“For as the new heavens and the earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Jehovah, so shall your seed and your name remain. 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 Jehovah. And they shall go forth and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
Rawlinson mentioned that Isaiah 66:22 is usually taken to be a promise of some special pre-eminence of the Jew over the Gentile in the final kingdom of the redeemed; but Paul noted that all such privileges were already abolished in his day (Colossians 3:11). In this connection, see also our extended remarks on this at the end of Isaiah 62.
“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched …” (Isaiah 66:24). There can be no doubt that the reference here is to the eternal punishment that shall be the destiny of the wicked at the judgment. The most important comment on this verse ever made was made by Christ himself.
“It is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47,48).
Some interpreters have referred to the statement about the worms and the fire as applicable only to the dead corpses which are presented here as part of the final judgment scene; but, as Dummelow noted, “The thought also includes the torment of the ungodly in hell, which seems to have the sanction of our Lord’s teaching (Mark 9:48).”
As Hailey and others have pointed out, the magnificent trilogy of these final twenty-seven chapters concludes all three divisions of it with a word to the wicked. “In the first two, we have in Isaiah 48:22, and in Isaiah 57:20, `There is no peace to the wicked.’ And here an even darker picture portrays the destruction of sinners.”
Many scholars have reached the conclusion of their studies of this incredibly beautiful and powerful prophecy with feelings of deep emotion and thanksgiving; and this writer also must confess his deep emotion of gratitude and thanksgiving that God has now granted the reaching of another milestone in our studies of his precious Word.
God’s blessing in the giving of sufficient strength and health for the task is a source of utmost joy and thanksgiving. Just a year ago from August of 1989, when these lines are being written, it appeared that I would never be able to walk again. How merciful God has been, and how thankful I am for the tender care and concern of my wife Thelma who guided me to a measure of health sufficient for these labors. I do not feel capable of writing a sufficient testimonial to the blessings and mercies of God’s grace in such things; and therefore, as Albert Barnes did so long ago, I shall borrow the following words from Vitringa:
“I am now deeply affected and prostrate before God’s throne, giving humble thanks to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, for the grace and light with which he endowed me, his unworthy servant, in completing the commentary on Isaiah, praying earnestly that God will pardon those errors into which inadvertently I may have fallen, and also that God will use this work, such as it is, to the glory of his name and the use of his church, and the consolation of God’s people; and unto Him be the glory throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”