Friday, July 17, 2015

An outline and brief exposition of the book of Isaiah

Isaiah 6:1 "In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple."

Yesterday we considered Isaiah 1:1. Today's post aims to dig further into the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah has been called by preachers and teachers the "Prince of the Prophets". Among the writing prophets, other than Moses, no other prophet enjoys the influence that Isaiah has on the minds and thoughts of the New Testament authors. Jesus Himself read from Isaiah 61 at the beginning of His public ministry and fulfilled Isaiah 53 to the letter in his crucifixion. Following Jesus' resurrection and ascension, the sending of the Holy Spirit is in some fashion connected to the prophecies of the pending Messianic age in Isaiah 12. Today's post is aimed at presenting to the reader a working outline of Isaiah that can be used in teaching or preaching situations. 

1. Chapters 1-5 First set of oracles against Judah

2. Chapters 6-12 Judgment upon Ephraim and the first glimpses of Christ reign here on earth 

To pause here for just a moment, the outline of Isaiah reveals what will be an ever increasing focus of God from Judah and its surrounding regions to ultimately the nations of the world. Isaiah's prophecy is international in its scope. Here is a map for the reader's reference:

3. Chapters 13-23 God's judgment on the nations and glimpses of hope for Israel

4. Chapters 24-35 Glimpses of Christ's earthly kingdom to show Judah how she will be restored

As one reads on in Isaiah, the pattern of judgment/hope/kingdom is repeated. God will pronounce judgment either on His people or a particular set of nations, and then end that given section with a glimpse of Christ's millennial kingdom. This at least characterizes the pattern in Isaiah 1-35. The threat of the Assyrian Kingdom destroying Jerusalem was very near and real, since in Isaiah's day (722 b.c) Assyria had taken the Northern Kingdom of Israel, particularly Samaria, into exile. God used Isaiah to first chide Judah for her sinfulness and then give her the hope of being restored in Him. The fact that Isaiah 24-35 is bookended with views of Christ's earthly reign and ultimate Kingdom reminds us that all the kingdoms of this world will bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ (compare Philippians 2:5-11; Revelation 11:15; 19:1-21)

5. Chapters 36-39 God uses King Hezekiah as the tool for revival in Jerusalem

It is at this point that the first part of Isaiah, dedicated mostly to pronouncing judgment, switches to the second great theme - comfort. Isaiah 40:1 starts out - "Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God." 

6. Chapters 40-53 Yahweh is Judah's Sovereign God and Savior

7. Chapters 54-66 Judah is given the hope of restoration through a glimpse of the Messiah and His earthly reign

These final two sections of Isaiah's prophecy deliver home the theme of comfort or hope. Is it no wonder why Isaiah is among the top prophets referenced in the New Testament? For years scholars have noted how often Isaiah is quoted for instance in the four Gospels:

Matthew 3:3 quotes Isaiah 40:3
Matt 8:17 quotes Isaiah 53:4
Matt 12:17 quotes Isaiah 42:1
Matt 13:14 quotes Isaiah 6:9,10
Matt 15:7 quotes Isaiah 29:13
Mark 1:2 quotes Isaiah 40:3
Mark 7:6 quotes Isaiah 29:13
Luke 3:4 quotes Isaiah 40:3-5
Luke 4:17 quotes Isaiah 61:1,2
John 1:23 quotes Isaiah 40:3
John 12:38 quotes Isaiah 53:1
John 12:39 quotes Isaiah 6:9,10
John 12:41 quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 & 53:1

Today's post was all about delivering a basic outline of the Book of Isaiah with some brief exposition. It is hoped this proved encouraging and can be used by others to proclaim God's Word. To God be the glory!

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