Isaiah 66

Isaiah 66  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 9
In the last days, when the things of Israel become the subject of divine notice again, we know that two objects will present themselves—the nation in a state of apostacy, and the remnant in the midst of them. It will be like the two at one mill, or in one bed, between whom the day of the Lord is to make solemn discernment. But as this will be so in the time of the Jewish nation by and bye, so is this the style very commonly in the Jewish prophets now, anticipating that time and action. The Spirit in them passes from the one of those objects to the other, in rapid and broken style, and this, also, often in the very same strain or discourse. And this we shall find in the closing chapter of the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 66:1-21Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:1‑2). In these verses the Lord, by the prophet, looks at the true Israel, the faithful remnant. He sees them, however, only in one character, but that of the deepest and most affectionate interest to Himself, as a humble and broken-hearted people. It is not what they have heard from Him, done to Him, or suffered for Him, that the Lord here notices, but simply the fragments of their broken, and therefore affectionate, hearts. This is the ornament which with Him is of great price. He knows how to value it. It is that which draws His eye beyond all the bright and wondrous works of His hands, though they be, as we know, His delight and glory. But that which sympathizes with our mind ‘ or taste is really nearer to us than that which serves our interests. We know this among ourselves. The one who abroad in the affairs of life will promote our good in the world, is of course valued by us; but the one who can sit with us, and enter into the senses and enjoyments of the heart and mind, is still nearer, and more prized: and so with our God. That which serves His glory is not so near as the poor broken-hearted sinner, or the meek or quiet spirit, for there the deepest sympathies of the divine mind meet their object; and in a character like this the remnant are here under the eye of the Lord.
Isaiah 66:55Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 66:5). The Spirit returns to the true Israel with a word of comfort, and they are invited to listen to a promise that the Lord would appear, to their joy and to the confusion of all that hate them.
Isaiah 66:66A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. (Isaiah 66:6). Here this matured confusion is executed and brought on the wicked, all of a sudden. It is, as the Lord Himself says, like the lightning which cometh out of the east, and shineth unto the west; so rapid, so much as in the twinkling of an eye, is this judgment from the Lord, rendering recompense to His enemies.
Isaiah 66:7-147Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. (Isaiah 66:7‑14). Such was the doom of the wicked under the glance of the Lord. But these verses tell us that there is another scene of rapid action. For if the judgment, as of lightning, have removed the wicked, the presence of the Lord has adopted and filled Jerusalem, and seated her in her millennial place, as the mother of children on the right hand and on the left. For “the Lord is there.” The new covenant is the mystic free-woman or Sarah, the mother of the children, and it will have its blood and its priest in these days of the kingdom at Jerusalem, when the wicked have been removed. Jesus, now hid in the heavens, in the Jerusalem above, is there ministering this new covenant (Gal. 4), but then He will have come to Zion as the Deliverer, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob; and Zion will then be the mother, the Zion of the land of Israel, as the “Jerusalem above” is now the mother; and the ancient pain art penalty will be taken off. It will not be said to her, “in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children,” but “as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Because the Lord is there, in His own proper energy. “Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth, saith the Lord?” “I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” This explains to us this birth without the ancient penalty. And when she has thus brought forth her children, this mother will nurture and cherish them; she will satisfy them from her breasts, and nurse them on her knees; the children of the kingdom shall feed’ on the choice provisions of Zion, and then keep their holidays to the Lord, delighting themselves with the abundance of her glory. All the people shall have the thoughts of children towards Zion. Zion shall be their center, and their source; and from the east and the west, the north and the south, their streams and their flocks shall ebb and flow there. And their “bones shall flourish like an herb”—they shall be, as it were, young again. For as sorrow makes the bones old (Psa. 32), joy, as it were, makes them young. The lame shall dance, and the dumb shall sing, and the eye shall see out of obscurity. Their flesh shall come to them as the flesh of a little child after the leprosy, and the vigor of the preserved Israel shall be like the greenness or springtime of the herb: it will be a season of resurrection to them.
Isaiah 66:19-2019And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. (Isaiah 66:19‑20). But in the midst of this tremendous day of His anger on the nations, the prophet here intimates that the Lord will give some sign, at which, it may be, there will be repentance and return of heart, and then an escape out of this day of wrath. This is striking. This is a remnant from the nations brought to the Lord, as at the eleventh hour. Zechariah intimates the same thing (Zech. 14:1414And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. (Zechariah 14:14)). Only Isaiah teaches the additional fact that this repentance has arisen from taking heed to some sign given by the Lord in the midst of that terrible day. And Zechariah tells us that this preserved Gentile people shall wait on the Lord’s feast year by year and Isaiah here tells us that they shall be engaged both in publishing the glory to their distant fellow Gentiles, and aid in gathering home the still dispersed ones of Israel to Judah, then to be taken as ministers of the Lord’s sanctuary in the holy mountain Jerusalem.
Isaiah 66:22-2422For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:22‑24). In these closing verses the kingdom, to which all the previous action was preparatory, is understood to have come, and the Lord looks at Israel, the nations, and the scene of the recent judgment. Israel He promises shall remain before Him as sure as the new heavens and the new earth, of which we know it will not be said, as of the present heavens and earth, that they shall pass away; all flesh around His Israel, He then graciously declares, shall hold their new moons and sabbaths to the Lord in Zion, and as they do so, they shall witness the end of transgressions in the undying worm and unquenchable fire of the Lord’s righteous anger; as Sodom is set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. And of all this Zechariah is again another witness, for he in like manner talks of the horrible spectacle which judgment will in that day make of the invaders of Jerusalem, and he also speaks of the nations from year to year holding their feast of tabernacles in Zion to the Lord (Zech. 14:12-1612And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor. 14And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. 16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:12‑16)).