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Isaiah 64-66 Listen
Continuation of the Jewish remnant's prayer for deliverance (Isaiah 64)
1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?
This prayer began in Isaiah 63:15 (see notes); it will be the prayer of the remnant of Israel who will be saved during the tribulation. They'll be looking for God to restore them to glory. You will observe that even though Jerusalem still stands at the time of Isaiah's prophecy, he speaks of it as though it has already been destroyed. We see this clearly in verses 10-11, "Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste."
The depravity of man is seen in verse 6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." There's a vivid picture of how God views sin. The Hebrew word there for "unclean" is used of ceremonial uncleanness. That "uncleanness," taken with the covering of "filthy rags," compares to the usage of these words in Leviticus 13 (see notes) with regard to the treatment of leprosy. Those diagnosed with leprosy, according to the law, were to separate themselves from the rest of the people and loudly pronounce themselves as "unclean" to anyone who approached. We see also in Leviticus 13 (see notes) the disposal of the lepers' contaminated garments; they were to be burned. The Hebrew word repeatedly translated "garment" ("beged") in that chapter is the same word used here for "rags." Add to that the Hebrew adjective here for "filthy" and a very clear picture emerges i.e. a garment worn by a leper which has been contaminated by the issue of the disease. We see in Leviticus 13 that these garments were subsequently burned. Simply put, God views our sin just as the priest viewed the lepers' contaminated garments - garments to be burned.
Incidentally, notice verse 4, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." This verse is quoted by Paul in I Corinthians 2:9 (see notes) to indicate God's future manifestation to all Believers.
The unrighteous and the remnant (Isaiah 65)
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.
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.
6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here we are at the end of the prophecy of Isaiah, and he ties it all together with these last two chapters. In chapter 64 (see above), the remnant of Israel are prophesied to have prayed just prior to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom...what we know as the future millennium. They are compared to the wicked people in Israel of Isaiah's day who rejected God's righteousness. Paul quotes verses 1-2 in his description of rejecting Israel in Romans 10:20-21 (see notes). In verses 3-7 we find an indictment of the rebellious people of Israel, but mention of a remnant of righteous people beginning in verse 8. Then in verse 11 it's back to the rebels; a contrast of blessings/cursings is seen in 13-16 for the righteous remnant/rebels.
Beginning in verse 17, Isaiah talks about life during the period we know to be the millennium. John, in the Book of Revelation, divides the period after the tribulation when Israel is brought to righteousness into two distinct periods: the 1,000-year period (aka millennium) and the eternal state of the new earth that follows.
Here is the way John divides the two periods beginning with the millennium:
Isaiah's prophecy here seems to make no distinction between the two periods. In both periods, Jesus, the Messiah, rules. Isaiah specifically mentions the new heaven and new earth in this chapter of prophecy. A new and improved Jerusalem is seen here along with the cessation of hostilities throughout the earth.
In taking Isaiah 65 and Revelation 20-21 (see notes) together, the following assumptions seem plausible:
Notice verse 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." Many have taken that to mean that a 100-year-old righteous person will be youthful during the millennium, while 100 years old will be a stretch for the unrighteous then. That sounds like a plausible explanation for the verse.
For more detail, click here to view the summary on the last three chapters of Revelation.
Also, you may find helpful the millennial conditions as set forth in the following passages:
Life during the millennium and thereafter (Isaiah 66)
1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.
15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Here's an interesting picture in verse 1: Heaven is God's throne and earth is his footstool. As such, where can a house for God be built that will house his glory? Here's what God honors in verse 2, "...him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Stephen quotes these two verses in Acts 7:48-49 (see notes).
Sacrifices (verse 3) are of no avail otherwise. Judgment is coming on those who live contrariwise (verses 4-6). The millennial restoration will take place quickly (verses 7-9). Then Isaiah moves into the conditions of millennial living in verse 10. God will comfort his people (verses 13-14).
Isaiah transitions to some second-coming-judgment prophecy in verse 15-17 - scripture that sounds like the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19:11-21 (see notes). We find a unified worship of God after that battle - Jews and Gentiles alike based in Jerusalem in verses 18-21. Then beginning in verse 22 we see "the new heavens and the new earth" (Revelation 21:1 (see notes). And the enemies of God? Eternal torment (verse 24) is their eternal destiny.