The Prophecy of Isaiah – Intro and Part 1


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The Prophecy of Isaiah

Our next series of studies will be the books of two of the so-called ‘major prophets’. We will first ask the Lord to open up to us these words He gave to the prophet Isaiah. If we are granted to finish that book, then we will make the same petition concerning the book of Jeremiah. Both of these prophets have much to say about Christ and His Christ and their kingdom, but they are also full of the judgments which are prophesied to be poured out upon our old man and his kingdom. Both are spiritual words which have never passed away, so both have words which are, were and will be relevant to every generation.

All scripture is prophecy in type and shadow

It may at first sound ridiculous to some to say that all scriptures is prophecy, but if all scripture is to be considered the Word of God, then scripture also expresses the mind of Christ, who is the Word (Joh 1:1). Christ tells us His Words are spirit (Joh 6:63), and then we are told this:

Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

It is no one less than Christ Himself who also tells us about who it is that has the testimony of Jesus:

Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

What part of the scriptures testify of Christ? Again Christ Himself answers our question:

Luk 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

“Beginning at Moses… all the scriptures… concern Him…”

In the first five books of the Bible we have allusions to Christ as the firstfruits, as the seed of the woman and as the seed of Abraham.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning [Hebrew: reshiyth – firstfruit, in Christ – Rom 11:36 and Col 1:16-17) God created the heaven and the earth.

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Gen 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

There are also many allusions to and types of the kingdom of God. For those who can see it, the physical nation of Israel is just a type and shadow of the true kingdom of God.

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them [Israel] for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

All of this is to be found in the first five books of the Bible, and it is worth noting that God called Abraham “a prophet”:

Gen 20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

It is not adding to the Word of God to call Noah a prophet who prophesied for 120 years of an impending flood, and before Noah Enoch is also called a prophet:

Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Jud 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

So when we speak of the prophets, we are not excluding those prophets who prophesied before the judges and the kings. Nevertheless, Christ Himself used the phrase “the prophets” in referring to a certain part of the writings of the Old Testament which was written after the Torah and after the judges and after the Psalms:

Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Luke 24:44 demonstrates just how Christ-centric are all the scriptures. The law of Moses is really all about the “good things to come” through Christ.

Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The prophets and the Psalms are also all about Christ. But what is referred to as “the prophets” is spoken of as a part of the scriptures which is separate from the law of Moses, separate from the psalms or the books of the judges, the books of Samuel and the books of the kings and the chronicles of the kings. The prophets are the last section of the books of the Old Testament.

Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Beyond the Torah, the name given the first five books of the Bible, we have Joshua, Judges and Ruth, which bring us up to the times of the kings of Israel and Judah. Every judge of Israel was a savior, a deliverer and a type of Christ.

Neh 9:26 Nevertheless they [Israel under the judges] were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
Neh 9:27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

As “saviors” even the judges prophesy of Christ. But the prophets are given a commission which is more explicit and more far reaching than anything given to any of the judges.

Christian scholars have divided the prophets of the Old Testament into two sections of scripture called the ‘major prophets’ and the minor prophets. In this series of studies we will first examine the first two major prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Note what is said of both of these two prophets:

Isa 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
Isa 49:2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
Isa 49:3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Isa 49:4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
Isa 49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Those who have no understanding of the principles of “the dream is one” (Gen 41:25) or “the sum of thy word is truth” (Psa 119:165) or line upon line and precept upon precept (Isa 28:9-13), and who cling to the idea that since the phrase “Thou are my servant, O Israel” is found here believe that therefore these verses have no relevance to Isaiah, himself. Here is what Henry’s Commentary has to say about Isa 49:3 and the surrounding verses:

I read Henry, Gill and Barnes, and they all apply the words to Christ, saying it was Christ who was called from the womb. It was Christ who lamented that He had labored in vain, and it is Christ whose mouth is a sharp sword. They all allude to what the angel told Joseph concerning the child Joseph’s espoused wife, Mary, would bring forth:

Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Indeed Isa 49:1-5 includes Christ, but those who know the True Christ are made aware that He is but the head of His body, and that every word, except the words “head of the body”, refers both to Christ and to His body. Even many of the functions of the head of the body of Christ are to be found within the spiritual function of His body. Was Christ known to God before His birth? So was Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and so are every one of His elect (2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2). Does our head have eyes that see? So do we as His body. Does our head have ears that hear? So does His body (Mat 13:1-15). Are the Words of Christ a fiery sword in His mouth? They are also a sword in Isaiah’s mouth (Isa 49:2), and they are fire in our mouths:

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Henry actually noticed:

“Some of the prophets?” Let this be a lesson for all of us. The great commentators and their commentaries may not see it, but the Truth is that what applies to Israel also always applies to Christ. What applies to Christ also always applies to His body. “The dream is one” (Gen 41:25), “as He is so are we in this world” (1Jo 4:17), and we fill up in our bodies what is lacking of His afflictions (Col 1:24). What this means, as it relates to this study, is that what applies to Jeremiah also applies to Isaiah and to all of the prophets and to you and me.

This brings us to the verses in Jeremiah which demonstrate what we are told these two prophets had in common, and what they were both called to accomplish, namely that both were speaking as the fiery sword in our Lord’s mouth:

Isa 49:2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Both were known by God before either were born:

Isa 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 includes two things Jeremiah had in common with Isaiah. Both prophets were sent to the nations and not just to Israel. It is to be found in the very next verse of Isa 49:

Isa 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

No one before Christ will be in that blessed and holy first resurrection, but the inspired words of Christ from their mouths will still be “My salvation unto the end of the earth”.

Luk 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

It was during the times of the kings that God began sending those we now call “the prophets” to speak to His people, and it is here in the prophets that for the first time we begin, in rather explicit words, to be introduced to the concept of a kingdom that will extend beyond just the physical descendants of Abraham and out to the Gentiles. It is here in the prophets that we are given to know that God’s own people are party to and the leaders of those who are predestined to crucify their own Savior.

Isa 50:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
Isa 50:6 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.

Isa 52:11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
Isa 52:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
Isa 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Isa 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Finally, it is also here in the prophets that we first hear of the concept of a consummation of the ages. Peter is quoting Isaiah when he makes us to know that we should always think of ourselves as those who are living in the last days.

2Pe 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2Pe 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

It is Isaiah who Peter had read and was led to remind us:

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Pe 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2Pe 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Jeremiah was also sent to tell us that God would bring the nations to an end before He would give life to all:

Jer 46:28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.

Conclusion

This is just the introduction to these two prophets. No doubt we will be studying these prophets for many months to come, if the Lord gives us the time to do so. Lord willing, we will get started in Isaiah one next week, and we will learn in that first chapter who is the great harlot of Revelation 17 and 18. It will be just the beginning of seeing how the scriptures interpret the scriptures line upon line and precept upon precept, which principle is given us in the 28th chapter of this prophet Isaiah.

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