The remarkable thing about Isaiah’s prophecy of the last days was not that he saw what would happen thousands of years after his death, but that Isaiah’s vision came 700 years before the Messiah, Jesus Christ was born. There was still a huge gap in the outcome of the nation of Judah that needed to be filled in.
Beginning with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God had spoken of an eternal kingdom that his people would inherit (Genesis 17:6-7). On his deathbed, Jacob foretold the future of his descendants and made reference to the last days (Genesis 49:1). Speaking of his son Judah’s inheritance, Jacob said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10).
The word Shiloh is an epithet of the Messiah (7886). What Jacob was saying was that Judah’s family would be kept in tact until the Messiah was born. The bloodline of Jesus had to be traced back to Abraham in order for God’s promise to be validated and verifiable to those who would question his lineage. At the time when Isaiah spoke to the nation of Judah, it was on the verge of extinction. Although they didn’t know it yet, the northern kingdom of Israel was about to be completely wiped out by Assyria, and Judah was next on Assyria’s list.
God’s judgment of Judah was intended to bring the people back to their senses. Although worship took place in God’s temple, the people’s hearts were far from the LORD, and their behavior reflected the cultures of the nations surrounding them. The most significant problem God intended them to deal with was their desire to be like everyone else. Isaiah posed a question to reveal their fault. “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22).
The point Isaiah was making was that a mere man could not save God’s people. Although it was known that the Messiah would be a man, it was known at that time that he would also be God. Because king David was told that his son would reign for ever (2 Samuel 7:13), David assumed his son would become immortal. I don’t think David, or anyone else, expected the immortal God to become a man.
Isaiah spoke of blessings that indicated God’s judgment of Judah would prepare its people for the supernatural birth of their Messiah. “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel…When the LORD shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the Spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isaiah 4:2,4).