113-166 Isaiah Chapter 66
Heaven Is God’s Throne
Here the Lord places us back into the proper perspective that His throne is in Heaven and that the earth is under His command. Therefore Heaven is the throne of God and earth is indeed His footstool. Stephen in his defense quoted this passage from Isaiah to point to the greatness of God the Creator. “Heaven is My throne, And earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Or what place is there for My repose? ‘Was it not My hand which made all these things?” (Acts 7:49-50)
Many serve the Lord but they do so in their own way. We may want to build a house for the Lord but can we build in a way that is worthy of Him? What God truly wants from us is a poor and contrite spirit. He wants us to tremble at the power of His word. “Contrite is literally lamed’ or disabled, here used with spiritual significance: one who is aware of the damage wrought by sin, of personal inability to stand upright before God.” (Motyer) We must have a reverent fear of the Word of God. “They tremble at the searching power of God’s Word. Do you never come into this place and sit down in the pew, and say, ‘Lord, grant that thy Word may search me and try me, that I may not be deceived’? Certain people must always have sweets and comforts, but God’s wise children do not wish for these in an undue measure. The daily bread we ask for, not daily sugar.” (Spurgeon)
The day had come when their religion was an empty ritual and they thought this to be pleasing to the Lord. When the people brought their sacrifices for the purpose of fulfilling religious rituals they were only adding to their sin and not atoning for it. “Mice were eaten as a delicacy by the Romans and other heathen people and were used by others as idolatrous sacrifices.” (Bultema)
God’s people had chosen to rebel against God and they did it continuously. They did not heed the continuous warning that God had given them. As a display of His judgment, God will choose their delusions and send them amongst the people. This is a reminder to all of what God will do in the Great Tribulation. “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11) They will not be able to discern the truth and fall into the lie of the father of lies. This will happen in the Great Tribulation where men seek their own delusions and received a delusion from God. We can avoid falling into delusion by answering the Lord when He calls and by hearing when He speaks.
Isaiah is speaking of those who have an empty religion and mock those who have a genuine faith in the Lord. An empty religion will reject true faith and empty religious acts in the name of the Lord. An empty religion is a mockery of spiritual sounding worlds.
An empty religion will never triumph in victory. At the end of days, those of empty religious rituals will be ashamed. At the end of days when they hear the voice of the Lord, they will bow in shame, as the Lord repays all His enemies.
Isaiah speaks of the day when Jerusalem will have the victory. She will receive the promise of Romans 8:37. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) It is a call for all of God’s people to rejoice in Jerusalem’s joy. For the time of deliverance, victory, and vindication has come. It will be a blessing for those who rejoice over Jerusalem, as they will feed and have consolation in her bosom. “Very seldom are believers nowadays charged with being fanatical, nor even with being too enthusiastic, and this is a sign that we are below the right heat. When the world calls us fanatics we are nearing that point of ardor which is our Lord’s due.” (Spurgeon)
Joy in Jerusalem’s Future
Jerusalem has glory and triumphs to look forward to when their Messiah returns. The Holy City will be as a gentle but powerful river that shall never be disturbed. It will not be for Jerusalem only, as the glory of the Gentiles will be as a flowing stream.
The Lord will show his supreme tenderness to those who are His faithful servants. There is no greater comfort than that of a mother and that is the comfort of the Lord.
God speaks with supreme tenderness to His faithful servants. No one can comfort like a mother, and God will bring that kind of comfort to His people. “This is a peculiarly delightful metaphor. A father can comfort, but I think he is not much at home as the work. When God speaks about his pity, he compares himself to their father: ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth, them that fear him.’ But when he speaks about comfort, he selects the mother. When I have seen the little ones sick, I have felt all the pity in the world for them, but I did not know how to set to work to comfort them; but a mother knows by instinct how to do it.” (Spurgeon)
At the return of the Messiah in His glory and triumph for some it will be the greatest of blessing and for others a time of judgment. All of mankind will be judged and the slain of the Lord will be many. The Messiah will see through those who practice an empty religion. They “shall be consumed together,” says the Lord.
As the Lord God has promised a regathering of the Jewish nation He will also do a regathering work throughout the whole world. There will be some from all nations and tongues that will see His glory. One place that this will be fulfilled is around the throne of God. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”You have made them be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10) “God says that He will set a sign among the nations. This sign is the same as the sign of the Son of man (Matthew 24:30).” (Bultema)
Here we see a reference to the missionary work of God’s people. God had a missionary intent for His people from the beginning. “But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16) Israel was called to be a priesthood among the nations, a light to the Gentiles. More importantly, God has called the Church to the nations to declare His glory among the Gentiles. “They are sent to Tarshish (Spain, France, and Italy) to Pul (a region in Africa) and to Lud, which according to some is the same as Lydia, though it seems preferable to take Pul and Lud together for all of Africa. Tubal was a son of Japheth, whose descendants settled in north-eastern Europe or Russia and Javan is the biblical name for Greece.” (Bultema)
The Church has had a limited missionary work and the ultimate work may be completed by the 144,000 during the Great Tribulation and in the day of the millennial reign of Jesus. As a part of God’s ultimate work the missionaries have gone out and in the State of Israel, the work is partially completed. In the millennial reign of the Messiah, it will be fully completed.
God’s extension of priests has been ultimately fulfilled but the Church. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 5:9) “Just as in Isaiah’s day only some were priests and Levites, but through them, Israel was constituted as the Lord’s priestly people, so now he foresees Gentiles incorporated on equal terms, into equal privileges.” (Motyer)
This is God’s ultimate triumph that people from all nations and every tongue shall come to worship before Him. “After this life, and at the Day of Judgment, they shall go into eternal torments; where they will feel a work of conscience that shall never die, and a fiery wrath of God upon their souls and bodies that shall never go out.” (Poole) The Prophet Isaiah closes in a contrast to the importance of living in the here and now. Each life can choose its destiny to either worship the Lord God or the worm.