Isaiah means: "YHWH is salvation"
Isaiah is: The prince of the prophets. The Shakespeare of Scripture. The evangelical prophet.
The Book of Isaiah is: The Mt Everest of Hebrew prophecy. The Bible in miniature.
To reveal through symbols, reasoned thought, and prophetic promises, a God-centered way of interpreting experience and living in comfort and hope, in order to trust and draw near to the Holy One.
As the first major book of the latter prophets, the Book of Isaiah sounds forth a powerful message whose themes and purposes prove to be largely resonant with—and even foundational to—the writings of the other prophets. The book opens with the identity of the prophet Isaiah and the time of his ministry. Historically, the prophecies concerning the "vision of Isaiah" begin during the reign of Judah's king Uzziah—a time of growing apostasy, idolatry, and national sin. Verse 4 strikes a reverberating cord that echoes throughout the remainder of the book, and even succeeding prophecies, namely that the nation of Israel is "Alas, a sinful nation . . . They have abandoned [Yahweh], They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him."
The holiness of God is a dominant theme from chapter one to the very last chapter, chapter sixty-six. It is the repeated emphasis of God's holiness that more than any other theme is a distinction of Isaiah's message to the people. It is in chapter six that this attribution of Yahweh is most explicitly stressed more than any other place in the Old Testament, in the thrice repeated cry of the seraphim, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts." Isaiah presents God's holiness as something greater than just perfect moral purity, it is seen as a necessary aspect to His majestic being. In 40:18, the holiness of Yahweh is presented in the context of His incomparability to any other conception of deity, indeed in context, to any other thing! “To whom then will you compare Me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.” Furthermore, it is the holiness of God that demands separation from, and wrath against, all sin (cf. 30:12–13; 57:14–15; 58:13–59:2).
It is against this backdrop of divine holiness that a second and corresponding theme is made prominent, namely the sin of the people of Judah. Israel has forsaken her God and has turned to, and trusted in, idols and people (cf. 30:12; 31:1; 42:17). Beginning in chapter one, the message is clear, "Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me." It is within this context that the pronouncements of judgment are repeatedly proclaimed, especially in the first 39 chapters. Indeed, the Holy One of Israel must judge the sin of Israel: "But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness." (5:16).
Since Yahweh is Lord over all creation, over all nations, His holiness is at odds with all who sin and therefore the sin of the nations is presented as another theme of Isaiah. Indeed, His covenant nation Israel has "revolted" against their holy God and will consequently be judged, even by instrumental means of other nations. Yet, the pursuit and enactment of evil by the nations, even as a means of judgment against Israel, is not justifiable in the sight of Yahweh! Isaiah makes it clear that although nations like Assyria may be "the rod of [Yahweh's] anger," God pronounces "woe" upon them (cf. 10:1, 5; 13:5, 11; 14–23).
The stark contrast between God's holiness and the people's sin and the woeful statements of judgment and devastation work to justly magnify another great theme of Isaiah, namely hope in the promises of Yahweh to save, redeem, and deliver! In particular, the foretelling of the "Light," "Child," "Shoot/Branch," "Stone," "Servant," and "Redeemer" furnishes a compelling hope and encourages repentance, trust, and faithfulness to God and His word (cf. 57:14–19; 60:16; 61:1–3; 66:1-2).
It is clear that the purpose of this book was to reveal why judgment was imminent upon Israel, that Yahweh is holy and cannot have fellowship with sin! It presents indictments, woes, warnings, and judgments, as well as profound promises of grace and redemption—though undeserved—for those who repent and trust in the "Holy One of Israel" (cf. 45:24).
Chapter 1: A call to hear the word of the LORD, an introductory indictment against Israel, & redemption Chapter 2: Future days of peace, danger of evil influences, and the LORD alone will be exalted Chapter 3: God's removal of supplies & support, Judah's lack of order and coming judgment; reversal Chapter 4: God's provision for the remaining faithful; the LORD's holiness & glory will overshadow Chapter 5: Vineyard parable, woe, rejection of the Holy One and His word; judgment inevitable Chapter 6: Isaiah's vision of the holiness of God, his commissioning and question Chapter 7: War at hand; the sign that God will provide; trials are coming Chapter 8: Assyria to take Damascus and Samaria; a call to be broken and repent and fear God Chapter 9: Prophecy of the birth and reign of the Prince of Peace; Israel's wickedness burns Chapter 10: The 'Rod' of God's anger: Assyria, her own arrogance, and judgment; remnant to return Chapter 11: Branch of Jesse to come, His righteousness & reign; a remnant will remain Chapter 12: Praise and thanksgiving to God for what He will do Chapter 13: Babylon: God's instrument; The fury of God; Foretelling: Medes will take over Babylon Chapter 14: The LORD's judgment against Babylon, Assyria, and Philistia Chapter 15: The LORD's judgment against Moab Chapter 16: The LORD's judgment against Moab to their destruction Chapter 17: Foretelling the ruin of Damascus and the LORD's rebuke of Israel's oppressors Chapter 18: Cush will see and come to give homage to Yahweh Chapter 19: Egypt will be disillusioned & dismayed; God will send them a Savior & they will know Him Chapter 20: Future shame of Egypt and Cush who were once the hope and the boast of the coastlands Chapter 21: Oracles concerning the fall of Babylon, and oracles concerning Edom and Arabia Chapter 22: Oracle concerning the valley of vision; Eliakim & his firm peg a lesson that all will give way! Chapter 23: The oracle concerning Tyre and its fall Chapter 24: The judgment of the earth, hosts of heaven and kings on earth, and the glory of God Chapter 25: The exaltation of Yahweh and the rejoicing and gladness of His salvation Chapter 26: A song of trust, allegiance, and confidence in Yahweh as well as His vindication Chapter 27: Yahweh's wrath and Israel's deliverance Chapter 28: The judgment/devastation of Ephriam; Rebuke of Judah; Costly cornerstone & warnings Chapter 29: Warning and woe to God's city and His people & the promise of redemption Chapter 30: Rebuke against trusting in false comforters (Egypt); Repent for God is gracious & just Chapter 31: A call to trust in God and not man; Repent and trust in God who is mighty in judgment Chapter 32: The coming reign of a righteous king; justice will prevail Chapter 33: Coming destruction of those who destroy; the fear & salvation of Yahweh Chapter 34: The LORD's indignation against the nations & the destruction of Edom Chapter 35: The recompense of God will come; Israel's glorious future Chapter 36: Sennacherib seizes cities of Judah; Rabshakeh's warning to Jerusalem Chapter 37: Hezekiah seeks a word from God, prays, then receives a word; Assyrians killed Chapter 38: Hezekiah's illness, prayer, and recovery Chapter 39: Hezekiah shows the treasury to Babylon's gift bearers; Isaiah prophecies exile Chapter 40: The comfort of Yahweh; His holy majesty and His strength Chapter 41: Promise of blessing, comfort, & strength by the only true God who knows the future Chapter 42: The promise of the Servant of the LORD; His longsuffering & peoples blindness Chapter 43: God's love and redemption of Israel, His witnesses; Fall of Babylon; Sin of Israel Chapter 44: God will bless Israel, for He alone is the true/living God; Idolatry; God is redeemer Chapter 45: The exclusivity of YHWH & His calling of Cyrus; His might in creation & salvation Chapter 46: The impotence of idols & sovereign power of God who is righteous Chapter 47: Shame & vengeance coming to Babylon—there is no salvation for them from YHWH Chapter 48: Israel's unfaithfulness, God's Redeemer (promises that are faithful) Chapter 49: The LORD's Redeemer brings salvation beyond Israel, though Israel is not forgotten Chapter 50: The LORD's power and Servant to come Chapter 51: Words to those who pursue righteousness Chapter 52: Call for Israel to arise; Good news; The exalted Servant will suffer Chapter 53: The Suffering Servant justifies the many! Chapter 54: The heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication Chapter 55: The wonder of grace and the freedom of salvation Chapter 56: Blessed are those who love the LORD, even beyond Israel Chapter 57: The end of the righteous, rebuke of the deceitful, yet God's wrath will not be forever Chapter 58: True and false (genuine & hypocritical) fasting & Sabbath keeping Chapter 59: Ways of the sinner exposed, sin separates from God, lack of righteousness & need Chapter 60: The glory of the LORD to come upon Zion Chapter 61: Good news of the coming of the LORD's righteousness and recompense Chapter 62: The LORD's promise to Jerusalem, a city not forsaken Chapter 63: The day of vengeance and God's lovingkindness from of old; The LORD is redeemer Chapter 64: Petitions to God for recompense to His adversaries; Confession of sin; Cry for mercy Chapter 65: Rebuke of a rebellious people; Future new heavens and new earth Chapter 66: Holiness and humility; Hypocrisy rebuked; Future joy, glory, & flames of retribution