2. PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH' COMING IN ISAIAH
Isaiah spoke much concerning the Messiah. He had quite a revelation of the Lord Jesus. Jesus confirmed this in the gospel of John.
"These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him."
The Apocalypse of Isaiah records the visions in which Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus, and was shown the ministry of the Lord. This revelation was the basis of many of Isaiah's sermons that we find recorded in the book of Isaiah. I will be sharing this ‘Apocalypse of Isaiah’ soon. It is what John referred to in that passage above, and it reveals the way that Isaiah knew things, in order to preach the messages of the canonical book of Isaiah.
Apocalypse of Isaiah 5:7
And I heard the voice of the Most High, the Father of the One to be called my 'Lord', saying to the Lord Messiah, Who will be called 'Jesus'.
Should it shock us that God wanted His prophets to know so much about Jesus? Should we not have expected God to reveal detail after detail about the One Who would come and provide a redemption from sin and hell-fire for all who would accept Him?
The Encyclopedia Britannica gives over 20,000 words to Jesus, and that is more than is give to Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Cicero, Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte. If a secular encyclopedia can give that many words to Jesus, we should expect every Old Testament prophet, as well as every minister today, to give many words to this One, i.e. Jesus, the Savior of Mankind!
So significant is this Jesus to the world, that our years are set by His first coming. B.C. refers to "before Christ", and A.D. refers to "Anno Domini", which means "the year of our Lord."
The prophecies in Isaiah were written almost 800 years before Jesus came in His first coming. Yet, so particular, and so minute are these prophecies, that it could not have been guesswork, or accidental.
The truths written by Isaiah about the Messiah were so contrary to the prevailing ideas of the times that it is certain that these are not forgeries. The people were looking for a Messiah Who would free them from poverty, persecution, and troubles. Isaiah presents a Messiah Who came to suffer, die, and be persecuted.
Someone has figured that the 36 details about the Messiah in chapter 53 of Isaiah have a 1/68,719,476,736 chance of fulfillment by one person. Jesus fulfilled all of them in His first coming. Yet, there are many more prophecies by Isaiah, and these are astoundingly accurate.
Isaiah tells us that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and this virgin would bear a Son Who would be deity, i.e. One of the Trinity. Isaiah records this fact, and in his "Apocalypse" we find the vision wherein he learned this truth.
"Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:2-5
"And I saw a female, of the lineage of David, the prophet, named Mary, a virgin, and she was engaged to marry a man named Joseph, a carpenter, who was likewise of the lineage of righteous David of Bethlehem Judah. And when he became able to marry, he was engaged to her. Then he found that she was with child, and at first he desired to divorce himself from this engagement. But the angel of the Lord appeared in this world, and then Joseph did not divorce her, but kept Mary, and did not reveal her pregnancy. And he did not approach her, but she remained a virgin, though she was with child."
The fact of the deity of the Messiah was unknown to most people of that day. Even when Jesus did come, some were ready to stone Jesus for even suggesting that He could forgive sins. They wanted, and expected a Messiah Who was merely a gifted man. Yet, Isaiah knew that the Messiah would be "God with us." (Immanuel).
He refers to the Messiah as the "Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6-7, and calls Him the "Everlasting Father" which means the "Father of eternity." He saw in his vision the coming of the Lord Jesus down through the heavens to the earth, and knew therefore of the divine origin of the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:16
And I saw, O Hezekiah, and Shear-Jashub, my son, and I speak to the other prophets that are here: This One escaped through all the heavens, all the evil angels, and the demons of this world did not stop His arrival.
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:16
"And I saw that in Nazareth, He was raised and grew in such a way, that the demons did not recognize Who He was."
The demons did not recognize the Jesus in His coming to earth to be the Messiah, and they did not recognize Him as He was growing up in Nazareth, but Isaiah knew of the coming, and of the reality of Who the Messiah truly was.
The coming of a forerunner, before the coming of the Messiah was also known by Isaiah. Isaiah told of John the Baptist, and obviously saw in his vision the ministry of such a prophet.
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
John the Baptist was this forerunner, and it is said of him:
"For this is he spoken of by Esaias."
"And they shall not know that are with Me until I call from heaven with a loud voice, and announce that You are the Chosen One. For in this way, You will be able to judge and destroy the evil princes, the fallen angels, the Belial of that world, and his cohorts, and the world of sinners that they rule."
Thus, did Isaiah know that it was God's voice from heaven announced to the world that this One, Jesus, was the "Chosen One" that the demons would recognize the deity of this man, Jesus. Isaiah had great knowledge of many such details of Jesus' ministry, due to his visions and revelations from God.
It is revealed by Isaiah that the Messiah would be born into the family of David:
"For unto us a child is born... unto us a son is given... of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David."
"And there shall come forth a rod, out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots."
"And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began."
Isaiah knew that the Messiah would be of the lineage of David, by the vision that he had.
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:2
And I saw a female, of the lineage of David, the prophet, named Mary, a virgin, and she was engaged to marry a man named Joseph, a carpenter, who was likewise of the lineage of righteous David of Bethlehem Judah.
That same vision had shown Isaiah that the Messiah would live a humble life:
"...as a root out of a dry ground... no form nor comeliness... borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows... oppressed, and afflicted."
The Messiah would reside in Galilee:
"...in Galilee, of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:15,17-20
"And they later returned to Nazareth in Galilee. And I saw that in Nazareth, He was raised and grew in such a way, that the demons did not recognize Who He was."
"Nazareth" is not mentioned in the current canon of the Old Testament. And yet, it is mentioned in "The Apocalypse of Isaiah." Therefore, Matthew must have been familiar with such book when he recorded Matthew 2:23:
"And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a 'Nazarene'." If this information, referred to by Matthew, did not come from the Apocalypse of Isaiah, then from where did Matthew learn it? This is evidence of the circulation, and awareness of even the disciples to the reality of this Apocalypse of Isaiah.
The Messiah is foreseen by Isaiah to have a mission to the Gentiles. This was contrary to most in the days that Jesus came, and even the disciples had to have special visions and revelations to encourage them to take the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. Yet, Isaiah knew that the gospel would be given to the Gentiles:
"...He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 9:18
"...told them that these disciples would teach all peoples and tongues of the resurrection of the Beloved One, told them that those who believe in the cross, and in His ascension into the seventh heaven will be saved."
"...in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek."
Isaiah knew of the healing ministry of the Messiah, Jesus:
"Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. ...by His stripes we are healed."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:18
"And when He had grown, He worked great signs and wonders in Israel, and even in Jerusalem."
While most in the days of Jesus' first coming, were looking for a Messiah Who would overthrow the Romans, and rule as king of Israel. Isaiah foresaw a Messiah Who would be disbelieved, hated, rejected.
"Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes."
"...have removed their heart from Me."
Isaiah 53:1, 7
"Who hath believed our report?... oppressed... afflicted."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:19-21
"And after, the adversary envied Him, and stirred up the children of Israel against Him. Many did not realize Who He was, so Israel would deliver Him to the King, and have Him crucified on a tree, and He would descend to Sheol. In Jerusalem, I saw how He would be put upon that tree and crucified. And likewise after the third day, I saw how He would rise again, and remain days more there on earth."
Isaiah saw in his vision of the mistreatment of the rejected Messiah. He even saw the smiting, and the spitting at Jesus:
"I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off My hair, I hid not My face from shame and spitting."
He also saw that the Messiah would be dumb and quiet before His accusers:
"He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth."
Having seen a vision depicting the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah knew and even saw the crucifixion, and the thieves crucified with Him.
"He was numbered with the transgressors."
In that vision, Isaiah noticed that people stared astonished at the abused image of the Lord:
"As many were astonished (Hebrew = shamen, meaning 'to stun, to stupefy, to be shocked, to be amazed') at Thee, His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men."
Isaiah even viewed in his vision of the Messiah, that the tortured Messiah would pray for His persecutors as He died upon the cross:
"...He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
The vision of Isaiah showed him that the Messiah would be buried in a rich man's tomb:
"...made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 9:13
For Belial had great wrath against Isaiah because following his visions, Isaiah taught many things. For Isaiah had: told of the evil being named Sammael, told of the coming of the Beloved One from heaven to become a man on this earth, told of the persecution that the Beloved One would suffer, and the tortures that the people of Israel would bring upon Him, told of his twelve disciples, told of His teaching, told of His crucifixion on the tree with wicked men, told of his burial in a sepulchre.
Isaiah likely rejoiced as he was shown there was a great purpose in the first coming of Jesus, the Messiah. For Isaiah was shown that the atonement for our sins that the first coming of Jesus, and its resultant crucifixion and resurrection provided.
"...wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities... for the transgression of my people was He stricken... thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."
Therefore, Isaiah knew that Jesus would come as the Lamb of God and become the sacrifice for our sins:
"He is brought as a lamb."
Paul knew that Jesus had been made the cornerstone, upon which was laid the iniquity of those in the Old Testament, and of those in the New Testament. A cornerstone united two walls, and bore the weight of both walls. He likely knew that by the revelation of Isaiah:
I Corinthians 3:11
"For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, Who is Jesus Christ."
"The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah knew of a second coming of the Messiah, for he spoke of such:
"For the mountains shall depart and the hills removed."
This verse referred to the prophecy of the splitting of the Mount of Olives, and the leveling of other mountains at the time of the second coming. (Ezekiel 47, Zechariah 14:1-5)
Though many would reject the Messiah in His first coming, Isaiah knew that some would find in this first coming, a "sanctuary":
"He shall be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense both the houses of Israel, and for a gin (a noose for catching animals), and for a snare to the inhabitant of Jerusalem."
The ministry of the church has found this to be so true, for when Jesus, the Messiah is preached, some accept Him as:
1. a sanctuary -- a place of refuge and worship.
2. a stone of stumbling -- those who rebel stumble on the truths that were presented at the first coming of Jesus.
3. a rock of offense -- some feel struck and offended by the message of Jesus.
4. a gin and a snare -- some try to run from the message of Jesus, but one cannot escape His message.
When the Messiah would come, Isaiah knew that some would find in Him and in His message, a "light" that would dispel the darkness of sin:
"The people walked in darkness, have seen a great light, they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Apocalypse of Isaiah 4:27
And I saw a certain One, standing, Whose glory and aura outshone all others, and His majesty was awesome.
Isaiah knew much of the ministry of the Messiah, Jesus:
"And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.
And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears.
But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth, and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins."
Isaiah was also shown that the ministry of the Messiah would succeed. Isaiah must have had great joy at his revelations, and greatly encouraged by the truths shown to him in the visions. The part about the crucifixion did not depress Isaiah, for he was shown the future success of the Messiah:
"Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
"...in mercy shall the throne be established, and He shall sit upon it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness."