“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. Isaiah 65:17
Renewed Heavens and Earth
Judgment must precede the time of blessing, but only because God’s obstinate people would not respond when he held out his hands to them in invitation. But judgment will not bring complete destruction: not all will be killed when the terror comes (8-12). Those who are true servants of God will survive to enter the new earth where man’s lifespan is multiplied, and all is marked by unbroken peace.
Isaiah 65-66 Chapter summary. Here we reach the climax of Isaiah’s teaching, in the wonderous promise that God will one day create a new earth and heavens as the home of the righteous. But judgment precedes salvation as again Israel is pictured as obstinate and sinful. Yet God will preserve a remnant while turning against the rebels among His people and punishing them.
Then Isaiah introduces the great promise, marked by the cry, “Behold.” God will create “new heavens and a new earth” where His people will enjoy long lives in peace and security. Thus, men can look forward to the future with fear and with hope. God, the Creator, extends the offer of fellowship to the humble who are responsive to His Word. Zion is told to rejoice, confident that all her troubles are but birth pangs, and soon she will give birth to a glorious future. God will bless His land with peace and comfort His children in the day He executes judgment on sin.
This book of powerful poetry ends in prose. God pledges that all mankind as well as the Jewish people will find Him at history’s end. The new heavens and the new earth He makes will endure. But the bodies of those who rebelled against the Lord will be scattered over old earth’s deadened lands.
Key verse. 65:17: God will make all things new.
Personal application. What God will create should be more real to us than the sorrows we remember, and will soon forget.
Key concepts. Remnant, Heaven, Creation
Punishment of the Rebellious
65 1 “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name. 2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts; 3 A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick; 4 Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day. 6 “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay– Even repay into their bosom– 7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” Says the Lord, “Who have burned incense on the mountains And blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”
8 Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,’ So will I do for My servants’ sake, That I may not destroy them all. 9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there. 10 Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, And the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, For My people who have sought Me.
11 “But you are those who forsake the Lord, Who forget My holy mountain, Who prepare a table for Gad, And who furnish a drink offering for Meni. 12 Therefore I will number you for 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 do 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 wail for grief of spirit. 15 You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; For the Lord God will slay you, And call His servants by another name; 16 So that he who blesses himself in the earth Shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My eyes.
New Heavens and a New Earth
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. 20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, And their offspring with them. 24 “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, 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,” Says the Lord.
65:5 I am holier than you: The idolaters were like the worst of the Pharisees in the NT times. Jesus called the Pharisees children of the devil (John 8:44), but they regarded themselves as better than others (Luke 18:9-14). Smoke and fire stand for things that provoke God’s anger.
5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.