Science of the Saints, 9 May, The Holy Prophet Isaias

The holy Prophet Isaias lived 700 years before the Birth of Christ, and was descended of royal lineage. The father of Isaias, Amos, raised his son in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord. Having attained the age of maturity, the Prophet Isaias entered into marriage with a pious maiden-prophetess (Is. 8:3) and had a son Jashub (Is. 8:18).

Saint Isaias was called to prophetic service during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judea, and he prophesied for sixty years during the reign of kings Joatham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. The start of his service was marked by the following vision: he beheld the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon an high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled of His Glory!” The pillars of the heavenly temple did shake from their shouts, and in the temple swelled the smoke of incense. The prophet cried out in terror: “Oh, accursed a man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!” Then was sent him one of the Seraphim, having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaias and said: “Here, I have touched it to thine lips and the Lord doth do away with thine offences and doth cleanse thy sins.” After this Isaias heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him: “Whom shalt I send and who wilt go to the Jews, who wilt go for Us?” Isaias answered: “Here am I, send me, Lord, and I shalt go” (Is. 6:1ff). And the Lord sent him to the Jews to exhort them to turn from the ways of impiety and idol-worship and to offer repentance. To those that repent and turn to the True God, the Lord promised mercy and forgiveness, but punishment and the judgment of God are appointed the unrepentant. Then Isaias asked the Lord, how long would the falling-away of the Jewish nation from God continue. The Lord answered: “Until that time, as they neglect the city, nor be there people in the houses and this land be made desolate. Just as when a tree be felled and from the stump come forth new shoots, so also from the destruction of the nation wilt remain an holy remnant, from which emergeth a new tribe.”

Isaias left behind him a book of prophecy, in which he denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to the God of their fathers, and he predicts the captivity of the Jews and their return from captivity during the time of the emperor Cyrus, the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple. Together with this he predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews. But what is most important of all for us, the Prophet Isaias with particular clearness and detail prophesies about the coming of the Messiah – Christ the Saviour. The prophet names the Messiah as God and Man, Teacher of all the nations, Founder of the Kingdom of Peace and Love. The prophet foretells the Birth of the Messiah from a Virgin, and with particular clearness he describes the Suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the world, he foresees His Resurrection and the universal spreading of His Church. By his clear foretelling about Christ the Saviour, the Prophet Isaias merited being called an Old Testament Evangelist. To him belong the words: “This One beareth our sins and is smitten for us… He was wounded for our sins and tortured for our transgressions. The chastisement of our world was upon Him, and by His wounds we were healed…” (Is. 53:4-5. Vide Book of Prophet Isaias: 7:14, 11:1, 9:6, 53:4, 60:13, etc.).

The holy Prophet Isaias had also a gift of wonderworking. And thus so, when during the time of a siege of Jerusalem by enemies the besieged had become exhausted with thirst, he by his prayer drew out from beneath Mount Sion a spring of water, which was called Siloam, i.e. “sent from God.” It was to this spring afterwards that the Saviour sent the man blind from birth to wash, and for whom was restored sight by Him. By the prayer of the Prophet Isaias, the Lord prolonged the life of Hezekiah for fifteen years.

The Prophet Isaias died a martyr’s death. By order of the Jewish king Manasseh he was sawn through by a wood-saw. The prophet was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. The relics of the holy Prophet Isaias were afterwards transferred by the emperor Theodosius the Younger to Constantinople and installed in the church of Saint Lawrence at Blachernae. At the present time part of the head of the Prophet Isaias is preserved at Athos in the Chilandaria monastery.

About the times and the events which occurred during the life of the Prophet Isaias, the 4th Book of Kings speaks (Ch. 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, etc.), and likewise 2 Chronicles (Ch. 26-32).

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