Return to His Holy Mountain

Note:  I have been out of commission since Thursday of last week. My back has been acting up again, and I’ve spent about 80% of my time in bed.  Things are considerably better today.  I apologize for leaving you hanging at this point in our journey through Isaiah.  I plan to finish the chapter, and the book, tomorrow–but sometimes God leads differently than what I plan. In any event we will finish Isaiah before the week is out, and I’m thinking about digging into the Gospel of John next. Again, waiting for God’s clear leading. 

 

Isaiah 66:20-21. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters,and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith 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 of them for priests and for Levites , saith the LORD.

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Again, God speak of the Gentiles helping to gather Israel from all lands back to the Promised Land where they will become an eternal nation  under their Messiah.  They will be taken to Israel in a huge number of different ways, all familiar to the people of the time this book was written.  The actuality may be more modern vehicles, but we don’t need to make an interpretation there because the simple meaning is clear:  All Jews from every land will go back to Jerusalem, and the Gentiles nations will assist them in that return.  The mention of the clean vessel shows that all the Israelites who are brought into Millennial glory will have been purged from  their old sins and brought to walk in the ways of the Lord,  and accordingly He will take of them for “priests and for Levites.”

The Fame and Glory of God

Isaiah 66: 18-19.

18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see My glory.

19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.

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This last part of Isaiah is devoted to the Millennium (vv. 18-21) and the new heavens and the new earth (vv. 22-24).

First, God speaks of gathering all nations to see His glory, of setting up a sign among them by sending Jewish missionaries to those who have not heard of His fame, or seen His glory. He speaks of the nations bringing the Israelites back to Jerusalem.

The sign or standard will be placed in Israel as a rallying place for all the Gentiles as well as Israelites.

Those that escape refers to the Jews that escaped the terrible tribulation judgments and the efforts of the Gentiles to exterminate them during the last days. These Jews will be sent as Missionaries during the Millennium. They will go to all nations and declare the fame and glory of God.

The Sword of the Lord

Isaiah 66:15-17.

15 For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.

16 For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.

17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord.

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Of course, no human conception of the Second Coming of Jesus can do justice to the reality. We don’t know all the details. Yesterday, in v. 14, we saw that the hand of the Lord will be known toward His servants, but His indignation (righteous anger) will be felt by His enemies. This is no light thing. That verse refers to the battle of Armageddon when God will defend and deliver Jerusalem and destroy Israel’s enemies.

Then, v. 15 for today amplifies the picture. Jesus will come in flaming fire (Ezek. 38:1-21). His chariots will be the same as those which came for Elijah (II Kings 2:11) and appeared to protect Elijah. Angels will accompany Christ to earth, and while some of the armies of heaven will ride horses (Rev. 19:14), others will use chariots (Zech. 6:1-8).

The Lord will contend with man not only by fire, but by the sword. He will destroy multitudes at Armageddon (Joel 3:12). All the vast armies of the nations under Antichrist at Armegeddon, except a sixth part, will be destroyed (Ezek. 39:2). They are called many here, and multitudes, multitudes in Joel 3:14.

Verse 17 returns to the subject of Israel’s sins. God refers in particular to idolatry in the gardens with their asherah, or totem-pole, a type of the idol called a tree here. Such centers of idolatry were in the midst of wooded places or sacred groves and high places. The idea here is that, in the future fulfillment of this, people will seek to be sanctified and ceremonially purified through swine and mouse sacrifices to idols–things which are both unclean and forbidden to be used as food or sacrifice (Lev. 11:7, 41-42).

The Hand of the Lord

Isaiah 66:14.
And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants, and His indignation toward His enemies.

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God promises such beauty during the Millennial reign of Messiah. Those who love Him and trust Him will flourish and grow.

The hearts of God’s people will be comforted and filled with joy; their spiritual strength will be renewed; the bones that were dried up with sorrow become fat and flourishing and like a garden of herbs, whose springs fail not; see Proverbs 17:22.

Bones dried up with sorrow? How does much weeping actually cause the bones to be dry? Bone is living tissue, and constant weeping will affect all the body systems. Deep sorrow, deep depression, is not only a condition of the mind and emotions. It affects the entire body. weakening even the bones. God’s promise is that the bones of those who love Him will be restored like a dried up garden is restored when water is plenteous.

Those who love Him will flourish and be blessed; those who hate Him will feel the sharp edge of His wrath.

Peace Like a River

Isaiah 66: 12-13.

12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

I grew up partly in Minnesota, where the Mississippi River flows from the northern part of the state all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part, it is a peaceful river, so this picture is very clear to me. There is something comforting and satisfying about a gently flowing, life-giving river.

I am a mother and a grandmother, so I know about giving comfort to a child. Nurturing that child, playing with the child on my lap, holding the child on my hip as I go about my day; being up in the night for a fussing, teething baby or a sick child who needs care. This is the picture God paints for Jerusalem and all who gather there to worship Him in the Millennial Kingdom.

Restoration of Jerusalem

Isaiah 66:10-11.

10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.

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God calls for all who love Jerusalem to rejoice with her because of her deliverance from Antichrist and full restoration under the Messiah. All nations will benefit from and take part in the restoration of Jerusalem, and in return, they will be nourished and satisfied from the spiritual abundance that will flow from Jerusalem under the reign of Messiah, as well as her physical abundance.

It is a very tender picture, really. Jerusalem is seen as a mother whose baby is satisfied and replete from the nourishment she provides. The difference, after Jesus defeats Antichrist, is going to be so incredible. Evil will no longer rule, and everything will be changed.

Deliverance Will Come

Isaiah 66: 7-9.

Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

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We’re starting in the middle of v. 8 today, where two more questions are asked: “Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion (Israel)travailed, she brought forth her children. “

These questions point to the effect and issue of the travail of the nation. These two questions demand a positive answer, whereas the two preceding ones were asked so as to produce negative answers. Now it is asked, “shall a land be born in one day?” Another translation renders it “shall a land be travailed with for but one day? Shall a nation be brought forth at once?” The positive response, given immediately, is “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children,” First the birth pangs and then the birth, directly opposite from the earlier circumstances.

The immediate outcome of the great Tribulation will be the issue of God’s earthly people as a nation in peace and joy and righteousness under the mighty hand of its Messiah Deliverer. This nation is not the same as the Man Child in verse 7.

In view of the certainty that His people will be delivered from their time of unprecedented trouble, and that speedily (verse 9), the Lord calls upon all who delight in Him and His purposes, all those who love His earthly people, to rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her.