The “Broad Strokes” of Dr. Brown’s Position

The “Broad Strokes” of Dr. Brown’s Position

Towards the beginning of his most recent article,

https://askdrbrown.org/library/how-rabbi-blumenthal-missed-forest-trees-–-part-3

Dr. Brown presents
what he sees as the “broad strokes” of his position. He makes the claim
that these have not been successfully rebutted.

I will allow Dr. Brown to speak for himself.

“Before responding to Rabbi Blumenthal’s most recent article, let me
reiterate the broad strokes of my position, none of which have been
successfully rebutted to date. First, Israel was in exile for sin and
rebellion and therefore cannot be the subject of Isaiah 53, since the
subject of that chapter was a righteous individual who was not suffering
for his own sins. Second, the righteous remnant of Israel cannot be the
subject of Isaiah 53, since God judged the nations that mistreated His
people, and so their suffering brought judgment on the nations, not
healing. Third, there are no explicit references to the nation of Israel
as the servant of the Lord after Isaiah 48. Fourth, Isaiah 49 and 50
clearly focus on an individual servant, not a national servant. This is
in harmony with the thrust of Isaiah 49-53, in which the prophet
increases his focus on the nation but, much more so, focuses on the
individual servant within the nation, Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.”

I addressed each of these arguments many times over. Here is the
synopsis of my responses to these arguments. I leave it to the reader to
judge if Dr. Brown’s arguments have been refuted or not.

1) First, Israel was in exile for sin and rebellion and therefore
cannot be the subject of Isaiah 53, since the subject of that chapter
was a righteous individual who was not suffering for his own sins.

The text of Isaiah 53 does not say that the servant was not suffering
for his own sins. That is perhaps what a superficial read of the text
would lead one to believe, but the prophet does not say that. The
prophet says that the servant suffers for the sins of others but this in
no way precludes that his suffering also atones for his own sins.

2) Second, the righteous remnant of Israel cannot be the subject of
Isaiah 53, since God judged the nations that mistreated His people, and
so their suffering brought judgment on the nations, not healing. 

Not every nation persecuted God’s servant, those who did not persecute
the servant will be healed and blessed. The prophet tells us that in the
Messianic age all the nations will serve God together with Israel in the
Temple (Isaiah 56:7). Even those nations who did persecute the servant
and who will ultimately be judged at the time of the servant’s
exaltation, experienced healing and blessing until the time of their
judgment.

3) Third, there are no explicit references to the nation of Israel as
the servant of the Lord after Isaiah 48.

The prophet has other ways of expressing the concept “servant” without
using the actual word “servant.” And these expressions are used right up
to Isaiah 53. In 52:11, Israel is referred to as the “armor bearers” or
the “vessel bearers” of the Lord. These concepts both tell us that
Israel is not only a servant of the Lord, but a very significant servant
of the Lord (see 1Samuel 14:1; Numbers 10:21; Isaiah 61:6).

4) Fourth, Isaiah 49 and 50 clearly focus on an individual servant,
not a national servant. This is in harmony with the thrust of Isaiah
49-53, in which the prophet increases his focus on the nation but, much
more so, focuses on the individual servant within the nation, Yeshua,
the Messiah of Israel.”

Simply false. The prophet does not focus more on the individual servant
over the nation. The nation remains the primary character of Isaiah
right up until chapter 53. In chapters 51 and 52 the focus on the nation
intensifies greatly, while the individual servant isn’t mentioned even
once. If the focus of the prophet in the chapters preceding Isaiah 53
will determines the identity of the servant, it will have to be the
righteous of the nation and not the individual.

Judge for yourself.

This entry was posted in Response to Dr. Brown Line of Fire. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The “Broad Strokes” of Dr. Brown’s Position

  1. Annelise says:

    I don’y understand his fourth point. The collective nation can be, and is sometimes, refered to metaphorically as a single person. The whole debate is about whether that is happening here. So just the fact that the character is a single individual isn’t an argument at all for proving that it’s not intended a metaphor.

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