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Studies on Isaiah

Three Studies on Isaiah Himself and Three More

1. Isaiah & the Other Prophets in the Top 55

There are ten prophets in the Bible Top 55. These are: Moses (#3), Samuel (#16), Jeremiah (#19), John the Baptist (#22), Elisha (#24), Elijah (#27), Ezekiel (#28), Daniel (#35), Balaam (#42), and Isaiah (51). There is a study on each of these in the booklet.

Use the various cards of these prophets to study them together. -- First, divide the prophets into various groups: writing / non-writing, etc. Second, put them in chronological order. Third, put the cards face down, mix them up, and have each one in the group say something about each prophet or his message as his card is drawn. This can be done as a game if desired.

2. Isaiah and Jeremiah Compared

Isaiah is the favorite written prophet of many, since he is cited 24 times in the New Testament. So it may come as a shock that he is only ranked #51 and is considerably outranked by Jeremiah (#19) who is only mentioned in the New Testament three times. Why is this? The one-page Bible study on Isaiah in the Top 55 booklet answers this question. The Jeremiah material is much more extensive. This is because there is lots of material available on Isaiah but relatively little on Jeremiah otherwise.

3. Isaiah Chapter Six: God's Plan & Isaiah's Call

Isaiah chapter six is about the call of Isaiah, but the chapter is more about God himself and about his program than about his prophet himself. The twelve Describe-It-Yourself cards below summarize the chapter contents, but there is a blank "wild card" in the first line to use in summarizing the content even further.

One the best points to make is to simply say that the chapter is primarily about God, since there is much about divine attributes in the chapter. The Lord's holiness and sovereignty are stressed, and the chapter is also somewhat trinitarian (6:3, 8, Cf. John 12:40-41). There is more stress on God himself in this chapter than in Jeremiah chapter one. Of course, Isaiah chapter six is also about Isaiah, but it is God himself and his plan which are described in the most detail.

In addition, by proclaiming God's message against sin for several chapters before talking about his call in chapter six, the prophet and the Holy Spirit show that the book is NOT primarily about the prophet himself. It is about God, God's message, and God's plan. Today, as well, "the ministry" should never primarily be about "the minister."

CLICK HERE FOR A SET
OF DESCRIBE-IT-YOURSELF CARDS
(Printer-Ready PDF)
CLICK HERE FOR A SET
THE DESCRIBE-IT-YOURSELF LIST
(Fast-Scroll Format)

Describing a passage or chapter yourself is far better than blindly following someone else's description. The cards and fast-scroll list in this set are great D.I.Y. description tools.

4. Isaiah Chapter 11: Animals and the Future

How can these things be?
Various animals are described in Isaiah 11:6-9, and most of them are in predator and prey pairings, such as the wolf and the lamb (11:6). Yet, unlike today, all the animals will dwell together in peace and harmony. There are two obvious possibilities, either 1.) God will someday fundamentally change the nature of predatory and dangerous animals or 2.) Isaiah's description is figurative.     Calvin believed that the description is of the people of Christ living in harmony with one another. This non-literal view, however, does not fit well with the details given, such as the lion eating straw like an ox (11:7). Moreover, it does not consider Paul's prediction in Romans 8:20-22 that all creation will someday be delivered from the bondage of sin. So it is better to take these things literally.

When will these changes occur?
In his first coming, the Lord Jesus demonstrated his authority over creation by calming the storm, walking on the water, and turning water into wine, but he did not turn lions or wolves into peaceful straw-eating creatures. While with the wild beasts in the wilderness for forty days (Mark 1:13), Jesus did not change the beasts of the field into domestic animals. That, or something much like it, will be done when he return. Even so, lions will still be recognized as lions and bears as bears.
  These great changes will come about after the tribulation period and during the 1,000 year reign of the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). The church age is not in view in Isaiah chapter 11 because the church was a mystery which was hidden until revealed in the New Testament (Ephesians 3:8-12).

Why aren't change in the animal kingdom mentioned much by other prophets?
It may be stressed in Isaiah because he was the prophet who spoke most about the Prince of Peace (9:6) and had the most to say about the whole world being changed. In contrast, Ezekiel, for instance, wrote about great changes to Jerusalem, especially to the temple, but Isaiah's focus was broader. (Changes in the animal kingdom is also mentioned briefly in Hosea 2:18, however.)     The main reason why animals are not mentioned very often by the prophets is simply because people are more important. Notice, that even in Isaiah 11:6-8, the safety of children is stressed.

What is the application?
We should be encouraged by the fact that great changes are coming and by the fact that such are now much closer than when Isaiah wrote and when the first disciples believed. (See Romans 8:20-22.) In fact, it may be only a few years away, after the seven year tribulation period. When we pray for God's kingdom to come to earth (Matthew 6:10), we are praying for the Lord to return and for these great changes to be made.       
   When the Lord first came, most Jews were hoping that the Romans would be driven out, but the changes that will come to the world when the Lord Jesus returns will be much greater than a change in government. All of creation will be set free.

Click here to go to the SPECIAL ANIMALS Page.

5. Renewable Biblical Energy & Isaiah 40:31

July 20, 2021
It has been very hot recently. So I have been drinking Japanese "black vinegar" diluted with water and flavored with blueberry. Maybe it helps some. For a longer-lasting pick-me-up, Isaiah 40:31 seems to recommend a consistent, undiluted devotional life flavored with hope.

6. The Lord's Suffering (52:13-53:12)

The directions for this study are at the bottom of the worksheet below. It is one of several studies on the suffering of the Lord Jesus.

Click here to go to the Lord's Suffering Page.

CONTROVERSIAL?
Isaiah's prophecies of the Suffering Servant are not, for the most part, controversial among Christians, but, of course, Jewish scholars argue that the Servant is the nation of Israel rather than an individual. The "we" and "us" references in chapter 53 seem to rule out their view. Moreover, the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-39 shows that the most natural reading of the passage is to take the Servant as a unique Individual.

FOR WHOM?
Another theologically controversial aspect of the chapter is the meaning of "many" in 53:11. Does this mean that Christ only died for the elect rather than for everyone? The simplest explanation is that many in 53:11 and 52:15 contrasts with few rather than with all. The Lord was despised (53:3), but those who would be justified through his sacrifice were to be many rather than only a few.

LIFELONG SUFFERING?

The glory of the Lord Jesus was hidden from public view, including by the humble circumstances in which he was born and raised (53:1-2). In a way, this was lifelong suffering and is in line with Phil. 2:5-8. Of course, the suffering climaxed with the cross, however.

PARADOXICAL?
That said, the following chapters in Isaiah and the final verse in chapter 53 show that reign of the Messiah over the nation of Israel and the world during the future kingdom are in view, and this will be a greater climax. So the Lord's suffering was in preparation for his reign, a key fact that many Christians fail to notice. The suffering is to be reversed or turned into glory and joy (Phil. 2:9-11). As Joseph was despised and rejected by his brothers but later reigned over them, so too the Lord Jesus shall reign over those who rejected him. This is probably the greatest paradox of all in the passage and context.

© 2021 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan