(Through The Bible) – Book of Isaiah 1: Zac Poonen (Transcript)

Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on ‘Book of Isaiah’ (Part 1) which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.

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Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher

Let’s turn to the book of Isaiah. Now we come to the prophetical section of the Old Testament. We finished the historical section and the poetical section, which was Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.

Now we come to the PROPHETIC SECTION, on from Isaiah to Malachi. And Isaiah and Jeremiah are the longest prophecies, then Ezekiel. So therefore, some of these are put first, and they call them Major Prophets, up to Daniel.

But in terms of time, I think it’s good for us to know, the details are mentioned here, usually at the beginning of each prophecy, during which kings’ time, like here in chapter 1, verse 1, when they prophesied.

So first of all, I’d like to give you a BRIEF OVERVIEW of the time at which these different prophets, that we’re going to study up to Malachi, prophesied in terms of time, so that you have an idea as to who all were living at the same time, and who all prophesied at the same time, then you compare their prophecies when you get time, and maybe you learn something spiritually from that.

Now we know the two great prophets, that we studied in Kings — 1 Kings and 2 Kings, were Elijah and Elisha. And they prophesied, these dates are approximate, about 875 years before Christ, and up to about 800 years before Christ. A period of about 75 years, Elijah and Elisha prophesied.

And then, from about 800 years before Christ, till about 400 years before Christ, there was this period of 400 years, 800 BC to 400 BC, when all these prophets, that we’re going to study, prophesied. That is after the death of Elisha.

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And the first three prophets were prophets to Israel. You know, Elijah and Elisha were both to Israel. I told you there are two kingdoms: the northern kingdom of ten tribes; the southern kingdom called Judah, of two tribes. Elijah and Elisha prophesied in the northern kingdom. And three prophets prophesied also in the northern kingdom of Israel.

From about 790 BC till about 715 BC. The first was Jonah, then Amos, and then Hosea. So that’s the chronological order. OK, that’s all. There are no more prophets to Israel, because Israel went into captivity around that time, to Assyria.

THEN THE REMAINING PROPHETS ARE ALL TO JUDAH. And the first of these were Micah and Isaiah, who prophesied around the same time, which was the same time as Hosea was prophesying in Israel. Micah and Isaiah were prophesying in Judah. They were contemporaries. So it’s good to read Isaiah and Micah together, because they were preaching at the same time.

Then the next prophet after that was Nahum. He was alone. And then there was another prophet after that, who was also alone, which was Zephaniah. There was a little bit of overlap that Zephaniah had with Jeremiah, who was the next prophet. Now, the next five prophets, these are all to Judah, remember? We finished with Israel.

The next five prophets all prophesied around the same time, with a little overlap. Some lived longer than the others, and some prophesied maybe twenty, thirty years after one began. The first was Jeremiah, then Habakkuk, Obadiah. And Daniel and Ezekiel were in Babylon, but around the same time. So all these five were around the same time: Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Obadiah, Daniel and Ezekiel, with Daniel and Ezekiel being in Babylon.

Then we have a gap of about fifty years, and from about 520 B.C. onwards to about 480, where Haggai and Zechariah prophesied together.

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And then the last one, just about 430 B.C., was Malachi.

So that gives you a rough idea of where these people prophesied. Isaiah was around 740 B.C., Jeremiah was around 627 B.C. So, if you keep that before you when you study these prophets, you’ll see which all prophecies you can read together to understand what God was saying through different people. I mean, it’s very interesting to see Jeremiah, Habakkuk and Obadiah were all preaching at the same time to Judah, and Daniel and Ezekiel were prophesying at the same time to the Jews in Babylon. So it’s good to have that in mind.

Okay, now we go to Isaiah in CHAPTER 1. The book of Isaiah, we could say, is neatly divided, perhaps more than any other book of the Bible, certainly more than any other book of the Old Testament, into two divisions. And even though these chapter divisions were not inspired, you know, chapter divisions, verse divisions, Isaiah did not divide it up into chapters. Isaiah just wrote continuously. It was only a few centuries ago that people divided up into chapters and verses for us to access it and to refer to it more easily. So there’s nothing inspired about chapter divisions.

But having said that, for ease for us to remember, Isaiah has 66 chapters like the Bible has 66 books. And like the Old Testament of the Bible has got 39 books, and the New Testament has 27 books, Isaiah also is divided into a first section of 39 chapters and a second section of 27 chapters.

And the first section of 39 chapters deals mostly with Old Testament prophecies. And the second section of 27 chapters deals with New Testament prophecies. So that’s a remarkable coincidence, that it’s a little like the whole Bible itself.

And having said that, you got that now, it’s first 39 chapters and the next 27 chapters. One of the most important chapters, or perhaps the most important in the first section, I would say, is CHAPTER 6, where Isaiah sees the throne of the Lord and is commissioned to serve Him.

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So ‘the throne of the Lord’ is a very important topic in Isaiah. God is sovereign and he sees Him there as holy, holy, holy. God’s holiness. God hates sin. God has to judge sin. Everything is based on that. And if we are to serve God, we need to have a vision of that.

And CHAPTERS 40 TO 66, the second half, the most important chapter is definitely ISAIAH 53, where we see the Lamb — the Lamb that is led before the shearers, sheared, slaughtered… prophecy of the cross.

So in CHAPTER 6, we have the Throne. In CHAPTER 53, we have the Lamb. And in Revelation, you see them both together, the Lamb in the midst of the throne in Revelation chapter 5.

But before we get to Revelation, Jesus lived on earth as a Man, as a servant of all people and as a Servant of God. So Isaiah shows us Jesus, particularly in the latter chapters, as the Servant of Jehovah. And since it shows Jesus as the Servant of Jehovah, we see in Him an example for us as we also become servants of the same Lord. And He becomes an example for us to follow as to how we should serve the Lord.

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