Jesus The Last Adam
Derek Prince
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Spiritual Conflict (Volume 2) Series
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Jesus The Last Adam

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Part 1 of 6: Spiritual Conflict (Volume 2)

By Derek Prince

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Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

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In our previous study we dealt with the results of Adam’s fall and we noted five specific results from the fall of Adam. For the sake of continuity, I will just briefly recapitulate these results of Adam’s fall and then we’ll move on into the main theme of our present study.

The first great result of Adam’s fall was that there was a change in Adam’s nature. And the one essential word that sums up that change is the word corrupt. He became corrupt spiritually and physically. And therefore, ultimately mortal, liable to death.

The second great change was that Satan usurped the realm of Adam’s authority. He took over what God had given to Adam and he became through this “the prince of this world” as Jesus calls him three times in John’s gospel and as Paul calls him in Ephesians, “the prince of the power of the air” or “the ruler of the realm of authority defined by the air.”

The third result of Adam’s fall was that the Adamic race—that Adam and his descendants, became subject to demon harassment and control. A great horde of evil spirits was turned loose against the human race.

The fourth result of Adam’s fall was that Adam’s whole realm became subject to vanity, and we said that in modern English this word vanity could probably best be rendered “frustration” or “futility.” Everything blooms and dies, grows healthy and strong and declines and pines away. In every realm of life under the sun the same force is at work and the Bible calls it vanity.

The fifth result of Adam’s fall was that the Adamic race became identified with Satan in guilt and rebellion against God and therefore, subject to God’s judgment. Satan by his cleverness got the human race on his side against God and involved in his guilt, which meant that any judgment due to Satan became also due to the Adamic race. This is, in a sense, the whole crux of the principle of redemption. How could God save the Adamic race without compromising His justice or compromising with Satan? And the answer is found only in the cross. There is no other solution.

Now to the subject of our first study as is indicated in your outline is Jesus, the last Adam. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:45 and you will find this title applies to Jesus. First Corinthians 15:45, the author Paul says:

“And so it is written [he is quoting from the book of Genesis 2:7], The first man Adam was made a living soul; [That’s the end of the quotation. The rest of this verse is a statement made by Paul.] the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (NAS)

Now this is a typical Pauline sentence. It’s full of deliberate contrasts. There are three specific contrasts made between the first and the last; between living and quickening (in modern English is life- giving); and between soul and spirit. Let me read it with the emphasis upon it.

“The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit.” (NAS)

Now the last Adam is Jesus. He has many titles in Scripture but this is given to Him specifically as the divinely appointed representative of the entire Adamic race. And this is the capacity in which Jesus came to this earth and lived amongst us. He lived as one of us. He deliberately became a member of the Adamic race. He identified Himself in every respect with our race. In the gospels more than eighty times Jesus applies to Himself this title, “the Son of Man.” And with a Hebrew background, it is possible to understand that in Hebrew this is Ben Adam, Ben: son—Adam: Adam, and means literally “the son of Adam.” So every time He called Himself “the Son of Man,” He was deliberately placing Himself in the line of descent from Adam. He was identifying Himself with the Adamic race. He was saying, in fact, “I am the last Adam.”

Now we have to understand that Jesus was not “last” in the sense of time, because many more descendants of Adam have come upon the scene since then, but He was last in the sense of purpose. He finished all; the entire evil inheritance of the Adamic race. And when He died on the cross and said, “It is finished,” that was the end of the entire inheritance. This is, in my opinion, the central truth of all Scripture, and we are going to devote quite a substantial period of time to studying it.

Now, this identification of Jesus with the human race, I prefer to say with the Adamic race, because it’s specifically what Adam and his descendants, is stated in the epistle to the Hebrews. Let’s look there in the second chapter and we could read perhaps from verse 11 and through verse 16 or 17. Hebrews chapter 2, commencing at verse 11:

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (KJV)

In other words, “he that sanctifieth” is Jesus, “they that are sanctified” are the believers, and they are “all of one” source, which is God the Father. For which cause He is not ashamed to call us his brothers.

And then the writer of Hebrews quotes a number of Scriptures from the Old Testament showing that the Messiah accepted those who became his followers as His brothers. And the twelfth verse of Hebrews 2, he is quoting from Psalm 22:22, which is a Messianic psalm that is a revelation of the Messiah, and we’ll read the quotation as it is given in Hebrews 2:12:

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (KJV)

This is the resurrected Messiah making this declaration and speaking about the Church: He calls them “my brethren.” The purpose of the writer of Hebrews, what he is emphasizing, is that those of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ and become members of His church are identified with Him as His brothers. And again in verse 13, another quotation from the Old Testament, 2 Samuel, chapter 22, verse 3:

“I will put my trust in him.” (KJV)

Jesus had to put His trust in God the Father for the resurrection, and He became our pattern. And then again Isaiah 8:18:

“Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” (KJV)

It is the Messiah speaking. He is speaking in the first person as “I.” He speaks as “I and the children which God hath given me.” That is, you and I, the believers in Jesus Christ. So the writer of Hebrews is here emphasizing out of the Old Testament that the Messiah, in working out God’s purposes of redemption, would identify Himself fully with those who were to be redeemed, those who were to be sanctified, those who were to be brought back to God. He would call them God’s children and His brethren.

Then we go on to read about the identification in detail in verse 14 of Hebrews 2:

“Forasmuch then as the children are [the] partakers of flesh and blood [the children being you and I who are believers and become children of God], he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same [He took part of flesh and blood just as you and I do]; that through death he might destroy [or annul] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (KJV)

There is no other way the devil could be defeated and his power broken and his authority canceled but by the death of our representative, Jesus, on the cross. And having thus terminated the devil’s authority in verse 15, He is able to:

“Deliver them who through their fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage [the bondage of the devil].” (KJV)

And then we come back again to this theme of identification:

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

He did not become an angel. He is not the substitute for angels. As I understand it, there is no plan for reconciliation between God and fallen angels. There is no basis for reconciliation because they have no substitute. Jesus did not take on Him the nature of angels. What did He take on him? The seed of Abraham. He became a lineal descendant of Abraham.

And then in verse 17:

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.” (KJV)

There’s a very clear theme of the absolute identification of Jesus in His flesh nature with Abraham and his descendants. The emphasis is He became a man just like one of us; He did not become an angel. And if you look at the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23–38, you will find that there His genealogy is traced back all the way from Joseph, who it says was supposed to be His father through David, through Abraham, to Adam. Perhaps we could look there for a moment, it’s quite important in a way.

In Luke 3—you realize that there are two genealogies given in the gospels. In Matthew we get one genealogy of Jesus and in Luke 3 we get the other. Now in Matthew’s genealogy, the genealogy from the father’s side, all the way through the word is used, begat, begat, begat. But the genealogy in Luke is the genealogy through the mother. That’s why it’s a different genealogy. Mary was, in all probability, the last descendant of her particular section of the family. By Mosaic Law, all the inheritance became hers. This was settled under the Law of Moses and so her line was continued through Jesus. And Jesus became not only the descendant of Joseph and his line but the descendant of Mary and her line.

Now, both of them were descended from David, but by different lines. And if you trace them back you’ll find one genealogy is given in Matthew, which is the genealogy of Joseph and his side of the family, and the genealogy in Luke is the genealogy of Mary and her side. They go both back to David and they go both back to Abraham, but they go both back by different routes. And then beyond Abraham in Luke 3:34, says, “Which was the son of Jacob.” Now, the word son of is not there in the Greek, which was ?alf?. In other words, this was a chain of genealogical descent that says in Luke 3:34:

“Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor ...” (KJV)

And you go on back to verse 38:

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (KJV)

So there you have the total genealogy of Jesus back to Adam and back to God. This, of course, is appropriate in the nature of the two gospels. Matthew is essentially for the Jewish people presenting Jesus as the descendant of Abraham and David. Luke’s gospel is for the whole human race and therefore presents Jesus as the descendant of Adam, and in that sense, of God, since God brought Adam into being. So in this genealogy in Luke 3, we have Jesus presented to us as the last Adam. He was the divinely appointed representative of the entire Adamic race.

Now His taking our place and becoming our representative found its culmination on the cross. This is where it culminated and so we turn to Isaiah 53 and we read one of the most tremendous verses in Scripture. I’m sure that all of you realize that Isaiah 53 is the Old Testament picture of the atonement. Though the person is not named, there is only one person in history to whom the words apply and that is Jesus of Nazareth.

(I just mention, if any of you are interested, I have a book called Three Messages for Israel. And the first study in those three messages relates to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and it’s a verse by verse analysis of that chapter, showing how every detail of the chapter applies to Jesus. Now it’s outside the scope of this study to do that this morning but it’s in existence.)

Turning immediately to verse 6 of Isaiah 53 and we will be going back to this chapter continually now for the rest of the study, we find these words:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all [‘him’ is Jesus].” (KJV)

This is the condition of the entire human race. We have all gone astray. We have all turned to our own way and we are all rebellious, self-willed, self-pleasing.

And then where the King James Version says the “LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” the Hebrew says, and it’s very, very beautiful: “The LORD hath made to meet together upon him the iniquity of us all.” In fact, the iniquity of all men, of all ages, of the Adamic race met together upon the person of Jesus on the cross. And the word iniquity as I understand it means the rebellion and all its evil consequences.

Now in this connection I would like to read the sentence that is there in the outline. Because I cannot improve upon it, I worded it very carefully and I believe every word in it is correct. What happened on the cross, when Jesus, as the last Adam, was nailed to the cross? This I believe, is the truth. Jesus, the Son of God, took upon Himself all the evil due by justice to the sons of Adam, that in return, the sons of Adam might receive all the good due by eternal right to Jesus as the Son of God. In other words, it was a complete exchange. Jesus became our substitute and all the evil that was due by justice to us, came upon Jesus; that in return, we who believe in Him and accept Him as our substitute might receive all the good that was due by eternal right to Jesus.

Now my personal conviction is that if you do not accept the cross as a substitutionary work of atonement, you make the Bible meaningless. And I think you will find, if you check, that the people who have rejected this have ended up with a meaningless Bible. That’s why so many modern theologians can find no meaning, no real sense in the Scripture, because here is the heart and core of it all.

This is the key of knowledge. Jesus said to the lawyers, to the interpreters of Scripture in His day, “Woe to you lawyers. For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You didn’t enter in yourselves and those that would enter in, you hindered. And anybody that denies the truth of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross has taken away from God’s people the key of knowledge.” Those people do not enter in themselves and others who would enter in they hinder. I believe that this is a just appraisal of much modern theology. They’re in exactly the same condemnation as the lawyers of Jesus’ day and they have taken away the key of knowledge. They didn’t want to enter in themselves and they’re doing everything in their power to frustrate and hinder the humble and the ignorant and the seeking who do want to enter in. And the key of knowledge is in the cross.

Now, I want to deal with eight distinct aspects of this exchange. Eight different ways in which Jesus took the evil which was due to us, that we might receive the good that was due to him. I think perhaps I could give a word of personal testimony at this point.

This is particularly real to me. And I’ll tell you why it relates to a personal experience that I had in the year l943, when I was serving in the British Army in Egypt, and I had been many, many months on end in hospital as a patient. And a very strange lady, a female brigadier in the Salvation Army, took a journey from Cairo to the Suez Canal where our hospital was, with her American lady coworker and a British soldier to drive them to visit me in the hospital. And being attired in a Salvation Army bonnet, ribbons, uniform and all the rest, she swept into the hospital, overwhelmed the nurse and got permission for me to get up and go out and sit in the car in the hospital compound and pray.

Well, the four of us sat in the car praying and this Salvation Army lady and the British driver in the front seat and the American lady and myself sat in the back seat and we started to pray, and the Spirit of God started to move in the back seat of the car in a very, very real and powerful way. And this American lady had an utterance in an unknown tongue, very, very powerful, clear and then it was followed by the interpretation in the English language. But more than that, God’s power so moved in that car that it shook every person in the car and the car. The car was stationary, the engine was not running, but the whole car was vibrating from one end to another and rattling with the power of God. And I knew absolutely for sure that God was going to speak to me. And He did through the interpretation and the particular section of the interpretation I have never forgotten said this: “Consider the work of Calvary, a perfect work—perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.”

That’s very, very beautiful and elegant English, and that particular American lady was not capable of that kind of English in her own natural ability. And furthermore, having been a scholar of Greek, I immediately realized that the Holy Spirit was interpreting one particular word when Jesus hung on the cross. He said in the King James Version, “It is finished!” But the Greek is the perfect tense of a verb that means to do something perfectly. It’s perfectly perfect. It’s completely complete. It’s totally finished. And I instantly realized by, I think, the intuition of the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit was telling me, “That’s what it means when Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’ It is a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect. No matter what aspect you may look at it from, it meets your needs. No matter what respect of human needs you may consider, it is met by the cross.” And I can say really that I have from that day until this, spent many hours studying the Scripture, pondering and meditating on what Jesus did on the cross and my conclusion today is that I cannot improve on that description. It was a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.

And what follows now, I have outlined eight distinctive aspects of the exchange where in each case Jesus took the evil that was due to us and the entire Adamic race, that we in return might receive the good that was due to Him by eternal right. So in every one of these exchanges you will see stated the evil that came upon Jesus and contrasted with it, the good that is now made available to you and me on the basis of this exchange. And many of the references you will find are from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, which as I have already stated is the Old Testament portrait of the atonement.

Let me pause and say something very interesting. In the gospels, you’ll find the historical record of the crucifixion of Jesus, and you could not find a briefer statement. You know what it says? “They crucified him.” That’s all it says. And as for the inner conflict and struggle and agony that went on in the mind and soul of Jesus, there’s not one reference in the gospel. But when you turn back to the prophet Isaiah and the book of Psalms, in the light of the gospel, then you find the inner conflict and agony are revealed prophetically in the psalms. But you cannot understand them until you read the historical account of the gospel. But when you want to know the real inner truth of the agony and the sufferings and the full significance of what Jesus did, remarkably enough, it’s in the Old Testament that you find it. But you cannot understand the Old Testament until first the New Testament has put the key in your hands.

All right, let’s look now in Isaiah 53 and we’ll read together verses 4 and 5 which contain two great aspects of this exchange. Isaiah 53:4–5. It begins with the phrase in English, “Surely he has borne our grief.” I want to pause there for a moment and say this. That the Hebrew language, like Arabic and other languages, does not need to use the personal pronoun with the verb. Can you understand what I mean? You can say in Hebrew “I sang” in one word. You don’t have to say “I” because the form of the verb “to sing” tells you that it is I who did it. There are quite a number of languages like that. In fact, all Semitic languages are like that. So, you only put the pronoun in if you want to emphasize I sang. See what I mean?

Now, this particular verse, “Surely he has born our grief,” the pronoun he is put in. It did not need to be put in but it is. Why? Because it is to be emphasized. “Surely he has born our griefs.” And then the word surely in Hebrew, ?achem? is a word that is used to emphasize the next word that is coming. So from both sides, the Holy Spirit, through language, puts the emphasis on one word, and that word is “he.” “Surely he hath born our griefs.” What is the Holy Spirit doing? Turning your eyes away from yourself to your substitute. You see, as long as the human race, and even the believer, looks at himself, he’s lost. As long as I try to struggle with my problem, my sin, my sickness, my need—as long as my eyes are focused on myself, there is no help and no deliverance. The first thing you’ve got to do is get your eyes off yourself. You talk to persons who are sick, you know what they’ll do, they’ll spend fifteen minutes telling you about their symptoms and what the doctor said. And as long as they live in that realm, God cannot help them. The first thing God has got to do is get your eyes off you onto Him.

There’s a passage that we’ll probably look at a little later in the 21st chapter of Numbers where the Israelites were dying of the result of serpent bites and Moses called out to God and said, “What am I to do, God?” And God said, “Make a serpent of brass and put it high on a pole in the midst of the camp.” And then it says, “Whosoever looked at that serpent lived.” And that means was forgiven spiritually and healed physically. You see, the one thing they had to do was take their eyes off themselves. Believe me, if the serpent has bitten you and you can see the bite and you can feel the pain and you can see the swelling, your eyes are going to be on that thing. And the real, vital act of faith was extremely simple, but tremendously important. It was to stop looking at the serpent bite and look at the serpent on the pole. And it said, “Whosoever looked, lived.” And in the National Gallery in London, there’s a picture by Reuben of this particular scene, the serpent on the pole. It’s a typical Reuben picture. And right in the foreground is one very vivid little section, which is a mother with a sick child in her arms trying to get the child to look at the serpent. The lesson is: no one can look for anybody else. The father cannot look for the child, the wife cannot look for the husband. Every person has to look for himself. And what is brought out there in the story in Numbers 21 is brought out here by the language: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”

Now, this passage is quoted twice in the New Testament and it is interesting to look. Keep your finger in Isaiah 53 because we’ve only just started there and turn to Matthew 8:17. Matthew 8, the latter part of verse 16:

“He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, [and then he’s quoting Isaiah 53:4] saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”

You notice? Matthew was a Jew, he knew Hebrew. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit. How did he bring it out? Himself. A very, very strong emphatic word. Not just “he,” but “himself.” It was all in him.

Now the apostle Peter also quotes this passage in 1 Peter 2, in verse 24. Peter also was a Jew. He also knew Hebrew. He was also inspired by the Holy Spirit and the remarkable thing is the further on you go, the greater the emphasis becomes. Because when you come to 1 Peter 2:24, speaking about this very same thing, Peter says:

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ...” (KJV)

All the way through Scripture the emphasis increases, as if God was saying to the human race, “Can’t you stop looking at yourself and turn your eyes upon Him? Because there is no other source of help as long as you are wrapped up in yourself—your abilities, your righteousness, your cleverness, your religion, your problems, your pains, your sicknesses—there is no way out. You have to turn your eyes away from the things to the person.” Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows.

Reading on in Isaiah 53:

“Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (KJV)

Who’s “we”? The human race, but primarily of course, the Jewish people. And I talked to a Jew once, I’ll never forget this, in Jerusalem. I told him that I believed that Jesus was the Messiah. And he said, “Well, I couldn’t believe that.” Because he said, “If He had been a righteous man, God would never have allowed Him to suffer like that. It must have been judgment on His sin.” That’s exactly what it says here: “We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” His eyes were not open to see that the punishment that came upon Jesus was not for Himself, but for His brethren, those for whom He voluntarily became the God-appointed substitute. Reading on in verse 5:

“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.” (KJV)

Now, if you analyze those verses, you’ll find there are six statements made. Three of them are in the spiritual realm, and three are in the physical realm. Let’s look at the ones that are in the spiritual realm first and then move onto the ones that are in the physical. They’re exactly parallel and there’s the two aspects of salvation, forgiveness and healing. Forgiveness and healing.

Let’s look at forgiveness first. The three statements you’ll find are all in verse 5. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. Now transgressions and iniquities are spiritual. Transgression is the breaking of God’s law and iniquity is rebellion. For our misdeeds and our rebellious acts, the punishment due to us, chastisement or punishment, came upon Jesus. When anything wrong is done, justice demands that it must be punished. If it is not punished, justice has been flouted. And God’s justice cannot be flouted. But God’s justice was satisfied because the punishment due for our wrong deeds came upon Jesus that we might have peace. Peace, also, is spiritual. Peace means forgiveness and reconciliation with God. So here we have the first great exchange and I have stated it here in your outline. Jesus received the punishment due to our sinful acts that we might have peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Now, moving on to the second aspect of the exchange, we deal with the physical. Now where the King James says “griefs” and “sorrows,” unfortunately that is a mistranslation. The correct translation is “sicknesses” and “pain.” And you find that Matthew in the passage we looked at understood it and translated it that way. “Infirmities” and “sicknesses” are the words that he used. Remember that he was a Jew, he knew Hebrew, and he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is the divinely-authorized version of Isaiah 53:4. The greatest tragedy you can conceive of, in a certain sense, is this accidental translation, because I am sure that it has been used to seal the eyes of millions of English-speaking Christians to the truth that just as surely as Jesus dealt with our sins on the cross, He dealt with our sicknesses. There is no difference. It’s exactly parallel. So let’s read it that way. And incidentally, if you’re of German background, you find the German translation used words ... For instance, Luther’s translation, the two words he uses are ?krightheight? and

?schmere?. ?Krightheight? is sickness and ?schmere? is pain. In all the Scandinavian versions—Norwegian, Swedish and Danish—they regularly use the basic words of physical pain and suffering. This is an isolated accident. And the great tragedy is, you know, that the revised version, which have changed so much and some of it didn’t need changing, where they come to things that really do need changing, have stuck to the old King James. I understand that the outstanding Hebrew scholar on the committee that was responsible for the Revised Standard Version, held out for a physical translation of these words, but he was overruled by the rest of the committee. You see, the natural mind of man cannot conceive of the reality of this exchange that actually our sicknesses were laid upon the body of Jesus. He suffered our pain.

So I am going to read it this way now, verse 4: “Surely he had born our sicknesses and carried our pain.” With what result? Stated at the end of verse 5: “With his stripes,” and it’s much better to say “wounds,” “we are healed.” The Hebrew says, if I can translate it more literally, “Healing was obtained for us.”

Another interesting thing in Scripture is that when you come to the atonement, healing is never in the future. It’s always an accomplished fact. Even seven hundred years before it happened, Isaiah saw it as a finished fact.

If you turn again to 1 Peter for a moment, that same verse that we looked at, 1 Peter 2:24, you’ll find that once again Peter is faithful to the spirit and the letter of Scripture. First Peter 2:24:

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness [we’ll deal with that part of the exchange later]: by whose stripes ye were healed [not are healed, not will be healed, but were healed].” (KJV)

And the word that is used in Greek is the standard Greek word for physical healing of the body. It’s the same Greek word that gives us the word for “doctor.” So here’s the second great aspect of the exchange: Jesus bore our sicknesses, carried our pain, so that by His wounds, the wounds inflicted on His body, we might be healed. And just as real as the physical wounds on the body of Jesus is the physical healing that God offers to us. That’s the nature of the exchange.

Now to go on to the third aspect of the exchange, which is stated in Isaiah 53:10. And once again, we’re going to deal with two aspects of the tenth verse of Isaiah 53. Again, in this verse there’s the physical and there’s the spiritual aspect. Now if you study the structure of Isaiah 53, you will find that there’s no listing of the burdens or the judgment or the grief or the suffering at the end of verse 5. It still goes on with three more verses of suffering and judgment. There is no lifting of the burden in this 53rd chapter of Isaiah until we get beyond the tenth verse. And the tenth verse actually describes the climax of the atonement. This is where we will turn now. The King James Version says this:

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him [that’s Jesus]; 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.” (KJV)

Notice this is the first ray of light in all the darkness comes there. He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, which implies resurrection because it has already spoken of his death. And the pleasure or the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. But there is no ray of light in this chapter till we’ve got past the first half of Isaiah 53:10, because that’s the climax. And in the Hebrew it is stated so concisely that you can spend hours just bringing out the meaning of each word.

Now the King James Version, remember, was written in Elizabethan English and some words have changed. People can say, “How could it please the Lord to bruise Him?” This is really a change of meaning. The meaning is “it was the will of the Lord.” It was the set intention of the Lord to bruise him. He hath put him to grief. Now that word that is translated here, “put into grief,” is one word in Hebrew and it is directly related with the word that means sickness. In fact, everywhere in this chapter when you read “grief,” understand sickness. When you read “sorrow,” understand pain. So, it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him unto sickness or to make Him sickness by bruising Him or by crushing Him.

Then it goes on to say, “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed,” and so on. There are the two aspects, the soul and the body. The soul of Jesus was made sin; the body was made sickness.

Let’s look at the spiritual aspects first. The version that we have here says, “Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” Now, the word “offering for sin” in Hebrew is one single word, ?asham?, which means “guilt.” But, about thirty-five times it is translated “sin offering.” And that’s mainly in the book of Leviticus, which deals with the various offerings. Why is the word for “guilt” or “sin” translated “sin offering”? Because according to the law of the sacrifice, when a man brought his offering for his sin and laid his hands upon the offering, confessed his sin with his hands laid on the head of the offering, in the sight of God, the sin of the man was transferred to the offering. The offering became identified with the man’s sin. So the same word means “guilt” or “sin” or “offering for guilt” or “sin.” And this is the word that is used here. So what the Scripture says is “Thou shall make the soul of Jesus guilt or sin or an offering for guilt or sin.”

Now it is clear that the apostle Paul understood it rather than an offering for sin, as sin itself. Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:21. Now this verse, Paul is quoting from Isaiah 53:10, that many people, because of the difference in language, do not realize that it is a quotation. Second Corinthians 5:21 says this, and I’ll read the King James Version, then change the order to make it more clear.

“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.” (KJV)

Now I am going to put in the names and I am going to change the order to bring the meaning out. God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Now Paul is quoting Isaiah 53:10. “Thou shalt make his soul sin.” That was looking forward to the future. Paul looks back to the past, the cross, and said, “God made Him to be sin for us.” Why? That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. This is something that the human mind can scarcely take in. We are not dealing now with the punishment for sinful acts. We’re dealing with the very nature of sin itself. Jesus was made sin on the cross, with our sinfulness. With this in mind, just turn for a moment to John 3:14–15, which we have already mentioned in passing. John 3:14–15:

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [Where? on the cross] that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (KJV)

Now the remarkable thing about that verse is that Jesus takes the place of the serpent. Under the Old Covenant—and you can find the passage in Numbers 21:4–9, we don’t need to turn there. As I have already said, God told Moses to make a snake of brass, because the snake is the thing that has bitten and killing and destroying the people, and put it up on top of a pole. Now, Jesus said, at least the words of Jesus Himself: “As Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” In other words, “I am going to take the snake’s place.” And we say, “How could the Son of God, in His purity and holiness, become identified with that awful, vile, repulsive creature, the snake. Here’s the answer. God made Him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Now what you must understand to understand this properly is that there is a complete logical distinction between sinful act or sins and sin itself.

Isaiah 53:5 dealt with our sinful act: He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities—they’re plural. The punishment due for those sinful acts came upon Him. But Isaiah 53:10 is not dealing with sinful acts. It is dealing with sin. And that’s an entirely different thing. Because they are closely related. That’s why there could be no lifting of the burden in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah at verse 5 or 6. Only at verse 10 when sin itself has been dealt with. And if you study the structure of the chapter, the absolute climax of everything is that statement of “Thou shalt make his soul sin.”

Just to bring out the difference between “sin” in the singular and “sins” in the plural, turn with me for a moment to the 1 John and the first chapter, and notice verses 7 through 10. First John 1:7–10. Now there is much in these verses but I am only dealing with this particular distinction.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (KJV)

Now, verses 7 and 8 deal with “sin.” Verses 9 and 10 deal with “sins,” sinful acts. Both are provided for, but they’re completely distinct. Looking at verse 10 first, “If we say we have not sinned”—if we say that we have not committed sinful acts, sins, what are we doing? We’re making God a liar. Why? Because God says we have. See. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned.” All have committed sinful acts. If I say I haven’t committed sinful acts, I’m arguing with God. I’m telling God He is a liar because God says all have committed sinful acts. This is “sin.”

Now what is the remedy for sin? Forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. That’s been provided for in the atonement in Isaiah 53:5. Peace, forgiveness, reconciliation.

But going back now in 1 John 1:7: “The blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin”—from the actual uncleanness, corruption, defilement of sin. Now John says, in that connection, if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, the truth is not in us. This is not to refuse to acknowledge that we have committed sinful acts. This is to refuse to acknowledge the presence of sin itself within us. You see, I am not—let me say this. I don’t become sinful by committing sinful acts. It’s the other way around. Because I am sinful, I commit sinful acts. The nature is first, the acts are second. And God deals with it on that basis. He deals not just with the acts, though they have to be dealt with, but He deals with the very nature of sin itself. You see, the natural mind of man, yours and mine alike, cannot perceive the reality and the identity of sin. But in actual fact, sin is a real thing. In the spiritual world it’s absolutely real. And you find, as a matter of fact, if you turn to the 7th chapter of Romans, which we will not turn to, that the main purpose of the law was not to make men righteous, but to bring out into the open the nature of sin. “That sin,” it says, “by the commandments, might become exceeding sinful.” That the real sinfulness of sin might be brought out into the open. Because sin is like Satan. It’ll lurk away, it will hide, it’ll cover itself up. It will put on another name; it will try to appear pretty decent. Pretty good. Pretty religious. But when the Scripture and the Holy Spirit together bore down into the inner nature of you and me they lay bare something that is horrible. Detestable. Perverse. Unclean and rebellious. And that is sin.

The great preacher, Finney, said this—and he was a man who understood sin as few preachers have done. He said, “I suppose that if the sinner is shown the truth about his own heart, he would not be able to survive the sight.” And I really believe that is true. God does not begin when the sinner comes for pardon by showing him everything that sinner has got to know about himself. Believe me! However, it follows many, many years. And I’ll tell you this, the longer I know the Lord, the more I realize the deep, innate sinfulness of myself apart from the grace of God. Sin is far more real to me this day than it was thirty years ago when I was saved. And this is a process of revelation and illumination by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. And there’s nothing else in the universe that can show us sin but the Word of God. That’s one reason why the Bible is different from all other books. I studied plenty. I studied philosophers that knew there was a problem, but not one that ever got to the root of the problem. Because the only book that reveals the root of the problem is the Bible. What is the root of the problem? Sin. What is the remedy? The cross. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness.

Now listen to the other half of it. Take a deep breath. “That we might be made righteous with his righteousness.” And just as there’s no good in me, there’s no bad in him. And if I will let go of my badness, God says you can have His goodness. Now the trouble with many Christians is that they’re about halfway between the two. Half their own righteousness and half his and the result is a mess. Jesus said, “No man takes a piece of a new material and puts it on an old garment to mend the patch, the rent, the hole.” Why? Because he says it will just tear away and the hole will be made worse. And that is the way a lot of Christians will be living. They just want a little patch of Jesus’ righteousness over one particular spot somewhere that they’re conscious of to cover it up and the result is it gets worse and worse and worse. And God says, “All your righteousness are as filthy rags. Throw the whole lot away, wrap it up in a bundle, throw it in the garbage and put on a garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness.” That’s the exchange. The exchange is waiting. But you know what? What God is waiting for? He’s waiting for us to see the filthiness of the rags. Because you’re not going to throw that old garment away as long as you think there is anything good in it. As long as you imagine that you have got a little bit of claim to God by a part from Jesus Christ, and after all, you’ve not been so bad and you’ve served the Lord and you’ve paid your tithes and you’ve sat in church and well ... Why throw it away? Hang on to it. But remember, in the nostrils of Almighty God it stinks. It’s nothing but filthy, contaminated rags.

Now we have just time to look at the fourth aspect of this exchange which is also stated in Isaiah 53:10, the first part of the verse: “It pleased the LORD to bruise him, he hath put him to grief.” I prefer to translate that, “It was the will of God to bruise Him unto sickness, or to make Him sickness by bruising Him.”

Now that word, that “put him to grief,” is found in a similar form in the prophet Micah, chapter 6, verse 13. And this is I think clear evidence of the true meaning of the word. Micah 6:13. God is speaking to Israel in wrath and warning for their many transgressions and sins, which we will not go into the background of, and He says in Micah 6:13:

“Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee.” (KJV)

The same word that is translated “put to grief” in Isaiah 53:10.

You see, the trouble with the translators of the King James was that they just could not grasp the fact that there was a physical aspect to the atonement. They kept using the spiritual words for the physical. But when they were translating Micah 6, they didn’t have the problem. So, the correct translation is, “It was the pleasure of the LORD to bruise Him unto sickness”—to make Him sickness. And I have put there in your outline, Jesus was made sick with our sickfulness that we might be made whole with His health. I use the word “sickfulness” to correspond with the word “sinfulness.” Because really, we don’t have a word that will do the job in the English language. The word “sickness” is really a specific thing, not a general thing.

Now there is a deliverance from not merely diseases and sicknesses in the plural, but from the very condition of sickfulness itself. This is also provided for in the atonement. Let’s look in Acts 3:16 for a moment and we’ll see the claim of the apostle. Here was a man who was born lame with his legs crooked, he had never been able to walk. He was forty years old, and Peter walked by, stretched out his hand and said: “In the name of Jesus, rise and walk.” And when everybody gathered around and wondered what special kind of persons Peter and John were, that they could do this, they said, “Don’t look on us. It’s not by our own power or holiness that we have done this.” They said, “It’s by the name of Jesus.” And this is what they said in Acts 3:16:

“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him [Jesus] hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (KJV)

Notice “perfect soundness” is a gift. You don’t work for it any more than you would for perfect righteousness. But it is available through the name of Jesus, because of what Jesus has done on the cross. Notice also, and I think this must be the last Scripture in this section of the study, the third epistle of John, the second verse. Now John was writing to Gaius who was a model believer, a man who was fulfilling all his duties as a Christian, one who brought delight to the heart of the apostle John. And John said:

“Beloved, I wish [or pray] above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (KJV)

That’s the outworking of Isaiah 53:10. Your soul prospers and you are in health. Not keep getting sick and keep getting healed. You’re living way back in Isaiah 53:4–5. But the perfect will of God for the believer is to be in health. I’ll have to go on in the next study with this, but let me just tell you it is actually much easier once you have grasped it to be in health than it is to keep getting sick and getting healed. It’s a decision based on the revelation of the Word of God. I used to keep getting sick and getting healed. Well, praise God for getting healed. But one day I saw that’s absurd. Why should I do that? The will of God for me is to be in health. This is made possible because Jesus was made sick for my sickfulness, that I might be made whole with His healthiness. And through His name, there is perfect sum, not one single piece out of place or wrong in any area of our physical body.

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