The following blog post was originally posted here: The LORD Shall Plead By Fire and By Sword…Isaiah 66 pt 7
For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. (Isaiah 66:15-16)
The vision takes us to events at the very end.
The new Nation, born in Jerusalem, and nourished on her Messiah, prophets and Laws, has gone out to the ends of the earth. This remnant has escaped the judgment upon the nation of Israel and the Temple and sets out to fulfill the purpose of God, for He would reveal his Glory to all nations and tongues of men.
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.(Isaiah 66:17)
Though persecuted by their brethren and scattered across the earth, they would become missionaries. The LORD would set a “sign among them”, We now know what that sign is, for it is Christ crucified.
The “Word Tremblers” and the nation born of them, have been used to bring Gentiles from every nation into Jerusalem. By Jerusalem, we mean “Jerusalem from above” as Paul laid out in Galatians 4 and Hebrews 12. As a result, those who have never heard of the LORD nor of His glory, have come into into the Faith of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.
And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord.(Isaiah 66:18-21)
Through the “nation born in a day” , i.e. the church, the gospel goes out to the ends of the earth and Gentiles come flowing into the commonwealth of Israel.This is what became of the little remnant which “trembled at His Word” in the days of Israel’s apostasy.
Thus the promise of Isaiah 56:8 is fulfilled;
The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
But then comes the end, the coming of the LORD in wrath and fury, to judge the wicked nations and all those nations which have forgotten God.
The LORD comes in the fire of Wrath and the with the Sword of vengeance upon all flesh. The remnant has gone in the way of the LORD, but the rest of the world hardens itself against the LORD, apostatizing and syncretizing true religion with paganism.
They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. (Isaiah 66:17-18)
The detestable ritual he describes is a combination of Mosaic cleansing and pagan garden (grove) worship…These are the backsliders and compromisers of the true religion. They have created of it a syncretism which calls down upon the World the wrath of God.
The whole world is as polarized as the congregation mentioned in the beginning of the chapter.
But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.(Isaiah 65:11-14)
The LORD is coming to plead with all flesh and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
The last vision is of the worshippers coming up to Jerusalem, in the new Heaven and the New Earth.
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.(Isaiah 66:22-24)
They evidently pass through some kind of cemetery as they go in, and we are revisited with the contrast again between two congregations. The God trembling congregation coming to MT Zion to worship the Redeemer King, and the unburied rebels, decaying and burning forever.
These people wouldn’t repent, in spite of Divine pleadings, and warnings. They preferred their idolatry to the blessing and promise of God. They chose their ways…
Look at what we have been spared! I could easily be lying there! There is no joy nor gloating, only trembling gratitude as they look at what their lot could have been.
Jesus derives his teaching on the eternal suffering in Hell from this vision,
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.(Mark 9:42-48)