This week we begin the last section of Isaiah. In previous studies, we have seen several references to the destruction of Jerusalem. We saw another one last week in Chapter 64. These prophecies and others led to the so-called Deutero-Isaiah Hypothesis. Since Isaiah recorded things that did not happen for another hundred years or more, some say part of the book (ch 40-66) must have been written by another Isaiah. One major problem with this hypothesis, though, is Isaiah also prophesied things that did not happen for another seven hundred years. Isaiah prophesied things that to this day still have not been fulfilled, even after more than two millennia, but they will be when Christ returns. More importantly, however, Jesus quoted from both portions of the Book of Isaiah and ascribed them both to the same Isaiah. (John 12:38-41) More here.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
Isaiah refers to the gentiles that receive Christ during the church age. (1 Pet 2:9)
2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth 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;
5 Which 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.
During Jesus’ ministry, He encountered people that lived among graves, people that raised pigs (for what if not eating?), and people that thought they were holier than everyone else. These things had been transpiring for generations. Of course, we are no longer under the law but under grace, which means we can eat swine’s flesh now. (Matt 15:11; Acts 10:15; Rom 14:14)
6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
Verse 6 seems to be a direct reply to Isaiah’s question in Isaiah 64:12. Verse 6 ends not with a period but a comma. The sentence continues in verse 7:
7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
8 Thus saith the LORD, 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’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
In verse 8, Isaiah refers to the Old Testament saints. For their sake, He was patient with the nation.
9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
In Genesis 3:15, God said the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. Here, Isaiah says the chosen one, or the inheritor, will come out of Judah, which, of course, He did.
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.
11 But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.
Unfortunately, when the Messiah came seven hundred years later, the nation rejected Him.
12 Therefore will I number 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 did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, 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 ashamed:
14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:
I believe Isaiah is referring to Judas here. Judas, from Judah, or literally praise, became a name associated with betrayal. Judah betrayed Christ just as Judas did. They were supposed to praise Him, but they betrayed Him.
16 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.
17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
How much time did you spend this week contemplating the antediluvian time period? I’m guessing not much, but even if you did, you had to guess what it was like because, for the most part, we don’t know. Based on verse 17, I believe that our world will be the same way to people in the future, who live after the millennium. In Revelation 21, John uses the same phrase that Isaiah does—new heavens and a new earth. After the millennium (Rev 20), Jesus will make all things new. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev 21:4)
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.
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 hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
The oldest tree in the world is around 5000 years old.
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
In that day, we will be able to enjoy the fruit of our labor, instead of working and working and not really having much to show for it. We will be blessed, as will our children. That is especially good news for anyone who has ever had a strong-willed child who gave them grief.
24 And it shall come to pass, 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, saith the LORD.
At the end of the last chapter, Isaiah asked God if He was going to do something about the state of things in Israel. God’s reply revealed that He was going to set his chosen people aside for a time and work through the Gentiles. (v 1) God was patient with his people but eventually, his patience would run out. Israel’s affliction was a result of their departure from God (v 7), but despite Israel’s betrayal, God’s plan would not be thwarted. (v 8) Isaiah was in anguish over the failure of Israel, but God’s answer reveals that He is playing a long game. We have the same problem today that Isaiah had. We get our eyes off of the Lord and let ourselves be distracted by circumstances. God is going to make all things new. He is going to deliver everything He promised. He asks us to be patient. Satan is the opposite. He tells us we can feel good immediately if we do things his way. If we listen to his lies, God has to set us aside until we learn our lesson, just as He did with Israel. God is not in a hurry. I’m reminded of the little boy who was talking to God. God said, “With Me, a hundred years is like a minute. To Me, a million dollars is like a penny.” The little boy said, “Wow, really God? Can I have a penny?” God replied, “Sure, in a minute.” The point is, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. If we focus on anything else, even someone who is very godly, we are going to get distracted and distressed. When Peter asked Jesus what John was going to do, Jesus said, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:22) Are you worried about the Wuhan virus? [W]hat is that to thee? follow thou me. Are you worried about economic collapse? [W]hat is that to thee? follow thou me. Whatever it is you are worried about, don’t be: [F]ollow thou me. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are going to be just fine.
In closing, although there may be many things to distract us, one big difference between us and Isaiah is that Isaiah prophesied of a time in the future when God would come down and make all things new. That was 2700 years ago. We are living in the time when the things Isaiah prophesied about the wolf and the lamb are almost here. (Cf Isa 11:6-9) Incidentally, it occurred to me as I was preparing this week’s notes that Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25 may not come until after the millennium. (?) Nevertheless, we are nearing the end of the age and we have many markers to tell us so. Among them is another sign that the Magog invasion of Israel is approaching, as Israel is moving forward with their plans to annex the Jordan Valley. We may very well live to see Jesus return. All the more reason to follow Him with all of our being. In Chapter 66, we will see the rest of God’s reply to Isaiah’s question. Father, we pray that You will draw us each closer to your Son, that we may keep our minds stayed on Thee, that we may trust in Thee. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.