i) Dan tries to domesticate the text. However, you don’t have to be a Calvinist to appreciate the predestinarian force of the text. For instance, this is some of what the late Brevard Childs had to say:
He [Isaiah] is to dull their minds, stop their ears, and plaster over their eyes, unless by seeing, hearing, and comprehending, they might actually repent and be saved. The prophet is to be the executor of death, the guarantor of complete hardening. His very proclamation is to ensure that Israel will not turn and repent.The prophet’s role is instrument: to seal their doom.
The mystery of divine hardening cannot be explained by shifting the initiative to Israel as if hardening were only an idiom describing how Israel hardened its own heart by disobedience. It is constitutive of biblical hardening that the initiative is placed securely with God in the mystery of his inscrutable will. Of course, it is equally clear that Israel’s sinfulness formed the grounds for the judgment. The philosophical objection to a logical inconsistency that has been continually raised since the Enlightenment plays no role whatsoever in the Old Testament. The hard juxtaposition of divine initiative and Israel’s guilt remains unmoved. Isaiah (WJK 2001), 56.
ii) Dan says “hardening is typically the exception rather than the rule.” I don’t know how he’d be in a position to know that. For instance, the hardening of Israel in Rom 9-11 involves an entire people-group, and it’s gone on for 2000 years, with no end in sight. Yes, some Jews believe in Jesus, but they are the exception to the rule.
Apart from where Scripture reveals it, all we can observe is the effect of divine hardening, and not the ulterior cause. For all we know, large pockets of unbelief around the world may be the result of divine hardening.
iii) Dan says “Isaiah never actually commands the people “don’t understand”. He never delivered this message as such.”
That’s a non sequitur. Divine hardening is not the message. Rather, that’s the divinely-intended effect of Isaiah’s message.
This is one of those situations, like Moses, where the prophet is brought into God’s confidence. It’s not for Isaiah’s immediate contemporaries, but for posterity–as we read the record of Isaiah’s commission.
iv) Dan says “ The foreseeable result of this message was that it would be rejected and Israel would not be healed.”
Not just the foreseeable result, but the intended result. Dan is making Isa 6:9-10 say less than it actually says.
v) Dan then quotes a version of Isa 6 in Matthew and Acts which doesn’t have the same predestinarian edge. That’s because Matthew and Luke are quoting from the LXX. The LXX rendering is a theological modification of the Hebrew text, designed to tame the text. To blunt the uncompromising force of the original, by making it merely predictive rather than causative.
Since Matthew and Luke generally quote the LXX when they quote the OT, that rendering is simply an incidental consequence of the preexisting translation they generally use. A natural choice when writing for Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles.
vi) By contrast, the rendering in Mark and John sticks closer to the Hebrew original.
vii) The fact that the Matthean and Lukan versions are neutral on predestination doesn’t obviate the predestinarian force of the Markan and Johannine versions. It’s not as if Matthew and Luke are trying to counter or correct Mark, John, or the Hebrew original. If we were harmonizing these passages, we’d do so in the direction of the original, and the NT renderings which are more faithful to the original.
viii) We must also respect the contextual and theological function of the Isaian passage John’s narrative.