Isaiah 66

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 20, 2000


We now come to the conclusion of Isaiah, continuing on with a look at the end times.

:1  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne …

(Isa 66:1 NLT)  This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that? Could you build a dwelling place for me?

:2 For all those things hath mine hand made


We have a big God.

In the ancient pagan world, temples were built as places for the gods to live in.  But Solomon realized when he built the temple that God wouldn’t be able to actually fit in the temple.
(1 Ki 8:27 KJV)  But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
God is bigger than a building.
(Acts 7:46-50 NASB)  "And David found favor in God's sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. {47} "But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. {48} "However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: {49} 'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?' says the Lord; 'OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? {50} 'WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?'

:2  but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God doesn’t choose to look at the person who is expecting Him to pay attention just because the person goes to some religious place.  Instead, God looks to the person who is:

poor ‘aniy – poor, afflicted, humble, wretched, needy.  It’s the person who recognizes that they need God in their life.

contritenakeh – stricken, smitten.  This is the person who is broken over their own failings, who is struck with their own sin.

tremblethchared – trembling, fearful, afraid.  The person who has an awe and fear of God’s Word.  The person who takes God’s Word extremely seriously.  I don’t mean the person who puts their Bible in a glass case for protection, but the person who reads their Bible and is extremely careful to do what is written in it.


A heart that trembles at God’s Word.

Josiah became king at the age of eight.  His father and grandfather had ruled over Judah for 57 years, and were the most wicked kings that ever ruled the nation of Judah.  They had brought the nation to an all time spiritual low.  But as Josiah grew up, he began to seek the Lord.  He began a project to restore the temple, and as the temple was being cleaned, the high priest found a most amazing thing, the Law of Moses.  Nobody had seen or heard God’s Word for a long time.  Hilkiah the priest sent the scroll to the king.
(2 Chr 34:18-28 KJV)  Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. {19} And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. {20} And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying, {21} Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. {22} And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. {23} And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, {24} Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: {25} Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. {26} And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; {27} Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. {28} Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.

Josiah was a man who trembled at God’s Word.  When he heard God’s Word for the first time, and began to realize just how far the nation had gone away from the Lord, he was all torn up inside.  As you read on in the story, you will find that Josiah gets extremely serious about following all the things in God’s Word, and he stops all the junk that had been going on in the nation.

Josiah wasn’t just sad at the sin, he did something about it.

:4 I also will choose their delusions,

(NAS) So I will choose their punishments

:3-4  they did evil before mine eyes


Choose God’s way.

These are descriptions of some of the various sacrifices that people might make who are coming to the temple to worship the Lord.
But when a sacrifice is made for the wrong reasons, the sacrifice isn’t something that God likes, instead it becomes something that God hates.
These people wanted their religion to take care of the “god-thing” in their lives, but they had no intention of really paying attention to what God wanted them to do.  Instead, they wanted to do things their way.
When you come to God, you need to come to Him on His terms, not yours.
Some people come to church because they are feeling guilty over things in their life, and they have this idea that if they do “religious” things, that it will help them not feel so guilty.
They might put money in the offering, maybe God will not punish them if they pay money.
Some people will do things like read their Bible or pray, but only as a way of “appeasing” God.
But they have NO INTENTION of turning from their sin.
What God wants is for you to change your ways.  God wants you to repent.  He wants you to turn away from your sin.

:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word;

Are you a person who trembles at God’s Word?

:5  Your brethren that hated you …

 (Isa 66:5 NIV)  Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame.

People are going to ridicule you when you choose to follow the Lord.  But they will be ashamed.

:7 Before she travailed, she brought forth …

(Isa 66:7 NIV)  "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.

Usually a woman is in labor a fairly long time before giving birth.  You don’t give birth without going through labor.

:8  shall a nation be born at once?

The birth of the new kingdom when Jesus returns will take place in a day.  Might also be a partial fulfillment in the birth of the modern nation of Israel, born on May 14, 1948.

:9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?

God doesn’t start a work that He doesn’t intend to finish.


Be patient, God isn’t finished yet.

(Phil 1:6 NLT)  And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.
God will finish what He starts.
It’s hard when we want so much for the things that God will begin to promise us.

For some, we long to be delivered from certain sins that we struggle against.

For others, God has put a calling for particular ministry on your heart and it’s easy to get anxious for all the pieces to fall into place.


I remember sensing God’s call to be a pastor when I was eighteen years old, at a summer camp for high schoolers.  My pastor encouraged me to not just expect to jump straight into ministry, but to take time to be prepared.  So I went through college, went through seminary, and served as a youth pastor in the church.  But when I thought I should be hired into full time ministry, I wasn’t.  Instead I ended up getting a job as a “teller-trainee” at a bank.  Hardly the place for someone with my education and my calling to the ministry!  I remember one day being so frustrated at wanting to serve the Lord, yet here I was being wasted as a stupid bank teller.  And to top it all off, I was asked to go sweep the bank parking lot because someone had found broken glass there.  I remember grumbling as I pushed the broom about what waste it all was.

Last week I had the urge to work help a little bit with the work that’s being done in the planters outside the building.  After I had done a little work and started to clean up, I went and got a push broom to sweep the mess I had made in the parking lot when it hit me.  I had to laugh.  It wasn’t all a waste.  Hey, I was a professional parking lot sweeper!  I was qualified for what I was doing!!!

Actually, the REAL lesson was not about sweeping parking lots, but learning to be a servant.  I think I learned a little bit as a bank teller, but boy do I have a lot more to learn!

Don’t be quick to dismiss what seems like a long wait or detours along the way.  Nothing is a mistake.  God’s at work in you.

:10-13 ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

vs.10-13 – those of us who care about what happens to Jerusalem will one day be happy with what Jesus will do.  We will be satisfied.  We will be blessed.

:17 They that sanctify themselves …shall be consumed together

Both those who make hypocritical displays of religion only to turn around and disobey the Lord, and those who are outright pagans will be destroyed.

:18 For I know their works and their thoughts:


God sees and knows.

The other day one of my sons was asking me about lie-detector tests.  He wanted to know how they worked.  I told him what little I knew about them, and told him that they weren’t fool proof.  There are people that are naturally nervous and anxious and can appear to be lying when they’re not.  There are also people who are so good at lying that they can fool a lie detector.
Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine.  The message “He’s lying” was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn’t telling the truth.  Believing the “lie detector” was working, the suspect confessed.
You may be a person who can fool a real lie detector machine, but you’ll never be able to fool God.  He doesn’t need a lie detector.  He knows what you’re thinking.  Everything you’re thinking.
A 4-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Thanksgiving dinner.  The family members bowed their heads in expectation.  He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one.  Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles.  Then he began to thank God for the food.  He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip.  Then he paused, and everyone waited—and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, “If I thank God for the broccoli, won’t he know that I’m lying?”

Yes.  He will.

:19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations …

Tarshish – possibly in Spain.

Pul – thought to be Libya in Africa

Lud – ancient Lydia, in modern Turkey

Tubal – northeast modern Turkey

Javan – Greece

This seems to be talking about some kind of missionary activity that will go on during the Millennial kingdom.  During the Millennium, there will be people who have trusted the Lord during the Tribulation period, and they enter the kingdom in their old bodies.  They will marry and have children, and these children will need to know the Lord themselves.

:20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD

Today when we have the privilege of sharing the gospel with a friend and they accept the Lord into their heart, we might say that we “led them to the Lord”.  In that day, you might literally lead a person to the Lord!!

:22  so shall your seed and your name remain.

God is not finished with the Jews.  Heaven if forever, so are the Jews.

:23  shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.


Get used to worship.

I think some people don’t quite “get” what worship is all about.
I’ve had people refer to it as the “song service”.  As if it’s just about “singing songs”.
“Worship” is all about drawing near to God.  It’s all about giving Him love and adoration.  It’s about giving Him the praise and honor that He deserves.
I personally have a hard time imagining how a marriage could possibly survive where there wasn’t a great love cultivated between husband and wife.  I was blessed to grow up in a family where my mom and dad loved each other, and still do, fifty years later.  My wife and I work hard to keep our love fervent and strong.  We sometimes look at each other and wonder if people who have been married for twenty-two years are supposed to love each other and enjoy each other as much as we do.
God desires that His relationship with His people be just like a good marriage.  There ought to be closeness.  There ought to be sharing between husband and wife.  And that’s part of what takes place during worship.  It’s not just a “song service”, it’s a time for you to draw near to the lover of your soul.  It’s a time to pour out your heart to Him.  It’s a time to express your love to Him.

Perhaps you’re not married.  Do you know what it is to be loved by a good father or mother?  Perhaps you know what it’s like to be loved by a close friend?  God wants you to know Him up close and personal.

: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.

I think this may be talking about the people who will come to worship the Lord after He establishes His kingdom on earth, and when they leave the city, they will see the corpses of those who died in the battle of Armageddon.

The people living in Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day had an actual picture of this just outside their city.  There was a valley to the south of the city that was used as a trash dump.  All the city’s trash was dumped there and burnt.  They would even throw the dead bodies of criminals there instead of giving them a decent burial.  It was known as the valley of Hinnom, or, Gehenna.  But the scene that Isaiah describes is one that goes on forever.


The reality of hell.

1.  Hell is horrible.
It is a place of torment.  The New Testament often calls it a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat. 8:12)
2.  Hell is forever.
“worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched”
Some groups (like Jehovah Witnesses) have a teaching called the “annihilation of the soul”.  They teach something along the lines that those who go to hell will be annihilated and simply be put out of their misery.  I wish it were so.  It isn’t.  Hell is forever.  You don’t want anyone to go there.
3.  Hell was intended for Satan, not you.
(Mat 25:41 KJV)  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
But the person who refuses to accept God’s offer of getting out of hell will also go there.
4.  God paid the perfect price to keep you out of hell.
Jesus died on the cross, taking on Himself the penalty for sins that should have gone to us.  If you are willing to turn from your sins, ask God for His help, and trust in Jesus to pay for your sins, you will be saved from hell.  Open your heart to Him.