Notes on Isaiah. Chapter 66

Isaiah 66  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The forms of piety will be among the Jews-the House, and sacrifices-but the Lord rejects them all. He looks, in His elect, to a humble and contrite spirit that trembles at His Word. They were despised by those who abused His name, but, from the temple and city they trusted in, the Lord judges them, and Zion then brought forth her children, and was blessed and glorified. The Lord comes to do this (v. 15)—assembles all nations-pleads with all flesh, with "fire and sword"—the slain are "the slain of the Lord."
The end of this chapter presented considerable difficulty- to know who it was that escaped of them—Jews or Gentiles? But there is an intentional mixing, or leaving of the confusion that they have made. I had not sufficiently regarded the persons addressed as "you." There is a residue distinct among the Jews, before the judgment, from the mass, and of the mass others are spared as a residue. But these last were all mingled together, and with the wicked Gentiles also. "Ye" and "your," all through the chapter, designate those who are spoken of as "trembling at God's word," while nothing was decided. Then it is said "your joy," "they shall be ashamed." Then the Lord "renders recompense to his enemies."
13, 14. "Ye shall be comforted"—"His servants," see chapter 65: 13. Also " indignation against his enemies."
15, 16. All flesh is to be judged.
17, 18. The character of the Jews who have turned away, and become enemies. They are known, and the Lord provides for His own glory (they were not witnesses to it, though they said, perhaps, "Let the Lord be glorified") all flesh should come and see it.
19. They that are spared of the Jews, who were joined to the Gentiles (for though two were in one bed, one should be taken and the other left) perhaps Gentiles also, seeing the judgment was on "all flesh," would go and declare the Lord's glory among the Gentiles (but this was not, properly speaking, the faithful Remnant) and the Gentiles shall bring "your brethren."
22, 23, 24. We have the contrast between the unbelieving Jews and the Remnant, shown again with the force of the terrible judgment of God. The contrast, all through, is between the Remnant and the unfaithful; the assembly of the nations comes in by the bye, to show to them, in judgment, the difference between the faithful and the other Jews—those who mourned in Zion, and those who haughtily joined the Gentiles, and apostate, and despised them. And thus, while Israel failed to be witness, and, on the contrary, joined the Gentiles, and thus left nothing to the faithful who could not lift up the mass, but to mourn and tremble at God's word, God provides for His own glory, and makes the Gentile understand the difference in judging those who were joined to them, and setting up those who, desirous of His glory, were impeded by the evil from accomplishing it, or doing other than mourn. Their brethren were brought-all flesh should come—their "name" and "seed" should remain, and the rest should be an abhorring to all flesh; only some would have escaped to tell the tale of this judgment, and bring up the others scattered far and wide (brethren of the faithful), and cause the Gentiles to come up to see the glory of the Lord, and the distinguished blessing of this residue in Him-the glory they had loved and desired. So, changing heaven for earth, will it be for the faithful Remnant who love the glory of Christ, and mourn, in the Church, as to the Church itself. "You" and "them" these, are the residue, and the other Jews. These other Jews join the Gentiles, and are mingled up in their evil, perhaps, though they have their own proper, and if Gentiles are spared of those with whom they are mingled, it is accidental and of grace by the bye. The Jews spared are forced to be the witnesses of the acceptance, and right judgment of those they had despised, but who are now comforted, and owned of the Lord-the others, transgressors, were an abhorring to all. The Remnant in the Church, which is faithful, which has kept the word of God's patience, will be kept from the "hour of temptation which shall come," etc., and those "who call themselves Jews but are not" shall own that God had loved them-this faithful Remnant.
This chapter is very instructive and solemn too, light being thus shown on it; verses 6-16 are a sort of proclamation—verse 17 resumes the question between "you" and "they." Verses 8-15 of chapter 65 give the revelation of the two classes among the people—chapter 66 gives the consequences—their state in general, and the Lord's ways having been given in answer to the appeal of chapters 63 and 64.