Isaiah’s Book of the Messenger of Glad Tidings

Isaiah, the Book according the ESV Study Bible.

Here you can find some fragments from one of the Study Bibles of English Bible translations which we use as one of our Standard Bibles, namely the ESV.

[1:1] The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.(Isaiah 1:1 ESV)

[The Futility of Idols] [21] Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. [22] Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. [23] Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. [24] Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. [25] I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. [26] Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words. [27] I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!” and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news. [28] But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. [29] Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.  (Isaiah 41:21-29 ESV)

[53:1] [g]Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has [h]the arm of the LORD been revealed?  (Isaiah 53:1 ESV) [Cross References][g] Cited John 12:38; Romans 10:16 [h] See ch. 51:9

The opening words of the book explain that this is “the vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz” (1:1). Unlike Jeremiah, who discloses aspects of his inner personal life (e.g., Jeremia 20:7–12), Isaiah says little about himself.

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible
Book of Isaiah page of the Bible - Image via Wikipedia

Isaiah prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (1:1).

The title presents the book as “the vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz” (1:1). Israel’s prophets were indeed seers (2 Kings 6:15–17; 17:13; Isaiah 29:10; 30:10). Isaiah himself “saw the Lord” (6:1), but his visionary insights were made shareable by being put into a written message: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw” (2:1). Isaiah’s book is a vision in that it reveals, through symbols and reasoned thought, a God-centred way of seeing and living. It offers everyone the true alternative to the false appearances of this world.

The NT refers to passages throughout the book as the work of Isaiah (see Matthew 3:3; 4:14–16; 8:17; 12:17–21; 13:14–15; 15:7–9; Mark 7:6–7; Luke 3:4–6; 4:17–19; John 1:23; 12:37–41; Acts 8:27–35; 28:25–27; Romans 9:27–29; 10:16, 20–21; 15:12). The NT acknowledges no other author or authors. The testimony of Jesus in John 12:41 is especially instructive: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” “These things,” which is plural, refers to the two previous quotations in John 12:38 (using Isaia 53:1, from the so-called “Second Isaiah”) and John 12:40 (using Isaiah  6:10, from so-called “First Isaiah”), but Jesus refers to the one person, Isaiah, who both “saw his glory” and “spoke of him.”

The Bible’s sole interest is in Isaiah’s message, which is summed up in the meaning of his name: “Yahweh is salvation.”

The predictive material in chapters 40–66 is highly relevant both to the exilic audience and to Isaiah’s own day. Certainly it demonstrates the Lord’s rule over history; these chapters appeal to it for that purpose (e.g., 41:21–29), and Josephus ( Jewish Antiquities 11.5–7) records a story of the impression the specific predic­tion of Cyrus (Isaiah  44:28) made on the Persian monarch when he learned of it (a prediction made about 150 years in advance).

The whole book portrays God’s plan for Judah as a story that is headed somewhere, namely, toward the coming of the final heir of David who will bring light to the Gentiles. Israel was created for this very purpose, and it will require that God’s people be purified of those members whose lives destroy that mission (see note on 1:24–28). This prospect of a glorious future enlists all believing readers to dedicate themselves to living faithfully and to embrace the dignity of playing a part in its development (cf. 2:5).

At the heart of Isaiah’s message is God’s purpose of grace for sinners. If that ultimate miracle is accepted—and one cannot be a Christian without accepting it—then a lesser miracle is no barrier. Indeed, the prophet making predictions of future events is not a problem; it is, as Isaiah intended it to be, encouraging evidence of God’s sovereign salvation intercepting a sinful world.

The central theme of the book is God himself, who does all things for his own sake (48:11). Isaiah defines everything else by its relation to God, whether it is rightly adjusted to him as the gloriously central figure in all of reality (45:22–25). God is the Holy One of Israel (1:4), the One who is high and lifted up but who also dwells down among the “contrite and lowly” (57:15), the Sovereign over the whole world (13:1–27:13) whose wrath is fierce (9:12, 17, 21; 10:4) but whose cleansing touch atones for sin (6:7), whose salvation flows in endless supply (12:3), whose gospel is “good news of happiness” (52:7), who is moving history toward the blessing of his people (43:3–7) and the exclusive worship due him (2:2–4). He is the only Saviour (43:10–13), and the whole world will know it (49:26). To rest in the promises of this God is his people’s only strength (30:15); to delight themselves in his word is their refreshing feast (55:1–2); to serve his cause is their worthy devotion (ch. 62); but to rebel against him is endless death (66:24).

Isaiah announces God’s surprising plan of grace and glory for his rebellious people and, indeed, for the world. God had promised Abraham that through his descendants the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:1–3). God had promised David that his throne would lead the world into salvation (2 Samuel 7:12–16; Psalms 89:19–37).

The purpose of Isaiah, then, is to declare the good news that God will glorify himself through the renewed and increased glory of his people, which will attract the nations. The book of Isaiah is a vision of hope for sinners through the coming Messiah, promising for the “ransomed” people of God a new world where sin and sorrow will be forever forgotten (35:10; 51:11).

Key Themes

With God himself as the center of Isaiah’s vision, multiple supportive themes are entailed:

1. God is offended by religious ritual, however impressive, if it conceals an empty heart and a careless life (1:10–17; 58:1–12; 66:1–4).

2. God’s true people will become a multinational community of worship and peace forever (2:2–4; 19:19–25; 25:6–9; 56:3–8; 66:18–23), and the predominant culture of a new world (14:1–2; 41:8–16; 43:3–7; 45:14–17; 49:19–26; 60:1–22).

3. God opposes all manifestations of human pride (2:10–17; 10:33–34; 13:11; 16:6; 23:9; 28:1–4).

4. The foolish idols that man creates are destined for destruction (2:20–21; 19:1; 31:6–7; 44:9–20; 46:1–7).

5. Though God’s judgment will reduce his people to a remnant, his final purpose is the joyful triumph of his grace (1:9; 6:1–12:6; 35:1–10; 40:1–2; 49:13–16; 51:3; 54:7–8; 55:12–13).

6. God is able to judge people by rendering them deaf and blind to his saving word (6:9–10; 28:11–13; 29:9–14; 42:18–25).

7. The only hope of the world is bound up in one man—the promised Davidic king (4:2; 7:14; 9:2–7; 11:1–10), the servant of the Lord (42:1–9; 49:1–13; 50:4–9; 52:13–53:12), the anointed preacher of the gospel (61:1–3), and the lone victor over all evil (63:1–6).

8. God is actively using creation and history, and even the wrongs of man, for his own glory (10:5–19; 13:1–27:13; 36:1–39:8; 40:12–26; 44:24–45:13).

9. With a great and holy God ruling all things, man’s duty is a repentant trust in him alone (7:9; 10:20; 12:2; 26:3–4; 28:12, 16; 30:15–18; 31:1; 32:17–18; 36:1–37:38; 40:31; 42:17; 50:10; 55:1–7; 57:13, 15; 66:2).

10. God’s people, feeling abandoned by God (40:27; 49:14; 51:12–13), foolishly put their trust in worldly powers (7:1–8:22; 28:14–22; 30:1–17; 31:1–3; 39:1–8).

11. God will uphold his own cause with a world-transforming display of his glory (4:2–6; 11:10; 35:1–2; 40:3–5; 52:10; 59:19; 60:1–3; 66:18).

12. God uses predictive prophecy to prove that his hand is guiding human history (41:1–4, 21–29; 44:6–8; 44:24–45:13; 46:8–11; 48:3–11).

13. God’s past faithfulness and the certainty of his final victory motivate his people toward prayer and practical obedience now (56:1–2; 62:1–64:12).

14. The wrath of God is to be feared above all else (5:25; 9:12, 17, 19, 21; 10:4–6; 13:9, 13; 30:27; 34:2; 59:18; 63:1–6; 66:15–16, 24).

Though Isaiah denounces hypocrisy, greed, and idolatry as offenses against God, he also foresees the Savior of offenders, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God-with-us (7:14), the child destined to rule forever (9:6–7), the hope of the Davidic throne (11:1), the glory of the Lord (40:5), the suffering servant of the Lord (42:1–9; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13–53:12), the anointed preacher of the gospel (61:1–3), the bloodied victor over all evil (63:1–6), and more.

Isaiah’s message makes an impact on every reader in one of two ways. Either this book will harden the reader’s pride against God (6:9–10; 28:13; 29:11–12) or it will become to the contrite reader a feast of refresh­ment in God (55:1–3; 57:15; 66:2).

~

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

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  • Bible in 90 Days 23: ISAIAH (kevmill.wordpress.com)
    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.
    You can read all about what was happening during Isaiah’s career in 2 Chronicles 26-31. There were some major spirituals ups and downs from idolatry to purging the whole country of idolatry and reinstating real worship. As with any human called to a spiritual leadership role, Isaiah certainly would have gone through his fair share of ups and downs as well. However, throughout the book, he maintains a strong message of loyalty to the ONE GOD. Isaiah 8:13 sums up his message well…

    But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. – Isaiah 8:13

  • The Servant in Isaiah 40-55, scholarly interpretations – individual and/or collective identities (vridar.wordpress.com) an outlined history of scholarly interpretation of the Servant Songs in Isaiah 40 – 55 by Ulrich Berges, concluding with his own reasons for understanding the Servant who suffers yet saves as a literary personification of a prophetic community in the restored Jewish province under the Persian empire (SJOT, Vol.24, No.1, 28-38, 2010).
    Burges’ view is that the authors of the second half of Isaiah (chapters 40 to 66) came to see themselves “more and more in the line of the prophet Isaiah and his disciples and created for the sake of their own identity the literary figure of the servant. . . “

    Thus out of the blind and deaf servant Jacob/Israel grew the faithful servant who had the task of bringing the dispersed back to YHWH (49:6). They understood themselves as the ideal Israel tested and called by God in the furnace of the exilic affliction. (p. 36)

    The above interpretation of the Servant as a personification of a group is consistent with a literary fashion of the time. That is, “theological problems of post-exilic times are encapsulated in a concrete literary figure.”

    Thus Job represents the problem of why the innocent suffer.

    Lamentations 3 portrays a suffering person epitomizing endurance under the wrath of God.

    The confessions of Jeremiah represent the fate of the persecuted prophets. “These confessions stem from prophetic circles who projected their own controversial situation onto the life of Jeremiah, their master, to find consolation and hope.” Burges observes that the Servant in the third song (50:4-9) is more clearly a prophetic figure than in the previous two songs, and suggests that this indicates a later development in accordance with analogies with Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

    The servant becomes increasingly an ideal figure of a genuine prophet suffering on behalf of YHWH and his word. (p. 37)

    The titles of numerous Psalms present David as a faithful sufferer for YHWH. The Septuagint strengthens this development.

    Prayers of Ezra 9:6-15, Daniel 9, the book of Judith are along the same lines of

    personification in order to strengthen collective or “group identities”.

    Thus the literary figure of Zion/Jerusalem in the latter half of Isaiah (40-66) represents sometimes the victim of God’s punishment and also the hope of coming restoration. Israel is not only the servant, but also a wife/mother who suffers.

    It would seem a fruitful enterprise to take up and revitalize the older debate about corporate personalities in the Old Testament by the newer insights of post-exilic role and problem-oriented literary features. At the end that might lead to an inversion of the perspective: not from the individual concept to the collective but from the collective to the individual. Certainly then what is at stake is not a discussion about collective or individual identity but about collective and individual identity. (p. 37)

  • Tenakh/Hebrew/Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus Christ, Messiah (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
    Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies made hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years before Jesus Christ was born.
  • The (Literary) Servant in Isaiah and (the Literary?) Jesus in the Gospels (vridar.wordpress.com)
    One sees in Isaiah an overlap between the Servant as Israel and the Servant who is the personal prophet, or more strictly the personification representing a prophetic community.

    Such a literary technique — constructing or attributing to a literary persona the issues and experiences being grappled with by the authorial community — is not unique to Isaiah. It is found in relation to David, Jeremiah, Judith, Daniel, Ezra, the mourner in Lamentations.

    One sees an overlap between Jesus as an epitome of Israel at the opening of the Gospel of Mark (going along with the majority view of this Gospel being the first written of the canonical Gospels) and Jesus as a unique person, too. Observe his emergence from the waters of the Jordan and his going out into the wilderness for 40 days and compare Israel crossing the Red Sea to enter the wilderness for 40 years; but also his uniqueness as a person by being designated the Son of God. Observe both his own submission to persecution and his call for his followers to identify with him by taking up their own crosses.

    So Jesus in this first of the canonical gospels can be understood as a personification of the community he has been portrayed to represent.

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14 thoughts on “Isaiah’s Book of the Messenger of Glad Tidings

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    Some interesting statements are at the beginning of this article about Isaiah which dont agree with my Bible NKJV and many others.
    You said “The NT acknowledges no other author or authors” which is not correct, depending on what you men by author. If you mean an author of a complete book of the Bible then Moses is referred to many times and he was the author of the first 5 books of the Bible known by the name Pentateuch.

    Moses Mentioned or quoted from the OT in:- Matt 8:4; 17:3,4; 19:7,8; 22:24; 23:2; Mark 1:44; 7:10; 9:4,5; 10:3,4; 12:19,26; Luke 2:22; 5:14; 9:30,33; 16:29,31; 20:28,37; 24:27,44; John 1:17,45; 3:14; 5:45,46; 6:32; 7:19,22,23; 8:5; 9:28,29; Acts 3:22; 6:11,14; 7:20,22,29,31,32,35,37,40,44; 13:39; 15:1,5,21; 21:21; 26:22; 28:23; Rom. 5:14; 9:15; 10:5,19; 1Co. 9:9; 10:2; 2Co. 3:7,13,15; 2Ti. 3:8; Heb. 3:2,3,5,16; 7:14; 8:5; 9:19; 10:28; 11:23,24; 12:21; Jude 1:9; Rev. 15:3;

    David is one person who wrote Psalms is quoted or mentioned from the OT in :-

    Mat. 1:1,6,17,20; 9:27; 12:3,23; 15:22; 20:30,31; 21:9,15; 22:42,43,45; Mark 2:25; 10:47,48; 11:10; 12:35,36,37; Luke 1:27,32,69; 2:4,11; 3:31; 6:3; 18:38,39; 20:41,42,44; John 7:42; Acts 1:16; 2:25,29,34; 4:25; 7:45; 13:22,34,36; 15:16; Rom. 1:3; 4:6; 11:9; 2Ti. 2:8; Heb. 4:7; 11:32; Rev. 3:7; 5:5; 22:16;

    Isaiah is only quoted by name in the following NT scriptures:- Mat. 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14; 15:7; Mark 7:6; Luke 3:4; 4:17; John 1:23; 12:38,39,41; Acts 8:28,30; 28:25; Rom. 9:27,29; 10:16,20; 15:12;

    Have I misunderstood your meaning?

    Isaiah is seen by many as a mini bible as the first 39 chapters like the first 39 books of the Bible are filled with judgement upon immortal and idolatrous men. The final 27 chapters of Isaiah like the last 27 books of the bible declare a message of hope. The messiah is coming as a Saviour and a King to bear a cross and to wear a crown.

    Blessings

    Like

    1. Dear Sir, naturaly we would totally agree that Moses is referred to many times as author of the first 5 books of the Bible known by the name Pentateuch.

      Perhaps the sentence “The NT acknowledges no other author or authors.” was not so clear for you or we should phrase it differently: it meant that (as you can see from the beginning of the article) that it is “Isaiah, the Book according the ESV Study Bible.”which is the Book of Isaiah taken under the light and that according to the findings of the English Standard Version Study Bible there is no other author mentioned than Isaiah for that Book what we take here under consideration: the Book of Isaiah.

      According to us, as you shall find in other articles, this work written during the reigns of four Kings of Judah was as all the other works in the Holy Scripture the Word of One Author: God Jehovah who used either one or more men. According to us if more than one author was involved in the composition this fact is totally lost to history, and tradition on the matter begins at about 180 B.C. (Ecclus 48:22-25) The DSS include many copies of the book and numerous references to it, which ascribe it to Isaiah, as we mentioned also in the article who is the only one named for that book in the New Testament.

      The best preserved scroll of the Qumran treasures is the great Isaiah scroll found at the first, which dates from around 150 B.C. and gives no hint of a division at chapter 40, the spot at which critics allege a break.

      We do know that many accept the thought that Deatero-Isaiah chapters 40-55 are written by somebody else than Isaiah as well as the Trito-Isaiah chapters 56-66.
      According to the Encyclopaedia Britanica it was an anonymous prophet in exile who wrote the collection of oracles, songs and discourses, dating from the Babylonian Exile (6th century B.C.)
      The servant-of-Yahweh songs in Deutero-Iasaiah (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52::13-53:12) have generated animated discussions among scholars, and as in many denominations you shall probably find more than one opinion also in our brotherhood, about how many writers would have been involved to pen it down.

      Certainly because the ideas reflected in the songs could suggest that they were written under the influence of the ideology of the king – the anointed one who through his righteous rule, had the power to effect his people’s deliverance.

      As you could have found out in the mentioned Bible Study Day the sayings from the ESV translation came also under attention of different speakers at the conference. And it was as it can be noted by many historians brought forward that the diversity of materials in the above mentioned chapters suggest multiple authorship.

      But than how the three “Isaiahs” came together is not known … and as mentioned in the article on this website in the New Testament there is not spoken of three but only one author for this particular book.

      Like

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