Isaiah 56–66 is the culmination of the prophet’s message condemning humanity’s sin and promising the Suffering Servant, who atones for that sin, rises in majesty, and prepares an eternal city, the new Jerusalem, for all the redeemed. Among its well-known oracles are “arise, shine, because your light is coming” (60:1); “the Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me” (61:1); and “behold, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). These chapters answer the questions, Do people enjoy Yahweh’s grace by birthright or by faith? Who is the true Israel? And what will happen to the Suffering Servant’s offspring, the church? God’s restoration of Zion’s glory is our future!
About the Author
R. Reed Lessing currently serves as senior pastor at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was born and raised in Denver, Colo, and received the B.A. in pre-seminary studies from St. John’s College, Winfield, Kans., in 1981. He earned his M.Div. (1985), S.T.M. (1989), and Ph.D. (2001) degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained into the office of the holy ministry on June 29, 1986. From 1986 to 1999, he served pastorates in West Monroe, La., and Broken Arrow, Okla. Dr. Lessing was also a professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from 1999 to 2013.
Dr. Lessing has written Interpreting Discontinuity: Isaiah’s Tyre Oracle (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2004), and along with Dr. Andrew Steinmann, he co-authored an introduction to the Old Testament titled Prepare the Way of the Lord (St. Louis: Concordia, 2014). Dr. Lessing is also the author of the volumes on Jonah, Amos, and Isaiah 40–55 as well as the forthcoming volume on Zechariah in the Concordia Commentary series. He has published articles and book reviews in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Concordia Journal, and Concordia Theological Quarterly, as well as sermon studies in Concordia Pulpit Resources and enrichment magazine articles in the LifeLight Foundations series of Bible studies from Concordia Publishing House.
As with his earlier work on Isaiah 40–55, Professor Lessing has given us a highly useful commentary on chapters 56–66. More than many others, it nicely balances linguistic and grammatical precision, exegetical acumen, and profound theological insights. Without forcing the text to say what it does not, Lessing is able to give an unashamedly Christian interpretation which will be very helpful to Christian pastors and teachers. This is a welcome addition to the list of Isaiah commentaries and is much to be preferred over many of them.
—Dr. John Oswalt, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
Reed Lessing offers a fresh theological interpretation of Isaiah 56–66, the often-neglected concluding chapters of the book. With rich exegetical detail, he demonstrates the continuity from Isaiah 1–55 to these chapters, showing how the latter bring the 'righteousness' and 'servant' themes to culmination and highlight the growing 'communal rupture' which will lead ultimately to the split between Judaism and Christianity and the inclusion of Gentiles within the people of God. Though thoroughly familiar with contemporary historical-critical conclusions to the contrary, he confidently affirms the divine inspiration and Isaianic authorship of the entire book, as well as the non-postexilic setting and structural unity of its final eleven chapters. No other recent commentary so deftly integrates a consideration of the canonical context of Isaiah 56–66, their New Testament appropriation, and the fulfillment of the prophet’s eschatological vision in the first and second advents of Jesus Christ and the birth of the Church.
—Dr. Richard Schultz, Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
Dr. Lessing’s philological and literary exegesis of the Masoretic text gives evidence of an extensive learning and familiarity with the multiple subdisciplines in contemporary research of ancient texts. Moreover, the commentary pays full attention to multi-layered connections of chapters 56–66 to chapters 40–55 (expounded in Dr. Lessing’s previous volume [CPH, 2011]). The immense field of earlier and recent secondary literature is taken into account and discussed in a summarizing, remunerative way. The author acknowledges the hermeneutical principle of 'Scripture interprets Scripture' which has guided interpreters through the ages. Since he applies this principle both as an article of faith and as a practical mode of literary analysis, the book is entitled to a place among excellent reference works.
—Dr. Willem Beuken, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
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About the Series
The Concordia Commentary Series: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text.
This landmark work will cover all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, interpreting Scripture as a harmonious unity centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Every passage bears witness to the Good News that God has reconciled the world to Himself through our Lord's life, death, and resurrection.
The commentary fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture as it emphasizes "that which promotes Christ" in each pericope.
Authors are sensitive to the rich treasury of language, imagery, and themes found throughout Scripture, including such dialectics as Law and Gospel, sin and grace, death and new life, folly and wisdom, demon possession and the arrival of the kingdom of God in Christ. Careful attention is given to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Further light is shed on the text from archaeology, history, and extra-biblical literature. Finally, Scripture's message is applied to the ongoing life of the church in terms of ministry, worship, proclamation of the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, confession of the faith--all in joyful anticipation of the life of the world to come.
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