Isaiah 66

1 Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is my resting place?
2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word.
3 Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who kills a human being; whoever sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever presents a grain offering, like one who offers swine's blood; whoever makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and in their abominations they take delight;
4 I also will choose to mock them, and bring upon them what they fear; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my sight, and chose what did not please me.
5 Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: Your own people who hate you and reject you for my name's sake have said, "Let the Lord be glorified, so that we may see your joy"; but it is they who shall be put to shame.
6 Listen, an uproar from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, dealing retribution to his enemies!
7 Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be delivered in one moment? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor she delivered her children.
9 Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord; shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God.
10 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 bosom.
12 For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.
15 For the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to pay back his anger in fury, and his rebuke in flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord execute judgment, and by his sword, on all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many.
17 Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the center, eating the flesh of pigs, vermin, and rodents, shall come to an end together, says the Lord.
18 For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory,
19 and I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud—which draw the bow—to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.
20 They shall bring all your kindred from all the nations as 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 a grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.
21 And I will also take some of them as priests and as Levites, says the Lord.
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the Lord; so shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.
24 And they shall go out and look at the dead bodies of the people who have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their 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.

Footnotes 7

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 66

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