Text: Isaiah 65
If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be this — “His Response to the Rebellious.” In Isaiah 63 and 64, you have seen His punishment for the rebellious, Isaiah’s reminder of the LORD’s lovingkindness (hesed) toward those who do not deal falsely with Him, and the accusations of His rebellious people toward Him.
Now, in Verses 1-7, the LORD rebukes His rebellious people for their sin and for their accusations against Him. He has not forsaken them, but they have forsaken Him.
Then, in Verses 8-16, He contrasts His response to them with His response to His servants who seek Him and delight in Him.
Finally, in Verses 17-25, He describes the future that His servants will enjoy, when He will establish a new heavens and a new earth, after His judgment of both the worshipers of the world system that defies God and rebellious believers who refuse to repent.
Verse 1 —
The LORD responds to His rebellious peoples’ accusations, saying —
“I permitted Myself to be sought (I am sought) by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found (I am found) by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation (people) which did not call on My name.”
He is sought by those who did not ask for Him because they knew nothing about Him. He is found by those who did not seek Him because they knew nothing about Him. Those least likely to seek and find Him — the Gentiles — seek Him and find Him. He says to such ones, “Here am I! Here am I!” It is a picture of the ingathering of the Gentiles after Acts 2:4!
Verse 2-5 —
But He does not say, “Here am I! Here am I!” to His rebellious people. Instead, He says —
“I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, 3 a people who continually provoke Me to My face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks; 4 who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots. 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.”
How has He held out His hands to them? By sending His prophets to them again and again (Jeremiah 26:5, etc.) to exhort them to repent and warn them of the consequences of their sin. He has continually offered them the opportunity to repent, but they were not willing.
Jesus Christ said this to His people, when He walked the earth —
Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
So He recounts His rebellious peoples’ sin to them, for nothing is hidden from His eyes —
— They walk in a way which is not good, following their own thoughts, not His.
— They continually provoke Him to His face (literally, brazenly), with their worship of pagan gods.
— They worship false gods instead of Him, offering sacrifices in gardens, burning incense on bricks, sitting among graves, spend the night in secret places, eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of meats he has declared to be unclean are in their cooking pots. These are all pagan practices.
And to further insult the LORD, His rebellious people are hypocrites who claim they are holy and shun that which they see as unholy and unclean — the Gentiles, to whom He now calls! But His rebellious people are the ones who are unclean, as He has said, and all their hypocritical outward acts are like menstrual cloths (Isaiah 64:6)!
It was the same in the days of Jesus Christ. The priests, scribes and Pharisees were outwardly religious, but inwardly, they were full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27). So, He called them hypocrites 14 times, in the Book of Matthew!
Therefore, His rebellious people are an irritation to Him, like acrid, pungent smoke in His nostrils. And their fire burns all the day! They are on fire, and yet they do not even know it —
Isaiah 42:25 So He poured out on him the heat of His anger and the fierceness of battle; and it set him aflame all around, yet he did not recognize it; and it burned him, but he paid no attention.
I tell you the truth, beloved. I see many rebellious infants in Christ (see 1Corinthians 3:1) in today’s church. They also are on fire, and do not even know it. They also are an irritation to Him. Yet they also refuse to repent, though He sends His servants to them again and again, to warn them to repent!
Verses 6-7 —
“Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom (into their hearts), 7 both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,” says the LORD. “Because they have burned incense on the mountains and scorned Me on the hills, therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”
All their sins are written down with an iron stylus (Jeremiah 17:1). He will not keep silent, but will judge them. That is His answer to the pleas of the rebellious. He will repay them into their bosom — into their midst. It is a very personal repayment to each one who rebels against Him.
He will repay them not only for their perverse sin, but also will bring upon them the punishment that their fathers underwent for their rebellion in the wilderness. Here is how He punished Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who staged a rebellion against Him —
Numbers 16:32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
Again, Paul recounts how those who were in the wilderness were judged —
1Corinthians 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
The LORD’s judgment of today’s rebellious infants in Christ will be no different from His judgment of His rebellious people in the Old Testament. He will deal with them now just like He dealt with His people then.
But He will gladly receive you, beloved, if you repent and ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then your sin nature will be crucified, and your heart will be purified, and you will no longer sin against Him because you will be dead to sin (Galatians 5:24, Acts 15:9, Romans 6:1-2)!
Verses 8-10 —
Thus says the LORD, “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’ so I will act on behalf of My servants in order not to destroy all of them. 9 I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and an heir of My mountains from Judah; even My chosen ones shall inherit it, and My servants will dwell there. 10 Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, and the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for My people who seek Me.”
Now He contrasts His judgment of His rebellious people with His blessing to His servants, those who love and serve Him and do not rebel against Him. They are of great value to Him!
They please Him, and they bring the gospel to the world on their beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7)! He will not totally destroy Judah, for His servants dwell among the rebellious ones.
So, He will bring forth spiritual offspring from His servants — both Jew and Gentile — the ones who have obeyed Him. They are the ones He has chosen to be His heirs (Romans 8:17). They are the ones who will inherit the true promised land, which is the kingdom of God!
Peter said to all who believe into Jesus Christ and have obeyed His commandments to stay and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5) —
1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race (kin), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light . . .”
These are the ones who shall inherit the true promised land — His kingdom! They shall forever dwell in His Father’s house, for Jesus Christ goes there to prepare a place for them (John 14:1-2).
The pastures, sheep and herds are symbolic of His complete provision for them.
Then what is Jesus Christ’s actual complete provision?
First, He provided salvation from His wrath and reconciliation to Him by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Then He provided the cure for rebellion by crucifying the sin nature of those who ask Him to do it (Galatians 5:24), and by purifying the hearts of believers who ask Him to fill them with His Holy Spirit (Acts 15:9). And He and the Son and the Spirit permanently and fully indwell such ones (John 14:23)!
That is complete provision! If you are His servant, you have experienced this divine provision!
Little ones who are still infants in Christ, He offers that same complete provision to you today, if you will repent and ask Him to do it! But will you ask Him?
Verses 11-12 —
“But you who forsake the LORD, who forget My holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune (Gad, a false god), and who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny (Meni, a false god), 12 I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will bow down to the slaughter. because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. and you did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight.”
The future is far different for His idolatrous and rebellious people who forsake and forget Him by worshiping false gods. They are destined to die by the sword, and be slaughtered. He called, but they did not answer. He called, but they refused to hear. They did evil, and chose that which did not please Him at all!
So, according to what they worship, the LORD will judge them —
— They worship the false god Destiny. So, He will destine them for the sword.
— They worship the false god Fortune, so they will experience great misfortune. They will bow down to the slaughter, killed by the ones whose gods they have worshiped.
Why will He do this to them? Because He called and they did not answer.
How ironic! In Isaiah 63 and 64, they complained that they have called and He has not answered, and that they have wanted to hear His voice. But He called, and they did not answer! But in what way did He call them?
They have heard His voice through His warnings spoken by His prophets. But they have not listened!
It is the same today, beloved, among many infants in Christ who continue to rebel and sin against the Lord. He calls you today, He speaks to you today. Will you listen, or will you reject His words?
Verses 13-16 —
Isaiah 65:13 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14 Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, but you will cry out with a heavy heart, and you will wail with a broken spirit. 15 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. 16 Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My sight!”
Just as with the blessings and curses He spoke through Moses in Deuteronomy 28, He declares blessings to His servants, and curses to His rebellious people, in the days of Isaiah —
— My servants will eat, but you will be hungry.
— My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty.
— My servants will rejoice, but you will be ashamed.
— My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, but you will cry out with a heavy heart and wail with a broken spirit.
— Your name will be a curse (you will be called “cursed”) by those who are My chosen ones, and you will be slain. But My chosen ones will have another name — they will not be called “cursed,” but “blessed.”
He who is blessed in the earth (that is, His servants) will be blessed by Him. Those on the earth who are is servants will swear by the God of truth, not by false gods.
Because they are His servants, they will not suffer from the curses of those who rebel. Why? Because they have repented! Therefore, their past sins have been forgotten and are hidden from His sight.
It is the same for infants in Christ in today’s church. If you repent from the heart, ask Him to crucify your sin nature, and carry out His commandments stay and wait to be filled with His Spirit, He will do it! Hallelujah!
In what category are you, beloved? Are you still sinning against Him, even after you have been saved? I was like you. Have you gone on to be filled with His Spirit, as I did? Or have you disobeyed Jesus Christ’s commandments to stay and wait?
If you are in the latter category, you are rebelling against the Lord. Look again at the contrasts between the rebellious and His servants, and repent!
Verses 17-19 —
Now the LORD speaks of the glorious future of His servants, after the final judgment of His rebellious people, and the final judgment of those who have worshiped the world system that defies God—
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness.
19 I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; and there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.”
If you are His servant, you will not remember the former things (2Peter 3:10). But you will be glad and rejoice, for He creates a new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) for rejoicing and gladness, and He Himself will rejoice and be glad in you!
There will be no more weeping or crying. He will wipe away every tear —
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with (within) 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.”
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will fully and permanently indwell His servants who carry out His commandments to stay and wait, per Jesus Christ’s words from John 14:23. And they will dwell with Him in the place where He has prepared for them — His Father’s house (John 14:2). Surely, in that place, there is no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. The old things have passed away!
Verses 20-21 —
“No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed. 21 They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”
NOTE: At first, it appears that there will be death, after the new heavens and new earth are created. That contradicts other scriptures, so I consulted John Oswalt from The New International Commentary on the Old Testament for his interpretation of this passage.
For His servants who dwell in the kingdom of God, the Lord contrasts the former things with His glorious kingdom. Those things that caused sorrow — the death of an infant, a lifespan cut short — will no longer exist, because there will be no death at all — untimely or otherwise!
His servants will prosper in His kingdom, building houses, living in them, planting vineyards, and eating their fruit. These cannot refer to Judah, because the Romans would burn down Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD, and once again, His rebellious people would be scattered.
So the meaning here is spiritual. When you are filled with His Spirit, beloved, your body becomes His temple, and He lives in you. Infants in Christ are in the process of being built up into His spiritual house (1Peter 2:5), and will become His house when they offer themselves to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1)!
Beloved, it is then that you bear the fruit of His Spirit, fruit no one can take away from you. And you will enjoy the fruits of your labor — spiritual children — here and now, and also when you go to your Father’s house!
Verses 22-23 —
“They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, and their descendants with them.”
Again, for His servants who are His houses, no one but the Father, the Son and the Spirit will inhabit the spiritual house that you have become, for they will fully and permanently indwell you (John 14:23).
No one will rob you of the spiritual fruit that you will bear. And you will live forever — far greater than the lifetime of any tree! It is a direct contrast to the curses of those who rebel against Him, from Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
The work of those whom He has chosen, those who are His servants will never wear out. They will eternally enjoy the fruit of their labor, for it is eternal, spiritual fruit.
None of their labor is unproductive, nor can their spiritual children be miscarried. Why? They and their spiritual children are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord!
Their spiritual children are the treasures in heaven that they store up —
Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal . . .”
Verses 24-25 —
“It will also 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 will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.
If you are His servant today, whatever you ask, He will do, even while you are still in the process of asking. Why? You are filled with the Spirit and thus have become a partaker of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4). So you are one with Him, united in purpose, and operating together with Him. Therefore, your desires are the same as His desires!
And in the kingdom of heaven, you will dwell with Him forever, in complete, uninterrupted communion! While I am here, I still have earthly chores and appointments, and life-in-general happens. But there, I will have no interruptions!
He again speaks symbolically of His kingdom.There is no fear of danger in His kingdom. All that caused fear in the world — ravenous animals, death, hell, and Satan (Revelation 12:9, 20:10 and 14) — will be destroyed forever, along with those who have rejected Him and His people who continue to rebel against Him (Revelation 20:11-16).
Beloved, are you rebelling against the Lord? Are you worshiping the god of self in the churches that teach the “Me gospel?” Then repent, and ask the Lord to forgive you for your rebellion. He is holding out His hands to you, continually! He will receive you back to Himself, if you repent!
Then you must carry out Jesus Christ’s commandments to stay and wait. And surely, He will crucify your sin nature and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Then, when you stand before Him, your Master will receive you as His servant, saying —
Matthew 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”
Lord Jesus, may many of Your little children have ears to hear Your warnings, and repent. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.