INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ISAIAH Print E-mail

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH, THE MAN AND THE PROPHET

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, the year of our Lord

 

Isaiah stands at the head of “The Prophets,” the third great section of the Old Testament.   Before starting a book, I like to get-to-know the prophet, his person, his vision and his commission.

 

The New Testament says that Isaiah “saw the glory of Christ and spoke of him” (John 12:41).

 

Isaiah’s place at the head of the prophetic books is well deserved.  There is nothing to equal his tremendous vision of God, and the glory in store for God’s people until we reach John’s book of Revelation.

 

The books of the Prophets belong to the time of the nation’s decline, the exile, and the return to their homeland.  They span altogether a period of 250-300 years. 

 

God sent these prophets on a daunting and sometimes dangerous mission.  They were for the most part dispatched at the eleventh hour, to try to halt the people’s headlong rush to destruction; to warn them of judgment; to call them back to God in repentance---and after the great crash came, to comfort the survivors with the assurance of God’s continuing love and purpose for them.  The prophets went out in the burning conviction that they had a message from God.

 

The present prophetic revelation movement should do no less.  The Lord released a greater grace of prophecy to the church over the past 30-years.  Many who were sent to call the people back to God have used that grace to build a name for themselves for the purpose of a “purse” and “platform”.

 

The books of prophecy look forward to Christ in expectation.  Isaiah and Micah predict international salvation through the coming of Christ (Isa. 52:10).

 

“…The prophetic element of scripture is the eye of the Holy Writ with supernatural vision---back-sight, insight and foresight, or power to see into the past, present, and future.  It is the miracle of utterance, as other miracles are wonders of power.  The reflection of the omniscience of God reflects the image of the Glory of God.” (Paraphrased from Arthur T. Pierson, D.D.)

 

Isaiah is “the gospel according to Isaiah,” and the Book of Salvation.  It is the Book of Complete Deliverance.  The Salvation of Jehovah is the subject of his prophecies. 

 

The Hebrew word for “Isaiah is “Yesha” “Yahus” and means “Jah has saved.”  Isaiah can also mean “help of Jah; the deliverance of Jehovah; welfare of Jehovah; prosperity of Jehovah”.

 

 

 

Isaiah is found in the Old Testament 32 times (8 x 4 - A New Day for the whole creation!)

 

 

The Greek word for “Isaiah” is “Hesais”.  It is rendered in the KJV as “Esais” and is found 21 times in the New Testament. (7 x 3 = perfection or complete salvation in fullness and substance –)

 

1 Thess. 5:23:  The very God of peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Isaiah was a prophet of the Southern Kingdom, Judah,  at the time the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was destroyed by the Assyrians.

 

The Lord has always used the Assyrians as an instrument of judgment.  That our nation was attacked on 9-11 by Assyrians speaks of the Lord’s judgment beginning against the U.S.A.  We are still considered to be enemies of a large segment of the Assyrian population and they definitely want to kill us.

 

Isaiah received His call in the year of King Uzziah’s death, but according to Isa. 6:1, he had received visions prior to His call.  The Lord trains his prophets in His school of the prophets before he sets them into the Office of Prophet.  Do not doubt, anyone who is called into the Office of Prophet will be set apart alone with the Lord.  The ministry of the prophet is a lonely one.  However, the ministry of the evangelist is equally lonely.

 

I have the best part as a full-time Pastor, part-time prophet, occasional evangelist, full-time teacher, writer, preacher, and Apostle on call.

 

Isaiah was slain by Manasseh.  Isaiah resisted Manasseh’s idolatrous decrees, and was fastened between two planks and “sawn asunder”.  This is thought to be referred to in Hebrews 11:17.  Tentatively we may place his active ministry at about 745-695 B.C (60 years of full-time ministry).

 

Even though his visions are presented in one book, there conceivably could have been months and years between visions.

 

Rabbinic history has it that Isaiah’s father, Amoz (not Amos the prophet), was a brother of king Amaziah.  This would make Isaiah first cousin to king Uzziah, and grandson of king Joash, and thus royal blood, a man of the palace.

 

He wrote other books, which have not been preserved to us:

 

1.  “The acts of Uzziah:

 

II Chron. 26:22: “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.”

 

2.  A book of the Kings of Israel and Judah:

 

II Chron. 32:32: “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.”

 

Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament more than any other prophet.  The Lord graced him with incredible gifts and an incredible mind.  The most learned minds of the 21st century still are stretched to reach the heights of Isaiah.  In some of his rhapsodies he reaches heights unequaled by Shakespeare, Milton or Homer.  He excelled in poetry of the highest order, brilliance of imagery, and versatility of expression.  No other prophet approaches Isaiah (except the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation) in the horizon of his message, or in the grandeur and dignity of his manner of speech.

 

He was married to a woman, whom he calls “the prophetess” and who bare him at least two sons, whose names, like his own, were divinely appointed for signs.

 

Isa. 7:3a “Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you and Shearjshub, your son.  (“Shearjshub” a remnant shall return and be converted.)

 

Isa. 8:3:  I went to the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said the Lord to me, “Call his name Ma’her-shal’al-hash’-baz "(swift is booty---speedy is prey). (Vs. 4) “For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, my father and my mother, the riches of Damascus and spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria

 

 

Isa. 8:18:  Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has give me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwell in Mount Zion.”

 

It is my persuasion that the Scroll of Isa. 8:1 in which Isaiah was instructed to write the name of His unborn son has not lost the power of the Word of God made flesh, past, present, or future.

 

Isaiah was a strong and commanding personality.  He became a statesman, and wielded a tremendous influence for good in national affairs.  He was a true prophet as well as a faithful servant of Jehovah, willing to pay the price of true patriotism and unswerving fidelity to God.  In faithfulness to both God and his nation, he declared the most unwelcome truths with great earnestness and boldness during the reigns of the five kings towards whom he maintained an uncompromising attitude whenever necessary.

 

In the 18th century, liberal higher criticism began to teach that the book had more than one author.  I do not believe that for one second.

 

The New Testament witness of the Book of Isaiah is consistent in quoting “Isaiah the prophet”.  There couldn’t have been but one.  The book as a whole claims to be the work of one Isaiah.  The unified character and contents of the book fit the claim of 1:1.

 

All of Jewish tradition attributes the whole book to one Isaiah.  The same literary style, thoughts, phrases, and even figures of speech run throughout the entire book.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH:

 

Hopefully as we are able to comprehend the historical background, we can better understand the message of Present Truth from Isaiah for the Kingdom of God today.

 

After the death of Solomon, the kingdom divided into the northern Kingdom of Israel with its capital at Samaria, and the southern Kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem.  Isaiah ministered in Jerusalem, but his messages touched both Kingdoms.  He lived to see the northern Kingdom decline and finally go into ruin under Assyria. 

 

Assyria was a menacing power and the other nations wanted to form a coalition to fight her off.  However, King Ahaz of Judah would not join the league.  So, Syria and Israel attacked Judah to try to force her to co-operate with them!  Instead of trusting in the Lord for help, Ahaz turned to Assyria for assistance!  Assyria was only too glad to get her foot in the door, and defeated Israel in 721 B.C., but Judah became a vassal state to Assyria, the price King Ahaz had to pay.

 

Then Assyria decided to attack Judah and enslave the whole nation!  So Isaiah told the people to trust the Lord, but others counseled the king to turn to Egypt for aid.  Isaiah 36-39 tells how God gave King Hezekiah victory over Assyria, but the nation never fully recovered.  Assyria was defeated by the Egyptians who later fell to Babylon, who defeated Judah in 586 B.C.

 

In the first half of his book (1-39), Isaiah counseled the nation concerning Assyria (good council for the U.S.A. in the 21st century).  In the last half (40-66), he comforts the remnant concerning their return from Babylon. 

 

There were 15 manuscripts of Isaiah among the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.    “The Gospel according to Isaiah” is an apt description because it contains all the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures, each of which center in the Savior which Isaiah proclaims.

 

The first 39 chapters of the book of Isaiah correspond with the 30 books of the Old Testament and the last 27 chapters correspond with the 27 books of the New Testament.  Dispensationally speaking, the Cross marks the dividing line between the first and the second parts of the book of Isaiah.  Of the second part, chapter 53 is the central chapter, just as the Cross is the central theme of the second part of the Holy Bible (the New Testament).

 

Our God is an awesome God!  The more we study and discover;  the deeper, higher, and wider are the revelations of eternity.

 

Isaiah’s key phrase throughout is “The Holy One of Israel” and is used 31 times.

 

The purpose of the book:

 

  1. To show that even though Judah had a “form of godliness,” it was corrupt morally, religiously, and politically.  I believe this applies equally to the United States of America in the 21st century and to much of the apostate church.
  2. To predict the destiny of the nations.
  3. To give a panoramic, prophetic picture of the life and ministry of the Messiah, the Servant of Jehovah.
  4. To reveal a Most Holy Place people, even the people of Zion.

 

The Message of the book:

 

  1. Through judgment, the Holy One of Israel brings salvation, righteousness, and comfort.
  2. Only through the Messiah will salvation come to all the nations.
  3. The Divine Ruler is holy, majestic, supreme and exclusive.
  4. The government of God is sovereign, righteous, and just.
  5. The revelation of the heart of God is seen in His personal experience of the Cross.
  6. Salvation is available alone by grace through faith in the Redeemer.
  7. The salvation of the Lord is revealed in a two-fold way:

         (a) A natural (national) salvation:

(1)    Deliverance from Syria and Israel (northern Kingdom). (Isa. 7)

(2)   Deliverance from Assyria. (Isa. 8, 37)

(3)   Deliverance from Babylon. (Isa. 39-48)

(b)       A spiritual salvation (Messianic):

(1)    The salvation. (Isa. 40-48)

(2)    The Savior.  (Isa. 49-57)

(3)    The Saved.   (Isa. 58-66)

  1. The Throne of God is seen in the first 39 chapters, which emphasize law and judgment.  The Lamb of God is seen in the last 27 chapters, which emphasize grace and comfort.
  2. Isaiah prophesied of the glorious church.  In chapter 4, he reveals (as do Jeremiah and Zechariah) the man whose name is the Branch.  This is also seen in chapter 11, where this many membered new creation man is anointed with the seven spirits of God (the fullness of the Spirit).   This is the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head.  This is the 144,000 who shall stand with the Lamb in Mt. Zion.  The Zion Company is a Most Holy Place people who flow in ministry out of the throne of grace -the mercy seat.  This is the Melchisedec priesthood of Hebrews 7.

 

In Isaiah, the servant becomes the servants after chapter 53.  The Savior also is multiplied into a company of deliverers (Obad. 21).  These are become His salvation in the earth, and are veiled in Isaiah as:

 

Wells of Salvation (12:3) “Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Joy of Salvation  (25:9): “It shall be said, In that Day, Lo this is our  God, we have waited from him, and he will save us, this the Lord, we have waited from him, we will be glad an rejoice in his salvation.”

Walls of Salvation  (26:1) “        In that Day, shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.”

Everlasting Salvation (45:17) “Israel shall be saved of the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without end.”

Day of  Salvation (49:8)” “Thus says the Lord, in an acceptable time have I hard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give your for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to omherit the desolate heritages.”

Heralds of Salvation

Spread of Salvation  (52:10)

Arm of Salvation

Helmet of Salvation

Garments of Salvation

Light of Salvation

 

The Government or Kingdom of God is revealed in Isaiah in the principles of Holiness (the inspiration); Righteousness (the Activity), and Justice (the Method).

 

The characteristics of the Kingdom as revealed in this book are patience, persistence and power.  The Lord rules from Zion.

 

The Everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14: 1-8) was proclaimed by Isaiah, the Prince of prophets:

 

It is my persuasion that that angel having the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6) has been released on the earth through the internet.

 

 Isaiah preached the everlasting gospel:

 

1.  Everlasting Strength                       26:4 ----Spirit of the Lord

2.  Everlasting Burnings (judgment)  33:14 ---Spirit of Wisdom

3.  Everlasting Joy                                35:10 ---Spirit of Understanding

4.  Everlasting Salvation                      45:17 ---Spirit of Counsel (purpose)

5.  Everlasting Kindness                      54:8   ---Spirit of Might

6.  Everlasting Covenant                      55:3   ---Spirit of Knowledge

7.  Everlasting Light                             60:19 ---Spirit of the Fear of the Lord

 

Isaiah’s prophecies are not only applicable in judgment to the destinies of Judah, Israel and the other nations, but also to the blessing of all nations through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and His church.  Isaiah refers more to the Messiah, His Kingdom, and the coming in of the nations than all the other prophets combined. 

 

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

www.eastgateministries.com

 

I entered into the labors of Kelly Varner, Principle of Present Truth of the Book of Isaiah.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Brother Varner.

 
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