The Lord was willing to be tempted even to the passion of the cross, because He was the essential Prophet.
Prophets formerly signified the doctrine of the church from the Word, and therefore the state of the church was represented by them in various ways, some of which were unjust, grievous, and abominable, and these representations were enjoined upon them by God. But because the Lord was the Word itself, He, as the essential Prophet, represented in the passion of the cross the Jewish church in its ways of profaning the Word.
To this reason another may be added, namely, that thereby He might be acknowledged in the heavens as the Savior of both worlds; for all things pertaining to His passion signified things pertaining to the profanation of the Word; and while men of the church understand these naturally the angels understand them spiritually.
That the Lord was the essential Prophet is evident from the following passages:
The Lord said, A prophet is not without honor save in his own country and in his own house (Matt 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24).
Jesus said, It is not meet that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem (Luke 13:33).
Fear took hold on all, praising God, and saying that a great prophet is risen up among us (Luke 7:16).
They said of Jesus, This is the prophet of Nazareth (Matt. 21:11; John 7:40, 41).
That a prophet was to be raised up from the midst of the brethren to whose words they should hearken (Deut. 18:15-16).
Surely He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all by His knowledge He hath justified many, in that He hath borne their iniquities (Isa. 53:4, 6, 11). This whole chapter treats of the Lord’s passion.
That the Lord as the essential Prophet represented the state of the Jewish church with regard to the Word is evident from the particulars of His passion; as that He was betrayed by Judas: was seized and condemned by the chief priests and elders; that they buffeted Him; smote Him on the head with a reed; put a crown of thorns on His head, divided His garments, and cast lots for His vesture; crucified Him; gave Him vinegar to drink and pierced His side; that He was buried; and that He rose again the third day.
His betrayal by Judas signified — He was betrayed by the Jewish nation, which then possessed the Word (for Judas represented that nation); His seizure and condemnation by the chief priests and elders signified — this was done by the whole Jewish church; their buffeting Him, spitting in His face, scourging Him, and smiting Him on the head with a reed, signified — they did like things to the Word in respect to its Divine truths; their putting a crown of thorns upon His head signified — they falsified and adulterated those truths; their dividing His garments and casting lots upon His vesture signified — they dispersed all the truths of the Word, but not its spiritual sense, the Lord’s vesture signifying that sense; their crucifying Him signified — they destroyed and profaned the whole Word; their offering Him vinegar to drink signified — the truths they had were wholly falsified, and therefore He did not drink the vinegar; their piercing His side signified — they wholly extinguished everything true and good in the Word; His burial signified the rejection of everything — was left in Him from the mother; His resurrection on the third day signified — His glorification, or the union of His Human with the Divine of the Father.
Evidently, then, “bearing iniquities” does not mean taking them away, but it means representing the profanation of the truths of the Word.
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