The book of Isaiah has nourished the church throughout the centuries. However, its massive size can be intimidating; its historical setting can seem distant, opaque, varied; its organization and composition can seem disjointed and fragmented; its abundance of terse, poetic language can make its message seem veiled—and where are those explicit prophecies about Christ? These are typical experiences for many who try to read, let alone teach or preach, through Isaiah. Andrew Abernethy’s conviction is that thematic points of reference can be of great help in encountering Isaiah and its rich theological message. In view of what the structure of the book of Isaiah aims to emphasize, this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume employs the concept of “kingdom” as an entry point for organizing the book’s major themes. In many respects, Isaiah provides a people living amidst imperial contexts with a theological interpretation of them in the light of YHWH’s past, present and future sovereign reign. Four features of “kingdom” frame Abernethy’s study: God, the King; the lead agents of the King; the realm of the kingdom and the people of the King. While his primary aim is to show how “kingdom” is fundamental to Isaiah when understood within its Old Testament context, interspersed canonical reflections assist those who are wrestling with how to read Isaiah as Christian Scripture in and for the church.
“There are four features of kingdom in Isaiah that will frame our study: (1) God, the king, (2) the lead agents of the king, (3) the realm of the kingdom, and (4) the people of the king.” (Page 2)
“‘Sitting upon a throne’ does more than indicate a king who is in power. The throne is the place for executing judgment. As Brettler puts it, ‘God’s throne is specifically associated with his role as judge.’” (Page 15)
“Isaiah’s vision of the Lord sitting upon a throne is not a generic statement that YHWH is king; fundamental to this vision is that the king is about to exact judgment.” (Page 16)
“A synchronic approach interprets a work of literature as a literary whole, without probing its historic formation” (Page 8)
“An invitation to a feast means that the king wants you at the feast; it is a sign of honour to be in his presence and solidifies your identity as one of his people.” (Page 36)