Isaiah 66:1–24 (NKJV)
66:1 Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the LORD.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.
3 “He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
Just as they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
4 So will I choose their delusions,
And bring their fears on them;
Because, when I called, no one answered,
When I spoke they did not hear;
But they did evil before My eyes,
And chose that in which I do not delight.”
In this passage, Isaiah juxtaposes the true worshipper from the abominable. He initially establishes His high and lofty position as the Creator of the earth. He then offers His attention to those who are of a contrite, or humble, spirit. Those who fear or reverence the Lord will be heard by the Lord. However, those who worship incorrectly, or even worships and idol, will be allowed to follow their delusion and live in a negative atmosphere of fear. Why? Again, because they did not answer when the Lord called.
5 Hear the word of the LORD,
You who tremble at His word:
“Your brethren who hated you,
Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said,
‘Let the LORD be glorified,
That we may see your joy.’
But they shall be ashamed.”
6 The sound of noise from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the LORD,
Who fully repays His enemies!
7 “Before she was in labor, she gave birth;
Before her pain came,
She delivered a male child.
8 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.
9 Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD.
“Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
11 That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.”
12 For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
The Lord warns Zion, especially Jerusalem, to hear the Word of the Lord. Those who are hypocrites will feign interest in the Lord, but will be ashamed when their false worship is exposed. However, there is a noise from the city. Labor pains are hitting Jerusalem. She is about to give birth to newness of life, and the Lord will make sure this delivery occurs. She will feed the nation from her bosom, and the Lord will extend peace like a river. The Gentiles will come into her. She will carry you on her side and play with you on her knees. You will be comforted in Jerusalem. This eschatological prophecy applied to the earthly restoration of Israel, but also referred to the coming New Jerusalem(or else Jerusalem during the millennial reign), which would be a place of peace and comfort as well.
14 When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
And your bones shall flourish like grass;
The hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants,
And His indignation to 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
The LORD will judge all flesh;
And the slain of the LORD shall be many.
17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD.
18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. 19 I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. 20 Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says 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 some of them for priests and 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 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.
24 “And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
This final scene from Isaiah of the end times describes the stark difference between the glorious existence of the righteous compared to the destruction and punishment measured out to the unholy and disobedient. Everyone will come to the new Jerusalem to worship the One True God, and the righteous will enjoy His presence. All flesh will come to worship Him, but they will also look upon the corpses of the transgressors who exists where “their worm does not die, andtheir fire is not quenched.” Make sure you are on the right side of this picture. Make sure your relationship with Christ is secure. Make sure!