“The Goal of Life”

Isaiah 66:15-24

Ta! Da! We’ve made it to the final chapter of Isaiah. If you are anything like me, the last verses may be true, but also a sad reminder of what is to come. 

Isaiah concludes the book continuing to interplay two of his major themes of judgement and hope. At the beginning of this section, verses 15-17, and the last verse, 24, God proclaims that judgement will be for those who have rebelled against Him.

The idea of judgement is not discussed often. It is an uncomfortable subject but the reality is, humans will one day have to reckon with it. Just as there are inescapable consequences for actions that occur in the natural world, like fire burns, hurricanes bring flooding, there are also inescapable consequences in the spiritual world. 

Perhaps this is why Isaiah didn’t end his book with verses 17-25, with his vision of the new heaven and the new earth. Instead, he chose to leave us with the grim truth that regardless of what we wish or want to think, judgment is inevitable. 

It may be inevitable, but judgement is not what God wants. Isaiah makes that very clear in this last section verses 18-23. Isaiah tells us about a universal redemption. It seems quite clear that God’s desire is to bring this sinful world, from all nations, to Him. There will be those who survive the judgement and they will be a sign of God’s glory and they will be sent out as missionaries to preach God’s glory. Jesus Christ, the hope of Glory. 

Paul figured it out and wrote this to the Colossians 1:27

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Isaiah presented a similar thought in chapter 2, where Israel has a mission to declare God’s glory to the nations. They were to do so in such a way that the nations would be drawn to Him. 

Isaiah also tells them how the nations will respond. There will be a restoration of the remnants. The “brothers” of the Israelites will be brought, “as an offering to the LORD.” Isaiah compares this to the grain offerings that are brought to the temple in ceremonially clean vessels. 

Then comes verse 21, 

‘And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,’ says the Lord.”

This statement seems clear and precise that the election of Israel was not meant solely for the Jews, but for the world. Verses 22-23 then speaks of all humankind coming to worship God. This is God’s hope, that all of His creation would have fellowship with Him. 

So why such a grisly ending? Actually, Isaiah has been proclaiming this grisly ending since the first chapter of the book. He started this book stating that the unfaithful city would be transformed by righteousness and justice into the “faithful city,” chapter 1:21-27. Isaiah has been clear throughout the book, we are creatures with a choice. Although God desires we choose Him and His ways, He is not so naive to think that everyone will do so. Neither does Isaiah want to present the message in such a way that would at any moment have one believe that should they choose not to follow God, that they would somehow receive less than they deserve. 

Isaiah doesn’t wish to mislead anyone with the goodness of God. What he does want to convey is:

Yes, the promises of God are “Yes” and “AMEN.” 

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 The Message

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”

Isaiah also tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. And those who chose to worship the one true God, will be a part of them. And for those who chose not to, well, they will not be a part of them. Isaiah makes it very clear that our choice will be the deciding factor. 

Isaiah’s ending of his book, with the world worshiping God isn’t the only book of the Bible that ends this way. There is the book of Exodus, which is the Old Testament book that defines the nature of salvation and there is the last book of the Bible, Revelation which also ends with the world worshiping God. What’s the connection? 

Let’s take a look at Exodus. Why does God bring His people out of Egypt? Your first thought might be to bring them to the promised land of Canaan. If that were the objective, Exodus would have ended at chapter 18. We are told in chapter 19, verse 4, that God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt in order to bring them, and the world through them, to Himself.  Exodus ends with the people encamped around the tabernacle and the glory of LORD filling the tabernacle. God had made a way for His people to be with Him in worshipful fellowship. 

Revelation ends in a similar way. Chapters 4-22 are basically one continuing service of worship. Again, God being in fellowship with His creation. 

A cynic might look at this information and think the God of the Universe is some sort of ego maniac that needs everyone to worship Him. In actuality, it’s more like our lives are not about us, just like the life of each member of the Trinity is not about himself. Many people have this picture of the new heaven and the new earth being a place where we finally get rewarded, or we get blessed. That’s not it at all. There are times here on earth when the greatest blessings come from being part of something bigger than ourselves. We can transform that feeling to what it will be like in heaven. 

When we take the glory and wonder of Christ, 

and we lose ourselves in His love, 

when we become united with, 

not absorbed into, 


whose greatest delight is us, 

His creation, 

that is when we will be “home.” 

That feeling begins now, here on this earth. When we enter a relationship with Christ and begin to relinquish our needs into God’s hands and come to grips that we have only ONE REAL NEED, which is for God, we begin to experience heaven. We begin to realize that with God, we have everything and without God, everything is nothing. 

Our perception of heaven starts here on earth. 

What is the goal of life? 

Is it heaven? 

So many people make heaven the end of the blessing. They serve God to get heaven. There is this strange view of heaven as a place where we get riches and rewards. 

Oh, God?


The Holy Spirit? 

Oh they will be there, that’s where they live. But they will be busy, hanging out with the other big wigs, like Abraham, Moses, David, and the disciples. But I’ll be okay, I’ll have my blessings. 


Heaven is the presence of God, without sin. 

I’m not quite sure how all the redeemed will be in infinite worship of God at the same time? But then, that is probably an easy dilemma for God.  

So what difference does this all make for us today? 

Somehow Christians have this notion that the big idea is to get “saved” so we can receive the blessing of heaven. Well, that is what Isaiah has been arguing against in most of his book, especially chapters 56-66. Those who had survived the Exile believed they had done so because they were the special “elect” of God. So no matter what they did, they were “in,” as long as they kept doing all the correct religious things that kept them in their “elect” status. 

God’s response to them, through Isaiah, is the same for us today. 

The person who knows God, will be the person who humbly and joyously manifests God’s life in their behavior. That doesn’t happen by keeping religious activities and claiming you asked Jesus into your heart so you are saved. It does happen by living each day in a submissive relationship with God, where my will is utterly surrendered to the will of the Holy Spirit and I allow God’s life to be lived through me, now. 

Hey, I just described heaven! 

It can happen, right now, today. 

We have been delivered out of Egypt by the blood of Jesus Christ. He did this so His covenant could be written on our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. That means the Holy Spirit is taking residence in the tabernacle He desires most – the tabernacle of our hearts. 

God’s desire is to fill the tabernacle of our hearts with His glory throughout the whole earth. That is the goal of life. To take us from Isaiah 6:5 

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

To… Isaiah 66:18

“And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory.”

And not only to see God’s glory, 

but to have His glory reside in us, 

God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


Let’s pray.