Summary: Isaiah closes by describing the conditions that will exist after the restoration of earth & God’s people. The mission of Zion has always been to declare the glory of God to all the inhabitants of the earth. During the millennia His glory will be revealed
ISAIAH 66: 18-24
The last section of the Book describes the conditions that will exist after the restoration of earth and God’s people. The mission of Zion has always been to declare the glory of God to all the inhabitants of the earth. During the millennia the glories of God’s salvation will become evident. The nations of the world will make their way to Zion to behold the glory of YAHWEH. There they will witness a sign that will so impact the survivors of judgment that they will return home declaring God’s glory.
The book closes with a solemn warning for those who ignore God and continue in their sin, (especially the sin of observing religion without devotion). God is sovereign over life and in His time He will punish sin and accomplish His purpose concerning His faithful people. The hope of God and heaven shines bright against the dark backdrop of judgment and Hell.
I. THE GLORY OF GOD, 18-21.
II. THE ENDURING EXISTENCE, 22-23.
III. THE HORROR OF HELL, 24.
The depths of the abominable fallenness of man’s religion leads God to displaying His glory as the One True God in verse 18. "For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.
When the Messiah returns, His rule will be over all nations (Zech. 14:3; Rev. 19:17-18) and because of that rule the world will see His glory. The remnant of believing Israelites will travel as missionaries to other parts of the world, to tell Gentiles about God’s glory. People outside Israel will turn to God and worship Him.
The Hebrew word glory -kabod- means "weight" or "heavy." People give weight to God by acknowledging His importance and by honoring Him in the way they live their lives (24:15; 1 Chr. 16:29; Ps. 96:8; Mal. 2:2). God created people and is recreating people so that they could bring glory to Him by their character, words, and actions (Isa. 43:7). Though the heavens reveal the glory of God (Ps. 19:2; Num. 14:22; Isa. 60:22) the greatest glory He receives is in the final transformation of His people when they are conformed to His image.
Verse 19 predicts a miraculous sign that will convince the world of the Messiah’s authenticity. "I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.
God will send His people (the jews) who survivor the tribulation to gather the nations to see His sign. The sign is not explained (7:14; 53:13). Joel 3:3; Zach. 14:16; Rev. 15:4.
The nations and peoples mentioned are only the most exotic lands on the outer edges of the world of which people were aware. These include Tarshish, probably a shipping port in southwestern Spain (23:1, 6, 10, 14; 60:9; Ps. 72:10; Ezek. 27:12; Jonah). Put or Libya in northern Africa, Lud or Lydia in western Asia Minor, Tubal in northeastern Asia Minor (Ezek. 27:13; 39:1), Java or out lying Greek territories (Joel 3:6), and distant islands. The glory of God will be declared through out the world.
Verse 20 again describes the great gathering that will take place in the kingdom age. "Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the Lord, "just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.
The mission to proclaim the Messiah’s glory to the world will bring the Jews back to the Holy Land. These and other peoples will be converted and will travel to Jerusalem to worship in the temple (2:2; Zech. 8:23). They will be brought as a precious offering to God. The return of God’s purified people and other believers will be a priceless gift or offering to God.
The Christian mission has gone full circle. The gentiles bring the Jews back to right belief in their God and these Jews declare His glory to the gentiles.
Verse 21 completes the thought of what God can do with pure lives. "I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites," says the Lord.
Some of them will even be selected as priests and Levites, thus showing that all the nations will in fact be blessed through Israel (Gen. 12:3). It would be a shocking thought to its original audience as it is against the law. Gentile believers will not be exclude from any of the blessings of God.