THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITON
Isaiah: Yahweh Is Salvation
I. An Apologetic For The Divine Inspiration Of The Book Of Isaiah
A. The book of Isaiah predicts more about the Person and work of Jesus Christ than any other Old Testament book, making it of immense value to members of the Christian faith, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 968.
B. However, "many modern scholars divide the book into two or more parts and say that each part had a different author," thereby undermining its single authorship, and thus its divine inspiration, B. K. C., O. T., p. 1029.
C. Since 1 Peter 3:15 directs us Christians to be ready to give an answer for our faith, before starting a study of the book itself, we do an apologetic study in support of the divine inspiration of the book of Isaiah as follows:
II. An Apologetic For The Divine Inspiration Of The Book Of Isaiah.
A. Liberal Theology critics of the eighteenth century countered the divine inspiration of Isaiah as follows:
1. Some critics claimed that Isaiah 1-39 was written by a different author than the author of Isaiah 40-66, that author of Isaiah 40-66 being called by them "Deutero-Isaiah," Ibid., Ryrie.
2. This "Deutero-Isaiah" author was said by these critics to have lived around 540 B. C. after the Babylonian Captivity, and some other critics felt that a third writer, "Trito-Isaiah," wrote chapters 56-66 while even other critics felt insertions and editing had occurred by other writers as late as the first century B. C., Ibid.
B. However, each such criticism has been adequately countered by conservative Bible scholarship (as follows):
1. A key presupposition by Liberal Theology critics of the book of Isaiah is that true prophecy is impossible, meaning that one must explain alleged prophecies in the Bible in terms of authorship that occur after the events occur, Ibid. However, a prophet who lived three centuries before his era predicted the life and deeds of King Josiah (1 Kings 13:2) and Bethlehem was named as the birthplace of Messiah seven centuries before He was born there (Micah 5:2). Also, there were near-term prophecies in Isaiah 1-39 that could easily be a test in the author's era for his credibility as a prophet (Isa. 7:16; 8:4; 37:33-35; 38:8), and there were also more long-term prophecies reaching well beyond his time (Isa. 9:1-2; 13:17-20), Ibid.
2. Then, if "Deutero-Isaiah" lived in Babylon as was held by Liberal Theology critics, he showed little knowledge of Babylonian geography but great familiarity with Palestine (Is. 41:19; 43:14; 44:14), Ibid.
3. Many critics have divided up the book of Isaiah into different books by different authors due to differences in language and style, but other notable authors like Milton, Goethe and Shakespeare used varying kinds of language and styles in their works, but no critic charges them as being forgeries, Ibid.
4. In fact, 40 to 50 sentences and phrases appear in both Isaiah 1-39 and 40-66 that argue for a single author for both segments (cf. Isaiah 1:20 with 40:5 and 58:14; 11:6-9 with 65:25; 35:6 with 41:18 et al.), Ibid.
5. In John 12:38-41, quotations from Isaiah 6:9-10 and 53:1 appear together and are attributed to Isaiah who saw the Lord in the temple vision in Isaiah 6, and quotations from Isaiah 40-66 are found in Matthew 3:3; 12:17-21; Luke 3:4-6; Acts 8:28 and Romans 10:16, 20, and in each case they are attributed to Isaiah, not to another author of the book such as a "Deutero-Isaiah," a "Trito-Isaiah" or anyone else, Ibid.
6. In addition, the Isaiah scroll dated 150 B. C. discovered at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) has Isaiah 40:1 starting on the same page that the last verse in Isaiah 39 ends (Z. P. E. B., v. Three, p. 321); since this copy of Isaiah, held by the reclusive Essenes at the Dead Sea would have been at least a copy of a copy, at least several hundred years before Christ, the book of Isaiah was considered written by a single author!
7. Isaiah 53, written at least hundreds of years before Christ according to the Qumran discovery, predicts Christ's substitutionary atonement (Isaiah 53:5), His death as a sin offering (Isa. 53:10b), His burial (Isa. 53:9), His resurrection (Isa. 53:10c), the Gospel by which acknowledging faith in Him will produce justification (Isa. 53:11) and Christ's current intercessory work (Isa. 53:12d), remarkably central, important doctrines of the Christian faith long before the Christian faith ever historically existed!
Lesson: The book of Isaiah was authored by one man, a true prophet of God named Isaiah, who accurately predicted future events opposite the charges by Liberal Theology. The book is to be believed as part of God's Word, it is to be included in the canon of Scripture and it is to be read, studied and applied as the Word of God.
Application: (1) May we heed the words of Isaiah as God's Word as validated both by an internal study of the book itself as well as by the external testimony of other books of the Bible. (2) May we answer those who challenge its authority in obedience to 1 Peter 3:15, sharing with them the evidences [given above] for its divine inspiration.