Today we continue our six-becoming-seven year series on the books of the Bible, overviewing one book of the Bible every month. We started in January 2013 and have worked our way through
The history books
The wisdom literature
Today we start the major prophets (major because they wrote more not because they are more important)
Today – Isaiah! イザヤ書
Isaiah lived and wrote around 700BC, a stormy political period with the rise of the Assyrian empire and the demise of Israel.
Isaiah wrote about hefty themes: God’s judgement and salvation; punishment and redemption; the fall of Jerusalem and ultimate salvation in Christ.
As such, Isaiah is a highly prophetic book and today we will look at three of the major prophecies that Isaiah gave.
Before we do, I would like to look at and share with you Isaiah’s calling.
Isaiah’s vision of heaven: (Isaiah 6)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Following this vision, the Lord Himself speaks to Isaiah
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And for Isaiah’s response to God, let’s have a quiz:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” 「わたしはだれをつかわそうか。だれがわれわれのために行くだろうか」。
a) No chance. I’m out of here. とんでもない。私には関係ない。
b) What, exactly, are the terms and conditions of the job? その仕事の条件はいったい何ですか？
c) Surely Lord, there is someone more suitable for this. 主よ、もっとふさわしい人がいるでしょう
d) Here am I. Send me! ここに私がおります。私を遣わしてください。
The answer is d). Unlike Moses, who gave numerous excuses to avoid his calling, or Jonah, who jumped on a boat and ran away, Isaiah never finched. He received the call and he said, “Here I am. Send me.” 「ここにわたしがおります。わたしをおつかわしください」。
I wanted to share this with you because for many years, I was like Moses (in terms of hesitation in responding to God’s call). Over the years, I felt God calling me to pastoral work and a number of respected leaders encouraged me in this. But I was very comfortable in a supporting role in church and wasn’t that good enough? But about 10 years ago, I got a fresh calling and the response of Isaiah to God was like a loud bell ringing in my heart. And so I responded as Isaiah did, and so I consider Isaiah to be something of a mentor.
What about you? What’s your call? あなたはどうですか？ あなたの神からの召しは何ですか？
Now, let’s look at these three (of many) major prophecies
The nature of prophecy is rarely telling the future. It’s better defined as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind”. (Grudem)
Having said that, Isaiah frequently prophesied future events. He prophesies the extraordinary conception and identity of the Christ-child, a prophecy that we read and re-read every Advent:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
It was Isaiah who saw this. He saw that the Christ-child would be born of a virgin – an extraordinary prophecy – and be from the line of David.
And it was Isaiah who saw what kind of Messiah he would be: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 霊妙なる議士、大能の神、とこしえの父、平和の君
These four names are huge. Each name consists of two elements and as such were not like normal OT personal names. Each name points to a particular function as well as identity as to who the Christ would be.
Wonderful Counselor: a king who carries out a marvellous program of action
Mighty God: Divine, powerful warrior
Everlasting Father: an enduring, compassionate provider and protector
Prince of Peace: His rule will bring wholeness to individuals and to society
These four titles were fulfilled in Jesus. We can better know Jesus because of this wonderful prophecy revealed to and through Isaiah.
2. Isaiah ministered at a time [map] when the northern kingdom (Israel) fell and the southern kingdom (Judah) was under threat (and about to fall). It looked as though all the victories and promises and glory of the Israel’s past were about to be completely snuffed out. But even in the face of total annihilation, God still had a plan of redemption, and Isaiah prophesied it happening in stunning detail. 絶滅に直面していたときでも、神は購いの計画を持っておられました。
Isaiah completed these prophecies by 701BC and if anyone had any doubt about the integrity of these prophecies, their fulfilment wasn’t even in Isaiah’s life time. In fact Judah didn’t fall until 586BC, almost 100 years after Isaiah’s death.
But perhaps even more stunning than the broad prophecies concerning the downfalls and triumphs of nations, is the amazing detail that Isaiah was able to provide. Isaiah predicted by name and nationality the ruler Cyrus of Persia as the one who would conquer Babylon (Babylon conquered Judah, then Persia conquered Babylon), and it was Cyrus, the conquering Persian, who allowed (encouraged!) the Jews – a completely conquered and destroyed people – to return to Israel and rebuild their nation, about 150 years after Isaiah prophesied it happening.
If we’re impressed by Isaiah, then we’re missing the mark. It’s God who gets the glory. He was the One who planned this out, brought it to fruition and revealed it all to Isaiah. To God be the glory! 栄光を受けるのは神です。
3. Every book of the OT in some way points to Christ. Perhaps none more so than Isaiah.
Chapter 53: The suffering servant. This chapter is your homework for this week. Read it slowly, carefully and thoughtfully, and marvel at its insight and accuracy. Here are some key verses: 旧約聖書のすべては何らかの点でキリストを指しています。
5 He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Isaiah doesn’t only prophecy what happened, but what it all means.
Yes, He prophesies the death of Christ, his wounds, his affliction, his silence, his resurrection, his justification of many. イザヤはキリストの死、キリストが受けられた傷、苦痛、沈黙、復活、キリストが多くの人を義とすることを預言しています。
But he also explains why this had to happen: to remove our transgressions, to bring us peace and healing, to bring justification and life. しかしなぜこれらのことが起こらなければならなかったかも説明しています：私たちの罪を取り除くため、平安と癒しをもたらすため、義と命をもたらすため。
These words were written 700 years before they were fulfilled in Christ. And they lead us to marvel at God’s planning and power and provision and perfection. They lead us to marvel at the testimony and truth of all He has written. We have a good God! We have a powerful God. And we have a God who loves us so much that He gave His only Son to be pierced for our transgressions, so that we can made right again and enjoy fellowship with God, as children of God. イザヤの言葉によって、神のご計画、力、備え、完全さに私たちが驚嘆させられます。 イザヤが書いたことのすべての証と真理に驚嘆させられます。私たちには素晴らしい神がいます。私たちには力強い神がいます。そして私たちを愛するがゆえに、たった一人の御子を私たちの罪のために刺し通し与えてくださった神、私たちが神の子として再び神と正しい関係を持ち、神との交わりを楽しめるようにたった一人の御子を与えてくださった神が私たちにはいます。