75 Isaiah / Part 2 (24:The last inning)

Worship to the Lord

Isaiah 66:17-24
UCorinthians 5:17
T In the world of madness

 It is the last inning of Isaiah. There is it with "'For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,' declares the Lord,"(66:22). This last chapter would tell new creation (perhaps while being conscious of the end) of God as well as Chapter 65. But, in this last chapter, the judgment of God was told of before and after Verse 17 and Verse 24 as if curiously wrap up an article of "the new heavens and the new earth". Besides, it closed this book with the judgment. It would be assumed that it is quite unnatural, and bibliologists of the present age assumed Verse 17 an independent phrase and the Hebrew Bible (the Masora text) added small phrase "please read Verse 23 once again" after Verse 24; but really, where was Isaiah's intention? I want to hear a message of "the new heavens and the new earth" from this last chapter.

 Now, let's go seeing from Verse 17. There is it with "'Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, following one in the center, who eat swine's flesh, detestable things, and mice, shall come to an end altogether,' declares the Lord.". "A person who eat swine's flesh, detestable things, and mice" is a foreigner, and perhaps that garden seems to be the huaca where they had held a farming festival. There is it in first half of Chapter 66; "The one who slays a man, the one who breaks a dogs neck; ...", and these were states of Cannan native religion courtesy such as Moloch or Dagon, and it is watched that Cannan religion is highlighted in Verse 17. However, it is piled up on Verse 3; "who kills an ox, ... he who sacrifices a lamb, ... he who offers a grain offering" and they were people performing prescribed courtesy in law / Israel. In here, we must hear that the judgment to Israel is told rather than to a foreigner. Cannan religion was fertile faith to land, but it was accompanied with Orr gear (sexual madness that man and woman was performed in front of gods, and, shrine maidens were prostitutes), and such an immoral conduct seemed to have been performed on the stage of a shrine in Israel. Israel had the history that they bowed to such a religion consistently and longed for such a culture. "Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, ..." Do not you hear the voice of this prophet, who is grieving and angry for the madness of the countrymen who were amusing themselves to such an immorality? However, they insisted that only shrine should be the only best holy place to tie God with them. (1) Therefore it was said in this way, "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."(2).

U The people contrite of sprit

 I want to pay attention to words "contrite of spirit". There is it in Verse 4 with "because they chose that in which I (God) did not delight", and it is the warning to conceited Israel as a chosen people, and also "contrite of spirit" is made to their disbelief face each other. There is it in Psalms "Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which Thou hast broke rejoice."(51:8), and it may be said that this is coherent way of life to drift in the Bible. Surely Isaiah will be saying that only a person who are "contrite of spirit" by God can inherit the new heavens and the new earth of God. And such people will be "Sons of Zion" (66:8 / remaining people). These things color the stage of the end while waiting impatiently for "creation of the new heavens and earth of God".

 And that remaining people will be gathered from all over the world. "For I know their works and their thoughts (Israel does not need to be chosen for the reason of being Israel, already.); the time is coming to gather all nations and tongue. And they shall come and see My glory."(18) It is God who gather remaining people, but therefore God chooses "a person" and sends him for it. This diagram which "remaining people" are "gathered" and "sent", it is repeated many times, but it will be because people sent from gathered people are woken up. "And I will set a sign among them and will sent survivors from them to te nations; Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations."(19) "Tarshish, Put, Lud, ... ", these are the place names which cover almost a whole Mediterranean Sea world at that time, but when it says to modernness, "preachers" sent will walk around the whole world to an end of the earth throughout, and convey the Gospel. It piles up to the words that revived Jesus said to His disciples; "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even the the remotest part of the earth."(Acts 1:8). Isaiah was a person sent by God. Disciples of Jesus succeeded that genealogy of the prophets. And we must hear we of the present age were called as a person succeeding that genealogy again.

V Worship to the Lord

 There is it with "I will set a sign among them,". This prophet told about the Messiah in the name of "Immanuel" and "a servant of lord" many times till now, but we may hear He shows Jesus. It seems that this "mark" is Jesus, too.

 However now, will not this prophet be telling the new heavens and a new earth? When we see Verse 21, "I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,", it seems that both "sent persons" and "gathered persons" may be said to us of the times of church continuing from the first disciples to the present age. Both "Priest" and "Levite" were the people who were chosen by God, and came to serve God. In the present age, they will be pastors, missionaries, teachers, elders and butlers. Paul says, too. "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;"(Ephesians 4:11-12)

 Perhaps this new heavens and a new earth are piled up in the days of church. It may be still unfinished to the end, but, I can hear that God is making the new world in the days of a church through Jesus. You will not always need to image the world created by God as a brilliant shining heaven which decorated with gold, silver and jewel pictured in Revelation. Even as for John himself, it is said that he fixed his eyes on reality while telling a dream. The salvation by Jesus was the new event that Isaiah watched even in a dream. However, because it is the Gospel that has been conveyed from old days of 2000, it may not be felt "new" for us. But, surely we were renewed. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."(U Corinthians 5:17)

 "'For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,' declares the Lord, 'So your offspring and your name will endure. And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,' says the Lord."(22-23) How lively and newly the worship to the Lord overflows, and it fills with joy and thanks! While they are surrounded by the people who are not a person of faith, and troubled, and suffering in every days. Therefore this prophet added the judgment of God thus; "Then they shall go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind."(24). However, the work of new creation of God is steadily repeated in us while it is surrounded with such many crimes. The worship to the Lord is not only lighthearted and pleasant thing. In the long history, there were rather much more cases of "followed faith at the risk of life". Because the salvation of cross of Jesus is new in days, shall we succeed such faith of seniors?