Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Isaiah, the Messianic Prophet

By Jeff Arnette

     The book of Isaiah is a favorite of many Christians for good reason. Therein, we learn so much about our God, His character, and His plans for the future. Isaiah is often called the Messianic prophet for good reason. He spoke more about Jesus and the future kingdom of God than anyone else in the Hebrew Scriptures.
     Isaiah was a man completely given over to the idea that Israel’s purpose was to be a Messianic nation to the world. A nation through whom one day a great and wonderful blessing would proceed from God and be for all peoples. He was continually dreaming of a day when that great and wonderful work would begin. In fact, John 12:41 says that Isaiah “… saw his glory and spoke of him.” (ESV)
     Did you know that forty-seven of the sixty-six chapters in Isaiah are quoted or directly referenced in the New Testament? He was so instrumental to the first-century mindset that he is literally called by name twenty-two times and is credited with over three hundred direct quotes in the New Testament. Isaiah was and always will be an important book for the faithful child of God to understand.
     His name means “The Lord Saves” and speaks to the message he preached. He repeatedly preached a message that focused on a faith that trusts in God enough to let Him save you.
     According to Scripture, it seems that Isaiah had two sons, one named “Shear-jashub” (Isa. 7:3) and another named “Maher-shalal-has-baz” (Isa. 8:3). He was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah at a time when the Northern Kingdom was being invaded and was eventually destroyed by the Assyrians. His life and work spanned the reigns of four different kings: Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:1), Jotham (2 Chron. 27:1), Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:1), and Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:1). According to the Talmud and Jewish tradition, which was accepted by most of the early church fathers, Isaiah was killed by Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:1, 9) by nailing him to two pieces of wood and sawing him in half (Heb. 11:37).
     The book of Isaiah, with its 66 chapters, contain more lessons and important ideas than we can cover in one short article. With that in mind, I wanted to point out just a few of these lessons to you.
     First, God still loves a rebellious and unrepentant nation (Isa. 1) and intended to fix the problems that separated them from Himself. This teaches us all that God still loves us, despite our failures and stubbornness. No matter how many times we fail Him, and that’s a lot, our great and glorious God still loves us and wants us to return to Him.
     Second, God is constantly calling His children back to Himself for cleansing and renewal (Isa. 1). Sometimes that means hardships and difficulty (Isa. 1:25) but the end goal is always restoration and renewal. Like a refiner smelts the precious metals to remove the impurities, God allows hardships and He allows it for our good (Heb. 12:10; Rom. 8:28-30).
     Isaiah teaches us about a God who loves so deeply and longs for fellowship with so intensely that He will send His own son to be our Savior (Isa. 53); to atone for sins and reconcile us to Himself.
     If you haven’t read Isaiah recently, let me encourage you to give a read. You’ll be glad you did.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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