Some of the best-known prophecies, and most glorious promises of G-d in the Bible, are found within the prophecy of Isaiah. The name ‘Isaiah’ means ‘G-d of salvation’ or ‘G-d who saves’. However, much of this prophecy is centred around the judgment of G-d. It is important to note that salvation and judgment are not unrelated. It is only through judgment that salvation can be manifested. When G-d pours out His wrath upon this world, we are told in Rev 19:1-7, there is going to be rejoicing in heaven as it is G-d’s judgment that is going to give birth to the Kingdom of G-d.
We begin Isaiah by looking at the background/historical context alluded to in Isaiah 1:1.
- The vision: Isaiah does not start off this prophecy as so many of the prophets did. He does not call it a ‘burden’ or a ‘word from the L-rd’ but instead refers to it as a ‘vision’. Over a long period of time, Isaiah, much like John in the book of Revelation, encountered visions from the L-rd.
- Judah: Referring to the Southern Kingdom, which was made up predominantly of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings 11:30-39, 1 Kings 12:17-24)
- Jerusalem: The capital of the Southern Kingdom. It was the place where G-d had caused His Name to dwell, and where He (despite being omnipresent) manifested Himself in a unique way.
- Uzziah: Also called Azariah (2 Kings 15:1-7). He reigned for 52 years.
- Jotham: Uzziah’s son (2 Kings 15:32-38). He reigned for 16 years.
- Ahaz: Jotham’s son (2 Kings 16). He reigned for 16 years.
- Hezekiah: Ahaz’s son (2 Kings 18-20). He reigned for 29 years.
- Kings of Judah: In a unique way, this verse places emphasis on Judah, the Southern Kingdom (repetition shows emphasis – Judah and Jerusalem are mentioned three times in this one verse)
Note: Many scholars estimate that Isaiah received this prophecy over a period of approximately 60 to 65 years. Rabbinical scholars say that it was even longer than this. The fact that Isaiah was a prophet for this length of time would have given him a degree of power, respect and influence over the people in his day.