Messiah in Isaiah • Introduction

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THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

During Isaiah’s ministry, the northern kingdom of Israel (also known as “Samaria”) fell to the Assyrians, and the ten tribes were taken into Exile, never to return again as an intact nation. It looked as if Judah would fall as well, but Isaiah prophesied that God would preserve them (Isaiah 37). Their incredible deliverance came as the angel of the Lord struck down the Assyrian army in the middle of the night as they were encamped against Jerusalem.

But, because of Judah’s continued moral failure, Isaiah knew they would eventually go into exile as well (Isaiah 39:1–8). The difference for Judah, though, was, unlike the northern tribes who disappeared in their exile, Judah would be restored after a time of correction in captivity. Their restoration from exile becomes the theme of the last 26 chapters (40–66), and begins with the powerful word, “Comfort!”

Isaiah is one of the most Messianic of all the OT prophets. His words have a huge impact on the message of the Gospel. The Apostle Matthew says phrases such as, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet…” six times in his gospel. Luke adds another reference not mentioned by Matthew, and John adds several others. Luke also mentions three of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus in the book of Acts, and Paul quoted Isaiah five times in the book of Romans. John the Baptist was also connected to Isaiah—his ministry of “preparing the way of the Lord” is likened to Isaiah’ prophetic work (John 1:23).

As far as Isaiah’s personal life, he was married (8:3), had at least two sons (7:3 & 8:3), to which he gave prophetic names. Isaiah ministered for at least 58 years (from 739–681). One early church historian reported that Isaiah was sawn in two by King Manasseh (which might be referred to in Hebrews 11:37).

HOW THIS STUDY WILL WORK

You and your family may choose how deep you want to go in this study. Pick a level of involvement that works best for you!

JV • Simply do the assigned reading from Isaiah, as well as the introductory comments from this workbook. Then spend some time in prayer over what God speaks to you through the passage.

Please note: Some Lessons will have several different passages from Isaiah. This is due to various lengths of the passages to read. Please read all of the Isaiah passages assigned.

Varsity • After you read the text, answer the questions that will take you deeper into the text. Then, look up the cross references that connect Isaiah to the New Testament and the Gospel, and answer these questions as well.