Christ: Our Substitute, Life, and Righteousness
XI. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick
Consider also Proverbs 13:12 (in light of the above; this time where Hiphil is used in the participle form): “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick <02470> (8688): but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Hopelessness is also a punishment for, or form of suffering under, sin. In Hell, the reprobate will feel what true hopelessness and despair really is. Now I cannot go so far as to say that the Lord was utterly hopeless; the Psalms (and other passages throughout scripture) evidence the fact that in “hopelessness” the Lord Jesus never sinned by not trusting the Father. Even when His heart sunk to where He cried in Psalm 22:1,2 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent;” He still had hope because He said in Psalm 16:8 “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” I do not feel comfortable delving more deeply into this aspect at this time, except to say that the Lord Jesus Christ no doubt came as close to feeling as completely hopeless as anyone possibly can – yet without any presence or stain of personal sin.
XII. Surely He hath….carried our sorrows
Now what about the word carried? This word in the Hebrew is cabal (H5445) and it literally means to bear (a load). The load the Lord bore here was our sorrows; and what are those sorrows? In the Hebrew, sorrows is mak’ob or mak’owb (H4341) and it literally means pain or sorrow. The AV/KJV translates it as sorrow (12x), pain (2x), and grief (2x). This word stems from the Hebrew word ka’ab (H3510) and it is a verb that means 1) to be in pain, be sore, have pain, be sorrowful. Consider the following passages:
Psalm 32:10 Many sorrows [shall be] to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
- Psalm 38:17 For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow <H4341> [is] continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
Psalm 69:26 For they persecute [him] whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief <H4341> of those whom thou hast wounded.
Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. 18 For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow .
Jeremiah 30:14 All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. 15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow [is] incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: [because] thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.
Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow , which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger…. The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow : my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
Can anyone doubt that the Lord here, in carrying our sorrows and griefs, did so literally? Can anyone born of God deny that our greatest grief, and our greatest sorrow, is not punishment for sin (or more accurately chastisement since God does not punish His people), but rather our sin itself. I believe that anyone quickened of God can attest that it is their own sins; their own foolishnesses; their own acts of disobedience; and their own wicked thoughts (even to the point of blasphemous and depraved thoughts) that most grieves them and that most brings them to deep experiences of sorrow (and by God’s grace, repentance). The Lord Jesus Christ had no sins of His own to sorrow and grieve over — but He had our own sins infringing upon Him, striking Him, surrounding Him, and utterly encompassing Him to His soul. Our sufferings over our sin (as opposed to our chastisements for our sin) cannot touch the suffering that the Lord suffered. Christ suffered perfectly because He alone knew the full sinfulness of our sins. He alone, being perfectly sinless, new what a horrible intrusion it was to have the sins of His people rush upon Him; the weight, the stench, the burden, the abominable nature of it all. What a Blessed Saviour to endure all of that for me, yes for me, and for all of those whom the Father has given Him. He suffered this at our hands, but He did so willingly; He loved us, and still loves us, with an eternal love. What is more blessed than that; is He not a great saviour, worthy of all praise and honor!
If anyone doubts that the carrying of the sins is just as real as the carrying of the sorrows, consider Isaiah 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 (cabal/ 05445) their iniquities.” Here we see that the same word used for carrying sorrows is used for bearing iniquities because, as stated above, where there is sin there are sorrows; and where there are sorrows there is sin. To make one legal and the other actual is nothing more than a human sleight of hand; it is not biblical. If the bearing of our sins was not real, actual, and true, then the bearing of our sorrows was not either.
Yet some may object and argue that it has to be legal because Lamentations 5:7 declares “Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne <05445> their iniquities.” They argue that if the children are bearing the sins of their fathers, then it must be a legal reckoning because they are not guilty of committing the sins that their fathers, themselves, committed. I will address this objection by simply stating that the Bible clearly shows that throughout the history of ancient Israel (and the entire world), the children only bear the iniquities of their fathers when they, themselves, pick up that burden and willingly carry it upon themselves. In other words, only when the children follow in their parents’ footsteps, and engage in the self-same sins and transgressions, can it be said that they have borne the sins of their fathers. When by God’s grace and mercy the people have forsaken the sins of their predecessors, they no longer bear them and are free from them. We see this pattern repeatedly played out historically (as it relates to national Israel under good judges and good kings – vs. – no judges, and bad kings).
XIII. He was [more than] wounded for our transgressions
The word wounded in Isaiah 53:5 is the Hebrew word chalal (H2490) and the Mickelson Lexicon defines it as: 1. (properly) to bore (i.e. pierce); 2. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; 3. (figuratively) to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one’s word), to begin (as if by an “opening wedge”) – thus, the Yong’s Literal Translation (YLT), and some versions of Green’s Literal Translation ( LITV) define it as pierced in Isaiah 53. The Lord Jesus had His hands and feet pierced as He was nailed to the cross; His side pierced after His death on the cross; and His soul pierced by the wrath of God against Him. Consider:
Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced (H2490) my hands and my feet.
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced (H2490), and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced (H2490) his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced (H2490).
Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced (H2490) him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
The AV/KJV translates the word as begin (52x, but begin only appears in the Hophil form which isn’t used in Isaiah 53), profane (36x), pollute (23x), defile (9x), break (4x), wounded (3x) and translated in other ways less often. Nonetheless, the very core meaning of this word, in light of all of the biblical usage above, is (a) wound, pierce, slain; (b) to profane, make common, defile, pollute; and (c) to violate the honour of, dishonour, to treat as common.
However, according to the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon , chalal primarily means to profane, make common, defile, pollute. In fact, chalal, is most commonly used in this fashion in the Bible, and it has this implication in Isaiah 53:5 as well. In this passage, it is in the Poal participle (08843) tense/form. The Poal participle is the passive of the Poel participle (08845) form, and functions much like the normal Pual participle. The Pual participle (08849), is the “passive” of the Piel participle (08840) form. Piel usually expresses an “intensive” or “intentional” action. Whereas Qal may be used to express he broke, Pual is used to express he broke to pieces, he smashed. Likewise, where Qal is used to express he sent, Pual is used to express he sent away, he expelled. So Poal is the passive of Poel, and functions like Pual. Pual is the passive of Piel (the intensive/intentional form). Piel is also used to express a “repeated” or “extended” action; e.g. he skipped, he hopped – instead of he jumped.
I say all of this because chalal is key to understanding the nature in which the Lord was wounded and made sin. He was clearly pierced physically as proven above, and spiritually by implication; but is there more? Isaiah 53:5 is the only instance where chalal is used in the Poal participle form. Yet when we consider chalal in the closely related Poel participle form (08845), we see it translated once as:
Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. [Art] thou not it that hath cut Rahab, [and] wounded <02490> the dragon? 10 [Art] thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? 11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Remembering that the Poel participle form functions much like the Pual participle form; we should be aware of both of its two instances. We will consider the latter in some detail for this study:
Ezekiel 32:26 There [is] Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves [are] round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain (H2490)(8794) by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
Ezekiel 36:16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. 18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols [wherewith] they had polluted it: 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These [are] the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned <02490> among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned <02490> among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned <02490> among the heathen, which ye have profaned <02490> in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that [were] not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I [this], saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause [you] to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities [are become] fenced, [and] are inhabited.
Do not miss the significance here; the name of the Lord that was profaned (v20-22) was the Lord Jesus Christ for “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).” Likewise, the Lord is our “land of milk and honey;” He is the promised land; our only reward and place of peace. Some say “no, the land represents Heaven, and not the Lord;” to this I will simply reply that Heaven is Heaven because the Lord is there and He has made it His primary abode. Christians do not desire to go to Heaven just “to go to Heaven” (as the blasphemers desire, seeking reunion with deceased loved ones, and an escape from earthly problems – rather than seeking submission to, and oneness with, God); the Christian desires to go there to be with the Lord and to enjoy that full experience of glorious union with Him eternally (in our incorruptible glorified state).
Nonetheless, when we consider the history of our fallen race we see that though we are eternally in Him as to the purpose of God, and the life hid in Christ Jesus, the elect still fell when Adam fell. We became sinners as Adam became a sinner, and we profaned and defiled His Holy Name and polluted the land. We see in I Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.” This is precisely what the elect did, they became polluted and Christ was destroyed in our stead. The Head who was unpolluted became sin for His polluted body. We did not defile Him as to the essence of who He is, the perfect and spotless God Man, but we defiled His Body of which He is the Head. Via vital union with us, He took upon Himself our pollution and defilement (guilt and sin) from Gethsemane to the cross, and thus he became wounded (literally, chalal, pierced physically and spiritually yes, but defiled/polluted/profaned as He was made a curse for us and made sin for us, literally and truly bearing our sins upon Him). I say this, but stress yet again, He remained without spot or blemish for we read in Isaiah 53:9 “…because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” The Lord Jesus cannot be defiled as to His Humanity or Divinity in regards to anything He did or failed to do; but as to our sins encompassing Him, infringing upon Him, striking Him, plaguing Him (in that sense) was He wounded and profaned.
The Bible declares in Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” We see this fulfilled in Matthew 26:31 “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” This ties-in with Ezekiel 32:19,24 above; the Lord’s people were scattered, while He was smitten upon the cross, the chastisement of our peace [was] upon Him (Isaiah 53:5). Yet we were scattered experientially in our unregenerate and unconverted state (being children of wrath by nature); we were His chosen people scattered amongst the heathen(v19).
Although the Lord was sanctified by the Father for all eternity, He was especially sanctified when He finished the work the Father sent Him to perform (v23). Thus, when the work was done and Christ was sanctified in light of it, God was manifestly declared to be a Just God and a Savior, both Just and Justifier, and could thus justly “gather [His people] out of all countries, and will bring [them] into [their] own land [of promise] (v24);” He could then justly ‘sprinkle clean water upon us and cleanse us from all of the filthiness that Christ bore on our behalf, and from all of our idols (v25).’ God could then justly ‘give us a new heart and that new spirit He puts within us (as He takes away the stony heart out of your flesh, and gives us an heart of flesh as we read in v26).’ God can then justly put that Holy Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in His statutes, and keep His judgments, and do [them] (v27).
So when we say that the Lord was wounded for our transgressions, we have to understand that something much bigger was in view; something much more mysterious and beyond our ability to understand than just His physical piercing via nails and a spear (though His physical suffering is not to be minimized). We see the wondrous nature of the atonement as the Lord was made sin for us, profaned by our sins, and thus made a curse for us — yet committing none of His own, ever. He was (and is) always holy and pure within Himself, save for our sins which He bore from Gethsemane until His work was finished on the cross. As a result, He was tormented by our sins being the Holy One encompassed by that which brings forth so much pain, suffering, sorrow, misery and disgust.
In light of the above, remember that the Lord is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and thus the efficacy and reality of what has been written pertains just as much to the saints who lived before the cross, as it does to those who lived thereafter. Therefore, we ought not err in trying to force these truths into an artificially linear timeline; God is not so hampered by time, since He lives and operates both inside and outside of it. The events that are pictured in the historic timelines point us to the overall picture of what God has done for us.
XIV. He was crushed for our iniquities, it pleased the Lord to crush Him:
In the AV/KJV, Isaiah 53:5,10 reads as follows: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised (01792) (8794) for our iniquities…10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise (01792) (8763) him.” That word bruised (or crushed) is daka’ (H1792) and daka’ literally means to crush, be crushed, be contrite, be broken, be shattered (according to the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon used in the Strong’s Concordance). In the AV/KJV it is a verb translated as break (3x), break in pieces (3x), crush (3x), bruise (2x), destroy (2x), contrite (1x), smite (1x), oppress (1x), beat to pieces (1x), and humble (1x).
In the two verb forms at issue (Piel and Pual), we see that it pleased God to break, crush and shatter the Lord. In fact, daka’ in verse 10 carries with it “the Infinitive Absolute [which] does not allow prefixes or suffixes; it is used with a verb to emphasize the verbal idea. This is often rendered by an English adverb, such as, “surely,” or “utterly”.” Thus, the Lord Jesus was utterly crushed, bruised, and broken from the Garden of Gethsemane until He cried It is finished on the cross. If this bruising and crushing (and the prior wounding) are real, how is it that we can say that the bearing, taking, infringing, encompassing, etc. are not? We cannot legitimately say any such thing, there is no excuse for such an assertion; the making to meet (taking, bearing and carrying) has to be as real and actual as the crushing, or else we are dealing in half-truths and falsehoods, one part being pretend and the other reality.
As stated above, I view the Book of Lamentations as the Book of the Cross. If you want to get a proper understanding about this bruising/crushing, you must read this book carefully. For now, consider this passage:
Lamentations 3:24 The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD [is] good unto them that wait for him, to the soul [that] seeketh him. 26 [It is] good that [a man] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 [It is] good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne [it] upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth [his] cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, 36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not. 37 Who [is] he [that] saith, and it cometh to pass, [when] the Lord commandeth [it] not? 38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with [our] hands unto God in the Heavens. 42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. 43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. 44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that [our] prayer should not pass through. 45 Thou hast made us [as] the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. 48 Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, 50 Till the LORD look down, and behold from Heaven. 51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. 52 Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. 54 Waters flowed over mine head; [then] I said, I am cut off (see Isaiah 53:8). 55 I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day [that] I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.
XV. A worm (grub/maggot) and no man
Amazingly, we read of the Lord Jesus in Psalm 22:6 “But I [am] a worm <08438>, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” The Lord here is stating that He is a worm, one not even fit to be called a man for He was made sin for all of His elect. The word worm in the Hebrew is towla‘ and it is translated in the AV/KJV as scarlet (34x), worm (8x), and crimson (1x). It literally means (1) worm, scarlet stuff, crimson; (1a) worm-the female ‘coccus ilicis’(now called Kermes ilices); (1b) scarlet stuff, crimson, scarlet; (1b1) the dye made from the dried body of the female of the worm “coccus ilicis;” (2) worm, maggot; (2a) worm, grub; (2b) the worm “coccus ilicis” (or Kermes ilices).
Please consider the following passages evidencing the fact that, figuratively, a worm is closely related to sin itself:
Job 25:4-6 “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean [that is] born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, [that is] a worm <08438>? and the son of man, [which is] a <08438> worm ?”
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson <08438>, they shall be as wool.”
Isaiah 66:22 “For as the new Heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm <08438> shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
Lamentation 4:5 “They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet <08438> embrace dunghills. 6 For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.”
We see in Lamentations 4:5 that all who are brought up in scarlet (i.e. in a state of sin) will embrace dung/dunghills. We see in Job 25:4-6 that mankind, and Christ, the Son of Man, are called a worm because of a lack of cleanness and because of a lack of purity that would render them justified before God. What causes this lack of cleanness and purity? It is sin, and only sin. Sin as committed by mankind, but sin as willingly borne by the Son. We see in Isaiah 1:18 that our sins are likened to crimson (crimson being the same word as worm because it derives from the insect that makes the scarlet-coloured dye, and this scarlet dye represents blood and bloodguiltiness). Isaiah 66:24 declares that the hellish worm that will eat away at the reprobate will not die. This worm, I believe, is the worm of sin, guilt, and guiltiness – especially as manifested in their own conscience.
Revelation 22:11 declares “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Just as the believers in Heaven will be actually, truly, and eternally righteous and holy (in the same manner that they are now in light of their regenerate souls), the reprobate will be actually, truly, and eternally unjust, filthy, and unholy. The reprobate will forever be both those who are worms and those who have the worm that dieth not, because the reprobate are both the source of their sin and those that will have sin forever manifesting itself in them. Just as nothing unjust can enter into Heaven, nothing just can enter into Hell. The elect have to be as utterly righteous to be in Heaven, as the reprobate have to be utterly unrighteous to be in Hell. Yet for us to be made righteous, by literally taking/carrying/bearing the sins of His people, the Lord became that unjust One. Our filthiness, none of His own, but our filthiness became His so that His cleanness and purity could become ours. Our guilt became His so that His innocence and righteousness could become ours. The wrath and fury we deserved was upon Him, so that the peace, comfort, and joy that He eternally enjoyed (and enjoys) with the Father is upon us. The Lord was truly, really, and actually our propitiatory substitute. He was made what we were, yet we know from I Peter 2:22 that He was and remained the God Man “who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.”
When we consider Psalm 22:6 again, we see another interesting aspect of the use of towla’ that pertains to the crushing of the Lord. The coccus ilicis (Kermes ilices) grub was used medicinally after it was crushed/ground. I believe this typifies the Lord being crushed (daka’ / H1792) for our iniquities so that we may be healed. Likewise, to make the scarlet/crimson dye, the dried grub was ground (crushed) into powder. The dried aspect pictures the dry and thirsty hell of eternal damnation (Psalm 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death). Believers have a sin-sickness that would naturally lead to physical and spiritual death. However, our Great Physician the Lord Jesus Christ became the very Remedy that He applies to us to cure us of this sin-sickness and to restore us to perfect spiritual health (upon regeneration) and bodily health (on the Last Day).
We also have another amazing picture of the atonement as the Lord Jesus Christ was made sin and died on the behalf of His elect. In his work, “Biblical Basis for Modern Science,” Henry Morris states the following:
When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might “bring many sons unto glory” (Hebrews 2:10)! He died for us, that we might live through him! Psalm 22:6 describes such a worm and gives us this picture of Christ.
There is even more regarding how this worm (grub) typifies the Lord; this subject (as with many others that we have explored thus far) is worthy of its own detailed study. For now, hopefully the above suffices to further prove that the Lord was made sin by taking on our sin to the point of calling Himself a worm.
XVI. Made a curse for us
Galatians 3:13 declares “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made (or becoming / ginomai) a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:” As we read above, katara (G2671) is from kata, “down,” intensive, and ara G685 (G685 prayer/cursing), and denotes an “execration, imprecation, curse. The Lord was made a curse for us; we know from Hebrews 6:8 that “….that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing <2671>; whose end is to be burned.” By nature, the elect were those who bore thorns and briers and who should have been rejected and burned. However, the Lord Jesus (as our Surety and Substitute) carried our thorns and briers Himself and thus became worthy of rejection and burning. Spiritually, the Lord Jesus endured the burning of the fiery fury that God the Father poured out upon Him in our stead.
XVII. Poieo vs. Ginomai
In II Corinthians 5:21, the word God uses to state that the Lord Jesus was made (poieo) sin for His people is not the same Greek word He uses to state that His people are made (ginomai) the righteousness of God in Christ; the two words are of totally different origin. Ginomai (Strong’s G1096 / G5741) is translated as follows in the AV/KJV: be (255x); come to pass (x82), be made (x69), be done (x63), come (x52), become (x47), God forbid (let it not be) + 3361 (x15), arise (x13), have (x5), be fulfilled (x3), be married to (x3), be preferred (x3), etc.
The Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon defines it as (1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being; (2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen; (2a) of events; (3) to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage; (3a) of men appearing in public; (4) to be made, finished; (4a) of miracles, to be performed, wrought; (5) to become, be made.
The form in which it appears in II Corinthians 5:21 is the present (5774), middle or passive deponent (5790), subjunctive (5792). The present tense represents a simple statement of fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual time; the middle or passive deponent forms in almost all cases are translated as being in the active voice; and the active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action (e.g., in the sentence, “The boy hit the ball,” the boy performs the action). We are passive in causing ourselves to become the righteousness of God in Christ, but we are active in manifesting that righteousness that He works out in us. The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances. Those circumstances depend upon whether the professor has truly been born of God, or whether they are false-professors deceiving themselves and others.
Ginomai, in the form at issue, can be found in the following passages:
I Corinthians 16:2Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be <1096> (5741) no gatherings when I come.
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be <1096> (5741) desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
III John 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be <1096> (5741) fellowhelpers to the truth.
We can describe the main difference between poieo and ginomai as follows: poieo essentially means (and is used in the sense of) to make or create, whereas ginomai essentially means (and is used in the sense of) to become. The elect become ginomai the righteousness of God because the Father had made (poieo) the Lord sin for us. It is a cause and effect idea; what God made Christ caused us to become that which we were not (righteousness). For a clear picture of this, consider Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make (poieo) you to become (ginomai) fishers of men.” The Lord Jesus had the power to make the Apostles what they were not – fishers of men. In exercising this creative/productive power, the Apostles became that which they were not – fishers of men. We also see a negative picture of making and becoming in Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make (poieo) one proselyte, and when he is made (ginomai – i.e. when he becomes one), ye make (poieo) him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
The LORD alone holds the monopoly on righteousness; it is an essential and self-originating attribute of His divine Being. No one, and no thing, is righteous outside of Him (for righteousness must emanate from Him). However, by communicating (even, imparting) Himself to us via vital union with Him, God has the power to make us partakers of His righteousness and divine nature. As stated above, the LORD is literally our righteousness and as His body, we become His righteousness in Him in a manner far beyond that which is merely legal.
XVIII. Behold, the man is become as One of Us….
One of the main objections to the precept that the Lord was literally made sin by taking upon Himself the sins of His elect is the notion that the Lord Jesus Christ never knew sin. Many base this erroneous doctrine on II Corinthians 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.” II Corinthians 5:21 is not stating that the Lord Jesus Christ never knew sin; it is simply stating that before being made sin, He never knew it because He never committed any sin (not in thought, word, deed, or abstention). The Lord was utterly without sin before being made sin. Even while being made sin, He was utterly without any sin of His own; the only sin He had was the sin of His people that He willingly took upon Himself, bore, purged by His suffering, and therefore took away forever. I cannot stress enough that at no point in time, or outside of it, did Christ ever commit any sins of His own. Yet when we carefully consider Genesis 3:22, it becomes clear that Jesus knew sin (our sin) when He was made sin.
Genesis 3:22 declares “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as ONE of Us, to know good and evil (ra` / H7451): and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever….” Remember above, when considering Psalm 40:12 and the innumerable evils that compassed the Lord about, I stated (concerning ra` – the Hebrew word translated in that verse as evils) “keep this Hebrew word in mind, because it is going to play a major role in rebutting one of the main objections to the position set forth in this article.” Remember also, that we saw that ra` also means wickedness, or wicked (and is translated as such in the AV/KJV) and that the word pertains to actual sin.
Well, in Genesis 3:22 we can clearly see that the verse declares that Adam became as ONE of THEM, in knowing both good and evil (perfect righteousness and defiling sin). Who is the Them? Clearly the Triune Godhead is in view because we read “And the LORD (Jehovah / H3068) God (Elohim / H430) said, Behold, the man is become as one of US….” Elohim (with the plural im ending) denotes not just divine majesty as the Arians claim, but divine Triunity. This passage is clearly teaching that one Person in the Triune Godhead knew both good and evil. Which Person of the Trinity did Adam become like? Can anyone doubt that it was not The Father, and not the Holy Spirit, but God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who, when He was made sin, knew sin? The first Adam, in sinning, became as the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ who took upon Himself the sins of the elect.
Some may argue that Adam knew it really, but Christ knew it only legally. This would be foolishness; in becoming a sinner/transgressor himself, Adam bore in his body his own sin. Likewise, in bearing the sins of His own Body (the elect church), Christ became a sinner/transgressor Himself (not in the committal of any sin, or in the sense of having sin as any integral or infused part of His Being; however, He was justly viewed by God as being the chief transgressor because of our sins which He truly bore in His body). In being made sin, the Lord Jesus Christ knew sin in the same way, and in the same manner, as Adam — yet without sin of His own. We cannot have Adam being literal in his knowledge of evil/wickedness/sin and Christ only being legal in His knowledge of it (because it would clearly destroy the clear meaning and intent of the phrase “the man is become as ONE of us, to know good and evil.
This “knowing” means intimate awareness. It is the same knowing as when Adam and Eve knew they were naked (Genesis 3:7); or when Adam knew His wife Eve (Genesis 4:1); or when Cain knew His wife (4:17); etc. Also, lest anyone try to claim that the knowledge of evil only meant calamity and not actual sin, consider that outside of the use of “knowing good and evil” (as it pertained to Adam), the first uses of that word evil (ra`) in the Bible appear in the following passages (in order of actual appearance):
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil (7451) continually.
Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil (7451) from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom [were] wicked (7451) and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
XIX. Sacrifices and Scape Goats
Another common objection pertains to the nature of the Old Testament types, especially as it pertains to the sacrifices and the scape goat. Please consider the following passages:
Leviticus 16: 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send [him] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
Exodus 29:10 And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.11 And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, [by] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.12 And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.
Many point to the sacrifices and to the scape goat as proof that the Lord was made sin via legal imputation only. The argument goes something like this:
“When Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the head of the bullock to symbolize the transfer of sin to it, and when Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the scape goat (confessing over him all of the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of the children of Israel, and putting them upon his head), no actual change was made in the bullock or in the goat. Since neither the bullock nor the scape goat had the sins of Israel literally transferred to them, and since neither the bullock nor the scape goat were actually made sin, then the Lord Jesus couldn’t have had the sins of spiritual Israel literally transferred to Him, and He couldn’t have been literally made sin. Just as the bullock and goat couldn’t literally take, bear, and carry away the sins of national Israel, the Lord couldn’t have taken, borne, and carried away our sins in His own body in any way but legally.
Although this argument is common, it simply will not stand. The argument fails to take into account that the type cannot be taken as the exact, word-for-word counterpart of the antitype. For example, Abraham’s intention to sacrifice Isaac is a type of the Father sacrificing the Son (on behalf of the Elect), even though Abraham did not literally carry out the sacrifice. We cannot say that the type isn’t a real type unless it precisely duplicates the essence or reality of the antitype. Therefore, whereas I would agree that there was no actual transfer of sin to the bullocks or scape goats, I must disagree with the notion that our sins were likewise not literally transferred to the Lord Jesus Christ. I disagree because the reason there is no actual transfer of sin to animals is because the animals are merely a type (and as a type, the animals were simply deemed to have borne the iniquities of the Israelites as a means of picturing the actual work of Christ).
Think of it this way: If the sins of the people could have been literally transferred to, and borne by the animals, then it would mean that the animals literally could have carried the sins away. If the animals could literally bear the sins of the people, what need would there have been for the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (our sacrificial Lamb). To argue that what the type could not do, Christ could not do either, is to completely misunderstand the figure. The animals, as a type, reveal to us that what they could not do, the Lord Jesus (in fact) both could do and did. The intent of the types are not to show forth a legal (artificial, fictional, pretended) transfer of sin, but rather to direct us to the actual transfer of sin from the elect Israel to Christ. To say that the limits of the goats and bullocks translate into limits on the propitiatory work of Christ (i.e. if they can’t literally bear away our sins, then Christ couldn’t either), is like saying that “Christ couldn’t have died once for all because the animals were not sacrificed once for all, but by the thousands if not millions.” To force a legal-only interpretation on Leviticus 16, Exodus 29, and related passages based upon what the animals couldn’t do is faulty reasoning. It is poor exegesis and hermeneutics to force a merely legal interpretation on passages simply because one insists on placing limitations (inherent to the type) on the Antitype who knew no such limitations.
XX. Two questions
I have two sets of questions for those reading who in the face of all of this evidence will continue to object and to maintain that the taking on of sin was only a legal reckoning (i.e. an artificial legal construct/fiction as to the taking/bearing/carrying of sins, but not as to the punishment of, or for, those sins).
Firstly, why would God use so many rich, non-legal terms to illustrate that which would read as utter reality (to those reading it without preconceived notions or bias), just to turn around and have us dismiss this rich language as being merely legal – a mere forensic reckoning, deeming, supposing something to be when it actually, literally, and truly is not? Why use such rich, non-legal terminology when purely legal terms (or terms that deal with mere supposings) existed, were readily available, and could have been used? Why use the detailed language of taking, bearing, carrying, impinging, striking, polluting, encompassing, etc. just to have people turn around and implicitly say “well, none of this is actual. It’s all just treated as if it was real, but none of it really is. It’s simply an artificially-created, judicially-valid form of “pretending” and the atonement is real only as to the punishment endured for sins, and the legal benefits that derived from the punishment endured, but it is not real as to the Lord being actually made sin.“
This line of reasoning is erroneous; the making of His people righteous (righteousness) is real; His atonement was real; His suffering was real; and thus, His being made sin and a curse was real.
Secondly, why do we allow for mystery, miracle, and wondrous works for every other aspect of the Gospel message, but deny it as to the precept that the Lord was truly made sin by the literal taking on of our sins? We acknowledge that the wondrous, mysterious, unfathomable nature of….
The Triune Godhead (the one God who eternally subsists as three distinct, co-equal, and co-divine Persons) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Eternal vital union between the Lord and His people (being eternally one) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Creation of this universe via the spoken word of God is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Creation of mankind (man and woman, and the making of the woman from the man) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Fall of Adam (where he which was made good fell and was made an actual sinner) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Incarnation (Christ being made after the likeness of sinful flesh, being born of a woman) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Fullness of the Godhead bodily which dwells in the Lord Jesus Christ is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The Death of the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. that He who is both truly God and perfect Man could die in His humanity) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The New creation (the regeneration and conversion of an elect sinner by the grace and effectual working of God) is beyond our current ability to fully understand.
The eternal perfection, peace, and joy in Heaven enjoyed by the saints via our oneness with God is beyond our current ability to fully understand;
Yet, in light of all of these wondrous, mysterious, unfathomable things related to the overall Gospel message, some would deny the wondrous, mysterious, unfathomable nature of the Lord Jesus Christ being made sin and being made a curse for His people. With the exception of the first entry in the list (concerning Triunity), we see the awesome, divine, creative workings of God in all of the above. In seeing these things, will we then allow tradition and superstition to deny the full glory due to the Lord Jesus in light of the awesomeness of His substitutionary work of atonement? Will we limit vital aspects of His work to mere suppositions and artificial reckonings in light of the unspeakable and immeasurable sacrifice He made and the suffering He endured? Will we limit the scope and deny the completeness of His work just to presumptuously and erroneously “defend His honour?” Let us hope that this error will not be maintained by those who are truly born of God.
In Matthew 11:28, Christ declared “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. These words are directed towards those who have a God-given felt sense of need for the Lord Jesus Christ and the rest that He alone can provide. God has in view all those who are heavy laden with an experiential sense of the evil and sinfulness of their sins (labouring under the presence of sin, the felt weakness against it, the guilt and weight of it, and the realisation that, by nature, they are utterly deserving of God’s eternal wrath and damnation). The Lord is commanding all those who are labouring under this infinite load to seek Him and to come to Him for eternal rest. He gives them this rest by removing the burden of sin from off of them, in light of the fact that He, Himself, bore them all in His own body. The Lord became heavy laden in their stead, and endured the wrath of God so that they may have peace, safety, and union with Him forever.
Hebrews 2:9-13 declares “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”
The Lord Jesus tasted death for every one of His elect, fully enduring the equivalent of eternal damnation for them. It is only because He is both perfect man and perfect divinity (being fully God, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit) that He could endure what He endured in the space of time in which He endured it. Lacking that divinity, and lacking Christ as their Substitute, reprobate man can never fully pay the price to redeem themselves; the wages for their sins is eternal damnation. In tasting death however, Christ Jesus had to have been made sin. He had to be made our trespasses, offenses, guilt, guiltiness, perversity, and foolishnesses (See commentary on Psalm 69:5 above).
I believe that the totality of this article evidences the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was made (poieo) sin by God the Father when the Father actually (and not just legally) imputed the sins of the elect to the Lord Jesus, as the Lord willingly bore (anaphero / cabal) them. In bearing our sins, the Lord literally took them upon Himself, carried them (‘abar), and endured them (cabal / nasa’) from the Garden of Gethsemane until His redemptive work was finished on the cross. Those sins that He took and bore literally and truly met Him, arrived at His borders (i.e. His person), and then impinged and encroached upon Him (paga’). These sins truly overtook Him and took hold of Him (nasag), as they encompassed Him (aphaph), fell upon Him, and struck Him (with real impact), so as to kill Him (paga’). As a result, His soul was made guilt/guilty/sin/trespass (asham – Isaiah 53:10) as He was profaned, polluted, and defiled (chalal) — not in Himself (for He remained without sin) — but in light of the sins that He willingly bore. Being made sin in this manner, God the Father put Christ Jesus to grief (making Him sick / chalah) as He poured out His wrath upon His Son and utterly wounded, bruised, broke and crushed Him (daka’). As the Lord was washed from our sins (being baptised with a baptism that is the equivalent of eternal damnation), and as the shedding of His own blood purified Him (in light of all that His shed blood symbolically represented as to His suffering and punishment), the Lord Jesus fulfilled all that the Father sent Him to do and triumphantly declared it is finished (having endured the full wrath meet for our sins). His sins, which were our sins, were forever washed away and put away; thus, His people are forever free from both their sins and the holy wrath deserved in light of those sins.
Exodus 23:7 declares “Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.” Likewise, Proverbs 17:15 declares “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both [are] abomination to the LORD.” The finished work of Christ provided the righteousness necessary (both actual and legal) to declare God to be both a Just God and a Saviour (Isaiah 45:21), and both Just and Justifier (Romans 3:26). The Lord also removed for all eternity those sins that would have forever stood in the way of us being made not just righteous, but righteousness in the Lord (for the Father hath made (poeio) His Son sin for us, who knew no sin; that His people might be made the righteousness of God in Him – II Corinthians 5:21).
This same legal righteousness declares God to be just in making His people actually righteous (in their regenerate state) through that vital union between Christ and His people. Christ, the LORD our Righteousness, is yoked to us; He is one with us. His life is our life; His nature is our nature (for we are made partakers of the divine nature through Him). Christ, through His Spirit and Life, makes us righteous in Him and forever sustains us. We have an incorruptible seed in us that forever cannot sin, and that is forever without sin (by the grace and effectual working of the Lord). In this earthly life, we are still in this body of death. However, our regenerate soul is spiritually alive (and thus we are righteous in Him, and on the last day, our bodies will put on incorruptible in like manner as our soul).
We read in Colossians 2:10-15 that we are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also we are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: We are buried with Him in baptism, wherein also we are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. We, being dead in our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven us all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing for ever and ever (Revelation 5:12,13).
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