The book of Isaiah is the first of the writings of the Prophets in the Bible; and Isaiah, the author, is generally considered to be the greatest prophet. He was probably reared in an aristocratic home and was married to a prophetess. At the beginning of his ministry, he was well-liked. But, like most prophets, he soon became unpopular because his messages were so difficult to hear. He called the people to turn from their lives of sin and warned them of God’s judgment and punishment. Isaiah had an active ministry for 60 years before he was executed during Manasseh’s reign (according to tradition). As God’s special messenger to Judah, Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of several of its rulers. Many of these messages are recorded in his book: Uzziah and Jotham, chapters 1-6; Ahaz, chapters 7-14; and Hezekiah, chapters 15-39.
The 39 chapters in the first half of Isaiah generally carry the message of judgment for sin. Isaiah brings the message of judgment to Judah, Israel, and the surrounding pagan nations. Judah had a form of godliness, but in their hearts they were corrupt. Isaiah’s warnings were intended to purify the people by helping them understand God’s true nature and message. However, they ignored the repeated warnings that Isaiah brought. We need not repeat their error; rather, we should heed the prophetic voice.
The 27 chapters in the second half of Isaiah generally bring a message of forgiveness, comfort, and hope. This message of hope looks forward to the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah speaks more about the Messiah than he does any other Old Testament prophet. He describes the Messiah as both a suffering servant and a sovereign Lord/ The fact that the Messiah was to be both a suffering servant and a sovereign Lord could not be understood clearly until the New Testament times. Based on what Jesus Christ has done, God freely offers forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith. This is God’s message of comfort to us because those who heed it find eternal peace and fellowship with him.
As you read Isaiah, imagine this strong and courageous man of God, fearlessly proclaiming God’s word, and listen to his message in relation to your own life – return, repent, and be renewed. Then trust in God’s redemption through Christ and rejoice. Your Savior has come, and he’s coming again.
Writer of Isaiah
The first verse of this book names its author as Isaiah, son of Amoz. The name “Isaiah” means “Yahweh Is Salvation.” The vision and prophecy are claimed four times by Isaiah; his name is mentioned an additional twelve times in the book. His name also occurs twelve times in Second Kings and four times in Second Chronicles.
The quality of his writing indicates he was well educated and that he probably came from an upper-class family. Married, he had two children to whom he gave symbolic names to show that God was about to bring judgment against the nation of Judah.
He was called to his prophetic ministry “in the year that King Uzziah (Azariah) died” (6:1) – about 740 B.C. – through a stirring vision of God as he worshiped in the Temple. He prophesied for more than 40 years to the nation of Judah during a time of great moral and political upheaval.
Purpose of Isaiah
One of Isaiah’s purposes was to declare God’s displeasure with and judgment upon sin in Judah, Israel, and the surrounding nations. Almost all the Hebrew words for sin are employed by the prophet. A parallel purpose was to endeavor to turn God’s people away from disobedience in order to avert disaster, a purpose that was only partially successful. Perhaps the greatest purpose, however, was to lay a foundation of hope and promise for the faithful remnant of God’s chosen people. Thus the book is filled with promises of restoration and redemption, of the certain advent of the Messiah, of salvation for all the nations, and of the triumph of God’s purposes in spite of intervals of suffering.
The book of Isaiah presents more insights into the nature of God than any other book of the Old Testament. God’s holiness is the first thing that impresses the prophet when he sees Him in all His glory in the Temple.
God is interested in the salvation of His people. He is the sovereign ruler of history and the only one who has the power to save.
God’s ultimate purpose of salvation will be realized through the coming Messiah, our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ. When Jesus begins His public ministry in His home town of Nazareth, He quotes from Isaiah (61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19) to show that this prophecy is being fulfilled in His life and ministry.
Click here to download or print the Bible outline “Isaiah – Here Am I Send Me“.