The book of Isaiah introduces the prophetic part of the Bible, all the
way through the end of the Old Testament. These prophets made
predictions, but they were not just fortune-tellers. They were
men of God in a sad day when the priests and the kings of Israel and
Judah were not men of God. These prophets revealed truths of the
distant future as well as local events in their immediate future.
As their revelations came to pass, this verified that they were indeed
qualified to be prophets of God (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). If a man
prophesied about a local event, and that didn't occur, then the people
knew that this man was a false prophet.
We know that these prophets like Isaiah were true prophets because of
all of their amazing prophecies that have already been fulfilled.
As a result, we can be sure that the events that they prophesied that
have not yet occurred will indeed occur in the future. Fulfilled
prophecy is one of the obvious ways to validate the Bible and its
The prophets were nationalistic, warning particular nations, and
rebuking sin in high and low places alike. They pleaded with
people to humble themselves and return to God. They prophesied of
destruction but also of the glory of the Day of the Lord. They
looked to the time that the darkness would be lifted, and the dawning
of a new day. They saw through the night, to the light of the
coming Messiah and His kingdom.
We know very little about Isaiah's background. We do know that he
prophesied during the reigns of the kings of Judah, including Uzziah,
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Some of these kings (Uzziah and
Hezekiah) were men of God, but these were the days when Judah was taken
into Assyrian captivity. The theme of the book of Isaiah is the
coming Messiah, although Jesus Christ is not referenced by name.
Isaiah prophesies the virgin birth of Christ, His character, His life,
His death, His resurrection, and His second coming.
Chapters 1 through 35 of Isaiah offer a picture of God on His
throne. Isaiah calls upon the nation of Israel to hear the
charges brought against the nation of Israel by God (chapter 1).
He gives a summary of the future of Judah and Jerusalem (chapter
2). He cites the current situation for Judah and Jerusalem in his
current day (chapter 3), and then returns to prophesy of the future
In chapter 5, Isaiah presents the parable of the vineyard, and the doom
and gloom in store for Israel. In chapter 6, he does speak
briefly about himself and how he was called by God to be a
prophet. Then he predicts many events, some that would occur in
his day, and some that are still in our future (chapters 7 - 10), but
the overriding message is the hope for the future because of the coming
In chapters 11 through 23, he predicts disaster for many regions of his
day, including Babylon, Moab, Damascus, the land beyond the rivers of
Ethiopia, Egypt, Edom, Arabia, the Valley of Vision, and Tyre.
Chapters 24 through 34 outline the blessings of the coming kingdom, and
the way that it will be established on earth.
Chapters 36 through 39 constitute an interlude concerning the delivery
of Israel through the Great Tribulation; King Hezekiah and the invasion
of King Sennacherib of Assyria; King Hezekiah's prayer and the
destruction of the Assyrians; and, King Hezekiah's sickness, prayer,
Chapters 40 through 66 give us the revelation of Christ's
suffering. It reveals the comfort of God which is provided by
Christ, and the salvation of God which is provided by Christ's work on
the cross. Christ is presented as God's servant, His Lamb, the
Savior, and the Redeemer of the world. Finally, in chapters 58
through 66, we see the glory of God provided by Christ's
suffering. Although sin blocks the manifestation of the glory of
God, the Redeemer is coming to Zion. Nothing can hinder God's
progress and His judgment of sin.
Owen Weber 2012