Isaiah 66
True worship
1The LORD said:#Mt 5.34; 23.22; Mt 5.35.#Ac 7.49,50.
Heaven is my throne;
the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house
could you build for me?
In what place will I rest?
2I have made everything;
that's how it all came to be.#66.2 that's…be: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
The people I treasure most
are the humble—
they depend only on me
and tremble when I speak.
3You sacrifice oxen to me,
and you commit murder;
you sacrifice lambs to me
and dogs to other gods;
you offer grain to me
and pigs' blood to idols;
you burn incense to me
and praise your idols.#66.3 You sacrifice oxen…idols: Or “Sacrificing oxen to me is the same as murder; sacrificing lambs to me is the same as sacrificing dogs to other gods; offering grain to me is the same as offering pigs' blood to idols; and burning incense to me is the same as praising idols.”
You have made your own choice
to do these disgusting things
that you enjoy so much.
4You refused to answer
when I called out;
you paid no attention
to my instructions.
Instead, you did what I hated,
knowing it was wrong.
Now I will punish#66.4 punish: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. you
in a way you dread the most.
The LORD will help Jerusalem
5If you tremble
when the LORD speaks,
listen to what he says:
“Some of your own people hate
and reject you because of me.
They make fun and say,
‘Let the LORD show his power!
Let us see him
make you truly happy.’#66.5 Some…happy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
But those who say these things
will be terribly ashamed.”
6Do you hear that noise
in the city and those shouts
coming from the temple?
It is the LORD shouting
as he punishes his enemies.
7Have you ever heard of a woman#Rev 12.5.
who gave birth to a child
before having labour pains?
8Who ever heard of such a thing
or imagined it could happen?
Can a nation be born in a day
or come to life in a second?
Jerusalem is like a mother
who gave birth to her children
as soon as she was in labour.
9The LORD is the one
who makes birth possible.
And he will see that Zion
has many more children.
The LORD has spoken.
10If you love Jerusalem,
celebrate and shout!
If you were in sorrow
because of the city,
you can now be glad.
11She will nurse and comfort you,
just like your own mother,
until you are satisfied.
You will fully enjoy
her wonderful glory.
12The LORD has promised:
“I will flood Jerusalem
with the wealth of nations
and make the city prosper.
Zion will nurse you at her breast,
carry you in her arms,
and hold you in her lap.
13I will comfort you there
like a mother
comforting her child.”
14When you see this happen,
you will celebrate;
your strength will return
faster than grass can sprout.
Then everyone will know
that the LORD is present
with his servants,
but he is angry
with his enemies.
15The LORD will come down
like a whirlwind
with his flaming chariots.
He will be terribly furious
and punish his enemies
with fire.
16The LORD's fiery sword
will bring justice
everywhere on this earth
and execute many people.
A threat and a promise
17Some of you get yourselves ready and go to a garden to worship a foreign goddess.#66.17 Some…goddess: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. You eat the meat of pigs, lizards, and mice. But I, the LORD, will destroy you for this.
18I know everything you do and think! The time has now come#66.18 I…come: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. to bring together the people of every language and nation and to show them my glory 19by proving what I can do.#66.19 by…do: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. I will send the survivors to Tarshish, Pul,#66.19 Pul: Hebrew; one ancient translation “Put”, a country in Africa, but the location of neither Pul nor Put is known for certain. Lud, Meshech,#66.19 Meshech: One ancient translation; Hebrew “those who use bows and arrows”. Tubal, Javan,#66.19 Tarshish…Javan: Tarshish may have been a Phoenician city in Spain; Put (see note on Pul) and Lud were African people; Meshech and Tubal were regions south or south-east of the Black Sea; the Javan were people of Asia Minor and the Greek islands. and to the distant islands. I will send them to announce my wonderful glory to nations that have never heard about me.
20They will bring your relatives from the nations as an offering to me, the LORD. They will come on horses, chariots, wagons, mules, and camels#66.20 camels: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. to Jerusalem, my holy mountain. It will be like the people of Israel bringing the right offering to my temple. 21I promise that some of them will be priests and others will be helpers in my temple. I, the LORD, have spoken.
22I also promise that you will always have descendants and will never be forgotten, just as the new heavens and the new earth that I create will last for ever.#Is 65.17; 2 P 3.13; Rev 21.1. 23On the first day of each month and on each Sabbath, everyone will worship me. I, the LORD, have spoken.
24My people will go out and look at the dead bodies of those who turned against me. The worms there never die, the fire never stops burning, and the sight of those bodies will be disgusting to everyone.#Mk 9.48.