Chapters 40–66 are often called the New Testament section
of this book. Its 27 chapters are similar to the 27 books of the New
Testament. It begins by speaking of the ministry of John the Baptist
(chapter 40:3,4) and its emphasis is on Christ and salvation. At the
very heart of this section is chapter 53, which is the greatest Old
Testament prediction of Christ’s death on the cross. Chapters 40–66
emphasize a note of comfort and redemption for God’s people. It was
written to encourage the Jewish remnant that they would be delivered
from Babylonian captivity after their 70 years of exile. It covers
the period after the Babylonian captivity, and Isaiah wrote this
amazing prophecy more than 150 years before the remnant would need
it for encouragement.
Chapter 40 contrasts the greatness of God with the
feebleness of man (verses 6-8), and also His greatness is contrasted
with the weakness of idols (verses 18-20).
In chapter 41 we see the greatness of God’s purpose. Jehovah
is not simply the God of the Jews; He is the controller of the
nations. Notice that God used the heathen King Cyrus to conquer
Babylon and enable the Jews to return to their land. God’s ways are
not our ways and are not always understandable to us, but He has a
purpose in everything. We should simply trust Him explicitly to do
His work in His way.
The greatness of God’s pardon is seen in chapter 42. In
verses 1-9 we are introduced to Jesus Christ. We see His first
coming in humility and grace; His second coming in power and
judgment. Of course, between these two events we have the present
age in which we live. God had permitted the Jews to be captured and
exiled to chasten them for their sins, but it would not last
forever. He would come in judgment and destroy Babylon (verses 10-
17), using Cyrus as His toll.