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 message.

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 (chapter 4).

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 Child Messiah.

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, and healing.

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