Where is the word Messiah connected with atonement for sins in the Hebrew Bible?

In the com-boxes here, Paul Bilal Williams  kept asking “Where is the word Messiah in Isaiah 52 and 53?  (Paul B. Williams got rid of this blog, unfortunately; and the link has been going to hackers and viruses and scams, so I discontinued the links to Paul’s old blogs)

Since Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah المسیح

and He Himself said He was “the Servant of Yahweh” of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 – “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28, my emphasis), Jesus Al Masih Himself is claiming He is the suffereing servant of Isaiah 52:13-15 and 53:1-12.

Mark and Matthew are the two earliest gospels and Jesus spoke these words; the history and reliability of the text is on our side.

Also, the Hebrew word Messiah משיח is used twice in Daniel 9:24-27, which is about:

the atonement for sin

the finishing of iniquity

the coming of the Messiah

the death of the Messiah

the Destruction of the temple in Jerusalem after His death

Messiah will appear after the 69th “week” (7 x 7 = 49; + 62 x 7 = 434 years; 434 + 49 = 483)  – after 483 years, – His public announcement of starting His ministry around 26-27 AD – His baptism and anointing with the Holy Spirit.

Daniel 9:24-27

24 “Seventy weeks [seventy periods of seven years = 490 years, Daniel 9:1-3 shows the context of the finishing of the 70 years of exile in Babylon, prophesied by Jeremiah the prophet – Jer. 25:11 and 29:10 – he is talking about years, not weeks of seven days] have been decreed for your people and your holy city,

to finish the transgression,

to make an end of sin,

to make atonement for iniquity,

to bring in everlasting righteousness,

to seal up vision and prophecy and

to anoint the most holy one.  [Messiah’s anointing of the Holy Spirit at His baptism]

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

[Artaxerxes of Persia in 457 BC- Nehemiah 2]

until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks

[ 49 years after Artaxerxes decree, the foundation of the temple was completed] and sixty-two weeks; [together with the 49 years, takes us up to Jesus baptism in 26/27 AD]

it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks  the Messiah will be cut off  [ see Isaiah 53:8 for similar concept – “He will be cut off from the land of the living” = He will die; and “He would render Himself a guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10; and “the iniquity of us all will fall upon Him” (Isaiah 53:6) and have nothing,

and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.

[prophesy of 70 AD and Titus and the Romans who destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem]

And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

[Jesus Himself said “let the reader understand” about “what was spoken of by the prophet Daniel”  concerning the abomination of desolations to come.- Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) ]

27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

(Daniel 9:24-27, with my emphasis and explanatory commentary.)

There are various interpetations of the other details of the last seven years, but the clear teaching is:

it was about the atonement for sins

It was about the Messiah to come

the Messiah would be cut off – killed

He would seal up prophesy (after His words (John 17:8 and the apostles writing them down and the revelation of the NT, no more prophesy or revelation – Jude 3, Hebrews 1:1-3)

the temple would be destroyed again completely after the Messiah was killed.  (this clear meaning of Daniel 9:24-27 has convinced many Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah of the OT.  An example of this is Stan Telchin, a Jewish man and author of Betrayed, where he tells of his conversion to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.  See this video of his testimony here. )

Jesus clearly tells us He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:13-15  and 53:1-12.  (Mark 10:45)


Jesus connects His atonement that must happen first, with the decree of the destruction of the temple in Matthew 23:36; 24:1-3; 24:15; 24:34 – this generation will not pass away until all these things take place- the things until verse 36, “that day” 24:36 and following including chapter 25 is about the second coming of Christ. – these things – the 7 year war with Rome and destruction of the temple.  (see here for a previous article I wrote on that.)

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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16 Responses to Where is the word Messiah connected with atonement for sins in the Hebrew Bible?

  1. Paulus says:

    Yes, I find Paul Williams reliance on radical scholarship rather inconsistent and unhelpful. Rather than dealing with the evidence in Isaiah 52-53, he simply rejects it because the word ‘messiah’ is absent, as if that is a persuasive argument. I recently read a work of Daniel Wallace on the New Testament manuscripts where he details how there is one Markan MS that proceeds for 80+ verses without ever mentioning Jesus’ name, depite the pericope in question unequivocally referencing Christ! No thinking person would accept William’s (non) logic.

    When you offer him Daniel, he again rejects the evidence because he has the pre-conceived conclusion that Daniel is “late” or a “forgery”. He, along with most Islamic apologists, are fundamentally irrational! He seems to forget that he asked for evidence from the Old Testament, and Daniel is part of the Tanakh. It seems he will only accept evidence that suits he chosen conclusion, even if that evidence comes from the very source of his question!!

  2. Sam Shamoun says:

    Brother Ken, I saw that one of the Muhammadans asked a questioning the name and identity of Yahweh. He wrote:

    “Tell, me, who is YHWH in trinitarian terms?

    1. The triune God
    2. The Father
    3. The Son
    4. The Spirit

    Take your pick.” http://bloggingtheology.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/why-do-you-call-me-good-2/#comment-22403

    Now I know that he is not asking because he really wants an answer. However, my response is for those who do want an actual answer and also for brothers such as yourself in order to equip them to provide a more thorough reply (not that you need any help).

    Our obvious answer would be 5, namely, “all of the above, depending on the context.” It is obvious that this is nothing more than a false dichotomy aimed at narrowing down the options we have in order to place us in a dilemma, when there are none.

    The following is a helpful analogy which illustrates how the name YHWH can refer to a specific Person or to more than one divine Person depending on the context. According to Genesis, Adam is the name given to both the male and female together:

    “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created ADAM, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them AND NAMED THEM ADAM in the day when THEY WERE created.” Genesis 5:1-2 – cf. 1:26-27

    Yet Adam is also the name of the male whom Eve came from and was married to, and who fathered seth:

    ” When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” Genesis 5:3-5

    “Now Adam (ha adam) had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.’… Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.'” Genesis 4:1, 25

    So what we have here is Adam being the name of more than one person or entity. As such, Adam can refer to the first male, or to male and female, as well mankind collectively.

    We, therefore, can say that Eve was/is Adam and was/is distinct from Adam, while also being one with Adam (cf. Genesis 2:24). In a similar way, Jesus is God, who is distinct from God, and also one with God (cf. John 1:1-2; 10:30).

    What makes this analogy all the more interesting is that in Genesis 4:1 it says that HA Adam, THE Adam, knew his wife. Here we have a definite article preceding the noun Adam, whereas in Genesis 5:2 when the male and female are named Adam, there is no definite article placed before the noun.

    In a similar fashion, John 1:1 states that the Word was with HO theos (ton theon in the accusative), i.e. THE God, and was himself theos (without the definite article).

    So we have Eve who is called Adam dwelling with the Adam, much like we have Jesus who is called God dwelling with THE God.

    So in light of the foregoing, one could take the Muslim’s set of questions and apply them to the word Adam:

    “Tell, me, who is Adam in trinitarian terms?

    1. Humanity as a whole.
    2. The first male/man.
    3. The first female/woman.
    4. The first male and female together.
    5. All of the above.

    “Take your pick.”

    I hope this made sense and proves to be helpful.

  3. Ken Temple says:

    Thanks Sam. I also hope to find time to write a response to that issue also. I will enjoy reading your articles as I have time. Thanks again.

  4. Sam Shamoun says:

    Brother Ken, I see you have chimed in concerning Williams’ post regarding Islam making a whole lot of sense. What makes his post rather troubling is that this is a repost where my comments have been omitted. When he initially posted this I actually turned this against him and his fan base, thanking them for proving that the doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, Hypostatic Union etc. are all revelations from God. Suffice it to say, they weren’t too pleased. Let me explain what I mean.

    If, as the quote suggests, that a person living in a remote location who had never heard of Jesus being God and God’s Son, who died for our sins, would never come up with such beliefs through his/her mind and/or experience then this means such beliefs could not be the fabrications of men. They must be truths revealed from God. After all, since man could never come up with such beliefs on his/her own then one must explain how the first Christians came up with such doctrines in the first place. The only explanation is that God revealed such truths to men which is why the first Christians believed and proclaimed them. There is simply no way around this if the quotation provided by Williams is correct.

    Now this obviously places Williams in a rather humiliating position since his quote ends up proving that the Christian faith is based on revelation from God, even though his whole purpose in citing this quotation was to undermine Christianity!

    Therefore, Williams has no choice but to admit that Christianity is God’s revealed religion to mankind, whereas Islam is purely a human invention since its core beliefs are nothing more than the thoughts and ideas of men unaided by divine revelation. They are purely human constructs which do not originate from God but from the minds of imperfect fallible uninspired human beings. You can thank Williams for proving that Islam is purely a human invention whereas Christianity must be a divinely revealed truth given by the Almighty for the salvation of mankind.

  5. θ says:

    Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 is embodiment of Aaron Priesthood. Notable person of Aaron Priesthood is Isaiah himself. Prophets and priests of Aaron Priesthood include Aaron and Miriam, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Samuel, Habakkuk, Malachi, Ezra, Zechariah ben Jehoiada, John the Baptist.
    Jewish sources referred the servant as “Righteous Israel nation” but they can’t explain how Israel bears the sin of Gentiles. On other hand, Christians referred the servant as Jesus, but unfortunately they can’t explain how Jesus can’t fulfill the critical prophesy of his grave (with the wicked) and his death (with the rich).

    (i) Isa 53:1
    “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”

    Aaron Priesthood has John the Baptist who is called by Gospel the “arm” and the “hand” of the Lord.
    Lk 1:51 He hath shewed strength with his arm;
    Lk 1:66 What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

    Aaron’s hand is equated figuratively to “mine hand” of Jehovah at the 1st miracle in Egypt.
    Exo 7
    17 I will smite with the rod that is in Mine hand upon the waters,
    Exo 7
    19 LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt,

    (ii) Isa 53:2
    “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.”

    Even before Aaron Priesthood, the Levites have been separated from other Jews. Maimonides in his Mishna said that Jacob separated his son Levi from other sons and appointed him to dedicate himself of serving God. In Midrash it is written that Levi’s son Amram was a spiritual leader of Jacob’s sons during Egypt’s slavery.
    Dt 18:1 All the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel.

    During his ministry, John lives also in the wilderness away from ordinary Jews.

    (iii) Isa 53:3
    “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.”

    Aaron Priesthood has always been rejected by Jews. Aaron was doubted and challenged by Korah. Baptism of John was also rejected by many Jews.
    Lk 7:30 Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
    Num 17:8 Behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

    (iv) Isa 53:4
    “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

    Aaron bears a guilt of causing three thousand Jews to be slain because of having sinned with the idolatry of Golden Calf.
    Exo 32:35 The LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
    Another Aaron Priestess, Miriam, was also inflicted with a leprosy.
    Num 12
    10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.

    (v) Isa 53:5
    “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.”

    Under Aaron Priesthood, according to Jewish sources, the Priests put a scarlet thread on a city’s gate and let loose the goat during the Day of Atonement. The crimson thread then miraculously turns like the white like snow at the end of ritual.

    (vi) Isa 53:6
    “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.”

    Aaron Priesthood upholds a purification role of carrying out the sin’s atonement with a service in the Tabernacle and Temple.
    4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.

    (vii) Isa 53:7
    “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.”

    Only one Prophet from Aaron Priesthood that is personally counted like the lamb brought to slaughter, that is Jeremiah.
    18 And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.19 But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.

    (viii) Isa 53:8
    “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.”

    Aaron Priesthood has many martyrs, such as Zechariah ben Jehoiada and John the Baptist.
    Zechariah ben Jehoiada condemned King Jehoash and Judeans for their rebellion against God (2 Chronicles 24:20). Judeans with king’s commands stoned him, and he died “in the court of the house of the Lord” (24:21).
    [28] For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity;

    (ix) 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.”

    The prophesy of servant’s grave and death can’t be fulfilled by Jesus.
    Levites of Aaron Priesthood were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners “because the Lord the God of Israel Himself is their inheritance” (Deuteronomy 18:2).
    Aaron Priesthood has Aaron and Miriam whose death is with the free Jews whom they liberated of Egypt slavery, but ironically they were buried away from Jews, Miriam was buried in Meribah where Jehovah opened the spring of water, Aaron was buried in mount Hor, far from the holy altar or sanctuary, having the grave that seemingly belonged to a wicked person.
    Num 33:38
    Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.

    (x) Isa 53:10
    “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.”

    The prophesy of having the servant’s seed can’t be fulfilled by Jesus.
    Aaron has many sons and descendants. One of them is Isaiah himself who conveyed the prophesy. Aaron Priesthood has also the spiritual strength after Priests and Priestess are dead. Miriam was buried in Meribah where Jehovah opened the spring of water. Jews entered Canaan land led by Joshua after Aaron and Moses died.
    16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

    (xi) Isa 53:11
    “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.”

    Aaron Priesthood has duty of preserving the knowledge of correct pronunciation of Tetragrammaton, as well as a duty to enter a place of Holy of Holies that may harm or kill those who incorrectly gaze upon the Ark of Tabernacle. The Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and blue cloth, always concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who ministered it. Seventy men of Beth-shemesh who gazed into the Ark were smitten to death (1 Sam. 6:19). The Ark was taken to other Levite, Abinadab whose son Eleazar was sanctified to keep it for twenty years.

    (xii) Isa 53:12
    “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.”

    In a symbolism, the Aaron Priesthood has already received tithes of the kings even before Levi was born, through Abraham.
    Heb 7
    5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

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