Introduction: We have come to the end of our study of Isaiah. Isaiah knows how to make a great ending to his book! He ends with a picture of God’s final judgment and the reward of the righteous in the earth made new. Let’s plunge into our study of Isaiah 65 and 66 and learn about our future!

  1.         The Choice

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:1. Are we expected to build a resting place for God?

  1.         What problem would we face in building a home where God could sit down and put up His feet? (God says our earth is His “footstool!” He is too big and too powerful for us to consider making a home for Him. The implication is that He would instead build a home for us.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:2. What kind of person “trembles” at God’s word? (Someone who takes God’s words very seriously. God says, “I am the Creator of everything. What basis do you have for arrogance when it comes to Me?)

  1.         Do most people today “tremble” at God’s word, or do they expect God to conform to their wishes, desires, and expectations?

  1.         How about you – do you accept those parts of the Bible that you agree with – and reject those that you consider inconvenient or wrong?

  1.         What point is God making when He talks about us building a home for Him and trembling at His word? (God wants us to understand the proper relationship between Him and us. We cannot give God anything (except our hearts). However, many humans believe that they are in charge, they make the rules or decide which rules to follow, and they give God the respect they think He is due. God tells us that reality is not like that.)

  1.         What kind of person does God look on with favor? Would you like God to hold you in esteem?

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:3. How can presenting God with a grain offering be like sacrificing pig’s blood to God?

  1.         Does God want pig’s blood? (Pig’s blood would be an abomination to God. See Deuteronomy 14:8.)

  1.         What is God trying to teach us in verse 3? (God says that these people count it all the same – whether they sacrifice to God or kill a person. Offering pig’s blood is just as good as making a proper offering. God’s directives have no influence on them. Another potential meaning of this verse is that these people do terrible things and think that offering the proper sacrifice makes up for it. No need to worry about sin because you can just sacrifice afterwards. Whichever is the best understanding, these people do not take God’s word seriously.)

  1.         Have you heard the teaching: “All choices are equally valid. What is important is that you respect the choice of others.” Is that the logic which God condemns here?

  1.         Consider the flow of God’s argument. He tells us about the proper relationship between Him and us. His power is way beyond that of us little humans. Then He explains what He is looking for: humans who take His words very seriously.

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:4. What is the end for those who pay no attention to what God says? (God will bring on them what they dread might happen.)

  1.         What do you dread?

  1.         Why would God bring such a harsh result on them? (These are God’s enemies. They are glad to oppose God. They delight in it. They are not innocent bystanders in life.)

  1.         God’s New Invitation

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:18-19. Where does God go with His message that has been rejected by those who want to follow their own desires? (God’s glory is proclaimed to all nations. Compare Acts 28:25-28.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 65:1-4. What reason does God give here for going to others?

  1.         Read Isaiah 65:5. What kind of spiritual state do these people claim? (They claim that they are better than others! God rejects those who are spiritually arrogant and disobedient. What an awful combination.)

  1.         Does this remind you of the current “cancel culture?”  This morning I read of a move to rename a telescope because the astronomer after which it was named did not sufficiently endorse gay rights.                        

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:20-21. God not only goes to these “others,” but He selects priests and Levites among them. What does this mean? (That God now selects spiritual leaders from those who are His “extended family.” Isaiah predicts that the gospel will go to those who are not Jewish. It will go to those who are willing to listen and obey. Those willing to listen and obey become leaders in God’s work. Compare Revelation 5:9-10.)

  1.         God’s Reward

  1.         In Isaiah 65:2-12 God speaks of the rebellion against Him and His punishment for rebels. God then discusses His reward for the faithful. Read Isaiah 65:14. How is your life today? Would you like more joy? Do you know what it is like to have so much joy in your heart that you just feel like singing?

  1.         Read Isaiah 65:17. What is the reason for all of this joy? (God has created a new heaven and a new earth.)

  1.         When we speak of “heaven,” is that our eternal destination?

  1.         Read Revelation 21:1-3. Where will we ultimately live?

  1.         Where will God ultimately reside? (Between Isaiah and Revelation we see that God will create a new earth where the redeemed will live. God will bring to earth His “Holy City” – the New Jerusalem. God will live with us on the earth made new.)

  1.         Why, of all places in the universe, would God choose to live with us? (Earth was the center of the conflict between good and evil. Jesus gave up His life for us here. God’s new capital is located at the site of His victory.)

  1.         Notice that Isaiah 65:17 says the former things will not be remembered or brought to mind. Is that good? Why?

  1.         I hear people say that their dead relative is looking down on them from heaven, or speaking to them or protecting them. Can those views be reconciled with Isaiah 65:17?

  1.         Does this mean that we will not remember what we accomplished here on earth? If so, that is another reason to focus on God’s glory and not our own?

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:22 & 24. How can you reconcile Isaiah 66:24 with Isaiah 65:17? (One major reason the former things will not come to mind is that we are enjoying our new world so much. Another reason is that the thought of loved ones who were lost would be painful to us. In some wonderful way God erases the memory of loved ones who were lost while keeping the issue of the rebellion before us.)

  1.         Do you agree? Why would God want to keep the issues of the rebellion before us? (God went through this sin mess with us because He gave us free choice. It is hard to imagine that choice will be taken from us in the earth made new. Thus, it is important to God (and to us) to keep the results of rebellion before us so that we will continue to choose Him.)

  1.         How can we know that we will not suffer sadness because of the loss of our loved ones? (Read Isaiah 65:19. God says that weeping and crying are a part of our past.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 66:23. What is the day of worship in the earth made new? (Sabbath worship of God continues even in heaven!)

  1.         Friend, you have a choice. God invites you to take His words seriously, repent of your sins, and accept His free offer of salvation. The reward of the redeemed is a new earth and life eternal with our Father God.

  1.         Next week we start a new quarter and a new series of lessons entitled “The Promise.”