CLICK HERE to read Isaiah 65.
This chapter begins with the Lord’s answer to the questions with which Isaiah finished the previous chapter (compare to D&C 101). The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies verse one, where the Lord promises He will always be found by those who seek Him. He is waiting with open arms, like the father of the prodigal (Luke 15), to embrace those who turn to Him – even converts and those who were wicked before (verse 2). He also waits for those members who betray their covenants (verse 3). He is willing to receive all who will turn to Him!
But those who will not turn to Him will become cultures of wicked lifestyles (verse 4). They will be self-righteous, not understanding what offense they are causing to God or how they push away His people and the very ones to whom they were called to testify (verse 5). To these people, God will seem far away and silent and almost not there. But, it is because the people have turned away from God and so cannot see Him, not because He has left them (verse 6).
When the people will not turn back to God, they are choosing justice instead of mercy (verse 7). He will let the people have the consequences they have chosen, and by so doing there will be a great cleansing of the earth until only the few righteous remain (verse 8). In that day, the Lord Himself will reign from Zion, with the council of His prophets and apostles who will govern the people in goodness and righteousness (verse 9). The Lord promises that in the days leading up to this, even the land itself will begin to be restored – as we have seen since Israel has drained the swamps and are now the biggest producers of fruit and flocks in the Mediterranean (verse 10).
Yet still, the final judgment must come to this area and the Lord warns those living there to be prepared for it (verse 11). He calls out to the hypocrites, confronting them for their wickedness while pretending to be righteous, saying that He knows they have refused to repent (verse 12). The truly righteous will be protected and provided for during this time, but the wicked will be hungry and thirsty and ashamed – literally and spiritually (verse 13). While the righteous sing songs of praise and gratitude as they are rescued from the destruction that begins to unfold, the wicked will cry out in agony and sorrow (verse 14). Remember that these “wicked” are not just “the world”, but that this cleansing is also within the church. The Church must be cleansed of those who are not sincere, not paying tithing, not following the word of wisdom, not honoring the sabbath, not fulfilling callings, not caring for spouse and children… it is not the members that will be saved as opposed to the wicked of the world, but rather only a righteous remnant – only a few members – out of everyone will survive this cleansing of the entire planet.
Part of that cleansing – even of pretend members of the church – will include the revealing of the effects that their pretending caused (verse 15). The damage they caused the church and those trying to return to the Lord will be revealed in detail and explained, and by this they will be named among the wicked (for keeping people away from God or making it harder for them to come to God). Those who are true and faithful – not perfect (as in finished), but whole through repentance – will be His people of Holiness, and the Millennial church will be called “The Church of the Firstborn” (D&C 76:54, 102; 78:21; index references under “Church of the Firstborn”). These people will seek blessings not by trying to get ahead at the expense of others, but by rejoicing in His provision that comes with their obedience (verse 16). This righteousness will eradicate sin and oppression, not because Satan just goes away magically when the Millennium starts, but because our righteousness (by the atonement) removes His power.
Everything will change. The Earth will return to its paradisiacal state from before the Fall, and it will be so much better and so different that we will not even remember the hard things of living here now (verse 17). As it travels back to the center of the universe (Isaiah 13:13-14), it will go so fast that it will seem like the stars whizzing past are all falling stars (Matthew 24:29; JS Matthew 1:33; Isaiah 34:4). The people who get to experience this will rejoice, celebrating all the Lord has done, and that He has kept His promises (verse 18). The Lord will be there with us, and we will be happy together (verse 19).
When this time comes, no one will die young, and the righteous will pass from life to being resurrected without their bodies having to sleep in the grave – though those who are not righteous will still have to “sleep”, and be resurrected later (verse 20). Families will be able to build their homes and possess them, without molestation from governments or banks or oppression or violence; food will be grown and harvested without crops being destroyed by weather, bugs, weeds, or chemicals (verse 21). We will truly be stewards of our own homes and lands, benefiting from the hard work we put in without others taking it from us (verse 22). This is one of the blessings of being within the covenant that we will one day inherit (verse 23). The Lord will be close, and care for us, and answer us almost we can even pray our heart-words into spoken-words (verse 24). There will be peace among all of us, even with the animals – us not eating them anymore, and them not eating each other anymore (verse 25; D&C 101:26).