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THE BOOK OF ISAIAH VS. FALSE HIGHER TEXTUAL CRITICISM

THE UNITY OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH VS. FALSE HIGHER TEXTUAL CRITICISM

FALSE HIGHER CRITICISM AND POWERLESS PROFESSORS

A SPECIAL PRESENTATION


DESCRIPTION:

This special presentation will expose the fraudulent, faithless, and foolish teaching that has weakened … if not destroyed … the faith of many seminary graduates who once had a bright light in their eye and a goal towards a lifetime of service in both orthodox and conservative synagogues and churches.

Powerless and impotent professors beget powerless and impotent rabbis and ministers. Like things produce like things. It’s not the survival of the fittest that is a problem for evolution … but it is the ARRIVAL of the fittest. In like manner, it is the arrival upon the scene of Spirit-filled, faith believing rabbis and ministers who bring an influx of G-d, His glory, and His miracles into houses of worship.

Many theological seminaries who were once beacons on the hill for truth and the integrity of G-d’s Word have departed from the core belief that the Holy Bible (Tanakh and Brit Chadashah) is the inspired, inerrant word of G-d in entirety. Instead of turning out powerful men and women of G-d, they are producing leaders who at the best are social and theological evolutionists … and at the worst are shepherds for a neutered Mashiach: a powerless Jesus.

I attended the 2011 graduation ceremony at Azusa Pacific University where 1313 graduates were receiving degrees (B.A., Masters, and Ph.D). The speaker, the new President of the University, a Christian pastor of a large Nazarene church and from a family of many ministers, presented the message to the graduates. After listening to his whole speech, I wondered if he ever reads the Holy Bible … or when was the last time he read it. He mentioned that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was 95 when she bore Isaac; he also mentioned that Gideon won the battle against the Midianites with only 30 men. Maybe he is just not good with numbers!

Many seminarians have had their faith destroyed by “mentors of madness.” However, it is not all the fault of the impotent professors. If the students were true scholars, they would at least spend as much time searching for truth as they do listening to the directives of their teachers. Just because a teacher has a Ph.D. does not mean he or she holds truth circumspectly. There are usually just as many Ph.D.’s holding positions on the opposite side of the aisle.

Most lay people are unaware of how different their rabbi’s or pastor’s academic view of the Bible is from their own view. If they were to find out that their rabbi or pastor did NOT believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of G-d in entirety, they would be shocked. Actually, this is no more than fraud on the part of leadership. They are being paid while at the same time leading their congregants or parishioners astray. They usually do NOT tell their people what they believe, unless symantically “masking” their real beliefs.

For example, they do NOT believe that the Holy Prophets could predict events ahead of time. (It makes you wonder how they deal with the prophecy of Bethlehem in Tanakh: Micah 5:2.) They do NOT believe, for example, that G-d could tell Isaiah ahead of time that Cyrus would take Babylon and free the Jews to return to Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-4) This prophecy was given to Isaiah 100 years before Cyrus was born … and called Cyrus by name. This is WHY many synagogues and churches are weak: they have leaders who have been brainwashed by seminary professors to NOT believe in the Word of G-d or in the prophetic ability of the Holy Prophets. (This is usually NOT a problem in yeshivah gedola.)

This transfers to a host of problems: lack of healing, lack of miracles and lack of power; all of which could give glory to G-d and benefit the people of G-d. A lack of TRUE scholarshhip in higher biblical criticism as taught by many seminary professors trickles down and influences the student … many times causing doubt towards the Word of G-d … and at the worst, producing destruction of faith. When a seminarian is taught falsely that there were two … or possibly even three … authors of the Book of Isaiah (Deutero Isaiah, Tertiary Isaiah, etc.), it causes them to doubt the authority of the Holy Bible.

It is for this reason that I am presenting this material to you. I want to prove to you how you can know that Isaiah wrote the Book of Isaiah.



FALSE HIGHER CRITICISM AND POWERLESS PROFESSORS
STD: SEMINARIES TRAINING DOUBTERS

HOW WE KNOW THAT ISAIAH WROTE THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

ISAIAH AND CYRUS THE GREAT – NO DEUTERO-ISAIAH

Editor’s note:
I have been planning on presenting this material for some time;
however, after reviewing the material below by Chuck Missler, I think it
covers everything I would have presented … and more … and better!
_____________________________________________________

The following is a two-part commentary by Chuck Missler
Copyright © Koinonia House Inc. 1994

______________________________________________________________


“Hereupon the Persians who had been left for the purpose at Babylon by the, river-side, entered the stream, which had now sunk so as to reach about midway up a man’s thigh, and thus got into the town.” – Herodotus

In 539 BC, Cyrus son of Cambyses took Babylon without a struggle. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cyrus diverted the course of the Euphrates river, making the river level drop and giving the invading forces the ability to enter into the city that night through the river bed. Nobody noticed them coming in, and the city gates that opened up onto the river were not closed; the Persians were able to just walk into town. Within a year, Cyrus declared that all the Jews captive in Babylon were free to return home to Jerusalem, as described in Ezra Chapter 1.

These two events – the taking of Babylon the Great without a battle and the magnanimous freeing of the Jews soon after – are both remarkable historical events in themselves. What makes them even more notable is the fact that God told about them in Isaiah 44:26-45:1, 13, appointing Cyrus by name 100 years before this son of Cambyses was born.

The Book of Isaiah is one of the most greatly admired and beloved books of the Bible. The New Testament writers quote Isaiah more than all the other Old Testament prophets combined. From a literary point of view, the writing of Isaiah is superb, full of parallelism and euphony; scholars savor Isaiah’s obvious attention to the literary art of his writing.

Beyond his writing skill, Isaiah’s book is filled with prophecies about Judah and the surrounding lands. It also contains a host of very important Messianic prophecies (7:14-16; 9:1-7; 11:1-16; 32:1ff; 42:1-7; 50:5-8; 52:13-15; 61:1-3; 65:17), even describing in detail Jesus’ crucifixion 700 years before it happened.

In Isaiah 44 and 45, God not only describes the ease with which Cyrus would enter the city with the “two leaved gates” (gates that were not even shut against the invaders!) but also notes that He would “loose the loins of kings” before Cyrus – a euphemism regarding the fear these kings would feel and the mess in their pants they’d make as a result. As a matter of fact, about the time Cyrus’ men were entering the city, King Belshazzar, co-regent with his father Nabonidus, was being interrupted in his feast. A hand began to write on the wall to tell Belshazzar that his time was up. Daniel 5:6 puts in not-so-delicate terms how greatly the fear of this sight affected Belshazzar, saying, “his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Who says God isn’t detailed!

In circles of modern liberal criticism, though, it has become popular to dismiss the idea, held for some 2500 years, that Isaiah son of Amoz wrote the entire book credited to his name. Old Testament scholars have found it fashionable to argue that there were at least two “Isaiahs”, perhaps even three or more. These critics argue that it makes no sense for God to have foretold events that would not have taken place during the life of the prophet. They attempt to argue that the character of God in Isaiah 1-39 is far fiercer than the gentle God of Isaiah 40-66, that the language is different in the two sections, and that there are two different views of the Messiah between the first part of Isaiah and that written by the alleged Deutero-Isaiah. Ultimately, they do not believe that Isaiah could have written about Cyrus the Great in 700 BC. They cannot believe that the precise information in that prophecy could have been penned 150 years before it came to pass.

These criticisms can sound scholarly on the surface, but they depend far less on evidence than on a bias against predictive prophecy. While these scholars may believe that a bias against the supernatural – and the power of God to speak through His prophets centuries in advance – is scientific in this modern world, the truth is, it’s still a bias. It’s still just their opinion based on a humanistic worldview.

Honest scholarship strongly supports the historical view that Isaiah ben Amoz wrote the entire book with his name on it.

Historically, Isaiah has always been recognized as the author of all 66 chapters.

  • The Septuagint: When the Septuagint was translated in the 3rd century BC, merely two centuries after Deutero-Isaiah was supposed to have been written, there was no indication that the book had more than one author.
  • The New Testament: The New Testament writers treat the entire book of Isaiah as one book belonging to one author and quote him more than all the other prophets combined. In fact, in John 12:37-41, John quotes from Isaiah chapter 53 and chapter 6 back to back, giving Isaiah credit for both sections.

“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Isaiah 53:1; Romans 10:16

“Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

Isaiah 6:9,10; Mtatthew13:14

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls: An entire copy of the book of Isaiah was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is no separation between Chapters 1-39 and 40-66. In fact, chapter 40 starts on the last line of the same column that ends chapter 39. As Oswald Allis notes, “Obviously the scribe was not conscious of the alleged fact that an important change of situation, involving an entire change of authorship, begins with chapter 40.”

Internally, Isaiah offers extensive evidence of one author:

  • Isaiah’s Hebrew: Throughout all 66 chapters, Isaiah uses pure Hebrew. Unlike Ezra and Nehemiah, which use terminology adopted from Babylon, Isaiah’s Hebrew is free from the vocabulary that the Jews gained during the exile.
  • Jerusalem and the land: The destruction and future healing of Jerusalem are described in chapters 1-39, and Jerusalem is described as still standing in chapters 40-66, demonstrating distant prophecy in the first part of Isaiah and an early date for the end of Isaiah. For instance, in 3:8, Isaiah speaks of Jerusalem as already fallen and destroyed in the context of a prophecy about the future. In 6:11-13, which all agree is a passage by Isaiah son of Amoz, God describes the future destruction of the land followed by the return of the remnant. On the other hand, passages like 40:9 and 62:6 treat Jerusalem and the cities of Judah as still standing, as they were before the Babylonian invasion.
  • Topography: The description of the topography in Isaiah 40-66 is the rocky mountainous land of Judah and not the flat alluvial Fertile Crescent. For instance, 57:5-6 describes the “clifts of the rocks” and the smooth stones of the streams.
  • Themes: Certain themes and terminology are repeated throughout the book. The “highway” theme comes up repeatedly (11:16; 19:23; 35:8; 40:3; 62:10). Isaiah refers to God as “Lord of hosts” repeatedly throughout the entire book.  “The Holy One of Israel” is Isaiah’s distinctive name for God used 12 times in chapters 1-39 and 14 times in chapters 40-66. The phrase is only used six other times in the Bible outside of Isaiah.
  • The significance of idolatry:  Idolatry was a major problem in Judah before the exile, but the post-exilic writers Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi do not mention idolatry even while discussing the nation’s other sins. Yet, in the latter end of his book, Isaiah continues to speak strongly against idolatry (41:29; 44:9-20; 57:4ff; 65:2-7), indicating an early authorship. 
  • The by-line: Only Isaiah, son of Amoz, is named as the author throughout the book of Isaiah, at the beginnings of chapters 2, 7, 13, 20, 38, and 39. No other author is mentioned at all. Even when Ezra and Nehemiah were bound together, those two books did not get confused and lumped together under Ezra. Yet, “Deutero-Isaiah” was allegedly lost to history. Chapters 40-66 contain some of the highest quality literature in all of written history, yet we are expected to believe that this writer went mysteriously unrecognized until he was “discovered” by recent scholarship.

As Gleason Archer Jr. declared, “There is not a shred of internal evidence to support the theory of a Second Isaiah, apart from a philosophical prejudice against the possibility of predictive prophecy.”

Isaiah is an amazing book, filled with the power and passion of God. In it He declares, “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

Related Links:

The Book of Isaiah: Authorship Analysis – Scribd.com
The ACU Commentary and the Unity of the Book of Isaiah – ChristianCourier.com
Case For the Unity of Isaiah – BiblicalResources.com
Why We Know The Bible Is Inspired Of God – The Baptist Pillar
Cyrus Captures Babylon Account in 539 B.C. – Bible-History.com
Isaiah Commentary Online – Koinonia House
How Many Isaiahs? – Koinonia House


___________________________________


A Common Pitfall: How Many Isaiahs?
by Chuck Missler

Copyright © Koinonia House Inc. 1994

___________________________________

My early zeal for studying the Scripture was dampened many years ago as I encountered what is often called “textual criticism.” I was surprised to learn that it was naive and unlearned to regard the Book of Isaiah as actually written by the prophet Isaiah, as was commonly thought.

With its 66 chapters, Isaiah is the longest prophetic book of the Old Testament. Most scholars agree that the book falls naturally into two major sections, Chapters 1-39 and Chapters 40-66.

The first section has a distinctive style which changes noticeably in the final section. It is easy to remember since it parallels the Bible itself, with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. (But don’t make too much of this; the chapter divisions, as we know them, were added in the 13th century.)

The Deutero-Isaiah Theory

The “textual critics” have insisted that the Book of Isaiah is a compilation of two different writers, each calling himself Isaiah but writing at different times. This “Deutero-Isaiah” theory is surprisingly prevalent in many modern (“liberal”) commentaries. (There are some that even advocate a three-Isaiah theory.)

The first section of the book deals with God’s approaching judgment on the nation of Judah. In some of the most striking passages in all the Bible, the prophet announces that God will punish His people because of their sin, rebellion, and worship of false gods. While this section includes many references to the coming Messiah, including His virgin birth1 and his rule on the throne of David,2 the style of this section is distinctive and certainly fits the subject matter.

The last section, in contrast to the first, is noticeably different. It emphasizes the Messianic expectation and an ultimate comfort for God’s people. (Most of Handel’s Messiah was drawn from this section of the Book of Isaiah.) The heart of his stunning prophecy occurs in Chapter 53, as Isaiah presents the role of the coming Messiah in its highest point. Some call this passage the “Holy of Holies” of the Old Testament. The Servant’s suffering and death and the redemptive nature of His mission are clearly foretold. Although mankind deserved God’s judgment because “we have turned, every one, to his own way,”3 God sent His Servant to take away our sins. According to Isaiah, it is through His suffering that we are reconciled with God, since “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

It is principally on the basis of the stylistic changes between the two sections that critics have developed the Deutero-Isaiah theory. Those who assign Chapters 40-66 to a “Second Isaiah” point out that the two major sections of the book seem to be set in different times. Chapters 1-39 clearly belong to the eighth century b.c., a turbulent period in the history of Judah.


But Isaiah 40-66, according to these scholars, seems to be addressed to the citizens of Judah who were being held as captives in Babylon about two centuries after Isaiah lived and prophesied. These scholars also point to the differences in tone, language, and style between the two major sections as proof that the book was written by two different authors.

The Traditional View

There are, however, conservative scholars who insist the entire book was written by the famous prophet Isaiah who ministered in the southern kingdom of Judah for 40 years, from about 740-700 b.c. They point out that the two sections of the book have many similarities, although they are dramatically different in tone and theme. Many phrases and ideas that are peculiar to Isaiah appear in both sections of the book.

A good example of this is Isaiah’s unique reference to God as “the Holy One of Israel.”4 The appearance of these words and phrases can be used to argue just as convincingly that the book was written by a single author.

In the second section of his book, Isaiah looked into the future and predicted the years of the Captivity and the return of the Covenant People to their homeland after the Captivity ended. If the prophet could predict the coming of the Messiah over 700 years before that happened, he could certainly foresee this major event in the future of the nation of Judah.

The style of each section deliberately matches its subject matter.

The Valley of Doubt

Doubts about the authorship and authenticity of any book in the Bible can have tragic consequences for those who are attempting to take the Bible seriously (especially seminary students). As I look back on my own spiritual journey, I recall the many years that these views introduced a subtle doubt in my mind and hampered my real growth in the Word.

Is there a way to resolve this without getting drawn into the distressing debates and arrogant displays among erudite scholars and “textual critics”? Indeed, there is. I only wish I had discovered it earlier in my own travels through God’s wondrous Word.

The Discovery in John 12

What a precious chapter! It has many marvelous insights, but among the dearest to me personally are verses 37-41:

37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38] That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,
40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41] These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

In this passage we first encounter a quote, in verse 38, familiar to many of you, that begins the famous chapter of Isaiah 53. This would be in the section attributed to the “Second Isaiah.”

In verse 40 we have a quote from Isaiah Chapter 6 (v. 10), as verse 41 also highlights what occurs when Isaiah beholds the throne of God. This is, of course, in the first section of Isaiah.

Oh, how I am grateful for verse 39! Notice that John tells us that “that Isaiah said again” when he links the two passages and, thus, the two sections and attributes them both to “that” (same) Isaiah!

If you take John seriously, and recognize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you need not doubt the authorship of Isaiah – both “sections.”

It is fascinating to me to notice that there is no heresy – or controversy – that hasn’t been anticipated by the Holy Spirit within the Scripture itself. If we recognize the reality that we have 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years that are an integrated whole, and that every detail has been the result of careful and skillful engineering, then there is no need to stumble over the erudite skepticism and arrogance by scholarship falsely so called.

Isn’t God wonderful? If we would just learn to take Him at His Word.

For a discussion of these and other “pitfalls” in studying God’s Word, see our Briefing Package, How To Study The Bible.

This article was originally published in the
December 1994 Personal Update NewsJournal.
For a FREE 1-Year Subscription, click here.

**NOTES**

  1. Isaiah 7:14.
  2. Ibid. 9:6.
  3. Ibid. 53:6.
  4. Ibid. 1:4; 17:7; 37:23; 45:11; 55:5; 60:14.
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