Isaiah 66:21 MEANING

Isaiah 66:21
(21) I will also take of them for priests . . .--We are left to determine whether the promise is that even Gentile converts should be enrolled among the priests and Levites of the new Jerusalem, or that Israelites of the non-priestly tribes should be so enrolled. Was the prophet breaking down in thought the middle wall of partition, or clinging to its maintenance? Isaiah 61:6 seems in favour of the latter view, and we are probably right in looking on this thought, that of all Israel being eligible for the priesthood, as that which was in the prophet's mind. Like other such thoughts, however, it was capable of expansion, so as to include the whole Israel of God, who were by faith the children of Abraham. (Comp. 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9, with Exodus 19:6.)

Verse 21. - And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites; literally, and I will also take of them unto the priests and unto the Levites; i.e. I will add to the existing body of priests and Levites, who are pro-sumably Jews, fresh members from the newly converted Gentiles. The existence of a sacerdotal order, with distinctions of ranks, in the Church of the redeemed, is implied, and the gracious declaration is made that the privilege of furnishing members to both ranks of the order shall be conferred upon the Gentile proselytes.

66:19,20, set forth the abundance of means for conversion of sinners. These expressions are figurative, and express the plentiful and gracious helps for bringing God's elect home to Christ. All shall be welcome; and nothing shall be wanting for their assistance and encouragement. A gospel ministry shall be set up in the church; they would have solemn worship before the Lord. In the last verse the nature of the punishment of sinners in the world to come is represented. Then shall the righteous and wicked be separated. Our Saviour applies this to the everlasting misery and torment of impenitent sinners in the future state. To the honour of that free grace which thus distinguishes them, let the redeemed of the Lord, with humility, and not without holy trembling, sing triumphant songs. With this affecting representation of the opposite states of the righteous and wicked, characters which include the whole human race, Isaiah concludes his prophecies. May God grant, for Christ's sake, that our portion may be with those who fear and love his name, who cleave to his truths, and persevere in every good work, looking to receive from the Lord Jesus Christ the gracious invitation, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.And I will also take of them for priests,.... That is, of the Gentiles, the brethren brought as an offering to the Lord; and therefore must respect Gospel times, when the Aaronic priesthood would be changed and cease, which admitted not of Gentiles, nor any of any other tribe in Israel, but the tribe of Levi; nor is this to be understood of the spiritual priesthood common to all believers, 1 Peter 2:5 since of those converted Gentiles brought, not all, but only some of them, would be taken for priests; and therefore can only be interpreted of the ministers of the word, who, in Old Testament language, are called priests, though never in the New Testament; but elders, bishops, overseers, pastors, and teachers. The first preachers of the Gospel were Jews, as the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples, Paul and Barnabas, and others; but when the Gospel was preached, and churches planted in the Gentile world, then priests, or pastors, or elders, were taken out from among them, and ordained over the churches everywhere; and which have continued, more or less, ever since; and will be more abundant in the latter day; whose work and office is not to offer up slain beasts, as the priests of old; but to point to the sacrifice of Christ, to the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of men; and to teach the knowledge of crucified Christ, and the several doctrines and duties of the Christian religion, as the priests formerly taught the knowledge of the law, Malachi 2:7,

and for Levites, saith the Lord; this still more clearly shows that the prophecy belongs to the Gospel dispensation, and is to be understood figuratively and spiritually; for none but those of the tribe of Levi could be taken for Levites in a literal sense; but here Gentiles are said to be taken for such, and design men in Gospel churches. The Levites, as their name signifies, were such as were "joined" to others; they ministered to the priests, and assisted them, and had the charge of the temple, and the vessels of it, to whom deacons now answer; who are helps and assistants to the ministers of the word: their business is to serve tables, and to take care of the secular affairs of the church; so that this is a prophecy of the churches in the latter day being truly organized, and filled with proper officers, as well as with numerous members.

Courtesy of Open Bible