Isaiah Chapter 66: Great Time of Trouble, Holy Remnant, Gog and Magog

Jun 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Isaiah, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Isaiah Chapter 66

Isa. 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Usually just the first half of this verse is quoted, but we should understand the statement in harmony with the context. Here the earth is called God’s “footstool.” (In some contexts Jerusalem or the Temple is said to be the place of Jehovah’s feet, His footstool.) But why is this subject introduced? Who is being addressed? We know God is speaking to natural Israel because of the reference to “the house,” ie, Solomon’s Temple. This structure was built according to God’s instructions, yet He asks here, “Where is the house that ye build unto me?” In this context where God is speaking in a somewhat sarcastic vein to the Jew concerning the house that was constructed to Him according to His instructions, why does He allude to the heaven and the earth?

Q: Would God be trying to counteract boastfulness? He did not want the Israelites to think too highly of themselves but wanted them to realize He was superior in every sense.

A: That is part of the answer. While God may have identified the Temple as His footstool, house, or sanctuary—the place of His residence—elsewhere in the Old Testament, it was only a tiny picture of something much larger, and the problem was that the Israelites were idolizing the picture. God wanted them to draw a higher analogy and liken the heaven as His house and the earth as His footstool. The highest concept to which their natural human minds could rise was heaven, but actually even the heaven is not big enough and high enough, for the heavens cannot contain God. Therefore, the Lord was not finding fault with the Temple and Jerusalem but with their narrow perspective of viewing them.

Isa. 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

“For all those things hath mine hand made [the heavens and the earth],… saith the LORD.” God spanned the heavens and meted them out with His own hand. “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel,… I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded” (Isa. 45:11,12). “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens” (Isa. 48:13). God originally created the heavens with His fingers, as it were, but as great as the result seems to tiny man, it is only a small demonstration of God’s greatness.

Even though the heavens are so great that man cannot grasp their vastness and the power that made them, yet man can go higher than the heavens with the aid of God’s spirit.

“But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit.” This GREAT ONE, the One who made the heavens and the earth, condescends to look upon those who are humble and of a poor and contrite heart. How does this thought fit into the picture of the Temple, heaven, a throne, a footstool, etc.? God is particularly interested in the individual who is of a humble and contrite spirit, and such individuals were sincere worshippers in the Temple arrangement.

“But to this man will I look, even to him that … trembleth at my word.” God is a God of love, yet He deals with those who tremble at His Word. In what sense should the Israelites (and we) “tremble” at Holy Writ? They should have such respect for God’s Word, let alone for God Himself, that they would fear to disobey the Word. Those who properly “fear” would be very careful not to distort, misinterpret, erroneously teach, add to, or take away from that Word. Indeed teachers have a special responsibility.

Isa. 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

At first glance, verse 3 would seem to oppose the practice of animal sacrifices, but in the context are animals never ordained to be offered. Moreover, there are a lot of italic (supplied) words. If the italic words are removed, the verse would read: “He that killeth an ox, he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” God instituted the offering of oxen (or steers) and lambs but not of dogs and swine. What is the allusion here? What did Israel do? The nation actually sacrificed some of these unauthorized offerings.

For instance, Solomon’s heathen wives brought their religions to Israel and had shrines and altars erected in the Jerusalem environs to honor their false gods. As the centuries passed, the people tried to follow the Lord’s instructions of offering lambs and steers, but at the same time they practiced heathen rites, some of which were the gory Canaanite ritual of drinking swine’s blood, the sacrifice of dogs to idols, the burning of children alive to honor the god Molech and then eating them (cannibalism), and the offering of incense and baked cakes to Ashtoreth, a female goddess, the queen of heaven. In other words, as a result of intermarriage with heathen women, the Israelites mixed false religious practices with the true religion of Jehovah. The mixture displeased the Lord and constituted disobedience. Isaiah described this disobedience by saying, “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” Because of the heathen practices, even the lambs that were offered in the Temple according to God’s instructions were unacceptable to Him.

Isa. 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

When God called, “none did answer”; when He spoke, “they did not hear.” Isaiah is saying to the Israelites, “When God sent prophets, you ignored them because you did not tremble at His Word.” Stated another way, they did not obey and worship God in spirit and in truth. (Psa. 40:6–8) “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Since many statements in God’s Word seem to indicate that He was displeased with offerings and many other statements show the opposite—that He was pleased—this subject must be viewed from the proper perspective. The context here prophetically records Jesus’ prayer at the time of his baptism in Jordan, but we must give further consideration to earlier phrases: “I waited patiently for the LORD” (verse 1); “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay” (verse 2); “And he hath put a new song in my mouth” (verse 3); and “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust” (verse 4). Then comes verse 6: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire.” There are several lessons, as follows:

The Law was the means to an end, but it was not the end in itself, for Christ is the end of the Law to him who believes. In other words, the Law was a schoolmaster pointing forward to Christ. Jews living in Old Testament times and performing offerings and rituals might have questioned why certain animals had to be offered, but some points should have been obvious. For instance, not all of the animal being offered was necessarily put on the altar.

Sometimes a portion went on the altar for the Lord, a portion was given to the priest who made the offering, a portion was given to the priesthood, and a portion was returned to the offerer. In other words, the offering was distributed so that many received blessings. Also, before being offered, the animals were first slain kosher-style (painlessly) and the blood had to be drained. Two strict prohibitions were that neither the blood of the animal nor the excess fat (such as the caul above the liver) could be consumed by the offerer. The fat and certain organs were burned on the altar. As the fat simmered and vaporized on the altar, it was considered an offering to God—God’s food, as it were.

A valuable lesson was taught by the fact that animals could not be offered unless they were slain and the blood was treated in a special way. What is that lesson? that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission or cancellation of sin. The frequent application of blood to the horns of the altar taught that the efficacy of that altar as being a satisfaction for sin lay in the blood of the animal. Stated another way, the life is in the blood. Blood in the veins is life, but blood outside the veins pictures death, an expended life. In viewing these sacrifices, the Jews should have thought or realized, “The fact that God is pleased with these sacrifices means there is more to them than the superficial level we comprehend.” They should have realized that the heathen sacrifices and practices were not equivalent to those instituted by God. Moreover, they should have realized that it was proper for the priesthood, who were serving God in a special way and had no inheritance in the land, to get a tithe.

The Jews should have drawn the lesson from Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac and the last-minute providential substitution of a ram caught in the thicket. With this incident being a prominent part of Israel’s history, the thoughtful person would have said, “These animals somehow represent that an individual, a Redeemer, has to be slain.”

When Jesus said in Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire,” he was saying in effect, “I am the real offering. I am the one to be sacrificed for the propitiation of sin.” He was not belittling the sacrifices but was saying that they were only a picture, a means to an end, and that he himself was the offering pointed to in the Law. Unfortunately, many Christians and nominal believers think that the ordinances of the Old Testament were  bloody and barbaric, which is not the case at all.

Isa. 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

Notice the break in thought here in the King James Version. The primary connotation of this sudden intrusion by the Holy Spirit into the main body of the text is along natural lines. God is pleased with the minority of Jews who tremble at His Word (verse 2) and thus suffer the hatred and temporary end-time abuse of their fellow Jews.

But the natural connotation does not mitigate against or by any means rule out a secondary continued application along spiritual lines. Compare the following two Scriptures: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2). “He [Jesus] shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (2 Thess. 1:10).

Isa. 66:6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.

It would seem that this verse is not intended to be understood in either a figurative or a symbolic fashion but, rather, in a literal sense, for its meaning is suited to be grasped by the natural man—both Jew and Gentile. The background of verse 6 is described in greater detail in verses 15–18, and the climactic fulfillment is reached in verse 19. In other words, verse 19 refers to a particular sign God has set or determined in order to clearly and unequivocally convince all individuals on hand at the scene of action in the environs of “the city” of Jerusalem of the meaning and purpose of the representative gathering of all nations to that locale. What is that purpose? They are to witness (1) the defeat and destruction of the host of Gog and (2) the purging of natural Israel, leaving behind a Holy Remnant (Isa. 4:2–4).

Although three voices are noted in verse 6, in reality all of the voices are somewhat synonymous in occurrence, and all share a common causal factor. The voice of noise from the city refers to the tumult and outcries appertaining to Jacob’s Trouble, which will be centered in Jerusalem, and particularly to the various climactic judgments to be inflicted upon the host of Gog as well as the purging of Israel itself by the Lord (Isa. 4:4). The “voice from the temple” and the “voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies” should probably be considered in a literal sense to mean that God’s voice will thunder a rebuke from heaven above the Temple mount. Accompanied by a large visual manifestation of Christ’s crucifixion suffering on Golgotha Hill in AD 33, God’s voice will perhaps say, “This is my beloved Son. Hear ye him” (Zech. 12:10).

Isa. 66:7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Isa. 66:8 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.

Isa. 66:9 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.

These three verses are better rendered in the Revised Standard Version:

Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son [Hebrew zakar, a male]” (verse 7).

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land [Israel] be born in one day? Shall a nation [also Israel] be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her [other] sons” (verse 8).

“Shall I bring to the birth [the Head] and not cause to bring forth [later the body]? says the Lord; shall I, who cause to bring forth [the Head and the body], shut the womb? says your God” (verse 9).

The son or male child refers to The Christ (Head and body members). The last members of the male-child class will be delivered before Zion’s labor; ie, before Jacob’s Trouble yet future. Other Scriptures show that this salvation will occur not only prior to Israel’s final holocaust (and subsequent rebirth to everlasting peace) but also prior to Babylon’s (nominal spiritual Israel’s) fall.

Zion, the nation of Israel, is the woman to whom the promises, both natural and spiritual, were originally made. Christ was a Jew, and so were the apostles and a majority of the fellowship prior to AD 69. Gentiles became joint-heirs of the spiritual promise because there were not enough Israelites with the faith of Abraham to fill up the predetermined 144,000 membership in the body of Christ.

That Zion can, and often does, refer to spiritual Israel is not called into question. But numerous other Scriptures use the term “Zion” to designate natural Israel, such as Psalm 78:68; Isaiah 4:3,4; 64:10; Jeremiah 26:18; and Zechariah 1:17. That is also the case here in Isaiah 66. Verse 10 of this same chapter tells that after Israel’s future miraculous deliverance, all nations will be enjoined to “rejoice … with Jerusalem, and be glad with her[not only with Jerusalem but with the woman, Israel], all ye that love her.” Verse 12 adds, “I will extend peace to her like a river.” Finally, verse 20 reads, “And they [the Gentiles] shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations … to … Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 66 furnishes an order of events: (1) The male child (the Head, and then later the body members) is born. (2) The woman travails and other children are born, the birth sequence being (a) the Great Company, (b) the Ancient Worthies, and (c) regenerated Israel itself (the Holy Remnant) (Jer. 30:6b; Ezek. 37:9–14; Isa. 48:17,20).

The woman of Isaiah 66:7,8 cannot be nominal spiritual Zion, that is, Christendom, for several reasons: (1) The woman does not die in childbirth. In fact, she not only survives but is seen in succeeding verses to be honored and glorified. (2) The woman is on the scene before the birth of the male child. Neither the true Church nor the false Church (spiritual Zion) could have conceived the Savior, for he preceded the Church and is the forerunner and Head of the body members (Col. 1:18; 2:19; Eph. 1:22; 4:15). (3) It is difficult to see how Jesus (the Head of the male child class) could have proceeded forth from the nominal gospel Church or that he was the product of the Jewish rabbinical school of Sadducees or Pharisees, to which he in no sense belonged (Matt. 9:16,17; John 1:11) and from which he kept himself separate and distinct. However, the promises to the nation of Israel were another matter.

Isa. 66:10 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:

Verses 10–24 apply to natural Israel. Verse 10 is saying that those of mankind who love Jerusalem will rejoice and be glad with her. Although the consecrated, those who are looking forward to the fulfillment of prophecy, can rejoice now in an anticipatory sense, knowing that the time of blessing is near at hand, verse 10 applies to the Kingdom. Not only will the Gentiles love Jerusalem, but they will mourn for her when they truly recognize the role of Jesus, a Jew! In other words, just as the Holy Remnant will have a national heartfelt mourning when they are shocked into the realization that Jesus, a Jew, has been their true Messiah for 2,000 years and yet the nation obstinately rejected and crucified him, so the Gentiles will mourn when they learn that God’s favor is with Israel.

Just as the Jews rejected Christ, so many Gentile nations rejected and violently persecuted the Jew. It will be a very humbling experience for the Gentiles to realize that the Kingdom blessings will come through Israel.

The point to emphasize is that all people will be humbled. In their grief, humiliation, and shame, both Jews and Gentiles will have a new perspective in their dealings with each other. Later they will rejoice to see God’s mercy in retrieving both into His love and favor.

Isa. 66:11 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.

“That ye [Gentiles] may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her [Israel’s] consolations.” Israel will supply “milk,” nourishment, for the Gentiles as a mother does for her child.

Thus in order for the Gentile nations to get blessings in the Kingdom under the New Covenant, they will have to recognize and identify themselves with Israel. Israel will dandle or bounce the Gentiles on her knees like an infant, as it were, and comfort them (verse 13).

Isa. 66:12 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.

Isa. 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Isa. 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.

When Israel sees the Gentiles coming to her and receiving blessings, she will rejoice. Israel will rejoice to be a channel of blessing. She will rejoice as a mother to see her children prosper.

“Your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb.” The “heart,” the seat of affection and emotions, is contrasted with the “bones,” the skeletal framework, ie, Israel’s organizational structure. When the repentant Holy Remnant see their forgiveness and realize how greatly the Lord has blessed them, their hearts will rejoice both individually and nationally. The vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37) shows Israel coming back to life figuratively from the Diaspora in their national resurrection and literally from the dead in the general resurrection.

To “flourish like an herb” means that just as grass consists of little individual stems and it seeds itself and spreads out, so the blessings to Israel will be both collective and individual. Not only will the blessings extend to the Holy Remnant, who survive Jacob’s Trouble and are alive, but when the Jews are brought forth from the tomb after the Kingdom is in operation, that tiny nation will multiply and spread and flourish.

There is a contrast here. At the same time that Jehovah manifests favor toward Israel, He will have “indignation toward his [Israel’s] enemies.” “The LORD shall be [made] known [in a favorable sense] toward his servants, and [He will manifest] his indignation toward his enemies.” When the brothers who had maltreated Joseph realized that he was the Prime Minister of Egypt, they feared for their lives. Similarly, when the Holy Remnant first recognize that Jesus is the true Messiah, they will tremble. This reaction will induce a thorough reformation and will be a good groundwork for both Jew and Gentile. Following the fear that Joseph’s brothers experienced, he told them not to be afraid and blessed them, for God had meant the experience for good. God providentially overruled Joseph’s being cast in the pit and sold to the Midianites so that Joseph would ultimately be the Prime Minister of Egypt. And despite the Crucifixion, which was a cruel and excruciating death, Jesus will forgive and realizes his experience schooled and disciplined him for the office of Messiah. He became a more sympathetic High Priest.

Isa. 66:15 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.

Isa. 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

“For, behold” and “For by” indicate that verses 15 and 16 are an explanation of verse 14, telling how God will manifest His wrath against Israel’s enemies. “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.” After Gog defeats Israel and all seems lost, God will defend and fight for Israel as in times of old.

“By fire and … sword will the LORD plead with all flesh [with all who gather against Israel at the time of Jacob’s Trouble but primarily on the powers that come from the north].”

What is the distinction between “fire” and the “sword”? Two types of destruction normally occur in warfare: (1) human lives are lost through the use of armaments and munitions, that is, by the “sword”; and (2) property and goods are destroyed by “fire.” It is one thing for fatalities to occur when a bomb is dropped, but the destruction of property through fire, defoliation, salting of fields, etc., is another matter.

God will fight with great powers, dramatic displays, and visible manifestations of nature: disease, plague, hail, overflowing rain, earthquake, etc. His “chariots [will be] like a whirlwind.” So great will the depth of the invasion be that the enemy will seem to approach and then cover the land like an ominous storm cloud. “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee” (Ezek. 38:9). The terminology of likening God’s chariots to a whirlwind shows the fear and consternation that will be instilled in the enemy host when God begins to make manifest His judgments. Jehovah will come with fire and whirlwind chariots, He will render anger with fury, and He will rebuke with flames of fire.

“The slain of the LORD shall be many.” If seven months will be required to bury the dead and seven years to melt down the armaments, we get some idea of the extensiveness and intensity of the trouble in Israel (Ezek. 39:9,12).

Isa. 66:17 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.

Those who “sanctify themselves” are Jews who will be on the scene in Jacob’s Trouble but who will not be part of the Holy Remnant. When certain events transpire and they realize at the last minute that God is going to help Israel, they will try to change their allegiance and become religious, but the Lord will not be fooled. Many Scriptures in the Old Testament show that at the end of the age God will weed out from among the Israelites those who are not in the proper condition of heart to be of the nucleus of His Kingdom. For them to try to change sides and feign allegiance at the very last minute when the visible signs of His power are being made manifest will not work.

This element who try to sanctify and purify themselves behind a tree in the midst of gardens is an allusion to Adam’s and Eve’s hiding behind a tree in the Garden of Eden after committing sin. They heard the voice of the Logos crying out, “Adam! Adam!” When Adam responded, “Here am I,” the voice asked, “What are you doing over there behind the tree?” Adam replied, “I heard your voice and I was afraid. We are naked.” The comparison here is to the class of unfaithful Jews who have figuratively eaten “swine’s flesh [forbidden pork], and the abomination, and the mouse” and have felt superior and justified in their disobedience. Many Jews in Israel today are atheists.

Q: Why is the “mouse” mentioned?

A: The thought is presented from God’s standpoint. To unfaithful Jews, pork is delicious and they can eat pork just like the Gentiles, but from God’s standpoint eating pork is like eating rodents. (Verse 3 of this very chapter of Isaiah expresses the same principle in mentioning a dog: “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck.”) The mouse is contrasted with pork. Pork is a very nutritious meat if properly raised and cooked, but for typical reasons it was forbidden under the Law.

In prohibiting the eating of pork, the Lord was emphasizing the habits and characteristics of swine. He did not want the Israelites to be identified and associated with that type of disposition in their spiritual partaking. In eating pork, this unfaithful class of Jews departs from the mode of worship that the Lord instituted for them. Their disobedience is regarded as if they are eating a mouse.

Isaiah 65:2–5 also expresses the same principle: “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.” This class feel thoroughly justified in what they are doing and superior in their worship.

They do not realize that while God identified Himself with Israel in the prior age (Amos 3:2), that is a past historical association and their habits today are not endorsed. God will save the nation of Israel for the fathers’ sakes (Rom. 11:28). When God reestablishes favor to Israel at the end of this age, it will be to a Holy Remnant, not to the nation at large. As with the Gentiles, the brunt of the coming trouble will fall particularly on the heads of the rich, the oppressors, and the wicked. Although they will have an opportunity to get life in the resurrection, all of these—Jew and Gentile—will be consumed when God delivers the hand-picked Holy Remnant. The Jews should not depart from the Law Covenant unless they accept Christ.

Isa. 66:18 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.

God knows the works and thoughts of the unfaithful Jews. He will gather all nations to Israel at the end of the age. They will come and they will see His glory when He delivers the Holy Remnant. Ezekiel 38:23 reads, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Then shall they all know that God is God!

Isa. 66:19 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.

God will set a sign among the Gentile nations on the scene in Israel and send the survivors back to their homelands to give eyewitness accounts and to declare God’s glory. These nations—Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, and Javan—sound like some of the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38. God’s determination to gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle (Zech. 14:2; Zeph. 3:8,9) will redound to His praise, honor, and glory. Thus will His name be vindicated and His people, Israel, be identified.

Tarshish, Javan, and Tubal were sons of Japheth, and Lud was a son of Shem (Gen. 10:2,4,22). Pul is not mentioned in Genesis 10, and no sons of Ham are mentioned in Isaiah 66. Europe, Russia, Turkey, and all of the Gentiles nations, generally speaking, are represented by these names, but predominantly Europe (the sons of Japheth). Gentile observers of God’s miraculous deliverance of Israel out of Jacob’s Trouble will go back to their homelands with eyewitness accounts.

Tubal is identified with Russia. Tarshish is used in prophecy for various locations: Rome, England, Spain, Greece, and portions of the Far East (hence Tarshish is a symbol of scattered, far-off peoples). On the subject of the Lord’s Great Army and events at the end of the age, Volume 4 mentions the faint possibility of Javan representing China. The question is whether the far-off isles not hearing of God’s fame or seeing His glory refers to just His deliverance of the Holy Remnant at the end of the age or whether, generally speaking, it refers to both the end of the age and God’s dealing with the Jew down through history. If this text refers to the whole history of Israel, then Javan may apply to the Eastern Hemisphere and not the Western.

The purpose of God’s gathering all nations to Jerusalem to battle is to show them His glory, to vindicate His name, and to manifest Israel as the nation through which God will deal and send blessings.

The explanation of verse 6 in this chapter gave a suggestion as to what God’s “sign” among the nations might be.

Isa. 66:20 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.

After God delivers Israel out of Jacob’s Trouble, the Gentiles will send back all surviving Jews to their homeland with gifts and goods. This reaction will be similar to what the Egyptians did following the tenth plague when they sent the Israelites out of Egypt in haste (and with gifts). The people remonstrated with the still hard-hearted Pharaoh, telling him to act prudently lest all of the Egyptians die, not just the firstborn. In the future the Jews will be sent back on “horses” (in individual vehicles), “in litters” (even if they are sick or elderly), and “swift beasts” (airplanes?). In other words, whatever means of travel a nation has at that time will be used to return the Jews to Israel.

“As the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.” The Gentiles will do this voluntarily, as a freewill offering, because they will want to—and not perfunctorily, not because they are compelled to or simply because they are afraid. The Gentiles will want to cooperate.

Isa. 66:21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.

Of the Holy Remnant and the Jewish race—of the surviving Jews already in Israel as well as of those who are shipped back—God will select priests and Levites to serve in His Temple. The Book of Ezekiel tells that the priests who serve in the Third Temple will be of the Zadok line of the Levites.

Isa. 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

As the new spiritual and social order of the Kingdom shall remain, so will Israel always be the capital of the world (although the emphasis may be different after the Millennium). In other words, the necessity for going up to Jerusalem each year will probably diminish, for as Jesus said, the time will come when it will no longer be necessary to pray either on Jacob’s mountain or in Jerusalem (John 4:20–24). The saved world of mankind will worship God in spirit and in truth wherever they are.

Isa. 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

From new moon to new moon (from month to month), and from sabbath to sabbath, all shall worship God. This verse sounds somewhat like Zechariah 14:16–19, which says that upon those nations who do not representatively go up to Jerusalem annually to worship God in the Third Temple on the Feast of Tabernacles, there will be no rain. During the Kingdom the Feast of Tabernacles will be mandatory.

Isa. 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

And what will visitors to Jerusalem in the Kingdom see after attending the Third Temple services? After the services, they will exit the Temple and see a huge cemetery that extends for miles and contains the “carcases of the men that … transgressed” against God as part of the Gog invasion of the Holy Land. Of those who die at the time God delivers the Holy Remnant, the account says, “Their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched.” The thought is that this cemetery or graveyard of the future will be a perpetual memorial of what God did to deliver the Jews out of Jacob’s Trouble and to destroy Israel’s enemies. Documentary films of the actual occurrence will perpetuate certain memorable historical events such as this one, the Crucifixion, Jesus’ resurrection, etc.

The bones of the Gog force will be taken to this cemetery site and buried. The name of the valley in which this cemetery will be located is to be called the Valley of Hamongog. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place … of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: … and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog” (Ezek. 39:11). The earthquake that lifts up Mount Zion for the Temple site will also create this valley for a “city of the dead.” The name of that cemetery or city will be Hamonah (Ezek. 39:16). The names Hamongog and Hamonah are related to Hamon, the inveterate enemy of the Jew in the Book of Esther. Like Auschwitz today, this cemetery of the future will keep alive or memorialize throughout eternity the drama of Jacob’s Trouble and God’s mighty miracles— both the defeat of the multitude of Israel’s enemies and the deliverance of His people.

Praise be to the Great God of Israel

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