I. THE PROPHET’S VISION
IN THE FIRST THREE SECTIONS OF ISAIAH
In the first three sections of Isaiah (chs. 1—35), the prophet’s vision concerning Jehovah’s governmental dealing with Israel and His punishing judgment on the nations, ushering in the all-inclusive Christ with the expected restoration of all things, has been adequately unveiled.
II. THE PROPHET’S VISION
IN THE LAST SECTION OF ISAIAH
The last section of Isaiah (chs. 40—66) is the kind word of Jehovah spoken to the heart of Israel, His beloved people, which unveils the prophet’s vision concerning the redeeming and saving Christ as the Servant of Jehovah and the all-inclusive salvation brought in by Him to Israel and the nations, with the full restoration of all things, consummating in the new heaven and new earth.
III. JEHOVAH’S WORD OF COMFORT TO ISRAEL
A. A Kind Word of Comfort
Spoken to the Heart of His People
Isaiah 40 is Jehovah’s word of comfort to Israel. This word is actually the word of the gospel. Verses 1 and 2 say, "Comfort, O comfort My people,/Says your God./Speak unto the heart of Jerusalem,/And cry out to her,/That her warfare has finished,/That the penalty for her iniquity has been accepted;/For she has received from the hand of Jehovah double/For all her sins." For centuries Israel has been suffering under God’s chastisement, but the day will come when this word of comfort, this word of the gospel, will be spoken to Israel.
B. Referring to John the Baptist, Who Ushered
In the Expected Christ for the New Testament
Isaiah 40 also refers to John the Baptist, who ushered in the expected Christ for the New Testament (John 1:19-27). Concerning John the Baptist, Isaiah 40:3 and 4 say, "The voice of one who cries/In the wilderness: Make clear/The way of Jehovah;/Make straight in the desert/A highway for our God./Every valley will be lifted up,/And every mountain and hill will be made low,/And the crooked places will become straight,/And the rough places a broad plane." Verse 5 goes on to speak of the glory of Jehovah, that is, the glory of Christ, who was recommended by John. "Then the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, / And all flesh will see it together, /Because the mouth of Jehovah has spoken." In the eyes of the Jews, Jesus was merely a Nazarene, yet Isaiah speaks of "the glory of Jehovah." When Jesus came, only those with discernment knew that He was the glory of Jehovah. Because the aged Simeon had such discernment, he could say of the little child Jesus, whom he received into his arms, that He was a light for revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Jehovah’s people Israel (Luke 2:22-32). To the worldly people today, Christ is nothing, but to us into whom He has shined (2 Cor. 4:6), He is the glory of God and the hope of glory within us (Col. 1:27).
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)