We continue the verse-by-verse study of Isaiah chapter 49 here in Part 10, starting with verse 19.
(19) For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land [cf. Isa. 49:8; 51:3] - Surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants, And those who swallowed you will be far away. [The peoples that had swallowed Israel (at least the unrepentant ones) will have been removed by God's end-time judgment of the world.] (20) The children of whom you [Zion, Jerusalem, the land of Israel] were bereaved will yet say in your ears, "The place is too cramped for me; Make room for me that I may live here." (21) Then you will say in your heart, "Who has begotten these for me, Since I have been bereaved of my children And am barren, an exile and a wanderer? And who has reared these? Behold, I was left alone; From where did these come?" ' [[Compare Isa. 29:23; 60:1-23. This question regarding the source of the large number of the sons of (true) Israel coming to Jerusalem/Israel is of key importance. Isaiah 54:1-3 are an important cross-reference; these verses directly follow Isa. 52:13-53:12, the all-important verses that deal with the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ and the "offspring" (cf. Isa. 53:10) that result from that atoning death. All the "offspring" of the Lord Jesus Christ will ultimately come to Jerusalem/new Jerusalem.
First I think of the remnant of the literal sons of Israel who will become Christians (members of true Israel) after Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week who will still be alive on the earth at the end of Daniel's 70th week. Added to that number will be the Gentiles who become Christians (members of true Israel) after Christ returns who will still be alive on the earth at the end of Daniel's 70th week. ((I had a footnote: I believe that these sons of true Israel who are still alive on the earth at the end of Daniel's 70th week will be glorified in time to reign with the rest of the glorified members of true Israel in the millennial kingdom. See under Rev. 20:4 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site.))
Many Christians (members of true Israel; Jews and Gentiles) will be put to death by Antichrist and the false prophet during the second half of Daniel's 70th week (cf. Rev. 13:5-18), but Revelation 20:4 shows that these martyred saints will be resurrected in time to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom (along with the rest of the members of true Israel). These glorified sons of true Israel will be added to those who will come to Jerusalem/Israel, and along with them there will be the very large number of the sons of true Israel that were glorified at the time of Christ's mid-week return.
Although the end-time remnant of the nations aren't part of true Israel, their coming to God at Jerusalem will also contribute to the problem - the problem is quite a blessing - of overcrowding. They are mentioned in the next two verses. Ultimately, as Revelation chapters 21, 22 show, all the elect of the nations will come to God's new Jerusalem.]] (22) Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders [[cf. Isa. 60:4; 66:12]. [See under Isa. 11:12 in this paper. The wording here regarding (the end-time remnant of) the nations bringing (the end-time remnant of) the sons of (true) Israel to God at Jerusalem (as in some of the cross-references dealing with this topic mentioned under Isa. 11:12) takes some poetic license. The sons of true Israel are pictured being young (they are being carried; they have guardians and nurses); they are "sons" and "daughters" of Zion, the mother.]] (23) Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. [Cf. Isa. 60:4.] They will bow down to you [to Zion/true Israel] with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet [[Compare, for example, Isa. 14:1, 2; 45:14; and 60:3-17. These words emphasize the subordinate status of the end-time remnant of the nations in relation to true Israel. Other verses emphasize the privileged status of the nations after they become the people of God (e.g., Isa. 19:23-25; Rev. 21:3, 4; 21:24-22:3); as the references from Revelation chapters 21, 22 show, they will indeed have a glorious existence. But the last two chapters of the book of Revelation confirm that true Israel will still have a privileged status in relation to the nations in the eternal state - true Israel will reign forever.]]; And you will know that I am the LORD [Yahweh will confirm to all the members of true Israel of all generations (and to everyone else) that He and He alone is LORD. He will have done all that He said He would do, and much more.]; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame. [Those who trust God and wait for Him to do what He said He would do in hope and in humble faith will never be put to shame (cf. Psalm 25:3; Isa. 25:9; 26:8; and 45:17).] (24) Can the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?' (25) Surely, thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. (26) I will feed your oppressors [cf. Isa. 9:4; 14:4; 16:4; 51:12-14; and 54:14] with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD [Yahweh], am your Savior [cf. Isa. 43:3] And your Redeemer [cf. Isa. 49:7], the Mighty One of Jacob.' " [[One important aspect of God's saving the end-time remnant of Israel will be His end-time judgment of the nations, which includes the "world" kingdom headed up by Antichrist (cf., e.g., Isa. 14:1, 2; 25:9; 66:18-20; and Zech. 2:1-13). The salvation of true Israel also involves the judgment and removal of Satan and his hosts (cf. Rev. 12:7-10; 20:1-3, 10).]]
Isaiah 66:1-8 are discussed in chapter 16 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." I consider Isa. 66:7, 8 to be two of the most important eschatological verses in the Bible. In Isa. 66:7 (and Rev. 12:5; Psalm 2:7; and Mic. 5:3) ((I had a footnote: These three very important cross-references are discussed in some detail in "The Mid-Week Rapture" (in chapters 17, 18, and 21). All four of the super-important cross-references (including Isa. 66:7, 8) are also discussed in my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" on my internet site.)) we see the birth into the fullness of eternal life (the glorification) for true Israel that will take place when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. All believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians who have been converted before Christ returns will be included in that glorious birth.
The end-time remnant of Israel (and the Gentiles who become Christians after the rapture) won't become Christians in time to participate in the mid-week birth and rapture. ((I had a footnote: Regarding people (Jews and Gentiles) becoming Christians after the rapture, see Rev. 12:17 (discussed on pages 323, 324 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"); Rev. 14:6, 7 (discussed in my paper on Rev. 14:6-19:21 on my internet site). On the glorification of the members of true Israel and the time of their glorification, see under Rev. 20:4 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site.)) Isaiah 66:8 speaks of the birth into the fullness of eternal life (the glorification) that will take place for the end-time remnant of Israel at the end of Daniel's 70th week. Isaiah 66:9, which is the verse we are starting with in this present chapter, continues speaking of this same glorious birth.
" 'Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?' says the LORD [Yahweh]. 'Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?' says your God. [[As I mentioned in the introductory comments, Isa. 66:8 speaks of the birth into the fullness of eternal life (the glorification) that will take place at the end of Daniel's 70th week for the end-time remnant of Israel. They will be glorified in time to reign in the millennial kingdom along with the rest of the glorified members of true Israel. In Isa. 26:18, 19 we have already been told that those members of true Israel who have died will live again, that they will be born (resurrected) into the glory of eternal life. ((The last line of Isa. 26:19 says, "And the earth will GIVE BIRTH [my emphasis] to the departed spirits." [I had a footnote: The birth of Isa. 26:19 is not limited to true Israel. Understood in its fullest sense, that birth includes the glorification of all the elect of the nations pictured in Revelation chapters 21, 22 (the nations being distinguished from true Israel). The glorification of the nations will not take place until after the millennial kingdom and the great-white-throne judgment.])) And in Isaiah 25:6-8 we have been told that death will be swallowed up (using a different figure of speech than a birth). See under those verses in this paper for the details. (Isaiah chapters 24-27 are not included in this paper; see the paper on Isaiah on my internet site.) Also, we have discussed quite a few verses from Isaiah in this paper that speak of the creation itself being transformed/glorified (cf. Isa. 11:6-9; 29:17-24; 32:15-20; and 65:17-25).
Isaiah 66:8, 10-14 (and many other verses) confirm that Jerusalem will be glorified along with true Israel. It seems clear that Jerusalem will be glorified to a greater extent than the rest of the millennial earth (cf. Isa. 60:1-22; Zech. 14:8-10), but it also seems clear that it won't be fully glorified in the millennial kingdom (compared with the full glory of new Jerusalem of the eternal state). For one thing, Jerusalem will apparently also function as a city for the (unglorified) nations throughout the millennial kingdom. ((I had a footnote: Some teach that the glorified city the saints live in as they reign in the millennial kingdom won't be located on the earth. That viewpoint is possible, but I believe it is better to see the saints reigning on the earth. See Rev. 20:9, for example. It isn't easy to picture the glorified sons of true Israel interacting with the non-glorified peoples of the nations during the millennium, but apparently that will take place.)) Ultimately, in the eternal state, as Revelation chapters 21, 22 show, there will be a new earth, a fully glorified earth, with its new Jerusalem.
Although all the members of true Israel will be glorified by the time the millennial kingdom begins, it seems clear that the nations won't be glorified until after the millennial kingdom. But the nations, along with the millennial earth, will experience some preliminary stage of glory. Apparently the peoples of the nations will continue to bear children during the millennium and the possibility of sin (cf. Zech. 14:16-19; Rev. 20:7-10) and death will still exist for the nations (see on Isa. 65:20-25 in the chapter on Isaiah chapter 25 in my paper on Isaiah on my internet site). The nations will still be in a probationary period during the millennial kingdom (cf. Dan. 7:12); they will not have had their final judgment yet. Revelation 20:7-10 show that some of the peoples of the nations who live on the earth during the millennium will not have a place in God's eternal kingdom.]] (10) 'Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her [[Being joyful with Jerusalem and rejoicing for her goes with the exaltation of Jerusalem and true Israel. In some preliminary ways Jerusalem will be exalted when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to the city in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, not long after the rapture (I had a footnote: See the section titled "The Lord Jesus Christ Will Claim Jerusalem as His City" on page 70 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture."), but most of the exaltation of Jerusalem will take place after judgment day is over, when it is time for the millennial kingdom to begin. There won't be any more cause to mourn for Jerusalem or for any of the people of true Israel by the time the millennial kingdom begins. Then, after the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom, it will be time for the full glorification of Jerusalem to prepare the city (new Jerusalem) for the full glory of the eternal state with its new earth, which will involve a new creation (cf., e.g., Rev. 20:11; 21:1).
In Isaiah's generation, and in most generations of Israel, there was plenty to mourn about because of all the sin of the people of Israel with its guilt and penalties. God's will wasn't being done for the most part, and He wasn't being glorified. The same thing has been true for the Christian church, and we have much to mourn about regarding the state of the church in our generation. Compare, for example, Psalm 119:36; Ezek. 9:4; and 2 Cor. 7:9, 10.]], (11) That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom [[The BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under "ziz") has "from the abundance of her glory," instead of the last four words of the NASB.].' [[These words speak, in an obviously poetic manner, of the blessing provided for the people of true Israel after God has judged the world and saved His people and exalted them and their city in the center of the earth. The end-time remnant of Israel (I had a footnote: The saved end-time remnant of (true) Israel are the ones especially in view throughout most of Isaiah chapter 66 [cf., e.g., Isa. 66:14-20].) are pictured here being young children that still nurse at the breast. (Compare Isa. 49:22, 23; 60:4.)]] (12) For thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'Behold, I extend peace to her [Jerusalem] like a river, And the glory of the nations [[Isaiah 60:16 (see all of Isaiah chapter 60) emphasizes the point made here, that true Israel will be blessed by the good things the end-time remnant of the nations bring to God at Jerusalem when they submit to Him after His end-time judgment of the world. First and foremost the humbled remnant of the nations will bring themselves to God and submit to Him, which will mean great blessing, even salvation and eventual glorification, for the nations. The nations will bring their riches of every kind (cf. Isa. 60:5-17; 61:6; and Rev. 21:24, 26 [I had a footnote: Revelation 21:24, 26 speak of the elect of the nations bringing their glory and honor into new Jerusalem. Revelation chapters 21, 21 speak of things that won't take place until the eternal state (after the millennial kingdom and the great-white-throne judgment).]). I don't believe the nations will bring the riches of this age/world into God's new earth, with its new Jerusalem, of the eternal state.]] like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed [literally, "you will nurse"; the NIV has, "you will nurse"], you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees ["on her knees" NIV]. [[The people of (true) Israel, pictured being young children, will nurse and be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees by their mother, Jerusalem (cf. Isa. 66:10, 11).]] (13) As one whom his mother comforts, so I [Yahweh] will comfort you [true Israel; cf. Isa. 12:1; 40:1, 2 ((I had a three-paragraph footnote: Isaiah 40:1, 2 speak of things that won't come to pass for Israel until they (the end-time remnant) have repented and been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I'll briefly comment on Isa. 40:31, the last verse of Isaiah chapter 40, a verse that is often quoted by Christians, "Yet those who wait for the LORD [Yahweh] Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." The believers of Old Testament days were told that they must "wait" for God's promised salvation. "Waiting for God" includes trusting Him, being faithful to Him, and having a confident expectation.
A partial fulfillment of these prophetic words came to pass when the new covenant was established in the blood of Christ and the promised new-covenant gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out (and you could mention other lesser partial fulfillments, like the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity), but the primary fulfillment is reserved for the time when true Israel (including all true Christians) will be glorified. Until then (while we're still living on the earth), we must walk by faith, stay faithful to God, and "wait" for the manifestation of the glory for which we hope. God does, of course, strengthen His people as they look to Him, which enables them to stay faithful and to accomplish His will, and He does send times of special refreshing, but Isa. 40:31, in its context, looks to the promised salvation/glorification at the end of the age. The wait may seem long, but it is extremely short compared to eternity, and wait until you see what God has prepared for those who wait for Him.)); 49:13; and 51:3]]; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.' [It must be understood that all the blessings that come to true Israel, including those that come through other peoples, come from God, and He must receive all the glory.] (14) Then you will see this and your heart will be glad, And your bones [cf. Prov. 3:8; Isa. 58:11] will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the LORD [Yahweh] will be made known to His servants [true Israel], but He will be indignant toward His enemies. [["His enemies" will all be removed in God's end-time judgment of the world. This includes His enemies in Israel (cf., e.g., Isa. 65:2-16); Isa. 66:6 speaks of the judgment against His enemies in Israel that will start with the abomination of desolation.]] (15) For behold, the LORD [Yahweh] will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. (16) For the LORD [Yahweh] will execute judgment by fire [On God's judgment by "fire," cf., e.g., Isa. 26:11; 29:6; 30:27-33; 33:10-16; 66:24; Matt. 3:10-12; 13:36-50; 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 14:10; 16:8; 17:16; 18:8; 19:20; 20:9-15; and 21:8.] And by His sword on all flesh [cf., e.g., Isa. 27:1; 31:8; 34:5; 49:2; Rev. 1:16; 2:12; and 19:15, 21], And those slain by the LORD [Yahweh] will be many. (17) Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens [cf. Isa. 1:29; 65:3], Following one in the center, Who eat swine's flesh [cf. Lev. 11:7, 8; Isa. 65:4], detestable things and mice [cf. Lev. 11:29], will come to an end altogether,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. [[God will remove all who are committed to persist (without repentance) in religious practices that don't center in the worship of the One true God. Those who are left as a remnant of the nations will have repented, or will quickly repent of all such practices, or will be quickly dealt with.]]
We will continue with this verse-by-verse study of Isa. 66:9-24 in Part 11.