Isaiah 65
A Final Review

1. I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, to a nation that was not called by my name.

Verse 1: This chapter begins and ends with the advent of the Messiah and the setting up of his reign. What lies between this first verse and the last is a review of all conditions and events that stretch from Isaiah's time until the coming of the of perfection of Zion. Much has been said already in very specific descriptions of each event in detail. These include: the sinfulness of the nation which results in their poor choices, punishment and exile of both Israel and Judah, the future return of all 12 tribes into one nation when they would enjoy the physical blessings promised to them when they remain faithful, and the spiritual blessings of the messianic age when the new heavens and new earth take the place of the old system.

 2 I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, which walk in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 3 A people that provoke me to anger continually to my face; that sacrifices in gardens, and burns incense upon altars of brick; 4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

Verse 4: Monuments: The mystical word NAZAR is here translated monuments. It has this meaning in no other place in Hebrew literature. The fact is that translators do not know what to do with this word. In Isaiah they have translated it as watchers, besieged, hidden things, guard, keep, preserved, and branch. In every one of the places in Isaiah where the word is so rendered the passage is a prophecy of the Messiah. The translators simply do not know what to do with the word and depend on the context to arrive at an arbitrary meaning. So since a graveyard is being spoken of the assumption is that the most abominable person you could describe in that context would be one who finds his lodging among the grave stones. But how could this be a description of something messianic? In Isaiah 1:8 the "Nazarene" city is the one which is completely avoided and despised. Here in like fashion the most despised person from the view of the natural nation which rejected Zion and the continuing Israel after the advent of the Messiah is still labeled with the despised name of Nazarene. The most abominable from the natural Jewish mind is a Jew who lodges with the Nazarenes. See the Chapter on the Nazarene for further discussions on this word.

 5 Which say, Stand by yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier than you. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all the day. 6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense your iniquities together with the iniquities of your fathers into your bosom, 7 Says the LORD, They have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom. 8. Thus says the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. 9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and my elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

 Verses 9 and 10 Jacob and Judah: The historical context of this prophecy would have seen "Jacob," a synonym of the northern kingdom of Israel, just having gone into captivity and just being lost as a nation permanently or of that condition being imminent. Judah would have continuity for over 100 years longer after this prophecy was uttered. Thus here is the prediction of the return of all 12 tribes into one nation in the future given before both had gone into captivity. Isaiah has already given great detail to the loss of Israel in chapters 7 - 12 and to the exile and return of the kingdom of Judah from Babylonian exile in chapters 40 - 49. This prediction of return was fulfilled in the days of the second commonwealth when Judea and Galilee were repopulated by the multiple "aliyahs" beginning in the reign of Cyrus the Persian and extending for hundreds of years into the "silent years." In that period there was peace and prosperity and unprecedented religious freedom enjoyed under the Persian government and the population grew to extensive proportions from the tribes who were in a condition of continuos return to their homelands. Sharon indeed was refilled with flocks and the Valley of Achor indeed had become pasture land again by those who returned from among the nations to enjoy the hundreds of years of religious revival and prosperity that the restored nation of united Jacob and Judah enjoyed during the golden age of the silent years.

 11. But you are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering to that number. 12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I did not delight. 13 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed: 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for grief of spirit. 15 And you shall leave your name for a curse to my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay you, and call his servants by another name:

 Verse 15: This verse is Isaiah's further comment on Isa. 62:2. There the "other" name is called a "new" name. The Septuagint translators made the connection and use the word "new" instead of the word "other" in verse 65:15 above. In their translation, the LXX chose the Greek,  "kainon" (new) for Hebrew  "achor" (another). The LXX is an interpretive translation. This shows that in 285 B.C. the idea of a new name for the nation was already understood. by scholars who expected a future call of the gentiles into a Zion which had been rejected by the natural nation. For support of this farsightedness of the LXX translators see note under 66:19.

16 That he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from my eyes. 17. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But you will be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being only a hundred years old shall have been cursed. 21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

A letter was sent to me with the following question. The answer and explanation of the verses 17 to 21 follows

 I come across this verse as I was preparing a Bible study. This verse seems to suggest people do not have everlasting life in the New heaven and New earth. I just wonder if you have any insight to the apparent contradictive implication with teaching of the Christ about everlasting life.

Sincerely Yours,

 a friend

 Dear Friend

 Your question is a simple one but requires a complex answer. Probably too complex for this letter but I can outline some of the prerequisites to putting the passage into proper context.

 First, whether you are a Christian believer or not, the wisdom of Jesus interpretation of the words from the bush to Moses upon the Mount support many other scriptures, from the first writings of the O T (Job) to the last, that is that we survive in our spirits consciously, the death of the body. Jesus quoted YHWH's words from the bush and said "God is not the God of the dead but of the living," the conclusion being that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not only alive but secure with the Lord when Jesus spoke.

 But to the Isaiah 65 passage it must first be remembered that Isaiah lived approx. 700 years before the present era began or 2700 years ago and he predicted the future. There has been at least 2700 years of "future" since then so some of the things in this passage are now in the past. I view Isa 65 as a contextual whole with a panorama of events beginning with the warnings to his own generation (vss 1-8) which warnings were not heeded and which resulted in the dispersion of the so called 10 northern tribes called "Jacob" in vss 9 in Isaiah's near future lifetime and the then future but now past punishment and exile of Judah also in 9. The fact that a remnant of all 12 tribes would survive the dispersions and exiles and form a new commonwealth is also in vs 8-10. Then beginning with vs 11 the coming punishments and exiles are reiterated through vs 15 where following this the promise already implied in vs 1 is taken up again, that there was a successor to HIS rebellious people already in mind, (the remnant who look to and trust in Zion and who do not look to the earth) who would get the promises of Israel under a new name. The pages of Isaiah are replete with the passages that promise the restoration of all 12 tribes and then following that, in that period God would call the Gentiles into the permanent and perfected Zion. That is recalled in vs 1 and in the rest of the passage to the end of the chapter.

 The end of the chapter (verse 25) which describes conditions in the New Jerusalem has a verse which must be a companion to Isa 11:6 where the wolf and the lamb dwell safely together. There in Isa 11 the restoration of Israel is connected to the "Nazar" or Branch out of David's father Jesse and is assumed by all to be a messianic passage. Christians believe the Isa 11:1 passage is fulfilled in Mt 2:23 when Joseph moved from Egypt to Nazareth. The conditions that the Messiah was to bring to the restored Israel in Isa 11 and in 9:5 to 7ff are similar to those spoken in Isa 65:25 which context would include the vss that you have in question.

 For Christians the key passage to interpret these O. T. visions of peace and prosperity in the restoration promised is in Amos 9:11 which is quoted by James the brother of Jesus of Nazareth in Acts 15 where he applies the restoration of the tabernacle of David and reglorification of all the 12 tribes to his own time when all 12 tribes dwelt together in a single commonwealth and the call of the Gentiles into Zion was begun with the day of Pentecost in 30 CE. The Amos passage describes the blessings of those days with hyperbole as mountains melting and brooks running brim full with sweet wine. They are physical pictures of blessings that describe in physical terms the spiritual blessings coming since we do not actually expect all the rivers being full of grape juice. The promise not to find hurt or destruction in all HIS holy mountain (Zion) is taken to be in the messianic age or the New Jerusalem or restored Zion or as Christians view it: the church age and (but not only) in heaven except that Zion is transcendent. It exists here in this system for those "who dwell in heaven" or as Isaiah described the faithful of his day as already being "those who dwell in Zion" (by prospect or by faith or in the spirit which is real).

 It is in this sense that Zion is a part of the New Order that Messiah was to (and for some us did) bring. Thus making new heavens includes the messianic call of the Gentiles which began in Jerusalem and although this Zion is "above," it exists for a time in the physical universe waiting for the time of restitution of all things. It will transcend.

 You may not be able to assimilate these ideas but some of them become obvious after getting the rest of the context of Isaiah in mind. When you can unify all the visions of Isaiah and see the total unity in the visions of Isaiah instead of fragmentary and unconnected series of visions -- (that is the usual way the uninitiated see Isaiah due to our lack: 1; of a historical context; 2: the total context of Isaiah's visions,)-- then that will open most of the book to understanding. If we saw Isaiah's world and his times as Isaiah saw them the book begins to open to understanding, but not before. I say this for understanding the whole of the book not just this passage.

 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree so will be the days of my people, and my chosen will grow old enjoying the work of their hands

. Verse 22: the days of a tree: For instance, some Palestinian olive trees are more than 2000 years old. Also the word is definite in Hebrew. It is "the tree" and the LXX makes it more specific: "the tree of life."

 23 They shall not labor in vain, nor produce for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. 24 And it shall be, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

 Compare this with Isaiah 11:6-9:

 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (KJV)

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