Isaiah 66

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The Humble and Contrite in Spirit

1 1Thus says the LORD: 2"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?
2 3All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. 4But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
3 5"He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers 6pig's blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. 7These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations;
4 8I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring 9their fears upon them, 10because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; 11but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight."
5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you and cast you out for my name's sake have said, 12'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy'; but it is they who shall be put to shame.
6 "The sound of an uproar from the city! A sound from the temple! The sound of the LORD, 13rendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem

7 14"Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For 15as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.
9 Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?" says the LORD; "shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?" says your God.
10 16"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her;
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance."[a]
12 For thus says the LORD: 17"Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and 18you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts, so 19I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; 20your bones shall flourish like the grass; and 21the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord

15 "For behold, 22the LORD will come in fire, and 23his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For 24by fire 25will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.
17 26"Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, 27eating pig's flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.
18 "For I know[b] their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming[c]28to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,
19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them 29I will send survivors to the nations, to 30Tarshish, 31Pul, and 32Lud, who draw the bow, to 33Tubal and 34Javan, 35to the coastlands far away, 36that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
20 37And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations 38as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.
21 39And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.
22 "For as 40the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so 41shall your offspring and your name remain.
23 42From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.
24 "And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For 43their worm shall not die, 44their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."

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Isaiah 66 Commentary

Chapter 66

God looks at the heart, and vengeance is threatened for guilt. (1-4) The increase of the church, when Jew and Gentile shall be gathered to the Redeemer. (5-14) Every enemy of the church shall be destroyed, and the final ruin of ungodly men shall be seen. (15-24)

Verses 1-4 The Jews gloried much in their temple. But what satisfaction can the Eternal Mind take in a house made with men's hands? God has a heaven and an earth of his own making, and temples of man's making; but he overlooks them, that he may look with favour to him who is poor in spirit and serious, self-abasing and self-denying; whose heart truly sorrows for sin: such a heart is a living temple for God. The sacrifice of the wicked is not only unacceptable, but a great offence to God. And he that now offers a sacrifice after the law, does in effect set aside Christ's sacrifice. He that burns incense, puts contempt upon the incense of Christ's intercession, and is as if he blessed an idol. Men shall be deceived by the vain confidences with which they deceive themselves. Unbelieving hearts, and unpurified consciences, need no more to make them miserable, than to have their own fears brought upon them. Whatever men put in the place of the priesthood, atonement, and intercession of Christ, will be found hateful to God.

Verses 5-14 The prophet turns to those that trembled at God's word, to comfort and encourage them. The Lord will appear, to the joy of the humble believer, and to the confusion of hypocrites and persecutors. When the Spirit was poured out, and the gospel went forth from Zion, multitudes were converted in a little time. The word of God, especially his promises, and ordinances, are the consolations of the church. The true happiness of all Christians is increased by every convert brought to Christ. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is received in its power, such a river of peace, as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. Divine comforts reach the inward man; the joy of the Lord will be the strength of the believer. Both God's mercy and justice shall be manifested, and for ever magnified.

Verses 15-24 A prophetic declaration is given of the Lord's vengeance on all enemies of his church, especially that of all antichristian opposers of the gospel in the latter days. Ver. ( isaiah 66:19-20 ) sinners. These expressions are figurative, and express the plentiful and gracious helps for bringing God's elect home to Christ. All shall be welcome; and nothing shall be wanting for their assistance and encouragement. A gospel ministry shall be set up in the church; they would have solemn worship before the Lord. In the last verse the nature of the punishment of sinners in the world to come is represented. Then shall the righteous and wicked be separated. Our Saviour applies this to the everlasting misery and torment of impenitent sinners in the future state. To the honour of that free grace which thus distinguishes them, let the redeemed of the Lord, with humility, and not without holy trembling, sing triumphant songs. With this affecting representation of the opposite states of the righteous and wicked, characters which include the whole human race, Isaiah concludes his prophecies. May God grant, for Christ's sake, that our portion may be with those who fear and love his name, who cleave to his truths, and persevere in every good work, looking to receive from the Lord Jesus Christ the gracious invitation, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Cross References 44

  • 1. Cited Acts 7:49, 50; [1 Kings 8:27; Acts 17:24]
  • 2. [Matthew 5:34, 35]
  • 3. [1 Chronicles 29:14]
  • 4. Isaiah 57:15; Psalms 34:18
  • 5. Isaiah 1:11
  • 6. See Isaiah 65:4
  • 7. Jeremiah 7:24
  • 8. [Isaiah 30:16]
  • 9. [Isaiah 51:12]
  • 10. See Isaiah 65:12
  • 11. [Jeremiah 7:31]
  • 12. Isaiah 5:19
  • 13. Isaiah 63:4; Isaiah 65:6
  • 14. See Isaiah 13:8
  • 15. [See ver. 7 above]
  • 16. Isaiah 65:19
  • 17. [Isaiah 48:18]
  • 18. Isaiah 60:16
  • 19. Isaiah 51:12; [Isaiah 35:10]
  • 20. Isaiah 58:11
  • 21. [Ezra 8:22, 31]
  • 22. Isaiah 33:14; Malachi 3:1, 2; [2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8]
  • 23. Psalms 68:17
  • 24. Psalms 97:3
  • 25. Joel 3:2
  • 26. Isaiah 65:3, 5
  • 27. See Isaiah 65:4
  • 28. Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 14:16
  • 29. Isaiah 45:20
  • 30. 1 Kings 10:22
  • 31. Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 27:10
  • 32. Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 27:10
  • 33. Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13
  • 34. Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13
  • 35. Genesis 10:5
  • 36. [Romans 15:20, 21]
  • 37. See Isaiah 14:2; Isaiah 49:22
  • 38. [Romans 15:16]
  • 39. Isaiah 61:6; Exodus 19:6; [1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6]
  • 40. See Isaiah 65:17
  • 41. Isaiah 53:10; [Psalms 89:29]
  • 42. [Psalms 86:9; Zechariah 14:16]
  • 43. Mark 9:48
  • 44. [Revelation 21:8]

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the same things as the former, the rejection of the unbelieving Jews, and the regard had to them that did believe; the conversion of that people in the latter day; the calling of the Gentiles, and the happy state of the church in the last times. The causes of the rejection of the Jews were their unworthy notions of God, as if he was confined to the temple of Jerusalem, and to be pleased with external sacrifices, now both at an end under the Gospel dispensation; a better sacrifice being offered, and a more spiritual worship set up everywhere; which notions are considered, Isa 66:1-3, and because they were set upon their ways and works, and rejected the Gospel of Christ, they are threatened with ruin, Isa 66:3,4 and the disciples of Christ, whom they excommunicated and persecuted, have a promise of divine appearance for them, while vengeance shall be taken on their enemies, their city and temple, Isa 66:5,6, nevertheless, in the latter day, there will be a large and sudden conversion of this nation of the Jews, which is signified by the birth of them, which will be matter of great joy to all the true lovers of the interest of Christ, Isa 66:7-11 and what will add to the prosperity, joy, and comfort of the church of Christ at this time, will be the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles, Isa 66:12-14 at which time the vials of God's wrath will be poured out upon antichrist and his followers, Isa 66:15-17 and the chapter is concluded with a fresh account of large conversions of men of all nations, and of the union of Jews and Gentiles in one church state, which shall long remain, and be undisturbed by enemies, who will be all slain, and their carcasses looked upon with contempt, Isa 66:18-24.

Isaiah 66 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.