A continuation of my response to Dr. Brown’s article – https://askdrbrown.org/library/how-rabbi-blumenthal-missed-forest-trees-–-part-3
Redeemed, Redeemer and Priests
One of the central themes of Dr. Brown’s most recent article is the
recurrent question; “redeemer” or “redeemed?” The premise behind this
question is that Isaiah 53 describes a “redeemer” and since the
righteous of Israel are “redeemed” and not “redeemers” they cannot be
the servant of Isaiah 53.
I responded by pointing out that while it is true that the righteous of
Israel are “redeemed” but they also play an active role in God’s plan
for humanity and as such they are also redeemers. The point of my
argument is simply that contrary to Dr. Brown’s assertions, Scripture
assigns an active role to the righteous of Israel in the redemption process.
In his effort to refute my argument, Dr. Brown misrepresents my
position. Dr. Brown tells his audience that Rabbi Blumenthal
“consistently points to Israel rising through its own efforts to lead
the way in redemption.”
Needless to say I never said anything of the sort even once let alone
“consistently.” I clearly explained how the prophets described
Israel’s role in God’s process of redemption and I encourage the readers
to read what I wrote to understand my position and not trust Dr. Brown
who has consistently misrepresented my position.
In this article I will take the opportunity to expose how the underlying
premise of Dr. Brown’s argument is not rooted in Scriptural reality.
Dr. Brown’s question as to whether Israel is a “redeemer” or “redeemed”
is rooted in the assumption that Isaiah 53 describes the work of the
redeemer. But this is simply not true. Isaiah 53 describes the
consternation of the enemies of God’s servant when that servant is
redeemed. The arm of the Lord intervenes on behalf of the servant in
order to redeem him and that is what the nations of the world are
This should come as no surprise to Dr. Brown who insists that Psalm 22
describes the same scenario as Isaiah 53. Psalm 22 describes how a
suffering individual is saved and how his salvation brings glory to God.
The Scriptural theme which describes God saving a righteous individual
or nation while the nations of the world who witness this salvation gain
understanding and light, is repeated in Isaiah 52:10; Joel 4:16,17;
Micah 7:7:15,16; Psalm 69:36; 98:1-9; 102:16-23. Isaiah 53 is describing
a servant who is being redeemed. The prophet is not describing the work
of a redeemer.
Furthermore, Dr. Brown insists that the servant of Isaiah 53 is granted
the role of priest for the world in the Messianic age, interceding for the sinners and
bearing the responsibility of their sin and I agree with Dr. Brown in
principle, although I do not agree with his application. But what Dr.
Brown failed to realize is that if another word for the servant of
Isaiah 53 is “priest of God” then the prophet left us with no doubt who
it is that bears that title. Isaiah 61:6 clearly teaches that the
righteous of Israel are the priests of the world in the Messianic age.
It is clear that the function of priesthood is a function assigned to the
redeemed and not a function that identifies a redeemer. And it is also
clear that Dr. Brown’s vision for the Messianic age has no basis in the
reality of Scripture. According to Dr. Brown’s vision of the future,
Jesus fulfills the role of priest for the world. What priestly functions
will Jesus leave undone that the righteous of Israel need to fill in for