Isaiah Essentials

Isaiah Essentials

Theme: Isaiah describes God’s judgment of sin, as well as God’s forgiveness, comfort and hope. Other than Psalms, Isaiah contains the most Messianic prophecies of any Old Testament book.

Author: The prophet Isaiah is identified as the book’s author, and other Scripture passages agree.

Date of Writing: The book of Isaiah was probably written between 700 and 680 BC.

Encouragement From Isaiah: “A bruised reed [the LORD] will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3).

Challenge From Isaiah: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30–31).

Reflection From Isaiah: “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’” (Isaiah 29:15).

Storyline

New Testament writers quote Isaiah frequently because it contains many predictions of the Messiah. Best known are those of Isaiah 53, which declares that “like sheep” all humankind has “gone astray,” but that the Lord has “laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (v. 6) so that He can “justify many” (v. 11). All those who trust in Jesus for salvation have the hope of “new heavens and the new earth” in which they will dwell forever with God (Isaiah 66:22).

 

The Christ of Isaiah

When he speaks about Christ, Isaiah sounds more like a New Testament writer than an Old Testament prophet. His messianic prophecies are clearer and more explicit than those in any other Old Testament book. They describe many aspects of the Person and work of Christ in His first and second advents, and often blend the two together. Here are a few of the Christological prophecies with their New Testament fulfillments: 7:14 (Matt. 1:22, 23); 9:1, 2 (Matt. 4:12–16); 9:6 (Luke 2:11; Eph. 2:14–18); 11:1 (Luke 3:23, 32; Acts 13:22, 23); 11:2 (Luke 3:22); 28:16 (1 Pet. 2:4–6); 40:3–5 (Matt. 3:1–3); 42:1–4 (Matt. 12:15–21); 42:6 (Luke 2:29–32); 50:6 (Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30); 52:14 (Phil. 2:7–11); 53:3 (Luke 23:18; John 1:11; 7:5); 53:4, 5 (Rom. 5:6, 8); 53:7 (Matt. 27:12–14; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19); 53:9 (Matt. 27:57–60); 53:12 (Mark 15:28); 61:1, 2 (Luke 4:17–19, 21). The Old Testament has over three hundred prophecies about the first advent of Christ, and Isaiah contributes a number of them. The odds that even ten of them could be fulfilled by one person is a statistical marvel. Isaiah’s messianic prophecies that await fulfillment in the Lord’s second advent include: 4:2; 11:2–6, 10; 32:1–8; 49:7; 52:13, 15; 59:20, 21; 60:1–3; 61:2, 3.

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 is the central passage of the consolation section (40–66). Its five stanzas present five different aspects of the saving work of Christ: (1) 52:13–15—His wholehearted sacrifice (burnt offering); (2) 53:1–3—His perfect character (meal offering); (3) 53:4–6—He brought atonement that issues in peace with God (peace offering); (4) 53:7–9—He paid for the transgression of the people (sin offering); (5) 53:10–12—He died for the effects of sin (trespass offering).

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 9:6, 7 and 53:6—“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (9:6, 7).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (53:6).

Key People in Isaiah

Isaiah —prophet who ministered throughout the reigns of four kings of Judah; gave both a message of judgment and hope (1–66)

Shear-Jashub —Isaiah’s son; name means “a remnant shall return,” denoting God’s promised faithfulness to His people (7:3; 8:18; 10:21)

Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz —Isaiah’s son; name means “hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey” denoting God’s coming punishment (8:1,3,18)

Key Doctrines in Isaiah

Christ as the Suffering Servant (49:1–57:21; Psalms 68:18; 110:1; Matthew 26:39; John 10:18; Acts 3:13–15; Philippians 2:8,9; Hebrews 2:9)

The first coming of the Messiah (7:14; 8:14; 9:2,6–7; 11:1–2; Ezekiel 11:16; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31; 2:34; John 1:45; 3:16; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 12:5)

The second coming of the Messiah (4:2; 11:2–6,10; 32:1–8; 49:7; 52:13,15; 59:20–21; 60:1–3; 61:2–3; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; Matthew 25:6; 26:64; Romans 13:11–12; Philippians 4:5; Revelation 3:11)

Salvation through Christ (9:6–7; 52:13–15; 53:1–12; Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 103:11–12; Luke 19:9; John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:21–24; 1 Timothy 1:15)

God’s Character in Isaiah

God is accessible —55:3,6

God is eternal —9:6

God is faithful —49:7

God is glorious —2:10; 6:3; 42:8; 48:11; 59:19

God is holy —5:16; 6:3; 57:15

God is just —45:21

God is kind —54:8,10; 63:7

God is Light —60:19

God is long-suffering —30:18; 48:9

God is loving —38:17; 43:3–4; 49:15–16; 63:9

God is merciful —49:13; 54:7–8, 55:3,7

God is powerful —26:4; 33:13; 41:10; 43:13; 48:13; 52:10; 63:12

God is a promise keeper —1:18; 43:2

God is provident —10:5–17; 27:3; 31:5; 44:7; 50:2; 63:14

God is righteous —41:10

God is true —25:1; 38:19; 65:16

God is unequaled —43:10; 44:6; 46:5,9

God is unified —44:6,8,24; 45:5–8,18,21–22; 46:9–11

God is unsearchable —40:28

God is wise —28:29; 40:14,28; 42:9; 44:7; 46:10; 47:10; 66:18

God is wrathful —1:4; 3:8; 9:13–14,19; 13:9; 26:20; 42:24–25; 47:6; 48:9; 54:8; 57:15–16; 64:9

Key Words in Isaiah

Light: Hebrew ‘or —2:5; 5:30; 10:17; 13:10; 30:26; 45:7; 58:10; 60:20—refers to literal or symbolic light. This Hebrew word often denotes daylight or daybreak (Judges 16:2; Nehemiah 8:3), but it can also be symbolic of life and deliverance (Job 33:28,30; Psalm 27:1; 36:9; 49:19; Micah 7:8,9). In the Bible, light is frequently associated with true knowledge and understanding (42:6; 49:6; 51:4; Job 12:25), and even gladness, good fortune, and goodness (Job 30:26; Psalm 97:11). The Bible describes light as the clothing of God: a vivid picture of His honor, majesty, splendor, and glory (Psalm 104:2; Habakkuk 3:3–4). A proper lifestyle is characterized by walking in God’s light (2:5; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 4:18; 6:20–23).

Blessing: Hebrew berakah —19:24,25; 44:3; 51:2; 61:9; 65:8,16; 66:3— comes from a verb expressing several significant ideas, namely “to fill with potency,” “to make fruitful,” or “to secure victory.” The word alludes to God’s promise to benefit all nations through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:3). When people offer a blessing, they are wishing someone well or offering a prayer on behalf of themselves or someone else (Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 33:1). Old Testament patriarchs are often remembered for the blessings they gave to their children. When God gives a blessing, He gives it to those who faithfully follow Him (Deuteronomy 11:27), providing them with salvation (Psalm 3:8), life (Psalm 133:3), and success (2 Samuel 7:29).

Servant: Hebrew ‘ebed —20:3; 24:2; 37:35; 42:1; 44:21; 49:5; 53:11—derives from a verb meaning “to serve,” “to work,” or “to enslave.” While ‘ebed can mean “slave” (Genesis 43:18), slavery in Israel was different than in most places in the ancient Middle East. Slavery was regulated by the law of Moses, which prohibited indefinite slavery and required that slaves be freed on the Sabbath (seventh) year (Exodus 21:2) and the Year of Jubilee, the fiftieth year (Leviticus 25:25–28). Sometimes the Hebrew word can refer to the subjects of a king (2 Samuel 10:19). But usually the word is best translated “servant.” God referred to His prophets as “My servants” (Jeremiah 7:25) and spoke of the coming Messiah as His Servant, the One who would perfectly obey His will (see 42:1–4; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13– 53:12).

Salvation: Hebrew yeshu ‘ah —12:2; 25:9; 33:6; 49:6; 51:8; 59:11; 62:1— describes deliverance from distress and the resultant victory and well-being. The term occurs most often in Psalms and Isaiah, where it is frequently used along with the word righteousness , indicating a connection between God’s righteousness and His saving acts (45:8; 51:6,8; 56:1; 62:1; Psalm 98:2). This word can be used for a military victory (1 Samuel 14:45), but it is normally used of God’s deliverance (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 13:5,6). The expressions the salvation of the Lord and the salvation of our God speak of God’s work on behalf of His people. The expression the God of my salvation is more private in nature, referring to the deliverance of an individual (12:2; 52:10; Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Psalms 88:1; 98:3).

Teaching Outline

  1. God’s overture to his people (chs. 1-6)
  2. Threat and promises (ch. 1)
  3. Present failure and future hope (chs. 2-4)
  4. Lament for God’s vineyard (ch. 5)
  5. Isaiah’s call and ministry (ch. 6)
  6. The hope of Immanuel (chs. 7-12)
  7. The contrast with faithless King Ahaz (7:1-9:7)
  8. God’s discipline and promises (9:8-10:34)
  9. Cosmic hope (chs. 11-12)
  10. King of the nations (chs. 13-27)
  11. Babylon to Egypt (chs. 13-20)
  12. Babylon to Tyre (chs. 21-23)
  13. The world is judged and Israel renewed (chs. 24-27)
  14. Trust and obedience (chs. 28-39)
  15. God’s judgment pronounced on human rebellion (chs. 28-33)
  16. A choice of two destinies (chs. 34-35)
  17. The example of faithful King Hezekiah (chs. 36-39)
  18. The Servant King (chs. 40-55)
  19. Here is your God! (ch. 40)
  20. The glory of God and the futility of idols (chs. 41-48)
  21. The servant’s work accomplished (chs. 49-53)
  22. The growth of God’s eternal kingdom (chs. 54-55)
  23. The Sovereign Conqueror (chs. 56-66)
  24. Faithfulness and trust in the waiting time (chs. 56-59)
  25. The glories of the King and his eternal kingdom (60:1-63:6)
  26. The prayer of faith (63:7-64:12)
  27. The ultimate triumph (chs. 65-66)

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