Who today does not yearn for relief from the problems that face mankind? Yet, how often our longings go unfulfilled! We dream of peace, but we are plagued by war. We cherish law and order, but we cannot stem the rising tide of robbery, rape, and murder. We want to trust our neighbor, but we have to lock our doors for protection. We love our children and try to instill wholesome values in them, but all too often we watch helplessly as they succumb to the unwholesome influence of their peers.
We might well agree with Job, who stated that man’s short life is “glutted with agitation.” (Job 14:1) This seems especially so today, for society is deteriorating on a scale never seen before. We have watered down our moral standards to the point where many of our youth are confused, discouraged and in deep trouble. We are reaping the harvest of parental neglect, divorce, child abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, illegal drugs, and streets full of violence.
However, we are not left without hope. Some 2,700 years ago, God inspired a man of the Middle East to utter a series of prophecies that have special meaning for our day. These messages were recorded in the BIble book bearing that prophet’s name- Isaiah. Who was Isaiah, and why can we say that his prophecy, recorded almost three millenniums ago, provIdes light for all mankind today?
A RIGHTEOUS MAN IN TURBULENT TIMES
In the first verse of his book, Isiah introduces himself as “the son of Amoz” and he tells us that he served as God’s prophet “in the days of Uzzah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, king of Judah.” (Isaiah 1::1) ‘Thiss would mean that Isaiah continued as God’s prophet to the nation of Judah
for no less than 46 years, likely beginning at the end of Uzziah’s reign – about the year 778 B.C.
Isaiah and his family lived during a turbulent period in Judah’s history. Political unrest was common, bribery tainted the courts, and hypocrisy tore the religious fabric of Society. The hilltops were covered with altars to false gods. Even some of the kings promoted pagan worship. Ahaz, for instance, not only tolerated idolatry among his subjects but personally engaged in it, making his own offspring “pass through the fire” in a ritual sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech.” (2 KIngs 16:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 4) And all of this took place among a people who were in a covenant relationship with Jehovah! – Exodus 19:5·8.
A MESSAGE OF SALVATION
Isaiah’s name means “Salvation of Jehovah,” and this could well be called the theme of his message. True, some of Isaiah ‘s prophecies are of judgment. Still, the theme of salvation comes through loud and clear. Repeatedly, Isaiah related how in due time Jehovah would release the Israelites from captivity in Babylon, allowing a remnant to return to Zion and bring the land back to its former splendour. No doubt the privilege of speaking and writing prophecies concerning the restoration of his beloved Jerusalem gave Isaiah the greatest joy!
But what do these messages of judgment and salvation have to do with us? Happily, Isaiah does not prophecy simply for the benefit of the two- tribe kingdom of Judah. On the contrary, his messages have special significance for our day. Isaiah paints a glorious picture of how God’s Kingdom will soon bring grand blessings to our earth. In this regard, a large portion of Isaiah’s writings focuses all the foretold Messiah, who would rule as King of God’s Kingdom. (Daniel 9:25; John 12:41) Surely It Is no coincidence that the names Jesus and Isaiah express virtually the same thought, the name Jesus meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.”
Of course, Jesus was not born until some seven centuries after Isaiah’s day. Yet, the Messianic prophecies contained in the book of Isaiah are so detailed and so accurate that they read like an eyewitness account of Jesus’ life on earth. One source noted that in view of this, the book of Isaiah is sometimes called the “Fifth Gospel” Hence, it is hardly surprising that Isaiah was the Bible book most frequently quoted by Jesus and his apostles in order to make a clear identification of the Messiah.
Isaiah paints a glorious word picture of “new heavens and a new earth” wherein “a king will reign for righteousness Itself” and princes will rule for justice. (Isaiah 32:1,2; 65:17, 18; 2 Peter 3: 13) Thus the book of Isaiah points us to the heart-warming hope of God’s Kingdom, under the Messiah Jesus Christ as enthroned King. What an encouragement for us to Jive each day in joyful expectation of “salvation by Jehovah”! (Isaiah 25:9; 40 :28-3 1) When you study the precious message in the book of Isaiah, your confidence in God’s promises will be greatly strengthened.
Do not allow any Amillennialist, Preterist or anyone else steal your joy!