Isaiah
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Isaiah

Updated
Jan 25, 2023 2:46 AM
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Old TestamentMajor ProphetsNevi'im
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Isaiah is the first book of the prophets. The prophets are divided into two categoriesβ€”major and minorβ€”and Isaiah is considered one of the major prophets. The title of major prophet is given due to the length of the book, but if anyone deserves the title of major prophet, it's Isaiah. Quantity doesn't always mean quality, but in the case of the major prophets, especially Isaiah, the length of the book definitely correlates to the awesomeness of the prophecies given. I'm excited about jumping back in to Isaiah because, let's face it, prophecy is arguably the most important and exciting part of the Bible!

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Table of Contents

Date and Authorship

Both the New Testament and the book of Isaiah confirm Isaiah as the author. Isaiah prophesied in Israel from the reign of King Uzziah through King Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1). Given this information, the book would have been written sometime between 701 and 681Β BC.[5][6] This view was not contested by early Christians. In 1795, J.C. Doederlein began the trend of questioning Isaiah's authorship.[3] Isaiah's prophecies are so accurate, that to believe he is the author is to believe that he is a true prophet of God and God is truly divine. As such, non believing scholars are quick to follow in Doederlein's footsteps and do not believe Isaiah wrote the whole text.

Argument Against Isaiah

Like the other books of the prophets, Isaiah contains accurate information about a time that occurs after the book is written. If someone predicted Donald Trump was going to be president during the presidential race, it wouldn't be be a big deal since the odds of being right were close to 50%. If they predicted he would win before he announced his decision to run, people may assume the person had insider information. A prediction that he would win the election before he was born would be much more impressive, right?

Isaiah foretold of Cyrus the Great, by name, and the decree he made for the Israelites to return to Israel 150 years before Cyrus made the decree.[2] This was before Israel was taken captive. Naturally, those who do not believe in the sovereign, all knowing power of God will say this is impossible. These scholars then decided there had to be at least 2 authors. The fact that the book naturally divides into two section lends to this argument. Supporters of multiple authors assert that Isaiah only wrote the first section, while other authors composed the rest of the text.

Argument For Isaiah

The New Testament confirms Isaiah as the author of the book of Isaiah (though often spelled with the Greek spelling Esaias in the KJV). In Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4, and John 1:23, John the Baptist confirms Isaiah as the prophet who penned the book while pointing out the fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus. Matthew confirms Isaiah in Matthew 8:17 and 12:17-21. Paul attributes the book to Isaiah in Romans 9:27-33 and 10:16-21. John (the disciple) also attributes the book to Isaiah in John 12:38-41. Once you note that the verses these men reference are from all over Isaiah, not just in one section, it becomes clear that the those closest to Jesus agreed that Isaiah was the sole author of the book.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which are the oldest manuscripts to be found to date, do not show any indication of Isaiah being two books or having multiple authors. This further confirms that early believers knew Isaiah to be sole author of the book.[3]

My Bible commentary (and many commentaries online) go into detail about several reasons to conclude that the book of Isaiah only has one author. The commentary points out the oddity that the identity poet who wrote the second half of Isaiah would be lost to history considering the skill and beauty of the text. If the Israelites could remember the names of the minor prophets, why wouldn't they preserve the name of this master poet? Furthermore, the style of the text shows Philistine influence and matches that of Isaiah's era, versus exhibiting Babylonian influence.

Overall, there really is no scientific reason to claim Isaiah isn't the author. As I said earlier, if scholars confirm Isaiah as the author, they would be confirming their belief in YHWH and Yeshua!

Message and Purpose

Isaiah tells us a lot about judgment and salvation. It is in the book of Isaiah that we learn how to identify the Messiah, which is important to Christians (and Jews) because this is how we know Jesus is who He says He is and not a deception from the devil. Isaiah also makes prophecies about the judgment of nations, including the captivity and release of Israel. He even prophesies about the end of the world! In short, I'd say Isaiah's purpose is to get us to open our eyes and pay attention.

Interesting Facts

How the Book is Split

Isaiah is often split into two sections: Isaiah 1-39 and Isaiah 40-66. The first section mirrors the Old Testament, while the second mirrors the New Testament. Even though the numbering of chapters was started only a few centuries ago and was not present in the original work, it is interesting that these sections also contain the same number of chapters as there are books in the testament it mirrors. While it is possible the editor who added the chapters could have done this of his own desire, the text still had to be structured in a way to make this possible.

Foretelling Jesus

On a website that lists 365 Messianic Prophecies, 132 of them are from the book of Isaiah![1] If you think of a prophecy that Jesus fulfilled, off the top of your head, there's a high probability that the prophecy is found in Isaiah, because most identifying prophecies of the Messiah come from the book of Isaiah (particularly Isaiah 53!).

Isaiah's Name

The name Isaiah is Yesha'yahu in Hebrew, and it means Jehovah is salvation.[3][4] Not only does this phrase appear inside the book, but it also sums up the message Isaiah was given to share with us. I think of this when I need to remember that God creates us already knowing the plan He has for us!

Chapter by Chapter Breakdown

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Bible Studies

πŸ“–
Isaiah 1: Judgment for Israel is Coming
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 2: Judgment of Israel
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 3: Judgment of Israel (Pt. 2)
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 4: Judgment of Israel (Pt. 3)
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 5: The 6 Woes
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 6: A Glimpse of Angels
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 7: A Prophecy for Ahaz
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 7: Born of a Virgin
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 8: Concluding the Message to Ahaz
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 9: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 10: Woe to those Who Oppress the Poor
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 11: The Lion and the Lamb
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 12: Praise God with Song
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 13: Babylon is Fallen, is Fallen
Done
πŸ“–
Isaiah 14: Satan’s Origin Story?
Done

Important People

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πŸ“š
Bible Studies

Lessons Learned: Excitement for Justice

It took me a year and a half to complete the posts for the book of Isaiah. In that time frame, I've actually read the book multiple times, going through each of the chapters over and over again. Isaiah is a very heavy book, and by heavy, I mean full of prophecy. As such, it's not a book to just plow through. In fact, from here on out, the rest of the Old Testament is solely prophetic books. That means it's crucial to research the history surrounding each passage. Some of the prophecies have already been fulfilled while others are in progress. This makes these books both extremely interesting and extremely challenging.

There were definitely times where I wanted to give up on Isaiah and move on to Jeremiah, but I knew that there was more information to be gleaned from these pages. What makes the Bible so difficult to understand is the need to understand all of it at once to understand individual verses. People love to quote a single verse, but it's easy to take things out of context and twist the meaning when we do that. As such, I found myself reading other parts of the Bible while I tried to digest Isaiah. Reading these other books and chapters helped me to stay grounded and keep the whole picture in mind.

Naturally, since it took me so long to complete the book, it's a little disjointed in my head. I watched the Bible Project's summary of the book once I finished to tie it all back together.[7]

My Favorite Part

Going in to the reading, I was looking forward to all the prophecy, specifically the Messianic prophecies. However, I found myself shocked to see that my favorite part was actually the passion in which Isaiah had for returning to God's original design. Many of us today fear the end of the world; we fear change, and we fear the loss of what we are used to. God never intended out world to be like this, but we can't conceive of a perfect utopia, because mankind can't create one; however, God can. After the judgement, there will be lasting peace and the world will return to a state of perfection (or rather there will be a new Earth that has never seen corruption).

Isaiah is eager to see this world come to fruition and encourages us to be eager to see this too. The only way to overcome the fear of change that keeps us from this is to admit our sinfulness, trust in God's promise to forgive us, and surrender to Him. When we do this continually, we too can become excited about the utopia God will create for us.

Prophecy

I didn't skip over the prophecy though. From prophecies about nations to prophecies about Christ, the book of Isaiah is loaded with prophecy. I looked far and wide for an exhaustive list of Messianic prophecies because I wanted to compare how many existed versus how many were in Isaiah. I couldn't find a list, mainly because people disagree about what actually is or isn't a prophecy. Nonetheless, below I'm going to list some of the Messianic prophecies I found. This list isn't exhaustive; I really should have been creating it as I go instead of remembering back. I'll continue to update it over time.

πŸ“Β Scripture
πŸ‘€Β Prophecy
βœ…Β Fulfillment
Born of a virgin Named Emmanuel ("God with us")
Begins His ministry in Galilee
Born a child Government on His shoulders Called Wonderful Called Counselor Called Mighty God Called Everlasting Father Called Prince of Peace Descendant of David
Descended from Jesse
Sign for the Gentiles
(Double prophecy) Clothed in a robe Over the governments House of Judah Key to the House of David Power to open and shut Fastened as a nail A throne for His Father's house Cut off
The Suffering Servant
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

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Acts 16: Timothy Was Biracial…Sort Of
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Acts 15: Disagreements in the Church
ActsChapter StudyPaulPeterLeadershipCommandmentsSalvationCircumcisionRepentance and Forgiveness
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Acts 13-14: The First Missionary Journey of Paul
ActsChapter StudyLeadershipThe ChurchPaulGenealogyDiscipleship
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Acts 12: Peter, Rhoda, and Herod
ActsChapter StudyWomenPeterPersecutionRomeHolidayPassover
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Obadiah 1: Woe to Edom
Chapter StudyObadiahEdomProphecy
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Esther 1: The Demise of a Queen
WomenEstherPersiaChapter Study
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Ruth 4: The Legacy
RuthChapter StudyWomenBoazMessiahRahabTamarGenealogy
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Ruth 3: The Redeeming Relative
RelationshipsBoazRuthChapter Study
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Ruth 1: In the Land of Moab
Chapter StudyRuthWomenMoabBoazRelationshipsFamine
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Ruth 2: The Fields of Boaz
PovertyRelationshipsBoazRuthChapter StudyAllegoryMessiah
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Mediate Like Abigail
Abigail1 SamuelDavidCharacter StudyWomenYouTube
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Tamar, daughter of David
Character StudyTamarWomenSexual Assault2 Samuel
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Amnon
2 SamuelCharacter StudyDavidTamarSexual ImoralitySexual Assault
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2 Samuel 13-19: Absalom’s Coup
Chapter Study2 SamuelDavidRelationshipsTamarWomenSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRepentance and Forgiveness
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You Are What You Eat: Colossians 2
Food and DietClean and UncleanColossians
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Romans 14
Food and DietClean and UncleanRomans
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Acts 10
Food and DietActsPeterDiscipleship
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: 1 Timothy 4:1-7
1 TimothyTimothyFood and DietClean and Unclean
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Mark 7:15
Food and DietClean and UncleanMatthewMark
πŸ“
You Are What You Eat: Isaiah 66
Food and DietClean and UncleanIsaiahProphecy
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Would You Rather?: Betray or Deny
Would You RatherJudasPeterRepentance and ForgivenessLuke
❓
Would You Rather?: Feed vs. Heal
Would You RatherSpiritual GIftsJohnMatthew
❓
Would You Rather?: Marriage vs. Singleness
Would You RatherRelationshipsLoveRepentance and ForgivenessHoseaPaul
❓
Would You Rather?: Rahab vs. Mary
Would You RatherRahabMary & JosephWomen
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Do Not Commit Adultery
CommandmentsLawAdulteryDavid
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No Graven Images
CommandmentsLawFalse Deities and Prophets

References & Footnotes

  1. "365 Messianic Prophecies".Β Bible Probe; visited January 2018
  2. "Who was Cyrus in the Bible?".Β Got Questions; visited January 2018
  3. William MacDonald.Β Believer's Bible Commentary, pg. 935-938. 1995
  4. Mike Campbell. "Isaiah".Β Behind the Name; visited January 2018
  5. "Book of Isaiah".Β GotQuestions; visited January 2018
  6. Holman Bible Publishers.Β Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 1124-1125. 2014
  7. Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins. "Isaiah".Β The Bible Project; visited June 2019
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PSALMS to God is a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel that discusses many topics and issues, always keeping YHWH as the anchor. Hosea 4:6 says β€œMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”—here, the aim is to always ask questions and study to find the answers. You can keep up with new content by signing up for the weekly newsletter.

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