Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 66:1The heaven - The highest heaven, is the place where I shew myself in my majesty. So Psa 11:4, Psa 103:19; Mat 5:34. Hence we are taught to pray; our father which art in heaven. And the earth is my footstool - Or a place wherein I set my feet, Mat 5:35. The house - Can there be an house built, that will contain me? My rest - Or where is the place wherein I can be said to rest in a proper sense?
isa 66:2Have been - They were not only made by God, but kept in being by him. Look - Yet God will look with a favourable eye to him that hath a broken and contrite spirit, whose heart is subdued to the will of God, and who is poor, and low in his own eyes. Trembleth - Who trembleth when he hears God's threatening words, and hears every revelation of his will with reverence.
isa 66:3He that, &c. - Solomon, Pro 15:8, gives a full commentary on the whole verse; The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. As if - From hence it is plain, that the prophet is not here reflecting upon idolatrous worship, but formal worship: upon those who in a formality worshipped the true God, and by acts which he had appointed. God by the prophet declares, that these mens services were no more acceptable to him than murder, idolatry, or the most horrid profanation of his name. Own ways - They live as they lust. Delight - They take pleasure in their sins.
isa 66:4Chuse - They have chosen to mock and delude me, I will chuse to suffer them to delude themselves; they have chosen to work wickedness, I will chuse the effect. Their fears - That is, the things which they feared. Did not hear - God accounts that those do not hear, who do not obey his will.
isa 66:5You - That truly fear God. Your brethren - By nation. Cast you out - That cast you out of their synagogues, cast you out of their city, and some of you out of the world. For my names sake - For my sake; for your adherence to my law. Glorified - Thinking they did God good service, Joh 16:2.
isa 66:6A voice - The expression of a prophetical extasy, as if he said, I hear a sad and affrighting noise; it comes not from the city only, but from the temple, wherein these formalists have so much gloried. There is a noise of soldiers slaying, and of the poor people shrieking or crying out. Of the Lord - A voice of the Lord, not in thunder, but that rendereth recompence to his enemies. Thus he seems to express the destruction of the Jews by the Roman armies, as a thing at that time doing.
isa 66:7Before - The whole verse is expressive of a great and sudden salvation, which God would work for his church, like the delivery of a woman, and that of a man - child, before her travail, and without pain. Doubtless it refers to the coming of Christ, and the sudden propagation of the gospel.
isa 66:8For - As soon as the voice of the gospel put the church of the Jews into her travail, in Christ's and the Apostles time, it presently brought forth.
isa 66:9Shall I - I, that in the ordinary course of my providence use to give a birth to women, to whom I have given a power to conceive, shall I not give a birth to my people, whom by my promises I have made to conceive such expectations? And shut - Nor shall Zion once only bring forth, but she shall go on, her womb shall not be shut, she shall every day bring forth more and more children, and my presence shall be with my church, to the end of the world.
isa 66:11Consolations - The gospel doctrine was their breasts of consolation. Her glory - Christ was the glory of the people of Israel, though he was also a light to the Gentiles.
isa 66:12Like a river - It is plain this prophecy relates to a farther conversion of the Jews than hath been yet seen. Ye - Ye Jews also. Her sides - The Gentiles were borne upon the sides of Jerusalem and dandled upon her knees, as first hearing from the Apostles (who were members of the Jewish church) the glad tidings of salvation.
isa 66:13As one whom, &c. - That is, in the most tender, and compassionate way.
isa 66:14Rejoice - The peace of the church and the propagation of the kingdom of Christ, is always the cause of an heart rejoicing to such as fear God, so that they flourish like an herb in the spring. The hand - The power, protection, and influence of God.
isa 66:15With fire - With terrible judgments, or with fire in a proper sense, understanding it of the fire with which enemies use to consume places brought under their power. Whirlwind - With a sudden sweeping judgment. Fury - That is, with fervour; for fury properly taken is not in God. Rebukes - They had contemned the rebukes of the law, now God will rebuke them with fire, and sword.
isa 66:16Plead - God at first pleads with sinners by words, but if he cannot so prevail, he will plead with them in a way by which he will overcome; by fire, pestilence and blood. All flesh - Thus he threatens to do with all the wicked Jews. The slain - Those whom God should cause to be slain.
isa 66:17Gardens - In which they worshipped idols. In the midst - Behind one of the trees, or one by one behind the trees. The abominations - All those beasts forbidden the Jews for meat. God will not only destroy gross idolaters, but all those who make no conscience of yielding obedience to the law of God in such things as seemed to them of a minute nature, and such as they easily might have obeyed.
isa 66:18Come - It shall come to pass that I will cast them off, and then l will gather all nations, &c. My glory - My oracles, my ordinances, which hitherto have been locked up in the church of the Jews, and been their glory, shall be published to the Gentiles.
isa 66:19A sign - By this may be understood Christ, Luk 2:34, or the ministry of the word attended with miracles, these were set up among the Jews first, then among the Gentiles. Afar off - To all the quarters of the world. They shall - This was eminently made good after the destruction of Jerusalem, when the believers among the Jews, as well as the apostles went about publishing the gospel to all people, which was declaring the Lord's glory.
isa 66:20Your brethren - Those who are the children of Abraham, not considered as the father of the Jewish nation only, but considered as the father of many nations, and as the father of the faithful, and so are your brethren, shall be brought out of all nations for an offering to the Lord. Holy mountain - And they shall be brought into the church, which began at Jerusalem. As - And they shall come with as much joy and gladness, with as much sincerity and holiness, as the Godly Jews do when they bring their offerings in clean vessels.
isa 66:21For priests - God will find among the converted Gentiles those who though they are not of the tribe of Levi, yet shall do the true work of priests and Levites.
isa 66:22The new heavens - The new state of the church to be raised up under the Messiah. Remain - As I intend that shall abide, so there shall be a daily succession of true believers for the upholding of it.
isa 66:23And, &c. - In the gospel - church there shall be as constant and settled a course of worship (though of another nature) as ever was in the Jewish church: Christians are not bound to keep the Jewish sabbaths or new - moons. But New Testament worship is expressed by Old Testament phrases. The Jews were only obliged to appear three times in a year at Jerusalem, but (saith the prophet) the gospel - church shall worship God from one sabbath to another.