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Isaiah: Zion's Disaster, Deliverance, and Destiny

For OT Prophets & Writings 2-3a, MST, sem. 2, 2014
by

Andrew Brown

on 30 July 2015

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Transcript of Isaiah: Zion's Disaster, Deliverance, and Destiny

Isaiah: Zion's Disaster, Deliverance, and Destiny
THEOLOGICAL and APPLICATION QUESTIONS
THEMATIC QUESTIONS
LITERARY QUESTIONS
NEW TESTAMENT (i.e. GOSPEL) APPLICATION and LATER RECEPTION
HISTORICAL QUESTIONS
QUESTIONS of COMPOSITION
What is Isaiah mainly about?
How does Isaiah's message and legacy compare to those of other OT prophets?
What happens to Zion as the book proceeds?
Can we integrate the Zion theme into our biblical understanding of the Kingdom of God?
How is the book of Isaiah structured?
Can we find any similarities between the beginning and the end of the book?
What is the role of the few historical narratives?
How is language used to communicate the prophetic message?
What are key words and motifs (punchy ideas that are reused)?
E.g. "Holy One of Israel"
"Daughter (of) Zion"
Is there an overall flow of ideas?
How did Isaiah's prophecies make it into book form?
Who wrote the content? Did others edit it?
Was it a single written piece from the start?
How was it transmitted? Orally? In writing?
Who was Isaiah the prophet?
When did he prophesy?
What was Judah's situation at the time? What was the regional situation?
What was his society like at that time?
What other historical settings apply to the content of Isaiah, other than Isaiah's career setting?
(I.e. is there any other setting for the publication of the book of Isaiah than Isaiah's own life setting?)
What does this account tell us about the nature and ways of God?
How does it portray the character of humans?
Does it offer any hope for people to be related securely to God? Israel only, or Gentiles as well?
What truths here can I use in ministry or teaching?
Later Old Testament reflections of content of Isaiah?
Significance in intertestamental and early Jewish works
Use of Isaiah's text and teaching in the New Testament
Most quoted OT prophet by far in NT
Most alluded to OT book in NT
Early church understanding
Later appearance in Christian thought and wider culture
Contemporary culture?
Disaster for Zion (1-12)
Prologue of judgment (1)
Judgment flanked by final hope (2-4)
Vineyard song and woes (5)
The call and commission of Isaiah (6)
Historical crisis #1: Ahaz faces Aram and Ephraim (7)
Assyria, the true threat (8)
Hope of the north: the seed of David (9:1-7)
Anger against the northern kingdom (9:8-10:4)
The conceited club, the remnant, a shooting stump and a song of praise (10:5-12:6)
Historical crisis #2: Hezekiah faces Assyria
Babylon (13:1-14:23)
Assyria (14:24-27) and the Philistines (14:28-32)
Moab (15-16)
Damascus (17)
Cush (Sudan) (18)
Egypt (19:1-15)
Egypt, Assyria, Israel redeemed together (19:16-25)
Egypt & Cush (20)
Babylon & Arabia (21)
Jerusalem and two individuals (22)
Tyre (23)
Hope flanked by global judgment (24-27)
The restored vineyard (27)
Disaster for the Nations (13-23)
Disaster and Deliverance for Zion (24-35)
God's day of vengeance on the nations (34)
The blooming desert (35)
Comfort and Homecoming (40-48)
A Suffering Servant and a Re-Wed Widow
(49-55)
The Darkness and the Dawn (56-66)
41:1-4
41:8-16
42:1-7
49:1-7
50:4-9
52:13-53:12
61:1-3
Theology
Text
History
Deliverance and Foreboding of Disaster (36-39)
Isaiah became known in Christian tradition as the 'fifth Gospel'. Why might that be so? How can the Gospel message be perceived in the book of Isaiah?
Core Goal
to understand how the book of Isaiah straddles three different faith crises faced by Israel/Judah,
The Syro-Ephraimite crisis of c. 733 BC
The Assyrian crisis of c. 701 BC
The Babylonian exile 586-538 BC
...and points the way forward for believing Israel especially in the face of exile, in a way that foreshadows the New Testament gospel.
now regarding as a process of augmentation rather than of a combination of separate documents
implies the origin of these oracles prior to 722 BC
Woes for those who help themselves, and God's help for those who cannot (28-33)
Probable setting is nearer the Assyrian crisis of 701, after the northern kingdom has fallen
opening judgment theme
Assyria theme
...but note the rebuke of Ephraim (i.e. the northern kingdom) in 28:1-4.
Isaiah 40-66
62:1
62:11
64:10
66:8
1:8, 27
2:3
3:16
4:3, 5
8:18
10:12
10:24
12:6
14:32
16:1
18:7
31:4, 9
33:5, 14
33:20
33:24
34:8
35:10
37:22
37:32
40:9
41:27
46:13
49:14
51:3, 11, 16
52:1-2, 7-8
Isaiah 'Zion' References
24:23
28:16
29:8
30:19
59:20
60:14
61:3
Babylon disgraced (46-47)
"There is no peace...for the wicked." (48:22)
Woman Zion restored (54)
"There is no peace...for the wicked." (57:21)
The figure of 61:1-3 appears to combine anointed prince (45:1), Spirit-gifted servant (42:1) and king (11:2) + other roles introduced earlier in the book.
= kinds of questions we might ask about any prophetic book...
What did we learn from our earlier discussion re C8th history in Israel/Judah?
Every piece of writing has one eye on audience needs. How might Isaiah as a finished product address audience needs or interests?
Again, these are questions applicable to any prophetic book.
Answering this question requires us to consider possible settings for 'publication'.
GEN
EXOD
LEV
NUM
DEUT
JOSH
JUDG
SAM
KGS
1-2
CHR
EZRA
-NEH
DAN
ECCL
SOS
ESTH
LAM
RUTH
PROV
JOB
PSA
EZEK
JER
ISA
The Takeaway
The complex, epic book of Isaiah demonstrates that God may choose either to save (e.g. from Assyria) or judge (e.g. using Babylon) his people, but after judgment restores once again. He particularly chooses to bring about salvation through a declaring prophet, or a faithful servant, or an anointed king, or perhaps, eventually, all three at once.
= alternative boundary marker
The Holy One of Israel (40)
A Servant, a Strategy & a Mission of Mercy (41:1-44:23)
The Agent of Redemption (Cyrus) (44:24-45:25)
The Urgency of Redemption (48)
The Mighty One of Jacob (49)
The Author of Redemption (50:1-52:12)
The Atoning Servant
The Offer of a New Covenant (55)
The Importance of True Righteousness (56-59)
The Dawn of Zion (60-62)
The Sheep and the Goats among the People of God (63:1-65:16)
A New Heavens and a New Earth (65:17-66:24)
God judges Judah's sin through Assyria,
but protects his people from complete destruction.
God permits the destruction of Jerusalem through a foreign empire, Babylon, on account of her sin, but now saves and restores her through a foreign emperor, Cyrus. But even a restored people of God remains accountable for righteousness before a holy God.
A high & holy God (6:1-3)
An unclean and unresponsive people (6:5, 10)
An inevitable judgment (6:11-13)
An atoning Servant (53)
An everlasting covenant (55:1-3)
An accountable life (55:6-7)
An invincible God (55:11)
The Eighth-Century Prophets
750 BC
700 BC
"The year that King Uzziah died," Isa. 6:1
Syro-Ephraimite Crisis (Isa. 7); Fall of Damascus
722
Fall of Samaria
Uzziah (-c. 742)
Jotham (c. 746-731)
Ahaz (731-715)
Hezekiah (715-686)
Jeroboam II (-c. 749)
Menahem/Pekah/Pekahiah (752-732)
Hoshea (732-722)
Assyrian rulers
Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727)
Shalmanezer V
Sargon II (722-705)
Sennacherib (704-681)
(726-722)
701
Assyrian siege of Jerusalem
<<Jonah
Amos
Isaiah (742-700+)
Micah (<732-715+)
Hosea (<742-715+)
742
733-
32
The Prophets of Judah's Dying Days
Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562)
600 BC
Nabonidus
(556-539)
Babylonian rulers
Assyria
Nabopolassar (625-605)
Battle of Carchemish:
extinction of the Assyrian Empire
605
609
Death of Josiah (641-609)
597
Jehoiachin submits to Babylon/ first deportation
586
Jerusalem destroyed/
Zedekiah executed/
second deportation
561
Jehoiachin's release from confinement
Jeremiah (627-c. 580)
Zephaniah
Habakkuk
<< Nahum
Ezekiel (593-571)
Obadiah
Daniel (605-538+) >>
Full transcript