Lord God,
You sent Your holy prophets to be Your voice to the covenant people. They encouraged Your people to continue in holiness, and they warned Your people of the consequences of persisting in sin. But they were also sent to prepare the people to recognize the coming of the Redeemer-Messiah, Your supreme prophet who was coming to restore the fellowship mankind lost in the sin of Adam. Today we look to the lives of Your holy prophets as examples of faith and perseverance in a time of trial and persecution. Give us the courage and conviction of Your Old Testament prophets so that we can carry the voice of Christ and His message of salvation to a world where so many are lost and alienated from You. Please send Your Holy Spirit to guide us as we study the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah whose prophecies foretold the ministry, suffering, death, and glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

+ + +

The study of the Sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer. It is essential that the revealed Word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith. [..] Evangelization demands familiarity with God's Word, which calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to provide for a serious, ongoing study of the Bible, while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal reading. [..] We do not blindly seek God, or wait for him to speak to us first, for God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us.' Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word.

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (Apostolic exhortation on evangelization)

The Role of a Prophet

All true prophets were called and commissioned directly by Yahweh and served in what was one of the three holy offices in which a person was anointed for service: prophets, priests, and kings (CCC 436, 1547). A prophet could not be appointed by kings, or priests, nor was their office hereditary. They only owed their allegiance to Yahweh since they served as His "voice" to the covenant people and sometimes to the Gentile nations that were the neighbors of Israel.

The prophets were called in Hebrew nabi/navi. It is a noun connected with Hebrew a root that means "to call," "to proclaim." These two meanings together describe the essence of prophecy from one who is called to be the bearer and interpreter in proclaiming the word of God. For example, in Exodus 4:15-16, Aaron is the interpreter of Moses (literally "the mouth of Moses"), and Moses is to be the voice of God to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1). As Yahweh told the prophet Jeremiah, "I have put my words into your mouth" (Jer 1:9); therefore, when the prophets delivered their messages, they did so with the words, "Yahweh declares," or "Word of Yahweh," or "Prophecy of Yahweh." Each nabi received an irresistible divine call that compelled them to speak (Amos 3:8; 7:15; Is chapter 6; Jer 1:4-10; 20:7-10), and each nabi was personally chosen by God as His emissary (Is 6:8).

God's prophets received divine communication through dreams, visions, and audible messages. They delivered God's messages to the people by using oracles, homilies, writings, parables, and by performing prophetic acts. The legitimacy of a prophet was confirmed in two ways:

  1. By the 100% accuracy of his predictions according to God's definition of a true prophet.
  2. By the consistency of the prophet's message with the known revelation of God and which cannot be solely based on what appears to be a miraculous act.

These rules of legitimacy are recorded in Scripture; for example:

Question: Who was the first of God's holy Old Testament prophets? See Gen 20:7.
Answer: The first of God's holy prophets was Abraham.

Question: Who was the last of God's Old Covenant prophets and what was his mission? See Mt 11:6-10; 14:5; 21:11; Mk 11:32; Jn 7:40; CCC 436, 1547.
Answer: St. John the Baptist was the last of the Old Covenant prophets whose mission was to announce the coming of the Messiah who is God's supreme prophet "Jesus Christ.

Commissioned and anointed to be God's voice to the people, prophets like Moses and Samuel were sent to provide God's religious and political leadership for the Israelites who were bound in covenant with Yahweh at Mt. Sinai. Some prophets like Samuel (in the later part of his ministry), Nathan, Gad, and Elisha were counselors to Israel's kings. But other prophets like Elijah, Jonah, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others were sent to the covenant people and to foreign nations to deliver God's warnings of coming judgment for their failures to live in obedience to the Laws of the Covenant with Yahweh that they swore to obey (Israel), or for sins against humanity in the case of Gentile nations. When nations failed to respond to their warnings, these prophets acted as God's prosecuting attorneys, calling down God's wrath against sinful and unrepentant nations.

Authorship of the Book of Isaiah

In the Christian canon of the Old Testament and in the Jewish canon of Sacred Scripture, the Book of Isaiah is the first of the books of the four "Major Prophets", and it is the longest of the books of the literary prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel are the four "Major Prophets" not because they are more important than the other twelve "Minor Prophets" (also called "Former" and "Latter Prophets" because of their placement of their books), nor are they the oldest of the literary prophets, but because of the span of the years of their prophetic ministries.

God is the author of the prophetic book, but Isaiah, son of Amoz, is named as the inspired writer of the Book of Isaiah (Is 1:1). Isaiah's name, Yeshaiah in Hebrew, means "Yahweh is salvation," and his name aptly summarizes the content of his writings. He was born in about the year 765 BC, received his prophetic vocation in the year of King Uzziah of Judah's death in 740 BC, and his ministry continued for over forty years.(1) Isaiah was married to "the prophetess" (who was unnamed), and he was the father of at least two sons. His ministry to the Davidic kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah covered the years from the end of the reign of King Uzziah (781-740 BC) and continued through the reigns of Kings Jotham (740-736 BC), Ahaz (736-716 BC), and Hezekiah (716-687 BC). His ministry may have ended in the early years of the reign of Hezekiah's wicked son Manasseh who succeeded his father in 687 BC. According to Jewish tradition, it was during the reign of King Manasseh of Judah that Isaiah was martyred by being sawn in half (Heb 11:37).

Some Biblical scholars suggest the Isaiah son of Amoz is the son of the minor prophet Amos of Tekoa, the shepherd-prophet who was called to his ministry during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah (ruled 781-740 BC) and during the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (ruled 783-743 BC). He was sent from Judah in the mid-8th century BC to condemn the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Amos 7:14). However, there is no proof in the Biblical text to support theory that he was Isaiah's father. The spelling of the names of the two men are different in Hebrew (reflected in the English translations), and although Amos the prophet was from Judah, he was a humble man and unlikely to be the father of the very literary Isaiah. Jewish tradition suggests that Isaiah's father was the brother of King Amaziah (reigned 796-781 BC), the father of King Uzziah, making Isaiah a member of the royal family (pesiqta de Rab Kahana, 117b; Megilla, 10b). Isaiah apparently unrestricted access to the kings of Judah and the direct way in which he addresses them might be taken as evidence supporting this tradition, but other prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, and Nathan spoke equally freely with kings and there is no suggestion of royalty in their lineage, only the confidence of an authority that come from being an anointed prophet of God. Isaiah may have been a member of an important family in Jerusalem, or perhaps he had ties to the royal family, or perhaps he was an official court prophet, which would explain his unlimited access to the royal court (Is 3:1-17, 24; 4:1; 8:2; 31:16).

In the chart, find Isaiah's historical place within the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah, and in the second chart find Isaiah's placement within the canon of prophets and the focus of his mission.

Prophets, Kings and Missions

Prophets, Kings and Missions
930 - 587/6 BC

Kings and their reigns
1 ruling family:
the House of David
Historical List of
930-517/16 BC

(prophets in italics are not literary prophets)
930 - 722 BC

Kings and their reigns
9 ruling families
Rehoboam 930 - 913 Shemaiah
unnamed man from Judah

Iddo +
Jeroboam I 930 - 910
Abijam (Abijah) 913 - 911   Nadab 910 - 909
Asa 911 - 870 Azariah Baasha 909 - 884
  Obadiah (placement ?) Elah 886 - 885
  Zimri 885
    Omri 885 - 874
Jehoshaphat 870 - 848 Elijah
Micaiah           *
Ahab 874 - 853
  * Ahaziah 853 - 852
Jehoram 848 - 841
Elisha              *
Jehoram (Joram) 852 - 841
Ahaziah 841 * Jehu 841 - 814
Queen Athaliah (mother of Ahaziah, dau. of Ahab and not a Davidic heir) 841 - 835 *
Jehoash 835 - 796 * Jehoahaz 814 - 798
Amaziah 796-781   Jehoash 798 -783
Uzziah (Azariah) 781 - 740

Jeroboam II 783 - 743
Co-rule with Jotham
Zechariah 743
Shallum 743
Jotham 740 - 736
Menahem 743 - 738
Pekahiah 738 - 737
Ahaz 736 - 716
Pekah 737 - 732
Hezekiah 716 - 687
Hoshea 732 - 724
Manasseh 687 - 642
Assyrians conquer
Israel = exile
Amon 642 - 640    
Josiah 640 - 609
Jehoahaz 609
Jehoiakim 609 - 598
Jehoiachin/Jehoniah 598 - 597

Zedekiah 598 - 587/6
Deportation and exile

Babylonian exile 70 years    
Persians conquer Babylon
Edict of Cyrus 538 BC
Return from exile
Joel ?
Zeraubbabel 520 BC
Israelite Persian appointed governor of Samaria
Temple rebuilt c. 517/16 BC

Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2014; revised 2015 (dates from NJB; dates may vary according to source).

+The writings of Iddo were used to chronicle the reigns of kings Jeroboam, Rehoboam and Abijam/Abiah (2 Chr 9:29; 13:22).

The Prophets of Yahweh and their Missions from 930-517/16 BC
Bold = literary prophets in canonical (not historical) order
* = major prophets; others in bold are the 12 minor prophets
Prophets Prophetic Mission
Shemaiah Mission to King Rehoboam of Judah
The unnamed prophet from Judah Sent to destroy King Jeroboam's false altar
Ahijah From Judah but mission to King Jeroboam of Israel
Micaiah Mission to King Ahab of Israel
Elijah Mission to Israel
Elisha Mission to Israel
Isaiah* Mission to Judah
Jeremiah* Mission to Judah
Ezekiel* Mission to Judean exiles
Daniel* From Judah but mission to Babylon
Hosea Mission to Israel
Jonah From the Galilee in Israel but mission to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh
Joel Mission to Judah
Amos From Judah but mission to Israel
Obadiah From Judah but mission was about the fate of Edom
Micah Mission to Judah
Nahum From Judah but mission concerning Nineveh
Habakkuk Mission to Judah
Zephaniah Mission to Judah
Haggai Mission to Judah
Zechariah Mission to Judah
Malachi To Judah; last authentic prophet after the return from exile
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2015

Iddo was a prophet whose writings chronicled the reigns of kings Rehoboam of Judah, Jeroboam of Israel and Abijam/Abijah of Judah, son of Rehoboam.

No other writer of this prophetic book is named other than Isaiah by Jesus, by other New Testament writers, and by the early Fathers of the Church. And no other Bible book with the exception of the Psalms has more Messianic prophecies than the Book of Isaiah. However, many modern scholars only ascribe chapters 1-39 to the prophet Isaiah, and attribute chapters 40-55 to an unknown prophet they call "Deutero-Isaiah", and chapters 56-66 to another unknown prophet they call "Trito-Isaiah." It is their argument that there are significant stylistic, historical, and theological differences that distinguish the three parts. Although scholars who are against the unity of the Book of Isaiah and focus on these differences have made a strong argument in favor of the book being the product of three inspired writers, strong arguments can also be made in favor of the literary unity of the book:

  1. While there are some differences between the sections, the stylistic similarities throughout the book are greater than the so-called differences. These include similarities in Biblical images, characteristic expressions, and overall message.
  2. While it is true that the first section is more sever and rational, and the second more historical, and third part is more emotional, much of this is due to the differences in subject matter between harsh condemnation, a historical account, and gentle consolation.
  3. The third argument revolves around the issue of predictive prophecy that some scholars believe is impossible. For example, the prophecy of the return from the Babylonian exile during the reign of a future Persian king named Cyrus, which did occur long after the death of Isaiah in 539 BC. But if predictive prophecy is denied in this event, then how can the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah that were fulfilled in Jesus in the 1st century AD be explained if predictive prophecy is not an divine act of God? See the charts for the Messianic prophecies in the Book of Isaiah that were fulfilled in Christ Jesus at the end of the lesson or in the handouts.

The fact is the idea of a single author has more support historically and Biblically than the theories of multiple authors. It is absolutely credible that Isaiah's ministry could have spanned a generation and the reigns of five Davidic kings. No other Old Testament writer is quoted more in the New Testament than Isaiah.

Historical Background

The reality of power also has religious significance. Worshiping power, and especially superpowers, is idolatry. Accepting any ruler other than God is idolatry, which should be resisted at all costs ...
Avishai Magalit (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

After the death of King David's son, Solomon, in c. 930 BC, his son and successor Rehoboam was not able to keep the Kingdom of Israel unified as one nation. The ten northern tribes withdrew from the union of the twelve tribes to form the Northern Kingdom of Israel, choosing Jeroboam, a prince of the tribe of Ephraim, to be their king. The two remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah remained loyal to the Davidic kings and became the nation of the Southern Kingdom of Judah with their capital at Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the location of Yahweh's holy Temple built by King Solomon a generation earlier.

The new king of the Northern Kingdom feared the influence of the Temple in Jerusalem might have on his subjects. Therefore, he turned the political schism into a religious chasm, encouraging the citizens of the Northern Kingdom to abandon their covenant with Yahweh and right worship in the Jerusalem Temple by expelling the chief priests and Levites from his kingdom, establishing his own priesthood, his own form of worship by building an altar at Bethel and two sites of Golden Calf worship at Bethel and Dan (1 Kng 13:26-33). God sent His prophets to condemn the apostate people of the Northern Kingdom and their king. God's prophets warned them that unless they repented and returned to Yahweh through right worship, they would experience the wrath of His divine judgment and would be expelled out of God's holy land (1 Kng 13:1-5; 7-16), in the same way Adam and Eve were exiled out of Eden. The prophets foretold that God's judgment would be visited upon His unrepentant covenant people through the domination of foreign nations.

In the years just before Isaiah was called to his prophetic ministry, the old kingdom of Assyria, which had fallen into decline since the last millennium, experienced a political resurgence and was reasserting its dominance as a regional power under the leadership of King Tiglath-Pileser III (reigned 745 -727 BC). He was one of the greatest military commanders in world history, conquering most of the world known to the Assyrians before his death. In the mid-8th century BC, Tiglath-Pileser III vigorously began to subjugate much of region, beginning with his fellow Mesopotamians, then moving south to swallow up the old empires of Babylonia and Chaldea, and having himself crowned the King of Babylon. Then, he moved to overtake the Persians, Medes and the Kingdom of Elam on the Persian Gulf. With his successes, he moved further south into the territory of the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, and in the north Armenia and Scythia in the Caucasus Mountains, and Cimmeria by the Black Sea were subjugated. In the northwest, much of eastern and southwestern Asia Minor, including the kingdoms of the Hittites, and Phrygia, Cicicia and other nations became vassal states, as well as the Greeks of Cyprus, the Aramaean kingdoms (including Damascus) and the Mediterranean city states of Phoenicia (Tyre and Sidon). In the southwest, he led his army to subdue the Northern Kingdom of Israel, forcing the kingdom to become a vassal state. Tiglath-Pileser III discouraged revolts against Assyrian rule with the use of forced deportations of thousands of people all over the empire.

As prophesied by Isaiah, the Northern Kingdom became a victim of the deportation policy when in 732 BC, Tiglath- Pileser punished King Pekah of the Northern Kingdom (737-732) by capturing the territories of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali in the Galilee as well as the Israelite territory of the Gilead on the east side of the Jordan. He deported the entire population into Assyrian lands to the east (2 Kng 17:27-30; Is 8:23-9:1). It was the beginning of the dismantling of the Northern Kingdom that was completed in 722 BC. The loss of the northern territory of the Galilee and the Gilead east of the Jordan took place during the reign of King Ahaz of Judah in about the eighth year of Isaiah's prophetic ministry (as the ancients counted without the concept of a zero place value, it was about the ninth year).(2)

Isaiah was a contemporary of the literary prophets Hosea and Micah (see the handouts on Prophets and Kings). He was a citizen of the Southern Kingdom Judah, an advisor to Judah's Davidic kings, and prophesied during the last years of the Northern Kingdom. However, the focus of his ministry was to the Southern Kingdom of Judah which was following in the path of the sins of their kinsmen in the Northern Kingdom. After the fall of Samaria (capital city of the Northern Kingdom) in 722 BC, Isaiah warned the kings and people of Judah of the future cost of their apostasy in abandoning Yahweh's covenant. He warned them of God's coming judgment -not by Assyria, but by the Babylonians from whom they would suffer the same fate as their northern brethren in destruction and exile.

The Divisions and Themes of the Book of Isaiah

Covenant The Sinai Covenant [ and the Davidic Covenant ]


Prophecies of Condemnation Historical Narrative Prophecies of Consolation


Division Prophecies against
Judah and the nations
Prophecies of the Day of Judgment and promised blessings The reign of King
Hezekiah of Judah
promised Redeemer Messiah
& glorious
Topic The Prophetic Word Historic Messianic Prophesies
Judgment The future hope
Location Jerusalem/Southern Kingdom of Judah
Time c. 740-680 BC
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2015


Isaiah's Themes of Justice and Redemption

Obeying God's commandments, that is, obeying God's will, is the ultimate expression of gratitude ... The heart of idolatry is forgetfulness and ingratitude. In combating idolatry, the prophets combat forgetfulness. They become, so to speak, the high priests of memory that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and God's house, the Temple.
Avishai Magalit (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Isaiah is often referred to as "the prince of prophets" by commentators and Biblical scholars because of the powerful way he presents the themes of justice and redemption that culminate in the great prophecies of the Messiah and the Messianic Age. The Biblical prophets like Isaiah were not historians. Their concern was in being the "voice" of God in delivering God's messages of Divine Will, whether assuring His protection and salvation in blessings associated with covenant obedience, or for condemnation and impending judgment in the form of a riv (a covenant lawsuit) for covenant failures that included the sin of idolatry. The prophets acted as God's moral witness in either warning or accusing the covenant people of those violations. It was a message of condemnation for covenant failures that the 6th century BC prophet Jeremiah said began ... from the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again (Jer 7:25).
Question: What was the first sin of covenant failure committed by the children of Israel after the ratification of their covenant with Yahweh at Mt. Sinai? See Ex 32.
Answer: The sin was idol worship in the creation and worship of the Golden Calf committed by the Exodus generation.

It was in the worship of the Golden Calf that the Israelites violated the first command of the Ten Commandments. Their sin was the sin of idolatry. It was the same sin of disobedience and disloyalty of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when they abandoned the Jerusalem Temple and replaced God ordained liturgical worship with their own ideal of right worship; and it was the same sin of rebellion that continued to plague the covenant people throughout Israel's history.

The root cause of idolatry and rebellion is forgetfulness and ingratitude, as in Adam and Eve's fall from grace in the disobedience of eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden Sanctuary of Eden, or Israel's first covenant failure of idolatry in the sin of the Golden Calf (Ex 32). In both cases, the offenders "forgot" about God's many blessings and failed to express gratitude for His loving, fatherly protection. However, just because the prophets were called to speak the words of God to His people and the peoples of other nations, it doesn't mean those prophets were naïve about conditions in their own country or in their region of the world. Isaiah, who was a member of the royal court of the kings of Judah, was a shrewd observer of the shift in power in his region of the world as the balance of power began to shift from the Egyptians as the dominant superpower to the Assyrians. He was also acutely aware of the implications of this political and religious shift for the future of the covenant people of both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In addition to the overall themes of justice and redemption, there are five main sub-themes that we will be discussing that occur within the framework of justice and redemption in the Book of Isaiah:

  1. The sovereignty of God
  2. The preservation of the faithful remnant of the covenant people
  3. The Servant of God
  4. The Holy One of Israel
  5. The Messiah

The Symbolic Images of the Prophets in Isaiah

Like many of Yahweh's holy prophets, Isaiah used four reoccurring prophetic images in his preaching. These four images are presented in four parts addressing Israel and Judah's relationship or lack of a relationship with Yahweh, but not necessarily in order. The four images groups are covenant marriage, the vineyard or fig tree, domesticated animals, and drinking wine. The four parts of the image groups that depict Israel's relationship with Yahweh are:

  1. Perfect covenant union
  2. Rebellion of the covenant people against God's Law
  3. God's redemptive judgment to call His people to repentance and restoration
  4. The promise of full restoration and fellowship between God and His covenant people


Image Groups Part I
Covenant relationship
Part II
Part III
Redemptive Judgment
Part IV
Covenant Marriage Israel Bride of Yahweh Unfaithful adulteress/harlot> Humiliated, abused & abandoned by lovers The Bride restored to her Bridegroom
[examples in Scripture] Is 54:5; 61:10-11; Jer 2:2; Ez 16:4-14; Is 1:21; Jer 3:6-8; 13:22-23, 26; 23:10; Ez 16:15-34; 23:1-12; Hos 4:10-14 Jer 3:1b-2; 4:30-31; Ez 16:23-61; 23:35-49; Amos 4:7-8; Hos 2:4-15 Promised: Is 54:6-8; Hos 2:16-25
Fulfilled: Jn 3:28-29; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:7-9; 21:2, 9; 22:17
Fig tree
Well-tended vineyard/fruitful fig tree Vines grow wild/failure to produce fruit Weeds overgrow vineyard/ ruin and destruction Vines are replanted/
fruitfulness restored
[examples in Scripture] Is 5:1-4; Jer 24:4-7; Ez 19:10-11 Jer 2:21; Hos 2:14; Mic 7:1-4; Joel 1:11-12; 7:1-4 Is 5:3-6; Jer 8:13; 24:1-10; Ez 19:12-14; Nah 3:12-15 Promise: Hos 14:2-9
Fulfilled: Jn 15:1-2, 4-6
Animals Domesticated animals obedient to the yoke of the Master Resist the yoke; run away and become wild Ravaged by wild beasts/birds of prey Rescued by
their Master
Examples in Scripture Is 40:10-11; 65:25; Ez 34:15-16; Mic 4:13 Ex 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9; Dt 9:6, 13; Is 50:6; 53:6; Jer 5:5d-6; 8:6b-7; 23:1-2; Ez 19:1-9 Is 50:7; Jer 8:15-17; 50:6-7; Hos 8:1-14; 13:6-8 Promise: Ez 34
Fulfilled: Mt 11:28-30; Jn 1:29, 36; 10:1-18; Heb 3:20; Rev 5:6, 13; 7:9-17; 14:1-10; 19:2-9; 21:9-23; 22:1-3
Drinking Wine Joy of drinking good wine Becoming drunk Loss of wine; drinking the "cup of God's wrath" Rejoicing in the best "new wine" at the Master's table
Examples in Scripture Is 25:6-8; 62:8-9; 65:13; Jer 31:12; 40:12 Is 5:11-12; 28:1; Jer 8:13; 48:26; 51:7; Joel 1:5 Ps 75:9; Is 51:17-23; 63:2-3; Joel 4:13; Jer 13:12-14; 25:15-31; 49:12; 51:6-7; 48:26; Ez 23:31-34; Hab 2:16 Promise: Zec 9:15-16
Fulfilled: Lk 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23-32; Rev 19:7-9
Michal E. Hunt copyright 2000

Each of the four image groups are presented in four parts:

While the four image groups and the four parts present a vivid description of Israel's relationship with Yahweh in the centuries of the Sinai Covenant, the fourth part, "Restoration", is never realized in the Old Testament. It is only promised in a future fulfillment in the Messianic Age. Those prophecies of fulfillment will be perfectly accomplished in the mission of Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah laid out every aspect of the ministry and glory of the future Redeemer-Messiah:

  1. His incarnation (Is 7:14; 9:6)
  2. His early years (Is 7:15; 11:1; 53:2)
  3. His manner (Is 42:2)
  4. His obedience (Is 50:5)
  5. His message (Is 61:1-2)
  6. His miracles (Is 35:5-6)
  7. His sufferings, rejection, and vicarious death (Is 50:6; 53:1-12)
  8. His exaltation and glory (Is 52:13)
Isaiah's prophesies concerning the Messiah that are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth:
The Prophecy The Fulfillment
The Promised Messiah: Jesus of Nazareth:
Will be born of a virgin ( Is 7:14 ) Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary ( Lk 1:26-31 )
Will have a Galilean ministry (Is 9:1, 2) Ministry began in Galilee of the Gentiles ( Mt 4:13-16 )
Will be an heir to the throne of David (Is 9:7; 11:1, 10) Was given the throne of His father David (Lk 1:32, 33)
God's Spirit will rest on Him (Is 11:2) The Spirit of God descended on Jesus (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22; 4:1)
Will have His way prepared (Is 40:3-5 ) Was announced by John the Baptist ( Jn 1:19-28 )
Will be spat on and struck ( Is 50:6 ) Was spat on and beaten ( Mt 26:67 )
Will be exalted ( Is 52:13 ) Was highly exalted by God and the people (Phil 2:9, 10)
Will be disfigured by suffering (Is 52:14; 53:2) Was scourged by Roman soldiers who gave Him a crown of thorns ( Mk 15:15-19 )
Will make a blood atonement (Is 53:5 ) Shed His blood to atone for our sins (1 Pt 1:2)
Will be widely rejected (Is 53:1, 3) Was not accepted by many (Jn 12:37, 38)
Will bear our sins and sorrows (Is 53:4, 5) Died because of our sins (Rom 4:25; 1 Pt 2:24, 25)
Will be our substitute (Is 53:6, 8) Died in our place (Rom 5:6, 8; 2 Cor 5:21)
Will voluntarily accept man's guilt and punishment for sin (Is 53:7, 8) Jesus took on our sins (Jn 1:29; Rom 6:10; 2 Cor 5:21)
Gentiles will seek Him (Is 11:10) Gentiles came to speak to Jesus (Jn 12:20, 21)
Will be silent before His accusers (Is 53:7) Was silent before Herod and his court (Lk 23:9)
Will save us who believe in Him (Is 53:12) Provided salvation for all who believe (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31)
Will die with transgressors (Is 53:12) Was numbered with the transgressors (Mk 15:27, 28; Lk 22:37)
Will heal the brokenhearted (Is 61:1, 2) Healed the brokenhearted (Lk 4:18, 19)
Will be buried in a rich man's tomb (Is 53:9 Was buried in the tomb of Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea (Mt 27:57-60; Jn 19:38-42)
He will judge the earth with righteousness (Is 11:4-5) Jesus was given authority to judge (Jn 5:27; Lk 19:22; 2 Tim 4:1, 8)
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2000

Isaiah also described the qualifications of the ideal Davidic Messiah king, whose rule contrasted with the reign of Davidic King Ahaz (736-716 BC; 2 Kng 16:1-20). The role of the ideal Davidic king remained unfulfilled until the coming of Jesus the Messiah and His Kingdom of the Church:

  1. The Messiah will to be a descendant of David (Is 9:7; 11:1, 10 = Mt 1:1; Lk 1:32)
  2. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit (Is 11:2 = Mt 3:16)
  3. He will be a merciful and righteous judge of mankind (Is 11:4-5 = Rev 19:11)
  4. The Messiah's reign will be universal and characterized by peace and reconciliation (Is 11:6-10; 49:6; 46:13 52:10 = Lk 2:29-32)
  5. Even the Gentiles will come seeking the Messiah (Is 11:10 = Jn 12:20-22; Acts 15:7)
  6. The Messiah will gather in the faithful remnant of Israel (11:11-16 = Mt 10:6; 15:24)
  7. He will bring the joy of God's salvation (Is 12:1-6; 49:6 = Jn 3:16; 6:53-58; 1 Jn 4:9)

Probably the most dramatic of Isaiah's prophecies that are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth are Isaiah's four "Servant Songs" (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9 and 52:13-53:12) that are fulfilled in Jesus' ministry and His Passion.

In this study, all Scripture quotations are from the New Jerusalem Bible translation unless designated NAB (New American Bible) or IBHE (Interlineal Bible Hebrew-English vol. I-III), or IBGE (Interlineal Bible Greek-English vol. IV), or LXX (Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament).

Question for refection or group discussion: Jesus warned His disciples that many false prophets and false teachers would arise after Him (Mt 7:15; 24:11, 24), and St. Peter gave the same warning (2 Pt 2:1). How many false prophets/teachers can you think of who have founded religions or variations on Christianity who do not pass the prophet test in Deuteronomy 13:2-4; 18:21-22; and 2 Timothy 4:3-8? What religions/religious sects did they found that are not in accord with divine revelation that is revealed in the Old and New Testaments, and in what years were their religions/religious sects founded? Some examples of men and women who claimed to be prophets or are honored as prophets by their followers and founded religions/religious sects that you might consider are: Mohammed, Baha'u'llah, Joseph Smith, and Mary Baker Eddy. These people misinterpreted quotes from the Bible to support their beliefs, but it is important to remember that even Satan can quote Sacred Scripture (see Mt 4:6 and Lk 4:10 where the devil quoted Ps 91:10-12).

1. Isaiah's ministry began in the year of King Uzziah's death in 740 BC, and it is assumed continued until the death of King Hezekiah in c. 687 BC. 2 Chronicles 32:32 suggests that Isaiah outlived Hezekiah who was succeeded by his wicked son King Manasseh (687 – 642 BC). The last dated event in the Book of Isaiah is 14th year of Hezekiah (c. 701 BC) in 36:1, but Assyrian King Sennacherib's successor, Esarhaddon, is mentioned who became king in 681 BC. It is most likely since Isaiah's ministry is said to have continued in the reign of Hezekiah (Is 1:1) and no other king is mention after Hezekiah, that Isaiah retired from his ministry sometime prior to the time of the death of Hezekiah and devoted himself to writing (perhaps the last 27 chapters of his book). Then, he was martyred between 687- 681 BC by King Manasseh (Is 37:38) which would mean he served as a prophet for about 53/59 years and was in his 80s when he died.
2. The concept of counting days, months, years, etc. using a zero place-value wasn't introduced until the late 900s AD, and wasn't widely accepted for at least another century. This is why Scripture records that Jesus was in the tomb for three days from Friday to Sunday (Friday = day #1, Saturday = day #2, and Sunday = day #3); parts of days were counted as whole days. The Church still reckons the date for Pentecost by counting 50 days from Easter Sunday as the ancients counted with no zero place-value and by counting Easter Sunday as day #1 of the 50 days.

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2015 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.