"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. 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. 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 sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:10-12
What happened at Calvary? Did the Lord Jesus Christ redeem his people from all iniquity; or did he merely make men redeemable? Did he actually put away the sins of his people; or did he merely make it possible for men’s sins to be put away? Did the Lamb of God reconcile his people to God; or did he merely make men reconcilable? Did he actually justify his people; or did he simply make it possible for men to be justified? Did he effectually secure the salvation of those for whom he died; or did he only make salvation a possibility for men? Did the incarnate Son of God actually make atonement for sin by the shedding of his blood; or did he just make a stab at it?
Isaiah 53 is a true, divinely inspired, prophetic description of the sin-atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ and its results. The inspired prophet declared, “He shall be satisfied.” “He,” the Son of God, our glorious Substitute, our great Sin Offering, our divine Savior, the one who died in our place at Calvary, “shall,” without a doubt, without the possibility of hindrance, most assuredly, “be satisfied,” fully, completely, eternally satisfied! He was satisfied with the terms of redemption proposed to him as our Surety in the covenant of grace before the world was made. He is satisfied with his purchased possession, his bride the Church. He is satisfied with himself as a ransom price for the satisfaction of justice. He shall be satisfied with us, his redeemed ones. Without question, Isaiah’s words describe a complete, effectual redemption accomplished by Jehovah’s Righteous Servant, our Substitute and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We trust an undefeated and undefeatable Savior. It is written, “He shall not fail!” The Son of God can never be frustrated in his purpose, defeated in his design, or hindered in his work. Christ was not conquered at Calvary. He conquered. He did not die as the helpless victim of circumstances. He died as the Lord of all things, the one who rules all circumstances. And he will not be defeated in the end. “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied!” The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage. The Lion of the tribe of Judah must prevail. The Word of God universally proclaims the infallible efficacy of Christ’s atonement. That which the Son of God accomplished at Calvary was an effectual atonement for all the sins of God’s elect, which were imputed to him. I want to show you from the Word of God the glorious, absolute, saving efficacy of Christ’s atonement.
The subject matter before us is a matter of utmost concern. The one thing that characterizes every messenger of Satan is a denial of the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. The one point of doctrine upon which all false prophets are agreed is this - They all deny that every soul for whom Christ died shall be saved. They may give lip service to Bible doctrine and Bible terms; but they deny the very foundation of the gospel - Substitution. The modern day prophets of Baal preach a redemption that redeems no one, an atonement that atones for nothing, and a salvation that saves no one. They preach possibility redemption, possibility atonement, possibility grace, and possibility salvation.
Today we are told that the sacrificial blood of the Lord Jesus Christ does not, in itself, secure the salvation of anyone; but that it only makes salvation possible for everyone. We are told that the blood of Christ becomes effectually operative by man’s faith, by man deciding to believe on Jesus, by the act of man’s great free will. Nonsense! Such doctrine is utter blasphemy and heresy! The notion of universal redemption is totally contrary to everything revealed in Holy Scripture.
In this study, we will confine ourselves to these three verses of Holy Scripture, looking at each verse line by line. This passage of Holy Scripture, in harmony with the entire Volume of Inspiration, talks not about a frustrated Christ, but a satisfied Christ. Christ is not our helper. He is our Savior. He is not an accomplice in salvation, but the Accomplisher of salvation.
“Yet, it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”
Our Savior died by the hand of God, according to the will of God, for the glory of God. Though our Lord Jesus Christ “knew no sin,” the Lord God was pleased to bruise him in the place of sinners for sin. We recognize that our Redeemer was crucified by the hands of wicked men; but he was delivered to their hands by the will of God (Acts 2:23); and those wicked men did nothing but that which God himself had purposed and “determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28). The death of Christ was not an accident, or after thought. The death of Christ was in the mind and heart of God from everlasting (Rev. 13:8). The eye of faith looks beyond the malice of the Jews, the weakness of Pilate, and the Roman cross, and traces the death of Christ back to its original source, to the heart of God himself (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10).
The Lord Jesus Christ died according to the purpose, decree, and will of God (1 Pet. 1:18-21; Acts 13:28-29). We do not, we dare not, impute to God the sin and guilt of the crime. Wicked men did exactly what they wanted to do. God did not force them to act as they did. But he did absolutely govern and control their actions and use them to accomplish his own purpose of grace toward his elect. Not a single action, circumstance, or pain involved in the Savior’s death came to pass except by the decree of God our Father. This is a foundation truth of Holy Scripture. See that you hold it firmly. - God Almighty has written a book of sovereign and absolute predestination (Rev. 5:1).
“Chained to His throne a volume lies
With all the fates of men,
With every angel’s form and size
Drawn by the eternal pen.”
Nothing escapes the will, purpose, decree, and power of God. Everything that comes to pass in time was ordained by God in eternity. You may be sure that God Almighty, who feeds the sparrows, clothes the lilies, and numbers the hairs of our heads, left nothing to chance or circumstance regarding the life and death of his dear Son.
The death of Christ is the very core of predestination. It is the center and mainspring upon which God fashioned all his other purposes. It is the foundation upon which the structure of God’s decrees was built. Jesus Christ is “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world”, because “it pleased the LORD to bruise him.” Long before there was a sinner, God provided a Savior. Before the sheep went astray, God made Christ our Shepherd. Before we fell in the first Adam, we stood in the last Adam. Before ever we broke God’s law, Christ was our ransom. Before we became polluted, Christ was our cleansing Fountain. Long before we incurred the debt of sin, Christ stood as our Surety to pay our debt. Before we were cursed by the law, Christ was our Redeemer. And before ever we died, Christ was our Resurrection and our Life!
The Son of God was sent into the world to die for us because the Lord God loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; 13:1; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). God the Father loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God the Son loved us and came to die in our place. “He loved me and gave himself for me.” God the Holy Spirit loved us and formed the holy humanity of Christ in the womb of the virgin to be a sacrifice for our sins (Heb 10:5).
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came into this world to die in order to accomplish his Father’s will. In the fullness of time God the Father took his dear Son from his bosom and freely delivered him up for us all. “Herein is love!” The offended Judge took his own holy Son, whom he dearly loved, and gave him up to suffer the pains of hell to accomplish the redemption of our souls, in order to save traitors and rebels who would never love him in return, except he create love in us.
Yet, the Lord Jesus was not a forced substitute. The Lord of Glory voluntarily laid down his life for us as our Substitute. “It pleased the LORD to bruise him;” but we must not forget that he is the Lord God who did the bruising as well as the one bruised. Christ was not a forced Surety but a willing one, a willing Servant, a willing Savior, a willing Substitute, and a willing Sacrifice (Ps. 40:6-7; Pro. 8:23-31; Isa. 50:5-7; John 10:17; Heb. 10:5-14; 12:2).
Still, the unutterable agony of Christ’s death upon the cross was inflicted upon him by his Father’s own hand. We read of the terrible agonies he endured in Psalm 22 as he hung upon the cross, suffering the wrath of God. Those woes were aggravated by the fact that it was the Father’s hand that was turned upon his dear Son in wrath, and that at the very height of his obedience! “It pleased the LORD to bruise him.” Oh, how he bruised him!
Our Savior died a very violent death. His death could not be by natural causes. He died as our penal Substitute. As a penal Substitute, he had to die as a slain victim, as a sacrifice. Immanuel died a terribly painful death, tormented in body and in soul. He was mercilessly beaten and barbarically crucified. He was forsaken by his friends and mocked of men. He was made to be sin, and forsaken by his Father. Why did he suffer so? Because justice must be satisfied if redemption is accomplished. There was no other way for the holy Lord God to be both “a just God and a Savior” (Isa. 45:20).
Our Redeemer died a horribly ignominious, shameful death. He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” He was slaughtered as a shameful man, a common malefactor. And he died in a shameful condition, stripped naked before men and nailed to the cursed tree as a cursed man. The Son of God died a specifically cursed death. It is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.”
Our great Savior died a slow, lingering death. Others gradually grew weaker as they suffered. He was full of life to the end. Others were given gall and myrrh to stupefy their senses. He was given gall and vinegar to intensify his pains. In all his pains and agonies there were none to help, not even a sympathetic soul to look upon him with pity.
Because he loved us with an everlasting love, because he purposed to save us for the glory of his own great name, because he was resolved to be gracious to us, “It pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief!”
“When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.”
Why did the Lord of glory endure such a death as this? The Lord God bruised his Son and put him to grief upon the cursed tree because he made “his soul an offering for sin.” Christ died as he did, he had to die as he did, so that he might be a suitable Substitute and Sin Offering to God for his people. Here are four reasons for the crucifixion, four reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ died the painful, shameful, ignominious death of the cross.
1. Christ died the death of the cross because he must bear the curse of the law in his death if he would save us (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:22-23).
2. The Lord Jesus died the horrid death of the cross to fulfill the Old Testament types as a sin offering. Those sacrifices were always lifted up upon an altar before God. The brazen serpent was lifted up on a pole. Even so, God’s great sin offering, the true sin offering had to be lifted up (Num. 19:9; John 3:13; 12:32).
3. Our Savior died as he did upon the cursed tree to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies concerning his death (Ps. 22:16-17; Zech. 12:10).
4. The Lord Jesus endured the death of the cross for us, as our Substitute, that God might be both just and the Justifier of all who trust him (Rom. 3:24-26; Ps. 85:10-11; Pro. 16:7; Isa. 45:20).
God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Should all the world suffer the wrath of God forever in hell, justice could never be satisfied. Yet “It pleased the LORD to bruise him.” By Christ’s one great sacrifice for sin, the holy Lord God was pleased, his justice completely satisfied.
Beginning with the next sentence and going through the rest of the chapter, Isaiah shows us what the certain, just, and inevitable results of Christ’s death must be. Do not ever think that the results of our Lord’s death are uncertain. The Arminian, the freewiller must say, “There are no sure and certain results of Christ’s death. Everything is left to chance. Everything depends upon what man will do. Everything is determined by man’s will.” Blasphemy! In these next lines God the Holy Spirit tells us exactly what the results of Christ’s death must and shall be. “He shall not fail!” Our Lord’s death was not a gamble, a crap-shoot. He effectually accomplished all that he came here to do. Here we see the infallible efficacy of Christ’s atonement.
“He shall see his seed.”
We do not have to guess who his seed is. His seed is the generation (Ps. 22:30) that shall serve him, the whole body of God’s elect. He see them, everyone of them, justified, sanctified, and glorified (John 12:24, 32).
“He shall prolong his days.”
That simply means that, once he had by his death fully satisfied the justice of God and put away the sins of his people, he was raised from the dead to declare in the most public, undeniable manner possible that all for whom he died are forever justified (Rom. 4:25). Being raised from the dead, he was exalted and glorified to give eternal life to all his redeemed ones (John 17:2; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:8-11).
“And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
Pay attention to that word “shall.” Everything that God wants done shall be done by the risen, exalted, glorified Christ. All the pleasure of God’s eternal purpose is being and shall fully be accomplished by King Jesus (Rev. 10:1; Rom. 8:28-31).
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
There is that word “shall” again. Twice it is given in this sentence. The Holy Spirit intends for us to understand that there is absolutely no uncertainty about what the consequences of Christ’s atonement are. As I said before, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage. This text is talking about a satisfied Savior, not a frustrated assistant. When the Word of God talks about the satisfaction of Christ, it is talking about two things: Christ making satisfaction and Christ being satisfied. By his one offering for sin, our Redeemer has completely satisfied the law and justice of God (Gal. 3:13; 1 John 1:9). By his sin-atoning death, as our Substitute, our Savior satisfied all types, shadows, and prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures.
The crucified Christ presented to sinners in the gospel satisfies all the demands of a guilty conscience, all the needs of a convicted sinner, and all the desires of a renewed heart (Heb. 9:12-14; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Ps. 73:25-26; Phil. 3:7-14). And the Son of God shall be satisfied with his ransomed people. Our Redeemer shall be satisfied with the results of his sin-atoning work as our Substitute. He shall be satisfied because they all shall be saved, satisfied because they shall be perfectly saved (Eph. 5:25-27; Isa. 62:5).
He was satisfied with his work when it was done. He is satisfied with the reward of his obedience - His Exaltation and Glory (Phil. 2:8-12). He is satisfied with his present position and work as our great High Priest (I John 2:1-2). The Son of God shall be satisfied when he sees his seed, all his seed saved, completely saved (John 6:37-40), called by his Spirit, converted by his grace, and at last conformed to his image. He shall be satisfied in the day of the great and glorious resurrection day (1 Cor. 15:51-58). In the day of judgment he will say to all his ransom ones, “Come ye, blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” In that great day, he will present all his ransomed ones before the presence of the glory of the triune God in perfect holiness, unblameable and unreproveable (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Then, our great Savior shall be satisfied, in the marriage supper of the Lamb, with the everlasting blessedness of his people and the everlasting praise of his own great name (Rev. 4:11-12; 5:9-14).
Nothing will satisfy Christ short of the complete salvation of his people (Matt. 1:21). Nothing will satisfy the believer’s heart short of perfect, complete conformity to Christ (Phil. 3:10). And both Christ and his saints shall be satisfied. I am certain that this is the meaning of the phrase, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied,” because that is what the next phrase declares.
“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
All the many whose iniquities Christ bore on the tree shall be (There’s that word again -- “shall”.) justified, and they shall be justified by his knowledge. Perhaps that means by the knowledge of him; but I prefer to stick with our translation. Christ shall justify his elect according to his knowledge of the merits of his death and his knowledge of those for whom he died (John 10:14, 27-28).
"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 sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Here the prophet summarizes all that he has said concerning the glorious, infallible efficacy of Christ’s redeeming work as our Substitute. Here is a declaration of Christ’s exaltation and glory. -- "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” Here are the reasons for his exaltation and glory. The Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the majesty on high because his work is finished and his work was and is a complete success.
· “He hath poured out his soul unto death!”
· “He was numbered with the transgressors!”
· “He bare the sin of many!”
· “He made intercession for the transgressors!”
This he did “not merely in a petitionary way, but by presenting himself, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, pleading the merits of these and calling for, in a way of justice and legal demand, all the blessings which were stipulated in the everlasting covenant, between him and the Father, to be given to his people in consequence of his sufferings and death.” – (John Gill)
The specific matter of our Savior’s intercession is given in John 17:9, 20-24. The Lord Jesus made intercession for us before the world began. He made intercession for us in the garden. He made intercession for us on the cross. He makes intercession for us today in heaven (I John 2:1-2; Rom. 8:33-34; Heb. 7:24-25; 9:24). And our Redeemer’s intercession is effectual. “He shall not fail!”