About 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah made a bold prediction—God would send His own son to earth and He would be known as Immanuel (God with us). The prophet also wrote of the death of this man, with amazing detail (Chapter 53).
Isaiah wrote about the both the grace and the wrath of God. Even his name means “the Lord saves.” The prophet warns a sinful and idolatrous nation that God’s wrath will surely come. He follows that with the hopeful foretelling of the coming of Christ, the Messiah.
It is a remarkable book which encapsulates the entirety of God’s unfolding plan of salvation.
Why it matters
Isaiah warns that God will punish those who are rebellious, but also explains that God will redeem them. If God says it, He will do it.
Isaiah refers to God as “the Holy One of Israel.” Every detail Isaiah shares has either come true, or will come true. God has never gone back on His word.
Isaiah said the King would come from the House of David and Gospels would later outline the complete lineage of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke will show the royal linage of the Messiah. Isaiah also wrote of the virgin birth.
Isaiah’s name “God with us” is particularly interesting because that is exactly what Jesus was and is. God with us.
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7: 13-14
Why it matters to you
The Bible’s story hinges on an accurate accounting of events. If an account is found to be inaccurate, or false, or if an event is nothing more than a fabrication, the truth of that will shatter the rest of the story.
The Bible is an unfolding story, an event-by-event account of man’s relationship with God. It’s not the whole story, but it’s the important pieces of the story.
Therefore, if the story is true, it matters to you because it was written to you, for your benefit. Isaiah accurately predicts the virgin birth and the crucifixion of Christ, some 700 years before it happened. The book is a microcosm of the Bible.
Isaiah gives a remarkably accurate account of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, in Chapter 53, giving a physical description, writing:
“ He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
Isaiah goes on to write of the crucifixion, predicting that the nation would turn on the Jesus:
“ He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
He predicts the trial and execution of Jesus. God’s grace is also brought out by the sacrifice of one man for the world:
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”
The beauty of God’s grace is illustrated through His understanding of human nature. Isaiah writes:
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Isaiah tells of the willingness of Jesus to die on the cross, 700 years before it happened. God’s judgment of man is carried out on His own son. Isaiah writes:
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
God’s wrath and God’s grace, the evil acts of men against good people are repeated in this book. But the prophet writes, in Chapter 61, the words that Jesus will repeat when making his formal announcement of his ministry:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn…”
The prophet tells of the coming Kingdom of God, when Israel will be restored to its full glory, after God’s vengeance is satisfied and He has redeemed His people.
What you may not know
Isaiah refers to himself as “the prophet” and the book might have been written between 740-686 BC. He uses both prose and poetry, which help to punctuate the message and bring home important points about the birth of Jesus and that He continues to be with us.