|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
65:17-25 In the grace and comfort believers have in and from Christ, we are to look for this new heaven and new earth. The former confusions, sins and miseries of the human race, shall be no more remembered or renewed. The approaching happy state of the church is described under a variety of images. He shall be thought to die in his youth, and for his sins, who only lives to the age of a hundred years. The event alone can determine what is meant; but it is plain that Christianity, if universal, would so do away violence and evil, as greatly to lengthen life. In those happy days, all God's people shall enjoy the fruit of their labours. Nor will children then be the trouble of their parents, or suffer trouble themselves. The evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely moritified; all shall live in harmony. Thus the church on earth shall be full of happiness, like heaven. This prophecy assures the servants of Christ, that the time approaches, wherein they shall be blessed with the undisturbed enjoyment of all that is needful for their happiness. As workers together with God, let us attend his ordinances, and obey his commands.
Verse 25. - The wolf and the lamb shall feed together (comp. Isaiah 11:6-8; Hosea 2:18). The portraiture here is far less elaborate than in the earlier chapter, to which the present passage may be regarded as a refer-once. (For the sense in which the entire picture is to be understood, see the comment upon Isaiah 11:6-9). Dust shall be the serpent's meat. Here we have a new feature, not contained in the earlier description. Serpents shall become harmless, anal instead of preying upon beasts, or birds, or reptiles, shall be content with the food assigned them in the primeval decree, "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:14). Mr. Cheyne appositely notes that "much dust is the food of the shades in the Assyrio-Babylonian Hades" (see the "Legend of Ishtar" in the 'Records of the Past,' vol. 1. p. 143, line 8). They shall not hurt nor destroy. Repeated from Isaiah 11:9, word for word. In neither case should we regard the subject of the sentence as limited to the animals only. The meaning is that there shall be no violence of any kind, done either by man or beast, in the happy period described.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,.... Or, "as one" (k): as if they were one, of the same kind and nature, and lived upon the same food. The people of God are comparable to lambs, for their harmlessness and innocence; and wicked men to wolves, for their fierceness and cruelty; but, by the grace of God, the latter become as mild and as gentle as the former, and live upon the same spiritual food, and join with them in attendance on the word and ordinances, where they find spiritual refreshment and comfort together; such who have been persecutors of the church shall now become members of it; and many instances of this kind, as there were in the first times of the Gospel, so there shall be in the latter day:
and the lions shall eat straw like the bullock, or "ox"; to which creature the ministers of the Gospel are compared for their laboriousness, as wicked persecutors are to lions; and sometimes the latter have been so changed by the grace of God, as to become preachers of it, as Saul was, and very probably many will hereafter; however, there will be no persecution of the church after those days; wolves and lions will have their nature changed, and be in fellowship with the saints, and be better employed than before in persecuting them:
and dust shall be the serpent's meat; the meat of the old serpent, the devil, as was threatened, Genesis 3:14 to which he shall now be confined; he shall not be able to bite the saints, being bruised under their feet; he shall only have power over carnal, worldly, earthly minded men; and shall not be able to give the church any trouble, by instigating men to persecute it:
they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord; that is, Satan and his emissaries; wicked men, comparable to lions and wolves, shall no more drink the blood of the saints, or persecute the church of God; after the calling of the Jews, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the destruction of antichrist, there will be no more persecution of the church of Christ, the mountain of God's holiness; he has said it, and we may be assured of the truth of it; See Gill on Isaiah 11:9.
(This verse may also apply to the Millenial state, in which the effects of the curse on the animals is to be removed. However, from this verse it seems that the curse on snakes is permanent. Editor.)
(k) "sicut unus", Montanus, Musculus, Gataker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. (See on Isa 11:6).
and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock—(See on Isa 11:7).
and dust—rather, "but dust," &c. The curse shall remain on the serpent [Horsley], (Ge 3:14; Mic 7:17). "To lick the dust" is figurative of the utter and perpetual degradation of Satan and his emissaries (Isa 49:23; Ps 72:9). Satan fell self-tempted; therefore no atonement was contrived for him, as there was for man, who fell by his temptation (Jude 6; Joh 8:44). From his peculiar connection with the earth and man, it has been conjectured that the exciting cause of his rebellion was God's declaration that human nature was to be raised into union with the Godhead; this was "the truth" concerning the person of the Son of God which "he abode not in"; it galled his pride that a lower race was to be raised to that which he had aspired to (1Ti 3:6). How exultingly he might say, when man fell through him, "God would raise manhood into union with Himself; I have brought it down below the beasts by sin!" At that very moment and spot he was told that the seed of the abhorred race, man, should bruise his head (1Jo 3:8). He was raised up for this, to show forth God's glory (Ex 9:16; Ro 9:17). In his unfallen state he may have been God's vicegerent over the earth and the animal kingdom before man: this will account for his assuming the form of a serpent (Ge 3:1). Man succeeded to that office (Ge 2:19, 20), but forfeited it by sin, whence Satan became "prince of this world"; Jesus Christ supplants the usurper, and as "Son of man" regains the lost inheritance (Ps 8:4-8). The steps in Satan's overthrow are these: he is cast out, first, from heaven (Re 12:7-9) on earth; next, he is bound a thousand years (Re 20:2, 3); finally, he is cast into the lake of fire for ever (Re 20:10).
the serpent's meat—(See on Isa 11:8).
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain—(See on Isa 11:9).
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