The Bitesized Bible
11 July 2021
Describing Isaiah as a book, is a bit like calling the
whole of the bible a book. As a narrative history masterpiece, Isaiah is
a collection of prophetic oracles par excellence. The whole book is like a
Mini-Bible. Its 66 chapters mirror the 66 books of the Bible, and
although there are differing views on its authorship, Isaiah tends to read as a
collection of writings that records a time which incorporates prophetic
warnings, inevitable exile, and unexpected restoration. Whatever the reality
of Isaiah’s authorship, its narrative seems to begin at approximately 700
Isaiah is the first of the Major Prophets, so called
because of the large amount of material written, not because their message was
more important than any other prophets. The writings may well include
contributions by the actual prophet Isaiah, specifically the first 39
chapters. Isaiah is the key personality of course, as are his two sons –
Shearjazhub and Maher-shalal-jash-baz. The first name meaning ‘Return’ and
the second meaning ‘God with us’, with the latter name translating from
‘Immanuel’ a name all Christians are familiar with.
In essence, Isaiah is widely accepted as being in 3 sections:
1) Chapters 1-39………Warning.
2) Chapters 40-55……. Exile.
3) Chapters 56-66…… Restoration.
Isaiah contains incredible biblical prophecies. Foreknowledge - in incredible detail-about the Messiah, signposting the future reign of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the book of Isaiah was to call God’s nation, the nation of Judah, back to faithfulness and to declare the coming Messiah. God calls Isaiah to declare to both Judah and Israel a condemnation(warning), a conviction(exile), and finally hope(restoration).
The warning of chapters 1-39 points out the sins of both
North and South Kingdoms.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove
the evil of your deeds from My sight Cease to do evil” (1:16).
But hope is on the horizon in the form of a coming
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name
A passage fulfilled in Matthew 1:22-24.
The exile of chapters 40-55, speak also of hope - a
return and restoration after Babylon. Isaiah repeatedly declares,
“There is no God beside Me” (44:6,8;
There is more signposting about the Messiah - who will
come and bring new life through His death.
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, Yet He did not
open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is
silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” (53:7).
Finally, in chapters 56-66, we have a Revelation style
new Heavens and Earth imagery. Restoration in every way and for all. As
Isaiah proclaims in chapter 65, verse 17:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and
the former things will not be remembered or come to mind”.
The image to go with this abstract of Isaiah, is an abstract of Christ. We need to look closely and discover the meaning of the Saviour. For Isaiah and the Israelites divided, it was an image of salvific unity on their future horizon that was promised. For Christians and for all humanity, that horizon passed, and the Saviour has come – Jesus is his name.
© 2020 David Hollingsworth
Last Updated: 12 July 2021