Consider Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV), which is commonly interpreted as a prophecy that the Messiah would die for the sins of the world:
4Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
It seems apparent that the majority of Jews at the time, did not interpret this passage (and others) to mean that Jesus was the Messiah, until after Christ died. This seems to be common with many (maybe most or all) Biblical prophecies: There is sufficient detail to identify once an event has occurred, but not sufficient detail to predict when a prophesied event will occur.
So my question: Did Isaiah understand his own prophecies, in the sense that we do today? Would Isaiah, for instance, have known that the Messiah would die for the sins of the world? If Isaiah had met Christ before His death, would he have realized he was the Messiah?
Or were Isaiah's own words enigmatic to him as they were to the rest of the world, prior to the fulfillment of the prophecies?