THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

They Shall See My Glory

Isaiah 66 SCC 3/2/14

God is in charge, His plan is in play, and He knows who is fake and for real.

THE HUMBLE NOT THE RELIGIOUS HAVE GODíS ATTENTION 66:1-6

66:1-2: The Lord reminded His people that He is sovereign over His universe. They should not assign too much importance to the temple and its service since they built the temple for God. It was a symbol of Him. They should consider more important that He had created all things Himself not be self-assertive with their own rights but delight in the Lordís word that He favors.

(1) The humble recognition that we can do nothing either for or to him (afflicted).

(2) The awareness that we deserve nothing but destruction from him (broken in spirit).

(3) The desire to do nothing other than what he commands (trembles at my word).

66:3: The person who relies on ritual to satisfy God is repulsive to Him. The Lord regards the slaying of sacrifices by such a person as no better than murder. There is no difference to Him between the sacrifice of an acceptable lamb or an unclean dog when a person relies on ritual. A grain offering can be as abominable to Him as offering a swineís blood. Burning incense with such an attitude is just pagan worship.

66:4: Such worshippers chose to worship God as they pleased rather than as He pleased, so He would deal with them as He pleased, not as they pleased. He would do this because they proved unresponsive to His words and insensitive to His desires.

66:5: The Lord addressed the faithful who did tremble at His word v 2. He would put to shame their ritualistic brethren who hated them for their reality and excluded them for emphasizing genuineness. One group worshipped God for His sake and the other for their benefit. The ritualists challenged the ďspiritualĒ to find their joy in the Lord while not really believing that obedience was the key to that joy. There is a distress and tension even within the people of God. God promised that as they had shamed their spiritually sensitive brethren so He would shame them in the end.

66:6: God would intervene with a word announcing and affecting judgment. The superficial worshippers had called for God to act v 5, and He would. They had called on Him to give them the comfort they thought He owed them. He would give them what they deserved, but it would be judgment rather than comfort. These were enemies of His, not His true worshippers.

EVERYTHING BEGINS AND ENDS IN JERUSALEM GODíS CITY 66:7-14

This context refers to Zion bringing forth a nation in one day, which includes Gentiles. At the return from exile no Gentiles were included. Therefore, this must be eschatological

66:7: As a pregnant woman, Isaiah pictured Zion delivering a baby without pain. She would give birth to a boy before she began experiencing labor pains. This is, of course, the opposite of what usually happens. This may be a prophecy of Messiahís appearing before the Tribulation. Israelís return to the land will be so remarkably quick that it will be like a woman giving birth to a son before v 7 or as soon as v 8 she has any labor pains.

66:8: Such a reverse order of things seems incredible. Nevertheless, Israel would come (back) into existence quickly and painlessly. This would be a supernatural work of God. It will happen at Messiahís return. He will recreate Israel as a nation after Antichrist and the combined Gentile nations of the world have sought to destroy her. However, the whole rebirth of Israel from the Exile to the Millennium may have been in the prophetís vision.

66:9: God promised to bring the nation of Israel to birth. Her emergence as a nation in the future might appear impossible, but the Lord would accomplish it. Political Israel was born on May 14, 1948, but Ďthe new Israelí will be Ďborn in a dayí when they believe on Jesus Christ.

66:10: God called Jerusalemís friends to rejoice with her at the prospect of her bearing a nation in the future. God would do for Jerusalem what He had done for Sarah and Abraham. He would give her a supernatural birth. Jerusalemís friends had formerly mourned her condition because God had called her enemies to trample her down and because she could not be righteous in herself. As a new mother, Jerusalem would be able to nourish her newborn. The city would supply the needs of her inhabitants and would comfort them with contentment and fulfillment.

66:12: The Lord would extend peace to Israel as a constantly flowing river. He would bring glory from the nations to her, glory that she had sought in the wrong ways in the past, and Israel would enjoy preferential treatment from Him.

66:13: God would comfort Israel as a mother comforts her child by the way He would deal with Jerusalem in blessing. Isaiah changes the figure. Not only as children sucking the motherís breast does God comfort His people, but also as a mother comforts her grown son.

66:14: The result would be that Godís people would see His supernatural work, would rejoice in it, and would receive strength from observing it. His servants, the godly among His people, would appreciate that God Himself had revived Israel. But He would punish His enemies.

SO EITHER WORSHIP THE LORD OR FACE ETERNAL DESTRUCTION 66:15-24

66:15: The Lord coming with fire in chariots like whirlwinds are a picture of Him coming in judgment against His enemies. His anger with fury and His rebuke with flame of fire.

66:16: This judgment in view seems to be the one that will take place when Messiah returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation. There comes a point when Godís mercy is over and His judgment is severe like the thrusts of swords and the fury of raging fire. In other words, it is all consuming and all encompassing.

66:17: Those who pursue ritualistic idolatry then and follow the false prophet of that day will come to their final end. When people cease to heed the word of revelation, it is not that they then believe nothing but that they will believe anythingógardens, pigs, and rats included.

66:18: The Lord knows the works and thoughts of rebels against His will, and He will assemble them all to witness a display of His glory. The churchís preaching of the gospel is hardly the fulfillment in view. It is rather the return of Christ to the earth and judgment of the nations then.

66:19: God promised to set a sign among His people the Israelites. This probably refers to the Cross, which He would raise up, before He brought judgment on the world at the second advent. Then the Lord would send survivors of His people among the nations to proclaim His glory. This may refer to the 144,000 Jewish missionaries that God will send throughout the earth during the Tribulation. The nations mentioned include Tarshish (Spain), Put (Libya), Lud (western Turkey), Meshech, Rosh (Russia), Tubal (eastern Turkey), and Javan (Greece). The point is that this message will go to the farthest reaches of the earth.

66:20: The message having gone out, the Gentiles would escort the Israelites back to the Promised Land and the holy city of Jerusalem as a thank offering to the Lord. Evidently many Israelites will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ during the Tribulation and will return to their ancient homeland to worship Him. Jews will evangelize Gentiles 19 and Gentiles will evangelize Jews 20.

66:21: Evidently the Lord will make some of these converted Gentiles, leaders in His worship. He would accept Gentile believers as freely as Israelite believers and would bless them with equal privilege in His service. Reminds us all the nations will in fact be blessed through Israel.

66:22-23: Just as surely as God would create new heavens and a new earth so He would preserve the Israelites. In the future, all people left alive after the Lordís judgments, Israelites and Gentiles, would worship Him continually in the New Jerusalem.

66:24: The worshippers would be able to view the corpses of those whom the Lord will judge. This probably includes those killed in the battle of Armageddon and those sentenced to eternal damnation. The picture is of Jerusalem-dwellers going outside the city to the Hinnom Valley where garbage and corpses burned constantly, where worms (corruption) and fire (holy wrath) were always working. As those who worship God rejoice before Him perpetually, so those who rebel against Him will die perpetually. Ezekiel 39:1-13 Godís judgment will be complete!

So What?

1. God exists and so does His plan for the ages. It is operative in our age and every nation is participating in that inevitable outcome.

2. Eventually God will bring down the curtain as His own Son comes and takes charge of the world and all of its governance. He is coming back.

3. In the meantime, Godís attention is drawn to the humble that are repentant and orient their lives around the truth of His Word. This is how you get his attention.

4. Our eternal destiny is determined by our response to Him in this life. There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. The only thing you can take with you is the outcome of your discipleship.