- Isaiah 56 (Contemporary English Version)
- The LORD said: Be honest and fair! Soon I will come to save you; my saving power will be seen everywhere on earth.
- I will bless everyone who respects the Sabbath and refuses to do wrong.
- Foreigners who worship me must not say, "The LORD won't let us be part of his people." Men who are unable to become fathers must no longer say, "We are dried-up trees."
- To them, I, the LORD, say: Respect the Sabbath, obey me completely, and keep our agreement.
- Then I will set up monuments in my temple with your names written on them. This will be much better than having children, because these monuments will stand there forever.
- Foreigners will follow me. They will love me and worship in my name; they will respect the Sabbath and keep our agreement.
- I will bring them to my holy mountain, where they will celebrate in my house of worship. Their sacrifices and offerings will always be welcome on my altar. Then my house will be known as a house of worship for all nations.
- I, the LORD, promise to bring together my people who were taken away, and let them join the others.
- Come from the forest, you wild animals! Attack and gobble down your victims.
- You leaders of Israel should be watchdogs, protecting my people. But you can't see a thing, and you never warn them. Dozing and daydreaming are all you ever do.
- You stupid leaders are a pack of hungry and greedy dogs that never get enough. You are shepherds who mistreat your own sheep for selfish gain.
- You say to each other, "Let's drink till we're drunk! Tomorrow we'll do it again. We'll really enjoy ourselves."
Isaiah continues, through the first eight verses of this chapter, to write about the future state of Israel under the reign of the Messiah in His second advent. At that time the Lord's salvation will come and righteousness will be revealed. Happy will be those who maintain righteousness, including the foreigner and the eunuch. God's covenant relationship with Israel does not exclude others from a saving relationship with Him. All come to God in the same way. In Isaiah's day it was through the keeping of the Mosaic law. Since Christ's first advent it is through a faith relationship with Christ. In verses 6 and 7, it is emphasized that all who convert to the Lord will be taken by the Lord to rejoice in His house of prayer which is for all nations.
Beginning with verse nine, however, Isaiah suddenly returned to Israel's state in his day. Her religious leaders, who were responsible to guide Israel spiritually, were blind watchmen who had no concern for her evil spiritual condition. They were like dogs who do nothing but sleep and eat. They were more interested in their own gain than in the people's welfare. Therefore, the Lord called for the "animals of the field and forest" to "come and eat!" This was an invitation to the Gentile nations to come and devour Israel. One day Israel will bask in the Lord's blessings, but in Isaiah's day it was time for judgment.