plain by a shower of fire and brimstone, and the universal reign of sin unto death, over all sex, ages, and conditions of creatures, proves as with the light of a sunbeam that all are spoiled: and their being taken captive by satan, who claims them as the spoils of war, presents their case helpless, and hopeless, unless a Saviour interfere on their behalf. They are all servants of corruption: “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.” 1 Peter ii. 19. And we learn from Romans v. 16, that men are the servants of them that they obey: and we find all men naturally walking in obedience to their master, the devil; who holds them in captivity under the power of sin. But God will appear for the deliverance of his chosen; as he gave Christ a people, chose a people in him, whom Jesus engaged to redeem and save. The prophet, in view of the sequel, personating the Father, says: “I will divide him a portion with the great.” To choose from a mass, is to take a part, and leave a part: and among the many circumstances on record illustrating the point, see Romans ix. 13. “Jacob have I love,d but Esau have I hated.” That Christ had a people given him, see John xvii. 2, “That he should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him.” And verse 6, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” The character with whom Christ has his portion divided, is very great. He is called the king over the locust that come out of the smoke that arose out of the bottomless pit. Rev. ix. 11. The prince of this world. John xii. 31. The prince of the power of the air. Eph. ii. 2. The god of this world. 2 Cor. iv. 4. And may be represented by Job’s leviathan, Job xli. 34, as “king over all the children of pride.” He is not only great, but Christ found him strong; and so he represented him as a strong man armed. Luke xi. 21, 22: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace,” (the heart of the natural man,) “his goods are in peace:” (unbelief is, and always was a part of the devil’s goods,) “but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted,and divided his spoils.” Christ is stronger than the king over the locusts, the children of pride. He is represented as the “Man of God’s right hand, the Son of Man, whom he hath made strong for himself.” Psalm lxxx. 17. Yea, he appears to be ranked as “Fellow with the Lord of hosts.” Zech. xiii. 7. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. ii. 9. He is therefore fully competent to divide the spoil with the strong – overcome him, take from him the portion divided tohimself, bring up his prisoners from the pit, open the prison doors, bring them that sit in darkness out of the prison doors, bring them that sit in darkness out of the prison houses, and save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him. See Isa. xlii. 7; Zech. ix. 11; Heb. Vii. 25. “Because he hath poured out his soul unto death,” compare with Phil. ii. 8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” And John x. 17, 18, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” See also Mark xv. 37, and John xix. 30, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said, It is finished! and gave up the ghost.” “He was numbered with the transgressors.” He was crucified between two thieves: here he was numbered with the transgressors. He was reviled, mocked, and called a deceiver: thus he was numbered with transgressors. He was Surety of a better, i.e., the New Testament, which was better than the Old, as that was ready to vanish, and was taken away, that the second, or new one might be established. As Jesus was Surety for them that were embraced in that new, or better Testament; and they being transgressors, he was numbered with them, as their Head, Friend, Brother, Captain, and Deliverer through and from death. And did hear their sins. Solomon said, (Prov. xi. 15,) “He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it.” As Jesus was Surety for his people when they were strangers to him, he had to smart for it. So “He gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and hid not his face from shame and spitting.” Isa. l. 6, compared with Matt. xxvi. 67, 68: “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying Prophecy unto us, thou Christ, Who is it that smote thee?” See also Luke xxii. 63, 64.
Having passed briefly through the comparing the 53d chapter of Isaiah, and having found all the principles of it answered in direct reference to the person, character, doctrine, work, sufferings and victory of Christ, What reason is there to doubt the full accomplishment of the division by him, according to the portion given him? and on what other principle can the fulfillment of prophecy be accounted for, only on the ground of God’s absolute predestination of all things? And as the whole plan was in perfect view with all and every circumstance connected therewith, so Christ appeared, “in the fulness of time,” completely qualified for the redemption of his portion, and divided the spoil: and neither angels or men, either good or bad; no, not the ministers of Christ, nor anti-christ’s ministers, with all their singing, praying, groaning, preaching, and witchcraft, and all the excitements they can raise at camp or protracted meetings, with all their abilities, either natural or acquired, with all their schools and tools, anxious benches and submission chairs, with all their coaxing and hoaxing, all their scolding and driving, all their signs and tears, all their cries and fooleries, with all the converts they make, shall ever be able to add, or diminish in the least degree, or make any alteration from the first line of division drawn in the infinite mind of him that said, “I will divide him a portion with the great.” Wherefore lift up your heads and rejoice, ye that weep and mourn for sins, Christ your Saviour is stronger than the strong man armed. He has opened the way of redemption through and from death, and the grave. Yea, himself is the Way, he has risen triumphant, and is gone home to his Father, and your Father; to his God, and your God. We know that our great High Priest is accepted, while we hear the sound of the bells upon the hem of his robe, and eat the fruit, the pomegranates, which signifies the sound and fruit of the gospel. And if the High Priest was accepted, so were those he represented in his offering. Christ was the First Fruit of them that slept, and if the First Fruits were accepted, the harvest was ensured.
If my brethren take as much comfort in reading, as I have in writing this, in the midst of much pain, and many afflictions, they will not regret their time.
I still remain an unworthy servant of servants,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 12, No. 3.
February 1, 1844