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7. Isaiah

Image by Ben White

Isaiah 40:3: "A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'"

Matthew 3:3: "This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, 'The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."'

Isaiah is a prophet from the Hebrew Scriptures. 

The country of Israel has now divided after Solomon’s reign. 

  • The northern kingdom is still named Israel.

  • The southern kingdom is called Judah. (Capital - Jerusalem)

Isaiah warns both countries that if they do not behave as they should God will punish them, but when that punishment is finished, then God will bring comfort to the believers. 

Isaiah primarily is talking to Judah, whose capital is Jerusalem. 

The book is set during the last four decades of 700 B.C.E. 


  • Scholars say that there are three people/groups who wrote the book of Isaiah. They divide the book from chapters 1-39, 40-55, and 56-66. 

  • Why do you think this may have happened? 

  • Isaiah is the longest prophetic book in the Bible. 

  • Isaiah’s children have symbolic names. 

  • The longest name in the Bible is his son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (invaders are coming soon.)

  • To get his point across, Isaiah walks naked for three years. (I don’t recommend this.) Isaiah 20:2-4

  • Other prophets during this period: Micah, Hosea and Amos. (Minor Prophets)

Kid Explanation: Exile

Exile in the Bible was when God's people, the Israelites, were taken away from their homeland to live in another place. This happened because they disobeyed God's rules and didn't worship God the way they were supposed to. During exile, they felt sad and missed their home very much. But even in a strange land, God didn't forget them. God promised to bring them back home one day. 

Image by Mick Haupt

Cyrus the Great: The empire he developed was centered on Persia and included Media, Ionia, Lydia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. He appears in the Bible as the liberator of the Jews held captive in Babylon. He died battling nomads in Central Asia. His legacy is the founding not only of an empire but of a culture and civilization that continued to expand after his death and lasted for two centuries. He has long been revered by Persians almost as a religious figure. 


Definition of Prophet: Prophets are often thought to be people who can foretell the future. This is not completely accurate. Many times the prophets in the Bible are either writing after the fact, therefore trying to explain why the defeat of God’s people occurred. If they are writing during the period, then they already know the threats from the surrounding countries. The stories in the prophetic books are often written in prose and the prophesies in poetry.


Christians often use the book of Isaiah to say that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies made by Isaiah 700 years before Jesus’ birth. Therefore making Jesus the messiah that the Jews were looking for deliverance. Do you know what is going to happen 700 years from now? The author of Isaiah probably didn’t either. 

Most scholars think that the author of Isaiah was referring to the Persian King Cyrus when talking about a "messiah". Remember it was Persia, led by King Cyrus, who finally freed Judah from the Babylonian exile. 

Compare the Book of Isaiah with the New Testament

If Isaiah was not writing about Jesus, how do we faithfully use these comparisons? 

  • Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22-23: Virgin birth. 

  • Isaiah 6:9-10 and Matthew 3:3: Hearing and not understanding.

  • Isaiah 9:6-7 and Matthew 8:17: It highlights how Jesus' healing ministry fulfills Isaiah's prophecy to Matthew.  

  • Isaiah 11:1-16 and Matthew 13:14-15: This pair demonstrates how Isaiah's vision of a righteous ruler from the stem of Jesse, bringing peace and justice, aligns with Jesus' teachings and the response of people to His message. (Do you know who Jesse is?)

  • Romans 15:12 referencing Isaiah 11:10: This verse in Romans highlights the universal reach of Jesus' love.  It draws from Isaiah's prophecy about the root of Jesse, who will rise to rule over the Gentiles and be their hope. (Who is this Jesse guy?)

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