In this post I am again going to be tackling some other aspects of the following article https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/04/15/does-christianity-really-necessitate-ransom-for-salvation/.
The greenhorn who goes by the name question mark writes:
There is even more in the Bible. Trinitarian Apologists like Sam Shamoun who use the book of Isaiah to somehow establish vicarious atonement, conveniently ignores, if not outright discard, the following important passage from it:
“Turn to the LORD and pray to him, now that he is near. Let the wicked leave their way of life and change their way of thinking. Let them turn to the LORD, our God; He is merciful and quick to forgive. “My thoughts.” says the LORD, “are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.
“My word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for sowing and food to eat. So also will be the word that I speak – it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do. “You will leave Babylon with joy; you will be led out of the city in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into singing, and the trees will grow where now there are briars; myrtle-trees will come up in place of thorns. This will be a sign that will last for ever, a reminder of what I, the LORD, have done.” (Isaiah 55:6-13)
This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black! As we shall see, it is this neophyte who not only has completely ignored and discarded what Isaiah says concerning the necessity of the vicarious atoning death of the Messiah, but has also chosen to attack strawman by shamelessly misrepresenting what Christians actually teach regarding salvation.
The greenhorn further wrote:
Not just Israelites but even Egyptians, a non-Semitic civilization with no expectation of Messiah, would also be healed or in other words forgiven, if they repent:
“The LORD will punish the Egyptians, but then he will heal them. They will turn to him, and he will hear their prayers and heal them. (Isaiah 19:22)
Notice yet again that Jesus’ alleged crucifixion was not required for the forgiveness of sins and subsequent “healing”. All that Egyptians needed to do is to “turn back”, that is to repent through “prayers”, not belief in alleged would-be sacrifice of Christ (peace be upon him), and then God will forgive them.
The book of Isaiah is far from over. We quote yet another passage from it:
“Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isa 43: 24-25, King James Version, e-Sword version.)
Unlike Christian theology where sins are forgiven because of Christ’s alleged death’s sake, in the above passage, God emphatically asserts that He forgives sins of HIS OWN SAKE!
To begin with, let’s see what this Muhammadan shamelessly left out from the context of Isaiah 19:22:
“In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It shall be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt. For they shall cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Savior and a Champion. And He shall deliver them. The Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall worship with sacrifice and offering, they shall make a vow to the Lord and perform it. The Lord shall strike Egypt. He shall strike and heal it. Then they shall return to the Lord, and He shall be entreated by them and shall heal them.” Isaiah 19:19-22
Note the following part again:
“And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior (Moshia) and a Mighty One (Rab), and He will deliver them.” Isaiah 19:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
The very context of the passage speaks of God sending the Egyptians a Savior and Mighty One/Champion to deliver them from their oppression and sickness!
The prophet Isaiah also spoke of God sending a Redeemer to Zion in order to turn Israel away from ungodliness:
“Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was NO MAN and was astonished that there was NO INTERCESSOR; therefore, HIS OWN ARM brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay: fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will make recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. The Redeemer shall come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says the Lord: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your descendants, nor out of the mouth of your descendants’ descendants, says the Lord, from this time forth and forever.” Isaiah 59:15b-21
What makes this passage rather interesting is that God says that the Redeemer will come to Israel in the same context where he says that he was appalled that he couldn’t find anyone to help, which is why he was left with no choice but to use his own Arm to bring about salvation and judgment. Isaiah emphasizes this point by repeating it elsewhere in his inspired writing:
“‘Who is this who comes from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah? This one who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?’ ‘It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ ‘Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like him who treads in the wine vat?’ ‘I have trodden the winepress ALONE; and from the peoples there was NO ONE with Me. For I will tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I looked and there was NO ONE to help, and I was astonished, and there was NO ONE to uphold; therefore, MY OWN ARM brought salvation to Me; and My fury upheld Me. I will tread down the peoples in My anger and make them drunk in My fury, and I will pour out their lifeblood on the earth.’” Isaiah 63:1-6
This means that this Redeemer cannot be some mere creature, but must be an essential and intrinsic aspect of God’s own nature, being the very Arm or Power of God himself.
The reason why we know that this specific Redeemer is personally distinct from Yahweh is because he is the same One whom Isaiah says will save the nations by offering up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of world:
“See, My servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men; so he shall sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has THE ARM OF THE Lord BEEN REVEALED? For HE grew up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form or majesty that we should look upon him nor appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, he was bruised FOR OUR INIQUITIES; the chastisement of our peace was UPON HIM, and by HIS STRIPES we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has laid ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF MY PEOPLE HE WAS STRUCK. His grave was assigned with the wicked, yet with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; He has put him to grief. If he made himself AS AN OFFERING FOR SIN (asham), he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By HIS KNOWLEDGE My righteous servant shall justify the many, FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES. Therefore, I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, THUS HE BORE THE SIN OF MANY AND MADE INTERCESSION FOR THE TRANSGRESSORS.” Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Compare how the following versions render v. 11:
“After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.” Isaiah 53:11 Good News Translation (GNT)
“… My righteous Ebed will acquit many people because of what he has learned through suffering. He will carry their sins as a burden. Names of God (NOG)
The foregoing makes it abundantly clear that it is the Servant who is doing the actual saving. And note also that this Servant is expressly identified as the Arm of Yahweh sent to atone and intercede for sinners.
Thus, the Servant is both personally distinct from and yet identical with Yahweh God Almighty.
We will have more to say about this blessed and glorious Servant, and the role he plays in saving the world in our next installment https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/the-prophet-isaiah-islams-nightmare-pt-2/.