23: Isaiah: The Book of Hope

The dynamic ministry of Isaiah spans more than four decades. He is renowned for his strength of character, zeal, wisdom, influence, and his eschatology. The writings of this prophet are characterized by powerful rhetoric, figures of speech, vivid imagery, bold metaphors, and rapid transitions.

Isaiah ministered during the captivity of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. The first 39 chapters are a series of stern warnings to not follow in Israel’s footsteps. This section focuses on Judah’s impending judgment for her disobedience, ingratitude, hypocrisy, and religious formalism. But Isaiah’s warnings do not turn the nation to God and Judah’s inhabitants become exiles in Babylon.

However, Isaiah’s prophecies are arranged to contrast the nation’s sins with the hope of God’s promised restoration. The remaining 27 chapters are filled with exhortation and encouragement regarding the Messiah’s omnipotence and omnipresence. It is not surprising Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament more often than any other prophet.

Essay Questions

1. Summarize the impending judgment upon Judah (Ch. 3).

2. Research and define the names of Isaiah’s two sons, found in 7:3 and 8:3. These names convey the basic themes of the book.

3. Research the following passages in Isaiah and find their corresponding New Testament fulfillment.

Jesus’ incarnation – 7:14 & 9:6
His primary message – 61:1-3
His salvation – 12:1-6; 40:11; & 52:7
His miracles – 35:5-6
His sufferings – 50:6; 53:4-6
His rejection – 53:7
His death and burial – 53:8-9
His high priestly ministry – 53:12

4. List the nations slated to be judged for their sins in chapters 13-23.

5. In chapters 30-31, Judah is warned not to form an alliance with what nation? Why was such an alliance dangerous?

6. Summarize Isaiah’s poem of “The Blossoming Desert” (Ch. 35).

7. Chapters 36-39 form a historical parenthesis: Isaiah looks back to the Assyrian invasion and forward to the impending Babylonian invasion. Summarize this section and include a portfolio of King Hezekiah. What are the strong and weak points of his character? 

8. List the passages from Isaiah that Paul quotes in Romans 9:27-29; 10:15-20 and 15:12.

9. What does Isaiah record regarding the regathering of Israel after her worldwide dispersion?  (27:12-13; 43:5-7 and 65:8-10)

10. Summarize the mission of the Messiah (Ch. 61-63).

11. Paraphrase Isaiah’s prayer for pardon and mercy (Ch. 63-64) and then summarize God’s answer to this prayer (Ch. 65-66).


Maxim of the Moment

Love’s wounds can only be healed by the one who caused them.