I have heard phrases like this many times. On the surface, it’s a paradox, but underneath lies real meaning. People often say that those who fail to learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it. But the paradox I’m referring to here is how someone can write about the future, in past tense.
Isaiah 53 is just such script. The entire chapter (written a little over 500 years before the birth of Christ) is written in past tense. Yet most scholars agree that the text is about the Crucifixion of Christ, which happened 33 years AFTER the birth of Jesus. So even if Isaiah is predicting the upcoming events that will happen around 550 years in the future, why does he write it in past tense. I believe my answer can be applied to other similarly written texts, including Revelation.
Our lives here on earth flow in a linear plain. There is a beginning and an end, a start and a finish. With a linear timeline, events happen in order, past, present and future. However, I don’t believe the timeline of Heaven works the same way. In a world where there is no beginning and no end, a linear timeline just doesn’t make sense. Events would not occur one before the other. So when God “pulls back the curtain” for the prophet Isaiah, what he sees is a world where this crucifixion has already occurred. Many scholars will argue that God simply showed Isaiah the future, and this is completely possible and believable (certainly easier to wrap your head around). But I believe when God opens that door to view Heaven, to various prophets and to John (in writing Revelation), I believe God is showing them the present, as it is in Heaven.
I believe this because if Isaiah had ‘seen the future’ he would still be able to write the text in the future context. Verse 5 would read “But He will be pierced for our transgressions; He will be crushed for our iniquities.” Instead he writes it in the past because in the timeline of eternity, this has already occurred.
Again, this is my perception, my belief. If you agree with many scholars that God simply shows these men what will happen in the future, you are in good company. But I believe that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” and is present in the timeline of eternity. No matter what scripture is quoted or theories presented, this is simply something we will not know the full truth about until we’re there ourselves. So while I don’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my theory is correct, I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will have the chance to learn that truth when I join my Father in Heaven.
If you don’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will be united with your Father in Heaven, please email me. I would love to discuss it with you.