Who is the Top Secret Nation in Isaiah 65?

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It’s no secret that sometimes it takes more than a casual glance at the Bible to understand it, but it is also true that (to those who will seek Him in His Word) God will make His secrets and mysteries known…

Isaiah 65:1… I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, “Here am I, here am I” to a nation which did not call on My name.

To whom did God say, “Here am I, here am I”?  To which nation is He referring?

Compare it with Isaiah 64:7… There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

Any insight? Whoever the nation is in verse 1—they did not seek God… they did not ask for Him… they did not call on His Name… At first glance we might think it is referring to the nation of Israel… But let’s look at Isaiah 65:2 and some cross-references before we consider the verse in question any further. I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts…

The following Isaiah cross-references refer to a time when two things are true—Messiah comes to Israel and Israel repents.

Isaiah 52:6 Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the One who is speaking, “Here I am.”

Isaiah 58:9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, “Here I am.” If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness…

Isaiah 65:24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

While the above cross-references clearly show us it is the nation of Israel which is in view in verse 2, many scholars debate the identity of the “nation” in verse 1. Some say it is Israel while others say it is the Gentiles. What does God say?

Paul says this in Romans 10:20-21: And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” (Notice the contrast Paul is about to make.) But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Even according to the context of the book of Isaiah and the immediate context, as well, we might very well miss the fact that verse 1 is prophetically referring to a people Israel had no ability to reason would ever exist—the body of Christ, which would include Jew and Gentile alike.

This realization comes from letting Scripture interpret Scripture. This knowledge comes from studying the whole counsel of God.

Isaiah boldly proclaimed the entrance of the Gentiles into a relationship with God before the fact. Paul bravely explained the entrance of the Gentiles into a relationship with God after the fact. Does Paul take Isaiah’s verse out of its context? May it never be!

Isaiah 65 is God’s response to the righteous remnant’s prayer of Isaiah 64. Their prayer was made on behalf of the entire nation of Israel, most of which was not righteous at all. God’s answer is to the entire nation—first He admonishes the nation as a whole, reminding them of their evil lives in verses 1 through 7. Then He offers a promise to the righteous remnant in verses 8 through 10. He delivers a final reproach to His unrighteous people in verses 11 through 12 before His ultimate swing back to the righteous remnant—His chosen ones, the ones He now calls His servants.

God liberally sprinkled light concerning the Light (His Son) throughout the Scriptures—Isaiah being one of the repositories of that light. The promised Light would come one day, He would be rejected by His own, but He would usher in a new body, a new group, a new nation, if you will, which would be called the church. It would be made up of Jew and Gentile alike—of those who would receive Him… of those who would believe in His Name… His own would not be abandoned. May it never be!

Rather, God would continue to work out His plan for His Glory (using Christ’s church) until the time of the grand finale; when the Messiah would come for the second time, opening the eyes of His Beloved, Israel, and taking up His throne over the world from her very center—Jerusalem.

Yes... God has said, “Here am I” to a group that did not call on Him—the Gentiles.

And yes... God will also one day, in a climactic effectual invitation, say, “Here am I” to His people—Israel…

One day soon… in His timing…

© Sharon Jensen 1999-2017