Summary: The Study Of Isaiah: The Messianic Prophet
The Study Of Isaiah: The Messianic Prophet
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Isaiah is often called “The Messianic Prophet.” He is called this because he records many prophecies of the coming of the Messiah into the world. “Messiah” means “the anointed one.” In the Old Testament, priests were anointed with oil when they were appointed to their office (Exodus 30:25-30; Leviticus 8:10-13). Prophets and kings were also anointed with oil when they were appointed by God (1 Samuel 16:1,13; 1 Kings 19:16). The prophets foretold the coming of One who would hold all three of these offices and be prophet, priest and king all in one. Therefore, He was called “The Anointed One” or “the Messiah.” The New Testament word for “The Anointed One” is “Christ.”
Isaiah prophesied during the rule of four different kings of Judah. They were Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1). Isaiah was probably born in Jerusalem about 760 B.C. He likely began prophesying about 740 B.C. He was God’s spokesman to Judah for fifty years or even longer. Hebrews 11:37 speak of some men of faith who were “sawn in two.” According to the Jews, this is the way Isaiah was killed. When he was a very old man, the evil king, Manasseh, had his body placed between two planks of wood and sawed in two.
Isaiah lived and preached during a very important time in the world’s history. During most of his lifetime, Assyria was the most powerful nation on earth. Babylon was only beginning to gain strength as a nation. While Isaiah lived in Judah, Romulus and Remus were beginning the city of Rome. The Greek cities of Athens and Sparta were just being built. It was during Isaiah’s lifetime that the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. Micah, Amos, and Hosea were other prophets of God who lived during Isaiah’s lifetime.
During most of the time that Isaiah preached to God’s people, the nation of Judah was very prosperous. People forgot about God because they were so involved in the things of this world (Isaiah 59:1-8). The rich people lived in luxury and idleness. The poor suffered from lack of food and clothing (Isaiah 3:14,15; Isaiah 32:9-15). Many of the people were drunkards (Isaiah 5:11,12, 22, 23; Isaiah 28:7,8). The women were just as bad as the men. They were lazy and were drunkards also (Isaiah. 3:16-26). Government officials were corrupt. They used their offices to oppress the poor (Isaiah 1:21-23). Even the prophets failed to do the job God had given them. Instead of rebuking sin and delivering God’s message, they preached what the people wanted to hear (Isaiah 9:14-16; Isaiah 30:8-14).
The book of Isaiah has sixty-six chapters. The first thirty-five chapters speak of God’s judgments on evil and evildoers. Chapters 36 through 39 tell of a time when the Assyrian army surrounded the city of Jerusalem. They planned to attack and destroy it. The leader of the Assyrians boasted that God could not save them just as the gods of other nations they had conquered had been unable to deliver them. King Hezekiah prayed to God about the matter. That very night God sent His angel into the camp of the Assyrians. The angel killed 185,000 Assyrians and the rest of the army fled.
The last section of Isaiah contains chapters 40 through 66. These chapters foretold that the nation of Babylon would arise and oppress God’s people. They also told of the sending of God’s Servant to suffer for the sins of the people. Finally, the glory of the Messianic Age is described.
Isaiah has been more strongly attacked by critics of the Bible than almost any other book of the Bible. Perhaps this is because Isaiah gives such strong proof that the Bible came from God. Isaiah foretold many events in history hundreds of years before they happened. This proves he was inspired by God. Critics and skeptics do not want to believe in the inspiration of the Bible. Therefore, they refuse to accept the evidence which shows that Isaiah spoke from God.
Isaiah contains evidence that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Christ in Isaiah exactly. Critics of the Bible do not like this for it proves they are wrong. Therefore, they try to explain away Isaiah’s prophecies. Sometimes they say that Isaiah did not write all of the book of Isaiah. Some claim that Isaiah was written by two different men. Others say there were three or more who wrote the book. They claim the parts which predict future events were written much later after the events had already happened.