Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read Isaiah 6: Isaiah's commission, Isaiah 9:1-7 and 53: prophecy about a coming messiah, Isaiah 15: a typical prophecy of condemnation, and Isaiah 49: 8-13, a typical prophecy of comfort. Orientation Isaiah is book #23 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the first book of the Major Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis Isaiah has a vision (1:1) Then he prophesies condemnation against his own people in Judah - they are neglecting God. He urges them to repent. God calls Isaiah to be a prophet (6:1-13). He prophesies of a coming messiah to save people from their sin (ch. 7-12), then against neighboring nations (ch. 13-23). An apocalypse is followed by a time of blessing (ch. 24-35).
The second part (ch. 36-39) is not prophecy, but a historical interlude - an account of King Hezekiah's reign.
The third part (ch. 40-end) contains prophecies of comfort God promises hope and restoration (ch 40-48). Babylon will defeat them, but then will be destroyed. A messiah is described in detail (ch. 53) who will invite, and provide personal salvation (55) not only to Jews but also gentiles (56). Jerusalem will be a new city (54, 60).
Major Prophecies A messiah will be born (9: 2-7). The messiah will bring a time of peace (11: 1-16). The fall of Babylon (13: 1-22). The apocalypse (24: 1-23). A suffering servant (53: 1-12). A new city of Jerusalem (54: 1-17). Discussion points Prophets were divinely chosen people to whom God revealed his plans, so they could relate them to the people. Does God use prophets today? If so, who? If not, what does he use instead?
Consider the specific prophecies about Jesus (ch. 9 and 53). What would the people of Isaiah's time think he was talking about? Review the points in these two chapters - which points do you recognize as being fulfilled by Jesus?
Isaiah 56: 1-8 is about salvation for foreigners (that is, non-Jews). Do we, as Christians, find reassurance in our salvation from this passage?
Connections Isaiah is sometimes called the "Fifth Gospel", as it contains many references to a coming messiah. See prophecies of Jesus' birth in Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6, character in 11:1-5, and death in 53:1-12. Refer to the table of prophecies from Isaiah 53.
The New Testament refers back to Isaiah many times - see especially Luke 4: 17-21, John 12: 37-41, Acts 8: 26-39, and Romans 15: 7-21.
Isaiah 24 - 26 (end of all life, destruction of Judah, restoration of the nation) closely parallels Zephaniah .
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014
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