As we come to the end of Isaiah, you will find elements in chapter sixty-six that you have seen throughout the book. There is God’s complaint that His people are very religious, but it is not a faith from the heart. They are willing to make all kinds of sacrifices, but unwilling to listen to the Lord. There is the threat of punishment and exile for those who have disobeyed the Lord.
There is the promise of restoration and the assurance that God is powerful enough to make these things happen. Though the human mind cannot fathom a birth without labor pains, or the creation of a country in but a moment without struggle, God claims the ability to make it happen (66:7-8). This powerful God is faithful. He does not bring to the moment of delivery and then abandon his people. He is sovereign. He completes what he starts, allowing to be born what He begets.
There is also the focus on missions. The punishment God brings will disburse His people throughout the world. From there, the faithful will make His will known, and will bring the people of the world to worship the Lord.
This reminds me of the early days of the Church in the book of Acts. Though Jesus had told his disciples their mission was to be his witnesses to the “ends of the earth” (a notion and phrase we find prevalent in Isaiah), these early Christians kept the word of God located in Jerusalem. It wasn’t until the persecution of the Church by Saul that Christians began to spread out, making the Lord known.
Isaiah ends with the promise of a new day: a new heaven and a new earth, a new priesthood, blessing for those who tremble at the word of the Lord, and eternal punishment for those who don’t. The beginning of these promises started with the coming of Jesus. The culmination of them all will occur with his return.