From the Editor Nov/Dec 2021
When I was eight years old, I had a friend named Mary. She moved to Vermont from California, lived two houses away, and attended Catholic school. Every year I’d watch her family prepare for Christmas. They would decorate their home and bake cookies and trim a big Christmas tree and pile presents underneath it in their living room.
Being Jewish, I always felt a little left out. One year I wanted to give Mary something so badly I took one of my Bobbsey Twins books, wrapped it in plain brown paper, used knitting yarn to tie a bow, and hiked through the snow to put it under her tree. Then I walked home, watched the snow fall to the ground, and wondered what Christmas was really all about.
Today, of course, I no longer wonder. I know what Christmas is about—and the true point of the holiday is surprisingly more Jewish than Gentile. It’s about how a faithful, covenant-keeping God fulfilled His promise to His people Israel to send them a Messiah. What could be more Jewish than that?
According to newtestamentchristians.com, there are 351 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in Jesus. The book of Isaiah contains 125 of them, 35 of which appear in chapter 53. That means a full 10 percent of all the prophecies God gave Israel about the Messiah appear in this amazing chapter of His Holy Word.
Is it any wonder people instantly recognize Jesus when you read them Isaiah 53? God intended it to be so! It was part of His grand, inimitable design.
However, Satan, the enemy of our souls, contorts and distorts everything. Through various means, including Jewish persecution in the name of Christ, he has tried to rob Israel of its divine heritage and squeeze almost every ounce of biblical truth from the holiday we set aside for focusing on and rejoicing over the birth of the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world.
So we’re devoting this issue to Isaiah 53 and giving you the entire text of Isaiah 52:13—53:12 on page 16.
Isaiah wrote, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (9:6). Some 700 years later, the angel Gabriel told shepherds in Bethlehem of Judea, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ [Messiah] the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).
We hope you enjoy this issue and this “Jewish” holiday. Merry Christmas! Or, as they say in Hebrew, Chag Sameach! Happy Holidays!
Waiting for His Appearing,