“Because He Hath Poured Out His Soul Unto Death”
“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).
The Perspective of Divine Accomplishment. He hath Poured out His Soul unto Death. In the sufferings of Christ there was to be no holding back on His part. He offered up His body to God as a sacrifice for sins, and He poured out His soul unto Him as well. The offering up of His body is the part with which men, generally, are the most familiar, if there is any familiarity at all.
Foreshadowed in Drink Offerings. Drink offerings were commanded to be used along with the other sacrifices offered under the Law. “And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering” (Num. 28:7). “And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering” (Num. 6:17). “And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb” (Num. 15:5). “And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD” (Num. 15:7). “And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD” (Num. 15:10).
Prefigured in the Burning of the Rump and the Fat Covering the Inward Parts. “Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration” (Exo 29:22). In addition, the fat covering “the inwards” (the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them) of animals offered up unto the LORD were to be burnt upon the altar (Exod. 29:22).
The removal of the fat and the rump. All non-essentials for Christ making a complete and an acceptable sacrifice to God in our behalf were painfully removed from Him. Perhaps, included in these were the sensibility of His filial relation with the Father (Ps. 22:1), and the hallowed memory of “the glory” that He had with the Father “before the world was” (Jn. 17:5).
What Christ Tasted Of. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?” (Ps. 22:1). “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death” (Ps. 22:14-15).
Each of the above phrases are expressions of different excruciatingly painful inward sufferings that Jesus tasted of when He offered Himself to God in our behalf.
Psalm 102. At the end of the Hebrews chapter 1 Paul, through the Spirit, tells us that these words are giving expression to the inward sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. “A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (Ps. 102:1-13; see also vv. 23-27; cf. Heb. 1:10-12). In verses 23-27 of this Psalm the Father is addressing the Son, consoling Him, by reminding Him that the very environment that was, in the time of His humiliation almost overwhelming Him, was part of the heavens and the earth which the Son had created and that He also would roll up as a scroll, and discard it when the need for it was fulfilled. Only God can comfort in this manner!
When God seems like He is far away, that constitutes suffering. When one’s inward parts are distressed out of measure, that constitutes suffering. When the heart, the seat of one’s affection to the Lord, momentarily loses its ability to be affected as before, that constitutes suffering. When strength Godward is diminished or dried up, that constitutes suffering. When the tongue is unable to give loving expression to God as at former times, that constitutes suffering. When living seems, for the time, like it is pointless, that constitutes suffering. Coming from any other man besides Jesus Christ, these words would not be worth listening to, but coming from the Son of God they are a stanza of the song of redemption.
In all of these expressions pertaining to the Lord Jesus Christ and His inward sufferings, this did not at all involve a willful distancing of oneself from God, but rather it was a sense and perception, keenly felt by Him, that God had distanced Himself from Him. At this point the sins of the world were being laid upon Him, and so God could not look upon Him with favor as before. Here we are brought face to face with some of the mystery of godliness: God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (II Cor. 5:18-19), By Himself Christ purged our sins (Heb. 1:3).
Incidentally, Christ’s suffering entailed the removal from a state and condition unto which He had rightfully belonged and had been blessedly acclimated. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, the removal was voluntary on His part. “In the volume of the book it is written of Me, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” From one perspective, this voluntary removal was brief and temporary, but from another it seemed to Him, particularly while on the Cross, like the wheels of time were barely rolling forward.
In our case, suffering entails being removed from a state and a condition for which we, in the purpose of God, were originally created. In God’s Presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. We were created to dwell in God’s Presence, to be a people near unto Him, and ultimately to be incorporated into the Godhead. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (Jn. 17:20-23).
His Soul Was Poured Out unto Death. Rachel,“when her soul was in departing” (Gen. 35:18). Death is essentially a separation, a separation of the soul from the body. He said, it is finished, and gave up the ghost. “And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit” (Mt. 27:50, ASV). With the Lord Jesus Christ this was done voluntarily. He literally dismissed His Spirit. “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (Jn. 10:17-18).
He Emptied Himself. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross” (Phil. 2:5-8). He “emptied Himself” (ASV). –Al Stoner