THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAH.
Isaiah, the son of Amoz, began prophesying about 759 B.C. toward the close of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, and continued over a period of some six years during the reign of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, Ch. 1:1. He is appropriately named the “evangelical prophet” and the early fathers called his book “The Gospel according to Isaiah.”
The prophet seems to have lived and prophesied wholly at Jerusalem. There is a tradition that he became a martyr and was sawn asunder during the reign of Manasseh, king of Judah, but there is no certain account of this in authentic history.
Seven themes are covered in the book. They are as follows:
1. Israel in exile and Divine judgement upon her oppressors.
2. The return from Babylon.
3. The manifestation of the Messiah in humiliation.
4. The blessings of the Gentiles.
5. The manifestation of the Messiah in judgment.
6. The reign of David’s righteous Branch in the kingdom age.
7. The new heavens and the new earth.
These above mentioned themes are not treated consecutively in the text, but they are the scope of Isaiah’s testimony, and give us a fore view of God’s great plan for Jew and Gentile.
The book has two main divisions:
a. Chs. 1 to 39. Looking toward the captivities.
b. Chs. 40 to 66. Looking beyond the captivities.
LOOKING TOWARD THE CAPTIVITIES.
The first five chapters contain some words of exhortation and judgement for Judah interspersed with a few prophecies of the distant future. Ch. 1 is an example of the former, and Ch. 2:1-5 and Ch.4 of the later. This is followed by an account of a vision granted to Isaiah in which he sees the Lord high and lifted up, and as a result felt his own real spiritual lack, Ch. 6:1&5. Upon confessing the same, the prophet is granted a special cleansing, and a new commission whereby he makes known God’s displeasure with His people, vs. 6-7, 9-12.
In Ch. 7:14-15 the virgin birth of Christ is foretold and also His Spirit-filled life, by which He knew all things and was moved to refuse the evil and choose the good. An invasion of Judah is then predicted in Chs. 7:17-25 and 8:1-22. Again the prophet foretells of the coming One who would eventually prove to be Israel’s only hope, Ch. 9:8 to 10:4, and then the prophet utters a word of Divine displeasure against the Assyrians for an invasion of that day, and for a future invasion of the last days, when a Jewish remnant will return to Palestine and the battle of Armageddon shall be fought, Ch. 10:5-34.
This is followed by a reference to the coming kingdom of Christ the Branch of Jesse, who was the father of David. The character of His reign is mentioned including the taming of the lower animal creation, and the great gathering of His people Israel from all countries of the earth, Ch. 11. Chapter 12 is a concise statement of praise and worship of the grateful people for the goodness of God to them.
In Chs. 13 to 23 we have a series of messages on judgments against Babylon, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt, Dumah, Arabia and Tyre.
Special reference should be made to Ch. 14, wherein we have a prophecy of the overthrow of the coming anti-Christ, vs. 9-11, the beast of Revelation 19 and 20; and of Satan the instigator of the rebellion of the beast. Satan’s early state is mentioned, and the pride that was the cause of his downfall, vs. 12-14.
Chapters 24 to 35 contain in pretty largely a prediction of time of the exile, and of the Messiah, with no particular effort made to state them in consecutive order. Brief reference is made to the Assyrian captivity of Ephraim because of her backsliding,
Ch. 28:1-7, and Judah is told to beware lest such a calamity also becomes her fate, vs.14-18. In view of the coming Gospel age of the Spirit a refreshing is promised, which became a real experience through the Pentecostal visitation to the early church made up largely of Jewish believers, vs. 9-13. It is still applicable, see I Corinthians 14:21.