Is. 66:1 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?
This chapter starts off with a beautiful statement of the greatness of our God. It takes the heavens to provide a place for Him to sit. Interestingly, the Hebrew for throne states, “properly covered, to cover (for clothing or secrecy), conceal, overwhelm.” Even as YHWH sits enthroned in the heavens, they serve to conceal the fullness of His glory from us on planet earth. It also made me think that though we are awed by the heavens, if His glory were allowed to shine forth in its fullness, we would be totally overwhelmed. The time is not right for that revelation.
As God sits on His throne, the earth serves as His footstool. As I continued to think about this, it occurred to me that God is not scurrying about in frantic response to the events on planet earth. He is comfortably in place on His throne overseeing the implementation of His plan, that plan which existed before the earth was ever created.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love….
1Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you….
The martyr Stephen quoted this portion of Isaiah. He too interpreted this verse as a statement of God’s greatness—too great to dwell in a temple made by the hands of men.
Acts 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet….
I like the phrasing of the NLT for the last half of the verse: “Could you ever build me a temple as good as that? Could you build a dwelling place for me?”
Is. 66:2 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.
This verse starts off with a statement of God as the Creator of heaven and earth. He has not only created them; He sustains them; they haven’t worn out or wasted away.
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
“consist” – Strong’s = to set together; Webster = To stand firm, to be in a fixed or permanent state, to hold together, to be supported and maintained
After establishing His position as the Great God, the Creator and Sustainer of life, He has a word of encouragement for the insignificant creature (as we compare ourselves to the wonders of the universe) called man. He will regard with pleasure, favor and care (from the Hebrew for look) the man who:
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This paints a picture of one who has submitted to God’s authority.
The thought of these two verses is basically summed up in a previous verse in Isaiah.
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Is. 66:3 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.
Maybe it is different in the Hebrew, but these verses start off quite abruptly without much transition from the previous two. Verse 3 seems to be referencing those who are totally opposite from being poor and contrite in spirit or trembling at God’s word. They practice empty ritual before the Lord that is meaningless in His sight. They have chosen to ignore His commands and His established guidelines for acceptable worship in the temple. They have decided to do things in their own way and take pleasure in their wicked practices. This brings to mind a verse from chapter 1.
Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
The sacrifices offered by these rebellious people were just as wicked in God’s eyes as murder. A dog is almost always a reference to something stupid or worthy of contempt in scripture; it would most certainly not be an acceptable sacrifice before God. A pig was an unclean animal and, again, an unacceptable sacrifice before God. The incense offered by those who were rejecting God’s authority was not the sweet savour before the Lord it should have been. Instead, He viewed it as though they were offering the incense before a heathen idol.
The most telling truth in this verse is that “their soul delighteth in their abominations.” The wicked enjoy their sin; they are just not smart enough to understand that it only provides pleasure for a season. Its end is death.
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death….
Is. 66:4 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.
Because they have chosen to reject Him, God is now saying that He is going to give them over to their sin. He will Himself be the source of their delusion and fear. That is basically the principle stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans.
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts….
When I did a phrase search for “gave them up,” I found it was also supported elsewhere in the Old Testament.
2Chronicles 30:7 And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
Psalm 81:11-12 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
It also reminds me of the truth stated in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians regarding the last days.
2Thessalonians 2:8-12 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This is a very sobering thought. There comes a time (that only God knows) when God’s salvation will no longer be an option for you if you continue to reject Him. In Isaiah 55 the prophet stated it this way.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found….
The implication—there is a time when He may not be found.
Why will God send this delusion upon the people that effectively seals their fate for eternity? Because they chose to ignore His continual pleading for them to repent and be saved. Because they chose to do evil, to do the things that He had expressly forbidden.
So often we hear preachers declare that as long as you have breath, you can repent and be saved. The truth of God’s word seems to declare that some people actually place themselves in the group of those condemned for eternity before death. Only God knows who those people are, so we are to minister to everyone as if the door of salvation is still open to them. I take comfort in the truth of John 6:37; not one person will be denied salvation that wants it. God has known those who would choose Him since before the foundation of the world.
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Ephesians 1:3–4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world….”
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son….”
It truly makes one think. How prevalent is this attitude in the world today? In America today? Sadly, it is the predominant attitude. We have chosen to reject God as the authority in this nation; He has been relegated to a position of simply being another choice. Many who claim His name do not hold to the inerrancy of His word. Like the people of Judah to whom he was speaking, we have chosen our own way according to our own desires. We have manipulated His word to fit with our own desires. Many who claim His name go to church and participate in empty ritual rather than worship from a heart of love and obedience.
Is. 66:5 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.
The prophet again changes his address to those that “tremble at His word.” We are reminded that Isaiah is speaking to the people of Judah directly, but I think the truth is applicable to all people of faith who have faced scoffing from their families or neighbors. The attitude is one of ridicule towards the people who are truly trying to serve God in obedience. I think one of the reasons this attitude prevails is because we don’t always see God intervene miraculously on behalf of those who are His servants. Christians (and obedient Jews in this case) suffer at the hands of the wicked. Christians die for their faith. Those who have rejected God see this and assume that God is either impotent or doesn’t care. They have no spiritual insight as to the workings of God. They don’t understand that sometimes God takes His children on home to protect and nurture them. They don’t understand that He is allowing His people to be refined to purity in character. They don’t understand that He is using their testimony to cause others to turn to Him in faith and repentance. His ways and thoughts are not like ours. Those who are spiritually blind and deaf will never understand until it is too late. There is a coming day of judgment when they will understand and will be ashamed.
The important truth is that the person of faith who “trembles at His word” will rejoice at His appearing. The joy they experience will prove to be well worth any suffering they may have endured while patiently waiting for that time.
Is. 66:6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
The prophet speaks now as though he is hearing a great noise from the city and a powerful voice coming from the temple area. He identifies this voice as that of YHWH coming to exact vengeance on His enemies; He is giving them what they deserve. This is a word picture of judgment to come.
Is. 66:7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
Is. 66:8 Who 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.
Is. 66:9 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.
The “she” who travailed is identified as Zion/Jerusalem/Israel in verse 8.
“before” she travailed – The prophet is using the illustration of a woman giving birth to explain his message. Travail in Hebrew means to “writhe in pain.” This is obviously a reference to labor pains. Because of my interest in prophecy, I can’t help but make some connections here. The Lord Himself used the terminology of birth pains in His Olivet Discourse to describe the times that would precede His second coming. Before He could come the second time, He had to come the first time. I believe He was the man child being referenced in verse 7. This same terminology is used in the book of Revelation in reference to His birth.
Revelation 12:5 And she (Israel) brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Verse 8 seems to jump forward in time to the rebirth of the nation of Israel of which Isaiah has spoken so many times, the time when they will turn in faith and repentance to God and enjoy His blessings for eternity, never to reject Him again. Israel was reborn as a nation in one day through the declaration of the United Nations on May 14, 1948. Since that time the Jewish population in Israel has continued to grow.
“as soon as” Zion travailed – This indicates that labor pains would precede the birth of the nation. In God’s perspective of time, those labor pains could include the whole of their persecution since being dispersed by the Romans. I would tend more to relate that to the gestation period, the time preparing them for birth, and the holocaust of World War II as the actual birth pains.
I like the wording of the NLT for verse 9: “Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the LORD. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.”
This all seems very clear to me from a position of hindsight, but I can’t help but wonder what the people of Judah and even Isaiah himself understood this to mean.
I was listening to Chuck Missler this morning and was made aware of another set of amazing calculations, this time regarding the rebirth of the nation of Israel. They are again based on the 360-day year used in scripture.
The 70-year servitude of the nation of Israel began with the first of three Babylonian deportations. The 70-year desolation of Jerusalem began with the third, when Jerusalem was destroyed. In Ezekiel 4 we are told that Israel would suffer for her iniquity for 430 years (390 years for Ephraim and 40 years for Judah). After the 70 years of captivity in Babylon, there were still 360 years to come. The key is found in Leviticus 26 where God says He will multiply judgment by seven if He isn’t obeyed.
360 x 7 = 2520 years
With our calendar that computes to 2483 years, 9 months and 21 days.
Significance – After the 70 year servitude ended, the 2483+ years brings you to May 14, 1948, the day Israel was reborn as a nation. If you add the 2483+ years to the end of the desolation of Jerusalem, you come to June 7, 1967,when as a result of the 6-Day Way, Israel regained control of Jerusalem. These calculations, if correct, are amazing.
Is. 66:10 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:
Is. 66:11 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.
Why would there be a reference both to those that love Jerusalem/Israel and those that mourn for her with a command to rejoice with her? To love the nation is to hold her in great esteem as God’s chosen people and Jerusalem as the place where God has chosen to put His name. To mourn with her would be a reference to the memory of those who died and suffered so much before the nation was reborn. They could now rejoice that something good had come out of something so bad.
It seems that verse 11 jumps on forward to the time of Messiah’s Kingdom. In that time, the Jewish people will experience nourishing sustenance and great prosperity from what the land and the people produce.
Is. 66:12 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.
Is. 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
How will that be possible since Israel is surrounded by so many enemies? Because her enemies will have been defeated, destroyed. YHWH through His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, will ensure that the land and its people experience great peace. They will no longer be reviled and hated by the Gentile nations; they will be honored and served by them. The picture is of the wealth of the Gentile nations flowing into Israel like a stream. The prophet paints a picture of the nation as a child upon whom his mother dotes. Their every need will be anticipated and met. The Hebrew for the word comfort includes “to be sorry, to pity, console.” The Lord will respond to them with a heart to console them for all that they have suffered, and they will experience this consolation in their own land.
Is. 66:14 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.
See what? The reborn Israel and its people living in peace, prosperity and security. This will bring joy to those that love Jerusalem/Israel and mourn for her (from verse 10); again, the specific address is to the Jewish people. Those who see this, who are part of Messiah’s Kingdom will rejoice and will experience great health and strong bodies.
“the hand of the LORD” – This is a reference to a loving Father’s hand; the powerful hand of provision, safety, comfort and love toward His servants. To His enemies, however, this hand represents judgment and wrath.
Is. 66:15 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.
I believe this speaks of the day of the LORD in which He will come to expend His anger upon the nations of the world at the final Battle of Armageddon. This is the LORD as described in chapter 63 and Revelation 19. YHWH will come in the person of Jesus. I think His coming with fire in verse 15 references His wrath as depicted in Revelation.
Revelation 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire….
I was trying to figure out how the chariots fit in, because Messiah and His armies will be riding on horses according to Revelation 19. The Hebrew for chariot also references a seat or saddle. The Hebrew for whirlwind references a hurricane from the root that means, “to snatch away, terminate, consume.” This paints a picture of an angry LORD coming with the fury and power of a whirlwind to destroy His enemies.
Is. 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
Again, the fire references His wrath and His sword references His word.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations….
The Hebrew for plead states “to judge, to pronounce sentence.” At this point He is no longer pleading with the nations to repent and live; He is judging the nations according to His righteous anger and condemning His enemies, the Antichrist and his armies, for eternity.
The sad statement—Many will be killed by the LORD. Salvation will be available for the asking, and the masses will choose to live in their sin rather than repent and be saved. Scripture tells us that few in comparison to the whole will be saved.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Is. 66:17 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.
The LORD again directs His words to those who are flaunting their sin and rebellion against Him, those who are practicing idolatry, eating what is unclean. All those that choose to reject the LORD will be perish together. I believe this is a reference to the great white throne judgment when the unbelievers are judged and consigned to the lake of fire for eternity.
Is. 66:18 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.
Only God can state that He knows our works, how we live, and our thoughts.
1Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts….
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man….
This also reminds me of the letters God sent to the seven churches in chapters 2-3 of Revelation. In each one He declares that He “knows their works.”
Although the Antichrist will think he is the one gathering the armies of the nations to fight against Jesus when He returns, YHWH makes it clear that it is He who is really the One in control. This truth is affirmed in Zechariah.
Zechariah 14:2-3 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
It is also affirmed in Revelation where we are told that the sixth vial/bowl judgment results in the gathering of the kings of the world to come against God in battle.
Revelation 16:12-14 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Is. 66:19 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.
“sign” = from 225 (in the sense of appearing), a signal; 225. a primitive root; properly, to come
It would seem that the appearance of the Son of Man and His great host coming in great glory from the heavens will be the signal of the end for Antichrist and his armies.
“those that escape” – not all those who are part of Antichrist’s kingdom will be destroyed. The news will travel quickly throughout the world of God’s glorious victory through His Son. Matthew 25 speaks of a separation of peoples who survive the tribulation period and paints a picture of a Shepherd separating sheep from goats. Those who are designated sheep will enter the Messiah’s Kingdom; those who are designated goats will not.
All the nations mentioned seem to be an overall representation of the nations in general on planet earth.
Is. 66:20 And 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.
This is another statement of how the Gentile nations will facilitate the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel to enjoy Messiah’s Kingdom. Their attitude will be one of reverential fear and with desire to please the King—Jesus. Isaiah pictures it as the children of Israel responding in gratitude by bringing a beautiful offering to their YHWH.
Is. 66:21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.
I think the NLT words it more clearly: “And I will appoint some of those who return to be my priests and Levites. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
This seems to be a reference to actual service at the millennial temple. This would be specific service to differ from the general position designated to the people as a whole in chapter 61.
Isaiah 61:6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
Is. 66:22 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.
I believe this is a reference to the time described in Revelation 21.
Revelation 21:1-5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
This is describing events that will happen after the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom and after the great white throne judgment. This is describing the ushering in of eternity for the child of God. I think it is important to remember that the prophets sometimes did not know how to distinguish the different timeframes referenced in their prophecies.
Heaven and earth as we know them will pass away, but there is coming a new heaven and earth that will exist for eternity as will the coming restored nation of Israel. Because of the decay and wasting away of the heavens and earth caused by the curse of sin, God will destroy the old one by fire and create a new one from its ashes. Maybe this will be the same type of creation as occurred in Genesis between the time of Satan’s fall and the creation of earth for mankind. (See notes on Genesis 1.) I think it is similar to what happens when we are given our resurrection bodies—something new is created from the old.
There is a verse in Colossians that tells us that God is the glue that holds everything together.
Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Maybe this is a reference to His letting go for a moment only to speak the word to bring it back together as a “new” creation.
Is. 66:23 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.
This seems to refer back to Messiah’s Kingdom. New moon to new moon is a reference to every month; one Sabbath to another is a reference to every week. How will all flesh on planet earth be able to do that? I would assume in local houses of worship. The Hebrew for the word before has enough variety in its reference to accommodate this understanding. It’s like referencing how we come before God in prayer now.
Is. 66:24 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.
This is another very sobering statement. It would seem to be a literal reference (“look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed”) to the remains of those of the destroyed armies of Antichrist. Jesus used these same words in reference to hell in the book of Mark.
Mark 9:43-48 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
I do understand that this would be an abhorrent (repulsive, object of aversion) sight.
I know there is a verse in Revelation that reveals that the “holy angels” will observe those in hell.
Revelation 14:10-11 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
This isn’t a verse about which I really care to have complete enlightenment.