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Isaiah 66 question
A response by John of AllFaith, Feb. 2007
Questioner: "A"Subject: Isaiah 66 question
Can you please explain Isaiah 66:15-17 and 23-24? Thank you.
John of AllFaith's replyHi "A",
This is a rather deep topic and I don't know how much knowledge you have of these matters nor the positions you take. I invite any follow-up questions and so on that you might have. Here's my take on these verses.
The overall topic of the 66th chapter of Isaiah deals with the hypocrisy of God's people and their return to Eretz Yisrael. Beginning at verse 7 the prophet is speaking about the return of the Jews to their homeland. Beginning with verse 15 we see the troops of Israel, empowered by the God of Israel, reentering their land. In 1948, when the Arab nations attacked the newly born state, their amazing defenses were "like a whirlwind" and their victories were nothing short of miraculous, literally.
When the Israelis witnessed the power of God manifested in their midst many of them sanctified themselves to God and for the first time became "religious Jews." They gave HaShem the praise and glory for their victories. News reports of the time even reported the enemies of Israel testifying that they beheld giant angels on the battlefields defending the Jewish freedom fighters! Christians the world over, traditionally rather anti-Semitic, beheld the power of God and many became and remain among Israel's staunchest supporters. They too gave God the glory for Israel's return to Zion.
Israel is a 'holy nation unto HaShem' with or without a political government. During the Diaspora the Jews were still a nation. This nation of Israel is sometimes likened to a "tree" in Scripture. Prophet Daniel cites this 'banded tree'. Those bands began being removed in 1948 (Dan3:4-27). Jesus references Israel as a tree as well (Matt. 24:32-35), as does Paul (Romans 11). This One Tree of Israel is commanded to unite in the service of HaShem. It unites by ending the Diaspora and bringing all Jews Home to Eretz Israel.
With the re-birth of the nation, Jews are to repent of their previous sins. I would say the 'swine flesh' refers to the violation of Jewish dietary laws (and hence physical holiness). The 'abomination' represents their spiritual violations and the 'mouse' to their failure to trust HaShem fully. As evidence of this I would cite the next verse.
As these things are abandoned the nations will more and more behold God's glory through the returning Jews and their re-dedication to HaShem.
Verses 19-22 speaks of the in-gathering as Jews from around the world make aliyah (return to Israel). This is not a single event. It began in 1948 (or earlier) and continues into the Millennial Kingdom when Israel is fully restored under its Messiah (vs. 22).
Note in verse 22 the Lord says, "... which I will make..." in other words, this condition does not exist at the time aliyah begins (arguably with Theodor Herzl and the early Zionists but certainly by 1946-8). It is, in this sense, a reaction or result of aliyah that the Kingdom will be established. Jesus confirms this: "...And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened...." To save the Jews of Israel the Shiloh will come with his scepter.
Hope this helps, write back anytime.
~John of AllFaith
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