The Book of Isaiah

From Issue: Discovery 9/1/2017

Isaiah lived most of his life in Jerusalem preaching to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He prophesied during the latter half of the 8th century B.C., spanning the reigns of five Judean kings (Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh). During his lifetime, the ten northern tribes were captured by Assyria (722 B.C.), while Babylonian exile for Judah loomed less than 150 years in the future.

Isaiah courageously warned and rebuked the kings of Judah of various foolish mistakes they were making. He warned Ahaz not to look to Assyria for protection. He later pointed out Hezekiah’s foolish flirtation with Babylonian representatives and warned of Judah’s impending Babylonian captivity.

Central Theme:

Isaiah’s prophetic life centered on warning God’s people against forming foreign alliances. They were not to look to pagan powers for security and military protection. Instead, they were to trust the Lord, relying totally upon Him no matter what the political landscape looked like. Though not primarily a social reformer (like Amos), Isaiah pinpointed the social problems of the day as signs of overall spiritual decline and rebelliousness.

Like all the prophets of God, Isaiah’s purpose was to condemn the departure from God, to warn of the punishment to come, and then to offer God’s forgiveness and restoration on the condition of repentance. Woven throughout this central purpose are frequent references to the ultimate solution to the sin problem: the Christ. Isaiah says more about the person and work of Jesus (the Messiah) than any other prophet (7:14; 9:6-7; 53). Thus, he is often referred to as “the Messianic prophet.”

1-39    Condemnation declared

On Judah (1-12); on other nations (13-23); on Judah in Babylonian exile (24-27); on Samaria and Judah (28-35); on Assyria (36-39)

40-66   Comfort offered

Land restoration (40-48); the coming Messiah (49-57); achieving release from sin (58-66)


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