Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 22


Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 22
Watching Now

I. Introduction

A. Quoted in the New Testament

B. Family life

C. Date and Authorship

II. Outline and Content

A. Literary divisions

B. Content division

III. The Call of Isaiah

A. Other uses of Isaiah 6 in the OT

B. Other uses in the New Testament

IV. Major Themes in Isaiah:

A. God is the Holy One of Israel

B. God as savior and redeemer

C. The remnant

D. Servant of the Lord

E. Yahweh's kingship

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament



I. Introduction (00:13):

All right, we're now beginning the first book in the latter of writing prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12. Here we go with Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah.

The book of Isaiah, by way of introduction, is the most frequently cited of all the prophetic books in the New Testament. So it's an important book. The prophecy of Isaiah figured prominently in the life of Jesus. Do you remember the scene? It's so amazing that I just have to read it to you as an introduction to this lecture because of how significant it is for the life of Jesus and understanding His life.

A. Quoted in the New Testament (00:47):

This is Jesus going to Galilee in Luke chapter four, beginning with verse 14. Jesus returned to Galilee. How? In the power of the spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised Him. He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, He went to the synagogue as was His custom.

And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, not by accident. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written... Which is tough, there are no chapters or verse references. And it said this, "The spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. To release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, sat down, and the eyes of everyone in the synagogue was fastened on Him. You can imagine the silence. Then he began by saying "Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." If you ever had the moment of prophecy and fulfillment, this is it.

So we are about to look at this book and to see why was it so important. This was Isaiah 61:1-2, if you wanted to get back to that. The way we feel when we read that, the hairs in the back of your neck stood up or your eyes welled up, is one of the reasons why Isaiah's often referred to as the fifth gospel. It is because of its special emphasis on the good news that God will reverse the covenant lawsuit with His new Davidic king and restore the kingdom of God with a new Zion.

Listen to something like Isaiah 40:9, "Go up to a high mountain, Oh Zion, Herald of good news." We've got that word in Hebrew. "Lift up your voice with strength, Oh, Jerusalem, Herald of good news. Lift it up. Fear not the state of the cities of Judah. Behold, your God." Isaiah 52:7. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. Who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, your God reigns."

B. Family Life (03:06):

It's an amazing prophet. So who was this prophet, and what did his life look like? Let's talk a little bit about that. Some personal things about the prophet that you might want to know. The prophet Isaiah was married. Do you know what his wife's name was? The Prophetess. I love that. She's never named, she's just called the Prophetess. That's great. I'm going to try that one, pull that one on my wife from now on. "Hello, Prophetess."

Together they had two children who had prophetic names, almost like enactment signs or sign acts. The first one was Shear-Jashub. It's a double name, so it's probably from the south. That's from Isaiah 7:3. And it says, "The Lord said to Isaiah, go out you and your son, Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool on the road to the Washman's field."

Shear-Jashub means a remnant shall return. Later, that's going to be one of the major themes of the prophet Isaiah, is the remnant. God always preserves a remnant. Noah's family was a remnant. In the day of Elijah, the 400 people who had not bowed their knees to Baal, a remnant. Right now the church, a remnant.

The other child he had was from Isaiah 8:1-3, and here the name of the son is, ready? Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. It's a quadruple name. It's four words. Here's what it says. "The Lord said to me, take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pin, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. Then I went to the prophetess and she conceived."

I went to the prophetess and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Before the boy knows how to say my father or my mother, the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Syria."

So what does Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz mean? In the older translations, it means this. Swift is the booty, quick is the prey. Now, since the advent of disco, we can't say swift is the booty anymore. So booty means plunder. So quick will be the plunder, swift will be the prey. So there we go.

Note how the names of Isaiah and his sons constitute a summary of the message of the whole. Yahweh saves, a remnant shall return, but quick is going to be the spoil, and swift the destruction. Those names are given for a reason.

C. Date and Authorship (05:51):

When did Isaiah prophesy in the economy of God's Mosaic kingdom? We can see the date for the prophetic ministry of Isaiah, according to the list of Judaic Kings in 1:1, is 740 to 700 BC. Let me read that to you right here in 1:1. "The vision of Isaiah, son of Amos," notice that it's saying one vision, but he's going to have lots of stuff to say, "which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah."

His ministry spanned a long time. In fact, you can see up here on my prophetic chronology that Isaiah prophesied from 740 to 700. He's the earliest of the three major prophets. So he prophesied in Jerusalem, but right at the time that the Northern tribes went into exile. He's going to be using those Northern tribes and the example of those Northern tribes to preach repentance to Judah. He's going to say, "Look what happened to your brothers. Don't let it happen to you."

Jeremiah comes a little bit later. He's around at the fall of Jerusalem, and then he goes into exile into Egypt. Then Ezekiel's prophecy starts with him in Babylon, but he has visions. He was born in Israel, went to Babylon, turned 30 in Babylon, and then was commissioned as a prophet there when he turned 30. He was a priest and that's why he would've started serving in the temple and the tabernacle.

He was not the earliest of the prophets. The two earliest prophets are Amos was the earliest prophet, but Hosea is also really early. They came just before Isaiah. Also, we can see that whereas Micah was a contemporary of them and then some of their prophecies are the same. It doesn't mean they were depending on each other, but they were standing in the same council together. Does that make sense? So it's easy for them to preach the same message. That's what it is. So that's from 740 to 700. So 40 years of ministry there.

The Assyrian siege of Judah by Sannacherib in 2nd Kings 18:7 in 701 BC is actually recorded in the annals of Sennacherib, written in Acadian. We actually have documented evidence of this. Isaiah's prophecy was done during the time that Homer wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey. So you can think of that kind of timing. It's helpful to think about these contemporaries. What's interesting about that is Isaiah's poetry and prophecy is the highest level of all of the other prophets. It's also the hardest to read, but everyone recognizes that Isaiah's poetry and sophistication is off the chart. So he's like Luke in the New Testament. Luke is writing in the highest literary level, and then John is kind of word on the street, common man speech. Isaiah's in that category, which makes it interesting because that's like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, like very high level Greek stuff. So the high time in culture at that point, he's reflecting it.

Here's actually what's written by Sennacherib in Acadian. This would be the Assyrian stuff. "But as for Hezekiah the Jew who did not bow in submission to my yolk, 46 of his strong walled towns and enumerable smaller villages in their neighborhood I besieged and conquered by stamping down earth ramps, and then by bringing up battering ramps. By assault of foot soldiers, by breaches, tunneling and safer operations, I made to come out from them 200,150 people. Young and old, male and female, innumerable horses, mules, donkeys, camels, large, and small cattle, and counted them as spoils of war. So this is verifiable, what's going on here. This is when Isaiah is ministering. So remember that in 931 BC, the kingdom was split into Northern and Southern regions with two Kings and two places of worship.

II. Outline and Content (10:00):

So it's been approximately 200 years since the split. So the north had basically 200 years of kingship before they were so corrupt that the Lord has wiped them out. Authorship is a hotly debated topic. In fact, it has become litmus test for orthodoxy in some circles. Who do you think wrote Isaiah? Traditionally, surprise surprise, the author was understood to be the prophet himself. This seems to be the understanding if Jesus and the authors of the New Testament are taken seriously, they say, as the prophet Isaiah said.

A. Literary Divisions (10:32):

Now it could be that, of course we know like Jeremiah had Baruch and the scribe wrote down all the prophecies. But Jeremiah would've checked them, and Jeremiah dictated to them, that kind of thing. It could be that Isaiah had a scribe. Fine. Or that when Isaiah died, the scribe collected all of his things and put it in the book form, like it was finished up, but they're attributable to Isaiah. Modern criticism, however has proposed two authors, Proto Isaiah and Deutero Isaiah they call them. So Isaiah 1-39 and then 40-56. They've also proposed three authors. Proto, Deutero, and Trio. So one, two and three, based on certain shifts in content and subject matter. Proto would be 1 through 39, Deutero would be 40-45, and Trio, would be 56-66.

One example is Bernard Doom. His important commentary in Isaiah from 1892 argued that Isaiah 1 through 39 was largely but not wholly the work of an eighth century prophet. 2nd Isaiah was written during the Babylonian exile by an Isaianic writer, so like a disciple. The third Isaiah came about after the Babylonian exile, suggesting a Palestinian or Jerusalem context because of massive shifts in content. Now they're right, there are massive shifts in content, but it's according to the pattern of the prophetic lawsuit. So if they would've taken an x-ray, they might have seen the continuity. But if you don't take the x-ray, you don't see what connects it all together. We don't know how your eyes and your feet and your hands work together, but once we understand the nervous system, we know how it's all connected and works together. We just got to look under the hood.

So I'm going to adopt this threefold. We have in Isaiah 1 through 39, the destruction of the old kingdom, the execution of the prophetic lawsuit. This is Yahweh is bringing down through Isaiah, the curses of the covenant saying the old order is done. You haven't repented, judgment is coming.

Then in the second half of the book, Isaiah is focusing on the brokenness of the lawsuit, the reversal. There's going to be two new things here. In 40-55. There's going to be a new eschatological leader, the Davidic servant of the Lord. We think of him as the suffering servant. In Isaiah 56-66, we have a new eschatological dwelling, Zion, the city of God. There's going to be a new Zion. There’s going to be judgment, new servant, and a new city. A suffering servant, an eschatological leader. It's going to be couched in Davidic terms.

B. Content Division (13:14):

Based on content, there is another slightly more complicated form that has seven sections. I don't usually have people memorize that. You can put it in the book if you want, and I'll go over it quickly here just so you know. So these are the big macro sections. If you get this, you really understand the message of Isaiah, and once you hit 40, you're going to feel a lot better. Once you hit end of 39, it's like whew. So you may want to read a couple chapters from here, then do a couple chapters from here. Couple chapters from here, a couple chapters from here. So you don't get overly depressed.

But here's how it works, and so this is really cool. Isaiah 1-12 is the lawsuit of Yahweh. In 1-5 you have the first lawsuit, in chapter 6 you have the call of Isaiah, and in 7-12 you have the second big lawsuit. It's this big introduction to the prophets and right in the middle is Isaiah's call. So it's very intriguing. After that you have, from 13-23, oracles against foreign nations. Oracles against foreign nations. That is, the Lord is going to come and judge the nations, both for how they didn't help Israel, how they afflicted Israel.

So remember, for example, the Moabites get in trouble because they didn't help Israel when they passed through the land, even though they're their brothers and the other ones for example, the Ammonites, they're going to get in trouble because they afflicted Israel when they came through. That's how it's going to be there. It's an interesting thing that sometimes the Lord is judging the nations, sometimes He's using the nations, sometimes He's blessing the nations. If you want a great text to confuse yourself with, Isaiah 19 is a massive display of the gospel in terms of the nations. It’s because it says He's going to redeem His people, Babylon and Egypt, the two greatest enemies. Babylon will be first born, Egypt second, and Israel my third born. So if you don't think that the Lord cares for the nations back from Genesis chapter 12, you haven't read Isaiah 19. That's in this section.

Each of the prophetic corpuses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the 12, have Oracles against foreign nations. Why? Everyone in the world is in covenant with God. They're either in Adam or in the covenant of grace in Christ. God is free to rule the nations and judge the nations, just like He is with Israel. But He's actually judging Israel worse because they have violated that Mosaic administration, the special relationship they have with them or more severely. This is followed by, in chapters 24 to 27, what's called the little apocalypse, the eschatological day of the Lord. 24 to 27, apocalyptic literature. We're going to talk about this when we get to Ezekiel and Daniel, is like when you have visions of weird animals and weird beings doing weird things. Like goats with lion heads and 15 horns, and then a little horn sticking out of one horn.

Just think of Daniel. There is Gog and Magog. You have these celestial beings, where you have these big statues made of gold and bronze and clay, and that they make no earthly sense. Apocalyptic literature is designed to provoke comfort. It's a comfort food, ancient comfort food, because it's supposed to tell you that God is in charge of the invisible realm and that invisible realm is going to intrude on the visible realm. There are images from heaven that we don't understand because they're not of this world, but we're seeing the invisible world intrude in powers and control history here. It's supposed to provoke comfort. That's what it does for Daniel. After that, in chapters 28 to 33, we have oracles of woe.

Then in 34 and 35, we have the eschatological summary, judgment of the nations, and the return of the redeemed of the Lord. Isaiah 35 talks about a new Exodus event. Then there's Isaiah 36 to 39, which is a biographical intrusion of Hezekiah and Sennacherib. Isaiah is going to be there, and Isaiah is going to tell Hezekiah about what's coming. Now we get into the 40 to 66 section. Now we're into this section right here, where in 40 to 48, we have the release from captivity, in 49 to 57 the servant of the Lord, and from 58 to 66 the restoration of Zion. 40 to 48 released from captivity. This is the comfort of Israel. It begins there. Comfort comfort, my people, says the Lord. It's the book of consolation in Isaiah. 49 to 57, the servant of the Lord, and 58 to 56, the restoration of Zion.

III. The Call of Isaiah (18:10):

All right. I want to take a minute and focus, if you will, on Isaiah chapter 6. The call of Isaiah. I would say this chapter along with some stuff in the suffering servant songs, especially in Isaiah 53, really play a significant role in the rest of redemptive history. I had one professor say in my life, John Hartley, say that if you could x-ray the New Testament, you would see Isaiah 6 and Psalm 1:10 really undergirding the ministry of Jesus and what's happening, especially when he uses parables. So what I'm going to do is just read a few verses out of it and then I'll about it. Well, let me introduce it to you first.

A. Other Uses of Isaiah 6 in the OT (18:52):

Many have argued that the call of Isaiah is the defining moment of his ministry, both in terms of his prophetic office and in terms of his prophetic message. It's going to show you something about his office and his message. In terms of his office, Isaiah receives his call in the year that the king of Judah died. It was a time of a nation's civil war and moral and ethical atrocities. Against this backdrop of cultural decline and the death of the king, Isaiah sees Yahweh high and lifted up as the true king, both of His people and the nation. So it says “in the year that king Uziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up”. He saw the true king over Israel still reigning. So there's a contrast there. While the message of Isaiah 6: 9 and 10 comes to full force for the first time in this time, location, and text, it is not an unexpected reality for the people of God.

In fact, it has been true from the very first days of Israel. Meaning this, I'm going to read it now to you. This is amazing. And I'm just going to read to you 6... Well, let me just go through it. "In the year that the king Uziah died, I saw the Lord sitting high upon a throne high and lifted up. And the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim, each having six swings. With two, he covered his face. With two, he covered his feet. With two, he flew, and called one to the other saying, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, God the Lord of armies. The whole earth is full of his glory. And the foundations of the threshold shook at the voice of him who called. And the house was filled with smoke. And I said, woe is me, for I am lost. For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the king Yahweh of armies."

So he is shocked. "Then one of the serubim flew to him, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said, behold, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is removed and taken away, and your sin is atoned for. And I heard a voice of the Lord saying whom shall I send and who will go for us? Then I said, Hineni, here I am." This is exactly what Samuel said. "Send me. And he said, go and say to the people..." Here it is... "Keep on hearing, but do not understand. Keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and their eyes blind. Lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

Isaiah's preaching is going to be designed in such a way to make the people unrepentant. It's going to harden them. "Then I said, how long, Oh Lord? And He said until the city lies waste without inhabitant, and house without people, and the land is a desolate waste. And the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a 10th remain in it, it'll be burned up again, like a Terrabant or an Oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is the stump." So He's going to wipe it out, even to the extreme remnant, so there's only one twig left. The Jesus twig, as you can say it that way, that He's looking forward to there. Now, couple of things. This hearkens back to Deuteronomy. To Deuteronomy 29:2, where it says, Moses summoned all the people and said, your eyes have seen all the Lord did to Pharaoh and all of His miraculous signs and wonders.

But to this day you have not been given a mind that understands, or eyes that see, or ears that hear, during this 40 years. And they have continued in their unfaithful activity, and so now the Lord is bringing this judgment to an end. So what's happened here is the people have become like the idols they worship. Here's one my former professors and now colleague at RTS says, “you become what you worship, either for ruin or restoration”. So let me read what that means and I'll show you how that works here. This is true, you see this happening with kids a lot. You'll see especially the high schoolers, the celebrities they worship or the bands they worship, they start looking like the people they want to resemble. So they will begin to resemble what they worship.

The Lord understands that it's the transforming power of idolatry. That's why the Lord wants us to look at Him and be transformed into His image. So here's what's happened to Israel. "Not to us the Lord, not to us, but to your name, give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and faithfulness. Why should the nation say, where is their God? Our God is in the heavens. He does what He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands." Here we go, just like this. "They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell, hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk, they do not make sounds in their throats. Those who make them will become like them. So do all who trust in them."

Do you see that you become what you worship, either for ruin or restoration. What God is saying here is that He is saying they've worshiped idols. They have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, mouths but cannot speak. They're going to become like that. They're going to have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, and therefore I'm going to bring full judgment on them. That's what that text is saying. This text is so important that it's used by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, John, all these people are using it. For example, in Jeremiah 5:21, "Hear this, you foolish and senseless people. You have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear. The prophets prophecy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end." Ezekiel 12:2. "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear, for they are rebellious people.

B. Other Uses in the NT (24:49):

Therefore son of man, pack up your belongings for exile and in the daytime as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand." So it's used in the New Testament. It's used all over in the New Testament, especially to explain Jesus' teaching of the parables. Note that the ministry of Jesus is to have the same prophetic impact as that of Isaiah, to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. For those whose ears are closed it is a word of condemnation, for those whose ears have been opened it is a ministry of salvation. This is doubly confirmed by the location of the quotation following the parable the Sower, where we have it in the gospel of John. In this section of the narrative John provides us with a double quote from Isaiah. The first one from Isaiah 53, and the second one from Isaiah 6:10.

Now notice those are the two different sections that critical scholars say can't be written by the same guy. This quotation also occurs in connection with Jesus' teaching, but also with his miracles. In other words, both the teaching and the miracles of Jesus have the same effect. Either to condemn or harden or bring repentance, to harden the hearts or to melt hearts. It is similar to the difference between the prophetic office of Elijah, a ministry characterized by miracles, and the prophetic office of Isaiah, a ministry characterized by words. So Jesus has both of these ministries going on at work, and they're both either hardening or softening hearts. It's either salvation for one group or condemnation for another.

I think of it this way. Think of Jesus' words and acts as the son. If you're made out of clay, it melts you. If you're made out of cement, it hardens you. Does that make sense? So that's what these words are doing. So you need to pray that God circumcises your heart and gives you a body of clay, and not a heart of cement. There's also some quotes in Acts 28 and Romans 11, but I'm not going to call that. It's also the background for the statement that occurs after the letters to the churches in revelation. He has ears to hear, let him hear. The question is, do you have ears to hear? So this is an important statement about the nature of the prophetic ministry that all these people are in line with. So John the apostle, Jesus, Paul uses it, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. It runs hot through the Bible. Then it's only going to be the remnant.

IV. Major Themes in Isaiah (27:11):

What are some major themes in Isaiah that are important to highlight? I'm going to give you 5 major themes. This is the best way I can get to most of the book. Number one, God is the holy one of Israel. God is the holy one of Israel. This name begins with Isaiah's call in chapter six and continues throughout the whole book. Isaiah's favorite designation for God is the holy one of Israel. It occurs 25 times in Isaiah. This designation only occurs six other times outside of the book. So this is his favorite designation, The holy one of Israel. Why? Think of his calling. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. He saw God three times holy, which doesn't mean three times morally pure, but three times committed to his people. This makes it even worse, they're idolators, so they're unholy, unholy, unholy. Three times uncommitted to the Lord, and that's why He's coming in judgment.

A. God is the Holy One of Israel (28:16):

This designation highlights both God's holiness and Israel's lack of holiness. Israel's call to be as holy as God is not realized. They are unclean people, and we can use the example of Jose and Gomer to show you how that works later. So in Leviticus 11: 44-45, Israel's called to be holy as the Lord is holy. That is, Israel's called to be faithful to the Lord as the Lord is faithful to them, but they fail. It shows God's complete commitment to His people. That is, God is the holy one of Israel. Next, number two. God as savior and Redeemer. Though God was to judge Israel, He would not merely abandon them. He keeps His promises both to execute the covenant lawsuit, but also to atone for His people and for His land at the end of Deuteronomy, in Deuteronomy 1:43.

B. God as Savior and Redeemer (29:05):

Isaiah means Yahweh will save, or Yahweh is salvation. So it's built right into Isaiah's name. Yahweh is called Redeemer more than a dozen times in Isaiah, 40 to 66 and only four times elsewhere in the Old Testament. So Redeemer is a big one. Now we'll think about what Redeemer is when we come to the book of Ruth, a kinsman Redeemer. One who buys someone out of a lost relationship. Or one who avenges the blood of another. So God is our savior and Redeemer. That's a big theme in Isaiah 40 to 55. The remnant. The remnant is the third theme. The remnant will inherit the promises of God. We thought about that. When you think of remnant, think of Noah and his family, they were the super remnant. The future existence of a group will grow from the remnant. That'll be a small group like Noah's family after the flood, and then it will grow into the remnant.

C. The remnant (30:04):

Isaiah 1:8-9 says "The daughter of Zion is left, like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in the field of melons, like a city under refuge. Unless Lord almighty had left us some survivors, we would've become like Sodom and we would've been like Gomorrah." That is, in Sodom and Gomorrah there was no remnant. It was total smokehouse on that day for those guys. Isaiah 6:13, "Although a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terrabit and Oak leave a stump when they're cut down, so the holy seed will be in the stump of the land." There's going to be a remnant. Isaiah 17, 24 through 6. "In that day, the glory of Jacob will fade, the fat of his body will lay waste. It'll be when a Reaper gathers the standing grain and the harvest gathers his arm.

When a man gleans the grain of the field, the value of the refine. Some gleanings will remain, and when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs, declares the Lord, the God of Israel." So this imagery of like, you've only got two olives left. Two on the ground, three on the branches. That's all that's left. It says this in Isaiah 30:17, "A thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee away. Till you are left like a Flagstaff on a mountain, like a banner on a hill." So you see this huge mountain, one Flagstaff. That's the remnant. That's what explains some of these wacky images.

D. Servant of the Lord (31:27):

The fourth big theme here is the servant of the Lord. The servant of the Lord. These are especially focused on in the so-called servant songs of Isaiah. I wish we could do each of the servant songs. That would be a great 20 hour class, the servant songs of Isaiah. They are found in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, and 52 and 53, right in the middle. It's actually Isaiah 42:1-4, Isaiah 49:1-9, Isaiah 54 to 11, and 52:13 to 53:12, the servant songs. There are lots of different layers of servants. I'll explain how that can be. Number one, in Isaiah 41 and 44, Israel is referred to as God's servant. Also, Cyrus is going to be referred to as God's servant. But the songs are going to go way beyond both Israel and Cyrus. They will parallel the future ideal Davidic king found elsewhere in the book, Isaiah 55. The New Testament confirms that these passages would be understood as the Messiah.

So you know how this works already. There's Noah, there's Adam. Adam's the type of Noah, and Noah's the type of Christ. They're all in that same trajectory. So just because you can have, in your fulfillment domain, you can have several small fulfillments. Like when God talks about judgment, you can have the flood judgment. You can have the Sodom and Gomorrah judgment. You can have the Red Sea judgment, you can have the exile judgment. But it's all pointing to and looking towards the end. The more kinds of signs and symbols that He gives you, the more you can parse the verbs of the coming judgment. It's not, who is He talking about in human terms. Sometimes He's talking about Cyrus. Sometimes He's talking about Israel. Sometimes is talking about an individual. But all those are going to coalesce into this one person who is the true and better Israel, the true and better Cyrus, the true and better servant. So you can see Isaiah 53, it's just worth reading.

This is 53 verse one, it's well known. "Who has believed that he has heard from us and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed that the servant grew up like a young plant, like a root on dry ground. He had no former majesty that we should look at him, no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men and man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely, he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we deemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. And upon him, the chastisement that brought us peace. And with his stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray.

E. Yahweh’s Kingship (34:16):

We have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all." We would call these high level messianic texts. Finally, Yahweh's kingship. There is an emphasis on the future kingdom of Israel, a new Zion. The kingdom is centered in Jerusalem, there will be peace and prosperity. Worship and the law are central in this kingdom. Jesse's descendant will be sitting on the throne, but there will be a greater focus on Yahweh's kingship. This tension is solved in the New Covenant when Yahweh becomes the incarnate Davidic seed. Look at this in Isaiah 24:23. "The moon will be shattered, the sun ashamed. For the Lord almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders." So saying here there's this Davidic seed that's coming, but it says the Lord almighty himself.

So there's this confusion. Isaiah 33:22. "For the Lord our Yahweh is our judge. The Lord is our law giver. The Lord is our king. It is he who will save us." Yahweh's kingship. 43:15. "I, Yahweh, your holy one, Israel's creator, am your king." Isaiah 44:6. "This is what the Lord says. Israel's king and Redeemer. The Lord Almighty. I am the first. I am the last and apart from me, there is no God."

V. Conclusion (35:35):

You can think of it too in Isaiah, when the first thing he sees in the vision is the Lord high and lifted up, sitting on His throne. Yahweh's kingship and His holiness and His redemption all go together because He comes as the conquering king. So those are probably five of the major themes that we see in the book of Judges. God is the holy one of Israel. God is the savior and Redeemer, the remnants, the servant of the Lord, Yahweh's kingship. And we could add new Zion. That would be new Heavens and Earth, which is a focus at the very end there, where we have Isaiah looking forward to a new Zion, a restored city, a restored people of God.