Isaiah 66 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
In this closing chapter, the LORD concludes His answer to the Remnant's prayer.
See the expanded outline at the start of the Notes on ch.65.
     Near the end of the previous chapter, the LORD declared "Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy." His promises to Israel can never be fulfilled apart from His power to do the impossible. (See Isa 65:17-25.)
     Throughout the book of Isaiah, the LORD speaks of the restoration of Israel and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom as His work, saying "I will..." (eg., Isa 1:25,26; 41:10-14; 46:13; 60:15-17; 65:9).
     But these things must wait, until His people, realizing that He is their only hope, turn to their Redeemer and Deliverer (eg., Isa 55:1-4). Until then, the unbelieving nation will seek to do for themselves, what only God can do.
d. The Rest of trusting His Word, versus man's religious delusions, 66:1-4
1. Thus 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?
2 For 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.
3 He that killeth an ox [is as if] he slew a man;
he that sacrificeth a lamb, [as if] he cut off a dog's neck;
he that offereth an oblation, [as if he offered] swine's blood;
he that burneth incense, [as if] he blessed an idol.
Yea, they have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4 I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears upon them;
because when I called, none did answer;
when I spake, they did not hear:
but they did evil before mine eyes,
and chose [that] in which I delighted not.
where is the house that ye build unto me?...- The double question of v.1 can be rendered:
"Where then is a house that you could build for Me?"
"Is such an house a place where I may rest?"
  • David desired to build "an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD" (1Chr 28:2,3).
    Solomon confessed that no earthly Temple can contain the Creator of the universe, for the whole of creation cannot contain Him (1Kin 8:27).
  • The LORD did not allow David to build a temple, but instead, He promised to build and establish David's house and throne forever, through one of his descendants (2Sam 7:8-16).
    Although David knew his son Solomon would build a temple, David himself was looking beyond him to the rising of a still future King, whose righteousness would bring rest and refreshing to the whole earth (2Sam 23:1-7; cp. Isa 11:1,10).
For all those things hath mine hand made,
and all those things have been {ie., came to be}, saith the LORD.
The LORD who made heaven and earth, declared to David (and all Israel), that He would build their house (the Davidic Kingdom), by establishing the everlasting Kingdom of a Son of David.
     David could not provide a place of rest for God. But God would provide a rest for His people. This rest would be provided by His working, not theirs.
     During the Exodus from Egypt, the LORD led the children of Israel to the place of 'rest,' which He had prepared for them (eg. Deu 12:9-11). Hundreds of years later, in the prayer of dedication of the newly built Temple (in the place of God's choosing), Solomon acknowledged that the LORD had given them rest (1Kin 8:56). However, a generation of Israelites did not enter that rest, but perished during the 40 years of wilderness wandering, because of their unbelief (Heb 3:9-11,18-19). What did they fail to attain? God called it: "My rest."
     God rested when His work of creation was completed (eg., v.1,2a; Gen 2:1-3), and also when His work of salvation was finished (Heb 1:3). The believer rests in God's completed work (Heb 4:1-11; Titus 3:5-7).
to this man will I look {ie., show regard}... him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.-
As discussed above, the believer, taking God's Word seriously, finds himself devoid of merit, convicted of sin, and totally dependent upon God's work of grace in providing salvation.
     However, v.2b clearly describes the Son of David, by whom God has accomplished the work of Salvation for those who trust in Him. This One is God the Son, who came down from heaven (Isa 57:15; Joh 1:1-4,14,18,29). He came, in humble submission to the Father, to fulfill His Will (Mat 11:27-30).
     According to God's will, this Son of David is our Redeemer, and His Anointed King, who will provide true 'rest' for His people (Israel) in the promised future Kingdom (Isa 11:1-5,9-10; 32:17,18).
     However, just as in Isaiah's day, the nation of Israel will be in unbelief, prior to the Messiah's return to reign (Isa 28:12). Having rejected the One sent by the Father, they will put their confidence in an impostor (the Antichrist, Joh 5:43). At first, he will appear to be a great friend and savior, who will secure a covenant (between Israel and her neighbors), which will provide peace and allow the construction of the third Temple (on a divided Temple Mount, in Jerusalem) and the resumption of animal sacrifices (Rev 11:1,2). But after a short time, the Antichrist's blasphemous heart will be revealed, and he will turn against the people of God (Dan 9:27).
he that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man... as if he cut off a dog's neck... if he offered swine's blood... as if he blessed an idol.-
Verse 3 provides God's view of the resumed sacrifices in the Temple of the Tribulation period. His disgust is not due to occult practices (as in Isa 65:3,4), for these sacrifices will apparently be offered according to the OT Law. He rejects them as empty religious ritual (cp. Isa 1:11-15), because of their unbelief in the one sufficient sacrifice which Christ offered (Rom 10:1-4; Heb 10:1-18; Isa 53:1-12).
they have chosen their own ways... their soul delighteth in their abominations...-
I also will choose their delusions... will bring their fears upon them.-
Because they prefer their own thoughts above God's Word, the LORD will give them over to their self-deceptions. In God's sight, the desires of their hearts are abominations {disgusting things, detestable things}:
  • Their blasphemous sacrifices, which will deny the sacrifice of God's true Messiah.
  • Their blasphemous false messiah, who will devastate the nation and world. (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mat 24:15,16; 2The 2:3,4)
because when I called none did answer... they did not hear... but they did evil... (cp. Isa 65:12)-
Having received God's Word, they refused to heed it, and willfully rebelled against Him.
Because they did not have a love for God's Truth, they will be caught up in the political and religious 'strong delusion' of the Tribulation period (2The 2:8-12). Carried away with the deception of the Antichrist, they will suffer the eternal consequences of the error they have chosen.
e. The Rebirth of Israel through travail,
versus the recompense to the LORD's enemies, 66:5-9
5. Hear 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.
6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple,
a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
7 Before she travailed, she brought forth;
before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?
{cp. Isa 64:4}
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.
9 Shall 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.
{cp. Isa 37:3; Gen 18:14}
Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word... (v.5)-
The LORD sends a word of encouragement to those who believe God's Word and suffer persecution because of it. The message to the Remnant is especially applicable to the Tribulation period, when believers will be cast out of society for being identified with the LORD (eg., Rev 13:11-17).
your brethren... hated you... cast you out for my name's sake...
The believing Remnant will be persecuted by their unbelieving Jewish brethren, who disregard the LORD and His Word, and, likewise, disrespect those who follow Him (Mat 5:10-12; Joh 15:18-20). Being in willful ignorance and unbelief of God's Word and Will, religious practioners will think that their persecution of believers actually honors God (cp. Joh 16:2).
your brethren... said, Let the LORD be glorified, but he shall appear to your joy...-
Alternate translation: "Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy." [NASB]
     The believing Remnant will bear witness to the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. They will declare what the Bible says: that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead, and that He will soon return, in great glory, to establish His Messianic Kingdom, of peace and joy for His people. eg., Isa 61:1-3 (where both advents are foreseen); 51:11; cp. 1Cor 15:1-4; Heb 9:28
     Their faithful testimony, contrary to the abominable Temple sacrifices and false Messiah, will be met with derision, such as: "Is that so? Then, let your Lord return in glory, so that we can see your joy. Meanwhile, you can suffer the consequences of non-compliance with our religious and political system." cp. the mockery addressed to OT prophets (Isa 5:18,19) and to the Lord on the cross (Mat 27:41-43).
but he shall appear to your joy... they shall be ashamed...-
     Isa 65:13,14; 2The 1:7-10; 1Pet 4:12-14
When the abomination of desolation stands in the Temple, the time of the true Messiah's return will be known (eg., Rev 13:4,5).
a voice of noise from the city... (v.6)
a voice from the temple... a voice that rendereth recompense to his enemies...-
The LORD will speak from His Temple in heaven, commanding that judgment be poured out upon the earth during the Tribulation period. cp. Rev 15:5-8; 16:1,17-21
before she travailed... she was delivered of a man child...- (v.7,8)
'She' is Israel. The 'man child' is Christ Jesus, who was born to Israel, in Bethlehem, long prior to the Time of Jacob's Trouble. cp. Rev 12:1-11; Mic 5:2,3
as soon a Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.-
When Israel receives their Messiah, at His return, at the close of the Tribulation period, the nation will be 'born again' through faith in Him (Zech 12:10; 13:1; Rom 11:26,27; Joh 3:3-17), and they will be ushered into the time of great blessing, with the restoration of her people to their land (Isa 54:1; 49:20-22).
     However, apart from Him, all of Israel's painful efforts to establish and secure itself were futile. Their Redeemer, who paid the price of redemption from sin, by His death and resurrection, will be their Deliverer when He returns (Isa 26:17-21).
f. The Rejoicing of Jerusalem in continual consolations,
versus the consumption of the LORD's enemies in eternal fire, 66:10-24
10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her:
rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
11 That 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.
rejoice ye with Jerusalem...- cp. Isa 65:18,19
that ye may... be satisfied with... her consolations...- Isa 60:5,15-16
12 For 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.
{cp. Isa 49:23; 60:4}
13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;
and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
{cp. Isa 40:1,2; 51:3}
14 And 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.
15. For, behold, the LORD will come with fire,
and with his chariots like a whirlwind,
to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh:
and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves
in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst,
eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse,
shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
18 For I [know] their works and their thoughts:
it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues;
and they shall come, and see my glory.
the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants (v.14b)...
...peace... comfort... your heart shall rejoice... (v.12-14b)
and his indignation toward his enemies (v.14c-17)
...anger with fury... rebuke with flames of fire... his sword... the slain of the LORD shall be many.
     The armies gathered at Armageddon will be judged (Rev 19:11-21). But His judgment extends to the nations which sent those armies. He will judge them in perfect righteousness (Isa 11:2-4).
     Verse 14b-c marks the division between the 'sheep' and the 'goats,' which Christ will accomplish when He returns in glory. Mat 25:31-34,41
they that sanctify themselves... in the gardens... eating swine's flesh...- cp. Isa 65:3-5
The LORD will judge those who despise His Word, whether their idolatrous practices are open or hidden in their hearts, for He knows their thoughts.
The phrase 'one in the midst' can be understood in two ways:
  • Although they try to hide behind 'one in the midst' (a leader, eg., the Antichrist, a false prophet), the LORD will judge each heart. cp. Rev 13:1,8
  • Although they claim public policy or popular opinion supports their error, as 'united with many,' they will all be consumed together. cp. Rev 13:16,17; 14:9-11
it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues;
and they shall come, and see my glory.- cp. Isa 2:2-4; Eze 39:21,22
This portion of v.18 appears to connect to the next verses.
19 And 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.
20 And they
{ie., the gentiles} 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.
21 And I will also take of them for priests [and] for Levites, saith the LORD.
22 For 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.
23 And 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.
I will set a sign among them...- The sign is not clearly identified, here.
The words sign {HB='oth} and ensign {HB=nes} both refer to a flag or signal. The word for sign sometimes refers to a miraculous demonstration of God's power (eg., Ex 10:2; Psa 78:43).
     Isaiah occasionally applies either word to the personal presence of the Messiah (Isa 7:14; 11:10-12; cp. Luk 2:34). The restoration of Israel, in fulfillment of God's Word, is also referred to as a sign (Isa 55:11-13). Thus, this sign (in v.19) is probably the establishment of Christ as King in His Millennial Kingdom, in fulfillment of Scripture.
those that escape of them... cp. Isa 37:31,32; Zech 13:8,9
The believing Remnant, having come through the deadly trials of the Tribulation period, become evangelists of their Messiah, to those who do not know Him. The Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20), at which the church has labored incompletely, will be accomplished in that day, by these Jewish messengers. (Like the Jewish apostles, who first received this commission from the Lord, they will go forth with great zeal.)
They will take the message to:
  • Tarshish...- representing the western nations, Spain, France, Britain.
  • Pul, Lud...- representing the African continent.
  • Tubal, Javan...- representing Greece, Russia, Germany
  • the isles {coastlands} afar off...- representing the rest of the world, including the Americas, Asia and the Pacific rim nations.
The nations will bring Israelites home to their land, from wherever they were scattered. v.20; Isa 60:9
And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites. cp. Isa 61:6
Israel, as a nation, will be holy unto the LORD. Therefore, Israelites from every tribe (not only Levi) will be eligible to serve as priests (as the LORD had originally intended, Ex 19:6).
the new heavens and the new earth... shall remain {ie., stand, endure} before me...-
cp. Isa 65:17; Heb 12:27,28; 2Pet 3:13; 1Pet 1:4,5
so shall your seed and your name remain {ie., stand, endure).- Isa 65:17-25; cp. Rev 3:12
all flesh shall come to worship before me, saith the LORD.-
Zech 8:20-23; 14:16; Joh 4:23,24; Rev 15:4
24 And 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.
their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched...-
Jesus quoted this verse in regard to eternal judgment in hell (3x in Mark 9:44,46,48).
  • Each of the three sections, of the third and final division of Isaiah (ch.40-66),
    opens with an announcement of salvation by grace (Isa 40:1,2; 49:1-6; 58:1,8,9)
    and closes with a solemn warning:
    "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (Isa 48:22; 57:21).
    Verse 24 is a vivid depiction of that lack of peace.
  • The horror of the final verse of Isaiah, is the horror of salvation refused.
    The unquenchable fire which gnaws eternally on the lost, surely includes burning regret for what 'could have been' their inheritance, if only they had believed God's Word (cp. v.12,13; Heb 2:1-3).

This concludes the study in Isaiah.
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