OLD TESTAMENT MESSIAH: A SINNER?
In the narrative book, Samuel, a bold prophecy to David describes a coming king destined to enjoy God’s enduring love.
2 Samuel 7:12-17
When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise you up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others. But my faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way. Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.
God says that this man will have the “throne of his kingdom forever.” Therefore Christians interpret this to mean the reign of the Messiah. Then the prophecy says, “when he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others,” in keeping also with the prophecy of Isaiah 53. (Some translations have “if he does wrong.”) But why state or imply Christ has done wrong? The answer is in the depth of God’s love. How deeply does God in His love identify with us? When Immanuel was with us, how far was He willing to go to show to us His saving love?
The following verse is one answer to this question.
2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This means that in God’s eyes, though Christ Jesus was blameless, He nonetheless became sin, even though God hates sin. Because God hates sin, we could then become the Savior’s accomplished righteousness, His glory. Again, the Bible says,
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.
This text refers to the Mosaic law declaring any hanged man to be accursed. (Deuteronomy 21:23) For us the key point is that Christ actually stood in the place of condemnation and the curse of punishment for us; it was our rightful place. A third text to show the meaning of the Samuel prophecy is in Peter.
1 Peter 2:24
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.
Here Peter speaks of that substitution: Christ bore our sins on the cross. That substitution is how we can now live for righteousness. Peter references Isaiah 53 to show it is Jesus’ stripes which heal us, meaning He was substituted for us, or sacrificed for us, and that punishment is the means of our healing. That passage in Isaiah is central, so let’s look at some of it again.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all…He was struck because of My people’s rebellion.
One can read in verse 10, (not quoted,) the Messiah’s soul is counted as a sin offering.
How can God be God and take our sins “upon Himself” so that He is regarded as the one who sinned? Right after He drank of the cup of His sorrows, His disciples were overcome with fear and fled when the Temple guards came to arrest their Master. Could the submission to God and drinking the cup have possessed a power to take on the guilt of man? The text does not say the cup He drank was what gave Him the burden of man’s sins. But the text does say the following,
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written,
I will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
When Jesus drank the cup of that cosmic affliction His disciples fled, seeming to forget His power, not discerning the Way of the Messiah. They did not know He could call for 12 legions of angels. They did not know the scriptures telling the paradox of His victory. But God’s weakness is stronger than our strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25) I am saying that at that moment, when God the Shepherd was struck, He was walking as a lamb. He was walking as one of the flock, and He became the slain lamb of God. (Genesis 22:8, John 1:29) Therefore the Shepherd suffers wrath for us.
The fact that Jesus was perfect may have enabled Him to take on the sin. A perfect divine God, completely innocent, being wrongfully killed after some trial, has been rejected by all man; all man is in debt to Him, and He has the power to forgive or not forgive. The occasion of wrong became the occasion of forgiveness.
In conclusion, we see in Galatians and Corinthians that Jesus is counted as our sin, and is counted as a curse for us. We know that this was the mechanism by which we are saved. We can see that the prophecy in 2 Samuel 7, saying that the Messianic King may do wrong and be beaten by a human rod and human blows is consistent with the New Testament. He is counted as doing wrong. This prophecy is actually very obscure without Christ, but Christian doctrine makes it plain. That is how far He sympathizes with our struggle on Earth. The work needed for salvation now is faith. (John 6:28,29)