Is Isaiah 53 talking about the Messiah or Israel?
The passage applies to the Messiah and not to Israel for several reasons:
- The Holy Spirit affirmed that Isaiah was talking about the Messiah (Acts 8:32-35).
- The language of Isaiah 53 speaks of an individual person, not a nation (cf. 53:2-4; compare “he” of verse 2 to “my people” of verse 8).
- The victim in Isaiah 53 is innocent (v. 9); the book of Isaiah as a whole shows Israel being guilty.
- Isaiah’s victim passively endures the abuse heaped upon him (v. 7), but the nation of Israel fought for their survival to the bitter end.
- The benefits of the death of the Individual in Isaiah 53 were passed on to others (vs. 5, 11-12). The destruction of the Jewish nation held no such benefits.
Thus, Isaiah 53 is solely speaking of Jesus.