Isaiah - Lesson 1

Introduction to Isaiah

In this comprehensive study of the Book of Isaiah, you will explore its purpose, authorship, major themes, and structure, gaining profound knowledge and insight into one of the most important books in the Old Testament. Beginning with a general introduction, this lesson covers the historical context and uncovers the author and the time of writing. You will then turn your attention to the key themes of the book, such as redemption, restoration, and the holiness of God, and scrutinize the literary style and the chapter breakdown of the text. Lastly, you will understand the impact Isaiah had on its original audience and its significant contributions to a broader understanding of the Old Testament, its connection to other books, and its influence on future prophetic literature.

Lesson 1
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Introduction to Isaiah

I. Introduction to the Book of Isaiah

A. General Introduction

1. Purpose of the Study

2. Overview of the Book

B. Authorship and Date

1. Historical Context

2. Author and Time of Writing

II. Key Themes and Structure of Isaiah

A. Major Themes

1. Redemption and Restoration

2. Holiness of God

B. Structural Analysis

1. Literary Style

2. Chapter-wise Breakdown

III. Significance of Isaiah in the Old Testament

A. Impact on the Original Audience

1. Contextual Significance

2. Relevance to the Contemporary Society

B. Contributions to a Larger Understanding of the Old Testament

1. Connections to Other Books

2. Influence on Future Prophetic Literature

  • Through the in-depth study of Isaiah, you'll gain understanding of its purpose, authorship, key themes, structure, and its significant contributions to the Old Testament, shaping your comprehension of prophetic literature.
  • In studying this lesson, you gain an understanding of the concept of servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, exploring its societal, literary, theological, and personal implications.
  • In the lesson, you explore Isaiah's divine vision, understand his servanthood in a biblical and cultural context, and reflect on its contemporary relevance and implications for today's believers.
  • By exploring trust as the basis of servanthood in this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of biblical teachings, the role of Isaiah, and the practical implications for modern Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the significance of trusting Yahweh, the invisible God, in difficult times and the consequences of relying on human conspiracies and seeking guidance from mediums. By choosing to trust God and follow His light, you will find hope, experience His strength, wisdom, and peace.
  • This lesson, spanning chapters 13 to 35, delves into various aspects such as oracles against the nations, God's rule of history, Judah's situation, and the repercussions of placing trust in the nations.
  • In this lesson, you learn about trusting in God even in the midst of chaos and to not rely on worldly powers. By waiting expectantly and trusting in God's sovereignty, you can find peace and security amidst a turbulent world.
  • The lesson offers deep insights into trust from a biblical perspective, drawing on case studies from Isaiah and giving you practical applications for contemporary Christianity.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah chapters 13 through 35, emphasizing the contrast between human power and God's sovereignty and discussing the ultimate victory of God in eschatological literature.
  • This lesson highlights the theological impact of the exile and the questions it raises about God's promises and His power. It explores the issue of trust and warns against relying on worldly solutions, using the example of seeking help from Egypt. Isaiah challenges the people to wait for the Lord and defines trust as confident expectation.
  • In this lesson, the consequences of trusting in worldly powers like Egypt and Assyria are emphasized, highlighting their limitations compared to God's power. The lesson stresses the need for repentance, rest, and trust in God for salvation and strength. It calls for addressing the present condition of the people and the land rather than being complacent. The promise of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is mentioned, which will lead to transformation and the establishment of peace.
  • This lesson introduces Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, and his dire dilemma on whom to trust—God or humanity—in a situation rife with political and personal peril. By examining Hezekiah's predicament, you will grapple with the notion that trust is the foundation of servanthood to God. The concepts of power, authority, and faith are analyzed through the lens of Hezekiah's interactions with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Ultimately, this lesson presents a thought-provoking exploration of trust in divine power versus human power, faith in the midst of desperation, and the implications of such trust for leadership and servanthood.
  • You will delve into the unique prophetic style of Isaiah, understanding his future-oriented prophecies, and the challenges brought by the exiles. You will explore predictive prophecy and how God's transcendence enables accurate predictions. Further, you'll examine the book of Isaiah's authorship, its implications, and the context of Assyrian-Babylonian transition.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the themes of grace, servitude, and the promise of God's deliverance in chapters 40 to 55. You will understand the meaning behind the denunciation of idols and God's sovereignty, in addition to the assurance that even amidst fear, God is present and will aid His people.
  • This lesson analyzes the role of a witness, God's omnipotence and His role as the sole deity, His promise of deliverance and transformation, and the continuity of faith across generations through His spirit. The key message of this lesson is that God is the Creator and Savior, the only true God, and our role as His witnesses is to testify to His reality and His power in our lives and in the world around us.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the profound concept of God's grace, witnessing how He reclaims His chosen despite their sins. You delve into the biblical view of cause and effect, discovering God's principles at work. Moreover, you gain insights into the suffering servant, embodying true Israel, fulfilling what Israel couldn't. This figure vividly portrays divine calling, struggle, and unwavering trust in God. The lesson ends by revealing the promised restoration of Israel, instilling hope in God's unwavering promises.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the concept of grace, the anticipation of God's saving work, the revelation of His victory, and the transformative power of Jesus' servant hood.
  • Through this lesson, you'll explore the significant role of justice, righteousness, and servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, showcasing the transformative power of God's grace in redeeming and restoring His people.
  • In this lesson, you journey through spiritual growth, witnessing human virtues and flaws, Israel's struggles, and divine grace. The Divine Warrior transforms God's people into beacons, illuminating God's glory. Finally, the Warrior, as the Messiah, brings comfort, freedom, and beauty amid sorrow.
  • This lesson provides a detailed exploration of the struggles of God's people, their plea for God's intervention, and their accusation towards God for their hardships. It calls upon you to reflect on the human condition and our inherent need for divine intervention. Lastly, the lesson underscores the importance of a relationship with God, not merely seeking righteousness but seeking Him and His presence in one's life.

Diving into this course by Dr. John Oswalt, you will find yourself immersed in the study of the Book of Isaiah, particularly focusing on its purpose, authorship, major themes, structure, historical context, author, and time of writing. The major themes like redemption, restoration, and the holiness of God will be unraveled, along with an examination of the book's literary style and chapter breakdown. Additionally, you will gain insights into the concept of servanthood within the context of ancient Israel, exploring its historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Isaiah's vision and his divine calling to servanthood will be thoroughly discussed, revealing the challenges he faced in his role and the contemporary relevance of his servanthood. You will delve into the relationship between trust and servanthood, with trust being a prerequisite to becoming a servant, as demonstrated by Isaiah. The class culminates in providing you with the knowledge of the transformative potential of trust, its importance in the biblical narrative, and its role as a cornerstone for faith and community development. Lastly, you will understand the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah, learn about the contrast between trusting in human power and glory versus living by faith, and gain an understanding of the importance of trust and the dangers of relying on worldly solutions.

Recommended Books

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Growing out of the work that the author did in preparing two major commentaries on Isaiah, these essays range from comprehensive to specific, and from popular to scholarly....

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Dr. John Oswalt



Introduction to Isaiah

Lesson Transcript


Welcome to this study of the Book of Isaiah. I'm John Oswald. I teach at Astbury Theological Seminary, where I have taught off and on for a number of years. It was my privilege in 1973 to be invited to write a commentary on the Book of Isaiah. That was the new international commentary on the Old Testament. And it was a thrill of my life to spend 25 years immersing myself in the Book of Isaiah. Then Zondervan asked me to do the new international version application commentary on Isaiah. And again, it was a delight. So it's a privilege for me to be with you in these studies and to walk with you through this amazing, amazing book. It is often referred to as the Prince of the Prophets. Isaiah The Prince of the Prophets. Why would people say that? Well, one possibility is the lyrical Hebrew, especially in the last 27 chapters. The Hebrew is beautiful. It's economical. It's simple, but it's beautiful. But there's another possibility why he would be called the Prince of the Prophets, and that is the possibility that he was from the royal family. He has access to the Kings. No problem whatsoever. No barrier between him and Ahaz or Hezekiah. And so perhaps he was, in fact, from the Davidic family. But really. He is the Prince of the prophets because of the sweep of the theology of the book. No other prophet covers the range of biblical theology like Isaiah does. And in fact, I would dare to say that no one Bible book covers the range of biblical theology like Isaiah does. There's more creation in Isaiah than there is in Genesis. And there's about as much new heaven and new earth in Isaiah as there is in Revelation.


So I have often said to students, if someone says to you, I'm going to take away 65 of your Bible books, you can keep one keep Isaiah from beginning to end. Here is the Bible. Here is a picture of the way the Creator God, unlike any you're going to find elsewhere. And yet at the same time, in His glory, in his transcendence and his wonder, you have the imminence, you have the person, the personality of Yahweh displayed in a wonderful way. You have here then his transcendence and his imminence. You have also here the picture of creation and salvation, creation and redemption. And together, they flow in a marvelous, marvelous way. So there's more New Testament in Isaiah than any other Old Testament book. And there is more Old Testament than any New Testament book. So this is the one to keep Isaiah the Prince of the prophets. Now there is general agreement on the units of material in this big book. And again, people say to me, Oh, I struggled through High Sierra this year, but it's so big. It's so complex. That's true. As I say, there is general agreement on the units in the book. So, for instance, virtually everyone agrees chapters 1 to 5 are a unit. Virtually everyone agrees. And this would be right and left. All stripes of theology, Chapters 6 to 12 are unit. Often called the Isaiah memoir, reflecting especially on his life in those earlier years. Then chapters 13 to 23 Oracles Against the Nations, then chapters 24 to 27, sometimes called the Little Apocalypse. Is There. What in the world is that? It does look out to the future when we get there. I'm going to suggest, you know, this is not apocalyptic literature, but it is looking out to the future.


A wide angle view, then back to a narrower view in chapters 28 to 35, looking at Judah, facing Assyria alone and wondering what to do about it. Then chapters 36 to 39, where Judah is threatened with the takeover of Assyria. And in a climactic moment, Hezekiah trusts God. People agree on those units. They then agree on chapters 40 to 55 as a unit and 56 to 66 as a unit. But there the agreement stops. How do these units all fit together? What is the focus? What's the thread? And over the years in general, the book, in its interpretation, has become more and more fragmented. One of the issues that we'll talk about in just a moment has to do with timeframes. Seems as though part of it is looking far out into the future. So the result has been that today. People talk about multiple authorship of the book at one point. 40, 50, 60 years ago, it might be said that there is a first Isaiah and a second Isaiah and a third Isaiah. Nobody believes that anymore. Today the idea is that, well, maybe Isaiah of Jerusalem wrote the first 12 chapters. Maybe. But that's all. And all the rest of this huge book is the result of several hundred years of reflection upon it. Forgive me, but when was the last time you saw one of the great literary pieces of the world created by a committee? A committee meeting for 400 years. Forgive me, but I don't think so. I don't think so. It is interesting that today one of the movements is to see these biblical books as a unit in some sense. This relates to the movements of critical theory. The idea that, okay, so it took all these years somebody edited the thing together in the end and they must have had some idea.


So it's interesting to see some of the more recent commentaries which would believe in multiple authorship, but still try to see the book as the unit. I don't think so. I think this book is the product of one human mind inspired by one Holy Spirit. Now. I don't necessarily believe that Isaiah wrote every word himself. I believe he thought every word and that he spoke every word. But it may well be that his disciples that, again, we'll talk about this a bit, perhaps organized his teachings, organized his messages in certain ways. We'll see about that. That's for heaven. But nevertheless, I am confident that this is the work of one human mind inspired by one Holy Spirit. In that light, I believe that the Book of Isaiah is about the servants of the Lord in chapters 40 to 66. Servant or servants occurs more than 30 times. That tells me that the author is trying to make a point. On the other hand. Servant only occurs about six times in chapters 1 to 39, 30 times in 42, 66, six in 1 to 39. How then, can I possibly say that the book is about the servants of the Lord? I think 40 to 66 is telling us how to read the whole book. Just as the New Testament tells us how to read the whole Bible. The New Testament gives us the clue. Oh, that's what's going on there. And I think exactly the same thing is happening in the Book of Isaiah. What is the meaning of the life of the people of Israel? What is their calling? What is the purpose in all of this? And the purpose is ultimately to reveal God to the world and the people of Israel. As Christians are today, are to be God's servants in that task, that wonderful task of revelation.


So 1 to 39 is laying the foundation for what is then going to be more fully revealed in chapters 40 to 66. And again in our study, I'll try to show you how I think that is working out. So then. Here's how I see the book working together. First of all, chapters 1 to 5. The problem of servant hood in these chapters, as we're going to see in the next lecture, we see a strange interchange between judgment and hope. Judgment and hope. What's going on there? We're going to see that Israel's condition constitutes a problem for their being the servants of God. Then comes chapter six. One of the things that characterizes the Book of Isaiah are these very, very skillful transitions. So you sometimes say, Oh, well, that chapter is the end of that unit. Then you look at the next unit. Oh, no, no. That chapter is the beginning of the next unit. Which one is it? And the answer is yes. So in one sense, chapter six is the conclusion of 1 to 5. How can this Israel ever become that Israel? If what happened to Isaiah? Or to happen to the nation. So that in that sense, chapter six is the solution to the problem. But in another sense, Chapter six is laying out. Oh, yes. What is the goal? Not only for the man of unclean lips. But also the people of unclean lips to be the voice for God in the world, a voice that is initially rejected. But a voice that in the end will reveal God's saving purposes. So chapter six then, is the call to servant who had. Then comes a large division. So I've said 1 to 5 is Division one. Chapter six, I've argued, is a division by itself.


Third Division, chapters 7 to 39. Trust the basis of servant would. If we are ever going to take off our royal robes. And lay them down and put on the robe. Of a servant. We're going to have to be able to trust the master. The older I grow, the more convinced I become. Trust is the essential basis of any relationship. If you cannot trust that person, you're not going to risk getting into any kind of a serious relationship with them. And so this entire section, Chapter 7 to 39, is focused on this issue of can you trust Yahweh? Can you trust this God who calls you into a life of servitude? That's what I mean when I say these chapters are laying the foundation for 40 to 66. If we can trust him, then indeed we can become his servants for the sake of the world. But if we can't. Forget it. Forget it. My son was for a number of years, a missionary in Russia. He was working with what they call orphan graduates, kids who were aged out of the orphanage at 15 or 16 and automatically enrolled in a technical college, which my son's wife, a Russian woman, said were hellholes. I'm very grateful to be alive these days when it's possible to call across the ocean and talk to your son and daughter in law. And he said to me one Sunday afternoon, I will never forget it. How do you talk to someone about their Heavenly Father? When every trust they have ever had has failed them. Yes. Yes. So these chapters, 7 to 39, 32 chapters are basically focused on trust. And again, I'll try to draw that out for you as we go along. We begin with failure.


Chapters seven through 12. King has has a golden opportunity to trust your way. And he fails. He refuses. He would rather trust a Syria his worst enemy. Then he would trust Yahweh. Hmm. He would trust humanity rather than Yahweh. So having failed the test. God takes him back to the classroom and chapters. 13 through 33 are lessons in trust. Lessons in trust. First of all, you begin with the nations chapters 13 to 23. Can you trust the nations? Of course not. The nations are all under judgment from your God. And some of them are one day going to turn and serve your way. Why would you trust them in these chapters? 13 to 23. We have a very particular approach. Nation by nation. By nation by nation. Now, you might get the idea from those chapters that the nations are the actors and Yahweh is the reactor. No. Chapters 24 to 27 Show us Yahweh is the sovereign actor on the stage of history. It's Yahweh who's calling the nations in Yahweh. Who is judging them? Yahweh, who is directing the future and God. Yahweh who has the future fully in his hands? Beautiful, beautiful contrast in those chapters between the ruthless city of Earth and the glorious city of salvation. Then in chapters 28 to 33, we come back to a more particular view. As I mentioned a moment ago, these chapters are looking at the period between about 714 and 701 B.C. when Assyria is bearing down on Judah. And Judah foolishly. Is replicating what A has had done. It has had trusted Assyria and Isaiah told him then what you trust in place of God is going to turn on you now. Judah is trusting Egypt. Egypt. And the Assyrians are pretty ruthless in their description of her.


The old prostitute who no longer knows she is lost her beauty. And Isaiah says, Oh, no, trust your way, not Egypt. And the people are saying, Oh, Isaiah, shut up. We don't want to hear anymore about this. We're looking at realities. You're out there in the. Blue. Yeah, I says, no, I'm looking at reality. All of this is concluded in chapters 34 and 35. A desert. Chapter 34. Or a garden. Chapter 35. Trust the nation's. A desert. But when you've done that, if you will turn to your way, he will turn your desert into a garden. I had never really seen that before. I got into the material in depth, but remember how Chapter 34 begins? He will make the desert blossom as a rose. It's not a case of choose the nations, get a desert, choose your way and get a garden. No, it's. We've all chosen the nations. We've all chosen to trust humanity. We've all plunged ourself into a desert. But if we will, if will allow him, Yahweh will turn the desert into a garden. So that's the conclusion. Chapters 11 to 35. Lessons in trust. It has failed the examination. Now we've had. Back to the classroom. More lessons. Now Hezekiah gets to take the exam over again. Many commentators and this forgive me, this is a pet peeve of mine. Many commentators will say, oh, chapters 36 to 39 are a historical appendix. Forgive me. Hogwash. No, no. If nothing else. Look at Chapter seven, where Isaiah met. It has and challenged him to trust your way. On that very same spot the Assyrian General dares. Judah to trust God. No. Their book ends. No trust fail the exam. Now. What now? When Isaiah's prophecies have come true in spades.


Will Hezekiah trust? And the answer is yes, yes, yes. So what have those chapters done? Seven through 39, they have proven. That your way can be trusted. Now, again, our time is flying here, but I want to point out something odd in chapters 36 and 37. Hezekiah comes off wonderfully. Oh, my. Well, look at it later on. His glorious prayer. Prayer of trust. But then chapters 38 and 39, we see a different picture. We see a Hezekiah who is dying, has a miraculous recovery. But the hymn that follows it is really talking more about mortality than thanks for recovery. And then he must have really been sick because the word reached all the way over to Babylon and they said, Wow. Babylon revolting against Assyria. Wow. That Judean guy. Maybe he knows something we ought to know. So they sent an embassy over. The Bible's very clear because of Hezekiah's recovery, they came. And what did Hezekiah do? He showed them his armory. He showed them his treasury. He showed them all his wealth. Now, I have thought and I'll say this again when we get there. But I thought so often. This is like somebody from Wall Street coming to Punkin Center, Iowa. And the people in Punkin Center showing off their local bank. No. Here was the glorious opportunity for Hezekiah to reveal the glory of God. And he failed. What's going on here. If these chapters 36 to 39, are intended to demonstrate your always trustworthiness, which they do, why end on this note? I think I know and I said to friends before we began, I'm a little worried about meeting Isaiah and having him tell me I got it wrong. But I think. These chapters, 38 and 39, are designed to show us that the Messiah that was predicted back in chapters nine, ten, 11 and 12 is not Ezekiel.


Our hope is not in human perfection. If we're going to look for this messiah, we're going to have to look beyond. We're going to have to look out in the future. I think chapters 38 and 39 are setting us up for 40 to 66. They're pointing beyond themselves. Well, that's 7 to 39 lessons in trust. So the question then arises. Okay, we know God can be trusted. But what will actually move us to do it not as a one time shot like Hezekiah, but as a life. And the answer is found in chapters 4255. It's Grace. Grace. The motive for servant hood. We've talked about the problem of servant hood. The call to servant hood trust the basis of servant hood. Now, Grace, the motive for servant hood. The people are in exile. Isaiah is looking down across 150 years. And he's talking to them. This is one of the things that marks Isaiah. Other prophets talk about people in the future. Isaiah talks to people in the future, and this is one of the things then that has caused heartburn for scholars. How can you talk to people 150 years in the future? Could I talk to someone? In 2370. Crazy. But God can. And Isaiah knows. But these people are not going to escape exile. And he knows by inspiration the terrible questions they'll be asking. Has it? Yeah, We failed. Haven't the Babylonian gods defeated him? Or if not, that hasn't our sin defeated him. He didn't want us to go into captivity. He didn't want his promises to fail. But our sins mounted and mounted and mounted until finally even Yahweh had to say. There's nothing more I can do in that bunch. And by inspiration. Isaiah speaks to their hearts.


I like to think of somebody coming in from long, long days in the fields. And by a guttering candle, someone pulls out a scroll. He hasn't forsaken us. He hasn't given up on us. He says we are his chosen servants. His beloved. Can you believe that? Well, if that's how he feels about us, I guess that's what I want to be. I want to be his servant. Grace the motive for servitude. That's chapters 41 two 4840 is the introduction to the whole larger segment. 40 to 55, 41 to 48 Is grace the motive for servitude? But the question is. How can God do that? Is he just going to ignore arsons? Okay. Okay. So he can restore us back home to Judah. How can he restore us to himself? He's holy. We're corrupted. We failed. Is he just going to ignore it? Is he just going to act like we didn't do anything? No. Grace is not only the motive for servant hood. It's also the means of servant to it. A servant will come. And he will do for the servants what they could not do for themselves. He somehow will atone for their sins. Oh, my. The king who was revealed back there in nine, ten and 11. That king. Is going to become the dying. Atoning. Servant. How can it be? We only know it can be. Well, in some ways that ought to be the end of the book. Shouldn't we get to chapters 54 and 55? Beautiful, beautiful invitation. Come by Wine without money. Come by and eat. Come. Don't worry. If you don't understand it, my thoughts are higher than yours. And all the trees are going to clap their hands. The mountains are going to dance. Oh, for a sign to your way.


Oh, good. Can you hear the postal code? We're ready to go. No, we're not. There's one more major section of the book, chapters 56 to 66. What was this all about? Go all the way back to chapter two. It's about the nations coming and learning the Torah of God, learning to walk in his ways. This is not merely about us becoming chosen beloved servants. It's about chosen beloved servants who are going to have a task. And that task. Is to bear his glory to the nations. But how? Chapters 56 to 66 are about the character of servant hood. What kind of a life do the servants of Yahweh lead if they're merely depending on their birthright? Well, the servant died for us. Everything's fine now. It doesn't matter how we live. It doesn't matter what our character is. And Isaiah says, Oh, it matters to all eternity. If you are to be the light to the nations, you can't be living in darkness. And in a wonderful way we see in those chapters how the. Character of the servant. It's changed. By the Divine Warrior. Oh, he's not a baby. He's not a servant. He's a warrior. And he comes to defeat the enemy of sin. That's the book. We'll be referring to that over and over again as we go. Now, as I said to you a moment ago, the book seems to be addressed to three time frames. The first time frame chapters 1 to 39. Is 740, more or less to 700 B.C.. The mighty nation of Assyria. And if I could give you a map. Here's the Euphrates River. Here's the Tigris River. Here's a Syria up here. Babylon down here. Jerusalem over here on the. Mediterranean Sea. Egypt down here.


The mighty nation of Assyria. For now, about 150 years has slowly been expanding. They have taken Babylon. They have taken much of what is today Eastern Turkey. They have taken Syria. And they're on their way down the coast toward the ultimate goal. Egypt. The great trading routes of that time ran from Egypt up along the coast, out across the top of the desert, down the Euphrates to Babylon. There it went, Egypt, Babylon, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria decided to cut out the middleman. They decided to control the whole thing over and over again. War is about economics, and that was certainly the case here. So at this point, 742 700 Assyria is on their way to Egypt. They have been in the process of conquering everything north of Judah. It's under that terrible pressure. That we see a has struggling. It's under that terrible pressure that we see Hezekiah struggling, what to do, how to confront this juggernaut. The Assyrians were masters of military technology. When I was in graduate school, one of my professors was a Hungarian. The textbook we were reading on Assyrian history was written by a German and was saying, No, the Assyrians were not really that bad. They. They were. And I remember my professors saying, Oh, yes, the Assyrians were like us Germans. They weren't that bad. They were masters of military technology. How are you going to confront them? How are you going to stop them? So that's the fundamental issue. The northern kingdom of Israel fell in 722. In the middle of this period we're talking about in the middle of Isaiah's ministry. Three quarters of Israel. Gone, how the Assyrians practiced what is called exile. You got a real problem if you're an Assyrian emperor. How do you manage this vast empire with all these different cultures, languages, religions? What do you do? You put them in the mixmaster.


You take them out of here, Put them over there. You took. Take them. Eat. Put them in here. You tried to achieve an imperial culture. So exile was partly terror. If you stand up against us, you're going to lose your homeland and you're going to become slaves in some place you don't know. It's partly that, but it's also partly imperial policy. And so the leadership of the Northern Kingdom is gone. Far away in what is today the northern regions of Iraq, the area of the Kurds. God. And the Assyrian border is six miles north of Jerusalem. Hmm. Hmm. In 701. They're finally ready to take judo. They've taken all the fortified areas in the country, 46 of them. To her left. Lachish. She's down south. West of Jerusalem on the way to Egypt. And Jerusalem. Lachish is about to fall. Jerusalem is just a plum waiting to be picked. So that's the context of chapters 1 to 39. Chapters 4255, as I said, are 150 years later, 550 BCE round figures. Babylon has replaced Assyria. Again, we'll talk a little bit more about this as we get there. Shocking. Assyria fell in a matter of 25 years. Had ruled the world for 300 years. And Babylon replaced them. And Babylon. The Golden Kingdom only lasted for about 75 years. They loom large in our thinking because they are so significant in the Bible as the captors of Judah and Jerusalem. But they only lasted about 75 years. In that 75 years. They. Had captured Judah. And again practice exile. The leadership are taken out. Then chapters 56 to 66. It's not quite so clear here, but it looks as though it's about 500 B.C. The people are back home again and struggling to reestablish themselves, struggling to regain their sense of identity.


And Isaiah speaks to them. So three time frames. Chapters one 239. Seven. 42. 700 B.C.. Chapters 42. 55. About 550 B.C.. 56 to 66, about 500 B.C.. Let me talk to you as we bring this lecture to a close about two very, very significant themes that run through the book. The first one is Glory and the Glorious. 51 times. In these 66 chapters, Glory or Glorious appear. The theme of the glory of God is at the core of what? This book is about. And in terms of what God wants to reveal to the world, you need to learn a little Hebrew. And the Hebrew word that is typically translated glory in English is covered K, A, B, and B, when it follows a vowel is pronounced like a v, o, d k, a body covered. Now, one of the characteristics of the Hebrew language is the concepts are carried in the consonants. Usually words have three basic consonants. And those consonants. Kerry the fundamental idea. Well. K. B. D. Has the basic idea of heaviness or solidity. For instance, guess what? Your liver, your heaviest organ is called in Hebrew credit. Kevin. Glory. Heaviness. Yes. Yes. It's the very opposite of what we tend to think of as glory in English, you know, the glory of the sunset. And you call your wife, Honey, come look. And by the time she gets there, it's gone. Or the glory of last year's 13 and Oh, football team. That is this year's only 13 football team. No, no. In Hebrew. And then if you know you're Hebrew. In Greek. In the New Testament. The glory is the solidity. It's the significance. It's the reality. Oh my. To run into the glory of God is like running into a brick wall.


Remember? When they finished the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle and no one could go in. Not because it was so bright. Not because it was so pretty, but because it was so real. And what God is trying to show to us, to the world. I'm not a phantasm. I'm not just some invisible cloud. I am reality. And I want you to know my reality. Oh, that's the joy. That's the joy of the word here. God's reality is shown to us. Here we come, face to face with the core of being. When he says I am. Oh, my. Nothing else is in the same sense that he is. And so throughout the book, you see it especially. Maybe you've already thought of it. Holy, holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts, and the whole Earth is full of His. Laurie. Glory. That's one theme. We'll talk about that all the way through this series. Here's the second one. The holy one of Israel. That phrase, The holy water of Israel appears in the Bible 31 times. Guess how many of them occur in Isaiah. 26. If you count if you count the one example of the holy one of Jacob, which occurs only in Isaiah, the only time it occurs in the Bible 26 times. And guess what? 13 of them are in 1 to 39 and 13 in 40 to 66. Oh, my goodness. That committee really did their work. Oh, my. We got 30. We got to get 13 over here to. The holy one of Israel. Now, again, I need to give you some Hebrew kadosh. That's the adjective. Holy. What is the idea there? The idea behind Holy is that which is absolutely another. Terrifyingly other frighteningly other awesomely other other pagans believed in that their gods were holy in some sense.


But what they weren't was ethical. Good movie. The good gods are holy, the bad gods are holy, the clean gods are holy, the unclean gods are holy. But the Hebrews made a discovery. Those things are holy. The sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the rain. There's a part of this world. But we've met a god. Who is truly other. He is not this world. He's not any part of this world. He's not the embodiment of the psychosocial physical cosmos. He's others than the cosmos. And what does that mean? That means there is one wholly character. His. Think about that. Suppose the one holy being in the universe was a brute. Holiness would be brutality. Suppose the one holy being in the universe was cruel. Holiness would be cruelty. But. Oh, no, no, no. He's good. He's faithful. He is kind. He's just he pure. He is love. The Holy one. The Holy one of Israel. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. That one. That one. Without Ally himself. With foolish, failing, insignificant little people group. Yes. Yes. Oh, I think that's what struck Isaiah in chapter six. And that's why he cried out. I'm finished. I'm done. There isn't a good English word for the Hebrew word he used. I'm dissolved. I'm a pad of butter in the noonday sun beforethe one whose glory fills the earth. And so I'm confident that concept just. Ran through all of his thinking, and so it saturates the book. Who is this God we're dealing with? Who is this God? Who's calling us to be His servants? Who is this God? He's the Holy one of Israel. Terrifying. Wonderful. The holy one. Of Israel.