Darkness to Light Home Page
Books and eBooks by the Director
The Book of Isaiah:
Excerpts and Comments
By Gary F. Zeolla
Since I recently finished Volume IV: The Prophetic Books for the ALT: OT, for this article, I was going to present excerpts and comments thereupon from all of the prophetic books. But there is so much good stuff in the Book of Isaiah, it is worth having a separate article devoted to just it.
3“An ox knew the one having acquired [him], and a donkey the feeding trough of his master, but Israel did not know Me, and the people did not understand [or, regard] Me” (Isaiah 1:3; ALT).
This verse is why an ox and a donkey are generally seen in nativity scenes. The reason is, the same word I translate as “feeding trough” is used in regards to Jesus in Luke 2:7,12,16. Most versions translate it as “manger.” But people have heard for so long that Mary placed the Baby Jesus in a “manger” that they seem to think it was some kind of crib. But in fact, a manger is “a trough from which livestock eat” (Encarta Dictionary), hence “feeding trough” for my translation.
16“Wash yourselves, become clean; remove the iniquities from* your souls before My eyes; cease from your* iniquities; 17learn to be doing good; diligently seek judgment, deliver [the] one being wronged, judge [or, plead for] an orphan, and declare a widow righteous. 18And come, and let us reason together,” says the LORD; “and though your* sins be as dark red, I will make [them] white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make [them] white as wool. 19And if you* are willing, and obey Me, you* shall eat the good of the land; 20but if you* are not willing, nor obey Me, a sword will devour you*; for the mouth of the LORD spoke these [things!” (Isaiah 1:16-19; ALT).
This is a great paragraph. It shows our responsibility to cease from sin, to do good, and to seek forgiveness, and it offers the promise that the LORD will in fact forgive us and cleanse us from our sins.
20How horrible it will be [to] the ones calling the evil [thing] good, and the good [thing] evil, the ones making the darkness light, and the light darkness, the ones making the bitter sweet, and the sweet bitter. 21How horrible it will be [to] the intelligent in themselves [fig., in their own eyes], and experts before themselves. 22How horrible it will be to the ones being strong of you drinking the wine, and the rulers, the ones mixing the strong drink; 23the ones justifying the ungodly [person] for bribes, and taking away the righteous [thing] of the righteous [person] (Isaiah 5:20-23; ALT).
Given the name of my ministry, anytime darkness and light are mentioned in Scripture it gets my attention. And this passage is powerful. The calling of evil good and good evil is a hallmark of what is happening in the USA today. Isaiah gives the example of continual alcohol drinking. Another example is sexual sin. It is celebrated in the USA, while those who call sexual sin what it is, sin, are decried as being “intolerant.”
1And it happened in the year in which Uzziah the king died, [that] I saw the LORD sitting on a high and having been exalted throne, and the house [was] full of His glory! [see John 12:41] 2And seraphs had stood round about Him; six wings to one and six wings to one [fig., each one had six wings]; and with two they were covering [their] face, and with two they were covering [their] feet, and with two they flew. 3And they cried out, another to the other, and they were saying, “Holy, holy, holy [is] the LORD of hosts; the whole earth [is] full of His glory!” 4And the lintel was lifted up at the voice which they cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5And I said, “Oh! I [am] suffering, for I have been pierced [to the heart]! For being a person, and having unclean lips, I dwell in [the] midst of a people having unclean lips; and I saw with my eyes the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6And there was sent to me one of the seraphs, and he was having in [his] hand a coal, which he took from the altar with the tongs. 7And he touched my mouth, and said, “Behold, this touched your lips, and will take away your iniquities, and will purge off your sins” (Isaiah 6:1-7; ALT).
This passage is powerful. It shows the absolute holiness of the LORD and our total depravity before Him. As such, we cannot, by ourselves, make ourselves worthy to stand in His presence. But forgiveness can come from Him and make us worthy to be in His presence.
6For a Child was born to us, and a Son was given to us, whose rule became upon His shoulder; and His name is called Messenger of Great Counsel. “For I will bring peace upon the princes, peace and health to Him.” [cp. Luke 2:11] 7His rule [will be] great, and of His peace there is no boundary, upon the throne of David, and His kingdom, to establish it and to support it with righteousness and with judgment, from now and into the age [of] time [fig., forevermore]. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. [cp., Luke 1:32,33] (Isaiah 9:6-7; ALT).
This is a well-known passage, especially around Christmastime. But as can be seen, it is worded somewhat differently in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) that the ALT is based on as compared to the Hebrew text. Compare the following NKJV translation of the Hebrew text.
6For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Whether the LXX or the Hebrew text is most accurate is a matter of debate, but it is good to be aware of both readings. And whichever is followed, the same idea is still there.
1And there will come forth a Rod out of the root of Jesse, and a Blossom will come up from the root. 2And [the] Spirit of GOD will rest upon Him, [the] Spirit of wisdom and understanding, [the] Spirit of counsel and strength, [the] Spirit of knowledge and godliness will fill Him; 3[the] Spirit of the fear of GOD. He will not judge according to the glory, nor reprove according to the manner of speech [or, accent]. 4But He will judge [the] justice for a lowly [person], and will reprove the humble of the earth; and He will strike [the] earth with the word of His mouth, and with [the] breath through [His] lips He will destroy [the] ungodly [person]. 5And He will be having been girded around His waist with righteousness, and [His] sides being covered with truth (Isaiah 11:1-5).
This is a wonderful but somewhat scary prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Jesus is coming, to judge, for the lowly but against the ungodly person.
6“And a wolf will graze with a lamb, and a leopard will rest with a young goat; and a young calf and bull and lion will feed together; and a little child will lead them. 7And an ox and bear will feed together; and their young [ones] will be together; and a lion and an ox will eat straw together. 8And a child, an infant will put [his] hand on [the] holes of asps, and on [the] nest of young asps. 9And by no means shall they do harm, and by no means shall they be able to destroy any one on My holy mountain; for the whole [earth] was filled to know the LORD, as much water to cover [the] seas. 10And it will be in that day the Root of Jesse, and the One rising to be ruling nations; in Him [the] nations will hope, and His resting-place will be a place of honor” (Isaiah 11:6-10).
This is a comforting promise of a glandulous future for those who believe in the LORD.
14Therefore the Lord Himself will give to you* a sign: Behold, the virgin will have [fig., conceive] in [the] womb, and will give birth to a Son, and you will call His name Emmanuel [“God with us” – Matt 1:23]. 15Butter and honey He will eat, before He knows either to be preferring evil [or] will choose the good. 16For before the Child to know either good or evil, He refuses wickedness to choose the good; and the land will be forsaken which you fear because of [the] face of the two kings.
This is again a well-known Christmastime prophecy of the Messiah. But note verse 15. Jesus was to eat butter and honey. This is just one of many verses that show Jesus was not a vegan, as some radical vegetarian and animal rights groups try to claim. This subject is addressed at length in my Eating Plan book.
And in that day you will say, “I will bless You, O LORD; for You were enraged with me, but You turned aside Your wrath, and pitied me. 2Behold, my God [is] my Savior; I will be having trusted upon Him, and I will be saved by Him, and I will not be afraid; for the LORD [is] my glory and my praise, and become for salvation to me.” 3So you* will draw water with gladness out of the fountains of salvation. 4And you will say in that day, “Be singing praises to the LORD; be shouting His name; proclaim His glorious [deeds] among the nations; be remembering that His name was exalted! 5Sing praise to the name of the LORD; for He did lofty [things]; proclaim these [things] in all the earth! 6Be exalting and be rejoicing, the ones inhabiting Zion; for the Holy [One] of Israel was exalted in [the] midst of her (Isaiah 12:1-6).
The above is the entire chapter, and what a powerful chapter for just six verses. Isaiah breaks out into a psalm of praise that rivals anything David wrote.
12“How you fell from heaven, the morning star [i.e., in context, a reference to the king of Babylon, but in this paragraph possibly also an allegory about Satan; cp. Ezek 28:11-19], the one rising in the morning! He was crushed to the earth, the one sending [orders] to all the nations. 13But you said in your mind, ‘I will go up to heaven; I will set my throne above the stars of the heaven; I will sit on a lofty mountain, upon the lofty mountains toward the north. 14I will go up above the clouds; I will be like the Most High.’ 15But now you will go down to the realm of the dead [Gr., hades], even to the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 14:12-15).
The note I’ve included in the ALT indicates the importance of this chapter. It possibly shows the origin of Satan.
7For these are having been led astray by wine; they were led astray by strong drink; priest and prophet are out of their minds by wine, they are shaken because the drunkenness of the strong drink; they are led astray; this is [their] vision (Isaiah 28:7).
Isaiah really tears into those who drink alcohol to excess. But this sin is one that is often laughed off in our society.
10Sing to the LORD a new hymn, His dominion; be glorifying His name from [the] end of the earth, the ones going down to the sea, and sailing it; the islands, and the ones dwelling in them! 11Let [the] wilderness rejoice, and the villages of it; [the] homesteads and the ones dwelling [in] Kedar; the ones inhabiting a rock will rejoice, they will shout from [the] tops of the mountains. 12They will give glory to GOD, [and] will proclaim His moral excellences in the islands (Isaiah 42:10-12; ALT).
Isaiah once again breaks out in praise of the LORD. Oh that we would be so inclined to break out in praise of Him!
16Draw near to Me, and hear these [words]; I did not speak in secret from [the] beginning, nor in a dark place of [the] earth; when it happened, there I was, and now the LORD has sent Me and His Spirit.” (Isaiah 48:16).
This verse shows the unity yet diversity of the three Persons of the Trinity.
5And now, thus says the LORD, the One having formed me from [the] womb [to be] a servant to Him, to gather Jacob and Israel to Him. I will be gathered and glorified before the LORD, and my God will be my strength. (Isaiah 49:5).
The above words of Isaiah are a strong affirmation of the personhood of a preborn baby. Not only is this verse a strong argument against abortion, but it is a great comfort to know that God already had plans for us even as He was forming us in the womb.
The New Testament writers quote Isaiah 53 as being a prophecy of Christ’s sufferings for our sins. And reading it in that context, it is very sobering.
4This [One] bears our sins, and suffered pain for us; yet we accounted Him to be in toil, and in misfortune, and in mistreatment. 5But He was wounded because of our sins, and was softened [fig., bruised] because of our sins; [the] discipline of our peace [was] upon Him; [and] by His wound[s] we were healed. [1Peter 2:24; cp., Rom 4:25; Heb 5:8; 9:28] 6All we as sheep were led astray; [every] person was led astray in his [own] way; but the LORD gave Him up for our sins. [cp. 1Peter 2:25]
7And He, because of having been mistreated, did not open [His] mouth; He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and as a lamb before the one shearing, He [was] silent, thus He does not open His mouth. [cp. Matt 26:63; 27:12-14; Mark 14:61; 15:5; Luke 23:9; John 19:9] 8In [His] humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will declare His generation? For His life is taken away from the earth. [Acts 8:32,33] “Because of the iniquities of My people He was led to death. 9And I will give the wicked [people] for His burial, and the rich for His death; for He did no iniquity, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:4-9; ALT).
8“For My counsels are not as your* counsels, nor your* ways as My ways,” says the LORD. 9“But as the heaven is distant from the earth, thus is My way distant from your* ways, and your* thoughts from My mind. 10For as rain shall come down, or snow, from the sky, and by no means shall be returned until it shall saturate the earth, and it shall bring forth, and bud, and give seed to the one sowing, and bread for food; 11thus will My word be; whatever shall proceed out of My mouth, it shall by no means be turned back, until as many [things] as I willed shall be accomplished; and I will prosper your ways and My commandments. 12For you* will go forth with gladness, and will be taught with joy; for the mountains and the hills will leap, welcoming you* with joy, and all the trees of the field will applaud with [their] branches. 13And instead of the bramble will come up a cypress tree, and instead of the nettle will come up myrtle; and the LORD will be for a name, and for an everlasting sign, and will not fail” (Isaiah 55:8-13; ALT).
This paragraph from Isaiah is a strong testament to the absolute sovereignty of God. And that makes its promises that much more assuring.
1[You* say,] “By no means is the hand of the LORD able to save.” Or, “He weighed down His ear to not hear.” 2But your* sins are passing between you* and God, and because of your* sins He turned away His face from you* to not have mercy. 3For your* hands having been defiled with blood, and your* fingers with sins; and your* lips spoke iniquity, and your* tongue meditates unrighteousness (Isaiah 59:1-3).
The above passage shows how much our sin separate us from God.
2“I stretched out My hands the whole day to a people disobeying and opposing, who were not walked in a true way, but after their sins. 3This [is] the people provoking Me continually before Me; they sacrifice in the gardens, and burn incense on the bricks to the demons, which do not exist. 4They sleep in the tombs and in the caves because of dreams, the ones eating swine [or, pig] flesh, [cp. Lev 11:7] and [the] broth of sacrifices; all their vessels having been defiled; 5the ones saying, “[Stay] far from me, do not draw near to me, for I am pure!” This [is the] smoke of My wrath, a fire burns with it all the days [fig., continually]” (Isaiah 65:2-5; ALT).
Most Christians consider the Old Testament dietary laws to be “obscure” injunctions that only appear in the Torah and don’t apply to us today. But in fact, there are many references in the Prophets where God condemns the Israelites for consuming unclean meats. And He places such consumption as being equal to false worship. Most especially, the LORD condemns the eating of swine [or, pig] flesh (see also Isaiah 66:3,17).
In my Eating Plan book, I discuss why it is not wise to eat as such meats as they tend to be unhealthy for one reason or another. And given these strong denunciations in the OT, we know Jesus never ate pig flesh or other unclean meats, as Jesus kept the Law in all points (Isa 53:9; 2Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Peter 2:21f; 3:18; 1John 3:5). And you can be sure the Pharisees would have attacked Jesus on this point if He had eaten pig flesh. But Jesus could confidently say to them, “Who out of you* convicts Me concerning sin?” (John 8:46; ALT3).
As such, I find it very strange that Christians traditionally eat ham on Christmas and Easter. Ham is a food that Jesus never would have eaten. So I simply don’t understand why Christians think eating ham is a good way to celebrate His birth and resurrection. Jesus did not suffer the agony of the cross so you can eat ham. So think about that the next time you plan a Christmas or Easter menu.
Analytical-Literal Translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) - Volume Four - The Prophetic Books - This fourth of five volumes contains the Prophetic Books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). In these books, the LORD, speaking through His prophets, denounces Israel, Judah, and surrounding nations for their sins. These warnings are applicable to us today, as the USA and other nations are now engaging in similar sins. But there is also much uplifting material in these books, with the prophets expressing strong faith in the LORD in the face of hardships.
The Book of Isaiah: Excerpts and Comments. Copyright © 2014 by Gary F. Zeolla.
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
The above article first appeared in
Darkness to Light newsletter.
It was posted on this Web site April 24, 2014.
Analytical-Literal Translation: Main Page
ALT: Old Testament
ALT: Hardcopy and eBook Formats
Subject Index Alphabetical List of Pages
to Light Home Page
Click Here for Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla