Isaiah 66:23 MEANING

Isaiah 66:23
(23) From one new moon to another . . .--Under the Mosaic law Israelites were bound, at least in theory, to attend the temple at the three great feasts. In the new Jerusalem, as the prophet thought of it, the pilgrimages would be both more frequent and more universal. Every sabbath and new moon would witness not Israel only, but "all flesh," thronging into the courts of the temple. It lies in the nature of the case that the words never have received, and never can receive, a literal fulfilment. The true realisation is found in the new Jerusalem of Revelation 21:22-27, of the perpetual sabbatism of Hebrews 4:9, and even that glorious vision is but the symbol of spiritual realities.

Verse 23. - From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another. Not that "new moons" and "sabbaths" will continue to be observed, for "new moons" have already lapsed, and "sabbaths" too will lapse when life is one perpetual sabbath passed in the worship of God. The phrase, used by the prophet is intended to express absolute continuance without an interval. Shall all flesh come to worship before me (comp. Psalm 65:2). The prophet still uses habitual modes of expression, though speaking of a time and circumstances to which they are no longer appropriate. "The literal meaning," as Dr. Pusey says ('Prophecy of Jesus,' p. 39), "was physically impossible." "All flesh," in all regions of the "new earth," could not worship in one spot, "and so it was plain that Isaiah spoke of a worship other than that at any given place" - of a worship such as that whereof our Lord spoke to the Samaritan woman, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father" (John 4:21).

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 it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another,.... Or, "from month in its months" (q),

The Targum is,

"in the time of the beginning of the "month in its month";''

that is, in every day of the month; or rather every month:

and from one sabbath to another; the form of expressions the same as before; and in like manner paraphrased in the Targum; and signifies either every day in the week; or rather every sabbath, or first day in the week; for we are not to imagine that new moons and Jewish sabbaths, that is, seventh day sabbaths, shall now be observed, which have been long abolished, Colossians 2:16 but, as New Testament officers of churches are, in the preceding verses, called by Old Testament names; so here the times and seasons of Gospel worship are expressed in Old Testament language; and the sense is, that the people of Christ and members of churches, in the latter day, shall constantly attend church meetings; shall assemble together every month to celebrate the Lord's supper; and every Lord's day, to hear the word, pray and sing praises together; hereby enjoying much spiritual peace and rest, and increasing in evangelical light, signified by the new moons and sabbaths; and especially this will have a fuller accomplishment in the New Jerusalem state, when there will be a perfect sabbatism, which now remains for the people of God, and when their light will be exceeding great and glorious; and so the Jews (r) interpret this of the world to come, which is all sabbath or rest; that is, from all toil and labour, from sin and sorrow, from Satan's temptations, and the world's persecutions; but not from the worship and service of God; though that will be in a different and more perfect manner than now it is; as follows:

all flesh shall come to worship before me, saith the Lord; that is, men of all nations, and persons of each sex; not Jews only, and their males, as formerly, but men and women; not every individual, but all that will be converted, which will be many, shall come to the places of public worship, where the saints meet together for that purpose, and join together in it; and this they shall do continually and without intermission, as the first Christians did, Acts 2:42. The Talmud (s) interprets this of such whose heart is become as flesh; see Ezekiel 36:26 these shall not only worship in the presence of God, and in the view of him the omniscient God, and by his assistance, and to his glory; but him himself, Father, Son, and Spirit, with reverence and devotion, in spirit and in truth, and that constantly, in the New Jerusalem, and ultimate glory, in the utmost perfection and purity.

(q) "a tempore mensis in mense ejus"; Montanus; "de mense in mensem suum", Forerius. (r) Midrash Tillim in Psal. xc. 15. apud Galatia de Arcan, Cathol. Ver. l. 11. c. 8. p. 691. (s) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 5. 1.

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