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Bible Experiment Isaiah

We are over half way complete with the Old Testament, (and over a third of the way through the whole Bible) and we are still continuing on at a fairly decent pace. But I will admit, that this book, Isaiah, gives me great pause, and I nearly chucked it all when I realized this was the next book in the line up. I personally respect Isaiah more than almost any other book in the Bible. There is so so much here going on, and it would be so easy to screw this thing up.

First though, what is this Bible Experiment all about? So glad you asked. A year and a half ago I decided to sit down and read every book of the Bible and write a thousand words about it. The good, the bad, the indifferent. All of it. I got the idea from an Atheist that was sort of doing it and thought, heck, if he can do it, so can I. It would be good to take a critical look at the entirety of the Bible and really see what I think about it from stem to stern.

Isaiah Overview

isaiah_64_6The main reason for the writing of the book of Isaiah was to help draw the children of Israel back to God. As I’ve discussed in past Bible Experiment chapters, the Bible is a love story between you and between God. It is a story of a creator drawing the people of earth back to himself. The same is true of Isaiah. God specifically told Isaiah to speak to the people and for them to return to their God. In chapters 1 through 39 Isaiah talks all about the sins of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. In chapters forty through fifty five he speaks about the return and the restoration of Israel after the exile from Babylon. And in chapters 56 to 66, Isaiah writes about the coming new Heaven and Earth. If you paid close attention you’ll see that we first get the call to repentance, then a fairly near term prophecy (200 years), and then we get a long long term prophecy, (by thousands of years… we still don’t know because it hasn’t come true yet.) So with all this prophecy, maybe we should talk a bit about that first.

The Prophetic Nature of Isaiah

The reason that Isaiah is so complicated is because while Isaiah’s main call was to drive the people to repentance, he also spent a lot of time prophesying, and these prophesies are complicated. Complicated by the fact that many were fulfilled in Jesus, his birth, death and resurrection. But it is also complicated by the fact that he also prophesied about Christ’s second coming… which, hasn’t happened yet. But let’s walk through some of his prophesies, and see what we can see.

Isaiah 39:5-8 “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of theLordAlmighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ‘The word of the Lordyou have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my lifetime.'”
Why did Hezekiah respond the way he did? Well, because Babylon at that time was a very minor nation. And Hezekiah figured that if Babylon were to overthrow him, they’d first have to overthrow Assyria, which was the major world leader. But sure enough, 250 years (plus or minus) Babylon came and carted of the Israelites, they destroyed the temple, and they did in fact come to work in the palace of Babylon – Daniel and his buddies were doing exactly that. And Isaiah even prophesied about the King of Assyria by name, and how he would help the children of Israel rebuild their walls. I mean, really? A people carried into captivity, are restored back to their kingdoms and their land?  Even Isaiah was blown away by God’s plan for the Jews – “Who has heard of a thing like this?” Isaiah wrote in 66:8.

Personally, in my own life, I find myself wishing I had my own personal prophet that would herald the direction and purpose for my life daily. Only problem? Prophets were pretty annoying. Like, not even just a little bit. But to have an Isaiah in your life, an oracle of God, speaking directly to you… would be truly revolutionary in your daily life. And yet I have to keep reminding myself that we do have a record of all the guidance of God… we just have to avail ourselves of it. I have even gone so far as to record all the questions Jesus was asked and all of His answers because it was important for me to know what what important to Him while He was here on earth.

Isaiah’s Foretelling of the Christ

More important than the prophecy about the kingdom of Israel, and their future in chains, was Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah. I’ve gone through the book of Isaiah while reading and highlighted all

Prophecies Fulfillment
Isaiah 7:14 – Will be born of a virgin Luke 1:26-31 – Was born of a virgin named Mary
Isaiah 9:1-2 – Will have a Galilean ministry Matthew 4:13-16 – Ministry began in Galilee of the Gentiles
Isaiah 9:7, & 10 – Will be an heir to the throne of David Luke 1:32-33 – Was given the throne of His father David
Isaiah 40:3-5 – Will have His way prepared John 1:19-28 – Was announced by John the Baptist
Isaiah 50:6 – Will be spat on and struck Matthew 26:67 – Was spat on and beaten
Isaiah 52:13 – That He will be exalted Philippians 2:9 – Was highly exalted by God and the People
Isaiah 52:14 & 53:2 – Will be disfigured by suffering Mark 15:15-19 – Was scourged by Roman soldiers who gave Him a crown of thorns
Isaiah 53:5 – Will make a blood atonement 1 Peter 1:2 – Shed His blood to atone for our sins
Isaiah 53:1, 3 – Will be widely rejected John 12:37-38 – Was not accepted by many
Isaiah 53:4-5 – Will bear our sins and sorrows 1 Peter 2:24-25 – Died because of our sins
Isaiah 53:6-8 Will be our substitute 2 Corinthians 5:21 – Died in our place
Isaiah 53:7-8 – Will voluntarily accept our guilt and punishment for sin Romans 6:10 – Jesus took on our sins
Isaiah 11:10 – Gentiles will seek Him John 12:20-21 – Gentiles came to speak to Jesus
Isaiah 53:7 – Will be silent before His accusers Luke 23:9 – Was silent before Herod and his court
Isaiah 53:12 – Will save us who believe in Him John 3:16 – Provided salvation for all who believe
Isaiah 53:12 – Will die with transgressors Luke 22:37 – Was numbered with the transgressors
Isaiah 61:1-2 – Will heal the brokenhearted Luke 4:18-19 – Healed the brokenhearted
Isaiah 11:2 – God’s Spirit will rest on Him Mark 1:10 – The Spirit of God descended on Jesus
Isaiah 53:9 – Will be buried in a rich man’s tomb John 19:38-42 – Was buried in the tomb of Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea
Isaiah 11:4-5 – He will judge the earth with righteousness John 5:27 – Jesus was given authority to judge

No wonder the Jews consider Isaiah 53 the forbidden chapter of Isaiah. If your own sacred text called out the fact that your own sacred text predicted the coming of the Messiah 700 years in advance, and oh by the way, that he had already came 2000 years ago…?? Yeah. I’d forbid it too. But yeah, this is a pretty amazing list of specifics that are unambiguously fulfilled.

What’s Isaiah Got to do with me?

Isaiah is a full tilt book. The first thirty chapters or so is all about the coming judgement inbound for Israel. Seriously, how can this be relevant to me? Well, for the love story to be fulfilled – for our perfect love story to be consummated, there can be no sin. We must repent. We must draw close to the one that is calling us. Otherwise there is judgement. And even though there is no change in behavior, God holds out hope that this unrepentant people will come to Him and be cleansed. There is no other way to be saved, but through Him that has offered us a way back to Him. But we have to accept His offer.

I know that in my own life it’s be über chaotic lately. Just crazy crazy tumultuous. Email me, and I’ll talk you through the specifics if you’d like. But hell… I’m sure you are hitting the fan too! You’r story is only different in the specifics. Life is hard. Maybe your wife just left you. Or you father just died. Possibly you are laid up after a car accident?  Or better yet, nothing is wrong… everything is right… and ostensibly everything is wrong. Right? The deep missing chaos in your chest? Yeah, that.

I recently chatted with an artist about his work – and this stuff was intense. Really cool stuff. He ultimately didn’t want me to put the interview online, but he said something to me that I’ll never forget. He said that his art reflected the fact that he felt that everyone was missing something, that they were incomplete. And these people he was portraying, literally were missing sections. Just gone. And sometimes I feel like that when I am not walking closely with God. I feel like my point is gone. My purpose is AWOL. Do you feel like that?  Well the book of Isaiah is ultimately about the love story… this great cosmic love story, that we are all in. And Isaiah points us to the direction in how to draw close to our purpose and raison d’etre… our purpose for being. And our purpose is God.

Isaiah called out the people as being unjust – cruel and heartless. I had a truly difficult experience over the past two weeks, and I just wanted to crush this person. Like, literally in court. I was drawing up documents. I had piles of evidence ready to go. I was going to hit this person with Thor’s hammer and I wasn’t going to look back. Decimation I think is the correct word. But even though this person deserved it, I realized that I needed to be a real manifestion of God’s love for this person that I needed so badly… so I put the court documents down. I dropped the issue. And when I did, my justice came from a totally different direction. Quite amazing really.

Isaiah calls you to draw close to Him… and then, when you do… He will draw close to you.

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