What sets the Book of Isaiah apart from all other prophetic writings is its all-inclusiveness in depicting an endtime scenario. Even more comprehensive in portraying the end of the world than apocalyptic writings such as Daniel and Revelation, it spells out a great confluence of events humanity is about to experience. Using Israel’s ancient history as a foreshadowing of the end of the world, it predicts the future by drawing on events of the past. Only a prophet–poet with extraordinary literary skills could have predicted “the end” based on ancient beginnings (Isaiah 46:10). Only a visionary who saw both time periods could have crafted this prophetic masterpiece.
While the Book of Isaiah’s apocalyptic message accords with Jewish tradition, and while its literary features reveal its twofold relevance—to Isaiah’s day and to the endtime—it still requires uncommon faith to believe that it is a handbook for our day. For one thing, it may mean discarding much or all of what we thought we knew before. Isaiah foresees just such confusion when he speaks of the deaf “hearing” and the blind “seeing” the words of his book. Only then—in a day when barely a few “disciples” would know its true message (Isaiah 8:16)—would “those who erred in spirit gain understanding and those who murmured accept instruction” (Isaiah 29:18, 24).