Who Shall Declare His Generation?
“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
“In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.”
- There are many precious clauses and statements in this great prophecy, but we focus on one of them.
- Isaiah asked three questions in his long prophecy of Messiah’s death, and this is the third (Is 53:8).
- Philip 700 years later was able to explain the passage to the eunuch as applying to Jesus (Acts 8:33).
- There is no greater subject than Jesus Christ the Savior of sinners. Examine your heart and priorities.
- Isaiah 53 is one of the longest and most detailed prophecies of Jesus and crucifixion.
- Isaiah 53:8 has three parts; we want to differentiate them and isolate on the question.
- Part #1 is the first clause: He was taken from prison and from judgment.
- Instead of His trial discovering truth, Jesus was unjustly turned over to crucifixion.
- This clause states the travesty of justice of Jesus’ trial, sentencing, and execution.
- Instead of protecting Him to fulfill their offices, Pilate and Herod condemned him.
- Though faultless before envious enemies, a murderer worthy of death was freed.
- The priests, who were to rightly apply God’s law, were rabid to cause his death.
- Though not literally or strictly imprisoned, he was confined for intent of a trial.
- His grave was not prison nor His death judgment: the first clause is not a victory.
- Part #3 is the third clause: For the transgression of my people was he stricken.
- His untimely and unjust torture and death were the means of saving God’s elect.
- Stricken. Struck with a blow. Afflicted with desease or sickness; overwhelmed with trouble or sorrow, and the like. See Is 53:4; 1:5; 16:7; Judges 5:26; Lam 4:9.
- The blows, pain, torture, and trouble of his last night and day had a definite goal.
- Jesus died a substitutionary death for His elect people, which is stated well here.
- His wicked trial and death were not chance or Fate, but His way to cover our sins.
- Part #2 is the middle of the verse with two clauses, the second explaining the first.
- Our attention is focused on the first clause: and who shall declare his generation?
- But it is explained by the second: for he was cut off out of the land of the living.
- The question must be combined with the reason for the question as the middle part.
- What future or legacy could He have, since He was murdered in the prime of life?
- The question is to be answered negatively, just like the two that open the chapter.
- From a natural viewpoint, as the questions in 53:1, Jesus had no family or progeny.
What is a generation here?
- Commentators show considerable confusion and variation here with this short clause.
- It is not the role of a public crier asking for testimony of his life to prove innocence.
- It is not his mother or legal father or their genealogies, for those are known perfectly.
- It is not his age or race, for these are known perfectly well by testimony of scripture.
- It is not the history of his life and death, for they are both carefully documented for us.
- It is not those wicked men living contemporaneously with Jesus in the land of Israel.
- It is not his contemporaries failing to account for his death as redemptive for others.
- It is not the Origenistic heresy of eternal generation, for that is a blasphemous lie.
- It is not the incontrovertibly great mystery of his incarnate sonship, for it is declared.
- It is not His glorification and generation as God’s firstborn by resurrection from death.
- It is not how long he shall live and reign as Christ of God, for his eternity is certain.
- His generation here is His descendants, seed, children, heirs, progeny, family, etc.
- Context must rule, for it determines word definitions; it describes a shortened life.
- Jesus was unjustly murdered, cut off in his life’s prime, without right judgment.
- By natural viewpoint and earthly observation, He was destroyed without posterity.
- The question is to be answered negatively, just like the two that open the chapter.
- He had no descendants, dynasty, family tree, legacy by His early and terrible death.
- His biography, downward genealogy, and His royal seed were cut off by murder.
- Generation. I. The action of generating. The act or process of generating or begetting physically; procreation; propagation of species. II. That which is generated. Offspring, progeny. Descendants, posterity.
- For scriptural usage of generation as family or posterity (Psalm 49:13,19; 109:13).
The glory of a generation
- Children’s children crown old men, but you must have children to have any (Pr 17:6).
- Children are a blessing of the Lord and of great value to a man (Ps 127:3-5; 128:3-6).
- Consider how God honored Job at the end of his life with generations (Job 42:16-17).
- Consider Abram’s frustration at God withholding a generation from him (Gen 15:2-3).
- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were often promised a numerous seed by God (Gen 15:5).
- God built David a house by promising a Son on his throne forever as a huge blessing.
- Due to perverse thinking today, the gift of children and a family tree are no big thing.
- Conception, birth, and genealogies are major events and things throughout the Bible.
- Genealogies extend from father to son from creation all the way to Jesus and then end!
The promise of a generation
- God told Abraham he would have a seed like the earth’s dust (Ge 13:16; 15:5; 22:17).
- In 2000 B.C. Jacob prophesied Shiloh of Judah would gather the people (Gen 49:10).
- David foretold his Son would have a serving seed as His generation (Psalm 22:30-31).
- Jesus did not have a normal, natural generation of children, but a spiritual family.
- You are told by God the Holy Spirit to account a spiritual seed for His generation.
- You should appreciate how the Bible is its own very best commentary (I Cor 2:13).
- These children would perpetuate the history of His justification for righteousness.
- By fathers to children and ministerial succession, the gospel mystery is declared.
- What a privilege and duty to declare what great things Jesus Christ hath done!
- What did Jesus do in context? Here is the most graphic picture of His crucifixion!
- His generation includes Gentiles – all the ends of the world (Ps 22:27). Hallelujah!
- His generation includes Gentiles – all kindreds of the nations (Ps 22:28). Glory!
- For much more about Psalm 22.
- David exhorted the church to forget earthly relations for spiritual ones (Ps 45:16-17).
- This love song describes Jesus Christ’s marriage to the church in great splendor.
- There would be numerous spiritual children for princes in the earth (Re 1:6; 5:10).
- These children are the seed and generation of Jesus Christ in the church (Ep 3:15).
- David concluded his matter by promising perpetual memory and praise to Christ.
- For much more about Psalm 45 (see also).
- David foretold God would save and build Zion for His servants’ seed (Ps 69:35-36).
- David prophesied of a generation or seed identified by birth in Jerusalem (Ps 87:1-6).
- The only Jerusalem that counts is the one in heaven (Gal 4:25-26; Heb 12:22-24).
- It describes an Ethiopian born in the city of God – think the eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)!
- Isaiah prophesied of a seed of Jesus Christ, which is His generation forever and ever.
- God would destroy the nation of Israel, but He would reserve a holy seed (Is 6:10).
- A spiritual fulfillment of children for signs and wonders is the church (Is 8:18).
- A root of Jesus would be an ensign and rest for Gentile people (Isaiah 11:10-16).
- Jesus undergoing the torment of His crucifixion death saw His seed (Isaiah 53:10).
- Caiaphas, by power of the Holy Ghost, spoke of Jesus’ generation (John 11:49-52).
The obtaining of a generation
- Jesus by death on the cross secured sons and children to Him forever (Heb 2:10-17).
- This is our adoption as the sons of God by the Beloved (Ep 1:3-6; Gal 4:4-7; I Jn 3:1).
- His generation is mostly Gentiles (Acts 15:13-18; Gal 4:21-31; Rev 5:9-10; 7:9-10).
- This family is Abraham’s seed and David’s house (Gal 3:16,28-29; Acts 15:13-18).
- Gentile reader! You are part of the generation of Jesus Christ unseen at the cross then.
- Bless God that all three questions (Isaiah 53:1,8) are fulfilled in you very powerfully.
Who shall declare his generation?
- The main issue is not to find a person or persons that could, would, or should tell of it.
- The real issue is He had no generation for any to tell of, for he was killed without one.
- His generation, or seed, was not natural or physical, but rather spiritual and heavenly.
- A huge mega-church in heaven is waiting for the rest of His generation to be added.
- The family of God includes those on earth along with those in heaven (Eph 3:14-15).
- We shall also take care of the lesser issue, for we shall declare His great generation!
- As we observe the Lord’s Supper, our communion is our unity as one body of Christ.
- Let us go from this place to let our lives and lips express our family ties to the Christ.
- Bible reading in Genesis at the beginning of this new year introduced our Creator God Jehovah to us.
- But as we read further in His divine library, we learn His Son Jesus Christ and us His beloved seed.
- We are the generation, the family or posterity, the brethren or the seed, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Let us shout and serve with perfect fidelity for the honor of our Lord and Savior, Father and Brother.