Nine different places in Isaiah alone, God asserts that his ability to foretell sets him apart from pagan idols. Here’s just one: “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:9 NIV).
In a series of four “Servant songs,” God foretells the ministry of Jesus Christ, centuries in advance, through Isaiah’s ministry. The fourth and longest (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), describes his death and resurrection in minute detail.
When God chose Israel as his own special people, they were supposed to proclaim him to the surrounding nations. They were supposed to live according to his precepts. Their godly lives would make the rest of the world want to live the same way.
Instead, they rebelled. They adopted the ways of the surrounding nations: the idolatry, the greed, the pride, and the tendency for the strong to oppress the weak. In Isaiah’s time, Assyria had destroyed the northern kingdom and deported its people. And it was knocking on Jerusalem’s doorstep.
Isaiah predicted that Assyria would not destroy the southern kingdom, but that later, Babylon would.… Read the rest
Isaiah includes four songs sung about or by a person identified as God’s Servant. The nation of Israel was supposed to fill that role, but proved unwilling and incompetent. The early church immediately discerned the life and ministry of Jesus Christ in these songs. This post examines the first one.
The second half of Isaiah divides into three large sections.
The first, chapters 40-48, predict the end of the Babylonian captivity and the return of the Jews to their homeland. The Servant makes an appearance, but the passage reveals that Cyrus, and not any leader of Israel, will make it possible.… Read the rest