Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Gospel of Isaiah

When reading the prophets in the Old Testament, it is easy to feel a mite lost without a guidebook or a pastor telling you what's going on. If I want expository preaching on, say, Zechariah, I can listen to Dr. John MacArthur. He also preaches on Isaiah, but I don't feel quite as lost along the trail when reading Isaiah. The prophets talked about time and events that are baffling to this child, what with kingdoms and people that are mostly lost to history.


The prophet Isaiah tells us a great deal about Immanuel.
Prophet Isaiah predicts the return of the Jews from exile, Maarten van Heemskerck, 1560-1565
A reader of Isaiah who is also familiar with the rest of the Bible can see some important things happening. Several times, Isaiah reminds Israel and Judah (and us) that God is the Creator. There are places in his lengthy book where he talks about Immanuel (or Emmanuel). We learn about God the Son, the Creator, and his birth, death, glory, and the restoration of all things at the end. In fact, I thought there were some echoes of Isaiah when I was reading the Revelation. God foretold (I don't cotton to the word "predicts", many people can do that) many things about Jesus through Isaiah and other prophets, and much of the gospel message is found in his book.
Isaiah is often seen as one of the most theologically rich books of the Old Testament. Living in a time of rampant idolatry and apostasy, Isaiah prophesied against Israel to the north and Judah to the south, foretelling the exile and return to the land of promise. Judgment and restoration of Israel, Judah, the nations, and the earth is a huge theme, as well as the destruction and humiliation of the false gods and idols. The judgment is something that is justly deserved because of the sins of humanity, but the restoration is only possible through a remarkable figure prophesied in Isaiah; Immanuel. Isaiah gives the fullest revelation about the Messiah in the Old Testament, and in fact it is possible to preach the whole Gospel from Isaiah.

While Immanuel is clearly Jesus, it can be useful to look at what we know about Immanuel from Isaiah alone, before reading the text through the lens of New Testament revelation.
To read the rest, click on "Immanuel: The Gospel according to Isaiah". You may also be interested in "Archaeological Evidence for Prophet Isaiah".



QED