[Isa 65:1] I am inquired of by them that asked not [for me]; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
[Isa 65:2] I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, that walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts;
[Isa 65:3] a people that provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens, and burning incense upon bricks;
[Isa 65:4] that sit among the graves, and lodge in the secret places; that eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
[Isa 65:5] that say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
[Isa 65:6] Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, yea, I will recompense into their bosom,
[Isa 65:7] your own iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith Jehovah, that have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills; therefore will I first measure their work into their bosom.
[Isa 65:8] Thus saith Jehovah, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sake, that I may not destroy them all.
[Isa 65:9] And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
[Isa 65:10] And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.
[Isa 65:11] But ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny;
[Isa 65:12] I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.
[Isa 65:13] Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be put to shame;
[Isa 65:14] behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall wail for vexation of spirit.
[Isa 65:15] And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and the Lord Jehovah will slay thee; and he will call his servants by another name:
[Isa 65:16] so that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
[Isa 65:17] For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
[Isa 65:18] But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
[Isa 65:19] And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.
[Isa 65:20] There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.
[Isa 65:21] And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
[Isa 65:22] They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
[Isa 65:23] They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them.
[Isa 65:24] And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
[Isa 65:25] The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah.
THE REDEMPTIVE CAREER OF MESSIAH ACCORDING TO ISAIAH 65
ISAIAH 65 constitutes a literary unit. It lays before us certain facts regarding the Christian Era, Tribulation, and the Millennial Reign of our Lord. On the chart above I have given the entire text of this most important chapter in order that the reader might have before him the exact words of the sacred message, as I attempt to point out the different things mentioned in it. He will notice that I have blocked off certain verses according to the content of the message, have put a heading above each section, and have placed an arrow pointing to the period of time indicated in a particular verse. Thus in this mechanical way he can at a glance understand the message very clearly.for me; I am found of them that sought me not," can have no other meaning than that the Gentiles, who knew not God in former dispensations, are now seeking after the Lord and are actually finding Him. This could not refer to the Law Dispensation, but only to the Christian Era. As proof that this position is true, I wish the reader to turn to Romans 10:16-21. In the verses preceding this paragraph, Paul showed that God is, at the present time, making no distinction between Jew and Gentile, and that whosoever calls upon Him may be saved. In verse 16 the writer showed that although the message had gone out to all Israel, the whole nation had not accepted, for Isaiah in chapter 53 foresaw that situation and made a prediction relative to it. He concludes, in verse 17, that "belief cometh of hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." He reinforces his argument by stating that the message of the gospel had gone out, when the Roman epistle was written in 58 A.D., to the ends of the earth. He uses the language of Psalm 19:1 in making this statement. (Compare Colossians 1:6,23.) The gospel had not only gone out to the Jews but also to the Gentiles in all corners of the globe. Elucidating his message further, in verse 19, the Apostle quoted from Deuteronomy 32:21 a prediction which foretold very clearly the Christian Dispensation during which God provokes Israel "to jealousy with those that are not a people ... to anger with a foolish nation." Paul interprets this statement from Moses as a prediction of the Jews' being stirred to jealousy at the present time by a nation which is not given any consideration by the Jews. In other words, Moses foresaw the period of time when the Gentiles, despised by the Jews, would be serving God and Israel would be stirred to jealousy by the situation. Without a doubt this passage is clearly a prediction of the Christian Dispensation during which the Gentiles come and serve God while Israel is in rejection. At the conclusion of this period, however, as we learn from other passages, Israel will be brought back into fellowship with God. The Apostle continues his discussion, of the preaching of the gospel to the whole world and of Israel's rejecting it while those from among the Gentiles accept the truth, by quoting Isaiah 65:1, which is found in Romans 10:20. In contrast to the Gentiles' seeking God and finding Him, as is stated in verse 20, the Apostle, in verse 21, declares, "But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." Without doubt, therefore, the divine interpretation of Isaiah 65:1 is that it is a prediction of the Gentiles' accepting God during the Christian Dispensation, whereas Israel, to whom God has held out His hand, is a disobedient and gainsaying people.
OVER the first section I have put the heading, "Gentiles Seeking God While Israel Is Rejected." Running from this box is an arrow with the words "Present Time" pointing to the Christian Dispensation. By this arrangement I indicate that the prophet, verses 1-7, was looking forward from his day to the Christian Dispensation, during which Israel is in rejection while the Gentiles are seeking after God and finding Him. Verse 1 refers to the conversion of the Gentiles at the present time. The language, "I am inquired of by them that asked not
THAT the Christian Dispensation was clearly foretold in the Old Testament is also evident from Psalm 110. It is likewise very clearly seen in the study of Isaiah 61. (I urge the reader to study again these passages and see how perfectly they agree on this point.) Though the Christian Age was clearly foretold, let us remember that the church as an institution (consisting of regenerated, saved Jews and Gentiles, welded together into a spiritual unity) was not revealed by the Old Testament prophets. That truth was made known to the apostles and prophets of the New Testament times and also to the Apostle Paul, who was as one untimely born. (Study carefully Ephesians 3:1-13 and I Corinthians 15:3-8.)
IN ISAIAH 65:2-7, the prophet shows the reason why God has turned to the Gentiles and accepted them. They, according to verse 1, are eager for the truth and fellowship with Him; but Israel as a nation, according to verses 2 to 7, has become hardhearted and indifferent in regard to her relationship and standing before the Almighty. This attitude develops into open rebellion against Him, for they walk "in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts." Furthermore, they engage in practices abominable to Him (vs. 5). In verses 6 and 7, the prophet reminds Israel that the situation is clearly written before the Lord who will not keep silent, but who will recompense into her bosom her own iniquities and those of her fathers, because she has apostatized from God. All the facts thus far discussed, show conclusively that verses 1-7 unmistakably foretell the rejection of Israel at the present day, on account of her sinfulness and the acceptance of Gentiles who are thirsting after God. This prediction, therefore, is a clear forecast of the entire Christian Dispensation, which began at the cross and will terminate at the rapture. On this chart, however, I did not place the cross, because it is not mentioned in this particular chapter.
THE second block of Scripture given above consists of verses 8 to 14. Over it and upon the arrow pointing therefrom to the Tribulation, I have placed these words: "The Purging of the Apostates from Israel during the Period of the Tribulation."
HAVING foretold in the section just discussed that God would accept the Gentiles who seek after Him while He rejects Israel during the present time, the prophet hastens in the present section to assure us that God has not cast off all Israel forever, but that He will purge the nation and will preserve a remnant for Himself through which He will work during the Millennial Age, as we shall shortly see.
IN VERSE 8 he asserts that, as the new wine is found in the cluster and one exhorts that it not be destroyed because it has a blessing in it, so will God do for His servants' sake that He might not destroy them all. Isaiah uses the same or a comparison similar to that employed by Jeremiah in chapter 24. In this latter passage the prophet compares Israel to figs in two baskets: in one are the good ones; in the other, the bad ones. But Isaiah, thinks of Israel as clusters of grapes instead of figs. The Lord will not ruthlessly destroy the good grapes with the bad ones. As the vine-dresser gives the order not to destroy the cluster of grapes completely, even though it has bad grapes among the good ones, because he wishes to preserve the latter, so, declared the Lord, He will do in the same manner for His servants' sake that He might not destroy them all. In other words, the prophet foretold that, although the Lord rejects the nation as a whole during the Christian Dispensation, He will not destroy it completely, because there are some of the people whom He compares to good grapes. The good ones at present, of course, are those who speak the truth and who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Saviour. But this passage looks beyond the course of this age to its conclusionthe Tribulationfor in verse 9 He declares that He will bring forth out of Jacob and out of Judah an inheritor of His mountains. These will constitute His chosen ones, and they will inherit it. In other words, Isaiah foretells that God will bring out of Israel the faithful remnant who will be preserved during the Tribulation and who will enter the Millennial Age. These are the good grapes and are the ones who shall inherit His mountains.
THE word mountain, in verse 9 refers to the mountains in the Land of Israel. His servants shall dwell therein, the faithful remnant. That He is speaking of the Land of Israel is abundantly evident from verse 10. The Plain of Sharon is along the Mediterranean coast, south of Mount Carmel. The Valley of Achor is one of the approaches into the high plateau land from the Jordan Valley near Jericho. Thus the remnant of Israel that seeks God will be preserved and will have their flocks and their herds grazing in these places.
IN CONTRAST with these truth-loving Israelites who seek after God at this future time are the apostates in Israel, of whom we read in verses 11 and 12. That He is talking of apostate Jews is evident from the language: "But ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter." These apostates who actually engage in idolatry in the Tribulation will be destined to the sword and to the slaughter of that period. Thus they will be wiped out of existence. During the Christian Dispensation, God allows the wicked, evil Jews to live along with the faithful believers, but in the Tribulation He will purge out all the apostates from Israel and will preserve the faithful remnant.
THE reason which He assigns for thus destroying the apostates from the nation is given in the following words: "... because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not." God assigns the reason for His destruction of these renegades during the Tribulation to the fact that He called them, but they did not answer. He therefore destroys them. In contrast with this action of the Almighty, as has been seen, He does not destroy the wicked from among the good during the Christian Dispensation. Why the difference in His conduct? The answer is this. During the present age the truth has not been given to Israel as a people; but in the Tribulation it will have been given to her, and the apostates will have spurned it and turned from it. Increased light brings added responsibility. God therefore holds men responsible for rejecting the light which He sends to them. That the truth will be given to Israel at the close of this age and in the Tribulation is evident from various passages of Scripture. For instance, in Isaiah 40, which is discussed on page 115, we read of God's giving a command to His people to proclaim the truth to the entire nation of Israel. In addition to this passage we see the same situation in Isaiah 62:10-12 in which verses likewise He commands those who believe in prayer to evangelize His people Israel throughout the world, which thing, I am confident, they will do. When Revelation 7 is studied in the light of all these passages, it becomes evident that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of that prediction will complete the task of giving the truth to all Israel. Thus Isaiah 65:11,12, presupposes a carrying-out of this command to evangelize the Jews. The Lord, therefore, says that, because the portion of the nation which refuses to hear the message does not hearken to Him, He will destine them to the slaughter of the Tribulation. Not only do they refuse to accept the gospel call at that time, but they willfully and in a determined manner do that which is evil in God's eyes and choose that wherein He does not delight. He, therefore, speaking humanly, is justified in blotting out that portion of the race which rejects the message and which chooses its own way.
In verses 13 and 14, Isaiah contrasts the lot and condition of those who constitute the faithful remnant and those who form the apostate portion of the nation. During the terrific judgments as they fall upon the earth, the faithful remnant, "my servants," says Jehovah, shall eat; on the other hand, the apostates shall be hungry; God's servants shall drink, but the apostates shall be thirsty; God's servants shall rejoice, but the apostates shall be put to shame (be disappointed in their expectation); God's servants shall sing for joy of heart, but the apostates shall cry for sorrow of heart and shall wail from vexation of spirit. Why the difference between the lot of these two portions of the Hebrew people? The answer is this: God will take care of His own.
In a most graphic and pictorial manner, Isaiah 26:20,21 gives us the clue to the proper understanding of the situation: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." God will have a place into which the faithful remnant will flee for protection. They will be hid "for a little moment until the indignation be overpast." When anyone reads Daniel 11:40-45 in connection with other passages bearing upon this subject, he concludes that the faithful remnant of Israel in Palestine of those days will flee to countries east of the Jordan where the contending armies will not be allowed to come. Thus they will be protected from the slaughter of that day. Some excellent interpreters believe that a goodly portion of the faithful remnant will escape to Edom and that it will be to them that the Lord Jesus appears first and brings deliverance (Isa. 63:1-6).
Isaiah 33 deals with the end-time. In verses 13-16 the prophet contrasts the lot of the godless remnant with that of the faithful. The sinners in Zion will be afraid, and trembling will seize the godless ones. On the other hand, those who walk righteously, speak uprightly, and seek the Lord will be protected, for in verse 16 the prophet declared that "he shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; his bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." This verse explains how God will take care of the faithful remnant and will purge out the apostates. This prediction should be no surprise to the one who is familiar with the Scriptures. God is able to take care of His own at any time and under all conditions. He protected Elijah when he fled from Jezebel. He gave him water and food in a miraculous manner. When Israel was journeying through the wilderness, He air-conditioned the desert and supplied manna and flesh for His people. At the same time He made their clothes last throughout their journeys. Here He promises to do the same things for the faithful remnant, while the apostates are exposed to the downpour of His judgments.
This same promise of protection and blessing to the faithful remnant is set forth in Revelation 12. Here we see the sun-clad woman fleeing into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by the Lord. An examination of all the facts of the context indicates that this woman is none other than Israel, the faithful remnant in the Tribulation. Though Satan does his best to destroy her, he is unable to accomplish his purpose, for God intervenes, protects, and preserves her from all the judgments of the Tribulation. When, therefore, all parallel passages are correlated and examined in the light of each of their respective contexts, it is seen that God will protect and preserve His faithful servants, while at the same time He will expose the apostates to the downpour of His judgments which will purge them from the nation. The Tribulation is indeed the time of Jacob's trouble, but the faithful ones will be saved out of it (Jer. 30:7).
THE third block of Scripture in the chart consists of verses 15-17. Above it I have this caption, "Creation of Millennial Heavens and Earth at the Beginning of the Kingdom Age." The arrow from this passage points to the second coming of Christ when He shall appear in glory to establish His reign of righteousness upon the earth. In verse 15 the prophet, still speaking to the apostate remnant of Israel, says that they will leave their name for a curse unto the faithful remnant; that is, that, after they have been slain, when men think of them, they will remember that these are the ones upon whom the curse of God fell. In this sense, therefore, they will leave their name for a curse, for in no other sense could this statement be true. This apostate remnant will be slainpurged from the earth"so that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth." This verse shows that the Tribulation is the purging time when God removes the wicked from the earth.
He then introduces a new orderone of righteousness and justice. This will be a new social, economic, and political regime. Old things connected with the present system will have passed away and everything will be upon a new basis.
This new order will be established "because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes." Every vestige of the present order will be removed. At that time no one will recall any of the troubles of the present day or the things connected with our modern civilization. These things will be hidden from view. There will be nothing which will suggest the present order.
This new order will be possible and a new era ushered in, "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind" (verse 17). In this passage we see that God, in explaining the new order, declares that the present civilization will never be brought to remembrance, for, behold He creates new heavens and a new earth. Since the prophet was speaking of the Tribulation in the preceding verses, and since he explained, as a reason for the non-remembrance of the former things, the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the new heavens and the new earth are created at the end of the Tribulation or at the beginning of the Kingdom Age. This interpretation is absolutely demanded by the further fact that, after verses 17 and 18, he is talking about the Millennial Age. Concerning this proposition, there can be absolutely no question since the Tribulation is discussed before this verse which tells about the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, since it is followed by those which speak of the Millennial Age, and since verse 17 is introduced by the conjunction "for," which connective shows that the sentence thus introduced is an explanation of what has gone before. We know therefore, absolutely and positively, that the new heavens and the new earth mentioned here can be none other than those which God creates at the beginning of the Millennial Age.
Additional proof of this position is seen in the statement about God's creating Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy (verse 18). In the following verse He speaks of this same Jerusalem as one in which "there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying." This language shows that there will have been weeping and crying in this Jerusalem that is created and is made a joy of the whole earth. There will be no weeping and crying in the eternal Jerusalem mentioned in Revelation 21 and 22; but in this Jerusalem of which Isaiah speaks and which is created anew, there will never again he any weeping and crying. The implication of this passage is that there has been sorrow in this Jerusalem before it is created anew. These facts show conclusively that this Jerusalem is none other than the Jerusalem in Palestine which has had many sieges and much sorrow and distress through the ages. It is destined, as we learn from many passages of Scripture, to under-go the most terrific siege of all the centuries at the end of the Tribulation. When that is over, Jerusalem's troubles will be no more.
Why will it be necessary to create the heavens and the earth at the end of the Tribulation anew? one may ask. This question is to the point and demands a straightforward answer, which I proceed to give. In Isaiah 24:1-20 we see a detailed description of the judgments of the Tribulation. This time will be one of unusual destruction, for in verse 1 the prophet declares, "Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof." God is the one who wrecks the earth in fulfillment of this prediction. The reason for His doing so is set forth in verses 5 and 6 of this chapter, which, in a word, is that man has disobeyed the laws, statutes, ordinances, and corrupted the earth; "therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left" (Isa. 24:6). In the latter part of this chapter (17-20) we see great physical changes that will take place, not only upon the earth, but also in the heavens themselves. There will be, according to this passage, a wrecking of our present solar system at least. When these judgments are thus poured out upon the heavens above and the earth beneath, God will incarcerate "the hosts of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; and after many days shall they be visited" (vs. 21, 22). These verses tell of the binding of Satan and his hosts and of their being incarcerated in the pit during the many days, which we know from Revelation 20 are one thousand years. Following the binding of Satan, the Lord Jesus Christ will mount the throne of David and will reign in Jerusalem over the earth for one thousand years. His majestic reign is set forth in the next verse of Isaiah 24, in these words: "then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for Jehovah of hosts will reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his elders shall be glory." From a casual glance at this prophecy, we see that Isaiah 24 is a prediction of the Tribulation period and the introduction of the millennial order. From it we see that not only the earth is affected but also the heavens.
Much light on the question under consideration is found in Isaiah 34:1-7. In this passage we see a prediction of God's making a reckoning with the nations which have sinned against Him. It is so very certain that He will punish the nations that the prophet sees it as an accomplished fact. In his describing the slaying of the wicked, verse 3, he turns to the heavenly bodies and sees them dissolving, for in verse 4 he declares, "And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their hosts shall fade away, as the leaf fadeth from off the vine, and as a fading leaf from the fig-tree." I wish that the reader would especially note the prediction in this quotation, "and all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll." Isaiah tells us that during the Tribulation the heavenly bodies will be dissolved and the heavens will be rolled back as a scroll. He compares their disappearing from the skies to the falling of the leaves from a vine and the fading leaf from a fig-tree. This language is a description of reality. It is a forecast, showing what actually takes place in the Tribulation; namely, the dissolution of the heavenly bodies at the time of God's having indignation against the earth. The Apostle Peter in II Peter 3 describes this dissolving of the heavenly bodies in very graphic language. We know that the passing away of the heavens mentioned by him is the same event foretold by Isaiah, because Peter is talking about the second coming of Christ and "the day of the Lord"the Tribulationfor it is thus called throughout the Old Testament. This day of the Lord precedes the visible return of our Lord. It is during this day of wrath that the heavens being on fire will melt with fervent heat in fulfillment of Isaiah's prediction in chapter 34.
Since the heavens above and the earth below will be wrecked by the judgments of the Tribulation, it will be necessary for God to create them anew in order that there might be a reign of righteousness by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wreckage will be so very extensive that no life could be possible on the earth after that time unless God did repair, to a certain extent at least, the damage wrought. This, Isaiah declares, God will do. One should not think strange of this, especially in view of the fact that, after the primeval heavens were destroyed as we see in Genesis 1:2, the Lord labored for six days repairing the wreckage and preparing the earth for the reception of man, whom He contemplated making and whom he did create on the sixth day. If it was necessary for God thus to engage in this special activity, as described in Genesis 1, it should not be thought incredible that He will engage in similar activities in creating the heavens and the earth also anew in order that He may bring about conditions which will make possible the glorious reign of our Lord upon the earth. Thus God will create those elements both in the heavens above and upon the earth beneath in order to prepare for His marvelous, glorious reign.
AS STATED on the chart, a description of the Millennial Age is found in verses 18-25. This Jerusalem created anew is the old one in which weeping and crying, as we have already seen, have been experienced through the centuries, but one in which they will never again occur.