Thursday, October 12, 2017


We are not only told that we must undergo many tests throughout this life, as indeed all humans must, but we are also given a pattern to follow in handling them. Face it. It is hard enough to maintain a decent attitude when you are going through troubles that you know you brought on yourself. But what about things that are patently unfair? Humanly, we all bristle at the idea of unfairness.

One of the most overwhelming things about a severe trial can be the sense of isolation. We want to make sure that God knows because when He finds out, surely He’ll do something about it! In Job, we are given a behind-the-scenes look at events of which Job was completely unaware. God, however, was very much aware of Job and of the wholehearted obedience he sought to render. In fact, God Himself called Satan’s attention to Job. Christ reminded His disciples in Luke 12:6–7 that God, who even takes a detailed note of the sparrows, is much more deeply interested in the affairs of His own creations, the humans. The Creator is aware of everything about us down to the smallest detail. “Even the hairs of our head are numbered.” When we are struck with personal tragedy or persecuted for obedience, we can be sure that God knows. This is vitally important to keep in mind to counteract the sense of isolation and loneliness that will often beset us at such times. “No one understands what I’m going through,” we think. But Someone does! We have a faithful Messiah who was tested in all ways like us and is, therefore able to empathize and give us the needed form of help. Though Job could not begin to understand why all of these things were happening to him, he knew God was aware of it. He did not react, as Satan had predicted, by cursing God. Rather, Job told his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” 

The story recounted makes us privy to actual conversations between God and Satan! When we begin reading the book of Job we learn that, while God allowed Satan to afflict Job, He set limits beyond which the devil could not pass. From the start, we know there are limits to Job’s trial, and we know what those limits are. Initially, God restricted Satan from harming Job’s health. Later, He allowed Job to be personally stricken but insisted that his life is spared. In all of this, we have an advantage over Job. At the time he was going through adversity, Job knew nothing of the conversation between God and Satan. He knew nothing of any limits God had pre-imposed upon his trial.

When we find ourselves in the midst of great adversity, we must always keep in mind that there may have been a similar “behind-the-scenes” conversation regarding us. God has established the limits of our trial, but we just do not know what those limits are! What we as His creation experience is not generally time and chance. The devil does not “sneak up” while God’s back is turned. God is involved in every test that we undergo and He has established preset limits beyond which Satan cannot go. Neither the duration nor the intensity of the trial is completely open-ended. Ultimately, God is in charge!

This is perhaps one of the hardest lessons to keep in mind. But seek Growth, not vindication. Job wanted God to vindicate him in the eyes of his friends. People ridiculed him and that can be hard to take. When Elihu began to answer Job on behalf of God, he pointed out that Job had been wrongly focused during much of his trial. Elihu explains that God instructs and chastens in various ways. God has His reasons for how He deals with us. And sometimes they are beyond our understanding. Job was so certain of his innocence and of the injustice of his afflictions that for a long time he was unable to see beyond that. He tried to defend himself from the false conclusions of his friends and in so doing was unable to see areas of needed growth in his life. Again, God has reasons for allowing whatever happens—though we are often at a loss to fathom what they are. If we do so in faith, He will surely give it. Whatever the trial or test, there is always growth that can be achieved. Even Jesus Christ Himself learned by the things He suffered. God wants us to grow. Therefore, we must undergo periodic pruning to stimulate that growth (John 15:2).

The “Why” often proves elusive. Humanly, we like everything to be neatly pigeon- holed. We want the world and the events in it to make sense. But in trying to give an explanation for everything we sometimes miss the point. This is the way it was for Job’s friends.The first of Job’s friends to speak was Eliphaz. He declared, “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, Job’s three friends, were all sure that Job must have had some dirty secret at the root of his newfound troubles. They “knew” there had to be a reason. So, they badgered poor Job to confess this suspected secret sin. Job knew there was no great hidden scandal in his life engendering his trials. He was defensive in the face of his accusers, but he also wondered—’ ‘Why?” One of the difficult things for us to accept is that many of the sufferings we go through simply cannot be neatly categorized. The why is often elusive. Bad things do not only happen to bad people. Job recognized that many times the wicked life to reach old age and even appear to prosper. There are many whys that we will never know in this life. Acceptance that the why may prove elusive sets the stage for a vital lesson from the book of Job.

Job was in despair. Was there trust in the face of anguish? His whole life had been turned upside down. He had lost his wealth and his loved ones in a series of sudden calamities. Now his health was gone too. Why? Job was deeply frustrated because he could not make sense out of his trials. Yet in the depths of perplexity and despair, he made one of the most profound declarations of faith recorded. “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him”. In the story, we read the words of anguish that poured from Job’s lips. “Know that God has overthrown and put me in the wrong, and has closed His net about me.... He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, and He has set darkness upon my paths.... My kinsfolk have failed me, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.... I am repulsive to my wife and loathsome to the children of my own mother”. Yet even at this low point of anguish and bewilderment, Job declares his heartfelt trust in God. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.... I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself”. Job understood the truth of the resurrection. “If a man dies, shall he live again?” Job asked. He went on to record the divinely inspired answer. “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job knew that God would call and that he would answer and come forth from the grave because God would have a desire to the work of His hands. It is relatively easy to trust God when things are going the way we like them. When the world around us makes sense it is fairly easy to believe God is in charge. But what about when things turn upside down and inside out? It is in the midst of such perplexity and anguish that faith in God is most needed.

One of the things Satan never understood about Job was his motive. Satan thought Job only served God because it was to his advantage here and now. He was convinced that if God removed blessings and protection, Job would curse and revile Him. But that was not true. Job loved God and served Him out of sincere devotion. He trusted God even when he was feeling abandoned. This lesson of steadfast trust is one of the most important aspects of character we can gain from any trial.

 God will ultimately reward both good and evil. Life can often seem unfair. There are those who make no pretense of serving God and yet they seem to be doing well. There are others who are genuinely trying, but they are experiencing many difficulties and setbacks. What we have to keep in mind is that this life is temporary. Job noticed that there were wicked men whose “houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull breeds without failure; their cow calves without miscarriage” Yet he realized that was not the end of the story. Job said, “For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath.” Even though it may seem that life is not fair, God is a God of justice. Ultimately, it is the resurrection that God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. However, there are many times when even in this life events can make a sudden shift. The conclusion of the book of Job reveals, “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning”. In the long run, there are blessings for obedience—entrance into the Kingdom of God – Paradise, is the greatest of all blessings—and curses for disobedience.

Many public schools and graduate students promote regardless of what they’ve actually learned. But God does not operate that way. We emerge when we learn what God is teaching. He is the great Teacher who is preparing us for a role in His Paradise and He insists that we learn our lessons properly. It was only when Job began coming to grips with the lessons that God wanted Him to learn that he began emerging from this period of great trial. God focuses on the bottom line. Job was an exemplary man but he had a flaw. The Scriptures say Job’s problem was that “he was righteous in his own eyes and that “he justified himself rather than God”. Ultimately Job emerged with a far deeper understanding of the Almighty as well as a deeper understanding of himself and his own human nature. “Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” Job told God.

A vital lesson that all of us must learn in order to please God and to begin emerging from a trial is that of mercy and forgiveness. Job’s friends were miserable comforters. Regardless of their motives, they were a great part of Job’s trial. Yet notice the turning point when Job began to emerge from his great adversity. ‘And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends'.

Job came to really know God deeply, not simply to know about Him. He became a far more humble and compassionate man as a result of what he went through. Learning these lessons was the key to his emerging out of the dark shadows of life and into the sunlight once again. Our trials can make us bitter or they can make us better! Which will yours do for you?

Job is a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. He is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil  One day, Satan (“the Adversary”) appears before God in heaven.

Job's story in Islam is parallel to the Hebrew Bible story, although the main emphasis is on Job remaining steadfast to God; there is no mention of Job's discussions with friends in the Quranic text, but later Muslim literature states that Job had brothers, who argued with the man about the cause of his affliction.

Almost invariably, all prophets come to their particular people with the same message. They ordered their peoples to worship God alone, and not associate anything or anyone in worship with Him.  The stories of the prophets emphasize this basic doctrine of Islam that God is One.

In the stories of the prophets, we see that God tested various nations through loss of health and through the loss of wealth, even extreme poverty.
  God declares repentance and patience to be the keys to eternal life, therefore accepting trials and even thanking God for them, denotes a high level of faith. Humankind, however, is a constant struggle to accept the message of God.  Many nations failed.The story of Prophet Job is different.  Through his story, we are able to view humankind’s struggle on a more personal level.  God does not tell us about Job’s methods of preaching or how his people reacted to his warnings and admonitions.  God does not tell us about the fate of Job’s people.  Instead, He tells us about Job’s patience. He (the Almighty) praises Job by saying,

“Truly!  We found him patient.  How excellent a slave!  Verily, he was ever oft- returning in repentance to Us!” (Quran 38:44)
Christians often refer to the “patience of Job” and interestingly, Muslims refer to Job’s patience and try to emulate him in the face of relentless adversity. 
Job was a descendant of Noah (Quran 6:84).  He loved God, worshipped Him alone, was patient, steadfast and sort forgiveness often. Satan overheard a group of angels discussing that Job was the best man of his generation and Satan’s dark heart was filled with jealousy and silent rage. His plan was to tempt Job away from goodness and have him fall into disbelief and corruptionSatan attempted to distract Job from his prayers but Job remained steadfast and prayed with commitment and concentration.
This caused Satan’s rage to grow and he complained to God saying that Job was a devoted worshipper only because God had blessed him with wealth and possessions. God allowed Satan and his helpers to destroy Jobs possessions, but Job remained true to his belief and acknowledged that God was able to give or take wealth and possessions as He pleased. Satan became even more frustrated and returned to God saying that Job only hid his disappointment because of his large happy family. Satan and his helpers destroyed Job’s home, the building came crashing down killing all of Job’s children.
Once again, Job turned to God for comfort and accepted this heaviest test without complaint.  Satan disguised himself and approached Job in the form of an old man.  The old man commiserated with Job and suggested that God was not rewarding Job for his devotion and prayers, but Job replied that God “sometimes gives and sometimes takes” and that he was well pleased with His Creator.  Satan’s silent but smoldering anger grew.  He returned to God saying that Job was fit and healthy and therefore had hopes of regaining his wealth and having more children.  Satan asked permission to destroy Job’s health.  God granted Satan’s third request excluding his ability to harm Job’s soul, heart, or intellect.
Satan and his helpers began to harm Job’s body, by the will of Allah.  He was reduced to skin and bone and suffered severe pain. Job was also stricken with a disease that made people turn away from him with revulsion and his friends and relatives began to desert him.  Only his wife remained with him. She cared for him and showered him with kindness even though they had become penniless and she had to work as a servant to provide them with a small morsel of food each day.
Throughout his ordeal, Job remained devoted to God.  His lips and tongue remained moist with the remembrance of God and he never despaired or complained. He continued to thank God even for this great calamity that had befallen him. Satan was at a loss, he did not know how to entice Job away from his devotion to God so he decided to harass Job’s wife. He came to her in the form of a man and reminded her of the old days and how easy their life had once been. Job’s wife burst into tears and confronted Job saying, “ask your Lord to remove this suffering from us”.
Job was saddened and reminded his wife that God had blessed them with wealth,  children, and health for 80 years and that this suffering had been upon them for a relatively short period of time.  He declared that he was ashamed to call on God to remove the hardship and admonished his wife saying that if he ever regained his health he would beat her with 100 strokes.  Job’s loving wife was devastated, she turned away and sought shelter elsewhere.  Job felt helpless, he turned to God, not to complain but to beg for mercy.
“Verily!  distress has seized me and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.”  So We answered his call, and we removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.”  (Quran 21:83-84)
God restored Job’s health almost immediately.  Job’s wife could not bear to be parted from her beloved husband for very long so she returned and was amazed when she saw his recovery.  She cried out her thanks to God, and on hearing her words, Job became worried.  He had taken an oath to beat his wife but he had no desire to hurt her for he loved her dearly.  God wanted to ease the heart of his devoted, patient servant so he advised him to “take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith your wife, and break not your oath”.  (Quran 38:44)
From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, we learn that God also restored Job’s wealth.  It is said that one day when he was taking a shower (or bath) God showered him with grasshoppers made of gold. God rewarded Job’s patience abundantly.  His health was restored, his family was returned to him and multiplied, and he once again became a wealthy man.

God tells us that Job’s story is a reminder for all those who worship God.  (Quran 21:84)  When one truly worships God with full submission, it is necessary to have patience.  It is easy to worship for a few days or even weeks, but we must be consistent.  Prayer at night requires patience, fasting requires patience, living with tribulations and trials requires patience.  The life of this world is a test and in order to pass, and be rewarded with Paradise, we need to acquire the patience of Job.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."

What does a glorious life consist in? A poet thinks it a glorious thing to produce burning thoughts, to master the powers of language, to command brilliant imagery; to revel in imagination through the ethereal regions of the lovely, the grand, the eternal; and then descend from those lofty heights to the lowly regions of real life, to enlighten its gloom, to soothe its sorrows, to strengthen its hopes. The orator thinks it a glorious thing to rivet the attention of assembled multitudes. The warrior thinks it a glorious thing to be entrusted with the command of a powerful army. Here is a simple record of a glorious life; let us now endeavor to analyze it.

The words point to —

A life of absolute devotedness. It is not a selfish existence, but an existence linked to another existence, subordinate to another existence, devoted to another existence. "With God."  A life of steady progress. This is clearly suggested by the term walking. Man is never more dignified than when he walks with a regular, firm, steady step; it is then that he looks every inch the lord of creation; you wonder not that other creatures should submit to his sway. But let him loiter about as if he had nothing to do, or let him run as if he were pursued, and he falls at once in your estimation. There is a touch of manliness about the very act of walking, which indicates a definite purpose, a reasonable aim, a complete mastery over one's self. You have only to conceive of a man walking and a man running, and compare these two conceptions together, in order to be impressed with the superiority of the one over the other.

But the expression employed here has a wider meaning than this. "Enoch walked with God." This indicates progress. It is progress in knowledge, progress in holiness, progress in good works. It is an upward struggle, a heavenward course, a climbing up to the mount of God. A life of blessed companionship. "With God." Now, the blessed companionship of Enoch with God, which was a type of all true companionship, implied faith in God. Enoch's companionship implied also a certain degree of familiarity with God. Just think of it.

The moon which is bathed in the transforming light of the sun becomes itself a luminous body and lightens up the somber blackness of the night with its pale, beautiful, silvery rays. And so the man who walks in the light of God's countenance must necessarily catch some of the glory and reflect it upon the world around him. Besides this, God's friend needs fear no enemy.

A simple glorious end: "And he was not, for God took him." A good man is never lost; long after his body has moldered in the dust, the influence of his holy example will remain, will remain as a mighty power; a power which will not diminish but grow with the flight of ages.

Enoch is one of the few excellent men mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and in the Bible, of whom nothing bad is recorded. Abraham is described as the father of the faithful; and yet there are instances on record in which his mighty faith gave way. Whoever thinks of the flaws on the face of beauty? Whoever thinks of the spots which deface the sun? They exist, you may find them by minute observation; but they do not make a deep impression upon your mind. Thus the character of Enoch, in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, seemed to be one mass of light, in which there was no darkness at all. Enoch is one of these men who owe their immortality to the brightness of their characters.

Some generations passed and in the scant record, we come upon one name that shines brightly in the story. "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away." Genesis 5:21-24

in a spiritual sense. The figure of a walk is used in the Bible many times for the course of life. When men are said to have walked in the ways of the Lordthe meaning is that they lived righteously, keeping God's commandments. When we read that the people walked in the way of Jeroboam, the thought is that they followed him in his idolatry. When it is said that Enoch walked with God, we are to understand that he obeyed God's commandments, so far as they were revealed to him and that he lived in communion with God.

It was a walk of faith. Enoch did not see God. We do not know how much he knew about God. We must remember that he lived before the Flood, only a few generations from Adam. The race was in its infancy then, and only a few revelations from God had been made. There was no Holy Books. It was long before Moses received the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. But in whatever way and to whatever extent Enoch had been taught about God—he believed. God was as real to him.

We all walk with God in a sense, for all our lives. We never can get away from His presence for a moment. He is closer to us than our dearest friend. Wherever we go—He walks beside us. But the trouble with many of us is that we do not realize his presence. We never think of it. Faith is that exercise of the mind, which makes unseen things, really. God was real to Enoch. His walk with God—was as real as if he had seen God's face, and heard His voice and felt the touch of His hand!

We may walk with God as consciously and as familiarly as Enoch did if we really desire. The prophets told their disciples that He wished to make them His personal friends, opening His heart to them and giving them His full confidence. But how many of us are living in conscious communion with the prophets and messengers of God, the Only One Creator? But to how many of us, are the words really a true expression of our experience? We talk a good deal about God—but how many of us are actually walking with God? An eloquent preacher says, "A missing note of the religious life of today, is that of personal fellowship with the Creator. We are largely dependent on other people and worldly endeavors, not to the prophets and messengers and slaves of God—for our spiritual experience." There are meetings, societies, brotherhoods, unions and all manner of organizations for the promotion of spiritual life and for the winning of souls. But is there not a lack of personal communion with God? We are depending more for the quickening of our spirits and for our religious interest and earnestness, on outside activities and on the influence of other religious people upon us—than on our own individual fellowship with the Creator!

We need to learn anew to walk with God. We need to train ourselves to more personal communion the prophets and messengers of God, to be more alone with Him. We cannot get our religious life second-hand. None of us can give to another, what we have received from God, in our own communion with Him. There are many blessings which come to him who walks with God. One is companionship with God. Human companionship is very sweet and refreshing. It makes the way seem shorter and easier. How could we live without friends? We never can be thankful enough for the companionship of our lives. It would be hard to live without our human friends. We need them, and they bring us cheer, comfort, strength, encouragement all along the way. But human companionship, as heart-filling as they may be—are not enough. Then they drop away one by one—we know not what morning, the dearest and most needed friend shall be missed from our side when we come out to begin our day's walk.

What would you have done if the Great Companion had not been beside you on that dark day when the human friend you had leaned on so heavily, was called away? What will you do when those who now make the journey so pleasant for you, slip away and leave you if, when you lift up your eyes through your tears, you do not see the Master still by your side? Then, even with the happiest and gladdest earthly companionship crowding our path, we need God too. Without Him—the dearest human love fails to satisfy. If human love brings such joy, the love of God brings infinitely more!

Enoch's walking with God was not interrupted by the common experiences of his life. "Enoch walked with God 300 years—and had other sons and daughters." Some people suppose they could continue to walk with God if they were engaged all the time in 'religious' work; but they do not suppose it possible to maintain a life of unbroken communion with Him, when they have to be at work in the shop, in the office, or in the kitchen. God is quite as sure to come to walk with us, in the doing of some common task of love and kindness—as when we pray or sit at our Master's communion table. To him who is walking with God—all life has glory. We do not know what we miss—when we fail to see the Great Companion who is ever by our side.

Another blessing from walking with God is a heavenly atmosphere. We know the value of atmosphere even in human friendships and associations. Everyone has an atmosphere of his own. With some people, we feel ourselves in an atmosphere that is sweet, exhilarating, inspiring. All our life is quickened by their influence. Another blessing from walking with God is the cleansing of our lives. The influence of pure and good companionship is always transforming. When two live together in close and intimate association, they grow alike. That is Intimacy with God. Sometimes we want to run ahead of God—we cannot wait for Him. "Enoch walked with God." He waited for God—-was not impatient when God seemed slower than he wished. We must trust God when He delays to answering our prayers. He knows when to answer.

Then sometimes we hold back when God wants us to move quickly. Walking with God means that we must never parley nor dally when God moves on—but must move promptly, never falling behind.

So let us walk with God—wherever He leads us. The way may not be easy—but that is not our concern; our concern is only to walk with Him—without question, unfalteringly. He always leads in the right way—He will lead us home!

That was the way He led Enoch. "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away." People missed him one day and saw him no more—but he was not lost. God had simply lifted him over the river of death, so that he missed dying, and had taken him home!

A child, about to fall asleep, threw her tired arms around her father's neck and said, "Good-night, dear father; I shall see you in the morning."
She was right. When we die, we are only saying to our remaining friends, "Good-night!" And in a fairer land, we shall say "Good-morning!"

Enoch and the devil in the Holy Qur’an  

Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayiniyy, in his book At-Tartib fi ^Usulil-Fiqh, (The Order in the Matters which Pertain to the Fundamentals of Fiqh) said that the first to present the concept of an “intellectual impossibility” was Prophet Enoch. He narrated the following incident:

Satan (shaytan) came to Prophet Enoch, who was sewing. Prophet Enoch was saying “Subhanallah” (God is free of imperfections) each time he put the needle through. Each time he took it out he would say “Al-Hamdulillah” (praise and thanks to God). Satan came to him and brought a peel. Satan said, “Does God have the power to put this entire universe in this small peel?” Prophet Enoch said, “If God willed, He has the power to make this entire universe be inside of the opening of this needle I am using for sewing.” Then Prophet Enoch poked the eye of Satan with the needle. Satan became one-eyed.
Abu Ishaq explained the meaning of the saying of Prophet Enoch to Satan: If God willed to make the entire universe tiny enough to go inside the eye of a needle, then God has the power to do it. However, if one is talking about taking the entire universe with the size that it has, and putting it through the eye of a needle, with the size that it has, then this is intellectually impossible.
Abu Ishaq said that Prophet Enoch did not give the details of that to Satan because Satan was a stubborn creature. Satan only posed the question to confuse. Satan did not want a correct answer. He only asked the question to be evil, and in a fruitless endeavor to take Enoch out of the Religion.
Abu Ishaq (Isaac) said that this concept did not spread very widely at the time of our Prophet, but later the understanding of this became so widespread that it cannot be refuted.
Some sayings of the Prophet Idris (Enoch) (PBUH):

Do not feel jealous of the prosperity of others.
He who has unlimited desires is deprived of the wealth of contentment.
One should be sincere in the acts of devotion.
It is an act of grave sin to take false oaths.
Patience is a key to victory.
He who controls his passions is fortunate. Only a good act will be a living intercessor before The Almighty on the Day of Judgment. One who is desirous of attaining perfection in knowledge; should have no concern with immoral acts.

Monday, September 11, 2017

"ISAIAH" ~ A Climax of a Literary Art

Many of the prophecies in Isaiah begin with the historical conditions and prophecies for his day and then move forward to a far greater fulfillment prior to the return of Jesus Christ. This is the dualism seen in many of the prophecies of the Holy Book. The first (historical) fulfillment is lesser in scope and is followed by the greater future fulfillment at the end of this present age. The dualism in Isaiah usually pertains to the prophecies about Jesus Christ, Israel, Judah or other nations. Two exceptions would be the prophecies of the coming Day of the lord and the Kingdom of God. These prophecies are singular and point to only one fulfillment.

There are four major themes of prophecy found in the book of Isaiah, and we will consider them in the remainder of this article. Isaiah is widely regarded as one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. His name means “YHWH (the LORD) is salvation.” He lived in Jerusalem and the prophecies God gave him were directed toward Israel, Judah, and other nations. Jewish tradition says he was of royal descent, and he may have been a cousin to King Uzziah. This may have given him access to the kings of Judah in Jerusalem.

The biblical account in chapter 1, verse 1 of the book he authored says he received visions from God during the reigns of four kings of Judah—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The time covered is from the end of King Uzziah’s reign (Isaiah 6:1) to the Assyrian King Sennacheribs siege of Jerusalem. It was at least a 40-year ministry during the last half of the eighth century B.C.

Isaiah was married to a prophetess (Isaiah 8:3). They had two sons whose names had prophetic meanings. They were Shear-Jashub (Isaiah 7:3, meaning “a remnant shall return”) and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:1-4, meaning “speed the spoil, hasten the booty”). Isaiah and his family would be for “signs and wonders in Israel” (Isaiah 8:18). His prophecies are still “signs and wonders” for us today.

Jewish tradition says he was killed by being sawn in two by King Manasseh, the son of King Hezekiah. This seems to be alluded to in Hebrews 11:37While we have very little information about Isaiah’s life, his inspired writings and prophecies have been preserved for generations in the Bible and are most important for us today.

Almost one-third of the chapters of the book of Isaiah contains prophecies about Jesus Christ, addressing both His first and second comings. Isaiah provides more prophecy of the second coming of Christ than any other Old Testament prophet. The following are some prophecies about Christ in both His first and second comings:
  • “He shall judge between the nations” (Isaiah 2:4).
  • He was to be the “Branch of the Lord” (Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:1).
  • He would be born of a virgin and be called “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8, 10).
  • He would be a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (Isaiah 8:14).
  • An eternal “government will be upon His shoulder” and He would be called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
  • The Holy Spirit would “rest upon Him” (Isaiah 11:2).
  • He would be “a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (Isaiah 28:16).
Christ is directly spoken of in more than half of the chapters between Isaiah 40 and Isaiah 61. Undoubtedly, the most important chapter pertaining to mankind’s salvation is Isaiah 53. This prophecy explains how much He would suffer during His sacrifice for man’s sins.

Within this section, a description of His first coming begins in Isaiah 52:14, which says, “His visage [appearance] was marred more than any man.” Isaiah 53:2-5 explains that His earthly physical appearance would not stand out, He was “despised and rejected,” and “by His stripes [wounds] we are healed” of our sicknesses.

This pivotal chapter tells us that He would come to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. The Passover lamb symbolized this merciful act (Isaiah 53:7; Exodus 12:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Statements of His death are then repeated: “For He was cut off from the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:8). “And they made His grave with the wicked” (verse 9). He was an “offering for sin” (verse 10) and He “poured out His soul unto death” (verse 12).

Through the book of Isaiah, God revealed that Jesus would come to earth first as a human to deal with sin and then again in His glorified state after being resurrected from the grave to establish the Kingdom of God (see also Hebrews 9:28). Not understanding the dualism of Christ’s coming, many Jews rejected Him during His first coming as a human because He did not fulfill the prophecies of ruling over the earth and establishing an eternal government that is to occur during His second coming (Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 40:10).

Interestingly, God also revealed through Isaiah how Christ would be able to come back to life after being crucified. The prophet wrote, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise” (
Isaiah 26:19). Also, prior to Isaiah’s time, King David had prophesied of Christ’s death and resurrection (Psalm 16:10).

In terms of content, the largest single subject in the book of Isaiah is warnings to Israel and Judah both for Isaiah’s age and for us today. The first 11 chapters describe many social, moral and religious sins that are similar to the signs that the modern descendants of Israel and Judah are presently committing.

The dualism of the historical setting as a prophecy for the end of the age is apparent in chapter 11, which says, “The LORD shall set His hand again the second time” to bring them back from captivity (verse 11). The timing of this restoration is during and after Christ’s second coming (verses 4-10).

The warnings to Israel and Judah of their national sins continue throughout chapters 41 to 49. The difference is that in these chapters God gives them encouragement that He will eventually redeem them. Here are some examples:
  • “You are My servant, I have chosen you” (Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 49:3).
  • “I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
  • “Even I will carry and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).
  • The Lord is “the Redeemer of Israel” (Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 44:22).
In chapters, 56 to 59 God continues to give correction and warning to Israel and Judah for their sins. In these chapters, Israel and Judah are chastised for their hypocrisy in how they worship God. There are two chapters in particular that touch on this religious hypocrisy. They are Isaiah 56, which focuses on keeping the Sabbath, and Isaiah 58, which deals with fasting for the wrong reasons and, again, keeping God’s Sabbath.

The prophecies to Israel and Judah in the book of Isaiah end on a future encouraging note with God’s eventual deliverance and mercy in the coming Kingdom of God (Isaiah 61:3-9; Isaiah 63:7-9, 14).

Prophecies about the coming Day of the Lord can be found in the writings of many of the Old Testament prophets, and Isaiah is no exception. This subject is covered from chapters 2 to 66. Unlike the dualism of the prophecies to Israel and Judah, most prophecies about the Day of the Lord are for an event yet to come. These foretell a time of awesome and frightening events leading to the return of Christ. Many people think of it as “the end of the world,” although it is really just the end of this present evil age.

Isaiah explains that the Day of the Lord will last for one year (Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 63:4). The principle of a day for a year in prophecy also applies to the Day of the Lord (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). It is the year of the “Lord’s vengeance” or God’s wrath (Revelation 6:17).

In the earlier chapters on this subject (2, 13 and 24), Isaiah describes the effects of God’s wrath on this world. Men will hide in caves in terror (Isaiah 2:19-21), the earth will be shaken and possibly moved from its orbit (Isaiah 13:13), and the earth will become almost empty and a total waste (Isaiah 24:1, 3, 6). Isaiah also speaks of the Day of the Lord as a time of war (Isaiah 31:8-9). These events are also described in the seven trumpets of Revelation 8-9.

God further reveals through Isaiah that the “daughter of Babylon” will be destroyed in the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 47:1, 5, 7, 9). These verses are almost identical to those of Revelation 18:7-8, 17-19, 21. This 
Babylon is the final end-time government and its religious system that will be destroyed at Christ’s return.

The time of God’s wrath will come to an end when “the great trumpet will be blown” (Isaiah 27:13) and Jesus Christ will return to the earth (Revelation 11:15). While the Day of the Lord often focuses on the wrath of God (the punishment that will come upon the disobedient for one year before Christ returns), this term is also used in a broader way by John in Revelation 1:10 to describe all the events—including the wrath of God, the Millennium and events thereafter—that will occur after Christ’s return. Virtually every Old Testament prophet who warned of God’s judgment on the Day of the Lord also spoke of restored peace and prosperity that will follow the judgment.

The last major theme addressed in Isaiah is the 
Kingdom of God that Jesus Christ will usher in with His return. The term “kingdom” is not used in Isaiah, but this future age is described in many of the chapters from the beginning to the end of Isaiah.
The following are some of the prophecies about this coming Kingdom:
  • The Lord will set up His kingdom over all nations, teach man His ways and judge between the nations (Isaiah 2:2-4).
  • The “Branch” will establish Jerusalem and those who dwell there as holy (Isaiah 4:2-6).
  • “The government will be upon His shoulder.” He will be called “Prince of Peace” and “of the increase of His government, there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
  • All animals will live at peace with man and one another, and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
  • The Lord will resettle Israel in their land (Isaiah 14:1-2).
  • The deaf shall hear, the blind shall see, and Jacob’s descendants will “hallow” the Lord’s name (Isaiah 29:18, 22-24).
  • A king and princes will rule in quiet and peaceful habitations (Isaiah 32:1, 15-18).
  • “The desert shall … blossom as the rose,” the infirmed will be restored, and “waters shall burst forth in the wilderness” (Isaiah 35:1-10).
There are numerous prophecies about the Kingdom of God throughout chapters 44 to 66. It is a very important theme in this book. Everything written is leading up to the peaceful eternal government of God and, finally, to “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17).

Aside from the four major themes, there are a few other important subjects covered in the book of Isaiah. These include:
  • Prophecies of judgment coming against numerous nations (Isaiah 13-24).
  • Lucifer’s attempt to overthrow God (Isaiah 14:12-14).
  • Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, his defeat and death, and the extension of Hezekiah’s life (Isaiah 36-39).
  • Chapters that speak of those who serve and obey God (Isaiah 25-26, 54, 61-62).
The prophecies of Isaiah are relevant in all generations, but they primarily point to the end of the age when Jesus Christ will return and set up the Kingdom of God. The warnings of the Day of the Lord and warnings to Israel and Judah are relevant for us today.

If we will heed these warnings from God, then we can be assured of the promises of mercy that is explained in the book of Isaiah.