By Asher Intrater
The verb in Hebrew “nisa” – נישא – means “lifted up.” There is a beautiful string of verses in Isaiah with this word. In Isaiah 2:11-17, everything that is lifted up which does not glorify the Lord will be brought low. In Isaiah 6:1-3, there is a glorified King lifted up and sitting on the throne of God, worshiped by angels, crying “holy, holy, holy.” In Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, the servant of the Lord is high and lifted up in the midst of suffering and pain.
Is the Lord lifted up and glorious or is He lifted up and suffering? The answer of course is both. In Isaiah 57:15, the two images are resolved as the Lord is both lifted up, yet also dwells with the lowly.
The idea of the servant-king being “lifted up” is expanded in the New Covenant. John refers to Yeshua on the cross as “lifted up” to save all men (John 3:14; 8:28: 12:32-34). Yeshua is described as lifted up to heaven in the ascension in Acts 2:33, and sitting above all authorities in Ephesians 1:21 and 4:10. In Hebrews 7:26, the Messiah as our spiritual high priest is lifted up to heaven, holy and separated from sin.
If the vowels in “nisa” are flipped to “nasi” – נשיא – the verb changes to a noun, meaning, “the one who is lifted up.” In modern Hebrew, the word nasi means “president,” like Shimon Peres or Ronald Reagan. In medieval history, the Nasi was the head of the Jewish community in exile or head of the religious court. Judah the Nasi, the Prince, edited the Mishnah (first part of the Talmud).
At the end of the book of Ezekiel, there is an extended prophetic description of the millennial messianic kingdom on earth. The central figure throughout these chapters is a mysterious King. He is often called “The Prince.” But in Hebrew the word in all these chapters is not “prince” but “Nasi.”
It is possible that Ezekiel was referring to the prophecies in Isaiah. The glorious and holy king who is lifted up in Isaiah 6 is the same as the lifted up suffering servant of Isaiah 53, who is the same Messianic King, “Nasi” of Ezekiel’s kingdom. Yeshua is the Nasi, the suffering servant and glorified king. He is the “Lifted Up One.” As we lift Him up, He will draw all men unto Him (John 12:32).