Those Who Survive Will Proclaim

My Glory Among the Nations

66: 18-21

   DIG: Throughout Isaiah, God has shown his concern for all the Gentile nations of the world. How does that concern culminate in these verses? How does ADONAI’s gathering of His people in 58:1-8 parallel God's gathering of His people in 66:18-24 (see the chiastic structure on Jj - My House Will Be Called a House of Prayer for All Nations)? What was so shocking to the Jews about the Gentiles being priests? Who are those who survive? Why are they important?

   REFLECT: What types of people do you find it hard to reach out to or care about? Why? What does this vision of the evangelism of Gentiles by Jews say to you about the loving purposes of the LORD for those hard to love people? How might you reflect that love for them this week? What hope is held out for you that such efforts are not useless?

   The fervent prayer of the believing remnant in Chapter 64 is answered by God in Chapters 65 and 66. ADONAI makes it very clear that their sins and unfaithfulness were responsible for the judgment they had endured during the Great Tribulation. But their sins had not frustrated His promises and purposes concerning Isra'el; therefore, He gives a vision of the messianic Kingdom and her position in it.

    There has been a progression from the new creation (65:17), to a new City (65:19), to a new society (65:20) and finally, to a new house (66:1). It is no surprise, therefore, that Isaiah bring his far eschatological prophecy to a close with a new worshiping people.

    This time the nations of the world will gather together, not to destroy Israel, but to see God’s glory. This is something He pointed out earlier. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD, the visible manifestation of ADONAI, His Shechinah glory, rises upon you (60:1). The nations of the world are attracted by Israel’s glory and come to see it. When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him (Matthew 26:31-32a).

    And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all the Gentile nations and tongues, and they will come and see My Shechinah glory (66:18 and see Ju – The Glory of the LORD Rises Upon You). The prophet says that there will be evangelism of the Gentiles by Jews during the Messianic Kingdom. The faithful remnant, those who survived (see the explanation below) the Great Tribulation, will be sent to the Gentile nations to evangelize them.

    God says: I will set a sign among the Gentile nations (66:19a). Isaiah does not specifically say what the sign is, but since the context is between the two comings of Messiah, the sign can only be the cross. Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed (Revelation 15:4). The truth that ADONAI alone is holy (Revelation 15:4b), is often repeated in the TaNaKh (First Samuel 2:2; Psalm 22:3, 99:5, 111:9; Isaiah 6:3 and 57:15; Habakkuk 1:12).

    The Great Commission started with the TaNaKh (see my commentary on Genesis Dt - I Will Bless Those Who bless You, and Whoever Curses You I Will Curse). When Jesus Christ came, He reinforced what the LORD had already said to Abram: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have committed you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20). When ADONAI says to the faithful remnant at the end of the Great Tribulation: And I will send (66:19b), He will merely be continuing what He had spoken through Abram and Matthew. His heart for lost Gentiles had not changed (Hebrews 13:8). At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, you would think that the millions of Gentiles who would literally see Yeshua Messiah return to earth, see Him personally kill the antichrist (Second Thessalonians 2:8), and reign from the Messianic Temple in Jerusalem, would be open to the Gospel. So Jews are sent all over the world to evangelize them.

    In an effort to underline the universal nature of the appeal, the names or places representing the outermost places of the earth are given here. God said that He would send some of those who survive to the nations – to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians, to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of My fame or seen My glory (66:19c). Among the nations He lists is Tarshish. There are several cities known by this name; one was in England, one was in Spain, one was on the northern coast of Africa, and one was on the eastern coast of Africa by the Sea of Reeds. We are not told which Tarshish Isaiah means here. He mentions the Libyans in northern Africa (Genesis 10:6) and the Lydians in western Asia Minor. Lydia is one of most antagonistic states against Israel today, but the day is coming when the Jews will be evangelizing in Lydia. Tubal is in Russia and is called Tobalsk (Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13, 32:26, 38:2-3, 39:1). And Greece is mentioned (Genesis 10:2, Ezekiel 27:13, Daniel 8:21; Zechariah 9:13) as well as distant nations of the far-away islands to whom the Jews will reach out. The purpose of their evangelism is to proclaim God’s glory among the nations (66:19b).

    The prophets enjoyed using the expression the remnant that escapes (KJ), those among them who escape (NKJ), or those who survive to signify the last remnant of Isra'el prior to the Second Coming. They used this phrase to identify the believing remnant that escapes or survives the final attempt to annihilate them. This is the remnant that Paul refers to when he said: And so all Isra'el will be saved (Romans 11:26), at the end of the Great Tribulation. Here are several examples:

    In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped (NKJ Isaiah 4:2).

    And it shall come to pass in that day that the faithful remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on ADONAI, the Holy One of Israel, in Truth. (NKJ Isaiah 10:20).

    And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a believing remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this (NKJ Isaiah 37:31-32).

    And everyone who calls on the name of ADONAI will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors, whom ADONAI calls (NIV Joel 2:32).

    But on Mount Zion will be those that escape; they will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance (NIV Obadiah 17).

    God declares: And the Jews will bring all their Gentile brothers, from all the nations, to My holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to ADONAI – on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels (66:20). This description is impressionistic with the prophet using the language of his day to describe what he is being told. Some commentators say that these primitive means of transportation point to the return from the Babylonian Captivity; however, the high point in Old Covenant theology is the Messianic Kingdom, not the return from the Babylonian Captivity. When Isaiah gets to the climax of his book, he is emphasizing the return of Messiah and the setting up of His holy Kingdom. So this must be figurative language. No distance of difficulty will be able to stand in their way. The Jews will bring the Gentiles to Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD. The Tribulation Temple of the antichrist was unacceptable to ADONAI, but the Millennial Temple will be pleasing to Him (see Db – The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah’s Coming Temple).

    Lastly, notice that the LORD will select some of the Gentiles to be priests in the Temple (66:21). This message from Yeshua had to be shocking to the Jews living at the end of the Great Tribulation. How could ADONAI let those Gentiles who had hunted them down, and were the very enemies of God Himself, be priests in the Temple! Then they will probably remember the sheep Gentiles (see my commentary on Revelation Fc – The Sheep and the Goats)! It will be of the same thinking as saying a eunuch or foreigner could also be a servant of God (56:5-6). Why, if a Gentile could become a priest in the Temple, then they could not be excluded from anything! Exactly. This flies in the face of the teaching of the Torah, but since the Millennium will not operate under Torah (see my commentary on Revelation Fh – The Dispensation of the Messianic Kingdom), Gentiles will function as priests in the Millennial Temple (Ephesians 3:6). Thus, demonstrating that all the nations will in fact be blessed through Israel. God declares: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3).

 

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