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Introduction to the Book of Isaiah

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General Info

Many Bible scholars throughout history have pointed to Isaiah as a mini-Bible, noting the similarities between the book and the whole.  For example, Isaiah contains 66 chapters with the first 39 primarily covering the history and spiritual condition of Israel and the last 27 offering a heavy dose of the person and ministry of the coming Messiah.  This closely mirrors the entire Bible, which contains 39 books of the OT and 27 books of the NT.  In addition, the Bible begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth.  Isaiah begins with a call for the heavens and earth to be witnesses against the fallen spiritual state of Israel.  Finally, both the last two chapters of Isaiah and the last two chapters of the Bible (Revelation 21 and 22) end with descriptions of the new heavens and the new Earth.

The book of Isaiah is one of three Major Prophets in the OT.  Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, it comprised an entire scroll of its own among the sacred Scriptures of Judaism.  In the Hebrew Bible Canon, Isaiah, along with Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets, are grouped into a section called the Nevi’im Aharonim, or the “Latter Prophets”.  In the Protestant Canon, Isaiah is placed in the “Major Prophets” section of the Old Testament along with Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

The title of the book is taken from the name of the prophet Isaiah, Yesha' Yahu in the Hebrew, meaning “Yahweh [English: Jehovah] is salvation”.  Variations of this name include Joshua (Yehoshua), Elisha (Elishua), and Jesus (Yeshua).  Isaiah is directly quoted over 65 times by the NT authors, far more than any other OT prophet, and he is mentioned by name over 20 times.

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Brief Survey

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah contains a narrative of the visions by the prophet pertaining to the period of his ministry that lasted from about 740-685 BC.  Of this section, the first 5 chapters contrast Judah’s present sinful and rebellious condition with God’s original plan of purity for them.  Chapter 6 recalls Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in the temple, where he is commissioned to bring God's coming judgment and future restoration of His people if they would turn from their wicked ways and trust in the true God.  Chapters 7-12 emphasizes the covenant blessings and future deliverance and restoration of Judah, both physical and spiritual.  These chapters also contain several references to the coming Messiah, both to His first and second advent (see the “Themes, Purpose and Theology” section below).

In chapters 13-35, we find Isaiah’s oracles of judgment extending to a number of surrounding foreign nations such as Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Egypt, Babylon, Arabia, and others.  This shows that God’s sovereignty is not limited to Judah and Israel, but includes all peoples of all nations.  Even though these oracles focused primarily on other nations (Hebrew goyim,  “Gentiles”), they may or may not have been intended to be read by them.  It is likely that they were primarily intended for the benefit of God’s people to encourage the Jews to rely on the Lord rather than on alliances with foreign nations for provisions and protection, and to provide assurance that the Lord would not abandon His people.  Even though judgment would be coming due to their rebellion, they could confidently look forward to future restoration.

We can identify chapter 24 within this section as a basic pivot point.  Chapters 13-23 focus on judgments directed toward the surrounding nations during Isaiah’s time, but in chapter 24, Isaiah’s message shifts the focus to the end times.  Thus chapters 24-27 are loaded with apocalyptic terminology, frequent use of the phrase “on that day” (Day of the Lord) and other eschatological language.  Some bible scholars have referred to these chapters as “The Little Apocalypse” or “Isaiah’s Apocalypse” due to references to the coming Tribulation, the final judgment, blessings during the millennial kingdom, a royal banquet on the mountain when the Lord will swallow up death forever and wipe away the tears from every face (Is 25:8), and other themes found in the book of Revelation.  After a series of “woe” oracles in chapters 28-33, Isaiah switches back to apocalyptic language to contrast the horror of judgment against the nations (ch 34) with the future triumphant glory of Zion (ch 35).

Chapters 36-39 provide a historical interlude centering on two major events during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah.  In this section, we witness God’s miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the invading Assyrian army, fulfilling Isaiah’s previous prophecies concerning Assyria.  In addition, the prophet provides an account of God miraculously delivering Hezekiah from his deathbed, and extending his life by fifteen years.  This section also serves as a transition from Assyria as the Jewish nation’s dominant enemy during Isaiah’s day, to Babylon as the dominant enemy for almost the next two centuries.

Thus, beginning with chapter 40, Isaiah focuses primarily on the future.  In addition, although he continues to include oracles of judgment, he primarily delivers oracles of comfort, emphasizing future deliverance and redemption for God’s people.  In chapters 40-57, the prophet explains that God is still in total control, as opposed to the helpless false gods of other nations, and would demonstrate His total sovereignty by rescuing and returning His people to their homeland.

Isaiah stresses that Judah’s fundamental problem is not the foreign oppressors, but their own sin and rebellion against God.  Furthermore, just as God would rescue His people from Babylon, He also would rescue a remnant from their sin by means of the death of His servant, the coming Messiah.  God would use an earthy king (Cyrus of Persia) to rescue and return the Jews to their homeland, but use the Suffering Servant (Jesus the Messiah) to rescue them from their sins.  The prophet also records four Servant Songs illustrating the Messiah’s mission (42:1-7; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; and culminating in 52:13-53:12).

In Chapters 58-66, Isaiah continues with oracles (that began in chapter 56) of the coming time when many of the Jews would return to their homeland in 538 BC.  The prophet foresaw that the sinful patterns of the past and present would continue (see in particular his oracle on false worship practices in chapter 58).  Therefore, Israel’s complete restoration and salvation would have to await until a future time.  In chapters 60-62, the prophet describes this glorious future in which all nations will be drawn to Zion as the center of the Lord’s earthly kingdom.  Thus we see the Gentiles included in these blessings.  Many believe these passages refer to the future thousand year reign of Christ known as the Millennial and as described in Revelation 20:1-6.

Finally, in chapters 63-66, Isaiah reveals that a time of tribulation and judgment will precede the coming of the Lord’s earthly kingdom.  During this time, sinners will be culled out from the righteous and the earth will be purged.  Using similar language and images as found in the closing chapters of Revelation, the prophet portrays the triumphant return and rule of Jesus the Messiah as King of kings and Lord of lords.  Isaiah ends with a final proclamation of doom for the wicked (66:15-17) and deliverance for the righteous (66:18-24).

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Key Verses

The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. (1:1)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke...  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (6:1-4,8)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (7:14)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (9:6-7)

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD...  Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. (11:1-2,5-6,8-10)

“A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God... The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (40:3,8)

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (40:28-31)

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say: My council will stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. (46:9-10)

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (52:7)

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (53:4-6)

Key Chapter: 53 - (beginning 52:13) - The Suffering Servant (Messiah) of the Lord.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost...  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.  Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (55:1,7-12)

For this is what the high and lofty One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (57:15)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (61:1-3a)

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! (64:1)

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.  Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. (65:17-20)

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.  From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.  “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (66:22-24)

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Author and Date

Until modern times, the authorship of the book of Isaiah has been unanimously attributed to the prophet bearing its name.  In the late eighteenth century however, some liberal critics began to question this by denying the unity of the book.  At first, they argued that chapters 40-66 were written 150 years later by an unnamed prophet living in Babylon during the Exile.  Later, they piled on by contending that chapters 56-66 were written by a third and unknown author.  Like with other Biblical books containing predictive prophecy, their objections were based on their belief in anti-supernaturalism which assumed (among other errors) that prophets could not accurately predict the future as recorded in the Bible.  This philosophy also erroneously believed that the Bible is a mere product of human authors, and falsely denied its divine.  Thus, due to this false assumption, the critics contended that, for example, passages predicting Cyrus would issue a proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem (Is 44:28 & 45:1) must have been written after they occurred (over 100 years after the prophet Isaiah’s death).

The unity of the book of Isaiah however, is well established by both internal evidence within Isaiah, quotes throughout the NT, and by external evidence.  We'll just mention a few examples.  First we note that the predictive material is highly relative to the original audience in Isaiah’s day, not just to those in the future.  The Roman/Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, recorded the impression that the prediction made on the Persian King Cyrus when he was informed of it after he had fulfilled it (Jewish Antiquities 11:5-7).  In the same writing, Josephus also names Isaiah as the writer of the entire book.   Next, the similarity of the language between the two sections of the book is obvious.  Isaiah’s favorite description for God, “the Holy One of Israel” appears over a dozen times in each section, but only a total of six time throughout the rest of the Bible.  In addition, over forty complete sentences or phrases appear in both sections.

We've mentioned that Isaiah is quoted in the NT for more than any other OT writer, yet not a single quote from the book is attributed to any other author.  Instead, various NT writers refer to passages throughout all sections of Isaiah as being the words of the prophet.  Jesus himself attributed both Isaiah 6:10 and 53:1 as the “word spoken by the prophet Isaiah” in Jn 12:38-40.  Finally, we'll note the historical evidence of the Great Isaiah Scroll from Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947), the oldest surviving Hebrew text of Isaiah (~125 BC), that contains no text break between the sections (chapters 30 and 40).

The opening statement by Isaiah indicates that he wrote during the reigns of Judah’s kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, who reigned from 791-686 BC.  Isaiah’s lengthy ministry is generally considered to have lasted from ~740-686 BC, although the latest recorded non-future event in his book is the death of Assyrian King Sennacherib (Is 37:38) that occurred in 681 BC.  So he may have written from ~740-681 BC).  Isaiah likely wrote much, if not all, from Jerusalem and addressed his oracles primarily to the Northern Kingdom of Judah and the surrounding nations.  It is widely believed that some of his audience also consisted of residents of the Southern Kingdom of Israel, at least until their exile in 722 BC.

Christian historical tradition has it that he met his death under King Manasseh of Judah, who reigned from ~696-642 BC (co-reigned with his father Hezekiah until 686 BC) by being cut in half with a wooden saw.  It is widely believed that the phrase “they were sawn in two” (Heb 11:37) from the Hebrews hall of faith chapter is referring to the prophet Isaiah, along with others who met the same martyr’s fate.

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Historical Background and Timeline

See the Historical Background of the OT History Books and the Historical Background of the OT Prophets for additional information.

The nation of Israel split into two nations, the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), following King Solomon’s death in 931 BC.  The Northern Kingdom persisted in continual apostasy throughout its history until being conquered and the people taken captive into Assyria in 722 BC, during the time of Isaiah’s ministry.  He then witnessed the Assyrians invade Judah about 20 years later, destroying dozens of towns and villages, but God decimated their armies when they threatened Jerusalem.  Isaiah’s account of the Assyrian invasions is found in chapters 36-39 (see also 2Kg chapters 18 and 19).

Although Isaiah’s ministry ended about 685 BC, he recorded several oracles concerning future historical events.  In 612 BC, the Babylonians would capture the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and establish themselves as the dominate power in the area.  In 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon would defeat the last of the defiant Assyrians at Carchemish, then turn his attention to Judah, and deport much of the upper classes, including the prophet Daniel (Dan 1:1-7) to Babylon.  In Nebuchadnezzar’s second invasion of Judah (597 BC), he exiled ten thousand people, including Ezekiel (2Kg 24:8-17).  Jerusalem would eventually fall to the Babylonians in 586 BC, who then destroyed and burned the city and temple, and deported all of the remaining residents except for some of the poor who were left to work the fields.

In 539 BC, Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) Captured Babylon and established the Persians as the dominant empire throughout the region, and issued an edict allowing the return of the exiled Jews to the Promised Land.  Isaiah even forecast the king’s name (Cyrus) approximately 200 years before it happened (Is 44:28 and 45:1).

See OT History and Monarchy Chronology for timeline of additional historical events.

791-740 BC Uzziah (aka Azariah) King of Judah
~740-685 BC Isaiah Serves as Prophet to Judah and Israel
~728-686 BC Hezekiah King of Judah
722 BC Israel Conquered and Exiled by Assyrians
627-580 BC Jeremiah Prophet of Judah
612 BC The Babylonians (Chaldeans) Conquer and Destroy Nineveh (Assyrians)
605 BC Babylon Invades Judah, Exiles many of the Jews
586 BC Fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians
539 BC Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) Captures Babylon and Establishes Persian Empire as Predicted by Isaiah (Is 44:28 and chapter 45)
538 BC First Return of Exiled Jews to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel

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Themes, Purpose and Theology

Many themes in Isaiah, such as the holiness, sovereignty, and grace of God, are similar to those found in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  Likewise, the themes of judgment and salvation are prevalent throughout the book.  God made a covenant with His chosen nation of Israel and as a result, the people were held personally responsible for its stipulation, along with its resulting blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.  In addition, God had called and set apart His people to be a special witness to all the other nations.  The Mosaic Covenant was meant to serve as a guide for righteous living that would be result in both physical and spiritual blessings for obedience but curses and judgment for disobedience.  Unfortunately, the people chose to chase after the false gods and adopt many of the pagan lifestyles of the surrounding nations.  Because of God’s love for His people however, He commissioned Isaiah and other prophets throughout their history to call the people back to a faithful covenantal relationship.

Isaiah’s oracles to the Jews concerning the immediate future (the book’s first 39 chapters) were predominantly warnings of judgment for their failure to obey the covenant.  For the most part, the remainder of the book shifts its focus onto deliverance, salvation, and restoration, both physical (historical) and spiritual.  The prophet foresaw Israel’s historical physical deliverance and restoration to the Promised Land of Canaan.  Yet, he spoke often of their spiritual deliverance that would fully occur at the End Times in which the Messiah would not only save His people, but rule over all nations.

It should not surprise us that, due to Isaiah’s emphasis on salvation / deliverance (Hebrew teshuah), he is often called the “evangelical prophet”.  In addition, there are so many inferences to salvation, restoration, and the coming Messiah that Isaiah has also been called the “Fifth Gospel”.

The following is a list of some of the Messianic prophecies found in Isaiah:

Messianic Prophecy in Isaiah Fulfillment in New Testament
Born of a Virgin (7:14) Mt 1:22-23; Lk 1:26-37
God with Us (7:14) Mt 1:22-23
A Stumbling Block to Israel (8:14-15; 28:16) Rm 9:30-33; 1Pe 2:4-8
Minister from Galilee (9:1-2) Mt 4:12-16
Mighty God (9:6-7) Jn 10:30; Col 2:9
Eternal Heir to Throne of David (9:6-7) Luke 1:30-33; Jn 8:58
Root of Jesse (11:1,10) Rm 15:12
Spirit of God on Him (11:2; 42:1) Mt 3:16
The Key of David (22:22) Rev 3:7
Death Swallowed in Victory (25:6-8) 1Cor 15:54-55; Rev 7:17
The Deaf Hear, the Blind See (29:18) Mt 11:5
A Herald to Prepare the Way (40:3-5) Jn 1:6-34 (John the Baptist)
The Good Shepherd (40:10-11) Jn:10:11; Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:24-25
The Meek and Just Servant (42:1-4) Mt 12:17-21;
A Light to the Gentiles (49:6) Mt 12:17-21; Juke 2:30-32; Ac 13:47
Spat Upon, Mocked, Beaten and Disfigured (50:6; 52:14) Mt 26:67, 27:26-31; Mk 14:65, 15:15-20; Lk 22:63-65; Jn 19:1-3
Highly Exalted (52:13) Php 2:9-10
Rejected by His People (53:1) Jn 12:37-38
Die as Substitute for Us (53:4-8, 10-11) Jn 10:11; Rm 4:25, 5:6-8; 2Cor 5:21; 1Pe 2:24
Buried in Rich Man’s Grave (53:9) Mt 27:57-60; Jn 19:38-42
Die with Criminals (53:12) Mk 27-28; Lk 22:37
Deliverer from Zion (59:20) Rm 11:26-27
Set Captives Free (61:1-2) Lk 4:17-19
New Heavens and Earth (65:17) 2Pe 3:13; Rev 21:1

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Interpretation Hints and Challenges

The book of Isaiah should be interpreted in the context of all the books of the writing prophets.  See Interpretation Hints and Challenges for the Major and Minor Prophets for additional info including links to supplementary articles on the prophets, the various utilized literary genres, and applications for new covenant Christians.

Isaiah’s predictive prophesies included some that were fulfilled during his lifetime, thus ratifying his status as a true prophet (Dt 18:14-21).  The prophet however, also shared visions of future events that would not occur until after his death, and still others that have yet to be fulfilled in our present day.   Two major challenges common to many of the biblical prophets concern the “predicting the future” aspect of prophecy, namely “when will the fulfillment occur” and “will the fulfillment be literal or symbolic”.  See “Two Prediction Fulfillment Challenges” in our Prophecy and Apocalyptic Literature article for further discussion of these challenges.

We've already noted the challenge to the book’s author, unity, and date of writing by the usual modern liberal critics.  This is a common challenge to most prophetic books that correctly predict future events.  As we mentioned in the “Author and Date” section above, their objections are based on their erroneous anti-supernaturalism belief that these writings are merely products of men rather than being inspired by an all-knowing, eternal God.

Perhaps the most commonly debated subject in Isaiah is the identity of the “Servant of the Lord”.  This phrase appears mostly from chapters 40 to 55.  The proper identification of the servant of the Lord is critical in our interpretation of the text.  Most biblical Christians interpret the phrase to refer to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Many Jews, particularly the orthodox sects, associate the phrase with the Nation of Israel as a whole.  Actually, both groups are correct, or incorrect depending on the particular passages.  We must look at each occurrence within its context.

To determine the occasions referring to National Israel, look for accompanying phrases such as “my servant Jacob”, “offspring of Abraham”, references to the land and similar descriptions related elsewhere to the Jewish people.  Some sections identifying the servant as the nation of Israel are 41:8, 42-18-25, 43:10, 44:1-5, 44:21-28, 48:20-22, and 50:4-11.  Isaiah 49:1-13 is a bit trickier, as it refers primarily to the Nation of Israel, but verses 6 and 9 contain Messianic language, so these two verses have both a contemporary and future meaning.  As God’s servant, National Israel was commissioned with the task of reflecting the Lord’s glory to the nations, but Israel greatly failed in this mission.

We can identify the segments referring to the coming Messiah by noting statements that could refer only to God, such as to His attributes or works (past, present or future).  The primary segments identifying the servant as the coming Messiah are 42:1-7 and the glorious climatic Suffering Servant passages of 52-13 through 53:12.  One statement alone eliminates Israel from being identified as the Servant in these verses, that the Servant would save/deliver/rescue the people from their iniquities.  Isaiah himself testified that only God alone can save people from their sins (43:11).  In addition to this fact, there are many quotations by the NT authors identifying the Servant in these passages as none other than Jesus Christ (Greek Christos is a translation of the Hebrew word Mashiyach, or “Messiah” in English, meaning the “anointed” one).  See the “Messianic Prophecies” chart above for some of these NT references.

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Outline

The Book of Isaiah can be sub-divided into three basic sections.  The first section consists of the first 35 chapters, which primarily contain prophecies against Judah and the surrounding nations during the ministry of Isaiah.  The second section, consisting of chapters 36-39, is a historical interlude of events during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, one of Judah’s best kings.  The final section, consisting of chapters 40-66, contains Isaiah’s later prophecies (primarily of comfort) regarding the future of both national and spiritual Israel.

1:1 – 1:31 God’s Indictment of His People
2:1 - 5:30 Oracles of Coming Judgment and Future Deliverance of God’s People
6:1 - 6:13 Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord; Isaiah’s Commission
7:1 - 7:16 Messianic Sign of the Birth of Immanuel
7:17 - 8:22 Oracle of Judgment on Judah and Samaria
9:1 - 9:7 Messianic Sign: A Child is Born
9:8 - 10:34 Oracle of Judgment on Samaria and Assyria
11:1 - 12:6 Messianic Prophecy: The Coming Righteous Reign of the Branch of the Lord
13:1 - 23:18 Oracles against the Nations: Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Edom, Arabia, Jerusalem, Tyre
24:1 - 27:13 Judgment and Restoration of the Whole Earth
28:1 - 33:24 Woes on Judah and Israel
34:1 - 35:10 Judgment on the Nations and Blessings for the People of God
36:1 - 39:8 Historical Interlude: Judah’s King Hezekiah, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians; God Extends Hezekiah’s Lifespan
40:1 - 48:22 The Promise of Judah’s Deliverance from Babylon
49:1 - 52:12 Salvation of Israel via the Servant of the Lord (the Messiah)
52:13 - 53:12 The Messiah’s Sacrifice for Israel
54:1 - 55:13 The Promise of Salvation to Israel
56:1 - 57:21 The Promise of Salvation to the Nations
58:1 - 58:14 True and False Religion
59:1 - 60:22 God’s Initiative to Redeem Israel, and Israel’s Response
61:1 - 62:12 The Messiah’s Coming Ministry and Restoration of Israel
63:1 - 63:6 Judgment on Edom
63:7 - 66:24 God’s Faithfulness to His Covenant to Deliver Israel

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