Comfort ye

Isaiah 40:1

40:1 Comfort ye. This verse begins the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy. By a remarkable providential arrangement, it is noteworthy that the two divisions of Isaiah (chapters 1–39 and 40–66) contain thirty-nine and twenty-seven chapters, respectively, providentially corresponding to the thirty-nine canonical books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Appropriately, Part I emphasizes law and judgment, while Part II stresses grace and salvation, as centered in the promised Messiah. The “New Testament” portion of Isaiah begins with the ministry of John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:1-5) and ends with the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17–66:24), along with the unquenchable fire that awaits the ungodly (Isaiah 66:24). It is also noteworthy that Isaiah 53, the greatest gospel chapter in the Bible, is the central chapter of the New Testament section of the book. And since this fifty-third chapter should really have been selected to begin with Isaiah 52:13, the central verse of this central chapter is Isaiah 53:5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

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