The Use of Isaiah 6:9-10 in the New Testament with Special Attention to the Gospel of John -- By: Donald W. Mills
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The Use of Isaiah 6:9-10 in the New Testament
with Special Attention to the Gospel of John
Associate Professor Of New Testament
Central Baptist Theological Seminary,
Virginia Beach, Virginia
One of the most persistent challenges facing the early church as it engaged in evangelism and apologetics was the widespread Jewish rejection of the person, message, and works of Jesus Christ. How was it possible that God’s own people, especially the Jewish leaders, refused to believe in Him in spite of such obvious miracles? Such wholesale rejection provided ammunition for the opponents of the Gospel, for in their minds, if Jesus were the true Messiah, He would not have been rejected—and certainly not crucified!
In response to this, the early church, indeed the Savior Himself, appealed to various OT passages to demonstrate that the Jewish rejection of the Messiah was a fulfillment of Scripture. One of the most frequently cited OT books to support this contention was the book of Isaiah,1 and in this prophetic book one of the most frequently cited passages was Isaiah 6:9–10.2 This passage is directly cited in Matthew 13:14–15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39–40; Acts 28:26–27 and is, no doubt, in the background of some of Paul’s letters (Rom 11:7; 2 Cor 3:14).3 In this way, the NT
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writers were able to show that Jewish rejection of God’s message and messenger was no new thing but was due to a hardness of heart that extended far back into the OT era.
This article, then, is an examination of the use of Isaiah 6:9–10 in the New Testament with a view toward understanding and appreciating the way the text was interpreted and applied in the advancement and defense of the Gospel. Because of the enormity of this subject, the focus of our study is upon the use of the Isaiah passage in the Fourth Gospel. Therefore, only brief attention is given to the other passages in the Synoptics and Acts. The procedure is as follows. First, the importance of Isaiah 6:9–10 for the book of Isaiah i...
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