Isaiah 65

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 13, 2000

:1-7  Rebellious Israel

:1  I am sought of them that asked not for me

I am sought – The Hebrew is, “I have granted access unto Me to them”.  God is talking about the Gentiles finding Him.

:2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people

spread out my hands – in an invitation, arms open wide.

rebelliouscarar – to rebel, be stubborn, be rebellious

(Rom 10:11-21 NLT)  As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.” {12} Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. {13} For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  {14} But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? {15} And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Our part is to be the ones who tell others about how people can know God.  That’s what the Harvest Crusade is all about.  We need to tell people the Good News that God offers complete forgiveness for their sins because Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for their sins.  If a person is willing to ask God for salvation, He will save them.

{16} But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” {17} Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news—the Good News about Christ. {18} But what about the Jews? Have they actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message of God’s creation has gone out to everyone, and its words to all the world.” {19} But did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God had said, “I will rouse your jealousy by blessing other nations. I will make you angry by blessing the foolish Gentiles.” {20} And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God: “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” {21} But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they kept disobeying me and arguing with me.”

Even though the Jewish nation has a place as God’s chosen people, a Jewish person still needs to call upon the Lord to save him, just like a Gentile does.  Paul quotes Isaiah and calls his writing “bold” because he was confronting the nation of Israel with the fact that some of them have been rebellious and disobedient to the Lord.  But don’t worry, Paul goes on in the book of Romans to clarify that God isn’t finished with the nation of Israel.

:3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face;

continually – while God opens His arms all day in invitation, some of the Jews respond with continual rebellion.

:3  that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

altars of brick – God commanded that His altars be made of uncut stone. (Ex. 20:25)

Ex 20:25  And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

:4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments,

They were trying to communicate with the dead

:4  which eat swine’s flesh

Forbidden to Jews. (Lev. 11:7)

Le 11:7  And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he [is] unclean to you.

:5 Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou

 (Isa 65:5 NLT)  Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’

These were rebellious people, yet somehow were also very “religious”.


Holier than thou

As we grow in the Lord, and get older in the Lord, it’s a natural thing that more and more of our friends are Christians.
And in a sense, it’s good that with non-Christians we have fewer and fewer relationships where they will be a negative influence on us when we have the kinds of strong friendships that can influence us.
But we need to guard ourselves from thinking that we can’t associate with certain people because they are “beneath” us.
There has never been a person as “holy” as Jesus.  Yet He had no problem getting close to “sinners”.
(Luke 5:27-32 KJV)  And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. {28} And he left all, rose up, and followed him. {29} And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. {30} But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? {31} And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. {32} I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus didn’t get close to “sinners” because He needed friends or wanted others to like Him.  He got close to “sinners” because they needed Him.  They needed Jesus.  He came to show them the way back home to God.

But look also at Levi (also known as Matthew).  As soon as he took up Jesus’ invitation to be a disciple, he threw a party for all his old buddies to introduce them to Jesus.  And Jesus didn’t turn down the invitation to be there.

Illustration (?)
His name is Bill.  He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes.  This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.  He is brilliant.  Kind of esoteric and very, very bright.  He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church.  They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there.  He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.  The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat.  By now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.  Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.  (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the pastor realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill.  Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three-piece suit, and a pocket watch.  A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly.  He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, “You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.  How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?” It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.  The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane.  All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing.  The people are thinking, “The pastor can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.”  And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won’t be alone.  Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the pastor gains control he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will never remember.  What you have just seen, you will never forget.”

- Author unknown

Are there people God has put in your life that you need to be spending time with?  Not because you need a friend or because you want to be liked by them.  But because they need to know the Jesus you know.

:6  I will not keep silence, but will recompense

God promises to repay those who rebel against Him.

:8-10  A remnant spared

:8  As the new wine is found in the cluster …

(Isa 65:8 NLT)  “But I will not destroy them all,” says the LORD. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away—there are some good grapes there!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there.

Grapes can grow in pretty big clusters, and if you’re expecting only to harvest clusters that contain only large, luscious grapes, you’ll be disappointed.  If there are some good grapes in a cluster, just cut off the bad grapes. God is saying that He knows that there are going to be a few “good grapes” in Israel.  He won’t destroy the whole nation, but will spare the “good grapes”, the “remnant”.

:9  mine elect shall inherit it

The Jews will once more be in the land of Israel.  As they are.

:10 Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor …

Places all through Israel will be fruitful.

Sharon – a place in northern Israel, known for it’s fertile land, to the west of Mount Carmel.

Valley of Achor – the place where Achan was stoned to death for his disobedience (Josh 7:26), located near Jericho along the Jordan river, just north of the Dead Sea.  It will become a “door of hope” (Hosea 2:15).

:11-16  Rebels or Servants

:11 that forget my holy mountain

Namely, the temple.  They forget to worship at the temple.

(Isa 65:11 NLT)  “But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD and his Temple … - Mount Moriah, the location of the temple.

:11 that prepare a table for that troop … unto that number.

troopgad – fortune, good fortune; the Babylonian god of “Fortune”.

numberM@niy– “fate” or “fortune”; goddess of fortune (we call her “lady luck”)

(Isa 65:11-12 NASB)  “But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny, {12} I will destine you for the sword …

:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword

numbermanah – to count, reckon, number, assign, tell, appoint, prepare

:12  because when I called, ye did not answer


Don’t say “no” to God.

Answer when He calls.
At home, I have a “Caller I.D.” viewer on my desk.  If a person has Caller I.D. on their phone, I can tell who it is when they call, before I pick up the phone.  Sometimes I like to surprise the caller by calling them by name before they say a word.  Sometimes I don’t answer a phone call on purpose, because I don’t want to talk to “Wilber’s  Carpet Cleaning Service”.  Sometimes, when I’m trying to study, I won’t answer the phone at all, no matter who calls, well almost.  If it’s my wife, I’ll answer right away, as soon as I see her phone number.  Sometimes an important person calls, but I tell myself I’m not going to answer it because I need to finish studying, and then as they begin to leave a message on our message machine about something very important, I’ll break down and pick up the phone.  But then again, sometimes I’ll be bad and not answer it as I think to myself, “I’ll just pretend not to be home”.
Suppose you were sitting at your desk and as the phone begins to ring, the Caller I.D. flashes “God’s Throne”?  Would you pick up the phone right away?  Would you wait to see what kind of message God was going to leave on your phone machine before picking up the call?  Or would you just pretend not to be home?
Don’t say “no” to God’s call.  Of course, I’m not talking about an actual, physical phone call, but there will be times when you will know that God is making a “call” on you.  It may even be this morning while we’re studying.

:13  Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry:

servants ‘ebed – slave, servant.  A servant is one who does what his master asks.


Serve or be served?

We see here a contrast between God’s “servants” and these rebellious people, those who want to “be served”.  God takes care of His servants.
Servants eat, drink, and rejoice.  They experience God’s abundance. When you decide to follow the Lord as a willing “servant”, you’re going to find fulfillment.  You’re going to find joy.
“Idle Christians are often unhappy Christians I have met with many a spiritual dyspeptic always full of doubts and fears.  Is there a young man here full of doubts and fears who has lost the light he once possessed, and the joy he once had?  Dear brother, get to work.  In cold weather the best way to be warm is not to get before a fire, but to work.  Exercise gives a healthy glow, even amidst the frost.  ‘I am doing something,’ says one.  Yes, with one hand; use the other hand.  ‘Perhaps I should have too many irons in the fire,’ says one. You cannot have too many.  Put them all in, and blow the fire with all the bellows you can get.  I do not believe any Christian man works too hard, and, as a rule, if those who kill themselves in Christ’s service were buried in a cemetery by themselves, it would be a long while before it would get filled. Work hard for Christ.  It makes happy those who are in heaven to serve God day and night, and it will make you happy on earth.  Do all you can.”

•        Charles Spurgeon, The Bliss of the Glorified

:15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen:

(Isa 65:15 NASB)  “And you will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name.

Could you imagine a person getting mad at another person and cursing them by saying, “May you be like Richard!”.  Bad stuff.

:15  and call his servants by another name:

I think the new name of the servants of God is “Christian”.

(Rev 3:12 KJV)  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

:16  shall bless himself in the God of truth

All blessing and swearing will be done through the “God of truth”.


God of truth

From the God of truth.
(John 4:23-24 KJV)  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. {24} God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman, who worshipped a perverted form of Judaism.  Jesus told her that people needed to worship God for who He really is, not just who they think He is.

:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:

What follows in verses 20-25 is actually not a description technically of what we call the “new heavens and new earth” but will be a description of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus.

Why?  Because we’ll see in verse 20 it will talk about people dying, but no one will die when we see the “New Heavens and New Earth”.

(Rev 21:1-4 KJV)  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. {2} And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. {3} And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. {4} 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.

:17  and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

rememberedzakar – (Niphal) to be brought to remembrance, be remembered, be thought of, be brought to mind

nor come ‘alah – to go up, ascend, climb

mindleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding


Heavenly memories

Does this mean we will have no memory of this current life? I don’t think so.
Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus in a glorified form, yet they were still recognizable to Peter, James, and John (Mat. 17).
There will be things in the New Jerusalem that are carried over from the old.  The gates of the city are named after the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 21:12), the foundation stones have the names of the twelve apostles (Rev. 21:14).

(Rev 21:12 KJV)  And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

(Rev 21:14 KJV)  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

We’ll remember when we’re in heaven, it’s just that memories will no longer cause us pain. (Rev. 21:4)

(Rev 21:4 KJV)  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.

When we’re in heaven, we’ll understand things perfectly, it will all make sense, difficult things will no longer cause pain.

(1 Cor 13:12 NLT)  Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

:18  I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

rejoicinggiylah – rejoicing

a joymasows – exultation, joy, rejoicing

:19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people:

I will rejoicegiyl – to rejoice, exult, be glad

joysuws – to exult, rejoice; to exult, display joy

These are very “happy” words.  Do you picture in your mind God being “happy” or “somber”?

When you make it into heaven, God will “joy” over you.

(Zep 3:17 KJV)  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

How do you think God will be greeting you when you arrive in heaven?  Will He say, “Oh, it’s you …”, or will He say, “Alright!!!! You’re here!!!” Heaven will be a wonderful place.


One day a cat dies of natural causes and goes to Heaven and meets the Lord Himself.  The Lord says to the cat, “If there is any way I can make your stay in Heaven more comfortable, please let me know.” The cat thinks for a moment and says, “Lord, all my life I have lived with a poor family and had to sleep on a hard wooden floor.”  The  Lord stops the cat and says, “Say no more,” and a wonderful fluffy pillow appears.  A few days later 6 mice are killed in a tragic farming accident and go to Heaven.  Again, the Lord is there to greet them with the same offer.  The mice answer, “All of our lives we have been chased. We have had to run from  cats, dogs, and even women with brooms.  We are tired of running.  Do you  think we could have roller skates so we don’t have to run any more?” The Lord says, “Say no more,” and fits each mouse with a beautiful pair of roller skates.  About a week later the Lord stops by to see the cat and finds him snoozing  on the pillow.  The Lord gently wakes the cat and asks him, “How are things since you have been here?”  The cat stretches and yawns and  replies, “It is wonderful here.  Better than I could have ever expected.  And those Meals on Wheels you have been sending by far are the best!!!!

:20  for the child shall die an hundred years old

When Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom on earth, there will be two types of people who will enter into the age of the Millennial Kingdom.  First, there will be those of us who have returned with Jesus, in our glorified bodies.  We will never again experience death.  We will rule and reign with Jesus for a thousand years.  But there will also be another type of person who will be on the earth at that time.  It will be those who came to know Jesus as their Savior during the Tribulation period, and who were able somehow to survive without being martyred.  These people will enter into the Kingdom in their old bodies, and they will have children and grandchildren and repopulate the earth.  It is these people that are being described here.  During the Millennial Kingdom, conditions on earth become similar to those before the flood of Noah, when people lived very long lives.

:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit

Instead of somebody else coming and taking your property away from you, you will enjoy the benefit of your labor.  I think this means that there might not be any taxes!  Ha!

:22 for as the days of a tree are the days of my people,

as the days of a tree – people will live as long as trees.  The General Sherman Tree in California’s Sequoia National Park is said to be between 3,000 and 4,000 years old.

:24  before they call, I will answer


A five-year-old said grace at family dinner one night. “Dear God, thank you for these pancakes...” When he concluded, his parents asked him why he thanked God for pancakes when they were having chicken. He smiled and said, “I thought I’d see if He was paying attention tonight.”


Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer. “Fine,” said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.” “Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Johnny. “I asked Him to help you put up with me.”

:22  and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

(Isa 65:22 NASB)  And My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands.

We think of clothes wearing out and cars wearing out, but think of your house “wearing out”.  Halfway through the Millennium, Fred will say to his wife, “Gee honey, this old house of our has lasted us for five hundred years, but it’s looking a little tired and I think it’s time to build a new one!”

:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble

labouryaga‘– to toil, labour, grow weary, be weary

bring forthyalad – to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

(Isa 65:23 NIV)  They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune

:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

before they callqara’ – to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim

I will answer ‘anah – to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout

they are yet speakingdabar – to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing

I will hearshama‘– to hear, listen to, obey

(Isa 65:24 NLT)  I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

:25  and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock:

Animals will not be carnivorous any more.

Before the flood of Noah, both man and animal were apparently herbivorous (Gen. 1:29-30).  But after the flood, God told Noah that He was now going to allow man to eat meat as well as vegetables (Gen. 9:3).

Are you ready for heaven?  Are you answering God’s call?