Isaiah closes with themes of sovereignty, salvation, and judgment. Exile will come, and its return should lead to rebuilding the temple, but Isaiah finds people value the temple more than the God of the temple. God’s residence is Himself; He needs no house (66:1-2a). Rather, His concern is for the remnant who look to Him in humility (66:2b).
The majority, however, are flagrant hypocrites. For them, what does it matter if their altar sacrifice is a lamb or a dog (66:3)? They hear the Lord, but amazingly they choose doing evil “in my sight” (66:4). The choice is otherwise for the faithful. Hypocrites make the remnant pay for their devotion by excluding them from the temple and ridiculing them. Arrogance, however, destines hypocrites to receive shame (66:5), the Lord “repaying his enemies all they deserve” (66:6, NIV).
God’s sovereignty can be seen in His power to accomplish His will at any moment. God can bring a baby into the world easier and quicker than normal(!), so He can easily and quickly establish a nation of faithful people (66:7-8). He can accomplish the miraculous for people who believe in Him (66:9).
Jerusalem will go into exile for her sin. Nevertheless, God promises to rebuild the city into a beautiful home for His people (66:10). The new city will abundantly supply all that her citizens may require (66:11). Jerusalem will experience peace like a river that knows no end, a peace that receives honor from many nations (66:12). All the comfort and all the judgment He promised will come to reality (66:13-14; 40:1).
Like the fiery sword that barred Adam and Eve from Eden, so in the final judgment fire and sword are instruments of God’s holiness (66:15-16). Idolatry will “come to an end altogether” (66:17). God will determine the time for judgment and salvation, and the entire world will be summoned to see the glory of God (66:18). That only a remnant fulfilled this prophecy in Isaiah’s near-term points to its perfect fulfillment on the coming Day of the Lord (66:19-21).
Ancient promises of land and descendants will fulfill. The remnant will live eternally and wonderfully in a new heaven and a new earth (66:22-23). Isaiah warns all who hear his prophecy, and the Lord Jesus repeats the warning, that the Day of the Lord is coming (66:24; Mark 9:48). Our “Study in the Word” will continue with Micah and Revelation.
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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