Isaiah 66 The Message (MSG)
Living Worship to God
66 1-2 God’s Message:
“Heaven’s my throne,
earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!”
“But there is something I’m looking for:
a person simple and plain,
reverently responsive to what I say.
3-4 “Your acts of worship
are acts of sin:
Your sacrificial slaughter of the ox
is no different from murdering the neighbor;
Your offerings for worship,
no different from dumping pig’s blood on the altar;
Your presentation of memorial gifts,
no different from honoring a no-god idol.
You choose self-serving worship,
you delight in self-centered worship—disgusting!
Well, I choose to expose your nonsense
and let you realize your worst fears,
Because when I invited you, you ignored me;
when I spoke to you, you brushed me off.
You did the very things I exposed as evil,
you chose what I hate.”
5 But listen to what God has to say
to you who reverently respond to his Word:
“Your own families hate you
and turn you out because of me.
They taunt you, ‘Let us see God’s glory!
If God’s so great, why aren’t you happy?’
But they’re the ones
who are going to end up shamed.”
6 Rumbles of thunder from the city!
A voice out of the Temple!
handing out judgment to his enemies:
7-9 “Before she went into labor,
she had the baby.
Before the birth pangs hit,
she delivered a son.
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
Has anyone seen anything like this?
A country born in a day?
A nation born in a flash?
But Zion was barely in labor
when she had her babies!
Do I open the womb
and not deliver the baby?
Do I, the One who delivers babies,
shut the womb?
10-11 “Rejoice, Jerusalem,
and all who love her, celebrate!
And all you who have shed tears over her,
join in the happy singing.
You newborns can satisfy yourselves
at her nurturing breasts.
Yes, delight yourselves and drink your fill
at her ample bosom.”
“I’ll pour robust well-being into her like a river,
the glory of nations like a river in flood.
You’ll nurse at her breasts,
nestle in her bosom,
and be bounced on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
so I’ll comfort you.
You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
14-16 You’ll see all this and burst with joy
—you’ll feel ten feet tall—
As it becomes apparent that God is on your side
and against his enemies.
For God arrives like wildfire
and his chariots like a tornado,
A furious outburst of anger,
a rebuke fierce and fiery.
For it’s by fire that God brings judgment,
a death sentence on the human race.
Many, oh so many,
are under God’s sentence of death:
17 “All who enter the sacred groves for initiation in those unholy rituals that climaxed in that foul and obscene meal of pigs and mice will eat together and then die together.” God’s Decree.
18-21 “I know everything they’ve ever done or thought. I’m going to come and then gather everyone—all nations, all languages. They’ll come and see my glory. I’ll set up a station at the center. I’ll send the survivors of judgment all over the world: Spain and Africa, Turkey and Greece, and the far-off islands that have never heard of me, who know nothing of what I’ve done nor who I am. I’ll send them out as missionaries to preach my glory among the nations. They’ll return with all your long-lost brothers and sisters from all over the world. They’ll bring them back and offer them in living worship to God. They’ll bring them on horses and wagons and carts, on mules and camels, straight to my holy mountain Jerusalem,” says God. “They’ll present them just as Israelites present their offerings in a ceremonial vessel in the Temple of God. I’ll even take some of them and make them priests and Levites,” says God.
22-23 “For just as the new heavens and new earth
that I am making will stand firm before me”
“So will your children
and your reputation stand firm.
Month after month and week by week,
everyone will come to worship me,” God says.
24 “And then they’ll go out and look at what happened
to those who rebelled against me. Corpses!
Maggots endlessly eating away on them,
an endless supply of fuel for fires.
Everyone who sees what’s happened
and smells the stench retches.”
Isaiah 66 New International Version (NIV)
Judgment and Hope
66 This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
2 Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.
3 But whoever sacrifices a bull
is like one who kills a person,
and whoever offers a lamb
is like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
whoever makes a grain offering
is like one who presents pig’s blood,
and whoever burns memorial incense
is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,
and they delight in their abominations;
4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and will bring on them what they dread.
For when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”
5 Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your own people 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.
6 Hear that uproar from the city,
hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the Lord
repaying his enemies all they deserve.
7 “Before she goes into labor,
she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
she delivers a son.
8 Who has ever heard of such things?
Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day
or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
than she gives birth to her children.
9 Do I bring to the moment of birth
and not give delivery?” says the Lord.
“Do I close up the womb
when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.
11 For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
12 For this is what the Lord says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice
and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants,
but his fury will be shown to his foes.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire,
and his chariots are like a whirlwind;
he will bring down his anger with fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For with fire and with his sword
the Lord will execute judgment on all people,
and many will be those slain by the Lord.
17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things—they will meet their end together with the one they follow,” declares the Lord.
18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory.
19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.
22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”