How Can We Know When a Message
Has Not Been Spoken by the LORD?
In 40:1-2 Isaiah wrote a prologue to the last section of the book. In this last section, Isaiah gives a three-point message. First, that her warfare had been completed. Each section ends with a statement about the state of the wicked. And Isaiah 48:22 says: There is no peace, says ADONAI, for the wicked. Thus, Chapter 48 ends this first section.
In Chapters 40 through 47, Isaiah has been dealing with the bottom third of the Cone of Isaiah (to see link click Hl – The Cone of Isaiah). Each part deals with a servant of the LORD. In this bottom part, he has been dealing with the nation of Isra’el in captivity and sums up what has been said about Cyrus and the return to the Land from Babylon. He will not discuss these topics for the remainder of the book. Later, in the middle part, the believing remnant will arise out of the nation, and finally the point of the cone will be the Messiah who will arise out of the believing remnant of Isra’el. But in Chapter 48, Isaiah will bring these nine chapters together. It is a summary of Chapters 40 through 47, in the course of which he is going to give one of the clearest presentations of the Trinity in the entire TaNaKh.
ADONAI’s strongest case against idolatry in Chapters 40 through 47 has been the fulfillment of prophecy. But the fulfillment of prophecy carries with it certain demands and obligations. And that is what Isaiah is going to detail in Chapter 48. What God is doing here is subjecting Himself to the test of a prophet (see Deuteronomy 18:20-22). The key test of a prophet according to Moses was that he had to prove himself by giving some near predictions. Then only if those near predictions came to pass, according to the very letter of the prophecy, only then could that prophet be trusted to be accurate on prophecy very far in the future. So here, God is subjecting Himself to the test of a prophet. In Chapters 40 through 47 He had made various prophecies; near historical prophecies regarding the coming of Cyrus and deliverance from the Babylonian captivity, and far eschatological prophecies regarding the ultimate and final restoration of the Jews under the Messiah in the Messianic Kingdom. Therefore, in Chapter 48 He is going to subject Himself to the test of a prophet. Chapter 48 is really speaking to the generation of Isra’el about 200 years later, at the close of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. He will force the Jews of that generation to conclude that what ADONAI said concerning His near historical prophecies were indeed fulfilled; therefore, they have a two-fold obligation. First, respond to the commands of the LORD. And two, believe God regarding the far eschatological prophecies.