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Archive for July 6th, 2013

Isaiah’s ministry extended for at least 60 years (740-681). He began during the reign of Uzziah (785-733).  This was “the Silver Age of Israelite History” when both Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel reached the summit of their  material power, the height of their economic prosperity and the pinnacle of their territorial expansion, comparable only to the ear of David and Solomon, Israel’s “Golden Age.”  Uzziah died in 740 (6:1).  Then Isaiah interacted with the following kings; Jotham (750-731), Ahaz (735-715) and Hezekiah (714-695).  In all likelihood Isaiah lived through the reign of Manasseh (696-642).  Isaiah recorded Sennacherib’s death (Isa. 37:38) in 681 so his court life and prophetic ministry extended about sixty years.  These Assyrian kings during this time are Tiglath-pileser III (745-727), Shalmaneser V (727-722), Sargon II (722-705) and Sennacherib (705-681).  (from a notes by Dr. Reed Lessing, Professor of the Old Testament, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, for his commentary on Isaiah)

Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6), his endless reign (2:1-5; 11:1-16), and his public ministry (61:1-3), but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death (52:13-53:12).

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him (John 12:41), is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

Reflection:  The fact that Isaiah’s name means “The Lord saves”, Isaiah knew that Isaiah did not save but Isaiah needed His saving! Isaiah knew the day would come in which both Jew and Gentile would be saved in the perfect Son born of the Virgin.  As we read below, God’s Word alone cauterizes the wounds of sin by His Law, to heal us by His Son. From Isaiah chapter 6:  The Narrative of Isaiah’s Call:

 

1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

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