My Chosen People Will Inherit My Mountains

65: 8-16

   DIG: Compare 65:8-12 with 10:20-23. What do they have in common? How is the emphasis of each different? What will happen to those who have placed their hope in other gods? What are the four covenants that are the basis of Israel’s final restoration? What geographical and topographical changes will take place in the Land during the Messianic Kingdom? How will the Millennial priesthood and sacrifices change? What twelve tribes will be given land? What promises are here for those who have not followed the way of idolatry?

   REFLECT: What qualities in 65:13-16 mark the people who receive the curses pronounced by Isaiah? Where do you see that in evidence today? Or will this only be manifested in the distant future? Why do you think so? How can the promises of 65:13-16 become so much a part of you that they can encourage you when you feel spiritually hungry, thirsty, or ashamed? If God is faithful in His promises to Israel, what does that say about His promises to you? What aspects of the Kingdom described here do you see yourself participating in? Why? How?

    The fervent prayer of the believing remnant in Chapter 64 is answered by God in Chapters 65 and 66. ADONAI makes it very clear that their sins and unfaithfulness were responsible for the judgment they had endured during the Great Tribulation. But their sins had not frustrated His promises and purposes concerning Isra'el.

    There is never a time when Israel is in total disobedience. In every dispensation there is always a believing remnant within Israel. This is true today. Despite their many sins, God would not totally destroy her because of the believing remnant, which is likened to a cluster of grapes. This is what ADONAI says: As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes, and men say, “Don’t destroy it, there is yet some good in it,” so will I do in behalf of My servants; I will not destroy them all (65:8). He uses the term servants here to describe the faithful remnant. Remember the cone of Isaiah; he uses the term servants in three different senses. Sometimes it is Israel the whole, sometimes it is the Isra'el the believing remnant, and sometimes it is the Servant of the LORD; from the wider to the very narrow. So because of the believing remnant within the nation, God will not destroy them all. That is the principle. And this is still true today. It is the existence of the righteous of the TaNaKh that keeps the nation as a whole alive.

    I will bring forth descendants from Jacob and from Judah; those who will possess My mountains; My chosen people will inherit them, and there will My servants live (65:9). The nation of Israel will continue to be God’s chosen people and the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10). This is a major theme and high point of the prophets in the TaNaKh (see my commentary on Isaiah Jf – For Your Maker is Your Husband, the LORD Almighty is His Name). Since ADONAI has the power to raise up old seed from a field of burned-out stumps (6:11-13, 11:1, 53:10), He can bring out from Judah descendants who will possess God’s mountains (or Land).

    To spiritualize or allegorize away such a vast amount of the Bible is to confuse the whole discipline of interpretation. There is no reason to spiritualize any of these prophecies any more than there is reason to spiritualize the prophecies concerning the First Coming of Christ, such as the virgin birth, His birth in Bethlehem, His death or His physical resurrection.438

    There are four components of Isra'el’s final restoration, and each is based on a specific covenant. Each covenant is developed more extensively later in the Scriptures. First, is the regeneration of Isra'el, which is based on the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The fact that Isra'el was to undergo a national regeneration is not confined to the words of the New Covenant alone. There are many other scriptures to support it (Isaiah 29:22-24, 30:18:22, 44:1-5, 45:17; Jeremiah 50:19-20; Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:25-27; Hosea 1:10-21, 14:4-8; Joel 2:28-32; Micah 7:18-20; Zephaniah 3:9-13 and Romans 11:25-27).

    The second component is the regathering of Isra'el, which is based on the Land Covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1 to 30:20). The regathering of Israel back to the Promised Land, following the regeneration, is another high point of prophetic revelation to be found in many of the prophets (Isaiah 11:11 to 12:6, 27:12-13, 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:3-8, 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18, 36:24; Amos 9:14-15; Zephaniah 3:18-20; Zechariah 10:8-12 and Matthew 24:31).

    The third component is the possession of the Promised Land, which is based on the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). At the time that the Covenant was first made, Abram was merely told to go to a Land that ADONAI would show him. When he arrived in the Land, God again revealed Himself to Abram (Genesis 12:7), and promised the Land to him and his descendants forever (Genesis 13:14-17). Later, the exact boundaries were given (Genesis 15:12-21). This covenant was reconfirmed through Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5), and Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). The possession and productivity of the Land was developed further by both the Torah and the prophets (Leviticus 26:40-45; Deuteronomy 30:5; Isaiah 27:12, 30:23-26, 35:1-2, 65:21-24; Jeremiah 31:1-6 and 11-14; Ezekiel 20:42-44, 28:25-26, 34:25-31, 36:8-15, and 28-38; Joel 2:18-27, 3:18; Amos 9:13). So for the first time in Israel’s history, she will possess all of the Promised Land, while the Land itself will greatly increase in its productivity and be well watered, all on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant.

    The fourth component is the reestablishment of the throne of king David, which is based on the Davidic Covenant (Second Samuel 7:11b-16; First Chronicles 17:10b-14). The Messiah holds three offices: prophet, priest and king. However, He does not function in all these offices simultaneously. Rather, the functioning of these three offices is to be carried out in a chronological sequence. During His first ministry on earth at His First Coming, Jesus functioned in the office of a prophet. But this ceased at the time of His death. Since His death and resurrection, and until Yeshua Messiah returns, He is functioning in the office of a priest. This ministry will cease at the Second Coming. Jesus has never yet functioned in the office of a king. For Him to do so, there must be the reestablishment of the throne of David upon which He will sit to rule as King over Israel and King of the world (Psalm 89:3-4, 29, 34-37; Jeremiah 33:17-26; Amos 9:11-12 and Luke 1:32-33). This ministry will begin at the Second Coming. Therefore, the promises that God made to Israel have not been rendered null and void. Israel is yet to enjoy all the promises of the four unfulfilled unconditional covenants, each of which points respectively to the four components of Isra'el’s final restoration.439

    There are also other characteristics of Isra'el’s final restoration. There are three other points that deal with Israel’s final restoration that are not connected with any specific covenant. First, one of the major characteristics of the final restoration will be that Isra'el will be reunited as a nation, never to be divided into separate kingdoms again (Jeremiah 3:18; Ezekiel 37:15-23). Secondly, she will become the center of Gentile attention (Isaiah 14:1-2, 49:22-23, 61:4-9; Micah 7:14-17; Zephaniah 3:20; Zechariah 8:23). At the time of the restoration, the Jews will no longer be treated with contempt. Instead, they will be treated with reverential respect, for they will be known as the ministers of God. Thirdly, she will be characterized by righteousness, holiness, peace, security, joy and gladness (Isaiah 32:16-20, 35:5-10, 55:12-13 and 61:10-11).

    At the time of the Second Coming, Isra'el will experience some incredible geographical and topographical changes. One of the most striking changes will be the rise of a very high mountain that will become the highest mountain in the world. On top of this mountain will stand the Millennial Jerusalem and Temple. There are several passages that describe this Millennial Mountain of the Temple, or ADONAI’s House (Isaiah 2:2-4). Later, Isaiah tells us that this high mountain will become the center of Jewish (Isaiah 27:13) and Gentile (Isaiah 56:6-8) worship. In fact, the Gentiles will bring the people of Israel there (Isaiah 66:20; Ezekiel 17:22-24; Micah 4:1-2). Later, Ezekiel prophesies how the holy mountain will be the center of Jewish worship in the millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 20:40-41). And only in the closing chapters of his book does Ezekiel fill us in on the details of what the millennial Temple will be like (Ezekiel 40:1-4, 45:1-8 and 48:8-20).

    The LORD spoke through the prophet Ezekiel when He said: I will make a covenant of peace with the nation of Israel; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put My sanctuary among them forever (see my commentary on Exodus Fi – The Sanctuary in the Tabernacle). My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. Then the nations of the world will know that I, ADONAI make Israel holy, when My sanctuary, or the Millennial Temple, is among them forever (Ezekiel 37:26-28). Ezekiel goes into much more detail about the Millennial Temple later in his book (Ezekiel 40:5 to 43:27). It will be the center of Jewish and Gentile worship during the Millennial Kingdom.

    Ezekiel 44:1 to 46:24 describes the various regulations concerning the Millennial priesthood and its system of sacrifice. As there are similarities with the commandments of the Torah, there are also some obvious differences. Therefore, the millennial system of priesthood and sacrifice cannot be seen as merely a reestablishment of the Torah, which permanently ended with the death of Christ. During the Messianic Kingdom a brand new system will be established. It will contain some old commandments and some new commandments, but it will be instituted for an entirely different purpose (see Db – The Nine Missing Articles in the Messiah’s Coming Temple).

    There will be a Millennial river flowing from the Millennial Temple (Joel 3:18; Ezekiel 47:1-2). It will flow east from the Temple until it passes the eastern gate, then it will head south toward Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8). There it will divide into two branches. The western branch will flow down the mountain and empty into the Mediterranean Sea (see Ge – Your Eyes Will See the King in His Beauty). The eastern branch will flow to the Dead Sea, which will change it dramatically, being teamed with life (Ezekiel 47:8-10).

    For the first time in Isra'el’s history, the Jews will possess and settle in all of the Promised Land, or Millennial Israel. It will be divided among the twelve tribes, but they will be divided differently than those described in the book of Joshua. The northern boundary will extend from the Mediterranean Sea, incorporating much of modern-day Lebanon and parts of modern Syria over to the Euphrates River. The eastern border will move south from the Euphrates River, including the Golan Heights and portions of Syria almost up to Damascus, and continue south to the Jordan River where it will extend to the Sea of Galilee. The border will then run along the Brook of Egypt, the modern Wadie-el-Arish, to the point where it reaches the Mediterranean Sea, that will serve as the western border. The tribes will run from north to south in the following order: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben. The mountain of ADONAI’s House will serve as a dividing line between the seven northern and five southern tribes. Then the five remaining southern tribes are described running from north to south in the following order: Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun and Gad.

    While Ezekiel closes the final section of his book with a short description of Millennial Jerusalem, other inspired writers of the TaNaKh give us more detail. The Psalter tells us that God will establish His beautiful City, where Zion will be glad and rejoice (Psalm 48:1-13). The City of God (Psalm 87:1-7) will be known for its strength and peace as a result of the reestablishment of the throne of David (Psalm 122:1-9, 147:2-20; Isaiah 66:10-14). It will be characterized by holiness, justice and righteousness (Isaiah 1:26-27, 33:20-24, 52:1-2; Jeremiah 31:38-40; Joel 3:17), because the Messiah will reign there (Isaiah 52:7-10; Micah 4:6-8; Zephaniah 3:14-17). Jerusalem will become the center of worldwide attention for the sheep Gentiles (John 10:16) and their descendants (Isaiah 60:10-14; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 8:20-22). The Gentile nations, who in the past afflicted the City of Jerusalem, will, at that time, bow in submission to its authority (Isaiah 62:1-12). Peace and joy will return to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:9-11), because God Himself has chosen to rebuild her and dwell there (Zechariah 1:14-17, 2:1-12, 8:1-8). At that time, the City of Peace will finally live up to her name. The golden age of Jerusalem is yet to come (Zechariah 14:20-21).440

    The fervent prayer of the believing remnant hold up in Bozrah while the armies of the antichrist circle around them in Chapter 64 is answered by ADONAI. There will be a place of safety and rest for them. Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for My people who seek Me (65:10). Sharon is the fertile plain between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, stretching from Jaffa to the vicinity of Mount Carmel. By contrast, the Valley of Achor is one of the most barren regions that lead up from the region of Jericho toward the central ridge. It is chiefly associated with the stoning of Achan and his family (Joshua 7:24-26). But even a barren region like the Valley of Achor will turn into a resting place for God’s people. In the final analysis, the destiny of the righteous of the TaNaKh is to survive and inherit the Land.

    For those Jews who rejected Yeshua Messiah there was nothing left but judgment. But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget My holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls or mixed wine for Destiny (65:11). Their sin is seen here before their national salvation at the end of the Great Tribulation. They forsook ADONAI and forgot His holy mountain, they spread a table of food before a false god named Fortune and filled bowls of mixed wine for a false god named Destiny. These are proper names of two gods of the occult that were worshiped for their supposed ability to know the future. To please them, food and drink were set before them.

    Because of their rejection during the time of trouble for Jacob (Jeremiah 30:7), God will say: I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter (65:12a). These next four lines of Hebrew text are almost identical with 66:4b. The only difference is that here apostate Jews are in view, and there apostate Gentiles are the target of God’s wrath. For I have called you but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me (65:12b). The LORD said that because the apostate Jews had sought to control their own destiny, they are destined to die by the sword. The word for bend down in this verse is a play on words for spread a table in the previous verse. There is an ironical association for them to bend down to spread a table for the false gods and bending over the slaughter block to die by the sword. They refused to listen to ADONAI and deliberately chose to go on sinning (66:4), so the destiny of the faithless Jews will be destruction.

    The same distinction is made in the visible church and the true Church. Not everyone who sits in Church is a believer. Who knows? Only the LORD Himself and we cannot judge. When Jesus Christ comes, He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of people’s hearts (First Corinthians 4:5). A church or messianic synagogue is merely a place for the wounded of this world to gather together and hopefully meet their God. But sitting in church does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in the garage makes you a car. ADONAI knows His true Church (John 10:25-29), and those who are playing church. And just like the Jews, those who believe have eternal life (John 6:37-40), and fellowship with Yeshua Messiah; while those who do not will be sentenced to eternal punishment (Matthew 13:36-43), and separation from God.

    ADONAI continues to answer the fervent prayer of the righteous remnant. In series of beautiful balanced pairings, the LORD pronounces judgment on sinners by contrasting their spiritual condition with that of those who are truly His servants. My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; My servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame (65:13). The Contrasting figures used here are typical for blessing and cursing. To be blessed is to have enough to eat and drink, to have reason to rejoice and sing out of a glad heart (Deuteronomy 28:47; Judges 19:6 and 28, Esther 1:10). To be cursed is to suffer hunger and thirst, to be ashamed and in despair with a broken heart. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit (65:14). Obedience is what marks the servants of God, no matter what their bloodlines may be. Therefore, ADONAI makes it very clear that their sins had not frustrated His promises and purposes concerning Israel.

    The contrast between the destiny of the rebels and the servants of the LORD at the end of the Great Tribulation continue here. My chosen (My servants) will use your name as a curse – May Adonai ELOHIM strike you dead! The plural word you since 65:11 suddenly changes to you - singular. Divine judgment will fall individually with its inevitable outcome of death (James 1:13-15). But, in contrast to the name that received a curse, the LORD’s servants (My chosen) will be given another name (Isaiah 65:15 CJB, also see Revelation 2:17c), indicating the gift of a new nature and the inheritance of the promises of ADONAI (Genesis 17:2-8).

    The LORD’s chosen people, the Jews, will point unbelieving Gentiles to Messiah during the millennial Kingdom to be saved. While their new name will be important to them, the name of ADONAI will be more important. While the rebels will leave their name as a curse, interestingly enough, the Bible does not say that the name of His chosen servants will be used as a blessing. Rather, their focus will be on the God of truth, Yeshua Messiah. The reputation and character of His chosen people will not draw praise to themselves, but point to Jesus Christ ruling and reigning from Jerusalem. Thus someone on earth who blesses himself will bless himself by the God of truth. And millions and millions of those unbelieving Gentiles will be saved as a result (see 65:20). Thus, when someone on earth who swears loyalty will swear by the God of truth (65:16a CJB).

    At that point Jesus says: I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more, for past troubles will be forgotten, hidden from My eyes (Isaiah 65:16b CJB, Jeremiah 31:34c, Psalm 103:12). The old will have passed away – behold, all things have become new (Second Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5).

 

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