Isaiah 40 – 66

Background

  • Isaiah can be called a miniature bible because there are 66 chapters in Isaiah and 66 books in the Bible. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah can be compared to OT, both focus primarily on God’s judgement of sin. The second part of Isaiah, which consists of 27 chapters, can be compared to NT, both focused on the grace of God.
  • The “NT” section of Isaiah opens with the ministry of John the Baptist (40:3-5, Mark 1:1-4) and closes with the new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17;66:22). In between there are many prophesies to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and King.
  • In chapters 1-39, Isaiah was speaking to his own generation. His primary message was that God would defend Jerusalem and defeat the Assyrian invaders.
  • In chapters 40-66, the prophet looks far ahead and sees Babylon destroying Jerusalem and the Jews going into captivity (586BC). Isaiah also saw God forgiving His people, and delivering them from captivity, and taking them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the template and restore the nation.
  • The primary world figure in Isaiah 1-39 is Sennacherib, king of Assyria.
  • The primary world figure in Isaiah 40-66 is Cyrus, king of Persia. Cyrus was the king who issued decree to allow Jews to return back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and temple (Ezra 1:1-4).
  • The heart of Isaiah 40 – 66 is chapters 49-57, in which Isaiah exalts the Messiah, Gods Suffering Servant.
  • The heart of chapters 49-57 is 52:13-53:12, the description of the Savior’s substitutionary death for the sins of the world. That is why Isaiah has been called “the evangelical prophet.”
  • Isaiah’s “Servant Song” about Jesus (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) is quoted or alluded to nearly forty times in the NT.
  • Jewish rabbis have called Isaiah 40-66 “The Book of Consolation”. Isaiah sought to comfort the Jewish remnant in Babylon, after their difficult years of captivity, and to assure them that God was with them and would take them safely home. Israel’s restoration from Babylon is a preview of what God would do for Israel at the end of the age. Revelation mentions the last Babylon will be destroyed (Rev 17-19) before new heavens and new earth will be formed (Rev 21:1), and the new Jerusalem will come down out of heaven (Rev 21:2).
  • Some modern critics of bible thought the first part of Isaiah 1-39 and the second part of Isaiah 40-66 were written by two different Isaiah. This is not true. All ancients manuscripts, including the dead sea scrolls, and all rabbis and christians scholars in history have never mentioned, or even a hint of two authors.

Isaiah Greatest Achievement

  • Isaiah spent his life under the threatening shadow of the Assyrian Empire. Assyrians destroyed portion of northern Israel in 733 BC, and the rest of the northern kingdom including Samaria in 722 BC. They invaded Judah in 712 BC and by 701 BC had taken all of Judah except Jerusalem. Throughout these years Isaiah had steadfastly predicted that Jerusalem would stand. It did stand.
  • Isaiah also prophesied the southern Kingdom, Judah would fall into the hand of Babylon, and the Jews would be exiles in Babylon (Isaiah 39:6-7).

Division

The same statement “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” on the last verse of chapter 48 and chapter 57 (48:22;57:21) make divide Isaiah 40-66 into three sections.

  1. 40-48 – emphasize he greatness of God the Father in contrast to the vanity of the heathen idols
  2. 49-57 – extol the graciousness of God the Son, the Suffering Servant
  3. 58-66 – describe the glory of God in the future kingdom, and the emphasis is on the work of the Holy Spirit (59:19,21;61:1;63:10-11,14)

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