Isaiah 65

The New Jerusalem

1 ‘I spoke to people who did not ask for me. People who did not look for me found me. I said, “Here I am, here I am!” I said it to a nation that was not called by my name.

2 All day long I hold my hands out to people who will not obey me. They continue to do very many things that are not good. They still do what their thoughts want them to do.’

65:2In verse 2, we read the words ‘hold my hands out’. The Jews did that when they wanted someone to do something.

3 ‘They are people who continue to make me angry. They do it in front of me! They offer gifts in their gardens (to false gods). They burn them on stones.

4 They sit among the graves and they watch all night in secret places. They eat meat from pigs. And they eat dishes of soup that they made from unclean meat.

5 They are people who say, “Keep away from me, and do not come near me. I am too holy for you!” These people are like smoke in my nose! They are like smoke from a fire that burns all day.

6 Look! The words are in a book in front of me. I will not stay quiet. I will punish them completely. I will pay them back completely, like someone who puts things into their hands.

7 I will pay back both your sins and the sins of your ancestors’, says the LORD. ‘I will do that because they burned gifts (to false gods) on the mountains. And they said bad things about me on the hills. And, firstly, I will measure to them the right punishment for what they have done.’

65:7Verses 6 and 7 ‘pay back’. This means ‘give to them what their sin has brought to them’. It is another way to say ‘punish them’.

8 This is what the LORD says. ‘Sometimes people find juice in a group of grapes. Then men say, “Do not destroy it, because there is something good in it.” I will do something like that on behalf of my servants. I will not kill them all.

9 I will cause there still to be descendants of Jacob. There will be people in Judah to live on my mountains. The people that I have chosen will live on them. And my servants will live there.’

10 ‘And Sharon will become a field for groups of sheep. Also, groups of cows will rest in the Valley of Achor. They will be places for my people who are looking for me.

11 But this will happen to you people who go away from the LORD. And it will happen to you people who forget my holy mountain. And some people put food on a table for (the false god called) Luck. The same thing will happen to those people too. And it will happen to people who fill dishes of wine for Fate.’

65:11The words ‘holy mountain’ here mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God's temple.

12 ‘Your “fate” will be that a sword will kill you. And you will all bend down for death. I spoke to you, but you did not answer. I spoke, but you did not listen. You did bad things in front of me, where I could see them. And you chose to do things that did not make me happy.’

13 So the LORD God says this. ‘Look! My servants will eat food, but you will be hungry. Look! My servants will have something to drink. But you will have nothing to drink. Look! My servants will be very happy, but you will be ashamed.

14 Look! My servants will sing because they feel so happy. But you will cry because there is so much pain in your minds. You will weep because your spirits are very sad.

15 And you will leave your name as a curse to the people that I have chosen. And the LORD God will kill all of you. But he will give to his servants another name.

16 Whoever asks for a blessing in the country will do it by the God of Truth. Whoever makes a promise in the country will do it by the God of Truth. That is because God will forget troubles in past years. Really, I will move them away from in front of my eyes.’

17 ‘Listen, because I will create new heavens and a new earth. And people will not remember how things were. They will not even be ideas that come to their minds.

18 But rather, be happy! And always, yes, always be very happy about what I will create! Do that for these reasons:

· The Jerusalem that I will create will be a happy place.

· I will make the people who live there very happy.

19 Then, I will be very happy with Jerusalem and I will have great pleasure in my people. Nobody will hear the sound of people who are crying in Jerusalem. People will not weep there again.

20 Never again will there be in Jerusalem a baby who only lives for a few days. Nor will there be an old man who does not live a long life. But a man who dies 100 years old, people will call a young man. And a man may not live to be 100 years old. But people will think that someone has said a curse about a man like that.

21 People in Jerusalem will build houses and they will live in them. They will plant vineyards and they will eat the fruit from them.

22 They will not build houses for other people to live in. They will not plant things for other people to eat the fruit. That is because the days of my people will be as many as the days of a tree. The people that I have chosen will enjoy things. They will enjoy what their hands have made for a long time.

23 They will not work without result. Neither will they have children who will have bad times. That is because they are the special children. They are the children that the LORD will bless. He will bless them and their descendants with them.

24 Before they pray to me, I will answer them. While they are still speaking, I will hear them.

25 The wolf and the young sheep will eat together. And the lion will eat dry grass like the cow. But the food of the snake will be dirt. They will neither hurt nor kill anything on all my holy mountain’, says the LORD.

65:25Verse 25 ‘holy mountain’ here may mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God's temple.