Isaiah 66:23
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.
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(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.

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 - As the prophet closes the book and winds up his whole prophecy, he directs the attention to that future period which had occupied so much of his attention in vision, when the whole world should be acquainted with the true religion, and all nations should worship Yahweh. Of such a book there could be no more appropriate close; and such a contemplation especially became the last prophetic moments of the 'evangelical prophet' Isaiah.

From one new moon to another - Margin, 'New moon to his new moon.' The Hebrew literally is, 'As often as the month cometh in its month;' that is, in its time, every month, every new moon (Gesenius, Lexicon, on the word מדי midēy). The Hebrews held a festival on the return of each month, or at every new moon (see the notes at Isaiah 1:14). A similar prophecy occurs in Zechariah 14:16 : 'And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.' In regard to the meaning of this, it is evident that it cannot be taken literally. In the nature of things it would be impossible for all nations to go literally before Yahweh in Jerusalem once a month, or once a year, to worship. It must then be meant that at periodical seasons, all the human family would worship Yahweh. The festivals of the new moon, the feast of tabernacles, and the sabbaths, were the set time among the Hebrews for the worship of God; and the idea is, that on set times, or at regularly recurring intervals, the worship of God would yet be celebrated in all lands. I see no evidence, therefore, that this means that there should be established on the earth the habit of meeting for prayer, or for the worship of God once a month - anymore than the passage above quoted from Zechariah proves that a feast like that of tabernacles would be celebrated once a year. But the idea is clear, that the time would come when Yahweh would be worshipped regularly and periodically everywhere; that in all nations his worship would be established in a manner similar in some respects to that which prevailed among his people in ancient times.

And from one Sabbath to another - (Compare the notes at Isaiah 58:13-14). There can be no permanent worship of God, and no permanent religion on earth, without a Sabbath; and hence it was, that while the observance of the feasts of tabernacles, and of the Passover, and of the new moons, made a part of the ceremonial law, the law respecting the sabbaths was incorporated with the ten commandments as of moral and perpetual obligation; and it will be literally true that all the race shall yet be brought to worship God on the return of that holy day. It was instituted in paradise; and as one design of the plan of redemption is to bring man back to the state in which he was in paradise, so one effect of the true religion everywhere will be, and is, to make people reverence the Sabbath of the Lord. No man becomes truly pious who does not love the holy Sabbath. No nation ever has been, or ever can be converted which will not, and which does not, love and observe that day. Every successful effort to propagate the true religion is a successful effort to extend the practice of observing it; and just as certain as it is that Christianity will be spread around the world, so cerrain will it be that the Sabbath will be observed in all lands. The period is, therefore, yet to arrive when the delightful spectacle will be presented of all the nations of the earth bowing on the return of that day before the living God. The plans of this life will be suspended; toil and care will be laid aside; and the sun, as he rolls around the world, will rouse nation after nation to the worship of the true God; and the peace and order and loveliness of the Christian Sabbath will spread over all the hills and vales of the world. Who that loves the race will not desire that such a period may soon come? Who can wonder that Isaiah should have fixed his eye in the close of his prophetic labors on a scene so full of loveliness, and so replete with honor to God, and with goodwill to people?

Shall all flesh - All the human family, all nations - a most unequivocal promise that the true religion shall yet prevail around the world.

Come to worship before me - That is, they shall assemble for the worship of God in their respective places of devotion.

23. Literally, "As often as the new moon (shall be) in its own new moon," that is, every month (Zec 14:16).

sabbath—which is therefore perpetually obligatory on earth.

all flesh—(Ps 65:2; 72:11).

before me—at Jerusalem (Jer 3:16, 17).

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 sabbath or new moons, Ga 4 10,11 Col 2:16; but New Testament worship is often 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.

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.

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.
23. Comp. Zechariah 14:16. from one new moon to another, &c.] Lit. “as often as (ch. Isaiah 28:19) there is a new-moon on its new-moon &c.,” i.e. apparently “at each separate new-moon &c.,”—a peculiar idiom found also in Numbers 28:10; Numbers 28:14.

23, 24. Month by month and week by week all flesh shall come to Jerusalem to worship, while the dead bodies of the rebellious Israelites shall remain as a fearful spectacle and an abhorring to all flesh.

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). Isaiah 66:23"And it will come to pass: from new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh will come, to worship before me, saith Jehovah." New moons and Sabbaths will still be celebrated therefore; and the difference is simply this, that just as all Israel once assembled in Jerusalem at the three great feasts, all flesh now journey to Jerusalem every new moon and every Sabbath. דּי (construct דּי) signifies that which suffices, then that which is plentiful (see Isaiah 40:16), that which is due or fitting, so that (שׁבת) חדשׁ מדּי (with a temporal, not an explanatory min, as Gesenius supposes) signifies "from the time when, or as often as what is befitting to the new moon (or Sabbath) occurs" (cf., Isaiah 28:19). If (בשׁבת) בחדשׁ be added, בּ is that of exchange: as often as new moon (Sabbath) for new moon (Sabbath) is befitting, i.e., ought to occur: 1 Samuel 7:16; Zechariah 14:16 (cf., 1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Kings 10:25; 1 Chronicles 27:1 : "year by year," "month by month"). When we find (בּשׁבּתּו) בּחדשׁו as we do here, the meaning is, "as often as it has to occur on one new moon (or Sabbath) after the other," i.e., in the periodical succession of one after another. At the same time it might be interpreted in accordance with 1 Kings 8:59, בּיומו יום דּבר, which does not mean the obligation of one day after the other, but rather "of a day on the fitting day" (cf., Numbers 28:10, Numbers 28:14), although the meaning of change and not of a series might be sustained in the passage before us by the suffixless mode of expression which occurs in connection with it.
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