Contributor: Alex Kokobili
The previous session dwelt on the righteous judgment of God (Isaiah 65: 1-25). This also pointed our attention to persistence in communion with God and rejection of idolatry, God’s desire for us to live without corruption in the newness of Him, a prosperous life of peace, love through the nature of Christ, the emphasis on prayer and God’s divine judgment which is a blessing for the righteous and condemnation for the wicked. This discussion of the sixty-sixth chapter of Isaiah will deepen our understanding of God’s expectation for humanity in this dispensation so that we can partake in His glorious blessings reserved for the saints.
• Isaiah 66: 1A. The Heaven is God’s throne and earth His footstool.
This reveals the sovereignty of kingly worship. Heaven is God’s throne implies the authority of a king whose throne is the highest and most esteemed. This implies the weight of God’s glory is on His throne in Heaven and that is why as believers we also partake in this glory through Christ (Eph. 2:6 And God raised us with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus). The significance of His footstool refers to his doings on earth because the earth cannot handle the full weight of His glory. It is royal etiquette for a king to put his leg on a stool while on his throne and this stool here is described as the earth. V1. God looks for His throne in heaven to his footstool where his leg is laid and He sees the activities of the earth. He doesn’t have to jump down to the earth, because from His Footstool He sees His creation. He sees the heart of humanity and if we truly tremble before Him as a King. V2. God’s expectation for true worship from humanity: One who is poor with a remorseful heart (contrite).
• Isaiah 66: 1B -4. God’s temple and its significance.
Since heaven is God’s throne and the earth His footstool this means God wants a relationship with His people (Israel) in a manner that He will dwell with them bringing the need for a temple “Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?”. The temple became a reference point or a place of fellowship with God, but the people became too familiar and their heart was on religiosity but without communion with God “Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word”.
True fellowship with God is beyond the ordinances that make us feel that we are Christians i.e. going to church, having a Christian name, giving to the poor, etc. but a life that is yielded to God in Spirit and truth. We also see the case of the temple and true worship in Haggai chapter 1 and 2 which reminds us about true worship that entails us living as the temple of God at all times. This does not diminish the relevance of physical fellowship in church
“Hebrews 10: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another”.
To access God’s throne which is in heaven, we have to be poor in the spirit which means not attributing anything to ourselves but God. Such a person will tremble at his word. V3 tells what was happening in Israel as many approached outside of God’s alignment (“He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck…..) those they thought they were sacrificing God was seeing atrocity being committed.
• Isaiah 66: 5-6. Zion is vindicated for true worship.
Zion was hated because of her desire to worship God and not to embrace falsehood “Hear the word of the LORD You who tremble at His word: “Your brethren who hated you”. Zion shall rejoice and not be ashamed. These were the remnants who desired to follow God in spirit and truth.
• Isaiah 66: 7-9. Before Zion travailed, she births forth a male child V7.
This refers to salvation birthing out of Zion to the entire world which is a description of the birth of Christ. “Rev 12: 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne”. God’s salvation through Christ is available to all who partake of the Sonship of Christ (John 1: 12, Gen 25:5 tells us about the significance of inheritance and sonship – male child).
• Isaiah 66: 10-11. The rejoicing shall be the glory of Zion shall be upon Jerusalem (God’s city).
This is the joy that a mother experiences after the birth of a child. Zion shall be full of God’s glory. Those who mourn shall be satisfied with comfort and strength from Zion which is the city of God’s manifestation.
• Isaiah 66: 12-13. The Gentiles shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
For God will extend His glory to the Gentiles (all nations and people) and they shall experience God’s comfort from Jerusalem.
• Isaiah 66: 14-17. God’s judgment upon all flesh.
“V14 When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, And your bones shall flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants, And His indignation to His enemies”. This is twofold: the first part tells us how those who would enjoy God’s comfort with rejoicing and gladness, and the next is the repercussion for those who rebel against God's prescribed true worship. They will be called God’s enemies (V17 Those who reject God’s righteousness in exchange for idol worship and defile themselves with abominables).
• Isaiah 66: 18-19. God shall reward people from all nations with His glory.
He will gather people from all nations. The sign (V19) shall be that the word of God will be declared to the people of Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Javan, and the Gentile world shall see His glory.
• Isaiah 66: 20-21. The wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles shall be broken
“Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the LORD.” We also see this in Ephesians 2: 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
• Isaiah 66: 22-24. The promise of a new heaven and a new earth and those who will inherit this are those who will remain before the Lord.
The new heaven and earth shall be glorious. It is important to know the significance of the new moon and Sabbath. The new moon represents glory and there will be no fatigue but rest (Sabbath) unto the Lord. Humanity will serve God in the fullness of His glory without corruption. (Isaiah 65:17-19 God will create a new heaven and earth for His pleasure so that He can take delight in us as His people.) This is what awaits us as God's people (Revelation 5:9-10. God will take people from every tribe and tongue, and “all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the LORD”.
This is a call for a return to God for humanity which requires us to manifest His glory until the end of this human civilization. (Romans 8: 18-21 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God).