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Why the Prophet Isaiah is called the “Fifth Evangelist”

Ecce homo

Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/04/23

Even the Book of Isaiah is nicknamed the "Fifth Gospel."

The Old Testament is filled with various prophecies that are fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ, but the Book of Isaiah is often signaled out for its accuracy.

The Prophet Isaiah is often called the, “Fifth Evangelist,” and the Book of Isaiah is referred to as the “Fifth Gospel.”

The St. Andrew Daily Missal explains the reasoning behind this appellation.

The [Book of Isaiah] foretells the principal features of the Passion with such remarkable precision that the Fathers of the Church speak of Isaiah as the Fifth Evangelist.

In particular the most relevant passage from the Book of Isaiah comes from Isaiah 53.

He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
    and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:3-5

Each year this passage is recited during Holy Week, specifically on Good Friday.

The “man of sorrows” is a clear description of Jesus’ Passion and reminds us that God was preparing for this day long before it ever transpired, preparing the hearts of his people.

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