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Archive for July 7th, 2021

Collect of the Day: Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Isaiah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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. 

Isaiah the prophet was born of the tribe of Judah, and for this reason he calls the Lord Jesus his cousin. His name means “the salvation of the Lord.” He wrote a marvelously beautiful account of the Savior of the world. Mary must have been reading the seventh chapter, on the virgin mother of Jesus, when the angel Gabriel came to her. The forty-third, fifty-third, and sixty-third chapters shine forth from this book like pure jewels. Jerome said, “To me, Isaiah seems to have composed not a prophecy, but a Gospel.” Augustine said, “He could better be called an evangelist than a prophet.” In his youth, Augustine asked the bishop Ambrose for advice on what book in the Bible to read first. Ambrose replied that he should begin with Isaiah, since Isaial,i would supersede all the others in his prophecies of Christ. It is a wondrous  miracle that he named Cyrus or Cores, the liberator of the Israelites, by name two hundred years in advance (44:28; 45:1). Josephus writes that because of this, Cyrus was kind to the Israelites. Manasseh is thought to have had Isaiah cut into two parts with a wooden saw. Chrysostom (Cone. 33. super Matthaeum) lists the trivial reasons for Isaiah’s death:

(1) He compared Jerusalem with Sodom and Gomorrah.

(2) He boasted of having seen God, contrary to Moses in Exodus 38.

(3) He said, “Call upon the Lord while He is near” (55:6); but God is near to all who call upon Him, etc. It happened to Isaiah according to the proverb: “If you beat the dog, you can expect to be bitten.”-Valerius Herberger

(The above 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.   When Isaiah saw the Lord “high and lifted up” in the Temple, he exclaimed:

And 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!”

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

God’s Word alone cauterizes and cleanses the original wounds of sin in Isaiah. Through Isaiah, the Lord said there would be the day when all would be cleansed of their moral filth:

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed. (Is. 53)

This was prophesied by Isaiah, in the power of Holy Spirit some 7centuries before Christ! The Apostle Peter knew this in Christ, quoting Isaiah 53): He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1Peter 2)

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