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TitleIsaiah 66
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Minute: Isaiah
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsBible; Isaiah (Book); Isaiah (Prophet); Old Testament

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Isaiah 66

Isaiah 66:1–6 The Apostasy of Ancient Israel and Their Punishment

This section presents three major themes: (1) God’s temple (“My throne,” “House,” “My resting place,” “Temple,” and so forth), (2) the righteous (“humble,” “contrite,” “who trembles at My word”), and (3) the apostasy of the wicked (false worshippers, doers of evil, haters) and God’s judgment against them.

Isaiah 66:1

Heaven is My throne. A poetic way to say that the Lord rules over heaven and earth and everything therein. “Throne” symbolizes God’s kingship and ruling power. earth is My footstool. The mighty globe, our planet earth, is as the Lord’s footstool—He is that powerful and glorious: “I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:17; see also Abraham 2:7).

Isaiah 66:2

who trembles at My word. Righteous individuals tremble with awe and reverence at the Lord’s doctrines and truths.

Isaiah 66:3

Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who smites a man. Isaiah lists four actions that pertain to the Lord’s ancient temple under the law of Moses: slaughtering an ox, sacrificing a lamb, presenting a cereal offering, and offering frankincense. But such actions are merely outward motions if they are not offered with proper intent and a pure heart (compare 1:11–15). these have chosen their own ways. Many of ancient Israel were in a state of apostasy; and they had “chosen their own ways,” and they delighted “in their abominations.” Therefore, they and their temple rituals had become evil practices.

Isaiah 66:4

choose affliction. Because of their apostasy, God’s people will be afflicted because “they did what was evil in [God’s] eyes.” they chose that in which I do not delight. See commentary on 65:12.

Isaiah 66:5

you who tremble at His word. Speaking of the righteous. Let the Lord be glorified that we may see your rejoicing. These words are spoken by the wicked, as they mock and persecute the righteous.

Isaiah 66:6

voice from the Temple. Just as God’s blessings come upon the righteous from His holy temple, so, too, His judgments upon the wicked come from the Temple in Heaven.

Isaiah 66:7–13 Lady Zion and Her Children in the Last Days

“At the Second Coming, Israel, as a nation, shall be born in a day; the wicked shall be destroyed; and the Gentiles shall hear the gospel” (Latter-day Saint Bible chapter heading). This section deals with two topics. The first is a woman named “Zion” (also called “Jerusalem”), where Zion is symbolically portrayed as a female. Note Isaiah’s language, as he speaks of her: “She {Zion} was in labor,” “she gave birth,” she experienced a “labor pang,” “she delivered a son” (66:7), “she also brought forth her children” (66:8), “her comforting breast” (66:11), and “her side . . . her knees” (66:12). Note also that the feminine pronouns “her” and “she,” throughout the text, refer to Zion. The second topic is Zion’s inhabitants; “You {Zion’s inhabitants} may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breast” (66:11), “you {Zion’s inhabitants} will be nursed and be carried on her side,” and “you will be bounced on her knees” (66:12). Lady Zion, then, will have children, and she will comfort and nourish her children, just as a loving mother nourishes her own children.

Isaiah 66:7–8

Before she {Zion} was in labor, she gave birth. For a woman to give birth before she is in labor is a wondrous miracle. The entire verse deals with the miracle of Zion (covenant Israel, God’s Church) in the last days, when she has children in miraculous ways. She has children before she is in labor. And the “land” or people on the land are born “in one day,” in “one moment.” This is another miracle because many are born after hours of labor pangs and labor. Because of this great miracle, Isaiah asks, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?” See also JST Revelation 12:1–7.

Isaiah 66:8

she also brought forth her children. Zion’s children refers to faithful members of the Church in the last days, who comprise Zion.

Isaiah 66:9

“Will I who cause birth shut the womb?” The Lord poses two questions, creating a synonymous parallelism. In effect, He is stating that He would not “shut the womb” of Zion as she has children in the last days. Zion, or the Church, would continue to grow and prosper throughout the last days.

Isaiah 66:10

Rejoice with Jerusalem/be joyful/exult with her with exultation. The cause of rejoicing is the fulfilment of the Lord’s promises. Zion will be established, her children will be born, and Jerusalem will be restored to her promised blessings.

Isaiah 66:11

nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breast. Just as a child is nursed and nourished by its mother, Zion’s inhabitants will “drink deeply with delight” and receive spiritual nourishment from God’s blessings, especially those associated with His Spirit, ordinances, obedience to the words of His prophets, and more. The Hebrew ziz, translated “abundance,” literally means “breast.” It is a synonym for “breast” in the previous line.

Isaiah 66:12

extend peace to her like a river. God provides peace to Zion’s inhabitants continually, like an ever-flowing river. nursed/carried on her side/bounced on her knees. Just as a mother cares for her children, Zion will find impart peace and comfort to her inhabitants. heart will exult/bones will flourish. Zion’s inhabitants will be happy and healthy.

Isaiah 66:14–18a The Lord Will Return in Great Power

The Lord’s Second Coming, of course, will be momentous and remarkable! He will come with great power, fire and the sword, bringing judgments on the wicked. In this section, “fire” is repeated three times—“fire,” “flames of fire,” “fire”—and the Lord’s anger and rebuke is emphasized—“indignation,” “anger,” “fury,” “rebuke.”

Isaiah 66:14

The hand of the Lord will be known to His servants. God’s prophets and other righteous individuals will recognize God’s work in the last days and will know of the Lord’s coming in great glory and power. His chariots like a whirlwind. Anciently, chariots were vehicles used in war. God will come as a warrior and destroy the wicked at His coming. The whirlwind symbolizes God’s destructive power in bringing justice; it also suggests the swiftness with which the Lord comes to destroy the wicked (19:1; Jeremiah 4:13; Psalm 104:3; Abraham 2:7).

Isaiah 66:15

the Lord will come with fire. When the Lord returns, He will bring with Him a devouring fire, which will burn the wicked as stubble and also cleanse the world with flame (30:30–33; 33:12; Malachi 4:1; Doctrine and Covenants 29:9). Fire and flames of fire also symbolize God’s glory and unapproachable holiness (30:27; Exodus 3:2).

Isaiah 66:16

by his sword. Jehovah comes as a warrior to mete out justice with His sword (see also Isaiah 27:1; 31:8). those pierced by the Lord will be many. “I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts. . . . And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth” (Jeremiah 25:29, 33). “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: . . . And thus . . . was the third part of men killed” (Revelation 9:16–18).

Isaiah 66:17

who sanctify themselves . . . in the gardens, . . . eating pig’s flesh . . . and the mouse. This verse describes idol worshippers who participate in abominable pagan rites.

Isaiah 66:18

For I know their works and their thoughts. God’s judgments will be righteous and fair to everyone because He knows everything about us, even our actions, our thoughts, and the intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12; Alma 12:14; 18:32).

Isaiah 66:18b–22 Gathering from All Nations

This section pertains to the gathering of Israel in the last days, which will take place among all nations (see verses 18, 20). A vital part of the gathering pertains to the Lord’s temples and its ordinances; thus the passage refers to “My holy mountain” and “the House of the Lord” (66:20).

Isaiah 66:18

gather all nations and tongues. Individuals and families from all nations, speaking various languages, will gather to the gospel ensign. The gathering, which was prophesied by Moses (Deuteronomy 30:3), Isaiah (11:12; 43:5; 49:18), and other prophets, involves both a physical gathering (to the lands of covenant) and a spiritual gathering (to Christ and His gospel). they will see My glory. As people “come” and participate in the gathering, they will see the Lord’s glory—in His temples, in the gospel ordinances, and in His presence (60:3, 19; 62:3; Revelation 21:23–24).

Isaiah 16:19

I will set a token among them. The Hebrew word ’ot may be translated “token,” like the one the Lord gave to Moses (Exodus 3:12); or “sign,” like that offered to King Ahaz (7:11). The token that the Lord promises to set at the gathering may be the Book of Mormon or perhaps it pertains to the temple. Tarshish, Pul . . . Tubal, Javan. These ancient places symbolize peoples and nations of our day. Note that verse 19 refers to “the nations,” and verses 18 and 20 designate “all nations.” None will be excluded from the invitation to gather in the last days. All will be extended the “token.”

Isaiah 66:20

horses/chariots/covered wagons/mules/dromedaries. These ancient conveyances symbolize modern forms of transportation. Note that the Hebrew tzav, according to two prominent Hebrew lexicons, is a “covered wagon.”

Isaiah 66:20

pure vessel. Anciently, temple officiants employed hundreds of vessels as they served God in the tabernacle and temple (see Ezra 1:7–11). These “holy vessels” (2 Chronicles 5:5) were anointed with oil and sanctified (see Exodus40:9), just as were the priests themselves. Symbolically, the “pure vessel” refers to a pure person (2 Timothy 2:21; Moroni 7:31; Alma 60:23).

Isaiah 66:22–24 The Righteous’s Offspring and Name Will Remain

The Lord promises the righteous that their offspring (family) and name will continue forever and that “all flesh” will worship Him.

Isaiah 66:22

new heavens/new earth. These expressions refer to both the millennial earth (65:17) and the celestialized earth (Doctrine and Covenants 29:22–25; 88:18–20, 25–26). your seed and your name will remain. A promise of a blessing upon one’s posterity, eternal families, and eternal increase. “Name” may refer to our given name, the “new name” (62:2; Revelation 3:12), or the name of Christ—all of which have great significance in the ordinances (Mosiah 5:10–11).

Isaiah 66:23

from new moon to new moon/from Sabbath to Sabbath. “New moon” (Hebrew chodesh) can also be translated “month.” The righteous will worship the Lord throughout the year, not just on the Sabbath day or on the new moon (see also 1:13; 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4).

Isaiah 66:24

The Lord declares the fate of the wicked, those “who have rebelled against” Him—during the Millennium, the righteous will look upon the dead bodies of the wicked with disgust (“they will be an abhorrence to all flesh”). And the spiritual punishment of the wicked will remain. As these two expressions relate, “Their worm will not die,” and “their fire will not be quenched.” Doctrine and Covenants 76:44 similarly states, “Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment” (emphasis added).


Scripture Reference

Isaiah 66:1