ISAIAH PROPHESIED in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Chapters 1 to 6 were written during the period when Uzziah and Jotham jointly reigned. Uzziah was a leper during the closing years of his reign and his son Jotham reigned as co-regent.
Chapters 7 to 35 were written during the evil days of the reign of Ahaz and chapters 36 to 66 were written in the reign of Hezekiah.
The message of Isaiah was directed to the nation of Israel, both the northern kingdom in Samaria and the southern kingdom of Judah at Jerusalem.
Isaiah lived in Jerusalem at a time when there was conflict. Syria and the northern kingdom had joined forces against Judah and the Assyrian Empire was expanding into the Northern Kingdom and into Syria.
Pul, the Assyrian king had been paid 1,000 shekels of silver by Menahem the King in the northern kingdom. Then Ahaz paid Tiglathpileser to attack Damascus and kill Rezin; the Syrian king.
Hoshea was the last king in the northern kingdom and he was paying tribute to Assyria until he decided to seek an alliance with Egypt. The Assyrians then came and imprisoned Hoshea and destroyed Samaria. Sargon completed the siege and took 27,290 captives to Media.
In the days when Hezekiah reigned in Jerusalem, Sennacherib, the son of Sargon reigned in Assyria and he brought
his armies south into the land of Judah capturing all the cities except Jerusalem.
Isaiah warned the Jews not to seek an alliance with Egypt but to trust the Lord. He indicated that if they trusted the Lord the Assyrians would not shoot one arrow over the walls of Jerusalem and God would destroy their army in one night. Hezekiah believed God and the Angel of the Lord slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. The next morning Sennacherib fled back to Nineveh and some years later was murdered by two of his sons who then fled to Armenia leaving Esarhaddon to reign in his father’s stead.
The theme of Isaiah’s prophecy was the ultimate establishment of Christ’s millennial kingdom but he again and again emphasized that it would never happen until the nation was walking with God. He denounced the wickedness especially in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz and made it very clear that the kingdom could only be established when Israel sought the Lord.
Israel’s stubborn resistance to the prophet’s message was acknowledged and Isaiah made it clear that the nation would only be redeemed with judgment. He stated in Isa. 1:27:
“Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.”
Thus Isaiah could see down through the
ages how Israel would have to suffer greatly before they turned to the Lord and it would only be in the Great Tribulation that genuine repentance would occur.
At the same time, God would judge the Gentile nations before the millennial kingdom could be established. Thus the end of the age would come with a time known as “the Day of the Lord” when the earth will be emptied, made waste and “turned upside down” (Isa.24:1). Only then would the Lord of hosts “reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously” (Isa.24:23).
But Isaiah knew that judgment alone was insufficient to establish a righteous government over the world. Without the mercy of God nobody would survive and so the grace of God must play a vital role in the redemption of Israel and of the world.
Therefore we find throughout the prophecy of Isaiah a crimson thread all the way through the prophecy that traces the first advent of the Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ. It clearly indicates how He would pay the debt of sin and make it possible for forgiveness to be granted to israel and the nations that survive the Tribulation.
The prophecies of Christ are as follows:
1) Messiah would come and be born of a virgin (Isa.7:14)
“The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
2) In Isa. 66:7 we have a prophecy that Israel would “be delivered of a man child” before the nation had passed into the travail of the Great Tribulation.
3) Messiah would minister in Galilee. In Isaiah’s day the Assyrians had afflicted
the northern tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali and beyond Jordan in Galilee. They lived in fear and the “shadow of death” and this would be the place where Messiah, the Light of the world would shine (Isa.9:2; Matt.4:15-16). because
“unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The
mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this”.
The promised Messiah would not only be Emmanuel, God with us, but He would be “the Mighty God, the everlasting Father” – One with God in the Godhead. He would be God manifest in the flesh and one day sit on the throne of David reigning over the 12 tribes of Israel.
4) Messiah would be a descendant of David and the heir to David’s throne. Thus we read in Isa.11:1-4:
“There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay
When Jesus began His ministry he was baptized by John in Jordan and John proclaimed Jesus to be “the Lamb of God” and “the Son of God”. Nathaniel proclaimed Him as “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel” (John 1:29,34, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon Him.
Then when Jesus went to the synagogue at Nazareth He read Isaiah 61:1 and the first part of verse 2 which reads:
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,”
Jesus then sat down and said,
“This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).
5) A similar prophecy is found in Isaiah 42:1-4:
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”
Jesus was the Son of God from heaven but He accepted the limitations of humanity for a season in order to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. When He did mighty works He did them by the Spirit of God.
6) Isa.28:16 describes Messiah as “a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.”
Peter identifies Christ as the chief corner stone and “he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded” but to the unsaved He is a “stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence” (1Peter2:4-8).
7) Eliakim was made the Governor over the House of David and he stands as a great type of the Lord Jesus. It was said of Eliakim in Isa.22:20-25:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house…In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it..”
Eliakim means “God of raising” and his name suggests that Jesus would rise from the dead as the firstfruits from the grave. He also would raise all the dead from the grave. Jesus addressed the Church at Philadelphia and said:
“These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Rev.3:7).
When Jesus came He manifested the Father’s glory to the world by the miracles He performed. He could say, “I and my Father are one” and when He went into the Temple He rebuked the money changers and said,”Make not My Father’s house an house of merchantise” (John 2:16). But when He did this the nail in the sure place was cut down and He laid aside the glory of the Father as He passed through the dark hours on the cross where He cried “My God, My God, why hast tou forsaken me?”
8) Christ is seen as the suffering Servant of Jehovah in Isaiah chs.52 and 53. • He would be despised by the nation and crucified so that
“his visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa.52:14).
- He would grow up as a tender plant but would be despised and rejected.
- He would be arrested but be silent at His trial though He was totally innocent. He would be numbered with trangressors and be buried in a rich man’s tomb.
- Christ would be the sin-bearer in His death and His soul would be an offering for sin to make atonement.
- Christ’s days would be prolonged and He would rise from the grave. • All of these prophecies relating to Christ demonstrate that the redemption of Israel in the last days will only be possible because atonement has already been made by the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Isa.50:6 indicates Christ would be scourged. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting”
9) The ultimate reign of Christ over
Israel after she repents, and over the world, is seen in Isaiah ch.32:1-2: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land”..
Isa.24:23 “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
Isa.26:21` “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
Isa.40:9-10 “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”
Isa.59:20 “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD”
Isa.63:1 “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Isa.66:15-16 “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.”