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Dear Rodrigo Duterte

(Evidence of Divine Authorship in Isaiah 40-66)

by Richie Cooley

Licensed by:

Richie Cooley (2018)

Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International


Unless otherwise stated, Old Testament Scripture is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE® (NASB), copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

New Testament Scripture is taken from the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition (ALT3). Copyright © 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry. Previously copyrighted © 1999, 2001, 2005 by Gary Zeolla.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: Foundations and Claims

II. Isaiah’s Predictions

III. Conclusion: Messianic Success

IV. Citations

Before getting started, let’s review a few notes …

*This work mostly uses British spelling, except for the quoted material, which often employs U.S. spelling.

*Unless otherwise stated, the Old Testament quotes are from the NASB and the New Testament quotes are from the ALT3.

*“LORD,” “GOD,” or “Jehovah” signifies the personal name of divinity, more accurately rendered Y-h-w-h.

*The ALT3 distinguishes between singular and plural second-person pronouns by means of an asterisk (*).

*Divine pronouns are normally not capitalized, unless they appear that way in Bible versions or other quotes.

*Words that appear in brackets within Biblical quotes are not found in the original texts, and were added by the translators or are my personal comments, etc.

I. Introduction: Foundations and Claims

God has given us a book, and ill shall befall creation when this enlightening magnanimity is hid or obscured. It is the Word of God which contains vintage fruit from the Tree of Life. We need this nourishment. We need the hope of heaven and divine rewards to motivate us. We need the Law and the fear of punishment to curb our lusts. We need the comforting words to bring us joy, the fact of providence to quell our anxiety and sorrow, and the definition of love to embrace a world which normally refuses to embrace us in return.

What would happen individually and collectively if we didn’t have these teachings, motivating factors, and definitions? One could speculate that drugs, drunkenness, and sexual promiscuity would run rife. Suicide would probably be a problem, as would silly “scientific” hysterias in an attempt to fulfil a sense of moral duty—only in a meaningless, painless, trendy sort of way. “We won’t stand for bendy straws, sunscreen, or large bottles of Pepsi! But never mind about that whole ‘baby-body-parts’ thing; that’s merely a necessary by-product of ‘women’s health.’” To top it all off, there would surely be a tremendous streak of irascible hatred and dissention between every imaginable people-group-distinction. Just a guess.

So why did many modern cultures decide to leave God behind? A chief cause is that Darwinism won the day, “proving” the Bible to be a silly little fable; right? That’s the background noise, but it isn’t true. If the theory of Darwinism and the Bible had been put on the scales of objective truth, without a doubt it is the Scriptures which have proven to be weightier over the past century. Darwinism has fallen apart all over the place, like a jet-plane made from corrugated cardboard. Classical Darwinism was basically dead-on-arrival, and any attempt to rehabilitate the theory should have been given up after the discovery of DNA.

Most fascinating of all is that given our technological prowess we have the ability to test in a laboratory if biological entities evolve features with greater (in most cases, staggering) complexity or if they do not. Why haven’t scientists been successful at inducing laboratory evolution? Be scientists. Prove your constructs. Tests your theories. Come on, now! This is a vital objection. Most famously, a Darwinist began performing such a test decades ago, causing tens of thousands of generations of E. coli to come and go. After tens of thousands of generations of simple, pliable bacterium, E. coli is still nothing more than simple, pliable bacterium. It isn’t getting close to a tadpole or an earwig, and is thus several miles away from some silly actor with a big forehead, a mono-brow, and a crude club…

…Each day, Lenski reports getting about 6.6 generations of bacteria. So in one day, Lenski’s E. coli see the calculated equivalent of approximately 132 years of human elapsed time. This number becomes impressive when he has observed 60,000 bacterial generations, which are then claimed by some to be the equivalent of 1,200,000 years of human evolution…

…[There] is hardly any significant evidence of evolutionary change happening because the bacteria are still bacteria. Never mind the fact that we have been growing E. coli in the lab for over 100 years, and it still remains E. coli—no real evolution has happened to the E. coli since its original description…1

The same can be said for fruit flies:

Many Americans believe that the big-picture story of evolution, as biology professors routinely expound it, is false. Basically, they haven’t bought into the concept that all life descended from one common ancestor that miraculously sprang into being millions of years ago. And that makes sense, considering there are no real examples of that kind of evolution.

If evolutionary biologists could document such evolution in action, they could vindicate their worldview and cite real research to support their surreal claims. In 1980, this search for proof led researchers to painstakingly and purposefully mutate each core gene involved in fruit fly development. The now classic work, for which the authors won the Nobel Prize in 1995, was published in Nature. The experiments proved that the mutation of any of these core developmental genes―mutations that would be essential for the fruit fly to evolve into any other creature―merely resulted in dead or deformed fruit flies. This therefore showed that fruit flies could not evolve...

In a recent study, also published in Nature, University of California Irvine researcher Molly Burke led research into the genetic changes that occurred over the course of 600 fruit fly generations. The UCI lab had been breeding fruit flies since 1991, separating fast growers with short life spans from slow growers with longer life spans.

The UCI scientists compared the DNA sequences affecting fruit fly growth and longevity between the two groups. After the equivalent of 12,000 years of human evolution, the fruit flies showed surprisingly few differences…

Evolution was not observed in fruit fly genetic manipulations in 1980, nor has it been observed in decades-long multigenerational studies of bacteria and fruit flies. The experiments only showed that these creatures have practical limits to the amount of genetic change they can tolerate. When those limits are breached, the creatures don’t evolve—they just die.

Although the experimental results from these studies were given titles with an evolutionary “spin,” the actual experiments demonstrate undoubtedly that bacteria and fruit flies were created, not evolved.2

Darwinism is a loser.

The Bible on the other hand has made wonderful predictions which have come true over that same period of time. The Scriptures clearly called for Israel to become a nation again, even though this was incredibly unlikely, having been destroyed nearly two millennia ago. Moreover, the Bible called for a global government to rise, for the reunification of Europe, and for a great Scythian power to become entrenched with North African/Middle Eastern allies. It also called for technology to exist which could be used to track a paperless monetary system. It called for global, instantaneous communications to exist, and even foresaw the rise of much smaller matters (such as neo-conservatism, the Temple-rebuilding activities, and the popularity of alternative sexuality).

The Bible is a winner.

The prophecies of Isaiah were written about 600 years before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. However, the latter 27 chapters of his book foretells with tremendous detail and flair the person and work of Jesus Christ, describing everything from the announcements of John the Baptist to the Second Coming at Armageddon. There is no way to explain this apart from arriving at the conclusion that the Bible was written by God.

Now I’m aware of course that people will try to come up with objections. For example, they may say that the book of Isaiah was written after many of these things came about. This would be a very weak objection, and not made by anyone familiar with the genre. “The Dead Sea Scrolls” is all you need to say to establish the antiquity of Isaiah. The prophet’s words were very much admired by the Qumran community, and of course one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time occurred when a complete copy of Isaiah was taken from the site. On a footnote, this scroll is incredibly similar to the Isaiah we study today. There’s a more complex debate to be had over what Shakespeare wrote just a few hundred years ago. Who said “the rest is silence?” Hamlet or Horatio?

Even without Qumran, the Old Testament canon is extremely ancient…

When Josephus [c. AD 37-100] writes Against Apion (1.8) he lists the twenty two books [the Jews used to combine many books, such as the twelve minor prophets, etc.] of the Old Testament canon as if they have existed that way for hundreds of years. He also notes,

“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;”

Josephus’ opinion was not just his own. In the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin we read,

Our Rabbis taught: Since the death of the last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the Holy Spirit [of prophetic inspiration] departed from Israel; yet they were still able to avail themselves of the Bathkol.

Isidore Epstein offers a footnote to this passage that indicates that Bath-kol is a “divine voice, of secondary rank to prophecy.” Hence, we see that the Jewish people themselves, the people of God, sensed that an era had passed and a new one had dawned. They differentiated between the authority of the former prophets and the writings of current religious figures.3

What’s more, the New Testament itself is excellent proof regarding the antiquity of the Old Testament canon…

Various OT prophets are mentioned in the NT, especially Isaiah (Mt. 3:3; Mk. 7:6; Lk. 3:4; Jn. 12:38; Acts 8:28)…4

The fact that their writings were quoted as Scripture with an apparent universal acceptance among many religious sects is extremely meaningful. You would expect the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles—along with the scribes and lawyers—to be in a much better position to verify the ancient date of Isaiah as opposed to cynical pseudo-scholars who parrot illogical platitudes regarding authorship and date.

Another objection may be that early Christian writers merely copied from Isaiah, trying to flake and form a religious movement out of thin air. Again, this objection is very weak when just a little bit of investigation is applied. The Christian canon was not a group of documents that were penned by a person or a committee and then forced down everyone’s throat via an emperor. They are records from the first century, being attested by myriads of witnesses and historic events, and being accepted, disseminated, and valued very early in the life of a broad Christian movement which transcended ethnicity and nationality. A simple perusal of the early church fathers proves this.

The fact that these religious men from far afield were very well acquainted with the 27 books of the New Testament (give or take a book) just a hundred years after the last apostle died demonstrates their historicity beyond the shadow of a doubt.

For example:

The great early Father Tertullian, writing about 196-212, also used the terms “testaments” to distinguish the Old and the New. In Against Marcion 4.1 he writes,

To encourage a belief of this Gospel he [Marcion] has actually devised for it a sort of dower, in a work composed of contrary statements set in opposition, thence entitled Antitheses, and compiled with a view to such a severance of the law from the gospel as should divide the Deity into two, nay, diverse, gods one for each Instrument, or Testament as it is more usual to call it;

He elsewhere uses the phrases “Old Testament” and “New Testament.” His list of authoritative books, compiled from his writings (he gives no actual list per se), had all the current New Testament books with the exception of James, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, and even these are excluded only on the basis of silence, not on a direct statement by Tertullian himself. When one considers the considerable overlap of 2 Peter and Jude, and the shortness of 2 & 3 John, we are very close to being able to say that Tertullian operated with a New Testament canon such as our own. He does state that Hebrews had not come down to him as canonical, but he felt it was worthy of the apostles, and compared it with the popular Shepherd of Hermas (though, after Tertullian became a Montanist, he felt that the Shepherd’s ethical standards were far too low).

…Clement of Alexandria (150-215) gives us insight into the viewpoint from Alexandria, Egypt, where he headed up the famous catechetical school of Alexandria. According to Eusebius, Clement listed all four gospels as authoritative. Also included in Clement’s canon would be Acts, the Pauline epistles, the “catholic” [i.e., general] epistles (the exact extent of this is uncertain) and the Revelation…3

In addition, even without the New Testament documents and overtly patristic sources, the fact that a major Messianic movement was underfoot in the first century is completely impossible to deny. There are many other documents and references close in proximity to the NT writings which demonstrate the centrality of this topic in the minds of many. For example, regarding Syriac Baruch and 4 Esdras and the term “Christ [to include verbal references],” Kittel/Friedrich published…

These later works (1st cent. A.D.) use “the anointed” in the absolute for a royal figure of the end time. With the Messiah comes victory over the nations and the reign of peace and supernatural plenty. The messianic period finally merges into the time of general resurrection. In 4 Esdr. 7:28-29 the resurrection comes only after the death of the Messiah and seven days of primal silence. The “servant” of ch. 13 has many messianic features. An important term in these works is “revelation,” which at times presupposes preexistence. The “servant” has preexistence with God in 4 Esdr. 7:28; 13:26, and the Messiah is kept with God in 12:32. Since the focus is on God’s acts, the national redeemer and heavenly liberator are fundamentally the same.5

Finally, before going through the wonderful prophecies of Isaiah categorically, showing how the ancient seer foretold the coming age of Christendom in detail, we need to establish authorship. The main objection is always the same. Pseudo-scholars pretend that there were many different hands which authored the book (I get tired of having to mention the same silly rebuttals over and over again, but bad ideas die hard). This is not in keeping with what can be easily uncovered about the book. There was one author. There was one, historic Isaiah…

Traditionally the authorship of the book has been unanimously attributed to Isaiah the prophet. In the late eighteenth century, liberal critics began to deny the unity of Isaiah; they argued that chapters 40-66 were written 150 years later by an unnamed prophet who lived in Babylon during the Exile. This was known as “Second Isaiah.” In a later development, liberals argued that chapters 56-66 were written by still another individual, establishing the theory of “Trito-Isaiah”…

The unity of Isaiah has been well established (cp. Gleason Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction; O. T. Allis, The Unity of Isaiah; E. J. Young, Who Wrote Isaiah?). The following is evidence of the unity of Isaiah:

1. The language is similar throughout both chapters 1-39 and 40-66. The term “the Holy One of Israel” is found twelve times in chapters 1-39 and fourteen times in chapters 40-66. Forty or fifty sentences or phrases appear in both parts of the book (Archer, A Survey of O. T. Introduction, pp. 332-334).

2. Both parts of Isaiah reflect the same sins and evil. Both sections mention falsehood (10:1; 59:4-9), bloodshed and violence (1:15; 59:3, 7), hypocrisy (29:13; 58:2, 4), and idolatry (1:29; 57:5).

3. The New Testament quotes Isaiah in a way that suggests both sections were written by Isaiah. John 12:38-40 quotes from 53:1 and 6:9 under the words, “The word of Isaiah the prophet.” In Romans 9:27-33 Paul quotes from Isaiah 10:22-23 and 1:9. In Romans 10:16-21 Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1 and 65:1 under the introduction “Isaiah says.”

4. The writer had a knowledge of Palestine, mentioning Palestinian trees (44:14; 41:19); yet he showed a lack of knowledge of the land and religion of Babylon.

5. The walls of Jerusalem are still standing (62:6) and the Judean cities are in existence (40:9; 43:6; 48:1-5), indicating this was prior to Nebuchadnezzar’s invasions which began in 605 B.C.6

Let’s now review the entirety of the life and times of the Messiah as foretold by Isaiah 40-66. I think it would be meaningful if you try to make a mental note of chapter and verse as you go through the following categories. I chose to focus on 40-66 instead of the whole book, for I thought the concentration of information was greatest here (although obviously there are many meaningful quotes from the other section). Yet in dividing up the booklet into subsections, often I cut off a quote and then picked it up under a latter heading. Whether you make notes or not, don’t miss the significance that all these statements are clumped together conspicuously in the midst of the great big—and sometimes boring—Old Testament.

For a bit of fun I’ve entitled this work Dear Rodrigo Duterte, for the loud-mouth Philippine dictator recently ranted against God and then dared anyone to show him proof of theism. In reality, I don’t care about petty thuggery. If this created order will not convince a hardened criminal, then my pathetic scribblings surely will not. I hope whoever reads this is edified by the Word of God, and I thank those anonymous readers from faraway places for their time [and yeah, the Brazilian football team was robbed through the failure of FIFA to come up with a fair, consistent draw system that is able to maintain evenness after the group stage.]

II. Isaiah’s Predictions

A. John the Baptist

The New Testament era began when John the Baptist started preaching in the wilderness (cf. Mark 1:1-8)…

1) A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see [it] together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” -- Isaiah 40:3-5

Not only did Isaiah foretell a desert preacher, but he insisted that the coming prophet would herald the arrival of Jehovah in physical form.

Moreover, John preached a message of repentance (Mark 1:4), which is what the above quote from Isaiah was really all about. This becomes clearer when the prophet picks up the same theme later in his book…

2) And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove [every] obstacle out of the way of My people.” For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell [on] a high and holy place, and [also] with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” -- Isaiah 57:14-15

B. Messiah, a Servant with the Holy Spirit

In the midst of the ministry of John, the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and received the Holy Spirit for Messianic ministration (Mark 1:9-13)…

1) Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one [in whom] My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations [Or Gentiles]. He will not cry out or raise [His voice,] nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law [Or instruction]. -- Isaiah 42:1-4

We will dedicate a whole category to Isaiah’s prophecies regarding gentile involvement in the Messiah. Obviously however there will be many overlaps between categories, and in the above quote “the coastlands/isles” signify the outer reaches of the Mediterranean world and beyond.

Also, his eventually being “disheartened” and “crushed” hints at his suffering, banishment, and death.

Moving on…

2) Come near to Me, listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit. -- Isaiah 48:16

What could this wonderful quote mean except that the Messiah is divine? He pre-existed, and yet would one day be sent from God (the Father) along with the Holy Spirit. This is a key passage to demonstrate the Trinity in the Old Testament.

3) All your sons will be taught [Or disciples] of the LORD; and the well-being of your sons will be great. -- Isaiah 54:13

The Lord Jesus Christ quoted this Scripture directly in relation to the Holy Spirit and his ministry…

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop grumbling with one another. No one is able to come to Me unless the Father having sent Me draws [or, drags] him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It has been written in the prophets, “And they will all be taught of God.” [Isaiah 54:13, LXX] Therefore, every[one] hearing from the Father and having learned comes to Me. -- John 6:43-45


4) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted [Or humble]; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners [Lit opening to those who are bound]… -- Isaiah 61:1 [I don’t know why the NASB doesn’t capitalize pronouns here; that’s why I think the whole practice is useless]

Again, the Lord Jesus Christ directly referred to this Scripture while preaching in a synagogue (Luke 4:16-21).

C. Messiah the Progenitor

Not only did Jesus Christ come to be a lowly servant, but he also retained his divine nature. Isaiah prophesied that Jehovah would come in physical form, and that he would be a shepherd…

1) Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry [them] in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing [ewes.] -- Isaiah 40:10-11

The Lord Jesus famously said…

I am the good shepherd! The good shepherd lays down His life on behalf of the sheep. But the hired worker, not being also a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, watches the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf seizes them and scatters the sheep. Now the hired worker flees because he is a hired worker and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My [own], and I am known by My [own]. -- John 10:11-14

Also, note that I highlighted the term “arm” above. Isaiah constantly refers to the Messiah as the Arm of Jehovah. A person’s strength for service lies in his or her arm, thus the Lord Jesus Christ is the great power of God. You might say that he executes judgment with his left and executes redemption with his right.

2) Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over? -- Isaiah 51:9-10

Here Isaiah is referring to Israel crossing through the Red Sea (Sea of Suph) when God overthrew Egypt. This whole ordeal was guided by the Angel of Jehovah—the pre-incarnate Christ (see Exodus 14:13-24). Thus, the Arm of Jehovah delivered the people from Egypt. He overthrew the greatest of kingdoms in judgment while redeeming his people from slavery.

3) The exile [Lit one in chains] will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish [Lit plant] the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, “You are My people.” -- Isaiah 51:14-16

The most powerful work of the Messiah was his role in creation. Everything that exists was created through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3).

D. Sacrifice of the Messiah

The divine-servant came to be the perfect man, the perfect teacher, and also the sinless sacrifice for his people. God could never find worth in petty Temple offerings. He would have to take the matter into his own hands, as he intimated through Isaiah…

1) You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; rather you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. -- Isaiah 43:24-25

Israel was sinful, and yet God pledged to wipe out their transgressions. How would he accomplish this? Remarkably, he would use the very sinfulness of the nation’s leaders. In their rejection of the Messiah, salvation would become available to all (Romans 11:30-32)…

2) Hearken, O isles, unto me, and attend, O peoples, from afar, Jehovah from the womb hath called me, from the bowels of my mother He hath made mention of my name. And he maketh my mouth as a sharp sword, in the shadow of His hand He hath hid me, and He maketh me for a clear arrow, in His quiver He hath hid me. And He saith to me, My servant thou art, O Israel, in whom I beautify Myself. And I said, For a vain thing I laboured, for emptiness and vanity my power I consumed, but my judgment [is] with Jehovah, and my wage with my God. And now, said Jehovah, who is forming me from the belly for a servant to Him, to bring back Jacob unto Him, (though Israel is not gathered, yet I am honoured in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God hath been my strength.) And He saith, “It hath been a light thing that thou art to Me for a servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and the preserved of Israel to bring back, and I have given thee for a light of nations, to be My salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus said Jehovah, Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to the despised in soul, to the abominated of a nation, to the servant of rulers: Kings see, and have risen, princes, and worship, for the sake of Jehovah, who is faithful, the Holy of Israel, and He chooseth thee. -- Isaiah 49:1-7 [Young’s Literal Translation]

There is a lot going on in this quote. We have the rejection of the Messiah. He is “the abominated of a nation.” Although he was their Saviour, yet “Israel is not gathered” [this is what the Hebrew text actually says, although many translations (including the NASB) go with a variant]. We also have mention of salvation blazing forth to the gentiles.

Yet, if this is referring to the ministry of the Messiah, then why is he called “Israel?” The servant motif in Isaiah floats back and forth between corporate Israel and her singular Messiah. Here the Messiah is called by the name of his people. This occurs again in Isaiah 44:5, where Israel is said to be a witness of God, with an engraving on his hand. In fact, the wounds on the Saviour’s hands are mentioned again in the next quote…

3) Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms [of My hands;] your walls are continually before Me. -- Isaiah 49:15-16

It all fits, although it does require a bit of thought. The next three quotes are much plainer. They clearly call for a Messiah who would be brutally treated…

4) The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens [Me] morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not disobedient nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike [Me,] and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He who vindicates Me is near; who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them. Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. -- Isaiah 50:4-10

Here the servant of Jehovah is described in detail. Isaiah prophesies that he will have a special way with words. Jesus Christ was not only a successful preacher, but even his enemies testified that “never in such a manner spoke a person like this Person” (John 7:46).

Although he was such a skilled, comforting speaker, bringing hope to tax-collectors (i.e., fancy thieves) and prostitutes, horrible trials were slated to come his way. Isaiah says that he would encounter “humiliation” and “spitting.” People would “strike” him, and even “pluck out” his beard.

Both points are significant, for the most vital aspect of the Messianic expectation among the Jews was freedom from Rome via warfare. Yet, what of this prophecy regarding a comforting preacher who would be brutally received? We’ll speak more about this dichotomy later.

For now, let’s relish the two most awe-inspiring quotes about the suffering Messiah…

5) Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted [Or very high]. Just as many were astonished at you…so His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand. -- Isaiah 52:13-15

This famous quote describes the Messiah being mutilated beyond description. Realistically, few deaths could have accomplished this. The vast majority of people die without such gruesome damage to their visage. Isaiah foresaw something as revolting as Roman scourging. Also, he said that many nations would be “sprinkled” clean through this action [by the way, “sprinkled” is the correct translation, no matter how many cynical versions mutilate the text]. Thus, we have the salvation of the gentiles coming into play again.

The last quote is the famous Isaiah 53. The following reading of it is interspersed with commentary by Ed Hindson…


In the prophecies of Isaiah the Servant of the Lord represents both all Israel, as well as an individual Messiah who ministers to Israel and who atones for the sins of the Gentiles. In this passage we see the personal Messiah who alone can atone for sin.7


7) Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot [Lit suckling], and like a root out of parched ground; He has no [stately] form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to [Lit desire] Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows [Or pains] and acquainted with grief [Or sickness]; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs [Or sickness] He Himself bore, and our sorrows [Or pains] He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through [Or wounded] for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being [Or peace] [fell] upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. -- Isaiah 53:1-5


…The vicarious atonement of Christ is clearly taught in this passage. A secondary reference to the actual suffering involved in the crucifixion may be found, but the major emphasis of this statement is toward the substitutionary nature of His death for our sins. In light of the severe language…used in this passage, it is obvious that the wrath of God for all sin for all time was poured out upon Christ who “became sin for us” (II Cor 5:21).7


All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him [Lit encounter Him]. -- Isaiah 53:6


…Since sheep are especially prone to wander off with little or no sense of direction and cannot find their own way home, they serve as a perfect illustration of lost and sinful humanity which, in and of itself, cannot come to the Saviour without divine assistance. Therefore, in the New Testament Christ is pictured as the seeking Shepherd who deliberately goes searching for the lost sheep...7


He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke [was due?] His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting [Him] to grief [Lit He made Him sick]; if He [Lit His soul] would render Himself [as] a guilt offering, He will see [His] offspring [Lit seed], He will prolong [His] days, and the good pleasure of [Or will of] the LORD will prosper in His hand. -- Isaiah 53:7-10


…Some have questioned why God would be pleased to allow the crucifixion of His own Son. However, this statement must be seen in light of the ultimate purpose of the Crucifixion, which is the salvation of his seed (see Mt 5:9; i.e., those who would come to believe in Him would thus become the “children of God”). Since Christ had no physical lineage of His own, His seed must be viewed (in the spiritual sense) as those who have been born of God as a result of His atonement.7


As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see [it and] be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself [Lit His soul] to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors. -- Isaiah 53:11-12


...The meaning of the text would seem to be that He shares the spoil of His victory on the same level and in the same manner as any other great conqueror. This is not to imply that Christ is merely on the level of a human king; rather it emphasizes the victorious nature of His atonement as a conquest of sinners for whom He died.7

In summary, the language that is used couldn’t be more vivid. Clearly Isaiah foresaw in detail the suffering, death, and resurrection of the future Messiah. The nation would turn on this leader and cause him to endure physical agony. Out of this agony he would give birth to a new covenant and a new nation [although it’s important to realize that God will revisit Israel in mercy].

Let’s move on to these wonderful themes of newness.

E. New Covenant

The most famous prophecy regarding a “new covenant” came through Jeremiah (who ministered tight on the heels of Isaiah). In Jeremiah 31:31-34 God relates the details of this fresh pact, where Jehovah will no longer cast off his people for disobedience, but will rather “forgive their iniquity” and “their sin…remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). This builds on an earlier promise from Jeremiah, where God relates that righteousness would come through the Messianic king (see Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Some of the following references directly mention a new covenant, while others state promises that can best be seen as lining up under the beforementioned description of it.

1) I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison. I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. -- Isaiah 42:6-8

At this point in chapter 42 (which was featured earlier to highlight the servant receiving the Holy Spirit) the Messiah is being addressed. He will enact a new covenant, and every nation will be offered a place within it. Also, there is the intriguing detail that God says he will “not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” That seems to imply that this Messiah will be the physical form of Jehovah.

2) I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist [Or cloud]. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. -- Isaiah 44:22

3) Israel has been saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity. -- Isaiah 45:17

4) They will say of Me, “Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.” Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory. -- Isaiah 45:24-25

Here in three successive quotes which follow hard upon one another in the text God gives extraordinary promises to his people. He will “wipe out” their “transgression.” He will save them with “an everlasting salvation.” Finally, through Jehovah’s activity alone a once-hostile-people will “be justified.” This is all very, very different from the covenant relayed at Sinai.

5) Thus says the LORD, “In a favorable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You; and I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore [Lit establish] the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages; saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ Along the roads they will feed, and their pasture [will be] on all bare heights. They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; for He who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.” -- Isaiah 49:8-10

This is as rich as it gets. First, the Messiah is receiving comfort from God, confirming his relationship with the Father and portending his sufferings. Then it is declared that through obedience to his plight he will be made “a covenant of the people.” The rest of the passage takes on eschatological connotations, as the prophecy seems to suggest that the earth will one day become extremely humid and unstable. These things are relayed throughout the predictive Word of God, but I don’t really want to venture too far down such paths in this writing.

Suffice it to say that the judgments in Revelation line up to the notions of heat and an earth which will be violently shaken (through earthquakes and comets/asteroids). That great book of future cataclysms also contains this promise regarding the people of Jesus Christ…

They will not hunger [any] longer, nor by any means will they thirst [any] longer, nor will the sun fall [fig., beat down] on them, nor any heat. Because the Lamb, the [One] in [the] center of the throne, shepherds them. And He leads them to living fountains of waters [or, springs of waters of life], and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. -- Revelation 7:16-17

Moving on:

6) “In an outburst of [Lit overflowing] anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. “For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood [Lit cross over] the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor will I rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the LORD who has compassion on you. -- Isaiah 54:8-10

Again, we are starting to dabble in the apocalypse. Yet clearly the promise of unconditional lovingkindness speaks of the new covenant as well. If sins are forgiven, then they are no longer judged forensically. We must be obedient to God for the sake of rewards or rebuke—but as children, and not as servants who may be fired. Having received eternal forgiveness through the Saviour’s righteousness and atonement, we have been given assurance that the wrath of God will not ultimately consume us, just as the waters of Noah will never again flood the earth.

7) Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you [Lit your soul] may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [according to] the faithful mercies shown to David [Lit of David]. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. -- Isaiah 55:3-4

David received a covenant from God, and it wasn’t revoked, even after the patriarch committed adultery and murder. He was strongly rebuked and chastised for his misdeeds, yet his kingdom was not taken away. Even so, the new covenant places a believer safely on redemption-ground. This covenant has come through the Davidic Messiah, the “faithful witness” (Revelation 1:5).

8) Lo, My servants sing from joy of heart, and ye cry from pain of heart, and from breaking of spirit ye do howl. And ye have left your name for an oath for My chosen ones, and the Lord Jehovah hath put thee to death, and to His servants He giveth another name. -- Isaiah 65:14-15 [Young’s Literal Translation]

Here it is even stated that the people of God will be given a new name. Obviously Isaiah had never heard the term “Christian” before. Again, we can’t be carried away into anti-Semitism however. God has great things in store for the Jewish people (see Jeremiah 33; Romans 11). Besides, Isaiah isn’t talking about “the Jews,” for he himself was Jewish (as was the Messiah and the apostles). What he is talking about rather is the corrupt, politicized, godless “leadership.” In today’s terms, it would be Christian “priests” and “reverends” who would fall under Isaiah’s axe. “Jew” shouldn’t be a by-word, but rather a term of respect and honour. “Pharisee” and “Sadducee” have come to be reasonable by-words though.

F. Gospel Proclamation

We have seen that the Messiah was heralded by a forerunner. Then we saw how this Christ would be a mighty, godlike figure on the one hand, and a humble, afflicted, lowly servant on the other. We have witnessed prophecies concerning his preaching ministry and his death/resurrection. Now we are fully into the Christian era, where peace with God is offered to everyone through the message of the Gospel…

1) Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift [it] up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” -- Isaiah 40:9

“Gospel” means “good news.” And note where this passage is located. It comes right after the foretelling of John the Baptist. Thus, John spoke of the coming of the theanthropic Messiah, and other messengers would spread the tidings that he indeed had come.

2) Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear [allegiance.] -- Isaiah 45:22-23

This is something straight out of a Gospel tract. The idea of “being saved” isn’t something that was dreamed up in the South over a batch of moonshine. It comes from the book of Isaiah. Also, we are beginning to see the end game. Either you may willingly embrace Christ now and be saved, or unwittingly cower at his presence just before being condemned. There is no third avenue (cf. Philippians 2:9-10).

3) How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace [Or well-being] and brings good news of happiness [Lit good], who announces salvation, [and] says to Zion, “Your God reigns [Or is King]!” -- Isaiah 52:7

This is such a lucid prophecy of Christian evangelism that Paul quoted from it directly in Romans 10:13-15…

For every[one], “who himself shall call on the name of [the] LORD will be saved!” [Joel 2:32] How then will they call on [Him] in whom they did not believe? But how will they believe [on Him] of whom they did not hear? But how will they hear apart from one preaching? But how will they preach unless they be sent? Just as it has been written, “How beautiful [are] the feet of the ones proclaiming the Gospel of peace, of the ones proclaiming the Gospel of the good [things]!” [Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15]

Moving on…

4) Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. -- Isaiah 55:1-2

Here is a comforting exhortation. You don’t need any earthly commodity to be saved. You don’t need to pay off a priest or to go on pilgrimage or to offer some sort of costly sacrifice. All you need is faith in Christ. Whoever calls out to God—confessing their sins and the salvation which lies in the Lord Jesus alone—is redeemed, justified, and brought into the new covenant…

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Be coming!” And the one hearing, let him say, “Be coming!” And the one thirsting, let him come. The one desiring, let him take [the] water of life without cost. -- Revelation 22:17

Evangelism is thus commanded. Jesus Christ is the only real good news. If we know this, our love for others should compel us to be involved in Gospel ministry.

5) Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. -- Isaiah 55:6-7

This quote confirms what we’ve already discussed. Salvation comes through calling. It comes through repentance. It comes through the willing mercy of God.

6) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden [His] face [So versions; M.T. faces] from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness…Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them [Lit it] does not know peace. -- Isaiah 59:1-3, 7-8

This perhaps wasn’t the best way to conclude the section, but I’m trying to follow a sequential order within the categories. I included this quote because repentance from sin is half of the Gospel. It is vital not to miss that fact. You are being saved from sin, and not merely from an unhappy life or boredom. The most fruitful conversions come from those who first drink deeply from the depths of their depravity (Luke 7:47).

Also, this passage from Isaiah influenced Paul, as he draws from it during his great presentation of the Gospel in the letter to the Romans (see chapter 3). As we have already witnessed, such a harvesting of faraway places was also predicted by Isaiah. Let’s focus on this more now…

G. Salvation of Gentiles

One of the most surprising aspects of Isaiah’s prophecies is the sheer number of times he portends salvation approaching distant shores.

1) Sing to the LORD a new song, [sing] His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You islands, and those who dwell on them. Let the wilderness and its cities lift up [their voices,] the settlements where Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud, let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD and declare His praise in the coastlands. -- Isaiah 42:10-12

The mention of “sea” and “islands” along with the wilderness (to include Kedar and Sela) speaks of the West/seafarers and the East/desert-dwellers. Isaiah foresees great things among all peoples.

2) Pay attention to Me, O My people, and give ear to Me, O My nation; for a law will go forth from Me, and I will set [Lit cause to rest] My justice for a light of the peoples. My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait for Me, and for My arm they will wait expectantly. Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner [Or like gnats]; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane [Lit be broken]. -- Isaiah 51:4-6

The words of Moses had a slight influence among the gentiles. The advent of the Messiah however would be the event which would lead them to the God of Israel en masse. Also it’s worth highlighting that Isaiah states the gentiles will “wait expectantly” for the Messiah. This is different from a popular rabbinical concept that the gentiles will stream to the Messiah only after he arrives for the Messianic Age. Isaiah clearly states that they will hope in him before he arrives to set up his Kingdom.

3) The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see [Lit will see] the salvation of our God. -- Isaiah 52:10

I hope you’ve been convinced by now that “arm” is synonymous with “Messiah” in Isaiah. If not, consider one more fact. In Romans 15:12 Paul combines a quote from Isaiah 11 regarding the Messiah along with the passage from Isaiah 51:4-6 above (which contains an arm reference), pointing out that this all refers to Jesus Christ…

And again, Isaiah says, “[There] will be the root [or, shoot; fig., descendent] of Jesse, and the One rising up to rule Gentiles [or, nations], Gentiles will hope on [or, trust in] Him.”


4) Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, and a nation which knows you not will run to you, because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you. -- Isaiah 55:5

This is very explicit language. The Messiah would call and redeem a people which previously had nothing to do with him.

5) A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; they will go up with acceptance on My altar, and I shall glorify [Or beautify] My glorious [Or beautiful] house. -- Isaiah 60:6-7

Surely a lot of this language will find its ultimate fulfilment in the Messianic Age. The acceptance of the Gospel now is a foretaste of the revival that will take place in the tribulation period before that Second Advent.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that “gold” and “frankincense” is said to be brought from the East, which of course happened at the birth of the Lord in Bethlehem.

6) I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask [for Me;] I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, “Here am I, here am I,” to a nation which did not call on My name. I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk [in] the way which is not good, following their own thoughts… -- Isaiah 65:1-2

This passage is slightly complex. The simplest explanation is that the Christ would indeed be embraced by those who previously were not expecting him, while the people of Israel would not hearken. This interpretation is confirmed in the New Testament…

So Isaiah is very bold [or, speaks out fearlessly] and says, “I was found by the ones not seeking Me; I became known [or, clearly evident] to the ones not inquiring after [or, desiring to know] Me.” [Isaiah 65:1] But to Israel He says, “The whole day I stretched out My hands to a people refusing to believe…” [Isaiah 65:2, LXX] I say then, God did not push away [fig., reject] His people, did He? Absolutely not! For I also am an Israelite, of [the] seed of Abraham, of [the] tribe of Benjamin. -- Romans 10:20-11:1

H. Waiting for the Parousia

As we mentioned above, it is written that the nations would wait for the Lord. Eschatology regarding the hope of the Messiah’s return has two effects. Firstly, it gives motivation to believers…

1) Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up [with] wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. -- Isaiah 40:30-31

Secondly, it provides much needed objectivity. How can we be sure that one holy book is better than another, or that there is any way of uncovering ultimate truth? Prophecy alone has the power to provide such a convincing bang…

2) “Present [Lit Bring near] your case,” the LORD says. “Bring forward your strong [arguments,]” the King of Jacob says. Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; as for the former [events,] declare what they [were,] that we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; declare the things that are going to come afterward, that we may know that you are gods; indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. -- Isaiah 41:21-23

3) Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. -- Isaiah 44:6-7

4) I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead bronze, therefore I declared [them] to you long ago, before they [Lit it] took place I proclaimed [them] to you, so that you would not say, “My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.” You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now and not long ago; and before today you have not heard them, so that you will not say, “Behold, I knew them.” -- Isaiah 48:3-7

On a postscript, you’ve noted above how God refers to himself as the first and the last when speaking of prophecy. It’s fascinating that this is an appellation given to the Lord Jesus Christ before fully enfolding the weightiest prophetic work in the history of thought itself…

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