Isaiah 66:1-24

The Lord is a great Judge

1 This is what the Lord says:

Heaven is my throne.

The earth is the place where I put my feet.

So you could not build a house for me to live in.

Where would I lie down to rest?

2 I made all these things with my own hands.

That is how everything began.’

The Lord says,

‘I am pleased with people who are humble.

Those people are sorry when they do wrong things.

They respect my teaching.

3 You may kill a bull as a sacrifice to me,

but you might also kill a man.

You may offer a lamb to me as a sacrifice,

but you might also break a dog's neck to offer to your idols.

You may give me a grain offering,

but you also offer pigs' blood.

You may burn incense to worship me

but you also worship false gods.

Yes, these people have chosen how they want to live.

They love to do these disgusting things.

4 So I will cause great trouble to come to them.

It will be the trouble that they are so afraid of.

When I called out to them,

nobody answered me.

When I spoke to them,

nobody listened.

They did evil things against me.

They chose to do things that I would hate.’

5 Hear this message from the Lord, you people who respect his teaching. Some of your own people hate you. They throw you out, because you are faithful to me. They laugh at you and they say, ‘Let the Lord show how great he is! We want to see him make you happy!’

But it is those people who will be ashamed.

6 Listen to the loud noise that is coming from the city! It is a noise that comes from the temple. The Lord is punishing his enemies as they deserve. That is what is making the noise!

7 What is happening? Zion is giving birth to a son before she has her birth pains! 8 Nobody has ever heard of anything like that. Nobody has ever seen that happen before. Can a country be born in just one day? Can a nation be born in a moment? But as soon as Zion's birth pains begin, she has already given birth to her children!

9 The Lord your God says, ‘When I bring a baby to the moment of birth, the child is always born. I do not stop its birth.’

10 All you people who love Jerusalem, join together with its people and be happy. You have been sad to see what has happened to the city, but now you should shout with joy! 11 Jerusalem will take care of you like a mother. She will give you all that you need, like a mother that feeds her baby with milk. The great blessing that comes from her full breasts will make you very happy.

12 The Lord says,

‘Look! I will give peace to Jerusalem,

like a great river.

Riches from other nations will pour into the city,

like a stream that is full of water.

Jerusalem will take care of you like a mother that feeds her baby.

She will carry you in her arms,

and she will hold you on her knees.

13 I will comfort you,

as a mother comforts her child.

As you live in Jerusalem,

you will be happy again.’

14 And when you see these things happen, you will feel very happy! You will become strong and healthy, like fresh grass. The Lord's servants will know that he is there to bless them. But his enemies will see that he is angry with them.

15 Look! The Lord is coming with fire. His chariots will blow in like a strong storm. People will see his great anger, as he comes to punish his enemies with flames of fire. 16 The Lord will use fire and his sword to judge all people. The Lord will kill many people.

17 The Lord says, ‘I will destroy people who prepare themselves to worship their false gods. They make themselves clean and they follow one another into their special gardens. They eat unclean meat from pigs and rats and other disgusting animals. They will all come to their deaths together. 18 I know everything that they do and everything that they think. So I will come. I will bring together the people from all nations and those who speak all languages. I will show them how great I am.

19 I will do a great thing among them, to show them my power. I will send some of the people who are still alive to other nations. They will go to:

  • Tarshish,
  • Libya,
  • Lydia (where their soldiers shoot arrows very well),
  • Tubal,
  • Greece,
  • and lands far away, where people have never heard about me and they do not know how great I am.
  • Those people will tell other nations about my great glory.’

    20 The Lord says, ‘They will bring back all your relatives who still live in other countries. They will bring them to my holy hill in Jerusalem, as a gift to me, the Lord. They will come on horses, in chariots, in carts, on mules and on camels. They will bring them in the way that the Israelites bring grain offerings to me in my temple. They bring their offerings in holy dishes.’

    21 The Lord says, ‘I will choose some of them to be priests. And I will choose some of them to serve me as Levites.’

    22 The Lord says, ‘The new heavens and the new earth that I will make will always be there. In the same way, your descendants and your family name will always continue.’

    23 The Lord says, ‘Everybody will come to worship me. They will come at each New Moon and on every Sabbath day. 24 When they go out of the city, they will see the dead bodies of the people who turned against me. In that heap of bodies, the worms never die and the fire never stops burning. Everybody will see that it is disgusting.’

    66:24See Mark 9:48.