Christ: Our Substitute, Life, and Righteousness
Lamentation 1:18 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. 19 I called for my lovers, [but] they deceived me: my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls. 20 Behold, O LORD; for I [am] in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home [there is] as death. 21 They have heard that I sigh: [there is] none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done [it]: thou wilt bring the day [that] thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me. 22 Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs [are] many, and my heart [is] faint.
Psalm 40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Psalm 38:4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me…. 17 For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow [is] continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
Basic principles of biblical interpretation
When considering difficult subject matter in the Bible, it is always good to consider the following:
Exegesis: The Bible (through (a) word choice; (b) word omission; (c) the immediate context; (d) the greater context; and (e) the definitions of the words in their original languages) is its own inerrant, and fully authoritative, dictionary and commentary.
Hermeneutics: The Bible sets forth perfect truth on several levels, namely: (a) the historic level; (b) the moral level; and (c) the spiritual level (which often encompasses multiple levels of understanding).
First use: Although it is not a universal rule in the Bible, quite often we can determine the primary meaning or intent of a word based upon (a) the first appearance of that word in the Bible, and/or (b) the first appearance of that word in light of a particular subject or object (e.g. the first use of a word as it pertains to an inanimate object may differ from the first use of a word as it pertains to a living being, or to a location. Likewise, the first use of a word as it concerns God, may differ from the first use of a word as it pertains to man or to animals).
Emphasis: The entirety of the Bible concerns some aspect of the person, work, righteousness, and kingdom of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (and the Triune Godhead whom He fully represents bodily). The chief focal point of the Bible, and that which brings the highest glory to God, is the redemptive work of Christ on the cross (hence Paul’s determination to “not know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”).
The Principles in light of the Volume of the Book
Although we should never seek biblical understanding simply for the sake of pride or novelty, if our aim is to come to a greater knowledge of Him, then it behooves us to seek the Lord literally and truly on every page of the Bible. As we seek to find Christ in whatever God ordains for us to read, we should strive to keep an eye out for those passages that pertain to His propitiatory work. We should also try to keep in mind the doctrine of eternal vital union, which is the doctrine of that living oneness that has existed throughout all eternity between the spiritual Head and His Body, which is Christ Jesus and His Church. Lord willing, He will give us fresh morsels of insight concerning the eternal love with which He loved us, in light of that suffering under which He suffered for us.
Though we have no strength to actually place any limit on God, we can sometimes do so in our own experience whenever we allow our preconceived notions to become paramount over the truth. Many speak of finding the Lord Jesus Christ on every page of the Bible, and stress that the entire Bible pertains to some aspect of His person and work; however, this precept often becomes nothing more than a cliché; especially, when people fail to see Him in passages that are less “tried and tested.” Far too many passages that speak parabolically of the Lord go unnoticed by many, because the passages do not fit the pattern of the more familiar types. The tendency is to gravitate towards the more positive figures, and to steer clear of those that are of a more negative and condemning nature. As we proceed, this point will become more important; especially as it pertains to the doctrine of….
The substitutionary nature of the atonement
In order for the Lord Jesus to have atoned for His elect, he had to have been their Substitute; I trust that no regenerate child of God would dispute this. However, what does it really mean; in what way was He our Substitute? The Bible reveals that He had to have been made sin for us, and that He had to die in our stead enduring the equivalent of eternal damnation for each and every one of us. He had to fully stand where we should have stood (before the Judgment Seat) in order to truly be our propitiation. Thus, whatever grief and sorrow we would have felt under the wrath of God, He felt the equivalent. Whatever pain, torment and agony we would have felt; He felt the equivalent. Through vital union with us (and the love that flows from it), He became us. He became the daughter of Zion whom the Lord hath “covered with a cloud in His anger;” He was the Beauty of Israel “cast down from Heaven unto the earth.” (Lamentations 2:1). The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, became the king that mourned, and the prince that was clothed with desolation; He was the one, in the stead of His people, who was troubled and that had done to Him after the way of His people; for according to their deserts was He judged (Ezekiel 7:27); He [was] wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities: the chastisement of their peace [was] upon him; and with His stripes they are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
Understanding the above is crucial to understanding many biblical passages. As we begin to see that the sufferings that the reprobate suffer are the same sufferings that we would have suffered were it not for our Substitute (and thus, they are the same sufferings that the Lord keenly experienced Himself as our Substitute), it becomes clear that many more passages point us to the redemptive work of the Lord than what is commonly believed. When we see verses that pertain to wrath and judgment, before we say “that applies to the reprobate” or “that applies to the end-times church” (both of which often have real application), let us first see that “this is what we deserved by nature,” and thus, “this is what the Lord Jesus Christ endured on our behalf.” From Gethsemane to the cross, He became what we should have become (full subjects of divine wrath); stood where we should have stood; and He suffered what we should have suffered. It is in this way that He atoned for us. Perhaps it can be said that in a real sense, being Holy and Righteous God, the Lord Jesus endured worse than we (for whereas we as sinners can never come to see the full filth and vileness of our sin; the Lord Jesus Christ, immaculate and upright in all of His ways, saw the abomination of sin perfectly).
Some will object and say that we have no such liberty to interpret scripture this way. I disagree, seeing that clearly many passages in Isaiah and the Psalms declare these substitutionary truths. I see no reason to artificially limit historic parables to only those passages that are generally accepted as pertaining to the Lord. In fact, as we go on we will see that the Bible is full of language that parabolically points to the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see the levitical sacrifices; we see the scape goat; we understand the brasen serpent and the rock struck; we see many other passages that are commonly known to typify Christ. However, do we see the Book of Lamentations as being the Book of the Cross, as we see Psalm 22 as being the Psalm of the Cross? Can we turn to portions of the major and minor prophets, for instance, and see Christ as our Substitute in the language of God’s holy wrath and judgment? Can we see these things before we see the reprobate in general, or the apostate church in particular?
God hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin!
II Corinthians 5:21 will be my starting point; but before commenting, it may do us well to consider the context of the verse: (please keep in mind that words in [brackets] are not in the original text and that words in italics or different colours simply indicate the portions of text that I am trying to emphasize).
II Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. 17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 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.
I. A new creation:
We see in the above passage that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (literally, ktisis, a new: original formation, establishing, building, creation). It is a new original formation because the new man now exists. This is the new man that we are to put on, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). This is the same new man that we have put on, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him (Colossians 3:10). We see then, that the new man is created in righteousness, and that it is after the image of Him that created him. When God strengthens His people, He strengthens them with might by his Spirit in this inner man, and fills them with all of the fulness of Him (Ephesians 3:16-19). It is in this new man, or inner man, that a believer delights in the law of God.
However, many would maintain that the new man is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We see language that declares “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).” We also read “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14); and Job 29:14 states “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem” and can anyone doubt that the righteousness he put on was the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6)?
When we begin to understand the reality of the vital union between the Lord and His people (and the fact that the new man is both the soul of the sinner made eternally alive in Christ, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as He makes us alive in Him and through Him, sustaining us by His Spirit), we begin to see just how inseparable we are from the Lord. Where He is, we are; what He is, we are. He is in us, and we are in Him. I believe that this is what the Lord meant when He told Martha “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). The resurrection isn’t just something that will happen later; it is Christ. Our life is Christ. We read in Colossians 3:4 “When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” There is no eternal life outside of the Lord; there is eternal death and eternal destruction, but there is no eternal life unless we are yoked to Him. Believers do not have eternal lives (plural); they have eternal life (singular) because they are all partakers of the one Life, which is the one LORD who is their life.
We are so united with the Lord, so one with Him, that earthly words and terms will never suffice to adequately describe just what we are in Him (and what the Triune Godhead is in us). When it comes to salvation, what is legal in the Bible is always based upon that which is actual; there are no false constructs in the Bible concerning these matters. Whereas the elect sinner was previously dead, he is now alive and has an incorruptible seed in Him that cannot sin and can only bring forth good fruit. He now has a soul qualified to enter into Heaven, not based solely upon a legal righteousness, but also upon an actual. Wherever there is eternal life, with the Lord Jesus as the source of that life, there is (and must be) real righteousness. Just as one living isn’t just legally alive (but truly), the one who is righteous isn’t just legally righteous (but actually). Union with God makes it actual; but the finished work of Christ establishes the legal (and it is the legal that declares God to be Just in making us truly righteous). The regenerate soul that enters into Heaven upon the death of the body is both perfectly and actually righteous. Yet that regenerate soul is no more perfectly and actually righteous than it was when it was yoked to that unregenerate body. So long as that soul has the Spirit of Christ abiding in it, and the Lord and the Father abiding in it as well, that person is righteous. Consider the following passages:
Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 8:10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
We read in I Corinthians 12:12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” Did you catch the significance of this? This passage states that the body of Christ is Christ. Just as the human body is one, having many members, so Christ is one. One. He is one in Himself, but He is one with us. He is one with the Father and we are one with the Father. He is one with the Spirit and we are one with the Spirit. Some may object and say, you are making the elect body God! Am I? Does this oneness make us God? Are we now a fourth “person” in the Trinity (as if a Quadrinity now exists)? Of course not, never; we do not become God in any sense; yet we indeed become partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4).
It is in light of these precepts that God, through the Apostle John, commands us to let no man deceive us: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as God is righteous (I John 3:7). That even as (G2531 kathos), means just that – even as. Now if the Lord Jesus is only legally righteous, then we are even as Him, only legally righteous. But if the Lord Jesus Christ is actually righteous, then we are even as Him, actually righteous. We are reckoned to be what we are: justified, without sin, and incapable of sinning in our inner man (I John 3:9). Romans 5:19 declares “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Thus, if mankind became actual sinners (actually sinful) via the disobedience of the one man, the first Adam, then elect sinners must cease to be actual sinners and thus become actually righteous by the obedience of the Second Adam, which is Christ – not forensically only, but actually and truly.
The sentence above may not subjectively harmonize with our everyday experience; however, how we perceive things via our subjective experiences is not the basis of that which is real; our perceptions do not constitute reality. Reality is defined by the eternal purpose of God and the finished work of the Lord. Christ atoning for us, and putting away our sins forever…. that is what is real, even right here and right now. However, these precepts must never be confused with the false doctrines of Wesleyan progressive sanctification and sinless perfection in the body. The Apostle John states “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (I John 1:8-10). The Christian will obtain victory over sins, but as He grows in grace (and learns more of the Lord and His perfection) he has a greater felt sense of his own sinful inclination and failures. In his experience he cries along with the Apostle “O wretched man that I am!”
Yet, in light of what God has done for us, we should also declare “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” It is the sin that dwelleth in us that causes us to sin; it is our sin, but it does not stem from the new man. Moreover, though it is our sin, and we commit them; they are already gone. Dr. Tobias Crisp put it this way “It is true, the Lord leaves the sins that believers act, legible still, though crossed: as when a man hath crossed his book, one may read every particular sum, or debt, that was formerly written; and though he may read them, yet it doth not follow that they are debts, for the crossing of it take away the nature of the debt; God crossed the score when Christ died, and then it was no more debt; all our sins, and debt, were then finished.” God leaves our acts of transgression visible for us to see and feel (so that we give all of the credit and glory to Him), but it cannot be charged to us because the debt incurred was already paid and satisfied by our Surety. Moreover, God also looks upon us and sees no sin because, as we read above, that new man is created in righteousness and cannot sin. As a result, we have a righteousness that exceeds [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees (without which, we would not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 5:20); our righteousness is the LORD Himself. If we were not truly and actually righteous in and through the LORD our righteousness, then we could not enter Heaven, for “….there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).”
II. Not imputing their trespasses.
In II Corinthians 5:19, we see that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. We know this to be the world of the elect; those out of every class, position, race, and ethnicity that have been given to Christ by the Father (all of whom will come to Him by the effectual working of His grace, and they will in no wise be cast out). God, as both the author of the holy law and as the Judge over it, does legally justify His people and declare them to be just, righteous and without sin. The people of God are justified from eternity past in the sovereign purpose, will, and election of God. Likewise, the people of God are justified at the cross in light of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Finally, the people of God are justified upon regeneration and conversion when they experientially become aware of their life and righteousness via the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is no possibility of any sin being legally reckoned to them; the Apostle Paul declares “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth (Romans 8:33).”
However, we also know that were it not for the propitiatory work of the Lord, the trespasses of the elect would be imputed to them. Why? Because they actually sinned. God imputes sin to people not solely because they sinned in Adam (who is our legal and federal head and our representative after the flesh), but because both the elect and the reprobate were actually sinners in light of the sinful acts that they committed. When Adam fell, we fell with him; but that fall had a real consequence in that as with Adam, we too became actual sinners. As a result of these actual sins, God justly imputes the trespasses of the reprobate to them, even as he justly imputed the trespasses of the elect to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is no mere deeming or supposition; as we read above, Christ is one body and the Lord Jesus had sin imputed to Him because His body sinned. Through that vital union, and in light of His finished work, His righteousness became our righteousness, just as our sins became His sins. Now ask yourself, if God imputes the reprobates’ sins to them based on actuality and not just legal reckonings, does God then turn around and not impute the elect’s sins to them based on legal reckonings only, or does he not impute their sins to them based upon the fact that the elect are now actually righteous and that their sins have already been put away forever (Hebrews 9:26)? The Lord Jesus, in being made sin, has made an end to sins (Daniels 9:24); as far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).” God cannot impute them to His people because there is nothing to impute – they are actually without sin in that new man; and their bodies too, will be without sin when He returns to gather us up in the last day.
Some may object and say “you are teaching both imputed and imparted righteousness;” my answer to that is “yes I am.” The Lord imputes His righteousness to me based upon that righteousness that He established on the cross. However, He gives (imparts via union) Himself to me, through His Spirit, as the Triune Godhead abides in me and I in Him (the same holds true for all of the regenerate elect).
III. For He hath made Him [to be] sin for us.
God the Father made (“poieo’d”) the Lord Jesus sin for us. For a more detailed study of poieo, please click on the following: Word Study – Poieo (Made); for now, I will simply maintain that in the one hundred sixteen (116) instances wherein poieo is used in the aorist, active, indicative form (the same form found in the portion of II Corinthians 5:21 pertaining to the Lord being made sin), poieo is never used in a legal sense. As I have stated elsewhere, I am using the common secular definition of legal, or legally, since the word is never found in Scripture. The definition of legal (or legally) is that which is, or that which describes, something: (a) of, relating to, or by law; (b) having a formal status derived from law often without a basis in actual fact; (c) recognized or made effective by a court of law; (d) recognized or enforced by law rather than by equity; and (e) created by the constructions of the law <a legal fiction> — these are the literal definitions of “legal” and “legally” as defined by several dictionary sources (they are not my own definitions). Thus, when people object to the terms “merely legal” and “legal fiction” they are missing a vital aspect of what “legally” really and truly means.
So we we must ask the question of whether poieo is ever used in a strictly legal sense as to the transfer of sin (i.e. the laying on, bearing, making to meet, etc.), but in a real and actual sense only as it pertains to the punishment received for the sins that were treated as if they were really transferred? We will address the issue of transfer later, but regarding poieo I reiterate that it is not a mere supposing, pretending, or deeming; instead, it is always used to describe that which is literally and truly (1) made (often in a creative sense); (2) wrought; (c) brought forth; (d) performed; and (e) done (often in light of the former definitions). In fact, quite often it pertains to the working of mighty works (miracles). Consider the following passages:
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made <4160> (5656) [them] male and female (see also Mark 10:6).
John 2:10, 11 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did <4160> (5656) Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made <4160> (5656) the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
John 7:23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made <4160> (5656) a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did <4160> (5656) by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know
I heard an objection wherein it was argued that three (3) out of the one hundred sixteen (116) instances of poieo (in the form at issue), meant to declare and not to make/perform/work/etc. The instances mentioned were found in John 19:7; Acts 2:36; and Galatians 3:13. Although I do not believe the argument to be true, I would maintain that even if declared was solely in view, the three instances do not mean to declare that which really isn’t, but rather, to declare that which really is. For instance, concerning:
John 19:7 – the Jews really and truly believed that Jesus was making Himself to be something that they deemed He was not — the Son of God;
Acts 2:36 – though God the Son was eternally both Lord and Christ; in His humanity, through His obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection – He was made to be what He was purposed to be from eternity past. Some may counter that this is essentially declaring; however, I would maintain that this is no more of a mere declaring than the example that we have in Hebrews 5:7-9 wherein we read “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; 8 Though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which He suffered; 9 And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” In both passages, no simple declaration was in view, but rather a making and declaring based upon that which he actually suffered, performed, and became experientially.
Galatians 3:13 – the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed made a curse for us; he wasn’t simply declared to be a curse as if He really wasn’t but someone (God or man) just pretended that He was. If He was declared to be a curse, it must only be because He was made a curse. Vine’s Expository Dictionary has this to say on the matter:
katara: kata, “down,” intensive, and ara (G685 prayer/cursing), denotes an “execration, imprecation, curse,” uttered out of malevolence, Jas 3:10; 2Pet 2:14; or pronounced by God in His righteous judgment, as upon a land doomed to barrenness, Heb 6:8; upon those who seek for justification by obedience, in part or completely, to the Law, Gal 3:10, Gal 3:13; in this 13th verse it is used concretely of Christ, as having “become a curse” for us, i.e., by voluntarily undergoing on the Cross the appointed penalty of the “curse.” He thus was identified, on our behalf, with the doom of sin.
In light of the above, I maintain that even in these three passages in dispute, the totality of the usage (all 116 instances) pertains to that which was made, done, wrought, performed, in reality — there is nothing legal (as in an artificial construct, or legal fiction) in this word at all; neither as it pertains to the lexiconic definition, nor as it pertains to the word usage in the New Testament. So what does that leave us with? It leaves us with the fact that the Lord Jesus was actually made sin, and not just legally with only the effects or result being real. He was really made sin. However, this raises the question: how was Christ made sin? What does it mean to be made sin?
IV. Numbered with the transgressors.
Wherever the Greek word for impute (logizomai) is used in the Bible, it always pertains to a reckoning, deeming, accounting, calculating of that which is real and actual. However, when we consider that logizomai is never used in the Bible to describe how the Lord Jesus was made sin (nor any other word meaning to impute), we must accept the fact that this is an inference drawn by men. In other words, nowhere in Scripture does it teach that the Lord Jesus who knew no sin was reckoned to be made sin. I understand that there are many who believe that this was the only way that the Lord was made sin; but nowhere, not in a single verse, do we ever read that the Lord Jesus had sin “imputed to Him.”
However, some point to Mark 15:28 and similar verses wherein we read “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered (logizomai) with the transgressors.” Those who hold to a strictly legal account of imputation would argue that being numbered with the transgressors is proof that only a legal reckoning is in view (since the Lord Jesus was not an actual transgressor but only legally deemed to be so). Let’s consider this; the word transgressor is anomos and literally means without law (and is translated as such, along with wicked and transgressor). However, if Christ was actually made sin, and actually bore the sin of His people, then being completely in their stead — he was the transgressor and without (i.e. found outside) the law. He was not the transgressor through His own actions, abstainings, or inclinations; yet, he was made a transgressor when he bore the sins of His people. He was reckoned to be what His people really were (and thus what He was really made in their stead). Jesus had the sins of His people legally reckoned (imputed) to him only because He was first made sin in His bearing of those sins.
We read in Isaiah 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 <H4487> (8738) with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” In this passage, we find that manah (Strong’s H4487) is used regarding Christ being numbered with the transgressors. I suggest that everyone reading look up the twenty-seven (27) instances of manah in the Bible and judge whether this is a word that is legal in definition or usage. The word is effectively appointed, and means numbered or counted only in regards to that which is actually numbered and counted (citizens, horses, armies, days of life, hair, etc.). Thus, it is indeed an artificial “reckoning” or “deeming” to suppose that being numbered with the transgressors means that the Lord Jesus wasn’t truly a transgressor in His people’s stead, even though He was utterly, truly, and eternally without any sin, spot, or blemish of His own. By taking on the sin of His elect, and bearing it in his own body, He could rightly be deemed the transgressor even though He, Himself, never transgressed the law in thought, word, or deed. This is a mystery, but to deny it is to deny what God has clearly set forth in the language He chose to use, and in the context in which He chose to use it.
V. Made to meet
The above still does not answer the question of how the Lord Jesus was made sin. To gain further insight, I will turn to the Hebrew word paga’ to get a bit of a glimpse into the matter. In Isaiah 53:6, we read “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid (paga’ / made to meet / H6293) on him the iniquity of us all.” For a full study of the word paga’ please click on the following: Word Study – Paga‘ (laid / made to meet); for now, I maintain that paga’ is never translated as a legal term (though the passages in which it is used may have both legal and actual ramifications – just as salvation has both legal and actual ramifications). Paga’ is used concerning physical borders, entreating/interceding on behalf of others, and falling upon others (as if to kill). As the study suggests, this word means to strike, or to fall upon, and literally means to have real impact. Since entreat and intercede clearly are not in view when it comes to what the sins actually did to Him, the literal definitions, and the contextual usage, clearly evidences the fact that our sins must have (a) arrived at His location or met Him (Genesis 28:11; 32:1, I Samuel 10:5); (b) struck or smote Him (Numbers 35:19); and (d) fell upon Him (so as to kill Him – Exodus 5:3; Judges 8:21; I Kings 2:31,32).
As I stated in the word study, Strong’s Concordance, and other lexiconic sources include in the definition of paga’ the following: “to impinge (by accident or violence), come between, reach, run upon.” According to Merriam Webster, impinge is defined as: 1) to strike or dash especially with a sharp collision; 2) to have an effect : make an impression; and 3) to encroach, infringe. The Gesenius’s Lexicon states that it essentially means to strike upon, push upon, to rush on (especially with the purpose to slay), to light upon, to reach. Clearly none of this is merely legal; nor can we say that it refers to only the result of the sin (i.e. the punishment) and not the sin itself. Thus, in whatever way the Lord Jesus was made sin,He was made it in a way where sin actually impinged, or encroached upon Him. If anyone finds this interpretation unsatisfactory, they must take issue with the Bible and not with me, because this is the actual meaning of the term, and the actual usage of it, in Scripture.
I would like to clarify one point; I wrote above that “….entreat and intercede clearly are not in view when it comes to what the sins actually did to Him…;” however, please consider Isaiah 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 (paga’ / H6293) for the transgressors.” Although entreat and intercede do not describe how the Lord was made sin, it is clearly the same Hebrew word (paga’) that we find in Isaiah 53:12. This reinforces the fact that for intercession for transgressions to have any real effect, at some point, the transgressions must be laid upon (made to meet on), and borne by, the One interceding. So we see that the intercession for transgressors cannot be separated from the literal/actual bearing, meeting, or laying on of sins.
VI. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree
The above section ties-in with the following two passages:
Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear <399> ( 5629) the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
I Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare <399> (5656) our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The Greek word for to bear/bare in these two New Testament passages is anaphero (G399); these passages are the only two instances of the word where the two verb forms at issue (G5629 and G5656) exist. For a full study of the word anaphero please click on the following: Word Study – anaphero (to bear); for now, I will simply restate that whereas the context in which this word is used has legal and actual ramifications, it is not a legal word in and of itself. In fact, every time it is used, it is used in reference to something truly, actually, and physically done. Whether it be leading people to a place, carrying oneself up, or offering a sacrifice, it is all something actually and truly done — without need for artificial constructs and/or legal fictions.
Though many today would deny any actual bearing of sin (seeking instead to limit the bearing to something purely metaphorical or fictional), this erroneous interpretation simply will not stand. Anaphero has to do with a literal carrying up, bearing up, and placing on one’s self anything as a load to be carried. Men like John Gill, Tobias Crisp, Joseph Hussey, Gilbert Beebe, William Rushton, and numerous Strict Baptists and Primitive Baptists, believed that imputation (as used by many in their day) consisted of a literal transfer and bearing of sin in the Lord’s body. Though I state this only for the purpose of historic context, and to show the diversity of views on this matter, Martin Luther, and C.H. Spurgeon also held to this view (Martin Luther with far more controversial language used than most). This isn’t to say that all back then were in agreement; the works of John Owen, John Brine, and others evidence the fact that many denied a literal transfer. The point is that amongst faithful Christians, disagreements over the interpretation of the passages at issue existed. The following link will take you to the tag on my site that supports these assertions (including references to other articles from me on the subject as well as the works of past and contemporary commentators): http://lookuntothelord.com/tag/christ-made-sin/.
As another proof of a literal bearing, notice the emphasis in Hebrews 9:28 – Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and yet it states that He will return without sin. Now, this term without clearly evidences that He had sin (i.e. the sin of His people, and their sins only; not any of His own). Note the verse does not say “So Christ was once offered to bear [the punishment of] sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without [the punishment of] sin unto salvation.” The Lord Jesus literally carried the sins of His people, and thus literally endured the resulting punishment for them. If the Lord only had it by legal reckoning, there would be no need to say that He will “return without sin” (because He would have been without sin in the first place if He was only artificially deemed to be sin – and not really made sin, as he bore the sin of His people).
Consider also I Peter 2:24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…“- how can anyone miss that which is so obviously being stressed? Notice that this verse does not read as any of the following:
- Who bare our sins on the tree;
- Who His own self was legally reckoned to bare our sins on the tree; or
- Who His own self bare our sins on the tree,
The passage correctly reads, with all the obvious emphasis that should ever be needed, that His own self bare our sins in His own body. This passage is yelling to us, in His own self — not figuratively, not metaphorically, not via some legal fiction or artificial legal construct, not via pretend or make-believe, but in all actuality He carried our sins in His own self. Likewise, after stressing the fact that it was the Lord’s own self, the Spirit of God moves the writer to stress the point even further by stating in His own body. Thus, it is the Lord’s own self and in His own body that He bore our sins. This verse is clear: – in – His – own – body. Now in light of the above, and all that is to follow, we shall see that it is only stubborn foolishness that will try to force a non-literal, non-actual interpretation on these passages. Yet we can still ask, what does it all mean? Is this all that the Bible has to say about the Lord being made sin? Not at all, there is much more to follow.
VII. For innumerable evils have compassed Me about
Psalm 40:12 declares that innumerable evils (ra‘ – H7451) compassed [aphaph <0661> (8804)] the Lord Jesus about. Ra’, or evils, is just that – evils. It is also translated as wickedness, or wicked, and it pertains to sin. 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. For now, I just want to emphasize that sin compassed (literally, surrounded) the Lord Jesus about. Is compass a legal term? Hardly; aphaph is not a legal term at all (as all four of the other instances of it, in the same tense and form, evidence). David didn’t think he was “legally reckoned” to have the waves of death compassing him (II Samuel 22:5, Psalm 116:3 ), nor did he think he was “legally reckoned” to have the sorrows of death compassing him (Psalm 18:4). In David’s experience, these things were real and not mere suppositions pertaining to the law. Likewise, Jonah didn’t think he was “legally reckoned” to have the waters compassing him about. Jonah experienced these things via real and actual experience and not via artificial constructs.
Some may argue that what they experienced was figurative, only a type, one that points to the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that, only as to the suffering for sin, and not from the suffering from the sin itself. This is erroneous because both apply. Psalm 40:12 clearly states that the evils (wickedness) compassed Christ about. So we see that the sin itself, like water, compassed Him. However, we know that the punishment for the sins (evils/wickednesses) also caused Him to suffer. In Psalm 69:14,15 we read the following “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.” Suffering from the punishment of sin is indeed in view in this passage; we can see this by comparing it to these two portions of Psalm 88 where the fierce wrath of God clearly came upon the Lord Jesus like waves of a great and abysmal flood:
Psalm 88:1-8 “O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day [and] night before thee: 2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; 3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man [that hath] no strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. 7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted [me] with all thy waves. Selah. 8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: [I am] shut up, and I cannot come forth.”
Psalm 88:14-18 “LORD, [why] castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? 15 I [am] afflicted and ready to die from [my] youth up: [while] I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. 16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. 17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
John Gill had this to say in his commentary:
“the waters surrounded me unto death (Jonah 2:5).”
In this Jonah was a type of Christ in his afflictions and sorrows, which were so many and heavy, that he is said to be “exceeding sorrowful”, or surrounded with sorrow, “even unto death”, Mat_26:38; see also Psa_69:1; the depth closed me round about; the great deep, the waters of the sea, both when he fell into it, and while in the belly of the fish: thus also Christ his antitype came into deep waters, where there was no standing, and where floods of sin, and of ungodly men, and of divine wrath, overflowed him; see Psalm 18:4;
For innumerable evils have compassed me about (Psalm 40:12),…. Like floods of water all around him; see Psa_18:4; these are the evils of punishment inflicted on him, as the surety and Saviour of his people; such as the sorrows and griefs he bore all his days; the cruel mockings and scourges he endured; his being buffeted and spit upon; his head crowned with thorns, and his hands and feet pierced with nails; insulted by men and devils; crucified between two thieves, and so died the shameful and painful death of the cross; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me; not any committed by him; he was conceived, born, and lived without sin, knew none, nor did he any; but the sins of his people, which were imputed to him, laid upon him, and which he voluntarily took and bore; and which he reckoned as his own and was responsible for them; these, when he hung upon the cross, came upon him from all quarters, and he bore them in his own body upon the tree;
The sorrows of death compassed me, (Psalm 18:4)…. These words and the following, in this verse and Psalm18:5, as they respect David, show the snares that were laid for his life, the danger of death he was in, and the anxiety of mind he was possessed of on account of it; and as they refer to Christ, include all the sorrows of his life to the time of his death, who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief personally, and bore and carried the sorrows and griefs of all his people; and may chiefly intend his sorrows in the garden, arising from a view of the sins of his people, which he was about to bear upon the cross; and from an apprehension of the wrath of God, and curse of the law, which he was going to sustain for them, when his soul was περιλυπος, encompassed about with sorrow, even unto death, Matthew 26:38;
Note: For more on John Gill’s view of the topic of the Lord Jesus being made sin, please click on the link to view my study titled John Gill’s view of imputation was not merely legal.
I believe that the context (both immediate, and the greater) dictates that Christ suffered both from the sins (as to the weight, guilt, stench, and loathsomeness of them) and for the sins (as to the punishment of them) of His people. We see in Jonah 2:5, that these waters compassed the Lord [even]to the soul. Perhaps this is what is meant in Isaiah 53:10 when it states “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin (asham – H817).”
VIII. Thou shalt make His soul sin/guilty/guiltiness
Notice that I crossed out the words “an offering for;” I did this because asham, which means “trespass offering,” also means sin or guilt. It is from the root word asham (of the same spelling virtually) which in the AV/KJV, is translated guilty fourteen times, desolate six times, offend six times, and trespass four times. So in Isaiah 53:10, we can translate the passage as follows “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul guilt/guilty/guiltiness/sin/trespass.” So the impinging (paga’), and encompassing (aphaph) of sin, is what made (poeio) the Lord guilty even unto being sin, trespass, and a curse Himself. If there are any doubts about whether asham (as found in Isaiah 53:10, not just the root word) really means sin, guilt, etc., consider the following passages:
Genesis 26:10 And Abimelech said, What [is] this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness <0817> upon us.
Psalm 68:21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, [and] the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses <0817>.
Proverbs 14:9 Fools make a mock at sin <0817>: but among the righteous [there is] favour.
Jeremiah 51:5 For Israel [hath] not [been] forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin <0817> against the Holy One of Israel.
If the Lord Jesus didn’t become guilt, sin, guiltiness, through actual (not just legal) imputation, then He could not experience guilt – and guilt is a principle aspect of suffering in Hell. As I have stated before, to deny that the Lord Jesus experienced this guilt is to deny that He suffered the equivalent of eternal damnation on behalf of His people. It is to maintain that He didn’t suffer something we would have and thus, He was not truly in our stead.
IX. Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me
Concerning the Lord, we read in Psalm 40:12 that “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me.” The sins of His people, which the Lord willingly took upon Himself became His sins. Thus, He could say mine iniquities…. Note that the verse states that these iniquities have taken hold upon Him. I believe this also sheds light on how the Lord was made sin. The words “have taken hold upon me” are translated from the Hebrew primitive root word nasag (H5381 ). In the AV/KJV, this word is also translated overtake (23x), hold (5x) get (6x, 3x in conjunction with a different word), attain (2x), reach (2x), layeth (1x), etc. The word literally means to reach, overtake, and/or to take hold upon — it is not a legal term in any of the thirteen (13) instances wherein the word is found in this form. It is a word that simply means what it literally says, whether actually, or figuratively, but never legally. This isn’t to say that the term is not used in a legal setting (e.g. in various places in the book of the law called Leviticus), but within that setting, the usage is always that which is actual. Consider the following passages:
Leviticus 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. 26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able <05381> (8689) to redeem it; [literally, “his own hand has reached out, or attained <05381> (8689) and he has enough for [its] redemption”].
Leviticus 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach <05381> (8689) unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake <05381> (8689) thee:… 45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake <05381> (8689) thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
II Samuel 15:14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake <05381> (8689) us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
Zechariah 1:6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold <05381> (8689) of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
We must remember that although His iniquities took hold of Him, He never succumbed to them (in that He never sinned Himself in thought, word, or deed). He could honestly say “I was also upright before [Jehovah], and I kept myself from mine iniquity (Psalm 18:23).” Christ, who had our iniquity and was made sin, kept Himself from our sin and iniquity because He never did any wrong. But this truth does not minimize the weight and reality of the fact that the Lord truly took upon Himself our sin. The passages below evidence this fact:
Psalm 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, [yea,] my soul and my belly. 10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. 11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
Psalm 32:1 [A Psalm] of David, Maschil. Blessed [is he whose] transgression [is] forgiven, [whose] sin [is] covered. 2 Blessed [is] the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit [there is] no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
Psalm 38:1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 [There is] no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither [is there any] rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink [and] are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome [disease]: and [there is] no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart….17 For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow [is] continually before me. 18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity (note: please see commentary below on this section of the passage); and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.
Psalm 69:1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness (‘ivveleth / H200 / folly in the sense of perversity in light of ‘eviyl, the root from which it derives); and my sins (‘ashmah / H819 / trespasses, guiltiness, guilt, offenses, wrong-doings) are not hid from thee. 6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. 8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. 9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Concerning Psalm 51, which contains some of the same language as the other passages, I dare to say that on a spiritual level this applies to the Lord as well. Some may vehemently object, and accuse of all manner of blasphemy, due (in particular) to verse 5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” However, I want to be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ was not shapen in iniquity upon His incarnation; He was and is the Lamb without spot or blemish. However, that word shapen in the Hebrew is chuwl (H02342) and according to the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon used by the Strong’s Concordance, in the pulal verb tense at issue, chuwl literally means (get this):”1c1) to be made to writhe, be made to bear.” The Mickelson lexicon likewise defines it as: “1. (properly) to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e. (specifically) to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of parturition) or fear; 2. (figuratively) to wait, to pervert.” Thus, the Lord Jesus was made to writhe (as in agony) in iniquity as He was made to bear that iniquity. However, even though this is the literal definition of the word, in the AV/KJV the pulal verb form for chuwl is never translated as to writhe, or to bear; it is most often translated in the sense of being brought forth (and thus in Psalm 51, it appears to be used in the same sense of being brought forth (or made) as poeio in II Corinthians 5:21). What is really interesting is that there are only three other verses that use the Pulal form of this word and each point us to the Lord Jesus Christ (albeit in a seemingly unrelated way). Consider the three verses (with context):
Job 15:5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7 [Art] thou the first man [that] was born? or wast thou made <02342> (8797) before the hills? 8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9 What knowest thou, that we know not? [what] understandest thou, which [is] not in us?
Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13 The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel [is] mine, and sound wisdom: I [am] understanding; I have strength. 22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When [there were] no depths, I was brought forth <02342> (8797); when [there were] no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth <02342> (8797) 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the Heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights [were] with the sons of men.
I don’t fully understand the above text or their full import, but clearly the Lord Jesus is in view in Proverbs 8:1-36 for the saints are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Christ Jesus, in light of His perfectly divine attributes, is wisdom. Moreover, when we carefully compare Proverbs 8:21-31 with Job 5:5-9, we see some very similar language. What is declared as truth in Proverbs 8, is portrayed in Job 15 as a negative charge against Job. I believe Job here is a picture of Christ and Eliphaz the Temanite is portraying the accuser. This would then tie-in with Psalm 51 as a picture of the Lord being accused, fully under judgment, and bearing the iniquity and punishment of His people. In the AV/KJV, when we look at chuwl in the other verb forms, we see that it is translated as some variation of the words sorrow, pain, fear, grief, travail, and tremble. This again points to what the Lord endured as He suffered from both the punishment of our sins, and from our sins themselves.
Going back to Psalm 51:5 (“in sin did my mother conceive me”), we see that spiritually, the Lord’s mother consists of all of the elect; we conceived Him and brought Him forth in our sin (i.e. in the sense that, because of our sins, it was necessary that the Lord be conceived and brought forth into this world, albeit Himself without spot or blemish). Concerning the elect as His mother, consider:
We see this in Matthew 12:49,50 in that Jesus: “…stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We see this also in Jeremiah 31:22 wherein we read “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man;” and why we read in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel;”
Finally, we see this in Revelation 12:1-17 ” And there appeared a great wonder in Heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered…. and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne…. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]…”
The Lord Jesus was the Man compassed by a woman (in His humanity, in His necessary conception from her, in His oneness with her via vital union, and in having her sins compassed about Him on the cross). The woman is all of those for whom He came to die, and live again (that they may die and live again with Him and in Him via that vital union – though not in their own person or experience as it pertains to the cross). The elect church is the one who was with child, travailing in birth, pained to be delivered, and who had Satan ready and waiting to devour her child as soon as He was born. The Lord Jesus was the one conceived and brought forth to rule the nations, and He was the one caught up unto God, and to His throne, in light of His finished work. Christ was washed throughly from His iniquity, and cleansed from His sin (Psalm 51:2 – which was our own) when He drank of the cup of God’s fury (Isaiah 51:17 -22) and was baptized with the fiery baptism with which He was baptized (Matthew 20:22,23). It was through the shedding of His own sacrificial blood (as typified by the hyssop), as He fully endured the wrath of God, that He was purged from our sins and had all of His iniquities (which were formerly ours) blotted out (v7).
When the Lord did as the Father commanded, fulfilling all that He was sent to do; when Christ declared triumphantly it is finished, He knew that the Father would be just to put away all those sins forever – not finding any of them in Him (it is in this sense that God is said to create a clean heart in Him and to renew a right spirit within Him (v10); He who was made sin, now ceased to be sin because all Had been accomplished to the utmost). By finishing the work, and enduring all that the Father poured out upon Him, Christ delivered Himself (and the Father delivered Him judicially and actually) from bloodguiltiness (v14). Though He felt as one utterly forsaken of God (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34), He was restored to that felt sense of communion and to that felt joy of salvation (v12). He was no longer as one cast away from the Father’s presence or as one who had the Holy Spirit taken from Him (v11). He was utterly free from our sins and thus He had freed us from our sins. As a result of what He accomplished, He could teach transgressors the Father’s ways; and sinners would be converted unto Him (v13).
X. Surely He hath borne our griefs, [for] the LORD hath put Him to grief
Isaiah 53:4 declares “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Please note the surely; surely doesn’t mean “through legal fiction or artificial legal constructs.” Surely means surely; and what is it that Jesus surely did? He surely has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. I believe this also points to how our Blessed Savior was made sin.
A. borne: The Lord hath borne our griefs; that word borne is nasa’ (H05375) and for my full study, please click on the following link: Word Study – Nasa‘ (borne/bear). For now, suffice to say that in the tense at issue (Qal), nasa’ literally means to lift, lift up, bear, bear up, carry, support, sustain, endure, take, take away, carry off, and forgive. In the AV/KJV, the word is most commonly translated as beared up, lifted up, beared, taken, carried, taken/carried away, borne, forgiven. This word is not a legal term, nor should it be interpreted legally. It describes a real bearing, enduring, carrying, taking. This is the same word used later in Isaiah 53 (v.12) where God declared that “He bare (05375) the sin of many.” So this bearing had to do with the actual bearing, or taking upon Himself, both of our griefs and of our sin. This makes total sense because the two things are yoked together: Where there is sin there are griefs; and where there are griefs there are sins.
Nasa’ is the same word translated as pardoneth in Micah 7:18 where we read: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by (‘abar: 05674 / 8802) the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” God pardons sin only because the Lord Jesus lifted up, bore, carried and endured our sins until He carried them off, taking them away forever. This evidenced God to be just in both pardoning and forgiving His people. To reinforce this truth, God uses ‘abar (H5674) to declare that He passes by our sins; ‘abar literally means “to pass over or by or through, alienate, bring, carry, do away, take, take away, transgress.” God indeed passes by our sins in light of the finished work of Christ. However, to emphasize how and why He passes them by, He uses this word that likewise relates to carrying, taking, taking away, and transgressing.
B. griefs: The word griefs is choliy (H2483) and it literally means sickness; in the AV/KJV it is translated as sickness twelve times, disease seven times, grief four times, and sick one time. It derives from the Hebrew primitive root word chalah (H2470), which means (amongst other things) 1) to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry; to make oneself sick; to be made sick; to be made weak, become weak.
Consider the usage of the word choliy.
Deuteronomy 7:14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness <02483>, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all [them] that hate thee.
Deuteronomy 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; 59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, [even] great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses <02483>, and of long continuance. 60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. 61 Also every sickness <02483>, and every plague, which [is] not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick <02483>, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
Jeremiah 6:7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually [is] grief <02483> and wounds.
Jeremiah 10:19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this [is] a grief <02483>, and I must bear it. 20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they [are] not: [there is] none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. 21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness <02483>, and Judah [saw] his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
We can see clearly that the Lord hath literally and truly borne our griefs. Those griefs are both the sins of the people, and the punishment for those sins. You cannot have one without the other; if the Lord did not literally bear our griefs, then He was not literally punished for our griefs. To turn this into a matter of legal fiction as to the bearing, but not a matter of legal fiction as to the griefs, is to totally disregard the clear wording and intent of God.
C. How did he bear them? Let’s briefly focus on how Christ came to bear our griefs. The how is made known to us; although the Lord did everything and suffered everything willingly, nonetheless it was the LORD (in particular, God the Father) who hath put Him to grief (as we read in verse 10). Put Him to grief there is literally, the LORD hath “made Him sick.” Remember that the word griefs/choliy means sickness and that it derives from the Hebrew primitive root word chalah (H2470), which means (amongst other things) 1) to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry; to make oneself sick; to be made sick; to be made weak, become weak.
In Isaiah 53:10, we see that word chalah (instead of choliy) being used when God made Christ sick (put Him to grief). God is punishing the Lord for sins present, not sins pretended. Consider the other two passages where chalah is used in the Hiphil (08818), Perfect (08816) form.
Hosea 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, [and] the troop of robbers spoileth without. 2 And they consider not in their hearts [that] I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. 3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. 4 They [are] all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, [who] ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. 5 In the day of our king the princes have made [him] sick (02470) (8689) with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. 6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. 7 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: [there is] none among them that calleth unto me.
Micah 6:9 The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and [the man of] wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. 10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure [that is] abominable? 11 Shall I count [them] pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? 12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue [is] deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore also will I make [thee] sick <02470> (8689) in smiting thee, in making [thee] desolate because of thy sins. 14 Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down [shall be] in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and [that] which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword. 15 Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine. 16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.
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 <H5445> [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 <H4341>.
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 <H4341> [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 <H4341> like unto my sorrow <H4341>, 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 <H4341>: 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). This is in keeping with the precept found in Deuteronomy 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Consider also Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
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.
For more on this bruising/crushing aspect, please consider the series titled “A Biblical Look At Wine In Light Of The Atoning Work of Christ;” it covers the same subject from a very different angle.
XV. A worm (grub/maggot) and no man
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; How astounding a thought is this; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calling Himself a worm. 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’ – in the sense of Him now experiencing the equivalent of the second death). 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).
Click Here for a PDF copy.