Understanding Isaiah 53 The Savior Jesus Christ Described in Extraordinary Detail – Part 2
(ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in the Isaiah 53 Bible lesson series designed to help discover, learn and understand the prophesied coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this series we will see who Jesus was stated to be, what He was stated to accomplish and how we are to be affected by these prophesied divine works. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go and start with the introduction to this subject in order to understand the foundation for the rest of the Chapter. In the first lesson I focused mainly upon verse 1 and gave several verses found in the N.T. to help explain why this chapter is so important for us to understand. We will now continue to go through verse 2 in Isaiah 53 to see what was described for the concealed unnamed individual that was foretold to come. The book of Isaiah was written approximately 700 years before Jesus Christ was physically born on the earth. That gives us a perspective that these written words were a distant prediction and we will soon see additional confirmation within the New Testament that this person being spoken of was definitely Jesus Christ. In the first lesson I believe I clearly showed you that this chapter was used to preach the saving Gospel in the book of Acts even to get a Gentile man from Africa saved and baptized. This man from Africa came to Jerusalem searching for truth and God sent to him a preacher to explain the words of God that he was reading directly from Isaiah 53. That was a very important Bible lesson to help us to begin to see who this chapter was designed to be about and the chapter’s primary subject theme to be salvation of all mankind.
So often people want to read the chapters and verses found in the Old Testament and believe that they can understand all of the words without first understanding the God given words that explain them in the New Testament. That is an example of complete foolish human pride to think that way. Why would God give us a New Testament full of divine revelations, explanations and definitions if they were not all important for us learn from and apply to what was hidden in the Old Testament? Did you know that the Old Testament is quoted in almost one in every 22 verses of the New Testament? That means that God took what was previously written before and brought everyone brand new light to it for us to understand something that no one knew before. I hope that if you learn nothing else from this Bible series that you will learn to study the Old Testament using the vital information revealed within the New Testament. If you are reading the Old Testament in complete isolation then you are exactly like the Ethiopian man who was sitting reading while wondering what the words meant because he needed a New Testament preacher to explain them to him. Wow, I hope and pray that you understood what I just said.
In this Bible lesson today one of my primary goals will be to show how Isaiah 53:2 was fulfilled in the New Testament writings to further demonstrate to us that Jesus was the focused subject of this chapter. One of the other goals of this study will be to teach you how much detail you can derive from just a single O.T. verse. In this series I will be going over what the verses in Isaiah say and then will be reviewing N.T. verses that will show us the hidden Jesus of Isaiah. But before I do this since it has been so long from the first lesson I will do some brief review of the first lesson concerning the message of salvation. In the first lesson I explained to you that these saving works of God recorded in Isaiah 53 were received by men and women using their faith. We also connected faith to believing from Isaiah 53:1. We learn from God’s Word in Roman 10:17 that faith can only come by hearing the Gospel preached by a preacher. Many Christians do not put the puzzle pieces together correctly. God teaches us so much in a distributed manner and we are required to join each of them together correctly to understand how they all work together. For example let me give you the verse that goes along with what I just said and how it was necessary for a preacher to come to the Ethiopian man in Acts for him to receive Christ:
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
This verse describes precisely how the Ethiopian man in Acts was saved. Did you understand the connection between the three essential elements of preaching, hearing and believing? This was a divinely created design given to us by the wisdom of God almighty for salvation. We must begin to understand this in order to comprehend why people cannot normally read the O.T. in isolation and know what it means. It would be good for you go back and reread Isaiah 53:1 again. God is clearly talking about humans believing the Gospel here in Romans 10 and He tells us that we need to hear a preacher with the Gospel of Jesus in order to believe it. Remember “Who will believe our report?”
This is so important that I believe I need to say it again. You see from this lesson in Acts we learned that reading the Old Testament is not always the answer for our salvation unless the reader comes to understand the words on the pages correctly. How did the Ethiopian man come to understand them? He was told them by a God sent preacher and that required him to hear and believe. That is what faith represents. The Ethiopian had no new words to read and could only believe the report that was told to him about Jesus. That is called believing without any evidence and that is exactly what faith is. You see in Hebrews 11: 6 it clearly says that without faith it is impossible to please Him. How then can a man be saved without having any God pleasing faith? Do you understand the necessity for a preacher now? I hope that you understand that God will usually only explain the O.T. words by teaching them to people through a N.T. preacher. That is the system that was planned by God and we are to follow it. Trying to do it some other way is clearly a pathway to deception.
In the first verse I showed you how it was quoted in the New Testament to bring out a new way of existence for the people on the earth to learn to live by, to follow in and to walk accordingly. This radical new way of existence is revealed to be the human transition or transformation from walking by our sight into a life based upon us walking by faith and believing in God’s Word (2 Cor 5:7). This life of faith is based only upon us believing as it was clearly stated in verse 1 “Who has believed our report?” When a person hears a preacher speak the Word of God, the listener has the immediate opportunity and responsibility to believe it and accept it or doubt it and reject it. Hearing and believing is the essential foundation for possessing faith as I stated earlier. I would also like to emphasize that the Bible in Romans 10:10 teaches us that believing is of the heart (spirit) of man. This makes faith and believing a spiritual reality and not a physical one or even a mental one. Therefore, heart faith in His Word is found present in the spirit of man by God even though that person possesses no physical evidence to prove to others that God exists. Nevertheless God declares that they are saved by believing the report through His Grace (Rom 10:10, Eph 2:8). Faith is a vital lesson to learn in the Bible. I hope that you all have studied the series of lessons on this website about this subject.
We have therefore concluded that Isaiah 53 must contain the basic essential Gospel message that was necessary for every human salvation to occur and I taught that this is the foundation for understanding the rest of the chapter. We still desire to learn more about the descriptions concerning Jesus spoken of in this chapter and how they apply to Him. We additionally want to learn about what was prophesied to transpire as well as how these subjects, relationships and applications of each prophecy apply to us in the church today. How do these ancient words written so long ago affect us in the right here and now? Why are they important to learn? Are they still relevant and rich with any spiritual content for us to grow with? We will soon find out as we continue to study in this series. In the first lesson I primarily focused on the first verse of Isaiah 53. In today’s lesson I will be mainly concentrating on the second verse in the chapter. Let’s read the second verse carefully and see what God says.
Read this verse wisely and observe the very unusual words and descriptions given to us concerning two unnamed or anonymous men. At first glance it almost appears to be a brand new subject entirely from verse 1 but that is only because we do not understand the application and significance. God uses a very unusual way of hiding the truth in plain sight that I call the “anonymous third person” writing style. By referring to Himself using this style of anonymity it appears it could refer to anyone. However I have discovered that the primary focus of the entire Old Testament is the Lord Jesus and that is what this verse is clearly about. Just notice that this second verse of Isaiah 53 is speaking about two uniquely different men (males). One is an observer and the other is the participant of the observation. Those are opposite roles being described. This is the first significant fact to write down and remember from this verse.
As you can read this verse says “He (man 2) will grow up before Him (man 1)” and that is plainly speaking concerning someone who grows and someone who observes the growth. I labeled the second man mentioned the first man and the first man mentioned the second man for a logical reason. There is no reference for the observer as needing any growth so the observer must already be grown and mature. There is direct stated basic logical need for the first mentioned man to grow and mature. Therefore the order of implied age dictates that the observer is older than the one implied younger man that will grow up. Nothing else makes good sense for the correct interpretation of this verse.
Please do not get too distracted by this divine mystery of anonymity because these two men are simply symbolic references for the Spirit of God called the Father in heaven and Jesus the Son who was born on the earth to grow up to be seen by His Father in heaven. I do not have the time to teach the full subject of “The Trinity of God” in this lesson. God is described as being only one God in the Bible but He is also revealed to humans as three separate personalities (1 Jn 5:7). So if you do not understand this or believe it you need to go read and study the Bible lessons on my website about this subject. We need to understand this fact of the Father and Son relationship in Isaiah 53:2. When my son was a growing child I clearly observed his growth and development. That is exactly what is being spoken of in this verse even though it was not directly mentioned. But in order to know this we next need to understand what type of “growth” is being spoken of concerning this coming individual. We will begin to focus on the meaning of growth next. But before we go there also notice that this statement being made by God is very clearly presented to be a future tense event. In other words the verse did not say “He is growing (present tense) or he has grown (past tense) but rather “shall grow” (future tense). That truth comes from just basic observation and represents the nature of prophecy. Before we proceed to the meaning of “grow” let’s take a moment to speak about literal Bible statements versus figurative Bible statements.
There are actually several symbolic or figurative (non-literal) descriptions being used by God in the verse in Isaiah 53:2. Any symbolic statement needs to be correctly interpreted in order to discover their meaning and application to this coming described man 2. Too often people want to make the Bible entirely literal or entirely figurative and both are extremes of error that will cause only confusion. Being able to recognize what is literal and what is a figurative or symbolic statement sounds simple but it is not consistently agreed upon by many Bible teachers much less their Bible students. However this is what God called “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Learning how to do this is an essential part of correct Bible study. I wish I had a magic formula for how to do this. But most of the time it is the Holy Spirit inside that will guide us into which is literal and which is figurative. Being open to God’s leading will cause you to see it correctly if you are studying the Bible using your faith. Bible study performed by faith is the only way to please God. This simply means that you read a verse without completely understanding everything immediately but believe that God will show you everything that you need to know about it as you continue to study it. Having confidence and trusting God to show you is part of a “faith study”. Never go into studying any verse thinking that you fully know and understand it all. Be open and ask God to teach you and then expect for Him to do it. God can show you something brand new from any single verse that you have read a thousand times. Believe and expect God to unfold it to you and He will. Let’s start breaking down the second verse in Isaiah 53.
HE SHALL GROW UP BEFORE HIM
We will divide the second verse of Isaiah 53 into at least three or four distinct phrases. I’ll select the initial study phrase as “He shall grow up before him” to be analyzed first. The primary verb in this phrase is “grow up” (H5927). The English dictionary defines “growth” as the process of increasing in physical size. We should be able to understand that any type of growth represents a process of becoming more mature. Therefore the observer in this phrase is seeing the other man developing, increasing and maturing and this will be the visible signs of his growth. We can conclude several different potential meanings and applications from this single statement concerning the normal development, growth or maturing process. There is always the natural human application of a child’s physical development when born into the world. Every new born baby has the potential to grow to be a man or a woman over the course of time by God’s design. Therefore, physical or natural growth is certainly a prime application for this described process found in Isaiah 53:2. There is also the mental application where every human baby must grow and increase in knowledge, understanding and wisdom which none of us are born with automatically from birth. Finally there is the spiritual application which must be applied to a Christian as they gain spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is covered in other Bible lessons on this website so I will not be getting into that part of the subject fully today. What I want you to understand is that there at least 3 realms of potential maturity present in every human and these were physical, mental and spiritual growths.
The Hebrew word H5927 which was translated as “grow up” literally means “to ascend”. It is very similar to a person climbing a very tall mountain like Mt Everest. This Hebrew word presents to us the image of the initial human status to be a state of lowliness which needs to be increased or raised to a much higher level in altitude, stature, importance or it can also be used for the recognition of increased power, knowledge or ability. Those definitions actually describe Jesus in many distinct ways. What we learn from this one statement is a view into a sensitive subject that is widely debated in the modern church. Was Jesus fully divine or fully human at His birth? And I must begin to tell you clearly that He was both simultaneously to some extent. What many Christians try to teach us is that Jesus was born here on the earth in His full deity power but that is clearly not what the Bible just taught you. If Jesus was God in His full deity power there would be no need for him to ascend higher to grow or increase because this would be impossible for God to do in a full power manifestation. The simple fact that Jesus must grow and increase is evidence to the fact that He was here on the earth in a predominately human capacity in order to fulfill a divine purpose that will be further confirmed as we continue to study this chapter. Are you with me so far?
What we will discover as we continue to study the Bible is that the supreme God of heaven lowered Himself by divine choice to come to the earth in the form of a created human baby to grow in order to become a man that could die for the sins of the entire world. Again it would be impossible to kill Jesus if He was God in His full deity power. I really hope and pray that you can agree with those statements because they are very relevant to understanding the rest of the New Testament. It was only after the death and resurrection of Jesus that He was raised back up into heaven and again exalted to be Supreme (Mat 28:18). This as I have just stated is a highly controversial topic. Whenever God is described to lower Himself from His supreme position of authority to become a human as it was clearly indicated in the fact that He must grow (ascend) people recoil and think God must have misspoken or not meant what He said. There has been so many false teaching and false gospels written by devil inspired men. These writings claim the child Jesus did many miracles of a nature to prove his divinity. That is not what the real Bible says so please do not be easily misled by these lies.
I can see how this information is potentially offensive to many Christians but please bear with me until you see how this part of the prophecy was actually fulfilled in the New Testament. I’ll begin with these verses found in Luke about the very young child Jesus.
Luk 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Luk 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Here is a partial description of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We can clearly read in verse 5 concerning the natural human child development process taking place within the body of Mary. The Greek word G1471 that was translated as “great with child” means to swell. That is a self-evident growth statement. Mary is described to now be “great” or “swollen” because of the child inside. This simply means it has been nearly 9 months of development in earth’s time and this child that has come from the union of her physical egg and God’s Word has now grown and developed into a boy child that is about to be delivered in verse 7. Clearly this is an example of the natural human growth process that occurs every day on the earth which was designed and created by God. We must understand that God the Spirit has taken upon Himself human flesh and come to the earth in the form of a developing embryo within the physical womb of Mary (John 1:14). Now please consider the implied meanings of this act of God. This reality would make the developing baby child in her womb a non-speaking human which is totally unable to defend himself. What did I just say? I can see the religious people picking up their stones to throw at me right now. What I just said was that Jesus while in the womb had taken the form of extreme vulnerability and lowliness. If you do not believe me then you are living in a fantasy reality that ignores the millions and millions of abortions that take place on this planet. Truly if any baby child in the womb was able to defend itself there would be no abortions but since they occur so frequently this was the same situation that Jesus found himself to be in. Even after a child’s birth they are unable to take care of themselves and must be fed and cared for. Jesus did not come out of the womb speaking so that is stupid to believe He was fully divine in full power manifestation.
You should be able to understand that before Jesus was born on the earth this child that was definitely God in the flesh was primarily protected by first and foremost the element of surprise since no other human except for Mary and Joseph understood the exact timing of the event even though God had predicted the birth to occur in amazing hidden ways in the Old Testament. Do you remember when Mary delivered the child in Bethlehem? The angels announced the child to shepherds (Luke 2:8). That was the first time that anyone else on the earth during this specific time period found out who had just come into the world. Later the wise men were guided to the house of Joseph and on their journey there they went through Herod first and that caused every child to be killed that was in or near the country around Bethlehem. If Jesus would have remained in Bethlehem he too would have been killed. What we see is divine protection taking place, yet this was certainly not initiated or requested by the little non-speaking child. Do you understand this?
There were also other recorded interventions by God using angels to help the child to be safe on the earth. For example in Matthew 2:13 you will find Joseph having a dream where an angel appears to him and tells him to take the child to Egypt. However, even this intervention just further proves that Jesus was not God on the earth in His full deity power if angels were required to help protect Him. I hope that you are thinking clearly with me about this subject of growth and seeing what is being taught to us in the Word of God. What I am attempting to do is demonstrate how Isaiah 53:2 was fulfilled by Jesus in the Gospels. The first phrase that “He will grow” is clearly being fulfilled here in Luke 2:5-7. Jesus grows physically and that is the basis of one part of the description that is necessary to accomplish that portion of the prophecy. Let’s go see some more applications of the spiritual and mental growth process being described to us in this same chapter of Luke:
Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
As you should be able to see in this verse Jesus is literally described to be in a state of “growth” within the natural physical realm. The first part of the verse describes Jesus as being a literal “child” in the normal development cycle and this certainly has direct application to the physical body of our savior. The Greek word G837 that was translated as “grew” means to “increase”. That is again a transitional passing or ascension from a lesser form to a more advanced or mature form. The Greek word for “child” is G3813 and it means “a half grown or young person”. If you go back to verse 12 in this chapter to compare when the angels tell the shepherds in the field about the birth of Jesus, He is called a “babe” which is a completely different Greek word G1025. This Greek word G1025 means a literal “infant”. What we have just witnessed in less than 40 verses is the physical change of Jesus from conception to becoming a twelve year old boy. This is a big part of the normal child growth process and this was the direct fulfilment of this first phrase of Isaiah 53:2 very precisely.
However, verse 40 also describes Jesus as growing strong in spirit. Have you ever asked yourself how an omnipotent God could grow any stronger in spirit? Uh oh? Obviously this verse contradicts with the modern belief that God was here in His full deity power. Then notice that this verse says that Jesus was being filled with wisdom. How could the omniscient God obtain any more wisdom? Both of these descriptions imply a transitional state from a much lower position of lesser spiritual strength and either no wisdom or less wisdom to a much higher degree of both. This is clearly a statement used to define His intellectual and spiritual ascent from an inferior childish state. There are three Greek words in this verse that you should study. The first Greek word is G837 and it means to increase or enlarge in proportions. That is a very accurate description of what is occurring. The next Greek word is translated as “wax strong” and this word is G2901 and it also means “to increase”. The third Greek word in this description is G4137 and this word means “to fill to overflowing”. All three of these words teach a transitional phase of increasing from the lesser form to a greater full capacity. This is absolutely impossible for a God in His full deity power to accomplish.
What I am teaching you from the Bible is that no one can grow in physical size, spiritual power or intellectual wisdom if they already have ALL physical size, ALL spiritual power and ALL wisdom. This is just a very plain and simple way that God teaches us that Jesus was born as a natural human without His full divine power, knowledge or abilities. So many people want to say God was here on the earth in His full deity power being fully omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent but that belief would contradict so many verses just like this one. We must realize that God chose to become a man just like one of us so that we could be raised to be made like Him. I call this the great exchange where God gives us everything and we get all of the benefits since we have nothing worthy to offer in exchange. What I wanted you to see in this chapter of Luke was that Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah 53:2 by just growing up in this world physically, mentally and spiritually. I’ll give you one more verse that helps us to see how the Lord grows or ascends up to fulfill Isaiah 53:2:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
I mentioned this verse earlier but it is so important that I felt led to reemphasize God’s message again. Here we observe a statement that confounds religious human comprehension. Why was it necessary for the Lord Jesus to be given ALL power both in heaven and on the earth after His resurrection? We are still talking about God in the flesh here, aren’t we? You see Jesus makes a claim that He did not yet possess ALL of this power before this occurred and that confuses many Christians. But we must consider that either Jesus was a liar or we need to hear and learn about what He just said. Why was it necessary for this power to be given to Him after His resurrection and why didn’t He possess it before the resurrection while He walked the earth in His ministry to natural Israel? I really do not have time to go into this fully. Just notice the implied statement of ascent from a lower position which corresponds to what we read in Isaiah 53:2. It is just very clear to me if Jesus was given all authority on the earth and in heaven that He did not possess it before that time. This would go with so many other verses in the New Testament and I can’t get into them all today. Let’s go the next phrase found in Isaiah 53:2 and see what else God is saying.
AS A TENDER PLANT
In the next phrase of Isaiah 53:2 man 2 is described to be like something that is totally crazy. God called him a “tender plant”. A “tender plant” cannot be literal and must be a description of a purely symbolic nature using a common component found within creation. What is the intended message and purpose from God’s usage of this figurative expression? You should already understand that in any symbolic figurative expressions the object being selected represents attributes that are applied to the subject being described. For example the symbolic great dragon found in Revelation 12 is not literal but displays the attributes of the unseen spiritual being that a human can visually or mentally relate to. I sure hope you understand the concepts of symbolism because you should then be able to ask yourself why Satan was described as a great dragon using a symbol of power for his appearing on the earth and then ask yourself why the omnipotent God was calling himself a “tender plant” for His appearing on the earth. Do you see what God is doing?
Therefore, what are the natural attributes of a “tender plant”? A “tender plant” represents any new growth implying the need to mature. A “tender plant” also represents an object of extreme vulnerability. There are many enemies and forces within nature that can kill a “tender plant”. We should be able to learn from this symbolic information that this coming man was designed to die. We should also learn from this description that this coming man is not here in His full deity power so that He cannot be killed by enemies. Any tender plant can be killed by too much water, not enough water, too much heat or temperatures that are too cold, insects, animals, etc. Usually when God selects a figurative expression of a natural object almost everything applies within the natural having a meaning and an application to the person being described. This is the way God designed creation. He said very clearly that there are things that were created that show us God plainly (Rom 1:20).
This title “tender plant” just cannot be taken literally and must be considered to be a symbolic figurative expression. Can we agree with that? Figurative representations and descriptions are simply symbolic terminologies used to tell a greater hidden or unstated message about the subject being spoken of and knowing this will become essential in order for us to understand their meanings. People use figurative expressions to describe other people almost every day. Take for example the expression “Joe is a real teddy bear”. This expression should not be taken literally but rather it projects an image of Joe of great significance using few words. The expression “teddy bear” can represent someone that is cute, loveable, and easy to hug. This is exactly what God is doing in this expression of Jesus being a “tender plant”.
What does the term a “tender plant”, represent in a figurative language application? The Hebrew word H3126 translated here as “tender plant” is only found in this verse in the entire O.T. Therefore we will not be able to use other verses to help us define this phrase. Since Isaiah 53:2 is the only time that this Hebrew word occurs and it was translated correctly in this form of the word phrase “tender plant” we will need to look at the context first to find the definition and implied meaning. If you look up the definition of the word in Strong’s you should be able to see that this word would also be correctly translated as a “tender shoot” as in a type of brand new plant growth. If you examine the context beginning statement this matches what we observed in the created process of natural growth. God is simply using the new plant shoot symbolism to teach us how Jesus will need to grow and increase in maturity over the course of time.
It is interesting to note that the meaning of this Hebrew word can also mean “a sucker”. The term “sucker” can be applied more than one way. For example in the plant world “a sucker” plant can be used for plant propagation. But this term can also mean a young child and both are correct. Consider the application of propagation because this fascinates me. I can see this as God’s plan. In the process a brand new sucker plant can be generated from the roots of another plant to produce a new plant. I believe that this is exactly what God is doing in Jesus. Keep this in mind as I continue through the verse.
This term “tender plant” informs us that whoever is being spoken of in Isaiah 53 will come into the world like a child that sucks his mother’s breast. This is actually a very accurate description of Jesus from the natural perspective that we have just witnessed in Luke but it also has certain spiritual application. Spiritually speaking Jesus being born into the natural world needed the written Words of God to grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom as we previously read about Him in Luke 2:40. So Jesus obtained His physical natural growth food (milk) from His mother’s breast as well as His spiritual food (milk) to grow from words previously given to natural Israel through the prophets by His Father. Perhaps you missed what I just said. Remember what Peter writes the church by the inspiration of God in 1 Peter 2:2 asking the church to desire the “sincere milk of the Word” that you may grow thereby? God is teaching us that there was both a physical supply of food (natural milk) and a spiritual supply of food (milk from God’s Word) that caused Jesus to grow in both areas. What we observe from this is an intelligent design scenario that was initiated from God’s original thoughts. God planned this out from the beginning and it was fully carried out by God until it was completed.
AS A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND
Man 2 is then described to be a “root” that springs forth from “dry ground”. This is certainly more symbolic descriptions being used by God to convey a much greater set of spiritual truths. Consider what a root and dry ground represents in the natural and then apply this figurative information to the spiritual message being taught about Jesus. Dry ground provides humans a place to live and walk on the earth. However, where there is no rain or water present on or near the ground it is called a desert place. Any desert place is not normally an inhabitable piece of the earth. Since wet ground is the antithesis of dry ground we need to learn the differences between dry ground and watered ground. Water is definitely a factor in this description. This phrase is again God using a natural plant life description to describe the coming Jesus.
Everyone should know that the concept of water is essential for any life to exist here. People need to eat and to drink in order to survive. The presence of pure water is absolutely critical for natural growth. What is God saying in this part of the verses? How can a man like Jesus be compared with a root that comes out of a figurative piece of dry ground? We need to begin to think spiritually and consider the meanings of these phrases by asking some basic questions. What is a root symbolically speaking and how does it relate to the concept of dry ground symbolically? Let’s analyze the meaning of “root” first. The Hebrew word translated as “root” is H8328. It has both a literal and a figurative meaning attached to it. Literally speaking every tree is basically 4 parts. These four parts are three parts above the ground and one main unseen part below ground. That right there should give you a clue to where I’m going next. Clearly Jesus is called the root and that is the unseen part of the tree analogy. A root is the source and supply for life for the other three parts of the tree. Without roots there is no tree. The other three parts are representative of us physically here on the earth. We the people of God are the figurative trunk, branches and limbs and we are dependent upon our food and water source coming from the root in order to live, grow and produce any fruit. Wow, I just said so much in one sentence. You see Jesus clearly told us without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Jesus further tells us in John 10:10 that He is our source of life. What He was saying was I am the root that supplies all of your life.
Let’s take the root, tree and tender plant analogy introduced by God a bit further. Consider the term “family tree”. A family tree is nothing but a figurative symbolic representation for a family using a known natural entity. We should be able to understand that within any family the “roots” represent those that produced all of the family that came after (trunk and branches). The branches in the family are those that were produced from progressive generations from those family roots. I believe that these are also basic figurative descriptions of what God is teaching us in Isaiah 53:2. Jesus being called the root is informing us of His preeminent existence which produced us and gives us life. Let’s find the fulfillment of Jesus being the root in the New Testament. He is clearly called the root of Jesse in Isaiah 11:10. Later in Romans 15:12 Paul confirms that Jesus is the root of Jesse. Now let me give you another verse in the New Testament that is directly related to the topic that confirms that this root being spoken of is Jesus:
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
You can clearly read that Jesus is claiming to be both the root of David and the offspring that comes from David. That is a very perplexing dilemma, a major paradox and a very significant puzzle to resolve. From a natural perspective this is entirely impossible but from a spiritual divine perspective this is completely within the capability of an ALL POWERFUL GOD! What we are observing from this information is that Jesus claimed to be the root that produced both of these men Jesse and David as well as He claimed to be a certain branch descendant that came from both of them. You can clearly go and read back in Isaiah 11:1 again where Jesus is called the Branch of Jesse and then later in verse 10 He is called the root of this same man named Jesse. These concepts boggle the minds of carnal people who do not wish to learn about who God is and what He is capable of doing. What God was saying was that He was the creator of Jesse and that He then came from Jesse or through Jesus to be here on the earth. I hope that you are beginning to understand the differences between a root and a branch and how that Jesus could still be both simultaneously. I’ll give you another O.T. verse about a root that you should know about next:
Pro 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
I technically do not have the time to explain this verse entirely. As Christians we have been given the righteousness of Christ. This verse in Proverbs is speaking of the ones that are called righteous and we are those people by the Grace of God. However the primary subject of this last statement is the root that shall not be moved. I think you can see where this must be Jesus again. Only God’s Word will never change and Jesus was this Word.
We next need to understand the association of water or the lack of it if Jesus is declared to be the symbolic root supplier of this symbolic water and He is then described to be growing out of the dry ground that lacked this water supply. What can the water represent within this context? Do you understand the unstated significance of water in this part of the verse? Roots definitely carry water to the rest of the tree or plant. Yet dry ground does not allow or permit plants to grow there. That is just another major predicament of contradiction to solve. Notice that the last part of the phrase “root out of a dry ground” presents a comparison. Jesus being called the root is coming out from a place where they lacked any water. How would we explain this? What could that possibly mean? I think we need to look at the definition of the Hebrew word H6723 translated as “dry” next. This word literally means a parched arid place. This is accurately describing a desert wilderness where water does not exist. This definition confirms the absence of water where Jesus was raised up in. I hope that gives you a bit of a clue to what the water represents.
Symbolically “water” in the Bible widely represents the Word of God. Water also has other symbolic applications which may also apply and be useful for this discussion but I will probably not get into these other symbolic references in this lesson extensively. I thought I would at least mention that others exist. I can give you many verses of the Bible to help us confirm what is being spoken about in this verse in Isaiah. Let me give you a few verses to help confirm that water represents Words from God:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Here is a hidden reference to the word of God coming out of the mouths of humans. God’s words in your mouth will produce life for yourself as well as for others that choose to hear it. This verse also has application to speaking in tongues but I’m not going to go there to try to explain that since it will take more time than I want to spend in this lesson. Just understand that words spoken will exit the human mouth coming from the inner spirit and these must be the Words of God in order to produce any life. I have other Bible lessons that address this part of the meaning if you are interested in reading about them. What I wanted to demonstrate from this verse was the symbolic meaning of water to be words. Let’s move on to another verse that helps to explain how life giving water originates from God’s spoken word:
Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
How do we get clean in the natural? Normally we wash with natural water and this process removes the dirt from our body. Jesus is clearly using this natural water washing concept to apply to a spiritual washing parallel process. Jesus was very clearly saying that the words that were coming from His mouth had the power to make them clean. Natural things were designed and created by God to teach us about spiritual things and this is so plain. The Words of God has to be comparable to water for this cleaning process to occur in the unseen spiritual realm. As the Word of God is the type of water that gives us life, I believe that this statement that Jesus just made is also applicable to Jesus being called the “root” that supplies the water for all human life. Did you see it? Jesus said he spoke and out of His belly was flowing rivers of living water to wash his followers. I think the root analogy is one that is very profound and I pray that you are seeing how it still applies to us in the church today. I’ll give you one other verse for this part of the lesson about water:
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Hopefully you can again see the explanation of becoming clean with God washing us with His Word. The word of God is not literal water but it is certainly called figurative water. Without this Water of the Word of God we would all die spiritually. There would be no possibility of spiritual life without this source of spiritual living water. Now let’s consider what it means to be in a dry ground. We can find a very good explanation of this in the writings of David:
Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
Wow, what an awesome verse concerning spiritual water that can come only from God. David is stating his thirst but it is not a lack of natural water. This is just David saying “I need you God and I need your Word” to quench my soul. Did you see it? Physical water can never quench a soul. Only spiritual water from the mouth of God can fulfill this type of thirst. I think we need to observe one more verse to confirm this very important reality:
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
A man that is meditating on the Word of God is compared to be like a tree that is planted by rivers of life giving water. This type of abundant water supply is what causes this symbolic tree to grow and increase in might and strength. The lack of this type of spiritual water supply is what is being spoken of in Isaiah 53:2 where there is dry ground. This dry ground represents a person that does not mediate on God’s Word. These are types of people that do not value the life that is found from God’s mouth. These were people that were dying of thirst and did nothing to drink from the well of life. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Samarian woman at the well? Jesus said “If you knew who was speaking you would ask of me to give you a drink”. How was Jesus going to do this? He was going to speak to her and tell her the Words of God.
Joh 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
There are literally many applications and lessons that can be taught from the root supply of life giving water to the symbolic plant concept. This verse in John is a prime example of the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:2 where Jesus the root would supply the waters of life to anyone that was a thirst. I do not wish to go into all of these in this lesson but I will mention this one more for reapplication to Jesus being our present day root supply. We all know that Jesus is not physically present on the earth today except in the form of the church body who is the only visible representatives of His outward presence here on the earth. However, the unseen root is still spiritually present because Jesus is on the inside of every true believer and if they are led by the Spirit of God then Jesus can still be seen in manifestation right now. Consider yourself to be God’s plant, His branches that are here to bear fruit for the world to observe. There is a popular saying that is applicable to what you do today and it says “The only Jesus some people will ever know is the one that you show them in your actions, words and daily life”. I think that is an important thought to embrace and remember. I believe that is enough of an introduction to Jesus being described as the root source of water so let’s move on to the last part of the phrase description found in Isaiah 53:2.
HE HATH NO FORM NOR COMELINESS
The last phrase that I will address today is “He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him”. Often in artist paintings of Jesus, He is portrayed as a highly desirable handsome male figure and even has extremely movie star or rock star like characteristics. Many times this type of Jesus is even pictured with a divine halo or a radiant glow that many believe would attract people to Him like moths to a flame. You will discover from reading and studying Isaiah 53:2 that Jesus was not prophesied to come into the world in an attractive looking manner and in fact the opposite of this reality is stated. We will need to read how this was fulfilled in the N.T. and this time it may become more difficult because there is barely any mention of the physical appearance of Jesus in the Gospels that I have found. If you know of any verses that I have not encountered on this subject, I would welcome your comment giving us the verses.
What any serious Bible student must realize is that they can learn at the very least in two different ways from God, we can learn from what is directly stated by God and/or we can also learn from what was never stated by God. Do you understand this advanced concept? If there are no direct references of the physical appearance of the Lord Jesus by God in the Gospels why would this information not possibly be important enough to mention in God’s Word? Before we research the N.T. we will first review the definitions for the phrase keywords found in Isaiah 53:2.
The first Hebrew word is H3303 that was translated as “form” in this verse and this word should have been translated as “beautiful” as it was correctly translated this way to describe Rachael in Genesis 29:17. Rachael is described to be the opposite of what Jesus is said to be. It was Rachael’s outward beauty that attracted her future husband Jacob to her. The first time this Hebrew word was used in Genesis it was used for another beautiful woman named Sarah in Genesis 12:11. You might remember that Sarah was so beautiful that Abraham did not want to tell anyone that she was his wife because he was concerned with being killed so that they could take her from him because of her attractiveness. That is two examples of what this word H3303 means. The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to teach us that Jesus did not possess any physical beauty by the inclusion of the Hebrew negative word H3808 that was connected directly to this other Hebrew word meaning beauty. The Hebrew word H3808 is a negative antithesis of the positive beauty and it means “No”, “Not” or “Without” beauty. God was clearly saying that Jesus had no beauty that could be observed using these two Hebrew words.
According to this Hebrew word combination whoever being spoken of in this verse could not called extraordinarily good looking, striking, handsome or even attractive. The absence of beauty does not necessarily mean that Jesus was completely born ugly but at the minimum it meant that He was very ordinary in appearance like most humans and certainly did not possess any looked-for qualities of many popular people today. Take for example Obama. I have heard people tell me that they voted for him because he was so good looking. One was a woman speaking to me about her reasons why she voted for him. Being attracted to someone like Obama because of their looks will get you into serious levels of deception and that is not what God came into the world as. You cannot find anywhere in the Gospels where it says people were attracted to Jesus because of His physical appearance.
The next key word in the verse confirms this with the description of there being no “comeliness” to His appearance. This Hebrew word translated as “comeliness” is H1926 and it literally means “magnificence” or “splendor”. This is shocking information that the supremely magnificent God would humble himself to take on the common form of a plain and ordinary human. When I read this I was so impressed at the humility of God’s character to think this way and to do this. I think this is one of the key factors for why natural Israel missed the coming of their Messiah. They expected a radiant powerful looking King and got a plain nobody from what they thought was from the city of Nazareth. They of course ignored the fact that He was born in the city of David the king as a direct descended from David’s seed but their ignorance of the facts was caused by their own downfall because they did not ask the right questions to find the truth.
Now let’s review the Hebrew word H4758 that was translated as “beauty” in Isaiah 53:2. This word is different than the Hebrew word H3303 that was translated as “form” but should have been translated as “beauty”. This Hebrew word H4758 means “to view”. It confirms that God is speaking of the outward physical appearance of the Lord Jesus. It can also mean “good or pleasant to look at”. However this Hebrew word H4758 is again joined to the Hebrew negative H3808 to change the definition into the opposite again. God is again saying that Jesus was not a movie star type of looker that you wanted to watch. I believe this is very important descriptive terms being given by God and every Christian would benefit from knowing them.
I challenge you to go through the Gospels and read about the life of Jesus on the earth very closely. Notice for the first thirty years of His life there is very little description given about Him. Barely a mention of Him is revealed. Only at His birth and at the age of 12 are we given a brief glimpse of His life. At 12 years old His family left Him at the temple as they were returning home. Technically speaking only His mother and Joseph her husband understood how He came to be on this earth. Every other human on the earth believed Him to be a normal child growing up looking like everyone else. If you go and read about Him in later life when He had returned to His hometown the people were in amazement of Him. Start reading in Matthew 13:54 through the end of the chapter. You will find out that they were impressed with His wisdom but did not believe that He was a prophet sent from God because they had watched Him grow up normally before them. Jesus marveled at their unbelief and was unable to do any miracles among them. You should be able to clearly see how normal that Jesus’ appearance was to these people that knew Him so closely for the longest time.
I want you to fully understand that this final statement in Isaiah 53:2 represents the outward physical appearance of the prophesied growing man 2. This part of the verse literally means “God” was found in their presence using a non-majestic appearance that no one expected Him to use. No one was looking for a Messiah to rule them that looked ordinary at best. As you can read very clearly because of God’s choice to appear on the earth normally like a very ordinary human, the people had no desire to automatically follow Him. Do not misunderstand what I just said. There were great numbers of people following Jesus in the Gospels. But you need to ask the question why were they following? There are no references to it being because of His looks but you can find references for their desire to be healed. Healing was the primary reason for people flocking to Jesus. You can read about this in Matthew 4:23-25 to see why they followed was because of His healing power. Because Jesus healed people the word about Him quickly spread to everyone and this is also important information to understand correctly.
Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if God appeared like God in a superior state of class and being? The people on earth would have had no choice but to receive Him as their King and Lord and they would have never hung Him on a cross. Do you see the wisdom of God in His actions? God desired to save us, so He chose to become one of us to die for us. We have never yet fully realized or fully comprehended the extreme love of God to do this for us.
I want you to understand the significance of this description and why it is meaningful or even mentioned in the prophecy. This prophecy in Isaiah 53:2 is only different from my birth appearing because of the implied appearance of who this is speaking of. Please understand that the vast majority of the people born on this earth are very normal looking individuals just like this description. Based upon this, I must ask the question “Why is this description of a normal person’s appearance different than mine” and then I must answer that it is not. I certainly do not have the appearance of great magnificence so that people desire to flock to me. There are people like rock stars today that have this ability but that is clearly not who Jesus represented and it is not who you should represent either. No, you begin to finally realize why this was written based upon your new knowledge now to who these words were written about. The supreme God of all splendor, power and amazement would come and appear to be at the best ordinary.
Before I get away from this subject I want to prove that Jesus did not walk around with a glow coming from His appearance. We can learn this simple fact by observing what God wrote about Him in the book of Matthew. Read this verse carefully and notice the detailed description of the appearance change that occurred in this verse:
Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
If you read the context you will find that Jesus took three disciples up on a high mountain. While there Moses and Elijah appeared before them with Jesus. This verse also states that the physical appearance of Jesus was “transfigured”. This Greek word G3339 is the word that we get “metamorphosis” from. Do you understand the concept of “metamorphosis”? This is the process that occurs when an ugly caterpillar is transformed to become a beautiful butterfly. That is exactly the process that is being described about Jesus here in this verse. Jesus was transformed from the very ordinary looking man that He was on the earth into a radiant glowing man that exemplified great splendor having magnificent qualities here in this verse. What this verse does is confirm the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:2 for you. It clearly implies that He was not the way that He was just transformed into.
I have covered a lot of new significant information about Jesus found in Isaiah 53:2. You may have never heard this message or even understood that it existed in the Bible but I hope that you learned to see how it applied to the one that came from heaven to save you. This prophecy is so amazing when you see it clearly. It becomes much more understandable why everyone in the world did not automatically flock to God in the flesh. It also become more understandable why He could be easily killed and lose all of his followers. If you go and read in the book of Revelation you will again see that Jesus appears like He did on the mountain with the three disciples in the presence of Moses and Elijah. Jesus when raised back to heaven was again exalted to His supreme position. But you should know now that this was not the way that He came to us in the world to save us. I thank you all for taking the time to read and study te Bible with me. I appreciate you all very much. In the next lesson in this series we will plan to go through the next verse in sequence to find what is furthered described about Jesus if the Lord chooses to lead me that way. Leave me a comment if you like this lesson. Learn to be a blessing to others and God will make sure you are blessed to do this. God Bless you!