Q. My dad’s pastor says that Isaiah 53:4-5 do not apply to the Church because the “we” in those verses refers to Israel. Isn’t the word of God for us all to appropriate and apply no matter who it was written to at the time?
A. Because it’s one of the most theologically powerful chapters in the Bible, Isaiah 53 is sometimes called the Holy of Holies of the Old Testament. It’s been estimated that more Jewish people have come to believe that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah because of a study of Isaiah 53 than for any other reason.
It’s also been called Israel’s national confession, which they will offer to the Lord when He finally pours out on them the spirit of grace and supplication spoken of in Zechariah 12:10-14 shortly before the 2nd Coming. So you can see why it’s so strongly identified with Israel.
Isaiah 53:4-5 says, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed.”
There are many verses in the Bible that are intended for a specific people or a specific time. But Isaiah 53:4-5 are not included among them. Certainly it was addressed to Israel, but if the promises of Isaiah 53:4-5 didn’t also apply to the Church then we wouldn’t see them being fulfilled in the Church.
Every born again believer in the Church was saved by the Lord’s death, meaning He was pierced for our transgressions as well.
And many Gentile believers have been supernaturally healed, which means we are also healed by His wounds. The fact that these promises have been confirmed in the Church demonstrates that they were not given to Israel alone, but to all who believe that Jesus is not only the Messiah of Israel but the Savior of the whole world (Isaiah 49:6).