Isaiah 66 Points To The Coming Of Christ

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The book of Isaiah was written before Israel went into Assyrian captivity and before Judah went into Babylonian captivity to warn them of God’s wrath against their sins.  They would be chastised and purified by going into captivity.  God also included many messages pointing to the coming of their Messiah, the Christ.  Isaiah 66 gave the Jews hope by looking to those future blessings under the Messiah. 
 
In verses 1-6 God will punish the disobedient Jews, who are pictured offering animal sacrifices but not in the right spirit of humility and obedience. This does not mean we are to offer animals today. God will separate those who have an humble spirit in serving Him from those who do their own will, and He will punish the latter group. In other words, the Jews who did not prepare themselves to receive the coming Messiah were destined to destruction. 
 
In verses 7-14 God will give birth to a new nation, a new Israel, a new Zion, which is the spiritual kingdom of Christ. The Gentiles will be included as full citizens in this new kingdom (vs. 12). Isaiah is clearly discussing the work of Christ in the future, and the spiritual blessings and joys Christ will bring. 
 
In verses 15-17 when Christ came, Jews and Gentiles conspired to reject him and crucify him. God will take vengeance on His enemies, judging all men who reject His truth. Jerusalem would be destroyed in A.D. 70. Many Jews did not prepare themselves to receive Jesus Christ when he came, but they violated the Law of Moses and ignored the signs pointing to Christ. 
 
In verses 18-24 all nations will see the glory of God as He judges the unbelieving Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem and as the New Jerusalem or the church of Christ survives. The gospel message will spread throughout the nations. The New Israel or church of Christ includes Jews and Gentiles, and they bring their offerings in clean plates (vs. 20). This is figurative language picturing the new order of worship uniting Jews and Gentiles, but the New Testament makes clear that there are no animal sacrifices in this new order. 
 
Men of all nations will be priests unto God (not like the Law of Moses when only the tribe of Levi served as God's true priests). This new order is called a new heavens and a new earth. In short, the old fleshly Israel is wholly removed and a new spiritual Israel takes its place. Verse 23 pictures the regular and orderly worship occurring in the new Jerusalem and new Israel by referring to the regular practice of the old Israel as a means to illustrate the future by using things familiar at the present time when Isaiah spoke. There is no literal Sabbath or new moon observance in this new order as we know from
Colossians 2:14-17. The last verse of the chapter 66 shows those who reject the Messiah must be cast out to a horrible punishment. 
 
If we select the law on pork in verse 17 as binding in the Gospel Age, then we must take everything else mentioned in the context as also binding in the Gospel Age: animal sacrifices (vs. 3), a literal Jerusalem and Mt. Zion from whence God rules (vv. 8, 10), people from all nations bringing literal sacrifices to literal Jerusalem in literal clean plates (vs. 20), a literal priesthood and literal Levites (vs. 21), observance of both the Sabbath and the new moon feast (vs. 23), and God's people today viewing literal carcasses burning in literal fire (vs. 24). 
 
No, this chapter does not picture such literal things in the new spiritual kingdom of Christ, but only uses such things figuratively to picture various features of the new kingdom. To know the actual faith, worship, and practice of God's people in the new Israel, we must study the New Testament.

 

Ron Halbrook 

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