Isaiah 65

Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me

Isaiah sees the meridian saints and the latter-day saints of the Gentile nations accepting the gospel.  The promises were given for the house of Israel, but the Lord is ignored by them.  He is sought and worshipped by the Gentiles instead.  The Gentiles are the nation that is seeking the Lord.  The scriptures say, “ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find.”  Isaiah sees the great irony in the fact that Gentiles have received the Lord without asking; they have found Him without seeking.  During his ministry, the Lord made it clear that he was sent only to the House of Israel, but after Peter’s vision (Acts 10), everything changed.  The Lord found himself saying “Behold me, behold me” to the Gentiles.

The Jews of Isaiah’s day would have said, “God forbid.  The Gentiles don’t deserve the Lord’s favor; we are the covenant people.  What a waste!”  They would whine and complain.  What is the Lord doing?  They can’t see it.  The wild branches must be grafted in to preserve the strength and roots of the mother tree. (Jacob 5:57-59)

Isaiah 65:2-7 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people

The Lord laments his patience with the Jews.  He had given them the benefit of the doubt for so long.  Centuries of waiting for them to turn to him passed while they worshipped Baal in their secret gardens and burnt incense to pagan gods in their homes.  The Law of Moses taught them to be clean, that contact with the dead, eating pork, etc. would make them unclean.  They didn’t care; they dwelt in unholy places, ate unholy food, and drank unholy broth.

In Jeremiah’s day, they reached a new level of depravity.  The kings of Judah had ordained wicked priests who defiled the most holy place by bringing idol worship into the Temple of Solomon.  In the temple, “they burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven” (2 Kgs. 23:4-6) “For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it” (Jer. 7:30).  The temple had been desecrated and so the Lord allowed the Babylonians to destroy his house.

Isaiah 65:5 I am holier than thou

Usually the expression, “holier than thou,” is used to describe self-righteousness, man to man.  In this verse, the Lord isn’t worried about the Jews feeling holier than the Gentiles.  They had the audacity to claim more holiness than God himself, the Holiest of all.  It is one thing to have a “holier than thou” attitude with unbelievers; it is something altogether worse to have a “holier than thou” attitude with God. 

In our day, those espousing social causes and political correctness are often guilty of exhibiting a “holier than thou” attitude.  They claim a morality superior to God.  By mocking marriage and claiming social equality for whatever deviant behavior is trendy, they seek to teach the Teacher, to rewrite the laws of the Lawgiver, and ascend above the holiness of God.

Gordon B. Hinckley

A holier-than-thou attitude is not becoming to us. I am in receipt of a letter from a man in our community who is not a member of the Church. In it he says that his little daughter has been ostracized by her schoolmates who are Latter-day Saints…

Let us rise above all such conduct and teach our children to do likewise. Let us be true disciples of the Christ, observing the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us strengthen our own faith and that of our children while being gracious to those who are not of our faith. Love and respect will overcome every element of animosity. Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe. (Ensign, May 1998, 5)

Gordon B. Hinckley

We must never forget that we live in a world of great diversity. The people of the earth are all our Father’s children and are of many and varied religious persuasions. We must cultivate tolerance and appreciation and respect one another. We have differences of doctrine. This need not bring about animosity or any kind of holier-than-thou attitude. (“The Work Moves Forward,” Ensign, May 1999, 5)

N. Eldon Tanner

As fathers and sons and holders of the priesthood we must always be humble, proud, and never ashamed of the priesthood we hold. We are different, a peculiar people, and must remain different in the cause of truth and righteousness. Never adopt a “holier than thou” attitude, but always live up to the standards of the Church and never waver. (“The Priesthood: A Royal Army,” Ensign, July 1972, 100)

Isaiah 65:5 These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day

Before the throne of God, there is an altar where an angel burns incense.  The incense represents the “prayers of the saints [ascending] up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Rev. 8:3-4).  In the Temple of Solomon, there was a table of incense from which the potpourri of sweet smells ascended to God like the pleasant prayers of the saints. 

In contrast to these sweet smells are the noxious fumes of the wicked, “These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.”

Isaiah 65:6 it is written before me: I… will recompense

The wickedness of man is recorded in heaven.  Justice demands a recompense equal to the wickedness.  That too is recorded in heaven for Jehovah to look upon.  The judgments upon the wicked have been written.  Lehi read a book that contained a recompense “concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof” (1 Ne. 1:13).  “Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon,” meaning he was given to write the destructions pronounced upon Babylon that had already been written in the Lord’s Book of Recompense (Jer. 51:60). John saw the Lamb holding “a book written within and on the backside” full of destructions pronounced upon the wicked, and “sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1).

We can either have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or have them written in the Lamb’s Book of Recompense. The choice is ours.

Isaiah 6:7, 9 I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it

The gathering of Jacob and Judah are common themes.  In this instance, Isaiah contrasts the wicked idolatrous practices in which the fathers “burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills” with the righteous worship of the Lord in the mountain of the Lord’s house.  In the tops of the mountains, in the temples of God, from the “utmost bound of the everlasting hills” to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Lord expects gathered Jacob and gathered Judah to worship him in righteousness.  He demands payback for the wickedness of the fathers.  The Levites defiled the Temple in Jeremiah’s day, so the Lord demands that “the sons of Levi… offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” (D&C 13:1)

   Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

   Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed. (D&C 49:25)

Brigham Young

We talk and read about Zion, we contemplate upon it, and in our imaginations we reach forth to grasp something that is transcendant in heavenly beauty, excellency and glory. But while contemplating the future greatness of Zion, do we realize that we are the pioneers of that future greatness and glory? Do we realize that if we enjoy a Zion in time or in eternity, we must make it for ourselves? That all who have a Zion in the eternities of the gods organized, framed, consolidated, and perfected it themselves, and consequently are entitled to enjoy it. (Journal of Discourses 9:282-283)

Isaiah 65:11 prepare a table for that troop, and… the drink offering unto that number

There is a double meaning which is lost in translation.  The Hebrew word for troop also suggests Gad, the god of fortune; the Hebrew word for number suggests Meni, the god of fate.

The Jews should have been preparing to meet the Bridegroom at his coming, preparing for the Feast of the Lord.  The Lord was going to set the table for them, but they couldn’t wait, they set the table and invited their idol gods instead, setting out food and drink for idol worship, relying more on luck and fortune.

Isaiah 65:13 Behold my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry

George Q. Cannon

God has given to us a leader who has wisdom equal to any emergency, and if we will be obedient to his counsels we shall realize as great salvation as was wrought out by Joseph for those with whom he was associated. Herein we possess advantages not possessed by other people; we have revelation to guide us, we have the word of the Lord in our midst; we are not dependent upon man's wisdom, nor upon human plans, but we have the wisdom of eternity manifested through the servants of God to guide us. We have the opportunity of building up the Kingdom of God and of carrying out the designs of heaven according to His plan; and if we will do so we shall fulfil the word of the Lord given anciently, when speaking of and comparing his people with the people of the world. Said he, “My servants shall eat, and you shall be hungry: my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed: my servants shall sing with gladness of heart, but you shall sorrow with sadness of heart, and howl with vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name as a curse to my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name.” (Journal of Discourses, 12:16)

Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I created new heavens and a new earth

Joseph Fielding Smith

The new heavens and new earth spoken of by Isaiah and in [D&C] section 101, have no reference to the new heavens and earths which will come after the close of the Millennium when the earth shall become as a sea of glass. The new heavens and earth here spoken of will come at the beginning of the Millennium. It is the change spoken of in the tenth Article of Faith. The Lord definitely fixes the time when this change will come and all corruptible things be removed. It is in the day when enmity shall cease on the earth and love shall take the place of hate even among the beasts and fowl as well as with mankind. It shall be a day when there shall be no sorrow for there shall be no death. Men on the earth will still be mortal, but a change shall come over them so that they will have power over sickness, disease and death. Death shall all but be banished from the earth, for men shall live until they are the age of a tree or one hundred years old, (See Sec. 63:50-51), and then shall die at the age of man, but this death shall come in the twinkling of an eye and mortality shall give way to immortality suddenly. There shall be no graves, and the righteous shall be caught up to a glorious resurrection. In that day the resurrected Saints will work hand in hand with the mortal Saints on the earth. It is the purpose of the Lord during that thousand years to have the ordinance work performed for all the dead who are entitled to receive it. It is the time of restoration and perfection, when all things pertaining to the Salvation of man will be fulfilled. Mortals must perform in the Temples the ordinance work which pertains to this mortal life. All who are raised in the resurrection also belong to another life, and therefore cannot be baptized, confirmed, ordained, endowed, or sealed for themselves, since all of these ordinances belong to this mortal sphere. Those who have passed through the resurrection will come with the needed records so that those in the flesh, or mortality, can perform the work for their dead. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 2: 216 - 217)

Bruce R. McConkie

Peter calls this day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth; this day when the earth shall wax old and die and in which the heavens shall vanish away like smoke; this day in which things on earth will be changed as men change the vestures that clothe them; this day in which the earth will be broken down and dissolved and moved exceedingly; this day in which the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory and become again as it originally was in the day of the Garden of Eden—Peter calls this day "the times of refreshing" that "shall come from the presence of the Lord" when "he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached" unto the Jews. (Acts 3:19-20.) It will be the day of change needed to make the earth a fit habitation for its true King and the other resurrected beings who will live and reign with him for the appointed thousand years. And well might Peter so speak. He was one of three in the meridian of time, the other two being James and John, who saw in vision the whole glorious renewal of the earth. Alluding to what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration, our revealed word says: "He that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come; When the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received." (D&C 63:20-21.) The new heaven and new earth, the paradisiacal earth, the renewed earth, the refreshed earth, the transfigured earth, the millennial earth—all these are one and the same. How blessed the earth will be in that day! (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 618)

Isaiah 65:17 the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind

Orson Pratt

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Now, that has reference to the creation that will be renewed, at the beginning of the millennium. People will not remember. Our children that will be born during the millennium will not remember all the wickedness and corruption that existed in the days of their fathers. It will not come into their minds, unless God puts it there; but when they become immortal, after the thousand years have ended, then I think they will comprehend the process by which this world was made. But, inquires one, how will they know it? They will know it because they were all present when it was made. You understand it, Latter-day Saints; you and I were there when this world was made. We have forgotten it, but we will remember it when we wake up in eternity, with all the fulness of knowledge that will be given after everything is made anew. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 328 - 329)

Isaiah 65:20 the child shall die an hundred years old

What will the Millennium be like for children?  They will be born into a world without temptation from Satan.  They will be raised by parents who know and love the Lord.  They will grow old and live 100 years.  They die, but that death isn’t a separation of their spirit from the body like we know death.  They will not be buried in the grave. Instead, their bodies are transformed from mortal to mortal in instant.  They morph from mortal to a perfected, resurrected, celestial being in the twinkling of an eye.  Isaiah is the only prophet who tells us at what age this death/twinkling occurs.

   …children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

   For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them. (D&C 45:58-59)

   In that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.

   And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.

   In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree (i.e. 100);

   And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious. (D&C 101:29-32)

“In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord has revealed… important truths about the resurrection of mankind. First, those who live during the Millennium will not die as we know death now; they will be changed from mortality to immortality in the “twinkling of an eye.”  This transformation is millennial or paradisiacal life followed by an instantaneous resurrection. They will not spend even a moment in a grave.” (Robert J. Woodford, “The Remarkable Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 46)

Joseph Fielding Smith

So during the Millennium there will be no death. Children will not die. Disease will be banished. This is part of the restoration. But that child, when it has reached a certain age, the age of a tree, a hundred years we read in Isaiah, will be changed like that. It will die when it is old. It will pass from the mortal to the immortal state, suddenly and so they will not need to make graves… (Signs of the Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1952], 37)

Isaiah 65:20 but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed

Can you sin without Satan?  The Millennium will be a time of great peace, but not everyone will follow the Lord as they should.  Some will reject Him, not because they are tempted by Satan, but because they choose to reject Him.  They will not keep the Law of the Lord, nor follow the Word of the Lord.  It is hard to imagine, but the scriptures tell us it will be so.  Joseph Smith said there would be wicked men during the Millennium. 

What happens to them when they turn 100 years old?  They are accursed.  What does that mean?  It can’t mean a resurrection. It must mean they either die or remain in an accursed state to await a later resurrection, the resurrection of the unjust at the end of the Millennium.  Is it a death or do they just stay old and wrinkly?  Is there a nursing home for the accursed to sit around, play cards, and complain about life until the end of the Millennium?

Joseph Smith

There will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years. The heathen nations who will not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.268)

Isaiah 65:23 they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them

LeGrand Richards

Paul said, “… neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:11.) They might get along here in mortality without each other, but not in the eternities that are to come.

Peter said that the husband should live with his wife “according to knowledge, … as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7.) Now what does it mean “being heirs together of the grace of life”? What life? They already had their lives here in mortality, but they are to become heirs together of the blessings of eternal life. How could it be written any plainer than that?

Then we remember when Isaiah saw the new heaven and the new earth, when the lamb and the wolf should feed together, and “the lion shall eat straw like the bullock. …” (Isa. 65:25.) He saw that men “shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

“They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: … and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands … for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.” (Isa. 65:21–23.) How could you make it any more plain than that, that they and their offspring with them would inhabit the houses that they would build?

Now this great eternal principle is one of the great truths that has been revealed through the restoration of the gospel. Personally I would just as soon believe that death was a complete annihilation of both body and spirit as to think that I would have to live on forever and forever without a continuation of the love ties that bind my wife and me together, and our family and our loved ones here in this life. Heaven will only be a projection of our life here. (“Revealed Truths of the Gospel,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 59)

LeGrand Richards

This is a definite promise of the duration of the family during the thousand years, a time when people will build houses and inhabit them, when they will plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof. And then to make it perfectly clear that this promise includes their children, Isaiah adds: “For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.” Nothing could be more plain.

By personal manifestation as one of the Lord’s special witnesses, I bear my solemn testimony that he lives and will come again to usher in his thousand-year millennial reign, and we will be privileged to join him if we live for it. (“The Righteous Shall Come Forth,” Ensign, Apr. 1981, 11)

Isaiah 65:25 the lion shall eat straw like the bullock

Bruce R. McConkie

Isaiah gives us these poetically phrased particulars about animal life during the Millennium. "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together," he says, "and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock." Implicit in this pronouncement is the fact that man and all forms of life will be vegetarians in the coming day; the eating of meat will cease, because, for one thing, death as we know it ceases. There will be no shedding of blood, because man and beast are changed (quickened) and blood no longer flows in their veins. "And dust shall be the serpent's meat," meaning, as we suppose, that they shall no longer eat mice and vermin and animal life. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 658)