Isaiah 66

True and false worship 1
Sacrifice and deception 3
Zion vindicated; birth without pain 5
Rejoice with Jerusalem 10
Peace like a river; Glory of Gentiles 12
Reign and indignation of God; self sanctification 14
Gathering of the nations; some will be priests 18
New heavens and earth; New moon and Sabbath 22
Wicked detested 24

This chapter highlights true and false worship. The green balls indicate true worship while the red ones indicate false worship.
. 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?
 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.
  1 - Heaven ... earth We need places of worship but we do not have a monopoly on God. No religious organization does. Compare je2324.
.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.
.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.
  3 - Ox ... man The Hebrew simply shows the two situations, killing an ox and slaying a man. KJV translators have supplied "is as if." We could also choose just the verb "is" which leads to a more reasonable reading, "He who slaughters an ox is a murderer." People would be seen bringing sacrifices while committing the most terrible sins.
  4 - Delusions ... fears Because they did evil and did not listen.
.¶ 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.
 6  A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
.Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
 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.
 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.
  5 - Ye that tremble Those who hate evil and fear the Lord are now addressed. In v6, we are shown the time when justice will be given.
.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.
.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.
  12 - Peace like a river What a blessing. A great hymn including this phrase is titled "It is Well With My Soul." Click to hear.
.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.
.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.
  15 - Chariots These will be chariots of angels ps06817.
  17 - Sanctify themselves It seems that while performing the rites that symbolize cleansing from sin, they are hiding behind the tree in the midst of the garden consuming abominable things. The implication may be that they are like Eve who took the fruit ge03.
.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.
 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.
  19 - Set a sign The sign may be seen as the mark of the beast which brings the unmixed wrath of God. re1316, re1409. This is an important verse. It explains God's plan for the scattering (and captivity) of His people. They were to share divine truth to the world.
.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.
.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.
   23 - New moon Revelation 22 fills out the picture. The fruit of the tree of life is new every month. What an exciting assembly re2202.
.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.    Carcases They will be dead. Why would they spoil the peace of the new earth? Look carefully. Remember that Isaiah uses symbolic language.
   Worm not die .. fire not quenched Worm and fire are not stopped but will stop themselves when their job is done je1727. Malachi explains ml0401-3. After the fire that destroys the wicked and the old earth, these are "ashes." They have returned to dust and are the soil. They will be as if they had not been ob16.
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