Does this chapter imply end times final judgment of God on all; or it is meant for Mosaic law period and a local judgment?

Isaiah 66:15-18 (NET)

15 ​​​​​​​For look, the LORD comes with fire, ​​​​​​his chariots come like a windstorm, ​​​​​​to reveal his raging anger, ​​​​​​his battle cry, and his flaming arrows. 16 ​​​​​​​For the LORD judges all humanity ​​​​​​with fire and his sword; ​​​​​​the LORD will kill many. 17 "As for those who consecrate and ritually purify themselves so they can follow their leader and worship in the sacred orchards, those who eat the flesh of pigs and other disgusting creatures, like mice – they will all be destroyed together,” says the LORD. 18 “I hate their deeds and thoughts! So I am coming to gather all the nations and ethnic groups; they will come and witness my splendor."

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  • The concept of "end times final judgment" like the resurrection of the dead in general is a relatively late postexilic development in Judaism and is likely a back-reading into the times of the Isaiah author that you quote. The existence of this concept in Isaiah is itself a good question for this site.
    – user17080
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:26
  • Since the pig and mouse are singled out among all unclean animals, one can not help thinking that they were singled out to serve a symbolic purpose. The first part about preparing oneself to enter "the sacred orchards", ("gardens": NIV, NASB,KJB,ASV) ("grooves": BSB, CSB, HCSB, ISV). And "Follow their leader", ("One in the midst": ESV, ASV,DBT). ("Tree in the midst": KJB, WBT), also have to be an important part of the riddle. It sure looks like this verse is about the eating of the forbidden fruit. Oct 30, 2018 at 7:06
  • It appears to me that you have 2 questions. Please pick one. Thanks. -1
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 21:34
  • I just read in "Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork", Wikipedia: "According to Maimonides, at first glance, this does not apply to pork, which does not appear to be harmful. Yet, Maimonides observes, the pig is a filthy animal and if swine were used for food, marketplaces and even houses would be dirtier than latrines". Interesting that Maimonides believed that the uncleaness of pigs referred to their way of living rather than to the quality of their meat. So maybe some animals are better to domesticate than others. Jan 30, 2019 at 6:19

7 Answers 7


The Book of Isaiah consists of three sections, probably written originally as separate books, written over a long period of time by three different authors. The anonymous author of Isaiah chapters 56 to 66, now known as Third Isaiah, is believed to have written shortly after the Return from Babylon1. Much of what he wrote was to remind the people that they had to remain faithful to the commands of Torah, even now that they had achieved their dreams of having their own land back.

In Isaiah 66:1 we learn that the Second Temple had not yet been rebuilt, because the author rhetorically reminds the people of their obligation to build it:

Isaiah 66:1: Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

The remainder of the chapter was written in the context of the Return.

Isaiah 66:10: Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: [continued]

Third Isaiah knows that there will be temptations, so uses hyperbole to tell the Jews of God's anger should they eat foods that are not kosher, saying that God even knows their thoughts. This passage was not written about the end times, but about the times in which Third Isaiah lived. The author called on the name of God and used violent images, to ensure compliance with his demands.

1 The three authors are clearly distinguished in two ways: style and historical content. The first change of style and historical content occurs at chapter 40, which begins to deal with the Babylonian Exile. Another change of style at chapter 56 coincides with a change of historical content to the period shortly after the Return from Babylon and the final author, being anonymous, is now known as Third Isaiah.

  • If you could, please add references to support the claim of multiple authorship for Isaiah, or at least a list of what markers in the text support this view. Three is probably a lower limit on the number of original content authors, plus editors and redactors. Did the concept of "the end times" even exist in Judaism in the period during which Isaiah was written? When did that concept evolve?
    – user17080
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:11
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    My hunch is that few scholars today would phrase it the way you have in your note, Dick. Worth reading H.G.M Williamson's introductory chapter in The Book Called Isaiah (OUP, 1994), if its accessible to you. My own sense is that the composition of Isaiah is a red herring here, but I can see why you've framed your answer the way you have. FWIW....
    – Dɑvïd
    Apr 19, 2017 at 21:20
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    Isn't Isaiah 66:1 saying that God doesn't need a house? That unlike the gods of the nations, he has his own home already in the sky? I don't see that as hinting that he really needs the Jews to build a house for him. I don't think "where is the house?" is intended to shame them into building but rather saying "What house do you imagine I might need?" "The whole sky and land are mine and everything in them - why do I need a building and people serving me bread and animals?"
    – Ruminator
    Sep 24, 2018 at 9:41

While other answers focus on judgement, this answer will focus on explaining the perceived fault; eating pigs and mice.

The dietary law is greatly misunderstood.

The moral essence of the law is in being obedient to God, not in the act of eating. God does not change his mind on moral issues, therefore the law was intended to be a 'schoolmaster to lead us to Christ', and once Christ is revealed, we no longer need the schoolmaster.

This is the same with Adam eating of the tree. the moral issue was obedience, and the tree was not poisoned or possessing magical abilities.

Let us go back into our primer and see if we see the lesson God intended.

The clean animal is literally 'dinner theater' to teach us about how we handle the word of God.

Eating is a metaphor for learning. (See the prophets eat the scrolls). Rumination is a metaphor for meditation.

The food the ruminant eats is the grass and seed of the grass. Jesus was the seed of the woman who was put in the manger with the grass and surrounded by ruminants. He is the 'baby bread' where as the seed he will face trials and tribulations (grinding and baking) before becoming the bread, which he says is also his body, given for us on the cross.

The clean animal ruminates on the Word/Christ, and it produces a separated/Holy walk (the split hoof). Jas 1:23-25

The unclean animal is fulfilled by the Pharisees who think they are Holy, but it is a self-righteousness not based in the Word. The scribes meditate on the Word, but it did not produce Holiness.

The pig is unclean because it cannot discern the Word from the garbage of the earth and will eat/learn anything. Pr 11:22 ¶ [As] a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, [so is] a fair woman which is without discretion.

The lobster is an abomination because it lives in the earth (bottom of teh sea) and snatches those living in the word (water) to devour them. This is like the one who causes the little ones to sin. Mt 18:6

The mouse is unclean because it creeps... but the better translation is 'breeds abundantly'. It produces creatures of the earth/flesh. God wants us to multiply in the spirit.

Adam died spiritually, so his children were born dead spiritually. He is represented by Er in Genesis 38. Israel was supposed to be the redeemer and beget living children on behalf of Adam. But Onan spilled his seed in the earth... a symbol of Israel having earthly children, rather than spiritual.

Perhaps if we understand the symbols, we understand the prophecy better.

Judgement will come upon those who do not live in the word. They are un-discerning in what they learn and believe, and they reproduce people of the flesh rather than those of the Spirit.


Does Isaiah 66:15-18 mean those who eat pigs and mice will be judged and slain?

Does this chapter imply end times final judgment of God on all; or it is meant for Mosaic law period and a local judgment?

Isaiah 66:15-18 (NASB)

15 "For behold, the Lord will come in fireAnd His chariots like the whirlwind,To render His anger with fury,And His rebuke with flames of fire."

16" For the Lord will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh,And those slain by the Lord will be many."

17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens,[a]Following one in the center,Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice,Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord."

18 “For I [b]know their works and their thoughts; [c]the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory."

The Israelite's are deeply involved in idolatrous sanctifying and purifying practices in what appears to be special gardens, then they engage in eating flesh which is unclean under the Mosaic Law. (Leviticus 4-8).

The time is drawing close when God , will use the Babylonians with their chariots raising dust like a windstorm , to execute His fiery judgment against the unfaithful Jewish Nation.

This prophesy was fulfilled in the 6th century BC.

Verse 18 has also a future fulfillment at the end of time , for Jeremiah wrote :

Jeremiah 25:31-33 (NASB)

31 "A clamor has come to the end of the earth,Because the Lord has a controversy with the nations.He is entering into judgment with all flesh;As for the wicked, He has given them to the sword,’ declares the Lord.”

32 "Thus says the Lord of hosts,“Behold, evil is going forthFrom nation to nation,And a great storm is being stirred up from the remotest parts of the earth."

33 “Those slain by the Lord on that day will be from one end of the earth to the [a]other. They will not be lamented, gathered or buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground."

Read also Revelation chapters 17and 18.

  • Hasn't the Torah been nullified by the destruction of the temple in 70ad? Are you Torah observant and hoping that saves you at the (alleged) "end of time"?
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 21:47
  • No certainly I am not a follower of the Torah. Those that will be saved will be those that their worship is based on the Bible.Mat.7:13,14. Torah are the five books of Moses ,Genesis,Exodus,Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Mosaic Law was fulfilled when Jesus was nailed to the cross,Colossians 2:14 reads: "Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." It is estimated that there is 10.000 Christian religions, there cannot all be correct, Jan 19, 2019 at 22:24
  • I'm asking because you refer to Revelation and don't express why.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 22:27
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    I had in mind the words of Isaiah in verse 66:18 "the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory." Judah claimed to worship the true God, however their idolatrous worship and pagan practices disprove their claim. Like Judah many Christian religions claim to worship God, God however is coming to collect all nations to see his glory. What glory will the nations see?. The devastation of the prostitute-the false religions of the world including I believe many so called Christian. Rev. 17:12-18, 18:9-19 Jan 20, 2019 at 19:12

The lies of supercessionism leads people to ask questions phrased like this one - Mosaic Law Period. If the Christian believes in the same God that the Jews believe in, one who keeps His promises and fulfils His prophecies then this question would not be asked, unless you have some reason to believe that the prophecy may already have been fulfilled - and taken in context you can not possibly conclude that it has because all nations are yet to be gathered.


As you note rightly that this is about judgment in the end of days, it couldn't do with 'eating' of food, since eating to satisfy hunger doesn't make anyone unrighteous. However it is a scenario that also includes judgement against those that didn't walk in the laws that were given through Moses since it was law NOT to eat the unclean, but some of which rituals the new covenant does away with.

Unclean animals, as well as wild vegetation, are symbolic of fallen ruling spirits entities, and whose nature a people they work among also become and for which the people themselves are also typified as beasts and wild vegetation.
Ezekiel 2

…5 "As for them, whether they listen or not-- for they are a rebellious house-- they will know that a prophet has been among them.
6 "And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house.
7 "But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.

These fallen ones are the 'vanity and lies' in many scriptures, for example;

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. 5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

So people that trusted in such are said to 'eat' and when they ate they 'died' and became 'vipers.' This is the eating that brings judgement against the entire world as it's under the ruler of darkness.

In the case of Babylon which is symbolic for a confluence of all wickedness, the entities behind that state of affairs are they signified as goats and all 'that howl' in Isaiah 13 and several places, the goats and Rams that fight over territory in Daniel

Isaiah 13 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of howling creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there.Houses are the people in wickedness..


Isaiah 55:1 "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.. To eat signifies to associate at a lifestyle level, and so a lifestyle of wickedness allows such spirits to have free course among a people. Which ''association'' when done by men amounts to worshipping these spirits.

These were referred to as 'mighty ones'. This is the 'association' indicated in verse 17;

Isaiah 66:17
They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.

These mighty 'ones' are they in the ''midst'' of a people in wickedness, as the Most High is in the 'midst' of Israel when doing righteously.

When a people are in wickedness there's a spirit in the background;

Hosea 5
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; For now, O Ephraim, you have played the harlot, Israel has defiled itself.
4 Their deeds will not allow them To return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, And they do not know the LORD.

  • What do you mean by "end of days"?
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 23:33
  • Had in mind "Last Days" 2 Timothy 3:1 " But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come." Jan 20, 2019 at 17:42

It’s a prophecy not a contemporary speech

It amazes me that Isaiah the prophet prophecies concerning the crucifixion of the Messiah and numerous other details of His incarnate life, with a great deal of accuracy and yet some find it hard to believe Isaiah could prophecy about end times because those in his day were not thinking about such things. Unless Isaiah was getting his prophecies from his peers and not G-d that makes no sense.

“For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭23:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬ (Jeremiah is making a distinction between true prophets and false)

A divine prophecy transcends what was relevant to Isaiah. He may have been limited in conveying minute details or they may have been given to him in cryptic form but it’s not birth in his soulish imagination. This passage most definitely speaks of future events.


The way I read the text the emphasis falls on the first description of people in question

Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst,

And the second part qualifies them further by adding a descriptor. That is to say not all who fit in the second category qualify but those who fit in both most certainly do.

eating pig's flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.” ‭

By that I simply mean that there are those who will eat pig’s flesh, the abomination and mice and yet do not follow a leader and perform certain ceremonies in sacred orchards.


Some have taken this reference of pigs, the abomination and mice and interpreted it to mean genetically modified food. The abomination being e-coli (plasmids) which are used in the process of genetic engineering to replicate and insert genes from one organism to another. E-coli is found in faeces and hence the reference of abomination being interpreted as such. Mice are a popular means of cultivating and experimenting on genetic engineering. And pigs refers to pork, or think bacon. It was an unclean animal or unclean food.

The final product in the case of bacon will contain genetic material from the e-coli and mice and obviously the pig. But it’s not limited to pigs, it’s portraying the idea of unclean food.

If we plug this back into the verse we cannot say that all who consume GMOs qualify but it is clearly referring to those in end times who have access to GMOs, if this interpretation has any validity.

Survivors or Saved

The next couple of verses are curious

“"For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It seems to be talking about Acts 2 but it might be referencing Acts 2 (which hasn’t happened according to Isaiah) and then speaks in that context to those in the end times.

“and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Compare that with Acts 2

“Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭2:5, 9-11‬ ‭ESV‬

This here mentioning the nations touches upon what I would describe the Acts of the apostles in preaching to the gentiles and that has been happening even since the first century. In Acts 2 however the nations came to them but afterwards the saved go to the nations which was in fact Jesus’ mandate

I want to focus on survivors. The word is curious to me because while it can be translated as such it has a more primitive meaning to deliver or escape. To be saved. If I replace survivors with saved then it’s saying He will send the saved to the nations, or the Christians to perform signs and wonders and therefore the gospel.

“And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When I read this verse I think the redemption of Efraim the ten lost tribes who have intermingled with the nations and are restored as per Romans 7 and John 1:13 by the incorruptible seed of the Word. That is the Church made up of gentiles and the Northern ten tribes, while Judah or the Jews refuse to come into the banquet of the prodigal son (but eventually they will). That’s when Paul would say “and all of Israel will be saved”. But that’s a whole different subject and it isn’t mainstream either.

End Times

And finally it clearly speaks of a new heaven and a new earth.

“"For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Again the idea that all of Israel will be saved.

And if anyone doubts that Efraim who was given a certificate of divorce was still on G-d’s heart and He wanted Efraim back

“How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.” ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭11:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them,** "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living G-d." **And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭1:10-11‬ ‭ESV


This is a prophecy about the end times and the qualifications about a group(s) of people that will face God's wrath and witness his splendor, i.e. his wrath in this case. God said he will come with fire and judge all humanity. Paul preached about this day as well. Two group(s) are singled out in "this" prophecy to receive God's wrath and are qualified by description. One being those purifying themselves for rituals, and following their leaders into a garden and the other being those who eat pig and mice. The last description He gives towards them is he hates their deeds and thoughts.

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