Salvation is not to be limited to Israel only, for Isaiah as the “evangelical” prophet speaks also to Gentiles, (Elwell 1989: CDROM). Isaiah’s message came at a time when Israel had prosperity, of which produced excessive drinking, idolatry, oppression of the poor, greed and the presence of false prophets who pandered to the desires of the people. Isaiah stressed, (1) salvation by faith (7:9; 28:16; 30:15), (2) the holiness of God and the need for ethical living (6:1-8; 37:23), (3) the offense of human sin and the certainty of divine judgement (chs.1-35), and (4) the assurance of redemption for a repentant remnant (1:9, 19; 10:19-22; 46:3, 4; 65:8-10).
The basic theme being contained in Isaiah’s name “Salvation is of the Lord”. The word salvation appears 27 times in the book, (Nelson, 1996:207). Hope for a Righteous King, of the four kings he knew only one consistently served and lived in the ways of the Lord. Hope for atoning saviour, redemption and recovery are the antidote to human brokenness and loss, honest souls need, and most long for, the confidence of an adequate saviour, (Hayford,1995:171). Jesus Christ is portrayed as this saviour.
In the first part of the book, Isaiah pictured Israel, in the last part of the book; the prophet beheld Jesus bearing our load of sin, (Mears, 1998:352). Discussion; A distinction between the righteous and the wicked will certainly be made (1:27-31). The future belongs to the remnant, which repents by doing righteousness, but judgment will make an end of rebels and idolaters. The people as a whole are compared to the effects of a drought in which the leaves of an oak fall off and the garden is burned up (v. 30). However, the oak still stands and the garden is still there. Hard times may come upon the godly, but they will persevere.
On the other hand, the wicked will be utterly consumed as by fire. (Elwell 1989: CDROM). Structure. The structure of Isaiah has an interesting coincidence. Isaiah is a miniature bible in structure. This book has 66 chapters just like the bible has 66 books. It has two great divisions, with 39 chapters in the first and 27 chapters in the rest, just like the Old and New Testaments. The content also is remarkably similar, eg. The book ends with the vision of the new heavens and the new earth, just as the book of Revelation ends the bible with a similar message, (Mears, 1998:227).
Outline of Isaiah; I.Oracles of Judgement and Hope (1:1-12:6) 1. Judah Condemned (1:1-5:30) 2. Isaiah’s Call and Commission (6:1-13) 3. The Book of Immanuel (7:1-12:6) II. Oracles Against the Nations (13:1-23:18) 1. Against Babylon (13:1-14:23) 2. Against Assyria (14:24-27) 3. Against Philistia (14:28-32) 4. Against Moab (15:1-16:14) 5. Against Syria and Israel (17:1-14) 6. Against Ethiopia (18:1-7) 7. Against Egypt (19:1-25) 8. Against Ethiopia and Egypt (20:1-6) 9. Against Babylon (21:1-10) 10. Against Edom (21:11-12) 11. Against Arabia (21:13-17) 12. Against Jerusalem (22:1-14) 13. Against Shebna (22:15-25) 14. Against Tyre (23:1-18).
III. Eschatological Summation (24:1-27:13) 1. Eschatological Judgements (24:1-23) 2. Eschatological Triumphs (25:1-12) 3. The Eschatological City (26:1-12) 4. The Eschatological Israel (27:1-13) IV. Jerusalem, Egypt and a Prophet in Between (28:1-33:24) 1. Woe to the Drunkards of Ephraim (28:1-29) 2. Woe to Ariel (29:1-24) 3. Woe to Those Who Seek a Pact with Egypt (30:1-33) 4. Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt (31:1-32:20) 5. Woe to the Destroyer Not Destroyed (33:1-24) V. Eschatological Summation (34:1-35:10) 1. Summation of Judgement (34:1-17) 2. Summation of Blessing (35:1-10) VI. Historical Bridge (36:1-39:8) 1.
Hezekiah and Sennacherib (36:1-37:8) 2. Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery (38:1-22) 3. Hezekiah’s Misplaced Joy over Postponed Judgement (39:1-8) VII. Oracles of Consolation (40:1-66:24) 1. Release from Captivity (40:1-48:22) 2. The Servant of the Lord (49:1-57:21) 3. Zion Restored (58:1-66:24) (Bullock 1986:157) Application. The experience Isaiah had in Chapter 6:1, “I saw the Lord”, should be the experience each of us should seek. It led to; Conviction – “Woe to me!… I am ruined! ” (6:5) Confession – “A man of unclean lips” (6:5) Cleansing – “Your guilt is taken away and you sin atoned for. ” (6:7) Consecration – “Here am I send me!
” (6:8) Commission – Go, God’s command (see 6:9) (Mears, 1998:231). In Isaiah we see three personal lines of redemption, all appointed by the Lord: the prophet, Cyrus, and the Messiah. Isaiah became an icon of obedience in contrasts to Israel’s disobedience and as such the people levelled their insults, ultimately aimed against the Holy One of Israel, (30:9:11), (Bullock 1986:156). As Christians, we are to expect similar resistance in our environment. The prophecies that have come to fulfillment in Isaiah, provides teachings in the power and effectiveness in prophesy in edifying and building the Church.
Some of the prophecies that have been fulfilled include; will be born of a virgin (Is. 7:14) was born of a virgin named Mary (Luke 1:26-31) will be spat on and struck (Is. 50:6) was spat on and beaten (Matt 26:67) will be buried in a rich mans tomb (Is. 53:9) was buried in the tomb of Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea (Matt 27:57-60; John 19:38-42) (Nelson, 1996:212). From Genesis to Malachi, one list numbers 124 passages, having 35 of them in Isaiah, each with a specific NT fulfillment. This method allowed the early Church Gentiles to take the message back to the Jews, (Holman, 1992:399).