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by Gary H. Everett
STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Using a Theme-based Approach
to Identify Literary Structures
By Gary H. Everett
THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
January 2013 Edition
All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.
All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed., Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c1925, morphology c1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004.
The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author’s daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.
© Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.
Foundational Theme How to Serve the Lord with All Our Mind
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Secondary Theme - Israel’s Redemption Through Jesus the Son’s Justification
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPHETS
It was the office of the prophet that brought to us the divine writings of the Old Testament, for these inspired words came to us through the divine oracles of the prophets. Josephus (A.D. 37 to 100) tells us that the twenty-two books which serve as the canon of the Old Testament were given to us by a succession of prophets, and when this succession ceased, so did the authoritative writings of the Old Testament.
“For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time .” ( Against Apion 1.8)
A. Recipients - I have come to the conclusion in the past several years that the prophecies of the Old Testament are primarily directed towards Israel's role in God's plan of redemption for mankind, although they often involve the New Testament Church; and the prophecies of the New Testament are primarily directed to the Church's role in redemption, although they sometimes involve Israel. Daniel's prophecies stand unique in that those in the first seven chapters are directed primarily to the Gentiles nations (the times of the Gentiles), while the last chapters reveal Israel's role during the "times of the Gentiles.".
Old Testament prophecies are primarily for Israel, and secondarily for the Church. In other words, these prophecies reflect Israel's role and participation in regards to the coming of the Messiah. They may have a 2-fold message regarding Christ's First and Second Comings. For example, when the angel interpreted Jeremiah's seventy-year prophecy to Daniel in Daniel 9:20-27, the angel explained this prophecy as both a literal seventy years, where Israel would enjoy an initial restoration, but it primarily referred to seventy weeks and the Messiah's Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation and the full restoration of the nation of Israel during the thousand-year Millennial reign of Christ on earth.
These prophecies in the Old Testament reflect not only Israel's role at Christ's first coming, but also Israel's role in His Second Coming, with the Church simply being grafted into the vine and rejoicing in the Messiah for this season of God's redemptive history. In other words, these prophecies in Isaiah still have a future fulfillment at the time of Jesus' Second Coming. This helps explain why many Old Testament prophecies merge the events of Christ’s First and Second Coming.
B. Date of Writing - Douglas Stuart believes that the order of placement of the twelve Minor Prophets was largely influenced by the date of writing and subject matter. The earliest prophets are placed first and the later prophets are placed last. 
 Douglas Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 31, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on “General Introduction,” and “Introduction to Hoses: Assumptions about Dates.”
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
The Message of the Book of Isaiah Since ancient times the book of Isaiah has been one of the most popular and inspiring books of the Old Testament canon. One reason for its popularity among ancient Jews is the emphasis placed upon the coming of the Messiah in its prophecies, which theme was in the hearts and minds of the Jews who were being oppressed under Roman rule. Evidence as to the importance of Isaiah in New Testament times is seen in Luke 4:16-30 when Jesus entered the synagogue and Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. Also, in Acts 8:28 we see the eunuch from Ethiopia reading from the book of Isaiah.
Acts 8:27-28, “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.”
Its popularity among the early Church was because Isaiah’s prophecies were used to testify that Jesus Christ fulfilled all Old Testament Messianic prophecies. Thus, the book of Isaiah became one of the most quoted books of the Old Testament canon within the New Testament.
For the Jews, the book of Isaiah inspired hope that their Messiah was coming to deliver their people, and for the early Church it strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ. This Old Testament book remains popularity today, as well as in ancient times. Isaiah is one of the most inspiring books to read in the Old Testament, and is often referred to as “the Gospel of the Old Testament,” because of its prophecies of the coming Messiah.
Introductory Material - The introduction to the book of Daniel will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework.  These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God’s message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.
 Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel’s well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalms: (1) “a common setting in life,” (2) “thoughts and mood,” (3) “literary forms.” In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses “Form/Structure/Setting” preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalms: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol. 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).
“We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture
if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible.”
(J. Hampton Keathley) 
 J. Hampton Keathley, III, “Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah,” (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23 May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.
Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the book of Isaiah will provide a discussion on its title, historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the Jewish tradition that Isaiah was the author of the book of Isaiah, with him and others recording his prophecies during his public ministry.
I. The Title
II. Historical Background
A. The Title of the Book of Isaiah Luke was familiar with the title of the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:17).
Luke 4:17, “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,”
B. The Biography of Isaiah the Prophet There are references to the prophet Isaiah in ancient extra-biblical writings. We find a book about Isaiah in the Old Testament pseudepigraphal book The Martyrdom of Isaiah.  There is a reference to the prophet Isaiah in one of the New Testament apocryphal books entitled The Vision of Paul. In this ancient document, Isaiah tells Paul the apostle that he was sawn asunder by King Manasseh ( The Vision of Paul 49).  Isaiah’s martyrdom is alluded to in Hebrews 11:37, “… they were sawn asunder…”
 The Martyrdom of Isaiah, trans. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2, 155-162, ed. R. H. Charles (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913).
 “When he had spoken thus far, there came other twelve, and seeing me said: Art thou Paul the glorified in heaven and on earth? And I answered and said: What are ye? The first answered and said: I am Esaias whom Manasses cut asunder with a wooden saw. And the second said likewise: I am Jeremias who was stoned by the children of Israel and slain. And the third said: I am Ezekiel whom the children of Israel dragged by the feet over a rock in a mountain till they knocked out my brains, and we endured all these toils, wishing to save the children of Israel: and I say unto thee that after the toils which they laid upon me, I cast myself on my face in the sight of the Lord praying for them, bending my knees until the second hour of the Lord's day, till Michael came and lifted me up from the earth. Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee.” The Vision of Paul, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 9, ed. Allan Menzies (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), 165.
A. Internal Evidence
Isaiah 1:1, “ The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
2 Chronicles 26:22, “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write .”
2 Chronicles 32:32, “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet , the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.”
2. Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:9-20)
Isaiah 38:9, “The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:”
B. External Evidence - If we look outside of biblical literature for clues to authorship and into other ancient Jewish literature from which much Jewish tradition is found, the Babylonian Talmud says that Hezekiah wrote the books of Isaiah, Proverbs, Songs, and Ecclesiastes.
“And who wrote all the books? Moses wrote his book [Pentateuch] and a portion of Bil’am [Numbers, xxii.], and Job. Jehoshua wrote his book [Joshua] and the last eight verses of the Pentateuch beginning: “And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died.” Samuel wrote his book, Judges, and Ruth. David wrote Psalms, with the assistance of ten elders, viz.: Adam the First, Malachi Zedek, Abraham, Moses, Hyman, Jeduthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korach. Jeremiah wrote his book, Kings, and Lamentations. King Hezekiah and his company wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, Songs, and Ecclesiastes. The men of the great assembly wrote Ezekiel, the Twelve Prophets, Daniel, and the Book of Esther. Ezra wrote his book, and Chronicles the order of all generations down to himself. [This may be a support to Rabh’s theory, as to which, R. Jehudah said in his name, that Ezra had not ascended from Babylon to Palestine until he wrote his genealogy.] And who finished Ezra’s book? Nehemiah ben Chachalyah.” ( Babylonian Talmud, Tract Baba Bathra (Last Gate), 1.Mishna 5) 
 Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol. 13 (New York: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1902), 45.
The northern kingdom of Israel lasted 254 years, from Jeroboam’s inauguration as the first king (approx. 975 B.C.) to the time when this kingdom was laid waste and carried off by the Assyrian army (approx. 721 B.C.). Isaiah's ministry overlapped this time-period. Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1). He dates his inaugural vision (Isaiah 6:1) in the year of Uzziah's death, which ISBE says was approximately 740 B.C.  This marks, therefore, the beginning of his prophetic ministry. We know that he was still active as late as the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. Hence, the minimum period of his activity as a prophet was approximately from 740 to 701 B.C.
 George L. Robinson, “Isaiah 1-7,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).
The four kings whom Isaiah ministered under were:
1. Uzziah - Eleventh king of Judah 809-8 to 757-6 B.C., reigned 52 years.
2. Jotham - Twelfth king of Judah, 758 - 741 B.C., reigned 16 years.
3. Ahaz - Thirteenth king of Judah, 741-726 B.C., reigned about 16 years.
4. Hezekiah - Fourteenth king of Judah, 726 - 701 B.C., reigned 25 years.
The biblical chronology in the book of Isaiah is not dated in terms of years, but in terms of the reigns of kings, similar to Luke 3:1-2. This is because many ancient cultures did not go by calendar dates, but rather by events, such as the reigns of kings. For example, in Africa, people are not time conscience; rather, they are event conscience. For example, many of them do not know the day and year of their birth, but they know what major events took place during the year of their birth. These major events usually centered around the events of their king.
LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)
“Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.
If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew.”
(Thomas Schreiner) 
 Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c1990, 2011), 11.
Within the historical setting of the kingdom of Israel, the author of the book of Isaiah chose to write using the literary style of the ancient prophetic literature. Thus, the book of Isaiah is assigned to the literary genre called “prophecy.” Included in the genre of prophecy are the three books of the Old Testament major prophets and twelve minor prophets.
“Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework.”
(Andreas Kösenberger) 
 Andreas J. Kösenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.
Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the book of Isaiah, an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the book of Isaiah for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.
VIII. Thematic Scheme
A. Foundational Theme of the Books of Prophecy (How To Worship the Lord With All thy Mind) - While the book of Psalms and other Hebrew poetry move us to worship God with all of our hearts and the historical narratives and writings inspire us to serve the Lord with all of our strength, the Prophets stir us up to seek God with all our mind as they reveal to us God’s eternal plan and destiny for Israel and the Gentiles. The Prophets teach us the future so that we will serve the Lord now in hope of obtaining our eternal, divine destiny. We find several examples in the New Testament as to the purpose of the books of prophecy. In 1 Peter 1:10-12, we are told that these Old Testament prophets did a mental search in order to understand the meaning of their prophecies of the future. They realized that they were speaking of events that would not happen to themselves, but to a future generation.
1 Peter 1:10-12, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
One story that illustrates the theme of prophetic literature is found in the New Testament. In Acts 8:30-31 we find Philip the evangelist meeting the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert while reading the book of Isaiah. This eunuch was inspired by reading this book of prophecy to seek a deeper understanding of its meaning and of the ways of God. Philip then took the opportunity to instruct him in the ways of righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 8:30-31).
Acts 8:30-31, “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
In John 12:14-16 we see how the Holy Spirit brought the Old Testament prophecies to the remembrance of the early Church so that they could understand the events that took place in the life of Jesus Christ.
John 12:14-16, “And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.”
In these three New Testament passages, the prophetic books were used to stir up the minds of men to seek God. In other words, it inspired men to seek God with all of their minds.
1. The Central Theme of Daniel: The Times of the Gentiles The theme of the book of Daniel is God’s Plan of Redemption during the Times of the Gentiles. The book of Daniel stands alone in the Old Testament in its structure and content in much the same way that the book of Revelation is unique to the New Testament. Both are apocalyptic in nature, using symbolic figures to prophesy of future events. Daniel is structured different than the three major prophets, being similar to the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther in its narrative material, while containing a large amount of prophecy. The book of Daniel takes us through the Times of the Gentiles when God divinely works in this group of people to carry out His divine plan of election and redemption. He makes mention of the Kingdom of Heaven from the view of the ages of the worldly kingdoms. Thus, the theme and prophecies of Daniel focus upon the “Times of the Gentiles” from the fall of Jerusalem until the full restoration of the nation of Israel at Christ’s Second Coming. Daniel’s prophecies encompass the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, so that it serves as a foundational book of prophecy.
While the other thirty-eight books of the Old Testament focus upon the nation of Israel, the prophecies in the book of Daniel focus upon the period of human history called the “Times of the Gentiles” and upon the destiny of the Gentile nations from the fall of Jerusalem up until the time when the nation of Israel is fully restored at Christ’s Second Coming. Thus, its primary theme is about the period of history called the “Times of the Gentiles”. The fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar began this period of human history and it will last until the time when Christ returns again and usher the world into the thousand-year Millennial Reign. At that time Christ will rule and reign from the holy city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel will again take center stage and be restored to its fullness. The prophet Daniel ministered directly to the Babylonian kings. As a result he was given insight into the “Time of the Gentiles.” However, this Jewish Old Testament writing ministers to the Jews as well in that it tells them when their nation will be fully restored and when their Messiah will come to deliver them from the oppression of the Gentiles. Thus, we can then see the importance of Daniel’s understanding of the seventy-year prophecy of Jeremiah. He understood by a vision that a temporary restoration would take place in a seventy-year period, but that a full restoration would not be accomplished until a seventy-week period was fulfilled.
The book of Daniel weaves the theme of God’s sovereign power and destiny for mankind within the revelation of the Times of the Gentiles. Despite the historical setting of the destruction of Jerusalem and enslavement of God’s people, these prophecies clearly show that the God of Israel is still on the throne and determining the outcome of mankind. Thus, the foreknowledge of God the Father is the underlying theme of the Old Testament with the book of Daniel being given special emphasis upon the destiny of the Gentile nations as they are a part of God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
The prophet Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel. While Daniel was ministering to the kings of the Gentile nations, Ezekiel was providing comfort and hope to the Jews in Babylonian captivity. If we compare their two ministries, we see that they both served to provide to the Jews a hope of future restoration. Daniel’s prophecies emphasize their restoration from the time frame of the Age of the Gentiles, while Ezekiel’s prophecies reveal Israel’s restoration from the perspective of a clear understanding of divine judgment upon His people Israel, His pending judgment upon their enemies and their future restoration. Although Ezekiel did prophesy about the judgment of those nations surrounding Israel, his main focus reveals the rebirth and establishment of Israel, while Daniel focused upon the rise and fall of the Gentile nations. In addition, both prophets show us that all nations will one day be made subject to the Ancient of Days, the King of Kings, when Jesus Christ will rule and reign over this earth with His saints. The book of Daniel plays an important role in the books of the prophets in that it sets a framework and timelines for all other prophetic events to take place. Daniel literally predicted the year A.D. 27 as the year of the Messiah’s atonement. Although the prophet Isaiah, as well as King David in Psalms 22:0, described the coming and death of the Messiah, Daniel established the timeline for Christ’s first and second Coming.
If we compare the three prophetic books of Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, we can make the following observations. Regarding the end-time events, Daniel addresses the Gentiles, Ezekiel addresses the Jews on these same events, and the book of Revelation addresses the Church on this subject. The book of Ezekiel was written to the people of Israel to help them persevere through their time of persecutions during the Babylonian Captivity; but the book of Revelation was addressed to the Church, and not to the Jews, to help them persevere until the end. Therefore, Ezekiel speaks of three major events that relate to the nation of Israel leading up to the ushering in of the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus, which are the restoration of Israel (36-37), the great battle with Russia and its allies (38-39) and the rebuilding of the Temple with its institution of worship (40-48). These are the three important events that will involve Israel during these last days leading up to and through the seven-year Tribulation Period. Thus, Ezekiel tells of these end-time events from the perspective of Israel. In contrast, the book of Daniel tells of Christ’s Second Coming from the perspective of the Gentile nations. Finally, the book of Revelation tells of the end-time events from the perspective of the Church.
Finally, it is interesting to note how the prayers of the saints throughout history determined the outcome of many historical events within God’s framework of His plan of redemption. This reveals the important role of God’s people in shaping history for good by overcoming evil. Thus, both God and men have a role to plan in God’s eternal plan of redemption for mankind.
2. The Three Major Prophets: Israel’s Redemption through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - As we study the life of the three Major Prophets, we see how each of them received a divine visitation from the Lord that launched them into their respective ministries. In these visitations, they received their unique commissions. For example, the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all have a common opening in that each one of them has an encounter with the Lord. Isaiah sees the glory of the Lord upon His majestic throne. Jeremiah was overwhelmed with the word of the Lord as it came to him with visions revealing God’s judgment upon Judah and other nations. Ezekiel saw the living creatures going forth before the throne of God, exalted high in the heaven. In contrast, the twelve Major Prophets did not receive such a divine visitation in order to commission them.
One reason why these three prophets received such a mighty visitation is understood in a comment by Kenneth Hagin, who said that when the Lord gives us a vision or a word for the future, it often precedes a trial, and is used to anchor our soul and take us through the trial.  If we look at the lives of the three Major Prophets, this is exactly what we see. These three men faced enormous trials and objections during their ministries. Their divine commissions certain were the anchor of their souls as it gave them strength and assurance that they were in God’s will despite their difficulties. We see such dramatic encounters in the lives of Moses and Saul of Tarsus, as God gave them their divine commissions for a work that was difficult and even cost them their lives.
 Kenneth Hagin, Following God’s Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1993, 1994), 118.
a) The Central Theme of Jeremiah: Israel’s Redemption Through God the Father’s Foreknowledge - The prophecies of Jeremiah emphasizes God the Father’s divine timeline of judgment and redemption for the nation of Israel and Gentile nations, as stated in its opening passage (Jeremiah 1:10). Jeremiah’s prophecy of Israel’s seventy-year captivity serves as God’s remedy for divine judgment upon His people Israel before He can bring about their restoration. God also called Jeremiah to judge the nations (Jeremiah 1:10) in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Thus, we can see how Jeremiah’s prophecies ushered in the Times of the Gentiles.
Jeremiah 1:10, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
Jeremiah also spoke of the rise and fall of Babylon and gave prophecies of other nations besides Israel. The prophecy of Israel’s seventy-year Captivity was perhaps the most important prophecy he made because it dealt with the nation of Israel and gave us a timeline of the Last Days. We find a two-fold fulfillment in this prophecy when studying Daniel 9:0. Jeremiah was speaking of the Jews returning to Jerusalem after a literal 70-year period. The angel explained to Daniel that this prophecy also served as a prediction of the time of the Messiah’s First and Second Coming. Thus, Jeremiah places emphasis upon God the Father’s foreknowledge of Israel’s redemption as well as the Gentile nations in that he shows us a time-table for God’s plan of redemption. Thus, God’s remedy for divine judgment is to bring about full redemption to Israel and the nations through the First and Second Coming of the Messiah.
b) The Central Theme of Isaiah: Israel’s Redemption Through Jesus the Son’s Justification - The prophecies of Isaiah emphasize the cleansing of the rebellious nation of Israel, as stated in its opening verses (Isaiah 1:2). The prophet calls them to repentance by saying, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” (Isaiah 1:18). He will explain how this cleansing works later in chapters 52-53 by giving them a lengthy description of Christ’s sacrificial death on Calvary as a reference to Jesus’ first coming. This is because the remedy for rebellion is reconciliation, and God chose Calvary as the means of reconciling Israel and the Gentiles back unto Himself. We may be able to say that Isaiah focuses upon the justification of God’s people which was accomplished by Jesus’ work on Calvary. 
 The book of Isaiah is sometimes referred to as “the Gospel of the Old Testament” or “the Gospel of Isaiah” because the emphasis upon the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is well recognized. Literary evidence is offered by Davies and Allison, who note that half of the Old Testament quotes found in the Gospel of Matthew come from the book of Isaiah. See W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew: Commentary on Matthew XIX-XXVIII, vol. 3, in The International Critical Commentary (London: T. & T. Clark Ltd, 1988), 575.
In his commission, Isaiah found himself unclean before the throne of God and received cleansing by the angel from the live coals of fire being placed upon his tongue. He was then told to preach a message of conversion and healing to a rebellions people. We see this message in the preaching of Jesus Christ. Thus, in this vision we see the theme of justification.
God then told Isaiah to speak to a rebellious people that will reject his message so that they are scattered and a remnant allowed to remain (Isaiah 6:9-13). Isaiah’s prophecies were two-fold in application also. They were fulfilled by the carrying away of the Babylonian Captivity. They were also prophetic of the Messiah’s First Coming. Thus, they had a two-fold application. Isaiah places emphasis upon Jesus’ work of Calvary, which offers justification to a sinful world. Thus, the remedy for Israel’s rebellion is provided for in justification through the coming Messiah.
c) The Central Theme of Ezekiel: Israel’s Redemption Through the Holy Spirit’s Sanctification and Future Glorification Ezekiel emphasizes Israel’s future restoration through the rebirth of the nation and building of the new temple that will allow God to once again dwell with men. At his commission the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of four creatures that were sent from the throne of God to set in motion God’s divine plan of the restoration of the nation of Israel. This is why God gave to Ezekiel three major prophecies regarding the role of Israel’s during the times leading up to Christ Jesus’ Second Coming. He closes his prophecies by telling about God’s three-fold method of restoring Israel to its fullness through (1) the restoration of the nation, (2) the battle of Armageddon and (3) the rebuilding of the Temple, for this is the method in which God has chosen to restore His people. In this vision we see the theme of glorification emphasized as Ezekiel seems to focus upon the glorification of God’s people Israel at the time of Christ’s second coming.
3. The Central Theme of the Twelve Minor Prophets The twelve Minor Prophets carry the themes of the three Major Prophets. Hosea reveals the heart of God by showing His unfailing love for His people. Micah emphasizes the birth of Jesus and deliverance of God’s people, and he portrays the Messiah as the Shepherd of Israel. Jonah emphasizes Jesus’ resurrection after three days in the grave, and His provision of justification for the ungodly. Zechariah is the most Messianic of the twelve minor prophets, giving more prophecies of Jesus’ life and passion than any of these others.
Figure 1 Thematic Scheme of Prophet Books
B. Secondary (Structural) Theme of the Book of Isaiah - Israel’s Redemption Through Jesus the Son’s Justification It is clear that the book of Isaiah places a tremendous amount of emphasis upon prophecies regarding Jesus’ earthly ministry, His Passion and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentile nations. For example, as we study the Gospel of Matthew which lays out for us a chronological list of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled during His birth, ministry and passion, we find that a significant number of them come from the book of Isaiah.
1. Regarding His virgin birth:
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
2. Regarding the coming of John the Baptist to herald His coming:
Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
3. Regarding His initial ministry in Galilee:
Isaiah 9:1-2, “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”
4. Regarding His healing ministry:
Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
5. Regarding meekness in proclaiming the Gospel:
Isaiah 42:1-4, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”
6. Regarding the Jew’s Rejection of the Gospel:
Isaiah 6:9-10, “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”
7. Regarding the offences that come from preaching the Gospel:
Isaiah 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
8. Regarding His triumphant entry into Jerusalem:
Isaiah 62:11, “Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”
9. Regarding His cleansing of the Temple:
Isaiah 56:7, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
We have the lengthy prophecy in Isaiah that details Jesus’ crucifixion in Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12.
Marvin Vincent notes that some scholars suggest Isaiah “embodied” the theme “of his message within the names of his children: Mahershalal-hash-baz (speed-prey), a warning of the coming of the fierce Assyrians; Shear-Jashub (a remnant shall return), a reminder of God’s mercy to Israel in captivity, and Immanuel (God is with us), a promise of God’s presence and succor.”  Perhaps Isaiah’s prophecies against Israel (Isaiah 1:2 to Isaiah 12:6) and against the Nations (Isaiah 13:1 to Isaiah 24:23) are reflected in the name Mahershalal-hash-baz (speed-prey). Perhaps the prophecies of the reign of Christ (Isaiah 28:1 to Isaiah 35:10) are reflected in the name Immanuel (God is with us). Perhaps the prophecies of Israel’s future comfort and redemption (Isaiah 40:1 to Isaiah 66:24) are reflected in the name the Shear-Jashub (a remnant shall return).
 Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), in OnLine Bible, v. 2.0 [CD-ROM] (Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005), notes on Matthew 1:23.
C. Third (Imperative) Theme of the Book of Isaiah Israel Must Place their Hope in the Coming Messiah Who will Redeem them from their Sins
IX. Literary Structure
Justification of Israel (Isaiah 40-59)
Glorification of Israel (Isaiah 60-66)
X. Outline of Book
Here is a proposed outline of the book of Isaiah:
I. Title Isaiah 1:1
II. Prophecies Against Israel Isaiah 1:2 to Isaiah 12:6
A. Isaiah’s First Prophecy Isaiah 1:2-31
1. God’s First Indictment Against Israel (Physical) Isaiah 1:2-9
2. God’s Second Indictment Against Israel (Mental) Isaiah 1:10-20
a. Israel’s Vain Worship Isaiah 1:10-15
b. A Description of True Worship Isaiah 1:16-20
1) Pureness of Heart Isaiah 1:16-17
2) God Reasons with Israel Isaiah 1:18
3) Physical Blessings Restored Isaiah 1:19-20
3. God’s Third Indictment Against Israel (Spiritual) Isaiah 1:21-23
4. God Decrees Judgment & Restoration Isaiah 1:24-31
B. Isaiah’s Second Prophecy Isaiah 2:1 to Isaiah 5:30
C. Isaiah’s Divine Commission Isaiah 6:1-13
D. Isaiah’s Prophecy to King Ahaz Isaiah 7:1-25
E. Prophecy of Assyria’s Invasion Isaiah 8:1 to Isaiah 12:6
1. Messianic Prophecy Isaiah 9:1-7
2. The Messiah’s First Coming Isaiah 11:1-3
3. The Messiah’s Second Coming Isaiah 11:4-5
4. The Millennial Reign of Christ Isaiah 11:6-16
5. Praise to the Lord Isaiah 12:1-6
III. Prophecies Against the Nations Isaiah 13:1 to Isaiah 24:23
A. Judgment upon Babylon Isaiah 13:1 to Isaiah 14:27
B. Judgment upon Philistia Isaiah 14:28-32
C. Judgment upon Moab Isaiah 15:1 to Isaiah 16:14
D. Judgment upon Damascus Isaiah 17:1-14
E. Judgment upon Ethiopia Isaiah 18:1-7
F. Judgment upon Egypt Isaiah 19:1-25
G. Prophecy upon Ethiopia & Egypt Isaiah 20:1-6
H. Prophecy upon Babylon Isaiah 21:1-10
I. Judgment upon Dumah Isaiah 21:11-12
J. Judgment upon Arabia Isaiah 21:13-17
K. Judgment upon Judah Isaiah 22:1-25
L. Judgment upon Tyre Isaiah 23:1-18
M. Judgment upon the Earth Isaiah 24:1-23
N. Praise to God for Israel’s Restoration Isaiah 25:1 to Isaiah 27:13
IV. Prophecies of the Reign of Christ Isaiah 28:1 to Isaiah 35:10
V. King Hezekiah Isaiah 36:1 to Isaiah 39:8
A. Judah’s Divine Deliverance Isaiah 36:1 to Isaiah 37:38
B. Hezekiah’s Divine Healing Isaiah 38:1-22
C. Hezekiah’s Divine Judgment Isaiah 39:1-8
VI. Prophecies of Future Comfort & Redemption Isaiah 40:1 to Isaiah 66:24
Divine Service 61-62
Perseverance 63 to Isaiah 65:16
Glorification Isaiah 65:17-25
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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24