Isaiah, one of the most beloved and quoted prophets, spoke to events of his own time, predicted events of our time, and saw to the end of days.
Isaiah 1, Rebellion of Judah
In the first four chapters, Isaiah writes of God's displeasure with the Southern Kingdom of Judah and its capitol, Jerusalem. In addition to speaking of Israel then, he speaks to us of our own situation.
Isaiah 1-2, The Process of Prophecy
In God's dealing with Israel, there is a definite process of prophecy. When Israel strays, the first message of the prophet is, "Repent." If they do repent, the process ends there and the prophet was successful. If not, the prophet begins speaking in parables, words of truth that will not be understood because exile is decreed. Finally Israel goes into exile at the hand of a gentile nation.
Isaiah 2-4, A Corrupt Society
Isaiah lists the details of why God is displeased with Judah and Jerusalem. This is a very sobering passage of Scripture; because, allowing for differences in language, every detail could be said of the United States today.
Isaiah 5, The Vineyard of the Lord
God describes Israel as a vineyard that has produced wild grapes instead of the useful ones He desired. In a lament, He asks what more He could have done to prevent this sad result. The answer being, 'Nothing,' He decides to remove His hand of protection and blessing. The lesson is that God will not continue to bless a nation that has become wicked.
Isaiah 6-7, Lest They Turn and Be Healed
Isaiah receives his commission directly from the Throne of God. He is told to speak to Israel in a way that they will not understand so that they will not turn from their wickedness and be healed. This teaches us that there can come a point where a nation has fallen so far that the only remedy is destruction and exile. In that event, God hides His face and speaks in parables.
Isaiah 8-9, Exile of the Northern Kingdom
Isaiah prophesies the exile of Israel by the Assyrians. He tells them that the Torah both predicts and explains what is about to happen. Once Israel abandons the Covenant and ignores the chastening God sends to get their attention, His Covenant specifies defeat and exile. In the midst of this gloom, He promises the Messiah.
Isaiah 9-10, God Keeps the Covenant
To understand what God was doing to the Northern Kingdom, they should have referred to Leviticus 26. There Moses describes how God would react if Israel does not walk according to the covenant. His chastening would be designed to get their attention and cause them to repent. If they didn't get the message, the intensity would increase up to the point of exile. This section also describes God's disposition of Assyria.
Isaiah 11-13, And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
The New Heaven and New Earth will be as God planned it in the Garden. Man will have dominion in peace instead of by force. This will be preceded by the destruction of Babylon and the salvation and reunification of Israel.
Isaiah 14, O Day Star, Son of the Dawn
Projecting the regathering of Israel, the prophet describes the ultimate disposition of Babylon. In this it becomes clear that the spiritual authority behind earthly Babylon is none other than Satan.
Isaiah 15-19, Destruction of Moab
Moab, named for one of the sons of Lot, is to be destroyed. This oracle explains that Moab's pride caused her to exacerbate the suffering of God's people during the time when Israel was being chastened by the Lord. Even though Israel's misery was caused by God, He judged the nations involved in that chastening when they engaged in 'unnecessary roughness' against His people.
Isaiah 18-20, Oracles of Cush and Egypt
Cush and Egypt were allies of Israel during the time of the Assyrian conquest. Since the Assyrians were God's chosen instrument, they proved insufficient. Also during these chapters we get a look forward to Apostolic times when peace would reign from Egypt to Syria.
Isaiah 21-22, Babylon has Fallen
In this oracle, the fall of Babylon is not a good thing. Historically Babylon rebelled against the Assyrians, drawing them away from Israel and the west. Israel hoped for the success of that rebellion but was to be disappointed. In light of those events, Jerusalem would be besieged by the Assyrians.
Isaiah 23, Oracle About Tyre
Tyre, situated on an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, was the premier Phoenician city of its day. Much of its wealth was derived from an alliance with Israel under David and Solomon. Several land based empires attempted to conquer it. Tyre withstood Nebuchadnezzar but finally fell to Alexander. This oracle foretells those events.
Isaiah 24, Judgment of the Earth
The earth is defiled by its inhabitants who have transgressed the everlasting covenant. That covenant, the one made with Noah, imposes duties and restrictions on gentiles as well as Hebrews. In the end, the consequences of that transgression are world wide.
Isaiah 25-26, He Will Swallow up Death
The fear of death is a veil spread over the nations. It is also a great help to Satan who uses fear to persuade and control people. Messiah's sacrifice has removed the sting of death for believers and at the LORD of hosts' feast He will swallow it up forever.
Isaiah 27-28, Cornerstone in Zion
Both Ephraim and Judah have fallen into apostasy and have made 'covenants' with the pagan gods of the underworld. God has laid a cornerstone in Zion which will be the origin of the plumb line of truth. This cornerstone, the Messiah will, sweep away the refuge of lies (pagan gods) that Israel foolishly trusts in.
Isaiah 29, The Process of Exile
Once God has decided that Israel is to go into exile, he initiates a process that will allow the prophet to continue speaking but in a way that will not cause societal healing. To do this, he has the prophet speak in parables, removes sages and turns Scripture into a closed book.
Isaiah 30, Weep No More
In response to the Assyrian invasion, Judah desperately tries to form a military alliance with Egypt. The prophet informs them that their safety does not lie with men. Rather resting in the LORD will bring them salvation.
Isaiah 31-32, Complacent Women
Before the coming of the Righteous King, there will be a time of desolation when the crops will fail and the land will turn to thorns. In that time, upper class women who have been secure in their positions will go into mourning for the loss of their luxury.
Isaiah 33-34, Sword in Heaven
The sword of the Lord, having drunk its fill in heaven turns to the earth. This passage describes the march of Y'shua from Bozrah, up through Edom to Zion. That process is His recompense for what Edom and the nations have done to His people.
Isaiah 35-36, Invasion
In this historical interlude, the Assyrian Rabshakeh taunts the inhabitants of Jerusalem hoping they will surrender without a fight. In this he makes the mistake of asserting that Israel's God cannot save them.
Isaiah 37-39, The Sundial Backs Up
Hezekiah, faced with an illness unto death during the Assyrian invasion, prayed for deliverance. God answered his prayer, granting the king an extra 15 years of life. As a sign of His favor, God backed up the shadow on the sundial by ten steps. The effects of this event are recorded as well in secular history.
Isaiah 40, Comfort My People
Change of subject from the Assyrian invasion to a long prophetic section of the book. Here the prophet looks forward to the exile of Judah, the coming of the Messiah and the eventual return of the nation. The futility of idols and God's love for His people will be a recurring theme in the following chapters.
Isaiah 41-42, Behold My Servant
When Isaiah speaks of the servant of the Lord, sometimes he means Israel, sometimes the Messiah. Discerning which can sometimes be difficult. In this passage, it seems to be the Messiah.
Isaiah 42-43, My Blind Servant
Beginning with 'Sing to the Lord a new song,' this section goes on to explain that the servant of the Lord (Israel in this case) has been scattered because of spiritual blindness. It goes on to promise that God will redeem Israel and cure that blindness.
Isaiah 44, You are My Witnesses
Men are continually tempted to make and worship idols. The prophet mocks that as foolishness and holds Israel up as a witness to the power of God in contradistinction to the futility of idolatry.
Isaiah 45-46, Cyrus the Persian
Isaiah, writing almost a century and a half before the event, predicted the rise and career of Cyrus the Persian. He asserted that all of Cyrus' military success was attributable to the hand of God and that Cyrus would send Judah back to their land after the Babylonian exile. This prophecy so impressed the king that he not only released the Jews but financed the rebuilding of the Temple.
Isaiah 47-48, Daughter of the Chaldeans
Isaiah's prophecy was written more than a century before the Babylonian exile; yet there he predicted the exile, return and the ultimate destruction of the ancient system of rebellion and false worship represented by Babylon. In this he reaches all the way to the end times.
Isaiah 49, Messiah will Restore
The Messiah will bring the scattered exiles of Jacob back to the Land. Their numbers will be so great that the current boundaries of Israel will not suffice. In this, Isaiah prefigures the greater Exodus written of in Jeremiah 16.
Isaiah 50-51, Cup of Staggering
Because of Zion's sins, God will make / has made them drink from the cup of staggering. Once that cup has been drained, His wrath will be complete and Zion will be restored in glory. The exile of Judah was yet future to Isaiah's time. Their complete restoration is yet future to us.
Isaiah 54, Like the Days of Noah
God's promise for the restoration of Israel and Jerusalem. Just as He made a covenant never again to flood the earth, here He promises never again to be angry with His people.
Isaiah 57-58, Whom Did You Dread
The prophet rhetorically asks who or what was so intimidating that Israel turned to idols rather than fearing God. Part of the answer is that God seemed remote and uncaring whereas idols offered immediate gratification.
Isaiah 59-60, The Spider's Web
God rebukes Israel for not using the legal system to promote justice. Rather they are using the courts as simply another venue for social competition. In doing this they have woven a web of laws and regulations designed to ensnare the innocent. The same charge could be leveled against us today.
Isaiah 61-62, Ministers of Our God
Writing of the future restoration of Israel, Isaiah invokes images of the priests and Levites in the Wilderness camp. They were supported by the rest of the nation so that they could devote their time and energy to maintaining and serving in the Tabernacle. When Israel assumes its proper role as a nation of priests, they will then be supported by the nations.
Isaiah 63, The Winepress
Upon His return, the Messiah will lead His army and will extract vengeance upon His enemies. Throughout Scripture, a winepress is associated with God's judgment upon the wicked. At the end of the chapter, there is a prayer for mercy and the return of the exiles.
Isaiah 64-65, The Potter
Writing over a century prior to the Babylonian exile, Isaiah writes of Israel's plea from exile. There they will acknowledge that God is the potter and they are clay in His hands. This expression of sincere contrition will be the catalyst that begins the process of restoration.
Isaiah 65-66, Peace Like a River
When this creation has served its purpose, there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. There peace will flow to Jerusalem like a river.