Who was the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53?

Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about a suffering servant who would offer himself up as a guilt offering (or at least be given, perhaps involuntarily, as a guilt offering). This prophecy is most clearly laid out in verse 10:

    But the Lord was pleased
    To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
    If He would render Himself
    as a guilt offering,

    He will see His offspring,
    He will prolong His days,
    And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
    New American Standard Bible

For centuries Jews and Christians have heatedly argued over the identity of the suffering servant. A leading Jewish notion is that the servant was the Jewish nation as a whole. Christians have frequently claimed that the servant was Jesus Christ.

Could Bible codes possibly shed some light on this age old controversy? If real codes existed within Isaiah 53, it would only be natural to expect that they might provide some clues. While our initial research is only the beginning of what could become a far bigger investigation, we have once again been astonished at how much has cropped up with so little searching on our part. Intriguingly, our first findings potentially lend support to both the Jewish and the Christian views on this matter. We will first look at the possibility that the suffering servant was Jesus Christ.

The actual Hebrew of the third line of Isaiah 53:10 (shown in bold underlined text above) is as follows:

Three shin’s above have been highlighted in purple because each is the center of some fascinating phenomena. One of those is described in a key posting on the Bible Code Digest website concerning the presence of an exceptionally large number of visual crosses formed by two Guilt Offering (Ashem) ELSs that share a common middle letter (shin). When displayed in a matrix format, the visual cross looks like this:

The first such visual cross discussed in the posting is that centered on the middle shin shown above. In actuality, there are two such visual crosses located there, one with skips of 1 and –48 and the other with skips of 1 and –85. In checking out the first hypothesis, we searched the area for visual crosses formed by two Yeshu (Jesus) ELSs that shared the same middle letter (shin). We found three such crosses. The center of each was the middle shin shown above. The first was formed by two Yeshu ELSs with skips of –20 and 22. The second consists of Yeshu ELSs with skips of –20 and –34. The third is comprised of Yeshu ELS with skips of 22 and –34. This kind of thing could happen by chance, since the three Hebrew letters making up Yeshu are each among the more common Hebrew letters, and, as a three letter ELS, the Yeshu ELS is likely to appear many times on any given page of text. Nevertheless, we have two visual Ashem crosses each centered on the same letter that is the center of three Yeshu visual crosses. And there is much more….

The shin on the right is the second letter of the longer form of the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua, with a skip of –20. That Yeshua ELS is the same as the 22-letter-long code that is the heart of the Isaiah 53 cluster of codes about Jesus. That code reads, “Gushing from above, Jesus is my mighty name, and the clouds rejoiced.” Arguably, if a Bible code were to provide an answer to the question of who the “he” was who is mentioned in the above line of Hebrew text, such a code could hardly provide a more definitive answer than, “Jesus is my mighty name.”

The right shin is also the center letter of a visual Yeshu cross formed by two Yeshu ELSs with skips of –20 and –30. The left shin is the center letter of three visual Yeshu crosses formed by three Yeshu ELSs with skips of –16, –27 and 29. The three visual crosses would be formed by parings of ELSs with the following skips: [-16,-27], [-16,29] and [-27,29]. So, in summary we have visual Yeshu crosses centered on the three highlighted shin’s as follows:

While visual Guilt Offering (Ashem) crosses appear in many places throughout the entire suffering servant prophecy, which begins in Isaiah 52:7 and extends through Isaiah 53:12, far more times than expected by chance, the greatest concentration of these visual crosses within a span of ten letters of text is to be found centered on the above trio of shin’s.

While it is difficult to estimate the odds that all of the above could just be a coincidence, those odds should be exceptionally small. If the fact that all of this is located right in the center of the most pointed verse in the entire Isaiah 53 prophecy about a guilt offering is also factored into such a probability calculation, the odds would be even more unlikely. We are working on estimating those odds, for presentation in a future BCD issue.

What about the Jewish notion that the suffering servant is the nation of Israel? The five letter Hebrew word for Israel, cuts right through the left shin above, with a skip of 531. Since Israel is a five letter word in Hebrew, it would only be expected to appear infrequently in any moderate range of text. There are also two Israel ELSs that come within 3 letters of one another in Isaiah 53:8, with skips of 388 and 466. And there are two Israel ELSs that come within 13 letters of one another and that appear in Isaiah 53:5. These have skips of 412 and -514. It would be interesting to check all of these ELSs for possible extensions into longer ELSs.


Codes Seminar Set for April 29

The Horizon Institute will be presenting a free seminar on Bible codes Tuesday, April 29, 7 p.m., at the Red Lion Hotel, Medford, Oregon.

Bible Codes: Fact or Fiction will feature speakers Ed Sherman, president of the Isaac Newton Bible Code Research Society, Dr. Nathan Jacobi, our Hebrew expert, and Dave Swaney, editor of Bible Code Digest.


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