Isa 66.1-24 is a continuation of the previous chapter and the context is the coming of the Messiah and the Kingdom, and it is the Haftorah for Rosh Chodesh. It speaks about a Temple, the return of the exiles, alludes to the Birth-pains of the Messiah, the conversion of the non-Jews to a Torah-based faith in Yeshua, the 144,000 and true worship. It also refers to the fate of those who rebel against Yehovah, Messiah and the Torah.
v 1…Thus says the Lord (Yehovah), “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool (the Temple-it was built as a house of rest for the Ark, which was moved from place to place until the Temple was built). Where then is a house you could build for me? And where is a place I may rest (the Temple was still standing when this was written, so this was future. Could this be showing God’s displeasure over a rebuilt Temple by man in the last days? Who gave them permission to do it? Where in the Scriptures is this given for anyone to do like in the previous Temples, and the one in Ezekiel? Does Israel “merit” this privilege given its current state of unbelief? That is why the Temple was destroyed to begin with)?
v 2…For my hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. But to this one I look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word (exactly what Heb 3-4 says-so far as the unbelieving Jews in the exile was concerned, who had not been humbled by their affliction or the teaching of the prophets, Yehovah did not want a Temple of korbanot from them as we shall soon see).
v 3…But he who kills an ox (a korban) is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb (a korban) is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who offers a grain offering (Korban Mincha) is like one who offers swine blood; he who offers incense (at the Altar of Incense) is like one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations,
v 4…So I will choose their adversity (bring terrors upon them), and I will bring upon them what they dread, because I called (through Isaiah, the prophets, the 144,000, etc), but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen, and they did evil in my sight, and chose that in which I did not delight.
v 5…Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word (to comfort the believing Jews); your brothers (unbelieving Jews) who hate you (this will also apply to the Messiah and his followers also), who exclude you for my name’s sake (because they confess Yehovah), have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy (mocking their faith in Yehovah and the words of the prophets)’ but they will be put to shame (and not partake in the coming redemption).
v 6…A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the Temple (the throne of Yehovah), the voice of the Lord who is rendering recompense to his enemies (vengeance and a time of deliverance).
We believe that Isa 66.7-9 is a prophecy concerning the birth-pains and the Messiah.
v 7…Before she (Israel) travailed (in birth-pains in 70 A.D.) she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy (Yeshua was born before the birth-pains in 66-73 A.D. and the first Roman war-Rev 12.1-5).
v 8…Who has heard of such a thing (a boy being born before birth-pains)? Who has seen such (amazing) things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once (a whole population brought to the new birth; there is a commentary that says, “There was once a woman who was delivered of 600,000 children in one day” which was Yochaved who gave birth to Moses, and he brought 600,000 out of Egypt in Exo 12.37). As soon as Zion travailed (now it skips to Rosh Ha Shanah, year 6001 from creation and the beginning of the birth-pains, or tribulation period, right at the beginning of the Day of the Lord), she also brought forth her sons (the believers in the birth-pains, beginning with the 144,000, the first fruits of the believing remnant as soon as the birth-pains begin-Rev 14.4; 7.3; Mic 5.3).
v 9…”Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord (No). “Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb” says the Lord (No-there will be a new birth, but only by Yehovah-John 1.13)?
v 10…”Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her (who were formerly in distress),
v 11….That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts (spiritual food), that you may suck (drain) and be delighted with her bountiful bosom (alludes to the milk of the word-1 Pet 2.2; Heb 5.11-14).
v 12…For thus says the Lord, “Behold (see for yourself), I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory (kivod) of the nations like an overflowing stream (the greatest of inward blessings will come along with the greatest of blessings from the outside); and you shall be nursed, you shall be carried over the hip and fondled on the knees (showing tenderness, being supported).
v 13…As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem (now Israel is seen by Isaiah as a man who has escaped captivity and has come home with sad memories).
v 14…Then you shall see and your heart shall be glad (revived), and your bones shall flourish like new grass (bones are like tree branches extending with new life), and the hand of the Lord shall be made known to his servants (be acquainted with), but he shall be indignant toward his enemies (on the contrary).
v 15…For behold, Yehovah will come in fire (purging), and his chariots like the whirlwind (storm wind), to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire (this alludes to the second coming of Yeshua-Zech 14.1-3; Matt 24.27-31; Rev 19.19; Deut 33.2; Hab 3.3-6).
v 16…For Yehovah will execute judgment by fire and by his sword (the word of God-Rev 19.11-15 on all flesh), and those slain by Yehovah will be many
v 17…Those who sanctify (subject themselves) and purify themselves to go to the gardens (65.3), following one (an idol) in the center (in the midst of the garden where the idol was), who eat swine’s flesh (contrary to the Torah), detestable things (Hebrew “sheketz” or abomination) and mice (Lev 11.29z), shall come to an end altogether (cut off)” declares the Lord.
v 18…”For I know their works and their thoughts (unbelievers); the time is coming to gather all nations and all tongues. And they (the non-Jews) shall come and see my glory (kivod-a term for the Messianic Kingdom-Isa 4.5).
v 19…And I will set a sign (Hebrew “owt” written with an aleph, vav and tav. The aleph and the tav is the first and last Hebrew letter in the alphabet, and it means the beginning and the end, and “head of the covenant.” It is a term for Yehovah and the Messiah also. The vav is the number six in Hebrew and stands for man. This word together alludes to Yehovah, the aleph and tav, and the vav (man) together and will be sign for the people as in Isa 7.14, meaning the Messiah is both God and man) among them (the non-Jews), and I will send survivors (of the birth-pains) from them to the nations (Isa 4.1-6, 27.12-13): Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal and Javan, to the ancient coastlands (various parts of the world) that have neither heard my fame nor seen my glory (in the Kingdom), and they will declare my glory among the nations (that Messiah has come).
v 20…And they (the non-Jews) shall bring all your brethren (the believing Jews exiled among the nations-Isa 49.22) from all the nations (and called the “fullness of the nations” or “M’loh Ha Goyim”-Gen 48.19; Rom 25.26) as a grain offering (Zeph 3.10) to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to my holy holy mountain Jerusalem” (Temple Mount) says the the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering (Korban Mincha) in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord (the mincha is the house of Israel, and the vessels are the non-Jews).
v 21…I will also take some of them (the returning Jews from the nations) for priests and Levites (of that descent-Neh 7.64-65; Ezek 44.15-23) says the Lord.
v 22…”For just as the new heavens and the new earth (the final one in Rev 21.1; 2 Pet 3.10-13) which I will make will endure before me” declares the Lord (not like the one in Isa 65.17 which is the one for the Messianic Kingdom and temporary), so your offsrping and your name (Israel) will endure.
v 23…And it shall be from new moon (Rosh Chodesh) to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath (this is future and notice these will be kept, that have not been done away with-Nahum 1.15;Ezek 40 through 48; Zech 14.18; Isa 56.1-8), all mankind Jew and non-Jew-Ezek 46.1-2; Isa 11.10-12; Isa 2.1-4; Mic 4.1-5) will come and bow down before me” says the Lord.
v 24…They they shall go forth and look on the corpses of the men (the goats of Matt 25.31-46, unbelievers) who transgressed against me (by doing away with the Torah, becoming “lawless”), for their worm (an idiom for their conscience because it will gnaw away at them and torment them for all eternity) shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind (the place where the corpses will be answers to “Gei Hinnom” or the Valley of Hinnom, where we get the word “Gehenna” from. This place was south of the city where the Hinnom valley swung east from the west side of Jerusalem and meeting the Kidron Valley. It was a picture of “hell” or the Lake of Fire which is the place of future punishment in the eternal state-Jer 19.11-15. It was also called Tophet because a “tophet” was a burial place for the children murdered in Moloch and Baal worship. Idolatry will be judged there-2 Kings 23.10; 2 Chr 28.3, 33.6; Jer 7.31, 19.1-15. Unbelieving Jews were not buried as believing Jews were anciently. The unbelievers were thrown on this pile and burned. This is also called the Valley of Jehoshaphat or “Yehovah judges.” Judgment will fall on those who do not have a Torah-based faith in Yeshua and their bodies will be for the birds and beasts to consume. This is called the “Feast of Leviathan” in Jewish eschatology-Rev 19.21; Ezek 29.1-7, 32.1-8; Isa 14.9-21. This place is associated with Baal in Jer 32.35 and considered ritually unclean by pious Jews. In the first century it was a garbage dump. The place called “Akeldama” in Acts 1.19 is in this valley and it means “field of blood.” The family of Chanan (Annas) and Chaiaphas had a family tomb there. This area was the setting for the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16.19-31).