The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah

Barry

Today’s guest post is from John Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Bible Study Magazine.

Over the centuries, much ink has been spilled interpreting the book of Isaiah—a good portion of this on Isaiah 52:13–53:12. The servant in Isaiah is one of the most intriguing figures in the prophetic Scriptures. The questions about this passage are many, the interpretations are diverse, and the answers always seem to be different. Some have looked to Isaiah 52 and 53 in search of Jesus, others to reclaim Israel’s role in the world, and some to find a historical explanation for this prophetic text that seems to have no precedence.

A scholar friend of mine once remarked, “I must confess: if there is anything that convinces me that the Bible is inspired, and from God, it is Isaiah 53.” Isaiah 52:13–53:12 comes out of nowhere. There is no precedent for an innocent servant of God suffering and dying for the iniquities of others. It is shocking, graphic and brutal, yet profound.

In the past thirty years, there has been little examination of the servant’s possible resurrection in Isaiah 53:10–12. Two scholastic interpretations have been cited as disproving the resurrection in Isaiah 53. Even though these interpretations have been cited multiple times as disproving resurrection in Isaiah 53:10–12, discourse analysis, a method that has been pioneered since these scholastic works were written, suggests otherwise. My book—now available on Pre-Pub with Logos—The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, re-evaluates the scholarly consensus about the resurrected servant and proposes a new interpretation.

Learn about the resurrected servant prophesied 500 years before Jesus came on the scene. Learn about the prophecy that foretold a servant who would reconcile God’s people to him and restore them to their land. Learn how the resurrection of God’s servant means resurrection—metaphorically and physically—for God’s people.

Here’s what scholars are saying about it:

“John Barry’s exegesis of Isaiah 52:13­-53:12, a crucial text for Christian apologetics, is brilliant: well researched and cogently argued. Step by step he convincingly demonstrates that the prophet proclaims to the Babylonian exiles an individual servant who offers his life as a sin offering and is raised from the dead. His book will be my first port of call when studying this great text.”—Bruce Waltke, Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary and co-author of An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax and An Old Testament Theology

“John Barry makes an intriguing and appealing case that the mysterious ‘suffering servant’ in Isaiah fulfills his vocation through resurrection. . . .”
—Christopher R. Smith, author of After Chapters and Verses and consulting editor of The Books of The Bible: A Presentation of Today’s New International Version

“In The Resurrected Servant, Barry provides a detailed investigation of an important disputed element . . . Without rancor and in irenic fashion, Barry answers, Yes, the Servant did rise from the dead. . . . Those wishing to engage the exegetical evidence should not neglect this text.”
—Stephen M. Vantassel, Dean of Students in Theology, King’s Evangelical Divinity School

Much of the prophecy that comes after the book of Isaiah hinges on the ideas in Isaiah 52 and 53. I now see this passage “written” on almost every page of books like Daniel, Ezekiel and throughout the New Testament stories of Jesus. I truly believe that seeing Isaiah 52 and 53 through the lens of the ancient world and Hebrew poetry will change the way you read Isaiah and the Bible in general. So, pick up a copy for your Logos Bible Software and dive into the world of prophecy and resurrection.

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