Every night I do my Bible reading, but there was a verse that had caused me some trouble. Obviously I know that every document – especially historical – must be read in context, so I set off on my task.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine–
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
ISAIAH 25:6 (NIV)
In this verse, Isaiah is talking about the feast that will be had in Heaven. Regardless if it is an actual, physical, feast, or not, it is the use of the word ‘meats‘ that confused me.
Death is an enemy. Nothing died in the Garden of Eden, because death could not exist in the presence of our Holy Lord. This means that when we are together in Heaven, there will be no more death, and that includes animals.
So, how are we then eating meat?
Numerous times throughout the book of Isaiah’s prophecies, he talks about peace from death in Heaven, so why is this different. Isaiah was such a God-loved man, and Jesus often referred to him, so how could I reconcile this?
I was puzzled.
I emailed a friend and my brother, but didn’t get an answer that satisfied me.
I tried assorted Google searches, but no one seemed to be talking about it. Everyone spoke of Isaiah’s ‘proclamation‘ of vegetarianism in Heaven, so I knew there must have been a clear answer to my query. I just had to keep looking.
There is a fantastic website called Bible Gateway, which has a multitude of translations of both the Old and New Testament. The default one seemed to be NIV (New International Version). It read as above.
My friend is a HUGE fan of the King James Version (KJV), so I thought I would see if that phrased it in a clearer way.
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts
make unto all people a feast of fat things,
a feast of wines on the lees,
of fat things full of marrow,
of wines on the lees well refined.
ISAIAH 25:6 (KJV)
Here we can see it is a bit different. Instead of ‘meat‘ it says ‘fat things full of marrow‘. Granted it’s not very different, but maybe it can give some clues.
As I said before, we must always read in context. One site I visited said that marrow is not only very good for you to eat, but is a delicacy. It is opulent and rich, and not something a lot of people can afford. At the time in which Isaiah was writing this prophecy, they were at war. What was something that was unattainable and would be seen as a great luxury in Heaven? Meat and wine.
While you may be able to read through Isaiah like one chapter after the other, it is important to note that the book is a collection of his prophecies, and each occurred at a different time. What he may have said in one context in one prophecy, would be totally different in another.
I had one last look at the list of Bible translations, and found exactly what I was looking for.
On this mountain Adonai–Tzva’ot
will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food and superb wines,
delicious, rich food and superb, elegant wines.
ISAIAH 25:6 (CJB)
This translation comes from the CJB – Complete Jewish Bible – and, I think, would be closest, as it is for the Old Testament.
Here we can see that what was translated as ‘meat‘, was previously translated as ‘delicious, rich food‘.
Isaiah was saying that, in Heaven, there will be no more death and fear (like they were experiencing with their ongoing war), and they would be free to eat the best food and drink the best drink.
The use of meat was not literal, and was the context of the time of what they considered a “delicious, rich food“. They would have known it would not have been actual meat, because Isaiah (and others) had said no more death would occur in Heaven.
So, I hope you liked this little research trip. I wanted to write it in case someone else stumbled upon the words.
If you have anything else to add, please do so in the comments below!