Today’s Scripture looks to the future of Israel, the Gentiles, and the sinner and gives a detailed description of the life to come for the believer.
Isaiah Chapter 65
Lessons from the text
A Description of Heaven
What will heaven be like? Is it people sitting on a cloud playing a harp? Absolutely not!
“Heaven” is a loose term Christians use. The final destination of the believer is not a place in heaven. The heavens are the sky, stars (space), and God’s dwelling place above the universe. Right now the Christian has a seat in the heavenlies through Jesus (Eph. 2:6), and those who die are with Christ (II Cor. 5:8). Yet they are merely there waiting for the redemption of their bodies.
When God resurrects the believer’s body, He will also give them a new home, called New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). God’s plan, as Isaiah 65 reveals, is to return creation back to an Eden-like condition. If you really want to know what “heaven” will be like, go back to Genesis.
In Eden, God had fellowship with man, man had no knowledge of wickedness, man was commissioned by God to rule and tend over the earth, man was surrounded by that which was good, and there was no death (Gen. 2:8-25). Even so will these same attributes be found in the eternal resting place of the saints. God’s people will never die, be free from all sin, have dominion over the earth, be surrounded by untold beauty, and have the blessing of work.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God is saying that those were not in a covenant with him, the Gentiles, will seek Him and in response, He will show Himself to them.
2-5 God has turned His attention to the Gentiles because of the iniquities of Israel. The Jews were to be the vessel through which God reaches the entire world, but since they have spurned Him for idolatry, God has had to deal directly with the Gentiles.
The iniquities of the Jews are:
These offenses are like an irritating smoke constantly in front of God; imagine Him sitting on His throne and having a constant stream of smoke blowing in His face.
6-7 Surely God will avenge Himself of idolatry. The Jews of Isaiah’s day blaspheme God by treating Him like any other God; they think they can offer Him some sacrifices to appease Him and then go about their business as they please. They fail to recognize Him as sovereign over all, treating Him as a petty person who will be satisfied if they just scratch His back every once in a while.
8 Despite all their sins, God sees that good might come from Israel, and so He does not destroy it completely.
9 The seed out of Jacob is in reference to Christ. The elect and the servants refer to the saints who accept Christ. They are the ones who will, with Christ, inherit God's kingdom.
10 Sharon is a costal plain that covers the majority of Israel’s western border. It stretches from Mount Carmel (I Ki. 18:40) in the north to the Yarkon River in the south. It also lies just on the western side of the hills that border Jerusalem. As the valley is so vast, God is saying that the whole western side of Israel will be blessed.
Achor is a valley near Jericho (Josh. 7:24-26, 15:7). It is the place where Achan committed a trespass by taking of the goods of Jericho when God had commanded that everything be burnt (Josh. 6:17-18, 7:16-21). It is therefore known as a place of sin. God decrees that even though it is a place of death and condemnation, it will become a place for feeding and resting. Achor also lies to the east of Jerusalem, so God is saying that the west and east of Israel will be blessed.
11 This verse is insulting to the Jew because God is saying that those who don't have a law and all the privileges of the covenant obeying God while the Jew who has these privileges is disobedient. God means the statement to be a wake up call to Jews, but rather than acknowledging the truth they are insulted by it and reject the words of the prophet. Believing themselves "holier than thou," they will not listen to the truth. Compare with Romans 2:14.
12-13 Willfully rejecting the ordinances of God, Israel must pay the consequences for the sin. Having the law, the knowledge of God, and the physical presence of God, they can in no way claim ignorance. God literally spoke to them from Mount Sinai and through His prophets, but they chose not to listen.
Therefore God will give full power to the Jew's enemy to overpower and destroy them. Whatever they have will not satisfy. They will have to watch as others are fed and provided for by God and sit ashamed knowing that they have walked away from God's blessings. Their fate is juxtaposed to the servant of God, whether Jew or Gentile, who will be under God's divine protection.
15 Rather than being called a Jew when one is saved, one is called the redeemed of Christ. The Jews lost the privilege to be the head of God's people. God has turned to the Gentiles to deal with them directly rather than going through Israel to bring all of the world to repentance. That is, the believer belongs to the church as Christ's bride and not to the nation Israel as God's wife.
16 If anyone is to think of himself as good or happy, he will do so only through God. It is God who establishes and preserves life. The earth and all of its troubles will pass away, and only those who belong to God will be blessed in eternity.
17 God's final blessing for His servants is to live in a new creation where there will be no more sorrow, death, or sin. If this former life is to be remembered, one might be saddened by the memory of this life and those who did not make it as servants of God. God is removing all sadness so completely that He will even take His servant's memory of it.
18-19 In that time God will rejoice over His people, and His people will rejoice over Him, seeing as sorrow will have passed away.
20 This verse is oddly out of place, for death will have no part in the new creation nor the Millennial Reign. This must therefore refer to a previous state in which human life will be prolonged to the point that the person who dies at age one hundred will be regarded as a child. Both the “infant of days” and “the old man that hath not filled his days” mean that humans will be living long and full lives.
21-25 God provides a description of life in the “new heavens and new earth.” While God has turned over the labor of man’s hands to his enemies, in the new creation one will be free to pursue whatever work one desires without worrying about interference from anyone. Noteworthy is that God is not describing a place of rest from physical labor, but a rest from trouble and destruction. In the new creation man will be building, farming, etc.
God promises to be near to man. He will be so intent on pleasing man that man will not even have to finish his request before God will respond. This is reminiscent of the fellowship man had with God in the garden of Eden when God interacted with and harkened to man (Gen. 2:19).
Also reminiscent of the Garden of Eden is that there will be no dangerous animals; even the hunters will be vegetarians (Gen. 1:29-30). This demonstrates that death and the fear of physical harm will have passed away.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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