Saturday, April 16, 2011

10 things to remember when reading the book of isaiah

this is part 3 of a series on the book of isaiah.  if you missed the first two parts of my three part series on a beginner's guide to understanding the book of isaiah i recommend you read them first.  you can find them here: part 1 and  part 2

isaiah is such a rich book and such a big book that it can be rather intimidating to dive on in to read all the way through or to dig deep in to study.  however, it does not have to be so intimidating!  there is so much we can receive in revelation about the nature of God, the Messiah (who we know to be Jesus), and His coming return that it is so worth knowing this prophetic book.

i thought i would compile for you my top 10 things to remember when you are studying the book of isaiah.  i am sure there are many more than just 10 things that i could list here, but for the sake of not writing a novel (like part 2 almost was!), we will stick with 10 for now.  i would love to hear any additions you may have for the list in the comment section below.  we all learn from each other and encourage each other in our pursuit of knowing the Lord, so please feel free to share!

1. do not substitute in "the church" when it says israel, zion, or judah.  it is a prophesy to judah, zion, and israel.

2. it is not a book of arbitrary promises to name and claim.  it is the oracle directly from the Lord and if the positive words will come to pass, the negative words will as well. it was never meant to be divided - as a whole it is such a beautiful story of redemption.

3. read it literally, it is not symbolic or a parable unless it plainly says it is.

4. there is so much promise for the gentiles (us!!! unless i have a few jewish readers) in this book!  the idea of including the gentiles didn't start with the apostle peter's vision, but was in the heart of God from the very beginning!

5. read it to gain a revelation of the nature of God.  isaiah was the prophet who wrote most about the holiness of God.  his favorite title of God was the Holy One of israel.

6. revelation of Jesus as the Sovereign King, the Suffering Servant, and the Anointed Conqueror.

7. most of the prophesies of isaiah have not been fulfilled yet.  so much of this book is about the last days and the literal reign of the messiah on the earth.  when it says "never again" or "forever" it isn't something that will happen before He returns.  the point of this book is the hope of the messianic reign from zion.  these are not prophesies that the church can somehow accomplish without Him.  the point is He is our Immanuel.  He will be with us forever and the contrast between the fallen rule of man now and Jesus' perfect rule on the earth then is the beauty of this book.

8. don't err in grasping one part of the nature of Jesus without the whole.  the jews waited for the Sovereign King and didn't realize He was also the Suffering Servant.  we often times as gentile believers grasp the Suffering Servant but sometimes miss that He is also the Sovereign King (literally) and the Anointed Conqueror when He returns.  we will never grasp the beauty of this book, nor the gospel, when we only embrace part of who He is.

9.  God is both the Judge who wounds and the Healer who mends.  it is extremely clear in even a short study of the book of isaiah that the Lord claims full credit for both calamity and the restoration and rebuilding.  the book of isaiah explains that all temporal judgments are meant for one thing alone - to turn the hearts of man back to their Maker.  if this is offensive, (which believe me, it has been to me often) it is consistent in Scripture and please search it out for yourself.  God does not change.  Jesus is the full revelation of the Father and the book of isaiah speaks of Jesus - this is who He is and we  have only seen Him in part in His first coming.  He will come again and all the words of prophecy in the Bible will be fulfilled.   

10. the book of isaiah is an endless source of revelation, encouragement, and direction for prayer and preparation for what is coming.  we could spend our whole lives studying this book, so do not lose heart if you don't "get it" all on your first reading.  read it again and again.  read it in context.  use a commentary to dig deeper.  pray about it.  ask the Holy Spirit to give you a revelation of Jesus while reading even the parts that seem offensive.  rejoice in the redemption of the jews and the inclusion of the gentiles!  anchor your hope in His coming and perfect leadership and the restoration of all things.  devote yourself for the rest of your days to learn who the Holy One of Israel is - the Immanuel who took on flesh to abide with us and reconcile us to Him that He may come back and live with us forever. (i am getting excited already!)

what 1 thing would you add to this list that we should remember when studying the book of isaiah?  

what is one thing on this list that may help the next time you read isaiah?

read isaiah!  it is worth it!



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