Isaiah 66

1 This is what the LORD is saying. ‘Heaven is my high seat. And the earth is the place where I will put my feet. I do not know where you could build a house for me. You could not make a place where I will rest.’

66:1The word for ‘high seat’ is the chair that a king would sit on.

2 ‘My hand has made all these things. That is how they happened’, says the LORD. ‘This is the kind of person that I will help. He will be humble and he will have a lowly spirit. And he will be afraid when he hears my word.

3 Some people kill a male cow for me. But they are as bad as people who kill a man. Some people offer a young sheep to me. But they are as bad as people who break a dog's neck. Some people offer grain. But they are as bad as people who offer pig's blood. Some people burn incense to remember me. But they are as bad as people who worship false gods. Yes, my people have chosen the things that they want to do. And their spirits have pleasure in the disgusting things that they do.

4 Nobody answered when I spoke. And when I spoke, nobody listened. They did bad things even while I watched them! And they chose to do things that did not make me happy. So I will choose to punish them a lot. And I will send to them the things that will make them very afraid.’

5 Some people are afraid not to obey the LORD's words. Those people should hear this message from him. ‘Your (bad) brothers did not like you. They do not let you belong (to the people of Judah). They do that because of my name. They said to you, “Praise the LORD. Then we will see that you are happy.” But your brothers will be ashamed.’

66:5The word ‘brothers’ here might really mean other Jewish men.

6 ‘We hear a voice like a loud noise that comes from the city! A voice comes from the temple. The voice is the LORD's voice. He is giving to his enemies all that they should have.

7 Before she has labour, she has a baby. Before the pains come to her, a son is born!

8 Nobody has ever heard of such a thing. Nobody has ever seen things like that. A country cannot be born in one day. Nor can a country have birth in a moment. But as soon as Zion has labour, her children are born!’

66:8Zion is not the name of a woman here. It is the name of a hill in Jerusalem. People often use it to mean all Jerusalem. The idea about a woman who has a baby is like a picture here.

9 ‘When I bring someone to the moment of birth, then the baby is born.’ That is what the LORD is saying. ‘I do not close up the mother's body before the baby is born’, says your God.

10 ‘Be happy with the people in Jerusalem and be very happy for Jerusalem. Do that, everybody who loves Jerusalem. Be very happy with Jerusalem, everybody who cries for Jerusalem.

11 Jerusalem will be like a mother to you. And she will give to you all that you need. It will be like a mother's breasts are causing you to feel happier. It will be like you are drinking a lot of a mother's milk. And you will be very happy with the glory that comes out like a stream from her.’

12 That will happen because the LORD says, ‘Look! I will give peace to Jerusalem like a river. And I will cause the valuable things from every country to come in like a stream of water. Jerusalem will be like a mother to you who is carrying you by her side. And you will be like a baby who sits on its mother's knees.

13 A mother causes her child to feel happier. And I will cause you to feel happier. You felt sad. But I will cause you to feel happier about Jerusalem now.’

14 And when you see that, you will feel very happy! And your bones will grow easily, like grass. The LORD's hand is good. And he will cause his servants to know it. But he will show to his enemies that he is very angry.

66:14Verses 11-14 The words that we have translated ‘cause you to feel happier’ in these verses mean ‘to make people strong again, so that they can live with their troubles’.

15 Look! The LORD will come with fire and his chariots will be like a strong wind. He will come down (from heaven) because he is very angry. He will speak against them with words of fire.

16 And so the LORD will be the judge of all people with fire and with his sword. Then the LORD will kill many people.

17 ‘Some people are servants of their gods. And some people make themselves very clean for their gods. They go into the gardens. They follow the people who eat the meat from pigs and rats and other dirty things. They will all come to their deaths together’, says the LORD.

18 ‘And I will come and I will bring together the people from all countries. And I will bring together the people who speak all languages. I will do that because of what they have done and because of their thoughts. And they will come and they will see my glory.

19 And I will put a sign among them. And I will send some of those people who run away from me to other countries. They will go to:

· Tarshish (in Spain)

· the people in Libya

· the people in Lydia, who are famous because they shoot arrows so well

· Tubal

· Greece

· islands a long way away where people do not know my name and they have not seen my glory.

Those people will tell other countries about my glory.

20 And they will bring all your brothers to my holy mountain in Jerusalem. They will bring them from all the countries to offer them to the LORD. They will come on horses, in chariots and in trucks. They will come on mules and on camels’, says the LORD. ‘They will bring them as the Jews bring grain. That is what they offer to the LORD in the temple. The grain is in holy dishes. 21 And I will choose some of them to be priests. And I will choose some of them to be servants of God like my servants from Levi's family’, says the LORD.

66:21Verse 20 The word ‘brothers’ here really means other Jews.

22 ‘The new heavens and the new earth that I will make will always be there’, says the LORD. ‘Also, your name and the names of your descendants will stay there.’

23 ‘Everybody will come and they will bend down on their knees in front of me’, says the LORD. ‘They will come from one New Moon to the next New Moon and from one Sabbath to another.

24 And they will go out (of Jerusalem). And they will look at the dead bodies of the people who did not obey me. Those people's worms will not die and their fire will not go out. And everybody will see that they are very dirty.’