Isa 53:9 He Made His Grave With the Wicked 1/4/2009 ßà
#1. An Apparent Contradiction (Isa 53:9, John 19:31-42)
#2. But With the Rich in His Death (Isa 53:9)
#3. Although He Had Done No Violence (Isa 53:9, 1Joh 3:5, 2Cor 5:21, 1Pet 2:22, Rom 3:4, Mat 1:21)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 53:1 (2X). We are slowly moving through this chapter of Isa 53, and today we have come to verse 9. As you know, the Lord Jesus suffered for our sins in His human nature, not in His divine nature, for it was in His human nature that He cried to His heavenly Father, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” And it was His human soul that went to heaven when He died on the cross, not His divine nature, for His divine nature went into the grave together with His dead body. We know this, for the Bible teaches that we were buried with Christ, and this must be the same Christ in whom we were chosen before the foundation of the world. And so, when we read Isa 53 we must have clearly in our mind that this is speaking of the Lord Jesus in His human nature, for this chapter clearly portrays before us the Suffering Servant of Jehovah. And how could His human nature bear such a great burden as to atone for all the sins that all the elect have committed throughout time? The answer lies in this: His human nature was infinitely strengthened by His divine nature, because at His conception God the Son united Himself with the man Christ Jesus, and the two natures became one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. But His two natures were still observable separately for at times Christ became tired, and slept, whereas at other times He could read what went on in the minds of other people. And so, let us read here in Isa 53 about the Lord Jesus in His human nature:
Isa 53:1-9 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
The text for our sermon of today is Isa 53:9, “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Therefore the title of this sermon is taken from the first half of this verse, “He Made His Grave With the Wicked” (2X) This is a very important verse, and there are four parts to consider: #1, He made His grave with the wicked. #2, With the rich in His death. #3, He had done no violence. #4, Neither deceit in His mouth. We want to meditate on these four issues and understand them from the vantage point of the Scriptures. But as soon as we look at this verse, we struggle in our mind with an apparent contradiction.
#1. An Apparent Contradiction (Isa 53:9, John 19:31-42)
The first half of Isa 53:9 does not seem to agree with the historical events of the atonement. We read:
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;
Knowing the historical events, it seems that this verse must say, “And he made his grave with the rich, and with the wicked in his death.” Is it not true that a rich man from Arimathaea gave Jesus his own tomb, and there is where Jesus was buried? And thus Isa 53:9 should say, “He made His grave with the rich.” And is it not true that the Lord Jesus was crucified and died between two thieves, actually violent robbers? And thus Isa 53:9 should say, “And with the wicked in His death.” But this is not what we read here in Isa 53:9. And thus we have here an apparent contradiction. I say “apparent”, because God wrote these words, and God does not make any mistakes. I checked the Hebrew text, and all the arguments for and against it, and I concluded that the KJ translators were correct in their literal translation of the Hebrew text. There is only one minor correction for the word “and”, but we will discuss it when we get to that part. And so, what do we learn from this? We learn from this that God has another interpretation in mind that does not lean on the historical sequence of events, but God is teaching us here some aspects of salvation. In fact, this is what God always has in mind when He instructs us to search the Scriptures. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 19:31 (2X). Before we continue our search for the interpretation that God desires us to have, we need to have a good understanding of the historical events; for there are still many who do not know exactly what God has written in the Bible, and they are swayed by various cults to believe things that are contrary to what God has written in the Bible. The preparation and burial of the body of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea near Golgotha took place after 3:00 O’clock on Friday afternoon; and the women who watched these events also bought spices before the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday afternoon. We read in John 19:31-42,
Jo 19:31-42 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
John 19:31 clearly says that the next day was the Sabbath. In parentheses we read that this Sabbath was a “high day”. This means that the Passover fell on the Friday that the Lord Jesus was crucified, and the next day was the Sabbath, and it was also the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it was also the first day from which the Jews counted seven weeks to Pentecost. The following day, the first day of the week, was the Feast of Firstfruits, according to Lev 23:11, which was the day appointed for the presentation and offering to the Lord of the firstfruits, a sheaf of new corn, and a lamb without blemish, and fine flour mingled with oil. We can see that these dates fit exactly the typology of the Lord’s atonement. Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33, was the Passover. Saturday, April 4, was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and counting 50 days from this day lands us on Sunday, May 24, in the year AD 33, as the first Pentecost of the NT dispensation. Sunday, April 5, was the Feast of Firstfruits, which was the day the Lord Jesus rose from the tomb, Easter Sunday. God chose the name for this feast way back 1479 years earlier, which was a very fitting name, for God says in the NT that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Firstfruits. Therefore this Sabbath, April 4, was truly a solemn and holy day for the Jews. We need to be clear on this fact, for there are churches which claim that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. That is a lie! These are the same churches which teach that the Lord Jesus was crucified in AD 30. That also is false! The reason they have found to push the year AD 30 is that the Passover fell on Wednesday in AD 30, whereas the Passover fell on Friday in AD 33. Other Scriptures support the fact that it was Friday. We read in Mark 15:42, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,” clearly stating that it was the day before the Sabbath. We read in Luke 23:54, “And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on,” which means that it was the time of preparation for the Sabbath, for during the Sabbath everything stops. And we read in Luke 23:56, “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment,” which means that the women bought and prepared spices and ointments on Friday afternoon, and they rested the next day, because it was the Sabbath. All these dates coincide with the typology of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits. If you change this to Wednesday in the year AD 30 you end up with a mess of contradictions. Moreover, when we see that Christ rested on the Sabbath day in His grave after He finished working to atone for our sins, we are reminded that Christ is our Sabbath, our spiritual resting place; we rest by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He did all the work for us. Christ was the Sabbath
rest that the OT ceremonial law portrayed. But the Jews did not see this symbolism. Let us now look at:
When we read the Gospel of John 19 we see the hatred of the Sanhedrin against the Lord Jesus in all its ugliness. They did not come up with all these cruelties at the spur of the moment. This was all preplanned. They planned to have the bones of the Lord Jesus broken, so that His death would occur before sundown. They planned to have His dead body be cast into the same grave that the two thieves were cast into, which was the garbage heap outside the gates of Jerusalem, in the Valley of the son of Hinnom, where always fires were burning. This is where executed criminals were cast into. This is how they designed His grave to be with the wicked. They were not satisfied with His sufferings and death. They sought to insult Him even in death. They planned to have His dead body disposed off without a decent burial, which was the ultimate insult to the Lord Jesus. They intended to cast the highest possible indignity on the Lord Jesus by casting Him into the same grave with the wicked. He was made to take the vacated place of a murderer, Barabbas; He was subjected to the same indignity and cruelty to which the two thieves were subjected to; and it was evidently designed also that His body should be disposed off the same way as that of the two thieves, in the same grave. This was their plan, and this was their design of His grave with the wicked. But God still loved His only begotten Son, and God did not allow the plans of the Sanhedrin to be fulfilled. God raised up a righteous man from Arimathaea who was willing to defile himself by touching the dead body of the Lord Jesus. Together, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus off the cross, and gently wrapped the body in spices and strips of linen as the manner of Jews is to bury their dead, and laid Him in a new tomb, which was not new in the sense that it was cut out of the rock the previous day, but it was new in the sense that no one was ever laid in that tomb. And so, is this how we should interpret Isa 53:9? Is this how we should interpret, “And He made His grave with the wicked?” But notice the words. This verse does not say, “They made His grave with the wicked.” That was certainly their intent. But this verse says, “He (that is God) made His grave (that is Christ’s grave) with the wicked.” It was certainly not God’s intent that Christ’s body should be cast on the garbage heap in the Valley of the son of Hinnom. God raised up Joseph of Arimathaea, so that the Lord Jesus would receive a decent burial. But Joseph of Arimathaea was not wicked, for Luke 23:50 says that “he was a good man and a just.” We need to keep in mind that it was God who was in charge of all the events of the atonement of Christ. It was God who orchestrated all these events, and God did it through the sins of mankind. Thus the question remains, “Who are the wicked?”
Isa 53:9 And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death;
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:4 (2X). Who are the wicked in the grave with Christ, and how does this fit within God’s salvation plan? God says, the elect were in Christ when He was buried. Of course, we were in Christ long before the foundation of the world, and we were in Christ when He was crucified, and we were in Christ when He died, and we were in Christ when He was buried. We can read that here in Rom 6:4-7,
Ro 6:4-7 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
What baptism was it when we were buried with Him into death? It was not the baptism by water, for the outward washing with water is an action that we take, and thus it cannot contribute to our relation-ship with Christ. This baptism in verse 4 is the same baptism that the Lord Jesus speaks about in Matt 20:22, when He said to James and John, “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” This was the baptism into the death on the cross. These verses, Rom 6:4-7 tell us that we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and we were raised with Christ. But were we considered wicked at that time? And that is absolutely true. Christ paid the payment in our place, but it was not applied to us until God the Holy Spirit gave us spiritual ears to hear the Gospel and made us born from above. Prior to that moment of salvation we could not hear the Gospel and we could not see the kingdom of God. God speaks about this fact in Eph 2:1-3. God says in Eph 2:1, “And you, (saints in Ephesus,) who were dead in trespasses and sins”, and God continues in Eph 2:3, “We All were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” In other words, We All were as wicked as those who never become saved, and We All were by nature under the wrath of God even as others who never become saved. You see, We All come into the world as wicked serpents, Psalm 58:3, and before we are saved We All deserve to be cast into Hell, for We All are as unrighteous serpents. God says in Rom 3:10-12, “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE. There is NONE that understandeth; there is NONE that seeketh after God. There in NONE that doeth good, NO NOT ONE.” This was our condition before we were saved. Before we were saved we were sinners, but after we were saved we are saints in the sight of God. Before we were saved we were under the wrath of God, but after we were saved we receive His favor, which means His grace. And so, who are the wicked who were buried with Christ? All the elect of God, the remnant chosen by grace throughout time out of all the nations of the world, these were the wicked who were buried with Christ, so that they could be raised with Christ when He rose from the grave. And so, this is the answer and the interpretation of Isa 53:9. We were those wicked that were buried with Him. Let us now look at the second issue that I laid out in the beginning of this sermon, “With the rich in His death.” Please turn again to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 53:9 (2X).
#2. But With the Rich in His Death (Isa 53:9)
Isa 53:9 And He made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich in His death;
Did you notice that I made a small change? I changed the word “and” to the word “but”, since the Hebrew uses the same letter for the word “and” and “but”. The context requires that the particle here is properly rendered adversative, and so it does not mean “and”, but rather “but”, or “yet”. And for clarity we should insert the words “He made”, or “He was” from the beginning of this verse. And so we should read Isa 53:9 as, “And He made His grave with the wicked, but He was with the rich in His death”. God is still orchestrating all the events. Just like God arranged that He made His grave with the wicked who are later to be saved, so God arranged that Christ was with the rich man in His death. Who is the rich here in this verse? The word “rich” in this verse has been used 23 times, and it always has been used for those who are materially wealthy. And so, unmistakably this word refers to the wealthy man Joseph of Arimathaea. The meaning of this part of the verse is that although He has been executed with criminals, and it had been expected that He would be cast in the same grave with them, yet He was associated with a rich man in His death, who would give Him a decent burial. The purpose which is expressed in this part of the verse is that the evil plan of the Sanhedrin was not accomplished. And so, the first part of the verse, “He made His grave with the wicked”, must be understood in the spiritual sense, for we are those wicked who were with Christ when He was buried. On the other hand, the second part, “but He was with the rich in His death” must be understood in the historical sense of the word. Therefore it indicates a contrast to the first part. The first part is spiritual; the second part is purely historical. And the expression “in His death” is correct, for Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus received the Lord Jesus when He was dead, but He was still on the cross. They had to take Him off the cross, and wrap Him in strips of linen cloths together with a hundred pound of myrrh and aloes, and only then, after a couple hours of work, could they lay the body of Jesus in Joseph’s own new tomb, which he gave away to Jesus for he did not expect Christ to rise from the dead after two days. Points # 3 & 4,
#3. Although He Had Done No Violence (Isa 53:9, 1Joh 3:5, 2Cor 5:21, 1Pet 2:22, Rom 3:4, Mat 1:21)
In the KJ version of our Bibles we read in Isa 53:9,
Isa 53:9 Because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
The word “Because” would have the following meaning: “because He had done no violence and was guilty of no deceit God made His grave with the wicked and He was buried by the rich man”. But this does not make any sense. It is rather to be taken in connection with the entire tenor of the passage, and to be regarded as meaning that: He was wounded, was rejected, was put to death, and was buried by the hands of men, “Although He had done no violence and neither was there deceit in His mouth.” He was not guilty of any crime. And that is why we should change the word ”Because” to “Although”, for this Hebrew word can be translated both ways. For the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer He had to be the spotless Lamb of God. He could not have one sin on His conscience, for then He first would have to pay for that sin, and only then could He function as our Redeemer and our great High Priest. There is an abundance of verses which state that Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God. We read in 1John 3:5, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” We read in 2Cor 5:21, “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.” We read in 1Pet 2:22, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Of what other dweller on this earth can it be said that there was no guile found in his mouth? Of who else in history can it be said that he has always been perfectly free from deceit. No one! NO NOT ONE! For God declared in Rom 3:4, “yea, let God be true, but every man a liar”. And so, when we sum up all the things we have discussed in this verse, we conclude that we must read Isa 53:9 as follows:
Isa 53:9 And He (God) made His grave (Christ’s grave) with the wicked (the elect), but with the rich (Joseph) in His death; although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
What will be our response to this revelation? Why did He die? He suffered and died to bring us salvation. We all are in need of salvation, for only after we heard the Gospel did we come to understand that we were on a slippery slide into Hell. But God saves only His elect, for only His elect were buried with Christ. How can we know if we are among God’s elect? How can we know if God has saved us?
The Bible gives this answer very plainly: If God has given us the faith to believe His entire Word, the Bible, from cover to cover, and has given us an urgent desire to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, then God has made us “born from above”, which means that God has saved us because we belong to God’s elect. But how can we know that we have a true faith? And how can we know if God has given us the desire to do those things that are pleasing in His sight? The answer is buried in Matt 1:21, where the Angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Thou shalt call Him Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins”. It does not say a Savior from Hell, although that is implied, but this verse speaks of a Savior from their sins. It means that Christ is a Savior for those who realize the exceeding sinfulness of their sins, and who feel the awful burden of it on their conscience, and who long to be freed from the terrible clutches of Satan. Christ is a Savior for no others. If Christ would save from Hell those who still love sin, and is condoning their wickedness, then Christ would be a minister of sin, which would be a horrible blasphemy. There is no salvation without repentance. If we really want to know where we stand, we should look at our own conduct. For example, the nature of our faith is reflected in our attitude and behavior when we are in the presence of God. When we sit in the worship service or listen to a sermon are we paying attention, or are we giggling and joking with one another? If we really believe the Word of God, we would want to soak in all the words the preacher says, so that we can knowledgably repeat those messages to others, or discuss them with others. But if we are simply not paying attention, we show by our actions that we are unbelievers, and we are taking our salvation for granted, and by our actions we declare that Christ is the minister of sin. The only ones who really seek relief from the great Physician, are those who are sick of sin, and who long to be delivered from its God-dishonoring works. Christ’s salvation is a salvation from sin, from the love of it, from its dominion, and from its penalty. And when we sit under the hearing of a sermon, this is the best time to evaluate ourselves if we are saved.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.