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Isaiah 65:1–7 The Iniquity of Ancient Israel
The Lord lists many of the sins of His ancient covenant people, including the following:
“their works are evil” and “they walk after their own thoughts,” (v. 2); they provoke the Lord to his face, they sacrifice in gardens rather than in the temple , and they burn “incense upon bricks” (v. 3) rather in than the temple, they “sit in tombs” and “eat the flesh of pigs” (v. 4), which are abominable acts that are forbidden by the Law of Moses.
Here am I, here am I. This expression can also be translated, “Behold me, behold me.” “Here am I” is generally uttered by God’s prophets, but here the Lord uses the expression. 65:1–2 See Romans 10:20–21.
I have spread out My hands. A sacred gesture of prayer (1 Kings 8:22–23; Psalms 28:2; 134:2). to a people. To Israel (see Romans 10:21).
Ancient Israel participated in several evil, unclean acts that were strictly forbidden in the law of Moses, such as improper sacrifices in gardens, eating unclean food, and residing in unclean places, such as tombs.
smoke in My nostrils. An expression that reveals the fierce anger of the Lord because of the extreme wickedness of the people.
I will repay into their bosom. Meaning close to their heart. See also verse 7: “into their bosom.”
mountains/hills. Rather than worship God in His temple, called the “mountain of the Lord’s House” (2:2), they worshipped idols in false and counterfeit temples “on the mountains” and “on the hills.”
Isaiah 65:8–16 Blessings for the Righteous, Cursings for the Sinful
In this section, the Lord responds to Isaiah’s plea in 63:17 by presenting a list of blessings for the righteous and cursings to the wicked. The Lord refers to His covenant people as “My chosen” (twice), “My servants” (six times), and “My people.” The wicked are identified as “you who forsake the Lord” and those “who forget My holy mountain.”
new wine . . . in the cluster. The Lord symbolically compares His covenant people to a fresh cluster of grapes, which will be used to prepare new wine. “Do not destroy [the cluster],” an unnamed speaker says, “for a blessing is in it.” This means, do not destroy the righteous, because they are a blessing to Israel and to the world. The Lord promises, “I will do for My servants’ sake and not destroy them all.” Elsewhere in scripture, good fruit symbolizes righteous individuals, and rotten fruit signifies wicked persons. Israel is the Lord’s vineyard (5:1; 27:2).
offspring from Jacob. This refers to a remnant of the descendants of Jacob. those who will inherit My mountains. “My mountains” may refer to the Lord’s temples and the blessings that come from them. My chosen/My servants. “Chosen” can also be translated “elect.” God’s chosen, His servants, are the righteous Saints.
Sharon/Valley of Achor. Sharon existed on the west coast of ancient Palestine, and the valley of Achor was found on the east boundary—“east and west” symbolized the entire land, which would be a place of safety and refuge for God’s covenant people. pasture for flocks/place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me. Those who seek the Lord will receive a place of peace and safety, just as flocks find security in their pastures.
who forget My holy mountain. To forget God’s holy mountain, or the temple and its ordinances, is wickedness. Fortune/Meni. Fortune is the pagan god of chance or fortune, and Meni is the pagan god of fate. These pagan gods symbolize all false gods, which drew the Lord’s covenant people from the true God.
I have destined you for the sword. “Destined” (Hebrew mana) is a wordplay (compare the Hebrew words “mana” and “Meni”) on the name of the idol Meni, the god of fate. Those who choose wickedness rather than God’s blessings will receive the sword and will “bow down to the slaughter.” I did not delight in what you chose. This ironic understatement underplays the great wickedness of those who conduct wickedness. The Lord is really saying, “I hate your gross abominations.”
In a series of antithetical (opposites) parallelisms, the Lord lists blessings for His “servants” (righteous, covenant people) while contrasting the cursings for the wicked (“you” is a plural form in the Hebrew). His servants will “eat,” but the wicked will be “hungry”; His servants will “drink,” but the wicked will be “thirsty”; His servants will “rejoice,” but the wicked will “be put to shame”; His servants will “sing with gladness of heart,” but the wicked will “cry out for pain of heart.” The blessings and cursings have both temporal and spiritual applications.
take an oath. The righteous will take an oath, which refers to sacred ordinances of the gospel.
Isaiah 65:17–25 The Glorious Millennium
The Lord describes the multiple blessings associated with the Millennium (see also 11:6–10). The Lord promises a “new earth” (verse 17), great joy (verses 18–19), no weeping or cries of distress (verse 19), long life for the people (verses 20, 22), immediately answered prayers (verse 24), and peace among the animal kingdom (verse 25).
new heavens/new earth. This renewal pertains to the new millennial condition of the earth: “The earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Article of Faith 10; see also 2 Peter 3:10–12; Revelation 21:1–4; Doctrine and Covenants 101:23–25). The new earth is much more than a globe made new; it pertains to a new way of living, a different, better society. It is a place where God may dwell. It is a state of being in which there is no death, sorrow, or pain. It is a habitation for the heirs of God.
Jerusalem. This likely refers to the “holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2; see also Ether 13:3, 8–10).
rejoice. With the words “rejoice” (twice), “be joyful,” “joy,” “exultation,” and “joyful,” God emphasizes the great joy that will exist during the Millennium. The joy will not be temporary or fleeting, but we will “be . . . forever.” See also Doctrine and Covenants 101:27–29.
weeping. “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” (Revelation 21:4).
die a hundred years old. Mortality as we know it will be different during the Millennium. Children will not die, and when an individual reaches 100 years old, she or he will be changed from mortality to immortality, “in the twinkling of an eye” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:30–31). The young and the old are particularly vulnerable during mortality, but not so during the Millennium.
days of a tree. People are compared to trees, which symbolize long life, endurance, and firmness. See also Psalm 92:12–13.
they will not plant and another eat. People will enjoy the fruits of their labors; enemies will not steal their food and homes. Doctrine and Covenants 101:101 states, “They shall build, and another shall not inherit it; they shall plant vineyards, and they shall eat the fruit thereof.”
before they call, I will answer. (Compare 58:9). The Millennium will be a time of great revelation: “In that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him. . . . In that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:27, 32). wolf and the lamb will feed together. The animal kingdom will dwell together in peace. “The enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:26). all My holy mountain. The entire earth will be like a temple, where God dwells in glorious holiness.
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