Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in the Messiah in Isaiah - 1/4 (Mixed studies)|
Isaiah prophesied during the following kings' reigns (1:1):
His calling came in the last year of Uzziah's reign (6:1) and prophesied from 739 on up to the time when Sennacherib invaded Judah and threatened Jerusalem (36:1-). He also records the death of Sennacherib (which occurred in 681), which occurred after the death of Hezekiah in 686, so he obviously lived beyond the reign of Hezekiah. It seems he prophesied from about 739 to about 700BC.
The Prophetic Dimension
Isaiah is a prophet! Well yes we all know that, but that means he prophesied, he spoke God's word into his day and declared what would happen if they did not heed what God was saying. Yes, a prophet brings the heart of God, but as he does so he also brings the wider dimension of God's heart, for God is outside of time as well as in it, and so as he catches God's heart he catches it as it overviews history, and therefore there are little elements of God's overall purpose for mankind that break through. From time to time some of the things he brings have a much wider significance than just the historical setting of his day; they are about the coming one, the messiah or anointed one. Again and again throughout the Old Testament we find these references to one who would come to deliver the people of God. In the New Testament we find the apostles applying these prophetic words to Jesus, and so in these Studies we will pick out of the book of Isaiah, those passages that are picked up in the New Testament in this way.
Part 1 : “The Coming Child”
In these early chapters of Isaiah we see references to one who is coming, but the emphasis keeps on focusing on a child who will be remind them that God is with them. The child will be special and is going to become a ruler and his kingdom will go on and on and on and will bring peace. Watch for the many descriptions of him found in these chapters.
Chapter: Isaiah 4
Passage: Isaiah 4:2-6
A. Find Out:
1. What will the Branch be like? v.2a
2. What will the land be like? v.2b
3. What will the survivors of Jerusalem be called? v.3
4. What will the Lord do and how? v.4
5. What will the Lord then create? v.5
6. For what purpose? v.6
Here Isaiah speaks of the Branch of the Lord. Elsewhere you will have seen, the Branch of the Lord refers to a coming person, a great ruler in the order of king David, probably meaning Jesus, the presence of God with men. Here, in the historical context, it thus means that the presence of God will be in the midst of the survivors in Jerusalem and they will thus be holy, they will have a new identity given to them as the holy people of God
The idea of a branch or shoot coming forth is seen a number of times, as a sprout coming from the tree of the family of David that was cut down over the years and which had lost its authority to rule. This shoot or branch will come forth and new life will come from that family, and we are reminded that God is a God of redemption who does not write off our failures but works through them. Jesus was known as the son of David and both genealogies in Matthew and Luke show Jesus as coming from the Davidic line, the branch or shoot from this royal family. The effect of the branch or shoot that was Jesus, was that a new people were brought into being, a people with whom God dwelt, a holy people, a people cleansed from their sin, a people who could be secure in their relationship with God
Chapter: Isaiah 7
Passage: Isaiah 7:10-17
A. Find Out:
1. What did Isaiah say Ahaz is doing? v.13b
2. What did he say God would do? v.14
3. What did he say the Lord would do? v. 16b
4. When did he say it would happen? v.15,16a
5. Who did the Lord then say He would deal with? v.17a
6. How would He deal with them? v.17b
Ahaz, in his unbelief, has refused to ask for a sign, so the Lord says, very well, this will be my sign to you, because I know you need the encouragement. I will deal with your oppressors and you will see it and know that it has happened, and it will happen in a short while.
A young unmarried woman (that is the sense of the original) would conceive and bear a son . After he is born and weaned and by the time he is able to know right and wrong, these things will happen, i.e. within two or three years God will deal with the invader. This is the historical context for this prophecy which seems to have been fulfilled in the form of Isaiah's own son born soon after.
When we come to the New Testament, Matthew applies this prophecy to the coming of Jesus, a son being born to an unmarried young woman called Mary. Within this prophecy we are told little else apart from the fact that he will be called “God with us”. As names of children were very significant the emphasis here is on what will be happening when the messiah comes: God will come onto the scene in some new and special way. The arrival of the son will be the arrival of God in a new way. We now know that the son was THE Son of God Himself, God coming to live with us on earth.
Chapter: Isaiah 8
Passage: Isaiah 8:11-18
A. Find Out:
1. What was to be done for whom? v.16
2. What two things does the writer say he will do? v.17
3. How is the Lord described? v.17
4. Who present themselves? v.18a
5. How are they described? v.18b
6. How is the Lord described? v.18c
In these few verses in Isaiah, at first sight there is little to draw our attention to them as Messianic verses. Verse 16 could be seen to be spoken by Isaiah or by the Lord, an instruction about God's law and the testimony to what He has done, which could be spoken by either. But then verse 17 has to be by one other than God Himself. Isaiah himself is the obvious nomination for it, together with verse 18, where he is first declaring his trust in God and then proclaiming what God has made he and his family.
It is only when we read the verses from Hebrews that we realise that it is the messiah speaking (through Isaiah), for in Hebrews the writer there clearly identifies Jesus as the speaker. The teaching there in Hebrews is that Jesus became one with those he died to save, by becoming human, experiencing what they experienced and it is the human side of the messiah who speaks out and says “I will put my trust in him” and in that Jesus is our supreme example of the one who trusted God the Father implicitly. Going to the Cross was not only total obedience but total trust in Father to bring him through. Here, he says, I am a sign to the world of God's love, and so are you my children, my followers, my sons.
Chapter: Isaiah 9
Passage: Isaiah 9:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. What had God done in the past? v.1a
2. What will He do in the future? v.1b
3. Who have seen what? v.2
4. What has caused joy? v.3
5. What will have happened? v.4
6. With what consequence? v.5
Isaiah has been speaking about darkness in the end of chapter 8, the darkness that comes with occult activity. Now he refers to the darkness that had covered the land of Zebulun and Naphtali in the north of Israel when various invaders of the north had come. This land had known the oppression and darkness that comes with foreign domination but, says Isaiah, the land will know a time of great brightness, a time of rejoicing, a time of peace.
For the people of Isaiah's day that would have come as great encouragement in the face of constant threats from the north. However Matthew in his gospel specifically applies this prophecy to the coming of Jesus who was brought up in Nazareth and ministered for three years in the area of Galilee . When Jesus came there was great joy (v.3), the yoke that burdened individuals (v.4) was broken and each individual put aside aggression (v.5) and took on peace - at least in all of those who received and followed him.
Today the prophecy can be received for us, as we allow Jesus to come and change our lives, bring joy and freedom and peace (see John 8:32 & Romans 14:17 ). This is the inheritance of every Christian as they let Jesus be Lord and Saviour of their lives.
Chapter: Isaiah 9
Passage: Isaiah 9:6,7
A. Find Out:
1. What is the first thing we're told about the child? v.6a
2. What are we then told he will do? v.6b
3. What will he do and who he will be? v.6c
4. Of what will there be no end? v.7a
5. What are we told about his reign? v.7b
6. What will bring this about? v.7c
We now arrive at THE most amazing prophecy about the coming messiah that there is in the entire New Testament. First of all Isaiah prophesies that a child will be born and that it will be male. We should also put these verses in context and remember that they follow a prophecy of great light coming to the nation. This son will bring light.
The second thing we note is that this child is to be a ruler and the rule that he brings will go on for ever , will bring peace, justice and righteousness and will be over the kingdom established by David. Now perhaps we need to remember that David was a man after God's own heart and therefore it is the kingdom of God 's own heart.
The third thing to note is the list of amazing names given to this child: “Wonderful Counsellor”, or perhaps supernatural counsellor, one who brings the wisdom of God; “Mighty God”, yes this child will be the expression of God on the earth; “Everlasting Father”, a caring and compassionate father-figure who has no end; “Prince of Peace”, he is one who will rule over a kingdom of peace, yet he is only a prince and not the “top man”. Each one of these four names says that this coming child is far, far more than a mere human child, this is God in the flesh, this is Jesus!
Chapter: Isaiah 11
Passage: Isaiah 11:1-3a
A. Find Out:
1. What will come from where? v.1a
2. What will it do? v.1b
3. What will rest on him? v.2a
4. What 6 things will it bring? v.2b,c
5. How will he respond? v.3a
Jesse of course, was David's father, so the man being referred to here (‘him' in v.2) is coming from the line of the family of king David. He will come from the stump or root, from what has been left after the family was “chopped down” in the exile.
The key about this man is that the Spirit of God will rest and remain on him and the Holy Spirit will give him particular abilities. First of all wisdom , that knowledge of what to do; then understanding , that insight into why things are; then counsel , that ability to impart wisdom to others, or to understand needed strategy; then power , that strength and ability to achieve forcefully; then knowledge , the ability to know (unseen) things; and finally the fear of the Lord , that awesome respect for God Almighty, which the Bible tells us is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7, Psa 111:10, Prov 9:10, 15:33).
These things, that come from the Spirit, equip this man to judge and to rule; they are the requirements needed of a judge or a king to perform their duties. Each of these things was seen in Jesus, and indeed he delighted in them (v.3a) as a Son gladly respecting and obeying his Father. As the Spirit of Jesus lives within us (1 Cor 6:19 ) we also may expect each of these things as we gladly embrace our position as children of God.
A. Find Out:
1. How will he not judge and decide? v.3
2. How will he judge the needy and the poor? v.4a
3. What will he do with his mouth and to what effect? v.4b
4. What will he have around his waist? v.5
5. Read Matthew 9:4 Why did Jesus not need to judge outwardly?
6. Read John 7:24 What did Jesus warn against?
We now observe the administration of the messiah in these few verses and we see his overall task: to act as a judge. In our viewing of this task observe first HOW he judges: not by the natural means of observing what goes on, what is said. When Jesus came he knew what was in the minds of men and not merely what they showed on the outside. This judge also judges with righteousness and justice. In other words he measures everything against the perfect standard of God (for that is righteousness) and knows exactly what is deserved (that is justice).
Second, observe WHO he judges for: the poor and needy, for it is they who are so often oppressed by the rich and powerful. God is concerned for all men and wants all to receive of the earth's goodness and so if one group is oppressed or not cared for by a stronger and more powerful group, God will come to the aid of the weaker group and stand against the stronger group.
Third, observe WHAT he will do for the oppressors: He will speak words of judgement that will have instant effect. When God speaks it is done.
Finally we note His QUALITIES that enable Him to judge: righteousness and faithfulness. He will only do what is totally approved in the counsel of God and He will stick firmly to that. So Jesus did all this when he came
A. Find Out:
1. Who will live with whom? v.6a,b
2. Who will lead them all? v.6c
3. Who will eat with whom? v.7
4. Who will play where and do what? v.8
5. What will not happen where? v.9a
6. Why will that be? v.9b
Why are we reading these verses? Because they flow on from the specific verses about the coming messiah and we may therefore infer that they show what will be the ultimate end of his work. So what do these verses tell us about that end?
First predator and prey are at peace (v.6). It is almost as if it is saying that there will be reconciliation on earth at the deepest level.
Second, the rulership of the Creation will be put into the hands of a child, or one with a childlike nature.
Third, the very order of things will be changed and carnivores will revert back to being herbivores, as it was when God first made the animals.
Fourth, child and snake can play together, almost as if the curse of enmity brought after the fall is removed and there is peace between all creatures on earth.
Fifth, there is total security and total peace on earth with no harm being brought to any creature by any other creature. How different from now! See the sights of the Fall even in nature around you.
Sixth, the reason for all this is given: the whole earth, every creature, will know the presence of the Lord and anything less than total peace will seem impossible. This coming messiah's task is to bring a peace which eventually culminates in total peace for the whole earth. See it in Revelation 20 and 21.
A. Find Out:
1. What will the root of Jesse be and what will happen? v.10
2. What will the Lord do? v.11,12
3. What will happen between Ephraim and Judah? v.13
4. What will they do together? v.14
5. What will the Lord do? v.15
6. With what aim in mind? v.16
In this chapter we have seen that a root will come from the stump of Jesse on whom the Holy Spirit will rest, and he will bring justice and peace to all the earth. Now we are told that he will also bring about an amazing return to Israel .
The messiah will be as a banner that many from the nations will rally to. He will draw back those of the people of Israel that are left, he will bring peace between the northern and southern kingdoms and they together will triumph over their enemies round about. Indeed to bring about this return of the exiles the Lord will take away the natural obstacles (a river and a sea v.15) so that their return is unhindered.
As we try to discern the application of these verses we have to remember the context. This is at the same time as the universal peace referred to in the earlier verses. If we spiritualise those verses to simply mean a general peace of all men in the kingdom of God then we might also spiritualise these verses to refer to Christians, but the detail of these verses works against that thought. It would appear that the Lord will yet draw back all the people of Israel in one last great gathering and this He will do using Jesus the messiah.
RECAP - "The Coming Child" - Isaiah 4,7,8,9,11
In this first group of 9 studies we have seen :
The early glimmers of the Messiah here in Isaiah indicate that he will come from the chopped down family of David. He will be a ruler equipped by the Spirit of the Lord to bring light where there is darkness and peace on earth to all who will follow him. With this sort of information and the help of the New Testament writers, there is little doubt that this was the heart of God, speaking through the prophet, about His Son, Jesus.
1. God's plan was to come and dwell in the midst of His people
2. He would do that by coming in the form of His Son
3. He would do that by the means of His Spirit
4. His aim was to bring freedom and life
5. Jesus' kingdom WILL continue to increase
Thank the Lord that He sent Jesus to bring salvation for you, and peace on earth.
PART 2 : "The Coming King"
In this next Part there is an expansion of the idea of the Messiah as king who will bring justice and righteousness. Watch for the other descriptions of him as a Cornerstone and as a teacher as well. These are chapters of glimmers or hints of the Coming One. Watch!