A Study in the Word – Isaiah’s Background No. 1
To learn the book of Isaiah there is simply no substitute for reading the biblical text of Isaiah; the book must be read and reread, prayerfully and deliberately, “listening” to the text for what it is saying and “picturing” the images Isaiah is painting with his words.
Prophets and the Word of God:
One needs to distinguish between prophecy and prediction. In English “prophecy” or “to prophesy” means to “speak before.” As a prediction a “prophecy” is spoken “before” an event has occurred.
However, when addressing a local issue in the present, a “prophecy” is spoken when standing “before” a group of people to address them directly.
To distinguish these two terms one may use the word “foretelling” to speak of a prediction in the near or distant future, and “forth-telling” when referring to speaking in a local context that addresses a local issue in the present.
Old Testament prophecy includes both elements, and regularly in the same speech. In Isaiah’s proclamations he spoke to the people before him and to people of a later day.
Dr. Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University.