Isaiah prophet and messenger of God

Isaiah prophet and messenger of God

Isaiah, (Hebrew Yesha’yahu, “God is salvation”) (8th century BC, Jerusalem, ancient Israel), the largest and probably the most universally cherished of the Old Testaments prophetical books. The biblical Book of Isaiah is named after him but only some of the first 39 chapters are attributed to him.

Isaiah was a significant contributor to Jewish and Christian traditions and is mentioned repeatedly in 2 Kings and three times in 2 Chronicles. His name appears sixteen times in the book that bears his name.[1]

It is in his theology that Isaiah leans most heavily on Israelite tradition and shows an acquaintance with the thoughts of Amos. Isaiah shared with him and with the people the long-standing tradition that a special bond united Israel and its God. Since patriarchal times there had been an agreement, a solemn “Covenant” between them: Israel was to be God’s people and He their God.

According to this account Isaiah “saw” God and was overwhelmed by his contact with the divine glory and holiness. He became agonizingly aware of God’s need for a messenger to the people of Israel, and, despite his own sense of inadequacy, he offered himself for God’s service: “Here am I! Send me.” He was thus commissioned to give voice to the divine word.

Isaiah knew Israel’s God as a just and consequent orderly God who loved His creation. To God persons mattered. God was, in fact, more concerned about people than about how His subjects performed for Him their rituals. For Isaiah it was clear that God shapes history, traditionally entering the human scene to rescue His people from national peril. But, according to Isaiah’s discomfiting surmise, God could intervene quite as properly to chastise his own aberrant nation, and he could employ a human agent (e.g., a conquering foe) to that end.

A scroll of the Book of Isaiah
A scroll of the Book of Isaiah - Image via Wikipedia

Isaiah speaks of a sign of God, the coming Rod of Jesse, and a divine child who would become a wonderful king of David‘s line without giving the time.[2] This son Immanuel[3] given to the world would be the long awaited saviour, the Messiah, and the faithful servant[4] of the Only One God. The servant will raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved of Israel and be a light to the nations and God’s salvation to the ends of the earth.[5] Magnificently hopeful passages in this Bible book constantly mingle with the prevailing atmosphere of doom. Later in the New Testament we do find Jesus entering the synagogue in Nazareth reading a scroll of Isaiah. When Jesus read: “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1 ASV) he also said “Today this scripture has been fulfilled”[6] To us today we can be happy when our eyes see the things the apostles could see:[7] As for the apostles the words of Isaiah have come true, so for us. We have to give our ear to those writings and by Bible study we will get knowledge; and seeing, we will see.[8] And Jesus told the people he was the anointed and went out to proclaim the Good News or Glad Tidings (the Gospel). God’s salvation hospitality shall be extended and the wretched of the earth shall be evangelized and learn that God is on their side. [9]

Isaiah warns Ahaz to mend his ways, because before the Messiah would come, the Assyrians would invade and bring tragedy greater than the division of Ephraim from Judah, but they also would have to face their downfall and the burdens would be taken away from God’s people, whom He never shall abandon or forsake.[10] But there was an alternative to tragedy; God’s people did not have to be destroyed. The people’s survival depended on their acceptance again of the ancient moral demands. By returning they might be saved.

Israel is the object of God’s care and forgiving grace (44:1, 2, 2.1, 22). God is the agent; the servant is the recipient. God calls Cyrus for the sake of Israel (45: 4), but the situation later becomes more obscure (50: 4-10)[11]. Christ‘s humiliation is noticeable (50: 6), but the New Testament does not quote verses 4-10. The context does not imply that the suffering is vicarious; it says that God will help His servant. [12]

Isaiah tells about a servant who will do well in his undertakings and will be honoured, and lifted up, and be very high. He notifies also that people shall be surprised at this ordinary looking man. So will nations give him honour; kings will keep quiet because of him: for what had not been made clear to them they will see; and they will give their minds to what had not come to their ears. Men made sport of him, turning away from him; he was a man of sorrows, marked by disease; and like one from whom men’s faces are turned away, he was looked down on, and we put no value on him. Men were cruel to him, but he was gentle and quiet; as a lamb taken to its death, and as a sheep before those who take her wool makes no sound, so he said not a word. But it was our pain he took, and our diseases were put on him: while to us he seemed as one diseased, on whom God’s punishment had come. But it was for our sins he was wounded, and for our evil doings he was crushed: he took the punishment by which we have peace, and by his wounds we are made well.

Isaiah prophesises that this given innocent person would have put his body into the earth with sinners, and that his last resting-place was with the evil-doers, though he had done no wrong, and no deceit was in his mouth. But we may know that Jehovah God was pleased, made clear his righteousness before men. For taking the sins of all people on him he will have a heritage with the great, and he will have a part in the goods of war with the strong, because he gave up his life, and was numbered with the evil-doers; taking on himself the sins of the people, and making prayer for the wrongdoers.
We can know that the Almighty God Jehovah was satisfied and made His sincerity for men clear. For to take the sins of all men on himself Jesus will receive an inheritance with the big ones, and he will have a part in the goods of the war with the strong, because he wanted to give his life, and figured under the wrongdoers; taking over of the sins of the men, and making a prayer for wrongdoers.  [13]
Here we find explicit reference to Christ (Matthew 8:17; Luke 22:37; John 12:38; Acts 8:32, 37; Romans 10:16; 15:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:22, 24,25). Jesus ‘sinoffering is that marvellous gift we can use to follow our path to righteousness and salvation.

Isaiah brings together the promises of the suffering servant, the Son of David, and the Lamb of God.

The prophet Isaiah succeeds in his target to be a joy bid. He knows to announce the Good News that God through the renewed and increased glory of its men will bring apotheosis over this world. The book of Isaiah became a vision of hope for sinners through the coming Messiah, that promises for the “redeemed” men of God a new world were sin and sorrow for good will be forgotten (35:10; 51:11).

Bibliography:

S.H. Blank, Prophetic Faith Isaiah (1958), stressing thought and significance; Prophetic Faith in Isaiah and others (1980);
O. Eissfeldt, Einleitung in das- Alte Testament, (3rd Edition 1964; Eng. trans., The Old Testament: An Introduction, pp. 301-346, 1965), on the history of interpretation, with bibliography;
R.L.Harris, Isaiah, 1975;
E.J. Kissane The Book of Isaiah, 2 vol. (1941-43, vol. 1 revised edition 1960);
J. Lindblom, Prophecy in Ancient IsraelT (1962), an excellent general introduction to Israelite prophecy;
F.L. Moriarty, “Isaiah 1-39,” in The Jerome Biblical Comentary, vol. 1 (1968), these three quite different in approach;
R.B.Y. Scott, “The Book of Isaiah,” in The Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 5, pp. 151-164 (1956), for literary analysis;
E Sellin, Einleitung in das Alte Testamt 10th ed. rev. and rewritten by G. Fohrer (1965; Eng. trans., Introduction to the Old Testament, 1968), on the structure of the book, with bibliography;
B. Vawter, The Conscience of Israel (1961).


[1] The earliest recorded event in his life is his call to prophecy as now found in the sixth chapter of the Book of Isaiah; this occurred about .742 BCE (before the Common Era = BC). The vision (probably in Jerusalem Temple) that made him a prophet is described in a first-person narrative, for only Isaiah could tell of this intimate experience. (S.H.Bl.; Macropaedia 9 p 908, Encyclopaedia Britannica)

[2] “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon His Kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJ21)

[3] “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 KJ21)

[4] King David is also called the Lord’s servant; Nebuchadnezzar, likewise (Jeremiah 27:6). Jeremiah also calls Jacob (the nation) God’s servant (Jeremiah 46:27, 28 ). Zerubbabel is called God’s servant (Hagai 2:23). Zechariah called the Branch of David “my servant” (Zechariah 3: 8 ) and Ezekiel in the same v. calls Jacob (the nation) and David God’s Servant (Ezekiel37: 25).

[5] “and He said: ‘It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.’”” (Isaiah 49:6 KJ21)

[6] “”The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,” (Isaiah 61:1 KJ21) + “And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” And all bore Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And He said unto them, “Ye will surely say unto Me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal thyself! Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.’” And He said, “Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you in truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. But unto none of them was Elijah sent, save unto Zarephath, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian.” Then all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him unto the brow of a hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.” (Luke 4:16-30 KJ21)

[7] “And He turned unto His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”” (Luke 10:23-24 KJ21)

[8] “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.” (Matthew 13:14 KJ21)

[9] “”The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (Luke 4:18 KJ21)

“the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5 KJ21)

“Then Jesus answering said unto them, “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard: how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached.” (Luke 7:22 KJ21)

[10] “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts: “O My people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian. He shall smite thee with a rod and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease, and Mine anger in their destruction.” And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and as His rod was upon the sea, so shall He lift it up after the manner of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his baggage. They are gone over the passage; they have taken up their lodging at Geba. Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim; cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth. Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee. As yet shall he remain at Nob that day; he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror; and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And He shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.” (Isaiah 10:24-34 KJ21)

[11] “”The Lord GOD hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. He wakeneth morning by morning; He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave My back to the smiters and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth Me. Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is Mine adversary? Let him come near to Me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help Me. Who is he that shall condemn Me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His Servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” (Isaiah 50:4-10 KJ21)

[12] These statements could apply to Christ, but it is not clear that they do. (R.L.Harris; Isaiah, the Servant poems)

[13] “”Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many as were astonished at thee—His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men— so shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him. For that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He hath poured out His soul unto death. And He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 52:13-53:12 KJ21)

+++

 

  • Bible in 90 Days 23: ISAIAH (kevmill.wordpress.com)
    Old Testament prophecy can make for a pretty heavy and challenging read at times according Kevin Miller.
    Prophecy was a unique calling in the Old Testament days. God singled out certain people that He gave specific words to. These people were then to speak those words to the others and obey them with unflinching loyalty. The challenge was that much of what they had to talk about was God’s wrath…which didn’t make them too popular. In fact, many people identify the man mentioned at the end of Hebrews 11 who got sawn in two, as the prophet Isaiah.

    Another interesting thing about Isaiah is that it is considered to be somewhat of a mini-Bible because of the many similarities between the book and the Book. Here’s a run-down of some of the similarities between the 2…

    The Bible: 66 books

    Isaiah: 66 chapters

    The Bible: 2 divisions – Old Testament (39 books), New Testament (27 books)

    Isaiah: 2 divisions – the first 39 chapters, the last 27 chapters

    The Bible: Old Testament focused on the law, New Testament focused on grace

    Isaiah: chapters 1-39 focused on the law, chapters 40-66 focused on grace

    The Bible: one of the first New Testament characters is John the Baptist, introducing the way of Christ by quoting Isaiah 40:3.

    Isaiah 66 is all about the end of the world. In fact, he even speaks of the new heaven and new earth, which sounds very familiar if you’ve read Revelation (which we’ll read in just a few weeks).

  • This brings us to the Importance of the Old Testament in New Testament StudyWhenever we come to a study of the New Testament the first thing to keep in mind is that the writers were steeped in the Old Testament and looked to it as the divine revelation of God’s truth. It was their source of knowledge about God, and the place from which they obtained their ideas.
    Having acted in creation the Spirit is continually mentioned in the carrying forward successfully of God’s purposes.
  • The Old Order Has Passed On (goldenbible.wordpress.com)
    So why again was the Spirit of the Lord on him? Not because he was brave; not because he was strong enough; not because he (Isaiah, the prophet who is speaking) was such a good boy. But because he was appointed by God to “bind the brokenhearted” and to  ”free the captives” (etc).
  • As stated into many Books of the Bible and from the answers in the Book of Job we get to know that it shall be impossible to comprehend fully the One and Only One God.
    The Spirit of the Lord was Isaiah, the prophet who is speaking because he was appointed by God to “bind the brokenhearted” and to  ”free the captives” (etc).
    According Dawn Marie in Importance of the Old Testament in New Testament Study: The Holy Spirit the continual failure of God’s people showed that only by an act of divine power could God’s purposes be fulfilled, and all the prophets hold out the vision of such action. However, the connection with the Spirit is mainly brought out by Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel.
    We can see from these examples that the Spirit is evidenced by His activity through selected people, and one of the proofs of His presence is final success. The idea is present of the invisible, yet powerful, personal activity of God through chosen men to carry forward His purposes.
    Having acted in creation the Spirit is continually mentioned in the carrying forward successfully of God’s purposes.
  • Isaiah is quoted from or referred to in the New Testament at least twenty times. A few examples follow, with Isaiah’s words in How many scriptures of Isaiah were used in the New Testament (wiki.answers.com)

 

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