Is Isaiah 66-17 proof that the law remains?
A passage often used to prove that we are under the law today is found in Isaiah 66.
The passage in question is verses 15 through 17
Isaiah 66- 15For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
17They 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.
It is asserted that this is clearly referring to the second coming of Jesus (verses 15 and 16) which is obviously a future event. In verse 17 we are told that those eating swine flesh, pig or pork, along with some others listed will be consumed at the second coming of Jesus.
It is therefore asserted that those who will be eating pig’s flesh at the second coming will be consumed and so this is referring to Christians who have forsaken the law and are no longer living by it or following its dietary rules. One of those rules being do not eat pig.
Deuteronomy 14-8 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
However the assertions made are not entirely accurate.
While it is correct that Isaiah was referring to the future event of the second coming of Jesus in verse 15 the people he is talking to are not the people who will be alive at this second coming.
If I am speaking to a person who is alive right now and say to that person “at the second coming of Jesus YOU will be judged” I am not necessarily saying that Jesus will return while they are alive and they will be judged. Neither am I speaking to anyone in the future who may read my statement and see the words YOU will be judged. What I am saying to the person I am speaking to is that when Jesus returns whenever that may be you will be judged at that time.
And this is exactly what Isaiah did in this passage. Isaiah was specifically referring to the Israelites alive at the time that he wrote. The Israelites were sacrificing and purifying themselves but then engaging in the acts Isaiah specified in verse 17 including eating swine flesh.
Isaiah had even highlighted these very acts, being carried out at the time, in the previous chapter.
Isaiah 65- 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
3A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
Isaiah was saying that the people who were doing the things stated in verse 17 during his lifetime, it is them that would be judged when Jesus returns. He was telling them that God saw what they were doing and that they were not going to simply get away with it.. This was a problem at the time of Isaiah. The Israelites doing certain parts of the law but failing at others and not understanding why they were not being blessed by God. The Israelites were committing all kinds of sins against God, one being the eating of swine.
Those eating swine’s flesh who will be consumed at the second coming are not future Christians but the Israelites alive at the time of Isaiah. Isaiah was speaking to the Israelites of his time about what would happen to them at the future event of the return of the Messiah.