The Bible repeatedly shows us that God’s mercy is there for anyone who will seek Him (Matt. 11:28-30). Wrath abides on the one who refuses to obey the gospel (John 3:36), but forgiveness and life are there for those who believe (John 3:16).

Isaiah chapter 65 brings us to the place where prayers for restoration (chs. 63-64) are finally being answered. Israel is finally repenting from its sin and turning to Jesus Christ, and with this God has now begun to restore His wayward nation. The following blog (taken from my forthcoming commentary on Isaiah) shows us the great mercy that comes to those who seek the Lord.

Chapter 65 tells us about the destinies of the saved and the unsaved, a message that also serves as an evangelistic invitation.  Chapter 65 may be broken down as follows:  rebuke for the rebels (vv. 1-7), restoration for the remnant (vv. 8-10), ruin for the recalcitrant (vv. 11-12), riches for the righteous (vv. 13-16), and renewal for the regenerate (vv. 17-25).

Rebuke for the rebels (vv. 1-7)

The way to God has always been by grace through faith, regardless of ethnicity.  Being Jewish provided no special salvific privilege, but Jews often thought that they were spiritually superior to the Gentiles because of God’s choice of the nation.  This was an attitude that was highly offensive to God.  Thus, explains Kidner, “Far from ending in a general radiance, these chapters unsparingly sharpen the contrast of light and darkness and strip away all cover of privilege.”[1]  Here in verses 1-7, Isaiah gives three explanations of God’s offer of grace and Israel’s response to this offer.

First explanation:  God’s open invitation to grace (vv. 1-2)

The Old Testament shows a long history of God reaching out to His people.  For anyone who knows their Bible, God was always there faithfully reaching out to His people.  Verses 1-2 show us three ways that God kept making His grace available to Israel even though they would not respond.

First two ways God offered free grace (v. 1).  Here in verse 1, the first two statements read, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.  I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name.”[2]  Clearly, God’s offer of grace was always there for Israel.

These statements in verses 1-2 raise interpretive questions on how we are to understand Isaiah’s authorial intent.  We have one of four possibilities.  The first possibility is that Isaiah is speaking about the Gentiles who had never sought God in the past, but will respond in faith at the end of the age and enter the millennial kingdom.  A second possibility is that Isaiah is referring to Gentiles who are responding in faith now in the church age.  A third possibility is that Isaiah is referring the eschatological Jewish remnant who will respond to Christ during the tribulation period.  A fourth possibility is that verses 1-2 convey nothing about a positive response, but are speaking strictly about Israel’s lack of responsiveness in past ages.  This fourth interpretation has the best contextual support.

With reference to the first view, it is true that God’s saving grace will draw a huge remnant of elect Gentiles to Himself during the Great Tribulation, and that these saved Gentiles will enter the messianic kingdom (cf. Isa. 2:1-4; 4:2-6; 11:10; 19:23-25; 42:6; 49:6; 53:15; 56:6-8; 60:1ff.; 61:5; 66:18-24; Rev. 7:9-19).  This, however, is not best contextual understanding.

Neither should this passage be understood to be Gentiles getting saved into the church.  For one thing, the New Testament teaches us that the church is a “mystery” that was never seen or predicted by the Old Testament prophets (Rom. 16:25-27; Eph. 3:1-10; Col. 1:26).  Now, it is true that Paul quotes this passage in Romans 10:20 when he describes Gentiles coming to faith in the Body of Christ.  What we have here, though, is the application of a principle, i.e., people coming to faith who previously were not seeking God.  This, however, is no more than an application of a spiritual principle,[3] the gracious salvation of those who were dead in sin but drawn to faith by God’s grace.[4]  Kidner, however, favors this view.

The Hebrew as it stands supports Rom. 10:20–21 in referring v 1 to the Gentiles and v 2 to Israel. In the niv the Hebrew phrase ‘a nation … not called by my name’, (i.e. the Gentiles) has been adjusted to read a nation that did not call on my name (which could still be Israel).[5]

It is true that in the church God is saving Gentiles who had never sought Him, but this is not the proper understanding of Isaiah 65:1-2.

Third way God offered free grace (v. 2).  For the third time we see Isaiah talk about the offer of God’s free grace when he writes, “I said, Here am I, here am I, to a nation which did not call on My name.”[6]  Some see verses 1-2 as referring to Gentile inclusion in the millennial kingdom.  This is possible, but still not the best view.[7]  It must be noted that verses 1-2 may not be referring to either future Gentile conversions nor future Jewish conversions, but to present-day Israel.  Rather, it is best understood as God showing his contempt for Israel’s lack of responsiveness.  Smith writes,

To this sinful Israelite “nation” (gôy), a derogatory term for foreign nations that is used instead of the covenant term “people” (ʿam), God says, “Here I am; here I am!” This repetition could indicate something of God’s frustration with this obstinate nation that did not call and the urgent need for them to wake up and turn to him. One can almost imagine in modern terminology, God waving his hand and screaming out this exclamation, “Wake up, over here, I’m right beside you!” The failure to call on the name of God indicates just how far these people are from God. If people then or today do not call on God, it is not surprising that they feel distant from God.[8]

Smith’s view would be consistent with the way that Israel’s disbelief eventually culminated with God rejecting the generation of Jews who rejected Jesus two thousand years ago.  That generation of unbelieving Jews got rejected, but God also made it clear that one day His grace would bring the nation a restoration (Matt. 21:33-46, esp. v. 43; cf. 10:23; 12:39-45; 23:35-39).  This is the restoration of the remnant Isaiah speaks about numerous times (Isa. 1:9; 4:2; 6:13; 7:3; 10:20-23; 11:11-16; 37:31-32; 41:17; 46:3; 49:6; 65-66).  No one can share in the kingdom apart from faith.[9]

Israel had that special privilege of being the custodians of God’s special revelation (Isa. 53:1; Rom. 3:2; 9:1-5), but sadly this rebellious people (sorer) trusted in their own righteousness, and this self-righteousness kept them from salvation despite God’s desire for them to seek Him (Ezek. 18:23; 30-32; Matt. 23:37).  Keil explains, “That which led them, and which they followed, was not the will of God, but selfish views and purposes, according to their own hearts’ lusts.”[10]

Israel’s self-righteous rejection of grace (vv. 3-5)

Verses 3-5 continue to magnify Israel’s self-righteous rebellion of God’s saving grace.  Isaiah highlights two aspects of this rebellion.

Israel’s dedication to idolatry (vv. 3-4).  Israel continually chose paths of idolatry which provoked God to anger.[11]  These acts included pagan sacrifices in the gardens (1:29; 66:17),[12] burning incense on bricks (Jer. 44:17-19),[13] detestable nighttime acts in hidden places like graveyards,[14] and the eating of pig meat (Isa. 66:3, 17; cf. Lev. 11:7-8).

Israel’s dedication to self-righteous (v. 5).  Isaiah further describes Israel as being self-righteous hypocrites in that they are completely immersed in sin, but shun others as unworthy to even approach them, an attitude that God finds disgusting:  “These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.”

The consequences of rejecting grace (vv. 6-7)

When God says “It is written before Me,” the idea would appear to mean that all the sins of the nation have been written down and recorded so that God can judge them according to their deeds (v. 6; cf. Rev. 20:11-15).[15]  The people wondered why God has been silent (63:15ff.; 64:12), but soon He will no longer keep His silence, but not in the way that they thought.  The Day of the Lord is coming, but contrary to what they expect, it will not be good for them when God pays them back (shalam) in full for all their idolatry (v. 7; cf. 57:7; Amos 5:18; Mal. 3:1-7).

Martin notes that, “the Assyrian threat (Isa. 1–37) and the Babylonian Exile (chaps. 38–66) were two of the ways the Lord disciplined His people,”[16] but in reality, we need to recognize that the covenant curses that brought exile in Babylon (cf. Deut. 28:15-68) are still at work against Israel today.  It will not be until the Tribulation Period has run its course that these judgments that God is measuring out (madad) will come to their final end (Isa. 10:25; 26:20-21;  Dan. 9:27; 11:36; Matt. 24:3-31).

Restoration for the remnant (vv. 8-10)

Having discussed those who will not be heirs of the kingdom (vv. 1-7), Isaiah now turns his attention to that elect remnant who will come to faith in Messiah and be part of His kingdom. 

The illustration of the remnant (v. 8)

Isaiah uses a viticultural analogy to illustrate the idea that God has a remnant He will save out of Israel, and that He will not let the failure of the nation stop Him from fulfilling His redemptive promises (cf. Rom. 11:29).  Back in chapter 5 God used a vineyard metaphor to illustrate the principle that Israel failed horribly to be a fruitful nation (cf. Jer. 2:21).  Nevertheless, even though the nation failed badly, God knows that good can come out of it, those whom He calls “My servants,” and for this reason He will not completely destroy the nation (cf. Isa. 27:1-6).

The descriptions of the remnant (v. 9)

Isaiah uses four terms to describe this eschatological remnant.  He first calls them “offspring” (zera‘, seed) from Jacob.  We saw earlier that the victorious Servant will conquer death and see His seed (53:10; cf. 45:25; 54:3; 61:9; 66:22; Jer. 31:36).  This “seed” consists of the huge number of Jewish believers who come to faith by the redeeming grace poured out by the Servant (Isa. 32:15; 43:18; 44:3-5; 59:21; Zech. 12:10).[17]  Paul describes this restoration of Israel as being “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15, 25-36).

Second, Isaiah describes the redeemed remnant as being “an heir [yoresh] of My mountains from Judah.”  The contemporary prophet Micah described One particular man who was to come out of Judah as being the eternal One who will come out of Bethlehem to be King forever (Mic. 5:2).  Here, however, the context is speaking about the collective nation (v. 9; cf. Ezek. 36:8; 38:8; Ps. 37).

Third, Isaiah describes this redeemed remnant as God’s “chosen ones” (bachiyr; cf. 65:15, 22) who will inherit (yarash) the land so as to possess it.  Contrary to the views of replacement theologians, it is not the church who fulfills these prophecies, but a restored Israel in the messianic kingdom, thus bringing a final fulfillment to the land promises sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:1-3, et al.).

Fourth, God describes this redeemed remnant as His “servants” (‘ebed; cf. 54:17 et al.) who will dwell in the land forever (Isa. 49:8; 60:21).[18]  At long last, the redeemed remnant will dwell in their own land in peace, and dwelling with them will be the Lord Himself in the person of God’s Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Ezek. 48:35).

The response of the remnant (v. 10)

Having described the divine reason why these people are heirs of the kingdom,[19] Isaiah now shows the human reason.  It is because these are the people who “seek” (darash) the Lord.  These are the ones who have turned in faith, and for this reason these are the ones who will see Sharon become a rich pasture land, and the valley of Achor a resting place for herds.  Sharon was historically a rich plain along the Mediterranean coast north of Joppa on the western edge of the land, but Achor, an ancient city on the eastern edge of the land near Jericho (cf. Josh. 7:24-26; cf. Hos. 2:15), was quite barren.[20]  Those who trust the Lord will see the entire land transformed just as promised, for God has chosen Israel (cf. 41:8-9).

Ruin for the recalcitrant (vv. 11-12)

The offer of blessings has been there all along, but sadly there would still be those who refuse to turn to the Lord in faith.  Those who refuse to believe will be banned from the kingdom.  Isaiah gives two broad explanations of the sins of these people:  (1) they are dedicated to idolatry (v. 11), and (2) they refuse to repent (v. 12).

First explanation:  They are dedicated to idolatry (v. 11)

Idolatry has plagued the human race ever since the Tower of Babel, a sin that dominated most of the ANE over the ages.  Israel easily fell to the lies of idolatry, one of the major reasons God cast them out of the land.  Isaiah gives a four-fold description of these apostates who embraced idols.

First description:  They have forsaken the Lord.  Isaiah’s use of the second person plural pronoun, i.e., “But you” (we’attem) emphasizes a strong contrast between the blessed believers of verses 8-10 and those who refuse to listen, i.e., “you who forsake the Lord.”  These are people who lived in the land as descendants of Abraham under the Law of Moses—the covenant they swore to uphold (Exod. 19:5-6; 24:7-8), but who chose to reject the Lord and His Torah (Deut. 28:20; 29:24; 31:16; Judg. 10:10; 1 Kings 19:10; 2 Chron. 24:18; Jer. 1:16; 2:11-19; Dan. 11:28-32).

Second description:  They forgot God’s holy mountain.  The term “mountain” is best understood as speaking about Mount Zion, i.e., the temple mount in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-3), but perhaps the reference could also be understood in the wider sense of kingdom, as mountain sometimes includes (Isa. 2:2-3; 11:9; 66:20; Dan. 2:35; Mic. 4:1).  The point is that God is talking about people who have rejected Him.[21]

Third description:  They set a table for Fortune.  The idea of setting a table for “Fortune” (Gad) refers to a sacrificial feast for the demon god Gad, a well-known god in Syria that was connected with place names like Baal-Gad (Josh. 11:17; 12:7; 13:5) and Migdal-Gad (Josh. 15:37).[22]

Fourth description:  They fill wine cups for Destiny.  “Destiny” (Meniy) is not found elsewhere in Scripture, but was another one of the demon-gods Israelites had begun to worship.  Archeologists have found inscriptions where both the names Gad and Meniy are used together.[23]  By forsaking the Lord to worship these other gods, Israel had turned from the true and living God to serve demons (1 Cor. 10:21-22).

Second explanation:  They would not repent (v. 12).

In itself, idolatry is not an unforgivable sin, but a refusal to repent is. Enemy invasion and slaughter will be their lot because God repeatedly called out to them through His prophets (cf. 65:2; 66:4), but they refused to respond.  Therefore, God will “destine” (manah) them for the sword.[24]

Riches for the righteous (vv. 13-16)

Isaiah presents the stark contrast between the destinies of those who refuse the Lord and those who do listen.[25]  Isaiah lays out three kinds of blessings that will belong to such believers (i.e., God’s servants).

The physical blessings of the kingdom (v. 13a)

God’s servants will eat and drink in plenty, but those who disbelieve will hunger and thirst.  What we see here is a most-basic kind of life provision, the kind of provision that will be forfeited due to disbelief (cf. 5:13; 8:21 41:17; 49:10).  Those who refuse the Lord lose everything.[26]

The emotional blessings of the kingdom (vv. 13b-14)

Isaiah continues the contrast by telling us that God’s servants will rejoice, but the rebels will be put to shame.  The blessings of forgiveness will overtake believers with joy (Isa. 35:10; 51:11; 54:1; 61:7; 66:14), but eternal misery will be the lot of those who refuse to heed the Lord (Isa. 66:24; cf. Dan. 12:2; Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30).

The restoration blessings of the kingdom (vv. 15-16)

All these blessings can be summed up as the restoration blessings of the kingdom.  Verse 15, however, goes on to remind us of the terrifying reality that disbelief will only lead to everlasting judgments:  “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” (v. 15).  Keil explains,

The former, perishing in the land of captivity, leave their name to the latter as shebhū’âh, i.e., to serve as a formula by which to swear, or rather to execrate or curse (Num. 5:21), so that men will say, “Jehovah slay thee, as He slew them.”[27]

Those who used to call themselves Jews but were not saved will for all eternity become the kind of name that is used for a curse, but those who do believe will be called by a new name (Isa. 62:2-4; cf. Rev. 2:17; 3:12).

            The destiny of the believer, however, will be radically different, for they will be blessed (barak) by the God of truth (cf. Ps. 31:15), and their former troubles will be gone forever (v. 16).  The only reason why is because of their willingness to respond to God’s grace and believe.[28]

Renewal for the regenerate (vv. 17-25)

The previous descriptions of joy and restoration now lead Isaiah to describe the “ultimate happiness and peace” that God will one day bring to His restored creation.[29]  Sin has made our present world crooked, corrupt, and perverse, but God’s promise is that one day He is going to perfectly restore it.  All of this should cause us to long for the blessings of God’s kingdom.  Peter explained it this way, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).  Isaiah reveals six ways that God will make a radical transformation through the restoration of six lost blessings.

A restoration of a lost paradise (v. 17)

The declaration about God creating (bara’) a new heavens and earth raises the question of whether Isaiah understood this as fully as what gets revealed in the progressive revelation of the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:7-11; Rev. 21:1ff.).  Martin does not think Isaiah saw a new creation such as seen in the New Testament,

The Lord described the millennial kingdom, which is seemingly identified here with the eternal state (new heavens and a new earth). In Revelation, however, the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:1) follow the Millennium (Rev. 20:4). Most likely Isaiah did not distinguish between these two aspects of God’s rule; he saw them together as one. After all, the Millennium, though 1,000 years in duration, will be a mere pinpoint of time compared with the eternal state.[30]

Thus, there appears to be reason to doubt that God gave Isaiah the extent of prophetic revelation that He gave to Peter and John in the New Testament.  Nevertheless, God is going to make a total restoration of all that was lost through the entrance of sin and curse—a restoration in which all the former troubles are taken away and forgotten forever (Isa. 65:16; cf. Rev. 21:4).[31]  Thus, explains Young, at the very least what we see here is the truth that one day God is going to bring in a full renewal of His creation.[32]  Therefore, we can live with the hope that the woes of this life will one day pass and be replaced with the restoration of paradise lost.

A restoration of a lost joy (vv. 18-19)

God’s restoration will bring a recovery of all the joys that had been lost due to sin.  For this reason,[33] God gives the command, “But be glad [sus; cf. Isa. 35:1; 61:10; 62:5; 64:4; 65:18, 19; 66:10, 14; Zeph. 3:17] and rejoice [giyl; cf. Isa. 9:2; 16:10; 25:9; 29:19; 35:1-2; 41:16; 49:13; 61:10; 66:10; Joel 2:23; Zeph. 3:17] forever in what I create, for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing [giylah] and her people for gladness [masos]” (v. 18).  The command is for extreme and unrestrained joy.  Jerusalem, which for much of its history has been a cause of misery and pain, will one day become a source of great joy, and never again be the cause of weeping (bekiy) and crying (ze‘aqah), for everlasting joy will replace the age of sorrow (Isa. 25:8; 30:19; 35:10; 51:11; 61:2-3; cf. Rev. 7:17; 21:4).  This much is clear:  God is going to restore the joy that was lost due to sin.

A restoration of a lost vitality (v. 20)

God warned Adam that disobedience would bring death (Gen. 2:17), and this is exactly what happened (Rom. 5:12).  Adam’s sin made death the king of the whole earth (Rom. 5:14, 17), but God’s promise is that one day He will restore the life He had appointed from the beginning.  For this reason, says Isaiah,

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.

This verse calls for several observations.  First, we recognize that even though the Millennium is going to include a radical restraining of sin and death (Rev. 20:1-3), there will still be mortal human beings living in a state of sinfulness.  For this reason, because sin still exists, death will still be part of human existence although greatly restrained.[34]

In the Millennium, lifespans will be very long, but death will still be a reality.  Kidner explains, “The point of a hundred years old (20) is that in this new setting a mere century is shamefully brief.”[35]  The reality of death will be largely restrained during the Millennium so that death at age 100 is viewed as an anomaly.   However, in the New Heavens and New Earth, these things will be completely purged forever (Rev. 21-22).

A restoration of a lost peace (vv. 21-23)

Throughout history, all civilizations have had to deal with the threat of foreign invasion that would bring a loss to all of life’s labors.  God’s promise is that this will never happen again.  Work and procreation will  continue to be part of God’s order during the Millennium, but it will not get frustrated by sin (cf. Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:15-46; Isa. 13:16; Hos. 5:14; 7:12; ; 9:15; 10:10; 13:7, 16; Amos 5:11; Mic. 6:15; Zeph. 1:13).

A restoration of a lost intimacy (v. 24)

Israel’s sin caused a separation from God so that He would not hear them (49:14; 59:1-2; 63:17; 64:12).  In the kingdom, God will restore the lost intimacy.  They will pray and He will respond (Isa. 30:19; 58:9; cf. Ps. 145:18-19).

A restoration of a lost harmony (v. 25)

Lastly, God will restore the harmony between all living creatures that was lost due to the entrance of sin:  “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” (cf. Isa. 11:6-9).  Sin brought enmity and death (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 8:20), but Christ will bring an end to all such enmity and death, so that animals will never again bring harm to other animals, or even human beings (Isa. 35:9; cf. Hos. 2:18; Rom. 8:21-22).  Kidner gives us an apt summary:

The wicked will no longer flourish, nor the strong prey on the weak, nor the tempter escape his sentence (cf. v 25 with Gn. 3:14–15), in the perfect world to come. But all this is expressed freely, locally and pictorially, to kindle hope rather than feed curiosity.[36]

Summary and application If you want life, and you want it abundantly, God is offering it to you right now.  This was true for Israel twenty-seven centuries ago, and it is still true today.  The only condition is that you must be willing to believe the word of the Lord and turn to Him for the cleansing and forgiveness.

[1] Kidner, “Isaiah,” 669.

[2] The Niphal verb stem of “sought” (darash) and “found” (matsa’) allows for this “tolerative” permissive verbal force such as seen in the Greek “permissive middle voice” (Bruce Waltke and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax [Winona Lake:  Eisenbrauns, 1990], 379).

[3] Paul is perfectly correct when he applies this principle to those Gentiles and Jews whom God is saving in the church today (Rom. 9:24-26; 10:19-20; cf. Hos. 1:10-11; 2:23; 1 Pet. 2:10).  It is not a prophecy of the church, but the application is true.

[4] The Bible shows us that Adam’s sin plunged the human race into a state of spiritual death (Rom. 5:12-21; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19), a condition from which it is incapable to escape apart from the intervention of God’s regenerating grace (Matt. 11:25-27; John 6:37, 44; Rom. 9:22-23; Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).

[5]Kidner, “Isaiah,” 669.

[6] The MT conveys a passive idea with the Pual stem (“to a nation which was not called by His name”), but 1QIsa and all the versions read an active idea like, “a nation which did not call on His name” (Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 632, n. 3).

[7] The context could embrace the idea of Gentile inclusion in the kingdom, but this would not obviate all the other promises about Israel’s restoration such as seen in other passages (Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 501; Grogan, “Isaiah,” 349).

[8] Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 701.  In summary, in the view of the present writer, it is best to see vv. 1-7 as God’s rebuke for their lack of responsiveness and that positive response is not part of Isaiah’s point.  This much is clear, explains Young, God’s free grace reached to those who did not know Him and who made no effort to find Him (Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 501).

[9] Matthew’s Gospel repeatedly emphasizes the warning that no unbelieving Jews will enter the kingdom (e.g., Matt. 3:10; 8:11-12; 21:33-46; 23:36-39; cf. Acts 2:40).

[10] Keil, Commentary on the Old Testament, 614.

[11] The articular participle (a Hiphil stem of ka‘as, to provoke) emphasizes the durative force of the action.  This list of idolatrous sins reminds us of unrepentant sins that keep men out of the New Jerusalem as seen in Rev 21:8; 22:15 (Grogan, “Isaiah,” 349-350).

[12] Canaanite rituals were often held in luxuriant gardens.

[13] The exact meaning is not clear (Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 503).

[14] This probably involved necromancy—communication with the dead (cf. Isa. 8:19; Deut. 18:11).  Historical sources, like Jerome and Horace, show that such practices were common in the ancient world (ibid., 503, n. 4).

[15] Ibid., 505.

[16] Martin, “Isaiah,” 1119.

[17] David described the beauty of the Messiah’s people in Psalm 110:3.

[18] Isaiah used the term servant at times to refer to the collective nation (e.g., 41:8), other times to Christ (e.g., 42:1), but other times as here in a plural sense as referring to the redeemed remnant.

[19] We say “divine reason” because all four expressions in v. 9 point back to the work of God.

[20] They will have great productivity (Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 647).

[21] In Isaiah 8:6 such apostates are described as those who “have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah,” i.e., the spring waters which originate at the Gihon Spring which was located in the City of David.

[22] Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah:  Chapters40-66, 648.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Isaiah creates a word play in that their worship of the “god” destiny (Meniy) will lead to God giving them a “destiny” (manah) of ruin.

[25] We see the solemnity of this by virtue of the name that God uses, ’Adonay Yahweh, i.e., the sovereign Lord (cf. Isa. 48:16; 50:4-5, 7, 9).

[26] Grogan, “Isaiah,” 350.

[27] Keil, Commentary on the Old Testament, 620.

[28] Because of their faith in Yahweh, they swore by His name and not the names of the Baals (cf. Jer. 12:16).

[29] Wolf, Interpreting Isaiah, 250.

[30] Martin, “Isaiah,” 1120.

[31] Yahweh is the One who not only brought the creation into existence (Isa. 42:5), but will one day cause it to vanish (Isa. 51:6) and one day be completely recreated (65:16).  The idea of “creating” (bara’) could mean a literal recreation of all the elements (cf. Gen. 1:1, 21, 27; 2:3), or perhaps that of bringing into existence without an ex-nihilo idea standing behind it (Isa. 43:1; cf. Ezek. 21:30; 28:13, 15).  In this context, the latter is the best understanding.

[32] Young, TheBook of Isaiah, vol.3, 513.

[33] The Hebrew “But” (kiy ’im) accents a strong contrast (“But rather”) between the former sorrows of the past age (v. 17) and the blessings of the future (vv. 18-25).

[34] It is only regenerate believers who are allowed into the kingdom, but these people are still mortal sinners.  Furthermore, the children born to them will be mortal sinners who need to make a choice to trust in Jesus Christ.  Because these kingdom citizens are sinners, death will be a reality until the time when God purges all sin and death in an absolute sense (Rev. 21-22).

[35] Kidner, “Isaiah,” 669.

[36] Ibid.

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