Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Isaiah

Isaiah son of Amoz, was a prophet of God to the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. He was also the author of the book of Isaiah and is considered one of the major prophets.  He was married and had at least two sons.  Jewish tradition says that he was beheaded by Manasseh but there's no evidence of this.  He was a contemporary of the prophets Micah,
The book of Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible for it's beautiful prophetic poetry.  My Bible dictionary says that it is quoted more than any other writer in the New Testament and was used by Jesus at the start of his ministry.  A good chunk of the text from Handel's Messiah comes from Isaiah as well. 
Notable parts of the book of Isaiah include:
Chapter 6 - Isaiah's vision of heaven (Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty...)
Chapter 9 - For unto us a child is born....
Chapter 12 - "The First Song of Isaiah" (Surely God is my salvation...)
Chapter 40 Comfort, comfort my people....
Chapter 52-53 - The Suffering Servant (He was pierced for our transgressions...)
Chapter 55 - Invitation to the thirsty (Come all you who are thirsty)
One of the most controversial prophecies in the Bible also comes from Isaiah.  The book Isaiah was written before Judah went into exile and the book does predict the exile and also the return.  Cyrus is mentioned by name in 3 verses as the one who will let Judah return from exile and also rebuild Jerusalem (44:28, 45:1, 13).  Keep in mind that the events predicted are over a century in the future and that Cyrus is a Persian and the Persian empire doesn't even exist.  The specific nature of this prophecy causes many scholars who do not like the Bible to try to discredit the book of Isaiah. 
To conclude today, I want to leave you with a wonderful version of "The First Song of Isaiah" that has become one of my favorite hymns.

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