Isaiah's Gospel

Isaiah was an Old Testament prophet whose commitment to the Lord can be summarized in three words: "Here am I!"  He spoke these words after he had a vision of the glory of God in the temple in Jerusalem.  At that time he acknowledged his sinfulness, received cleansing, and surrendered his life to the Lord.

He continually expressed a deep awareness of God's majesty and holiness.  Throughout the book of Isaiah he speaks of the Lord as "the holy One of Israel," an expression he uses 28 times.  The same phrase is found only 6 times in the rest of the entire Bible.

Isaiah, whose name means "the Lord saves," lived and ministered in Jerusalem.  He prophesied during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  He had easy access to the kings, and served as God's voice to Judah and surrounding Gentile nations.

This prophet, who ministered to kings and nations and extolled the holiness of God, may be accurately called "the evangelical prophet."  He foretold the gospel message recorded for us in the New Testament.  But he preached the good news of Christ about 700 years before the Savior was born.  His prophetic word became historical truth.  Consider the gospel according to Isaiah.

 

The Birth of Christ

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14.  Today we recognize both the virgin and the Son as Mary and Jesus.  Yes, the Lord Jesus was born of a virgin.  The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded for us in Matthew 1:18-25.  The announcement of the birth of Christ is also found in Luke 1:26-38.

Isaiah also prophesied that the Child born would be a King.  "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom...."  Isaiah 9:6, 7.  The virgin Mary was told by the angel Gabriel, "...the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."  Luke 1:32, 33.  According to Matthew 2:2 Jesus was "born King of the Jews."

 

The Public Ministry of Christ

Matthew saw the ministry of John the Baptist as a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3.  "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!'  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.'"  John was the voice that preceded the public appearance and ministry of the Lord.

Jesus recognized the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1, 2 in Himself, when He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."  Luke 4:18, 19.  Luke identified this Scripture passage as being from "the book of Isaiah."  Luke 4:17.  Clearly, Jesus ministered to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed.  He did all of these things under the power of the Spirit of God.

"He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."  John 1:11.  The apostle John wrote concerning the Jews, "Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts....'"  John 12:39, 40.  Isaiah foretold Israel's rejection of their Messiah.  The crucifixion displayed their ultimate rejection of Christ.  There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Isaiah also prophesied that Jesus was to be a light to the heathen Gentiles in Galilee.  "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined."  Isaiah 9:2.  Jesus was the "great light," the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophetic word.  Matthew refers to this in Matthew 4:12-17.

 

The Death, Burial,
and Resurrection of Christ

In Isaiah 44:6 the prophet writes, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God."  It is interesting that this Redeemer is "the Lord (Jehovah) of hosts."  Who could that be?  He is the One who said, "I am the First and I am the Last."  Three times in the book of Revelation Jesus identified Himself as the First and the Last.  Revelation 1:8, 17; 22:13.

What did Jesus, our Redeemer, do?  Isaiah tells us in no uncertain terms.  "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by 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 by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."  Isaiah 53:4-6.

Matthew recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of these verses in Matthew 8:16, 17.  "When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed.  And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."  This is a reference to Isaiah 53.  The apostle Peter alludes to Isaiah's prophecy and Jesus, when he writes, "by whose stripes you were healed."  1 Peter 2:24.  Isaiah 53 is clearly about Jesus, our Redeemer, who died for our sins.

Isaiah also predicted that Jesus would be buried "with the rich in His death."  He was buried in the new tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea.  Matthew 27:57-60.

1 Corinthians 15 has been called the resurrection chapter.  Because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead, and is a living Savior, our faith in Him is not in vain.  We have a living hope because of the resurrection of our Lord.  In Isaiah 25:8 we read, "He will swallow up death forever...."  The apostle Paul quotes that verse this way: "Death is swallowed up in victory."  1 Corinthians 15:54.  His victory over sin and the grave is our victory.

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.  The Scriptures were historically fulfilled in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ...just as the Scriptures predicted.

 

The Second Coming of Christ

Isaiah not only prophesied of the sufferings of Christ, but also of His second coming in glory.  In Isaiah 59:20 we read, "The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob."  The apostle Paul quotes this verse in Romans 11:26 as a promise of Christ's return.  Jesus Himself said, "I will come again."  John 14:3.  He is coming to receive His own.

Jesus will return to reign.  "Behold, a King will reign in righteousness...."  Isaiah 32:1.  This King is known as "the Branch."  "In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious...."  Isaiah 4:2.  When He comes, "He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."  Revelation 19:16.

Isaiah also predicted that He will return in judgment.  "For behold the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many."  Isaiah 66:15, 16.  In the New Testament we read, "...the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His presence."  2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9.

God has a word for you today.  "'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'"  Isaiah 1:18.  In the light of the gospel of Isaiah, how can anyone reasonably reject the message of the evangelical prophet?

You'll remember that Isaiah committed himself to the Lord, saying, "Here am I."  Pay attention as Isaiah has words of life and hope and assurance for you.  "Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer.  You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am!"  Isaiah 58:9.  When you acknowledge your sin, and commit your life to Him, saying, "Here am I," He will answer your prayer of repentance, forgive your sins, and say, "Here I am!"  Jesus will always be there for you.

 
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