Isaiah 66

 

Vers. 1-4. — THE UNGODLY EXILES REBUKED. Israel, being about

to return from the Captivity, had the design of rebuilding the temple and

re-establishing the temple worship. God rebukes this design in persons

devoid of any spirit of holiness, and warns them that mere formal outward

worship is an abomination to Him (vs. 1-3).  In v. 4 He threatens them

with punishment.

 

v. 1 – “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” -   “Will God,”

said Solomon, “indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heavens

of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have

builded?” (1 Kings 8:27). And again, “Who is able to build Him an house,

seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I

then, that I should build Him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before

Him?” (2 Chronicles 2:6).  Thus Isaiah’s note of warning was no novelty,

and might find responsive echoes in the hearts of many. Where is the house

that ye build unto me? rather, what manner of house is it that ye would build

 to me, and what manner of place for my rest? God needs no “house;” and

they cannot build Him a house that could be in any way worthy of Him. They,

moreover, are unworthy to build Him any house, which is the real ground of the

refusal.  There was no refusal, when the better part of the exiles, having returned,

took the building in hand (see Ezra 3:8-13; 6:14, 15; Haggai 1:8-14; Zechariah

1:16; 4:9).

 

v. 2 – “All these things i.e. heaven and earth hath mine hand

made” -  i.e. have I, Jehovah, brought into existence. How, then, can I need

that men should build me a house? “All these things have been saith the

Lord” - The sentence seems incomplete. Mr. Cheyne supplies, “I spoke.”

The sentence will then run, “I spoke, and all these things crone into being,

saith Jehovah;” i.e. heaven and earth, and all things that are therein, came

into being at my word (comp. Genesis 1:1; 2:1). “But to this man will I

look; i.e. though I have made all things and all men, I will not equally

regard all. Him only will I respect who is of a poor and contrite spirit -

(comp. Isaiah 57:15).

 

v. 3 – Sacrifice, without the true spirit of sacrifice is an abomination –

            (see ch. 1:11)

 

v. 4 – “Their delusions”; or, their childish follies (LXX.,

          ejmpai>gmata). As God sends on some men “strong delusion that they

            should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11), so on others He sends a

            spirit of childish folly, which makes their conduct silly and headstrong.

            (compare II Timothy 3:4 – “heady” of the last times - Headstrong

            (propetei~v); as in Acts 19:36. Neither “heady” nor “headstrong” gives

            the exact meaning of propeth>v, which is “rash,” “hasty,” “headlong.”

            “Headstrong” rather denotes obstinacy which will not be influenced

            by wise advice, but propeth>v is the person who acts from impulse,

            without considering consequences, or weighing principles.

 

ejmpaigmo>v, emp-aheeg-mos; from (1702) (ejmpai>zw);

derision: — mocking.

(1702) ejmpai>zw, — emp-aheed’-zo; from (1722) (ejn) and (3815)

(pai>zw); to jeer at, i.e. deride: — mock.

 

propeth>v, prop-et-ace’; from a compound of (4253) (pro>)

and (4098) (pi>ptw); falling forward, i.e. headlong (figurative

precipitate): — heady, rash [-ly].

 

Persons whose characters are of this stamp are especially liable to vain and

groundless “fears.” When I called, none did answer (comp. Isaiah 65:12, and

 see the comment on that passage).  (I recommend a close scrutiny of Proverbs

1:22-33 especially  having to “eat of the fruit of our own way” – CY – 2009)

 

vs. 5-14 - THE GODLY EXILES ENCOURAGED. The scoffs which

have long greeted those who believed God’s promises and expected the

restoration of Zion, will be put to shame. The silence in which Zion has lain

will be broken; she will be once more a city “full of stirs, a tumultuous

city (Isaiah 22:2). Suddenly, without any pains of travail, she will

bring forth; and her offspring will be “a nation born at once” (v. 8). The

godly exiles are called upon to rejoice at the prospect (v. 10), and

promised peace and comfort in the restored city (vs. 11-14).

 

v. 5 – “Hear… ye that tremble. The godly are addressed — those that

have a reverent fear of God’s word (comp. ver. 2, ad fin.; and see also

Ezra 9:4; 10:3). Your brethren that… cast you out” rather. that put

you away (Cheyne), or thrust you from them (Delitzsch). The verb used

came in later times to designate formal excommunication; but here it points

merely to a practical renunciation of fellowship. Said, Let the Lord be

glorified: but he shall appear to your joy”; rather, said, Let Jehovah

glorify himself, that ice may see your joy; i.e. said sarcastically, May the

prophecies be fulfilled, and God humble Babylon, and release Israel, and

restore her, that we may witness your rejoicing. “We should gladly see all

this; but we do not in the least expect it.”And they shall be ashamed”;

rather, but as for them (i.e. those who so speak) they shall be ashamed.

The event shall shame them.

 

Compare the attitude of those in the last days who ask  Where is

the promise of His coming?  for since the fathers fell asleep, all

things continue as they were from the beginning.  (God’s comment:

“FOR THIS THEY ARE WILLINGLY IGNORANT” – II Peter 3:4-5)

 

 

 

vs. 7-14 – Personally, I believe that this has to do with the rebirth of

            Israel, 1948 restored to nationhood – 1967 regaining control

            of Jerusalem“Who hath heard such a thing?  Who hath seen

            such things?  …….shall a nation be born at once?  in one day?”

            I believe this has to do with the salvation or rebirth of Israel

            when the Israelis turn to Christ!  Compare II Corinthians 3:13-16,

            especially v. 16 - Romans 11:1-36, especially vs. 25-26 – CHRIST’S

            WORDS  in Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-31, and Luke 21:31-36

            with Israel being the “budding fig tree”! – CY – 2009)

 

Thus in the last two chapters we have been looking at the MILLIENUM

and THE LAST DAYS OF THE WORLD

 

v. 9 - Shall I bring to the birth, etc.? i.e. “Should I arrange all the

preliminary circumstances for the restoration of my people, and stop

there?” (Cheyne). Nay, should I, having done so much, interpose at the last

moment, to shut the womb? Without such interposition, matters have

progressed so far, that the result must come.

 

v. 13 – “As one-  literally, as a man. Israel is now looked upon as

grown up, and receiving comfort from God himself in Jerusalem.

 

v. 14 – “Your bones shall flourish like an herb” -  (comp. Isaiah

58:11). In the time of calamity, Israel’s “bones” have been “consumed’’

(Psalm 31:10), and “waxed old” (Psalm 32:3), and “burned with

heat(Job 30:30). Now they shall enjoy a time of refreshing from the

Lord. New life shall enter them, and health and growth shall follow. The

nation shall be rejuvenated, and “flourish” in more than its pristine strength.

“The hand of the Lord shall be known-  or recognized, both in this

merciful treatment of His servants, and also in the indignation with which He

will visit His enemies. This last clause conveniently introduces the following

theophany (vers. 15-18).

 

vs. 15-18 - THE VENGEANCE WHICH GOD WILL TAKE ON

HIS ENEMIES. A signal outpouring of God’s vengeance upon His enemies

precedes the settlement of the Church in its final glorious condition, both in

Isaiah and in the Revelation of St. John (see chps. 34 & 35., and Revelation

chps. 19-21.). The wicked have to be removed before the righteous can be

established in peace. Here the agencies employed against the wicked are

fire and “sword” — fire pointing (as Delitzsch remarks) to destructive

occurrences of nature, and the sword to destructive occurrences of history.

God Himself is represented as guiding and directing both agencies, to the

punishment of the ungodly and the relief of those who trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v. 15 – “Behold, the Lord WILL COME with fire” - The agency of fire

 in the judgment that will overtake the wicked simultaneously with Christ’s

Second Coming, appears in 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Peter 3:7-10.

 

like a whirlwind” – ponder on how quickly the news media reports

on such natural occurrences – What about at the end?  The people

at the time of the Flood “knew not until the Flood came!” in other

words they WERE UNPREPARED AND DIDN’T KNOW WHAT

HIT THEM!

 

v. 16 – “by fire will the Lord plead with ALL FLESH” - rather,

will the Lord judge all flesh (comp. Jeremiah 25:31, where the same

phrase occurs).

 

 

v. 18 - "I know their works....and their thoughts" – GOD IS

            OMNISCIENT – He knows everything!see Psalm 139:1-24

 

vs. 19-24 - THE FINAL CONDITION OF THE CHURCH OF THE

REDEEMED ON EARTH. When the enemies of God have been

consumed, there shall go out from the Church missionaries, who shall

convert the distant Gentiles, and unite them, and the Jews who dwell

among them, into a single body of worshippers, which shall inhabit the new

Jerusalem on equal terms, and join continually in a common worship of

Jehovah. The awful destruction of the wicked, and their eternal

sufferings, shall at the same time be held in remembrance.

 

v. 19 – “I will set a sign among them” -  Dr. Kay suggests that the

sign is the resurrection of our Lord, or possibly a miraculous

manifestation of Christ which is to precede His coming in judgment.

I will send those that escape of them unto the nations” - These shall be sent

(as missionaries) to the distant nations; not literally to those enumerated, but

to such as at the end of the world occupy a position which the nations

mentioned occupied on Isaiah’s horizon. Of these nations, Tarshish

(Tartessus) was at the furthest limit westward, Pul and Lud, or rather Phut

and Lud, at the furthest limit southward, Tubal and Javan at the furthest

limit northward, Pul, which occurs nowhere else in Scripture as a

geographic name, is almost certainly a wrong reading for Phut, which

occurs in Genesis 10:6, and also three times (Jeremiah 46:9;

Ezekiel 27:10; 30:5) in connection with Lud. Phut designates an

African nation, probably the Nubians, whom the Egyptians called Pet, and

who were noted as bowmen

 

 

 

v. 21 – “And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites” -

literally, and I will also take of them unto the priests and unto the Levites;

i.e. I will add to the existing body of priests and Levites, who are presumably

Jews, fresh members from the newly converted Gentiles. The

existence of a sacerdotal order, with distinctions of ranks, in the Church of

the redeemed, is implied, and the gracious declaration is made that the

privilege of furnishing members to both ranks of the order shall be

conferred upon the Gentile proselytes.

 

v. 22 – “As the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make,

shall remain” - The “new heavens and the new earth,” once created,

continue for ever (comp.Revelation 21:1-27; 22:1-5). “So shall your

seed and your name remain.” as the new heaven and new earth” will

always remain, so there will always remain a seed of true believers to

worship God in them.

 

 

v. 23 – Life is ONE PERPETUAL SABBATH passed in the

            WORSHIP OF GOD!

 

v. 24 – “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses” -

Here is more imagery, which it is impossible to understand literally. The

carcasses could not remain always to be looked at, nor while they remained

could the sight of them be otherwise than loathsome to God’s redeemed

saints. Again, they could not be at the same time burnt with fire and eaten

by worms. “The prophet, by the very mode of description adopted by him,

precludes the possibility of our conceiving of the thing set forth as realized

in any material form in this present state. He is speaking of the future state,

but in figures drawn from the present world” (Delitzsch). Does he mean

more than this — that the redeemed shall have in their thoughts, at any rate

from time to time, the fact that, while they have by God’s great mercy been

saved and brought into His kingdom, there are those who have not been

saved, but lie for ever under the awful sentence of God’s wrath? This is a

knowledge which the redeemed must have, and which may well produce a

salutary effect on them, intensifying their gratitude and maintaining in them

a spirit of reverent fear. “Their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire

be quenched” - (comp. Mark 9:44, 46, 48). It cannot be by chance that

the evangelical prophet concludes his glorious prophecy with this terrible

note of warning. Either he was divinely directed thus to terminate his

teaching, or he felt the need that there was of his emphasizing all the many

warnings dispersed throughout his “book” by A FINAL, NEVER TO BE

FORGOTTEN PICTURE. The undying worm and the quenchless fire —

images introduced by him — became appropriated thenceforth to the final

condition of impenitent sinners (Jud. 16:17; Ecclus. 7:17), and were even

adopted by our Lord himself in the same connection (Mark 9.). The

incongruity of the two images shows that they are not to be understood literally;

but both alike imply everlasting continuance, and are incompatible with either

of the two modern heresies of universalism or annihilationism. “They shall

be an abhorring unto all flesh” -  (comp. Daniel 12:2, where the word deraon

is rendered “contempt”). The Jewish rabbis regarded it as anomalous that

any portion of Scripture should conclude with words of ill omen. When,

therefore, this chapter was read in the synagogue, or the last of

Ecclesiastes, or Lamentations, or Malachi, they directed that after the

reading of the last verse, the last verse but one should he repeated, to

correct the sad impression that would otherwise have been left upon the

mind????  But Isaiah thought it salutary to leave this sad impression (comp.

Isaiah 48:22; 57:21).

 

 

 

                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

vs. 10-14 - The Blessedness of the Restored Church.

 

  • THE CHURCH WILL ENJOY, BY GOD’S BLESSING, MUCH

            OUTWARD AND INWARD PEACE. Peace was our Lord’s legacy to

            His Church: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you

            (John 14:27);  On the whole, peace has flowed over the Church

            like a river,”and has flowed into the hearts of the bulk of her true

            members like an abounding stream. “There is no peace, saith my God,

            to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21); but in the soul of the true Christian is

             a “peace that passeth all understanding,” that wells up continually

            as from an inexhaustible fountain, and spreads around him an atmosphere

            of happiness.

 

  • THE CHURCH WILL DERIVE HONOUR FROM THE COMING

            IN OF THE GENTILES. Further and further, as time goes on, does the

            light of Christianity shine, and more and more are the dark places of the

            earth illuminated. Long since did the Gentiles begin to come to the

            Church’s light, and “kings to the brightness of her rising” (Isaiah 60:3).

            But the process is not yet complete. Not a year passes but the gospel is

            carried into some new region by faithful and true missionaries, and the

            Lord adds to the Church fresh souls whom he wills to be saved.  She has to

            go out into the highways and hedges — the wild lauds of savage tribes or

            the yet wilder courts and allies of great towns — and to bring in the poor,

            and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind, the downtrodden, and the

            ignorant, and the criminal, and the homeless; to civilize and train them, and        

            frequently to feed them and clothe them; thus following the commands of

            her blessed Master, and preparing for herself the high honor of hearing one

            day the glorious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant: enter thou

            into the joy of thy Lord”

 

 

  • THE CHURCH WILL DERIVE CONTINUAL COMFORT FROM

            HER LORD. “I will not leave you comfortless,” said the blessed Jesus;

            “I will come to you” (John 14:18). In all their difficulties, in all their

            troubles, Christ comforts His people — comforts them with His Word of

            truth, comforts them with His gracious promises, comforts them with His

            presence in their hearts and souls. He comes to them, and makes His abode

            with them, and is a continual inward sustaining power, raising them above

            the cares and troubles and vexations of the world, inspiring in their hearts

            love and joy and peace.

 

 

vs. 15-17 - The Purging of the Earth by the Destruction of the Wicked.

The kingdom of Christ cannot be fully set up in all its blessedness until the

earth is prepared for its reception; and the main preparation required is the

elimination from it of those wicked persons who, while they remain, must

always constitute a disturbing element, inimical to the earth’s peace and a

hindrance to the Church’s happiness. The teaching of Scripture is that,

before the Church is finally established in the blissful position which it is

intended to occupy, the removal of this element will have taken place.

Partly by wars and tumults, by their swords being turned against each

other, but still more completely by some miraculous outpouring of God’s

wrath, typified under the figure of fire, the wicked will be cleared out from

all parts of the earth’s surface, and only the godly will remain. The

description of the day of vengeance is given, with the greatest fulness, in

the Revelation of St. John (19:11-21),

 

vs. 22-24 – “ETERNAL SUFFERING and ETERNAL GLORY

Holy Scripture sets before us,. as Moses set before the people of Israel in

the wilderness, a tremendous alternative — “life and death;” one the

eternal foil and counterpart of the other, with the exhortation a thousand

times repeated in a thousand different forms — “CHOOSE LIFE”

(Deuteronomy 30:19). (Think of the context of 2009 and the liberal

teaching of ABORTION as a “sacred cow” under the banner of

PRO-CHOICE – CY – 2009) MAN’S DESIRE IS TO SEPARATE what

God has inseparably connected, and to retain “everlasting life,” “eternal

glory,” “endless bliss,” while getting rid altogether of their counterparts —

eternal suffering,” “everlasting contempt,” “endless death. BUT MAN

CANNOT ALTER THE SYSTEM of God’s universe, nor, could he do so, is it

to be supposed that he would find himself able to improve it. Deep down in the

nature of things lies the eternal antagonism between good and evil — an

antagonism which would seem to be necessary to the very existence of good in

created beings; and the teaching of Scripture clearly is that this antagonism

continues for ever (see Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:44; John 5:29;

Revelation 20:10, 15; 21:8; 22:11, 15). Of the nature of the eternal glory and

the eternal suffering reserved for souls in the world to come, it is impossible

for us in this life to have anything more than a dim and faint conception.

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Think of the “sense of loss” inseparable from being shut out from

GOD’S PRESENCE, from the presence of holy angels, and from that

ofjust men made perfect” – Hebrews 12:23 – compare Matthew 8:11-12

and remember the teachings of Jesus Christ:

 

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to

enter in, and shall not be able.  When once the master of the house is risen

up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock

at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say

unto you, I know you not whence ye are:  Then shall ye begin to say, We

have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me,

all ye workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,

when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in

the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.  And they shall come

from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south,

and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.  And, behold, there are last which

shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”   Luke 13:24-30

 

SINNER, WILL NOT YOU COME TO JESUS TODAY??? -  “TODAY IS

THE DAY OF SALVATION!!!” – HE WILL NOT TURN YOU AWAY

WHILE IT IS “TODAY – SEEK HIM WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND –

LET THE WICKED MAN FORSAKE HIS WAY AND THE UNRIGHTEOUS

MAN HIS THOUGHTS AND RETURN UNTO THE LORD AND HE WILL

HAVE MERCY AND WILL ABUNDANTLY PARDON  - Hebrews 3:7-15,

Isaiah 55:6-7

 

“AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, I HAVE NO  PLEASURE IN THE

DEATH OF THE WICKED; BUT THAT THE WICKED TURN FROM

HIS WAY AND LIVE;  TURN YE, TURN YE FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS;

FOR WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL????”Ezekiel 33:11

 

“THEREFORE THUS WILL I DO UNTO THEE, O ISRAEL:  AND

BECAUSE I WILL DO THIS UNTO THEE, PREPARE TO MEET

THY GOD, O ISRAEL!”   - Amos 4:12

 

“….FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND.  HE THAT IS UNJUST, LET

HIM BE UNJUST STILL:  AND HE WHICH IS FILTHY, LET

HIM BE FILTHY STILL” – Revelation 22:10-11 (may God

deliver us from such a fate)

 

Peter ended the message on the day of Pentecost with these words:

“SAVE YOURSELVES FROM THIS UNTOWARD GENERATION”