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"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. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord." ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66‬:‭20‬-‭21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Does this contradict the idea that Jesus is our final high priest? Given that the verse in question is talking about Jewish exiles? Any thoughts about how to interpret this?

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    You'll have to edit this to explain in more detail what sort of contradiction you're seeing.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 9 at 22:18
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    What exactly is the contradiction? There isn't even any mention of "high" priest here. Commented Apr 10 at 0:15
  • The New Testament concept of all God's people being a 'kingdom of priests' is foreshadowed by multiple priests under the Old Testament administration. There was but one High Priest (Aaron and his sons). And there is but One High Priest in the New Testament - Jesus Christ. There is no contradiction and the question lacks clarity. It is important not to muddle the prophesies of the coming New Testament era with a looking forward (beyond that) to the end of time and to the eternal fulfilment.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 10 at 3:20

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Let us be very clear about what Isa 66 is saying and what it is not saying. First, notice what is described:

  • there is a temple in Jerusalem, V6
  • sacrifices are still offered, V3
  • earthly nations and cities still exist, V19

By contrast, we find that

  • in the New Jerusalem, there is no temple, Rev 21:22
  • Jesus is High Priest of the temple in heaven, Heb 6:19, 20, 8:1, 2, Rev 11:19, 14:17; the various priests and their sacrifices in the earthly temple were only "shadows" (Heb 8:5, 10:1, Col 2:17)
  • In the heaven and the New Jerusalem, there is no more death of any kind, including sacrifices, Rev 21:4, 1 Cor 15:54, 55.

Thus, whatever Isa 66 is discussing, it is NOT discussing heaven nor the New Jerusalem. The comments about a priesthood must apply to the time before Jesus' first coming because no priesthood existed after it, except the high priesthood of Jesus Himself.

After Jesus' resurrection, there is only one "Great High Priest", Jesus Christ Himself.

  • Heb 4:14 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess.
  • Heb 8:1 - The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who ministers in the sanctuary and true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.
  • Heb 10:19-22 - Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Placed by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
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  • "The comments about a priesthood must apply to the time before Jesus' first coming because no priesthood existed after it". In the Kingdom of God, during the Millennium on Earth, there will be priests. — Rev 1:6 "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father …". — Rev 5:10 "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth …". — Rev 20:6 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.". Commented Apr 10 at 0:18
  • @RayButterworth - that is quite true - but the point remains that there is no separate priestly class distinct from all the saved saints who are called priests, as per 2 Peter 2:9.
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 10 at 3:11
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Isaiah 66 is talking about the Kingdom of God, to be established here on Earth:

18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
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.

The same time is described by Zecharaia 14:16:

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came 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.

Under the rule of the Messiah, all nations will learn to live by God's Laws and to celebrate God's festivals.

From a Christian perspective, it will be Jesus ruling the Kingdom of God during the Milennium, and the resurrected and transformed saints from the first resurrection that will be his government and priesthood, as described in the Book of Revelation:

1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father …

5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth …

20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

There will be a priesthood during the Millennium, and Jesus will be its high priest.

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If the question is assuming that Jesus the High Priest is the Lord speaking in Isaiah 66

verse 15-16: See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the Lord.

verse 22-24: As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

It’s supposed to be interpreted as a prophecy about the Captivity and the Return made possible by Cyrus King of Persia. After the exiles return the Lord then “purges the evil from among them (the Israelites).” If you want to interpret as being fulfilled again then look to WW2, the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, the USA and Great Britain who organized the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. This interpretation declared the USA and British as the Messiah. It’s not a prophecy about Jesus as High Priest because Isaiah 66 is a prophecy about Jews and Judaism, not Gentiles and Christianity.

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