The Bible tells us that God’s redeeming work brings glory to His name (Eph. 1:6, 12. 14). God’s redemption brings Him glory by (1) showing His holiness, righteousness and justice in judging evil, and (2) by showing the beauty of His mercy and grace in forgiving unworthy sinners who exercise faith in His Son. This forgiveness is all because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ who came from heaven to bear the burden of sin and curse (Isa. 53:4-6; cf. Rom. 3:21-26). Eternal forgiveness comes immediately to all who believe, but the Bible also shows us that one day God’s redemption will culminate with the return of Christ and the establishing of God’s kingdom. Isaiah 66 tells us about this coming kingdom. Today’s blog focuses on Isaiah 66 and what this coming kingdom will look like. Here in this final chapter, Isaiah shows us six ways that the sovereign Lord will glorify Himself when He sends Jesus to bring the kingdom to this earth.

Sovereign Yahweh accepts the humble (vv. 1-2)

Theological discussions about the attributes of God show us two complementary truths.  One is that God is infinite in His transcendence, and the other is that He is also infinite in His immanence.  These truths remind us that God is completely set apart from all sinners, but He is also willing to embrace and receive those who love Him and believe His Word.

The Lord is infinite in His transcendence (vv. 1-2a)

Mere religion will never satisfy the demands of a God who is perfectly holy and righteous, for God’s requirement is that of perfect righteousness (cf. Rom. 3:19-20).  Verses 1-2 remind us of the infinite transcendence of Yahweh and why it is that no amount of self-righteous effort by fallen man will ever make him acceptable to God. 

Yahweh needs no one (v. 1).  First of all, says God, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool [1 Chron. 28:2; Pss. 99:5; 110:1; 132:7].  Where then is a house you could build for Me?  And where is a place that I may rest?” (v. 1).  Some have wrongly supposed that God is commanding those in Babylon not to rebuild a temple, but such is not the case.  Rather, this is a rebuke to sinners that God needs nothing from them.[2]

Yahweh is Creator of all (v. 2a).  God is always there, but He cannot be reached by fallen men who trust in dead religion or, as Keil expresses it, “The prophecy is addressed to the entire body now ready to return, and says to the whole without exception, that Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth, does not stand in need of any house erected by human hands.”[3]  Isaiah reaffirms this truth by once again reminding His people that He is the One who made everything:  “For My hand made all these things; thus all these things came into being, declares the Lord.”  God needs nothing.

The Lord is infinite in His immanence (v. 2b)

Despite the transcendence and holiness of God, the Lord is still willing to accept sinners who come to Him in faith:  “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 57:15; 66:5).[4]  God saves sinners who humble themselves and believe (Ps. 138:6; Prov. 3:34; Matt. 5:3; 11:28; James 4:6).

Sovereign Yahweh rejects the proud (vv. 3-4)

God’s invitation to the humble stands, but for the proud sinner who delights in dead religion over the way of the Lord, there will be nothing but judgment.  The reason, explains Hughes, is because, “God is never pleased with hand ritual apart from heart righteousness.”[5]  Isaiah shows us both the deeds of dead religion (v. 3) and the destiny of dead religion (v. 4).

The deeds of dead religion (v. 3)

God hates dead religion (i.e., religious rituals done by unsaved men).  Isaiah gives a four-fold description of Israel’s dead religion, telling us how God felt about their empty rituals.

First two descriptions of Israel’s dead religion.  Isaiah says, “But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog’s neck” (cf. Exod. 13:13; Deut. 21:4).  Because of their separation from God, their sacrifices were no better than the most-wicked of deeds, and completely unacceptable to God (Isa. 1:10-15; 59:1-2; cf. Amos 5:21-23; Prov. 15:8).  Israel would have much done better by applying the words of King David:  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:17).  God’s real desire was a heart of faith that delights in genuine righteousness (Amos. 5:23; Mic. 6:8).

Two more descriptions of Israel’s dead religion.  Isaiah continues to explain God’s view of Israel’s dead religion:  “He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; he who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol.  As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations” (cf. 65:2, 12).  The daily offering of incense was a standard part of Israel’s temple worship (Isa. 1:13; cf. Lev. 24:7; Num. 5:26; Ps. 38:1), but God says that it is no more acceptable than pig’s blood (Lev. 11:7-8).  The problem did not lie in the offering, but that Israel’s sin made its worship unacceptable—no better than the blessing of an idol.[6]

The destiny of dead religion (v. 4)

Because they chose their own ways, God will bring upon them the punishments they dreaded most.  The term for punishments (ta‘aluliym) is an interesting one that is found elsewhere only in 3:4 with the translation “capricious children,” but here with the sense of being wanton, or making sport of, or causing mockery, or mistreating (cf. Judg. 19:25).[7]  Those who refuse the Lord will never experience peace (48:22; 57:21), but only wrath.

Sovereign Yahweh cares about the pains of His people (vv. 5-6)

Despite the widespread disbelief, there was still a believing remnant in the land.  Isaiah describes them as those who tremble (charad; cf. 66:5) at His Word.  These are the ones who, simply because they believe in Yahweh, are hated by their Jewish brethren (cf. Amos 5:10), the ones who get shunned and excluded because of their faith in Yahweh.[8]  The New Testament reminds us that the unsaved world hates those who belong to the Lord (cf. John 9:34; 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13).

These unsaved people are the ones who make all kinds of mocking statements about believers, taunting them for their faith in the Lord with words like, “Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy,” i.e., Let’s see God come save them according to their claim to trust in His salvation (cf. Isa. 5:19; Zeph. 1:12).  The key points to note are that (1) the world is always going to hate those who have true faith, and (2) God certainly will judge those unbelievers and they will be put to shame.  The Lord cares for His people.  He sees the pain of being hated for His name’s sake, and He wants them to know that He will judge those who persecute His people:  “A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord who is rendering recompense to His enemies” (v. 6).  Thus, explains Smith, “Knowing this, all the humble and contrite can rest assured that eventually God will justly deal with those who hate them and repay all those who are involved with syncretistic worship.”[9]

Sovereign Yahweh will fulfill His promises (vv. 7-9)

Verses 7-9 remind us once again of the glorious return of Christ when Israel will experience spiritual rebirth at a national level (cf. Isa. 54; Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:25-36).[10]  Actually, though, here in verses 7-9 Isaiah speaks about two interrelated promises of birth that mother Jerusalem will experience.  Even though there is scholarly debate about how to interpret some of the statements in this section, in the opinion of the present writer Isaiah is telling us first about the promised birth of the Messiah (vv. 7-8a), and then about the spiritual rebirth of the entire nation because of the redeeming work of the Messiah (vv. 8b-9).

The interrelationship comes out by virtue of the solidarity that exists between the corporate nation and the One Savior whom God will bring forth out of that corporate nation.  Thus, explains Unger, in these following verses, “the figure of the male child comprehends the spiritually regenerated nation, the many sons being viewed as one under the returning Messiah, who will be manifested as their representative head.”[11]  This writer concurs with Unger on how we see verses 7-9 speaking first about the physical birth of the Messiah (vv. 7-8a) and secondly about the spiritual birth of the entire nation (vv. 8b-9).

First promise:  A child to rule as King (vv. 7-8a)

The promise of Messiah’s birth.  Virtually all conservative scholars recognize that the promise of redemption begins in Genesis 3:15 and runs throughout the entire Bible.  This promised Messiah will be a male child who comes as a descendent of Eve (Gen. 3:15),[12] who comes from the nation of Israel (Gen. 12:1-3; 35:9-12; Num. 24:17), who comes from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), who comes from the royal line of David (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6-7), who is born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), and who is killed before the destruction of Israel’s second temple (Dan. 9:24-27).

The marvel of the Messiah’s birth.  The marvel of the Messiah’s birth is that it came to Israel before (beterem) Israel’s travail (chiyl) and before (beterem) Israel’s labor pain (chebel), i.e., before the future seven-year tribulation period.[13]  It is a marvel that a child could be brought forth before travail, but that is why Isaiah asks, “Who has heard such a thing?  Who has seen such things?” (v. 8a).  This passage is best understood as referring to the birth of Messiah.  The words are obscure, but it is interesting that this messianic interpretation was held in ancient Israel as noted by Oswalt:

The significance of zakar, “male,” here is unclear.  The Targ. paraphases “her king will be revealed,” which is plainly a messianic reference.  Rev. 12:5 uses similar terminology in what is apparently a messianic setting.[14]

The present writer believes that this is the best interpretation.[15]

            The birth of this male child is the one spoken of in Isaiah 9:6-7, the child who comes to the nation after long ages of darkness, but before the horrors of the Tribulation Period.  A careful study of the Hebrew text shows us that this child, the One who is called “Mighty God” (’El Gibbor), is the same One who will restore the remnant of Israel at the end of the age (cf. Isa. 10:20-23).[16]  As other Scripture and salvation history show us, the salvation of the nation would not coincide immediately with the birth of the Promised One, for we know that the Promised One would first be despised, and rejected and killed for the sins of His people before conquering death in resurrection (Isa. 52:13-53:12), all fulfilled by Jesus.

Second promise:  The birth of a nation (vv. 8b-9)

Verses 8b-9 continue the birth promises by shifting the focus to the corporate nation and the spiritual birth she will experience during the Tribulation Period, in particular in the last half of this period.[17]

The suddenness of Israel’s spiritual birth (v. 8b).  Those seven years, especially the last three-and-a-half, will be horrific for Israel, but God will use it to bring regeneration to the nation.  Isaiah likens it to a land being born in one day and a nation being brought forth all at once (v. 8b).  This spiritual birth is the same one Isaiah described back in chapter 54.  God’s desire had always been to see such spiritual fruit from Israel, but she never produced it in ages past (cf. 26:17-18; 33:11).

The certainty of Israel’s spiritual birth (v. 9).  Lest anyone doubt the certainty of these promises, the Lord asks, “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery? says the Lord.  Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb? says your God” (v. 9).  In other words, God certainly will bring spiritual birth to His people Israel (cf. Isa. 49:15-26; 54:1-17).

Sovereign Yahweh will satisfy the longings of the saints (vv. 10-14a)

In light of God’s promise to bring spiritual birth, the Lord now issues a call to rejoice.  This includes the call for rejoicing (v. 10), the cause for rejoicing (vv. 11-13), and the consequence of rejoicing (v. 14a).

The call for rejoicing (v. 10)

Few nations have suffered as much as Israel,[18] but here the call here is for supreme rejoicing (60:20; 61:2-3; 65:18-19).  God gives the three-fold command, “Be joyful [samach] with Jerusalem, and rejoice [giyl] for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad [sus, an imperative combined with noun to intensify] with her, all you who mourn over her.”[19]

The cause for rejoicing (vv. 11-13)

The reason for this rejoicing is on account of the fact (lema‘an, here with the sense “on account of”[20]) that all kingdom citizens will have the privilege of being blessed in the messianic kingdom.  Oswalt explains, “The direct cause of the rejoicing that Isaiah promises to the new Jerusalem’s inhabitants is that their city will provide for all their needs.”[21]  These nourishing and comforting blessings are described in the tenderest terms using the image of Jerusalem nursing (yanaq) her little babies, i.e., those who inhabit the city.  The language is very tender and intimate,[22] and there could be no greater illustration of the beauty of the Lord’s blessings that will come to His redeemed saints in the Kingdom (cf. 49:23; 60:4-16).

Gone forever will be the age of sin, conflict and war, and in its place, says God, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream” (v. 12).  Years earlier (8:6-8) Isaiah used similar imagery (i.e., “overflowing stream”), but for a much different reason.  In its earlier use, the overflowing stream was used to describe the furious power of the King of Assyria invading Judah, but now the overflowing stream will be the eternal peace and glory (i.e., wealth) of the nations.[23]

The consequence of such rejoicing (v. 14a)

God says, when this day comes, “Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, and your bones will flourish like the new grass [cf. 58:11];[24] and the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants.”  Gladness and joy will replace sadness and sorrow, and never again will the sorrows and pains of sin and curse be their lot.  God’s promise is there to encourage us to keep our hope vibrant and to not grow weary.

Sovereign Yahweh will judge the sins of the wicked (vv. 14b-24)

For those who refuse, God “will be indignant (za‘am) to His enemies” (v. 14b).[25]  Smith sees this as potentially including Jews and Gentiles:

The final paragraph begins with a description of the glorious coming of God in a theophany, accompanied by fire, his sword, and his chariot (66:15–16). He will come in wrath to bring destruction on all those who worship pagan gods, including any Hebrews who are involved with syncretistic worship (66:17). It is at this time that God will reveal the majesty of his presence on earth so that all people, even the foreign nations around the world who have not known him, will see his glory (66:18; 60:1–3).[26]

Isaiah makes it clear that no unsaved man will enter into the Messiah’s kingdom or escape His fiery judgment.  Here in this final section, we see the Agent of God’s judgments (v. 15), the objects of God’s judgments (vv. 16-17), and the goal of God’s judgments (vv. 18-24).

The Agent of God’s judgments (v. 15)

This verse opens with the expression “for behold” (kiy hinneh), an expression that signals an important message:  God is coming to judge sinners.  The coming of God to judge is portrayed as a theophany in which Yahweh comes to judge the wicked (Deut. 33:26; Isa. 5:28; 10:17; 29:6; 30:27; 33:14; 57:18; 59:18; 65:6; 66:6; cf. Pss. 18:19; 68:17; 104:3; Hab. 3:8).

The Scripture leaves no doubt that this Judge is Jesus Christ (Zech. 2:5; 9:14-15; 14:3-4; Rev. 19:11-21).  Jesus Himself said, “The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds” (Matt. 16:27).  Paul describes the coming of Christ to judge sinners:

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:6-9).

Who are these objects of judgment?

The objects of God’s judgments (vv. 16-18a)

Eschatological wrath to the nations.  Numerous passages show us the eschatological wrath of God on the Gentiles (Deut. 30:7; Isa. 9:1-7; 10:25-34; 26:20-21; 34:1-17; Ezek. 38-39; Dan. 7:23-28; 9:27; 11:36-45; Joel 3:1-17; Zech. 14:1-15; Rev. 17:11-18; 19:11-21).  These verses seem to include such people.

Eschatological wrath to unsaved Israel.  God will destroy the unsaved nations who are seeking Israel’s destruction, but in the present context Isaiah appears to be focusing on the unsaved Jews.  Isaiah describes this judgment by saying, “For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh,[27] and those slain by the Lord will be many” (v. 16).  God hated the empty religious pride of Israel in the days of Isaiah (cf. 29:13), and He is still going to hate it in its final form at the end of the age.  These were the idolaters of Israel, those who, “sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens [cf. 1:29; 65:3],[28] following one in the center, who eat swine’s flesh [chaziyr; cf. Lev. 11:7; Isa. 65:4], detestable things [sheqets] and mice [‘akbar]” (v. 17a; cf. Lev. 11:11-43; 20:25).  God never condemned Gentiles for eating unclean foods, but He does condemn Israel for such rebellion.  For this reason, God says they will “come to an end altogether” (suph) (v. 17b; cf. Zeph. 1:1-3).

When the Messiah comes, He will purge His people of all filth and rebellion, many of which will fall by means of the sword through enemy invasion (v. 16b).  Ezekiel reminds us of the truth that being a physical Jew does not assure entrance into the messianic kingdom, for God will purge all the rebels (Ezek. 20:36-38; cf. Zech. 13:8-9).  Malachi affirmed this truth:

He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.  Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years (Mal. 1:1-4).

The hypocrites may think that they will escape judgment, but God tells them, “I know their works and their thoughts” (v. 18a).[29]

The goal of God’s judgments (vv. 18b-24)

Isaiah indicates that the goal of God’s judgments is to glorify His name among all men so that He might receive the honor and praise due His name.  This work to glorify His name will include two kinds of gatherings:  (1) the gathering of elect Gentiles to see His glory (vv. 18b-19), and (2) the gathering of elect Jews to see His glory (vv. 20-24).

The gathering of elect Gentiles (vv. 18b-19).  Once again, we return to a theme we have seen many times:  Yahweh is a holy God who deserves praise from all men.  One of the ways God will do this is by causing His saving grace to redeem His elect saints from every corner of the earth.  Isaiah says, “[The time] is coming to gather [qabats] all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see My glory” (v 18b).[30]  The nations of the world are going to make the choice to invade Israel, but several of these passages show that God is the One drawing these nations to fulfill His purposes (cf. Ezek. 38:4-8; 39:1-2; Joel 3:1-2; Mic. 4:12; Zech. 14:2; Rev. 16:14; 17:13-18).  The pagan nations want to annihilate Israel, but God is going to use it for the good purpose of saving an elect remnant for His glory.  Isaiah explains,

I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish,[31] Put,[32] Lud,[33] Meshech,[34] Tubal,[35] Javan,[36] and to the distant coastlands[37] that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory, and they will declare My glory among the nations” (v. 19).

The way that God saves them is that He will set a sign (’oth) among them that He uses to save His elect Gentiles, i.e., those whom God has gathered together against Israel, but who saw His saving grace and came to faith.[38]  The text does not explain exactly what this sign is (see ’oth in Isa. 7:11, 14; 8:18; 19:20; 20:3; 37:30; 38:22; 55:13; cf. Exod. 10:2; Ps. 78:43.).  Smith writes,

It might be the miraculous defeat of Gog and Magog (Ezek 38:18–23; Joel 3:9–16), God’s personal appearance on the Mount of Olives to save his people with a great earthquake (Zech 14:1–5) or some completely new divine act unparalleled in previous history.[39]

Probably the best understanding is that Isaiah is speaking in general about the miraculous work of Christ to save Israel from annihilation, and the way that God’s Spirit uses this to draw God’s remnant to faith.[40]  Then, once the battles of Armageddon have ended, these Gentile survivors (the peleytiym),[41] i.e., those from the invading armies who came to faith, will now be ready to serve the Lord and do His bidding.  They will go back to their home countries as living witnesses to the mighty deeds of God.  Kidner explains, “The Lord’s coming will be followed by the further evangelizing of the world.”[42]  Thus, the Gentiles who once sought Israel’s destruction will become missionaries who go back to their home countries and take the gospel into the world (cf. Isa. 19:18-25; 42:12).[43]  This is good!

The gathering of elect Jews (vv. 20-24).  The last statement in verse 19 tells about God’s glory going out to the nations, but here in verses 20-24 we see that these Gentiles are going to respond to God’s grace by helping regather to God’s holy mountain, i.e., Jerusalem (cf. 2:2-3; 11:9; 56:7; 65:11; Zech. 14:16-21), the remnant of the Jews scattered all over the world (v. 20; cf. 11:12; 14:2; 27:12-13; 43:6; 49:22; 60:1-22; Matt. 24:31).  God likens this willing ministry of the Gentiles to that of a grain offering that comes out of gratitude and thankfulness to the Lord (cf. Lev. 2:2, 9, 16).  Isaiah saw the means of restoration coming through animals, but this will be fulfilled by any modern means of transportation.

From among these regathered Jews, God will take some of them to serve as Levites and priests (v. 21).[44]  Not only will God restore a Son of David to rule as King, but He will also restore the Levitical Priesthood (Isa. 61:6; cf. Jer. 33:14-26), the priestly line that comes through Levi (Num. 3:12-13), Aaron (Exod. 28:1-3), Phineas (Num. 25:10-13), and Zadok (1 Kings 1:32-35; 2:26-27, 35; Ezek. 44:15-16).  God once again gives absolute assurance that He will fulfill these promises:  “For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me, declares the Lord, so your offspring and your name will endure” (v. 22).[45]  God said He will restore Israel, and He will do it (Isa. 55:6-13; Jer. 33:14-26).

Not only will the elect remnant of Israel have its eternal restoration, but so will the remnant of the Gentiles as well.  Hence, we read, “and it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me, says the Lord” (v. 23).  It is not only Jews who receive the blessings of the messianic kingdom, but finally at long last all the nations of the earth, i.e., “all flesh” (kal basar) will get blessed and worship the Lord in Zion (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 56:2-5; Ezek. 45:18-25; Zech. 14:16-21).[46]

Isaiah’s final word comes with the sober reminder that there will also be many who still refuse to believe.  When the battles of Armageddon have come to a close and masses of unsaved human beings lay slaughtered on the ground, the believers, “will go forth and look on the corpses [peger] of the men who have transgressed against Me” (v. 24a).  Huge numbers of corpses will call for an extended time period before they can all be buried, a most-horrific site to behold (Isa. 26:20-21; 34:1-8; 63:1-6; cf. Jer. 25:33; Ezek. 39:9-16; Rev. 16:13-21; 19:11-21).  All these who died in disbelief will be undergoing an eternal judgment in the never-ending flames of hell.  Isaiah describes this by saying, “their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched,”[47] and “they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (v. 24b).  Progressive revelation speaks about the reality of eternal punishment, but even the Old Testament makes this truth clear (cf. Dan. 12:2).

Summary and application Isaiah is a book of good news and bad news.  For those who are willing to humble themselves and turn to the Lord, it is a book of good news.  On the other hand, for those who refuse to believe, it is the worst message imaginable.  Isaiah’s prophecies encourage us to keep trusting the Lord no matter what.  Our God is a saving God, and His salvation is there for any who are willing to believe, but Isaiah’s prophecies also show us that there was a huge cost for this salvation—the life of God’s Servant, Jesus Christ.  May this commentary be a blessing to you in helping you to know and love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and strength, and through this relationship, to serve Christ until the day when He returns to take us home to Himself (Rev. 22:20-21).

[1] To assert that God’s ultimate purpose is to glorify His own name does not preclude everything the Scripture says about God’s love for humanity and His desire to save and bless sinners, for both concepts have biblical support.

[2] Both David (2 Sam. 7:4-14) and Solomon (1 Kings 8:27) expressed this truth with reference to the building of a temple for Yahweh (cf. Ps. 11:4; Matt. 5:34, 35).

[3] Keil, Commentary on the Old Testament, 627.

[4] This verse uses three different expressions to indicate repentant, saving faith.

[5] Hughes, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, 269.

[6] Literally, the blessing of “iniquity” (’awen; cf. Isa. 41:29; Hos. 4:15).

[7] Carl Schultz, “‘ll,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, cited in electronic form with Logos Libronix (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 670–671.

[8] Young explains, “The apostates cannot tolerate the righteous and want nothing to do with them” (Young, TheBook of Isaiah,vol.3, 522).

[9] Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 738.

[10] Hughes, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, 269.

[11] Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume II Isaiah-Malachi (Chicago:  Moody, 1981), 1337.

[12] In Genesis 3:15 both lexical (’ish) and grammatical evidence show us the Savior will be a male, a fact confirmed here by Isaiah’s use of the distinctive term for “boy” (zakar, literally, “male”; cf. Gen. 1:27), and Revelation’s description of the birth of the male (arsen) Christ child (Rev. 12:2, 4, 5).

[13] Twice Isaiah uses beterem to tell us that this special birth comes before the agonies of labor.

[14] Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 674, n. 42.

[15] One of the other common ways of interpreting this passage is to say that Israel’s spiritual birth in the seven-year tribulation period will be so quick that it will be virtually like she did not go through labor.  Given the horrors of the tribulation period (Jer. 30:6-7; Matt. 24:8, 21-22; 1 Thess. 2:16; 5:1-3; Rev. 12:13-17), we cannot accept the plausibility of this explanation.

[16] In Isa. 10:20-23 we are told that the remnant of Jacob will turn to “the Mighty God” (’El Gibbor), the One who was born as a child in 9:6 and destined to reign eternally as King over Israel (9:7).

[17] The redemption and sealing of the 144,000 would represent a small portion of this remnant (Rev. 7:1-8; cf. 12:17; 14:1).

[18] Her suffering was from her own rebellion (Isa. 5:5-6; 49:19; cf. Deut. 28:15-68).

[19] It is interesting to trace the repeated use of commands to rejoice in contexts where the call for supreme rejoicing is because of the restoration blessing of having the messianic King in their very presence (Isa. 12:6; Zeph. 3:14-20; Zech. 2:10; 9:9).

[20] Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, cited in electronic form with Logos Libronix (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994–2000), 614.

[21] Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 676.

[22] For example, (1) the satiation (saba‘, “eat one’s fill”) that a baby receives while nursing (yanaq, “nurse, suckle”), (2) the comfort (tanchum) a baby experiences while nursing at the breast (shad), (3) the sucking (matsats, “to slurp or lap” or “to drain every drop”) and delighting (‘anag, “to take pleasure in”; cf. 58:14) in a bountiful bosom (ziyz kabod, prob. best as “full breast,” but ziyz can refer more narrowly to the nipple or tit), and (4) the great comfort (nacham) that comes to a baby who is being nursed, carried on the hip, and fondled on the knees (Palpal of sha‘a‘, “played with” or “rocked to and fro” or “fondled”).  As we have seen, starting in 40:1 this idea of comfort (nacham) is a major theme in the latter portion of Isaiah (cf. 40:1 (bis); 49:13; 51:3 (bis), 11, 12, 19; 52:9; 54:11; 57:6; 61:2; 66:13) (ibid., 679, n. 52).

[23] Grogan, “Isaiah,” 352.  The “glory of the nations” is not only the idea that the nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the King (cf. 2:2-4; 11:10; 48:18; 52:7; 54:13; 57:19; 60:17), but also that they will freely worship with gifts from their wealth (40:1-11; 41:17-20; 49:13-18; 51:3-12; 60:5, 13; 61:6; 66:12-13).

[24] The expression “flourish (parach) is common in growing objects in nature.

[25] God’s “indignation” that previously had been against His rebellious nation (Isa. 10:5, 25; Dan. 8:19; 11:36) will now be poured out against all who refuse Him (Isa. 10:25; 26:20; 34:2).

[26] Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 744.

[27] The expression “all flesh” certainly could be speaking universally about all the nations, but the context appears to be limiting this to all the nation of Israel (cf. e.g., Joel 2:28).  Grogan is probably correct that though the “all” is capable of embracing Gentiles, is best seen as unsaved Jews (Grogan, “Isaiah,” 352).

[28] These same kinds of terms (e.g., to sanctify and purify) were used in the Law of Moses to describe priestly rituals of worship  (Gen. 35:2; Exod. 19:22; Num. 8:7; 11:18; 2 Chron. 30:17) (Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 530).

[29] Young explain that as for the things that they think are secret, God says He knows all about them (ibid., 531).

[30] The subject “the time” is not found in the Heb. text, but the NASB is justified in supplying it.

[31] Most identify Tarshish with Spain at the far west edge of the Mediterranean world (2:16; 60:9).

[32] Codex B in LXX reads Phoud, i.e., Put, i.e., Libya while the MT reads pul (cf. Gen. 10:6; Ezek. 27:10; 30:5; 38:5) (ibid., 533).

[33] Unknown (cf. Ezek. 27:10).

[34] Ancient Asia, i.e., modern Turkey, perhaps in the Caucasus region (Ezek. 27:13; 38:2, 3; 39:1).

[35] Caucasus region (Gen. 10:2; Ezek. 27:13; 38:2, 3; 39:1).

[36] Basically the area of Greece or perhaps the Ionian coast of Asia (Gen. 10:2, 4; Ezek. 27:13).

[37] The Mediterranean world (Isa. 11:11; 13:22; 20:6; 23:2, 6; 24:15; 34:14; 40:15; 41:1, 5; ; 42:4, 10, 12, 15; 49:1; 50:1; 51:5; 59:18; 60:9; 66:1).

[38] Some commentators, like Unger and Young and others, understand this to be saying that God sets a sign among the remnant of the Jews to save them, but the connection between 18b and 19 suggests that it is a sign to the Gentiles who have come against Israel and gotten saved by seeing God’s miraculous work in Christ (Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume II Isaiah-Malachi, 1338; Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 531-532).

[39] Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 749.

[40] Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 688.

[41] Scripture also speaks of Jewish peleytiym (Isa. 4:2; 10:20; Joel 2:32; Obad. 17).

[42] Kidner, “Isaiah,” 669.

[43] These names all seem to center around the Mediterranean world to the west of Israel.

[44] It is incorrect to assert that God is taking Gentiles and turning them into Levites and priests (Grogan, “Isaiah,” 353).

[45] For discussion about the New Heavens and Earth, see comments on 65:17.

[46] Oswalt notes that the point here is not that the worship is only on certain days of times, but that of continuity and duration (Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters40-66, 692, n. 87).

[47] The Greek word Gehenna developed out of the place called “the valley of the sons of Hinnom” (Isa. 30:33; cf. Josh. 15:8; 2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:32; Matt. 3:12; 5:22; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:25, et al.), the valley on the southern edge of Jerusalem where child sacrifice took place that was eventually turned into a perpetually burning garbage dump (Wolf, Interpreting Isaiah, 254).

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