Q. Mike, I received your CD titled “How The World Will End” and my wife and I have ejoyed this study very much, but we have always been taught that Isaiah 65 was referring to the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth. Would you please explain?
I’m always concerned about the context of a passage first and foremost. In chapter 65 God answers the complaints that are made in Isaiah chapter 64. God tells Isaiah that He had called and had rejected the Jews only because the Jews had first rejected Him. He points out that He will not utterly destroy the Jewish people, but that those who will repent may now be saved on the same terms as the Gentiles. Like a father pleading with his children, so God pleads with His people EVEN when they are in rebellion (see. Matt. 11:28-30).
1 “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.
2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,
3 A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks;
4 Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.
When you get down to verse 15, I believe that the new name the “servants” will be called was “Christian,” which was given centuries later (Isaiah 62:2; Acts 11:26).
15 “You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name.
16 “Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!
Next we have the “new heavens and a new earth.”
“I create” is interesting, it’s the very word which appears in Genesis 1:21, 27 to specify the divine act of bringing into existence. Isaiah has already promised a “new heaven and new earth” in Isaiah 34:4, 15:6.
17 ¶ “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying
This, I believe, is the same concept taught in the New Testament in 2 Pet. 3:13 and Revelation 21:1. The sins and sorrows of past ages will fade away when we enter into the heavenly reward which God has prepared for His Children.
Remember, in a very dark time in the history of the Jews, shortly before Babylonian captivity, and in fact, during their captivity, Isaiah offers hope in the future. God is NOT giving up on HIS PEOPLE. “His People” will be defined a little differently than the Jews expected, but God is telling the prophet clearly that there will come a day with all of these sorrows will be put away.
Now, the question is, when does this apply?
Some will say these things applied when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity to restore the worship in the Temple in Jerusalem under Ezra. Some will say that it is going to be fulfilled in the millennium (a concept I clearly do not believe is taught in the Scriptures), and some will say that this passage refers to the glorious joys which we now experience in the New Testament church. However, I believe we are to apply this passage in another way.
There is no question that the language is highly figurative, but I think it is Biblically consistent to apply this section of Scriptures to the eternal home of the soul, Heaven, which comes about at the end of time. “Holy Mountain” could refer to Jerusalem, the church, or Heaven (as it does in other places in the Bible).
2 Pet. 3:11-13
11* ¶ Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
12* looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
13* But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Rev. 21: 1-4
21:1* ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
2* And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
3* And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
4* and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Back to Isaiah 65:25
25 “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.
The lion eating straw like a bull would mean that his nature has been changed so that he no longer acts as he did before. Certainly this could be symbolical of the changed tastes for all who become faithful members of the church. It suggests the removal of the discord which existed in nature itself. When one becomes a Christian his nature is changed, both Jew and Gentile love each other in God’s Kingdom.
The “dust shall be the serpent’s meat” is intended to say that the serpents have now become harmless (Cf. Micah 7:17; Gen. 3:14). This, I believe, is the final assertion that violence is ended and the universe is at rest. We look forward to a “new heavens and a new earth” in which righteousness dwells, a reference to our eternal home, the place prepared for us by our Lord Himself (John 14:1-3).
14:1* ¶ “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2* “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3* “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.