Isaiah 66

Divisions of this chapter:






Heaven and earth are mentioned again in 66:22

This verse is telling Israel to look beyond creation and beyond ritual to find their God.

The Creator is transcendent.  He is outside the created world.

This was not new to Israel thinking.  Even when the temple was before the temple was built

God addresses this issue through Nathan to David in 2 Samuel 7:4-7. 

When Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple he said:

            “But will God really dwell on earth?  The heavens, even the highest heavens,                 

cannot contain you.  How much less this temple I have built!”  (1 Kings 8:27)


God’s sanctuary includes everything that is or has been made.

But God is not saying to abandon the temple worship.  He saying get it into perspective.

It is not creation that should be worshipped or rituals that should be honored. 

God is bigger than creation and more than a ritual.

Just like the pagans worship creation instead of the Creator, so the religious man worships a ritual instead of pursuing a relationship with God.



It is not the one who honors creation or the one who follows the rituals that God favors.

God favors the one who is:

1)      humble in spirit

2)      contrite in spirit

3)      trembles at His word

Realize that this same man can also:

4)      honor creation in proper perspective

5)      worship God through rituals while understanding their meaning.


The contrast here may be between RITUAL oriented worship and WORD oriented worship.



With out a humble spirit, a contrite spirit and trembling at God’s word then temple worship is an abomination to God.



Temple Ritual

Violation of Law

Sacrifice a bull

Kill a man

Offer a lamb

Break a dog’s neck

Grain offering

Present pig’s blood

Burn memorial incense

Worship an idol


They have chosen to apply the rituals of God the way they want to. 

They delight in their ritualistic worship though it has no meaning and is not used the way God intended.



The theme continues from verse 3 where they “chose” their own ways.

So here God says he will choose harsh treatment for them.

Here is another example of the lack of scriptural support for Calvinism.

1)      God presents truth.

2)       Men make a choice.

3)      God responds to man’s choice. 

There is simply no other way to understand it.


The verse continues by saying:

1)      God called and God spoke

2)      No one answered and no one listened

3)      Men did evil and chose wrong

Here is an example of men being called by God but not responding.



These verses present a recognizable conflict with in Israel at this time.

It was a conflict between those who worshipped ritualistically and those who worshipped through God’s word.


The outcasts are those who receive God’s word and apply to their daily lives.

Their fruit would be justice, mercy, humility

Those who rule the religious scene are those who merely have the formal religious appearance and thus intimidated men. 

Only those who know the word are not intimidated by this shell of religious ritual


This is seen also in Malachi 3:13-18

This is the background for Luke 6:22 and John 16:2.  The religious world does not want the word of God.

It is contrary to the ways of man and the mind of religion.



The sound or the voice or the word of the Lord is heard repaying his religious enemies



Here the theme of Jerusalem as the mother is picked up.  Jerusalem, Zion, the city of the LORD will provide abundantly for all.


The point of this verse is that in its time it will be effortless on the part of man.

It is speaking of the Millennium when the curse (“pain of childbirth”) is removed and God’s plans happen naturally.



When it is time a nation will be born.





Begins the discussion of the day of judgment.


Through out the book of Isaiah two themes have played back and forth:

1)      the sure judgment

2)      the promise and offer of hope


Even as the book ends in chapter 66 we see these two themes contrasting and summoning up Isaiah’s message.


Judgment and Hope