NKJV - 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
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In my opinion, God (speaking through the prophet Isaiah) in this passage is contrasting the rebelliousness (as described in Isaiah 65:2-7 and Isaiah 65:11-12) that characterized the kingdom of Judah shortly before it was conquered and sent into exile in Babylon as a judgment from God for its sins, with the peace and obedience to God that will prevail in a future time when God says that He will "create new heavens and a new earth" (Isaiah 65:17). In this new creation (as noted in the verse cited in the question), the inhabitants will live in the houses that they themselves have built, and eat the fruit from the vineyards that they themselves have planted, rather than building houses and planting vineyards that will then be seized and used by others (as happened when Babylon conquered Jerusalem). As referenced in the New Testament (in passages such as Romans 10:20-21; 2 Peter 3:13; and Revelation 21:1), this chapter of Isaiah has been or will be fulfilled by the establishment of the Christian church and its inclusion of Gentiles, and by the conditions that will prevail in God's kingdom at the close of the present age.
As Tim Maas stated in his answer, the time for the fulfillment of this prophecy is after the new heavens and new earth of Isa 65:17. The primary reference is to the land of Israel, but also the entire Kingdom of God. We seem to forget the negative conditions the Jews lived under in prior centuries, since so much progress has been made in the twentieth century. For the past empires and nations the Jews existed in, there was always the imposition of inequitable taxation, axiomatic racism, and the real threat of expulsion from the land, or otherwise certain death. None of those conditions will be present in the Kingdom of God, thus allowing everyone to develop their possessions to the extent they desire. All social or governmental oppression and persecution will be finally over with.
During the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, they will never again be robbed of the fruits of their labor and no one will steal their house.
Isaiah the prophet was writing during a certain era and to a specific audience. His objective was to give a message of hope that even though things appeared extremely bad and hopeless provided they fulfilled certain conditions they were going to "plant vineyards and harvest and build houses and live in them". This message the people of the time of Elijah were going to fully understand. However in our time what does message mean to us? Certainly most of us reading these verses have never seen a vineyard. What message can we take from this? I think the message is pertinent to us today. It should resonate with all of us when we understand that God is promising a time of unprecedented peace and happiness. The proliferation of sin and evil will end righteousness will reign. God will restore us to the glory of Eden. That is a promise that God has made personally and we rejoice in the knowledge that He that has promised will certainly bring it to pass.
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