I'm realizing the Book of Isaiah isn't as straight forward as the other books I've read so far on this trip through the Scriptures. Reading it feels a tiny bit like reading Revelation without an interpreter to lead the way. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Isaiah isn't as complicated as Revelation, but I do need some background information to put things into context.
I wish I had sought out this information before starting the book. But that's okay. Better late than never! So, instead of leaving any of my own impressions here, I feel compelled to share some more notes from my husband's trusty old Bible.
Thomas Nelson Publishers, copyright 1976.
I think I'll give it a nickname -- "Old Faithful." I've referred to our old friend several times since starting this journey. And, if you're also reading in Isaiah, I pray these notes provide some clarity for you, too. Tomorrow, I'll share some of the notes from my Archaeological Study Bible, as well. In the meantime...
The prophets were more than foretellers. They were men raised up of God in a decadent day when both priest and king were no longer worthy channels through which the expressions of God might flow. These men not only spoke of events in the far off future but also spoke of local events in the immediate future.
If the local event did not transpire just as the prophet predicted, he was labeled a false prophet and so treated.
The prophetic books are filled with events that are local and fulfilled.
The correct perspective of the Kingdom must be gained through the eyes of the Old Testament prophets.
Most of the prophets moved in an orbit of obscurity and anonymity. They did not project their personalities into the prophecy they proclaimed. (Except for Jeremiah and Hosea.)
Isaiah 6 records the personal call and commission of Isaiah. This chapter should come first in the prophecy – logically, if not chronologically.
Isaiah 36-39 is the historical section which records the ministry of Isaiah during the crisis when the Assyrian host encompassed Jerusalem.
Theme: As the New Testament presents the Lord Jesus Christ as its theme, so Isaiah presents the Lord Jesus Christ as his theme. Isaiah has been called the 5th evangelist, and his book the 5th Gospel.
Christ’s virgin birth, His character, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His second coming are all presented in Isaiah with definiteness and clarity. (See 1 Peter 1:10; cp. Luke 4:16-22 with Isaiah 61:1-4.)
The prophecy of Isaiah is strikingly similar to the entire Bible which can be seen in the following comparison:
BIBLE / ISAIAH
66 books / 66 chapters
39 books (Old Testament) / 39 chapters (Law, Government of God)
27 books (New Testament) / 27 chapters (Grace, Salvation of God)
Also, there are 66 direct quotations from Isaiah in the New Testament.
The prophet had to speak into a local situation and in respect to contemporary events of his day. If his prophecy failed to materialize, then he was declared a false prophet (Deut. 18:20-22). If the matter came to pass, he was declared a true prophet.
Isaiah prophesied into many local events. When Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army, Isaiah made a very daring prophecy –
Isaiah 37:33 – The king of Assyria shall, nor come into the city nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
Isaiah 38 – Also see his prophecy concerning the sickness of Hezekiah.
There were other prophecies which were not fulfilled in his lifetime, but today they stand fulfilled.
Prophecies concerning Babylon in Isaiah 13:19-22 and chapter 47 were proven to be accurate. More than 50 miles of the walls of Babylon have been excavated. The city lies in dust and debris as prophesied by Isaiah.
*Join my one-year trip around the world of Scripture. You’re invited to take this journey with me, as I meditate on God’s Word day and night. Each morning, you’ll find a post on my Facebook page encouraging my new #Biblebuddies along the way. And each night, I’ll be writing my impressions right here at listen2leslie.com. I’d love it if you’d share your comments, to spark some fruitful discussion. The only passport you’ll need for this journey is the Read Scripture app which provides us with our daily itinerary. You’ll love this app because it contains videos by The Bible Project that serve as our tour guide. Traveling is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with, so please join me, will you?
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