6.34 Isaiah -- Prophet of Judgment and Redemption
Up to this point, we have "dabbled" in the prophets, we have reviewed some small books, many with important racial teachings. But Isaiah is in a whole different league. More than any other prophet, he defines the prophetic tradition, not just because of the length of his book, or the extent of time that it covers, but also because of the content of his declarations. Isaiah adds significantly to the Jewish revelation, to the orthodox historic faith.
Contemporary Judaism was comprised of the following themes: patriarchal foundations, the central event of the Exodus, the Law of Moses as the nation's constitution, conquest of the land, the United Kingdom of David, the role of the Temple, priests and sacrifices. But all of this was imperiled by the current political-military threats of invasion by greater powers from the East. Never since Egypt had there been such a crisis in Israel's history...and never before had God sent a prophet with a message like Isaiah's. The foundations of the nation were shaking, the roof was falling in, but God was still in the house, He was still directing her history. And Isaiah's message, while rooted in the current chaos, was not limited to it. He opened up to his hearers an entirely different dimension of God's agenda, something that reached far beyond their lives. For the divine plan that Isaiah foresaw would touch not only future generations of Jews, but reach beyond racial barriers to the entire world. This was not just "good news" to the Gentiles, it was a double-edged message. For as the Jews themselves were undergoing the experience of God's judgment, so the Gentiles too would suffer it. But later, "in that day," when God intervened in history to save His righteous remnant, some of the Gentiles too would share in the restoration. Then would the promise to Abraham be fulfilled -- he would become the "father of many nations" (Gen 17:5).