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God promises a new heaven and earth and says he will never remember the former things

KJV Isaiah 65 : 17

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

The promise ushers in a change of diet and attitude amongst former foes

KJV Isaiah 65 : 25

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

But somehow only the serpent is said to eat dust which was previously his diet as a result of the curse in the beginning.

KJV Genesis 3 : 14

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Why does the serpent continue to eat dust in the new settings?

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  • Great and perceptive question. +1.
    – Dottard
    May 12, 2022 at 22:03
  • @colleen ndhlovu. Great and interesting question!
    – Sherrie
    Apr 9, 2023 at 2:02
  • Eating dust means being the reptilian crawling creature. If the snake starts walking or flying then we can say he no longer eats dust.
    – Michael16
    Apr 11, 2023 at 4:33

7 Answers 7

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This has been noticed by several commentators:

Pulpit Commentary:

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).

Barnes:

And dust shall be the serpent's meat - There is evidently here an allusion to the sentence pronounced on the serpent in Genesis 3:14. The meaning of the declaration here is, probably, that dust should continue to be the food of the serpent. The sentence on him should be perpetual. He should not be injurious to man - either by tempting him again, or by the venom of his fangs. The state of security would be as great under the Messiah as if the most deadly and poisonous kinds of reptiles should become wholly innocuous, and should not attempt to prey upon people.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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).

Thus, it appears that the perpetual curse of the snake (Gen 3:14) is to be a reminder of the complete triumph of God and Jesus over the great serpent, the Devil. This is presumably similar to the persistent scars of Jesus as displayed in John 20:24-29.

However, some commentators also take Isa 65 & 66 as entirely figurative and thus the perpetual curse on the serpent as figurative - I do not subscribe to this view as it would severely distort the entire narrative of Isa 65 & 66.

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Has the serpent ever consumed dust since the curse mentioned in Genesis 3:14? No, all species of snakes are strictly carnivorous. Let's revisit the first two sentences of Isaiah 65:25

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, (NIV)

Here we see a vision of a harmonious world where even natural predators like wolves and lions will no longer prey on other animals. This means that herbivores will be the only creatures remaining, including the serpent, which will no longer pose a threat. We read further into Isaiah 65:25

and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. (NIV)

In the time of the New Heavens and the New Earth, no unholy creature can exist on the holy mountain. This means that even the serpent, which was once considered evil, will no longer pose a threat, much like how lions and wolves no longer kill for survival. This idyllic scene is marked by peaceful coexistence, as all creatures will be sustained by the natural provisions that God has provided. Even if the serpent must feed on dust, it will no longer assume an aggressive stance but instead will crawl peacefully on its belly in search of food.

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In Genesis 3:14 God says to the serpent, "... You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust ['āpār] all the days of your life." Then, in verse 19, God says to Adam, "...for dust ['āpār] you are and to dust you will return."

Satan and the other fallen angels do not eat physical food, so this may be a metaphorical representation of mankind, which is made of dust. Basically, when we fell, we became the serpent's prison food.

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    Jul 4, 2023 at 22:32
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The Hebrew word apar (H6083) may have a broader meaning than simply rock dust. Broadly speaking, dust is what has fallen and is dead.

Physical

One type of dust is "dirt" or rock dust which does not have nutritional value aside from minerals.

A second type of dust that we see in our houses is not made of earth but of dead skin cells, hair, wool, and other matter that has fallen to the ground. These kinds of things are food for certain insects (carpet beetles, moths, ladybugs, and their larvae).

If we venture outside and consider dust as "dirt" that also contains plant debris, we realize that some organisms eat this, like worms. They ingest dirt, and get nutrients from it, including from microorganisms.

So in that sense, to say that the snake "eats dirt" would be in contrast to the snake being an active predator of living creatures. The snake would eat only animal byproducts and/or plant byproducts, but not the animal/plant itself.

Spiritual

In a spiritual/metaphorical sense, dust can be another type of dead/fallen thing, like "chaff". This is a metaphor found in scripture:

  • "the wicked are like chaff" (Psalm 1).
  • "If anyone does not abide in me [Jesus], he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." John 15:6.
  • Jesus calls some people dead who are physically alive: "let the dead bury their own dead". Matthew 8:22 / Luke 9:60.
  • Satan is described as one who devours people: "Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8.

So in a way, since the devil devours people, then in a sense the devil "eats" people, and since some people are dead and fallen to the ground like chaff, they can be thought of as detritus, or "dust". So in that sense, the devil "eats dust", which are spiritually dead people.

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DUST SHALL BE THE SERPENT FOOD~This statement shows a permanent disarmament and Victory over Satan…the devil and is works by the Lamb of God Jesus Christ of Nazareth orchestrated in Revelation 13;8.The implication started when iniquity was found in the shining Cherub called Lucifer

And showed up in genesis the garden of Eden through the personality of Subtle crafty fiery flying serpent liken to a viperous Leviathan in Isaiah 27;1 and 30;6 with numerous and fascinating abilities that makes it stand out…in the air(flying),on the land(walking)and in the sea (swimming).

The serpent been left permanently to feed on dust-gives heads up of the fall of Lucifer the Son of the morning in Isaiah 14;12…that the Children of God will permanently triumph and trample the devil under our feet and rule over dead and evil works because the prince of this world has been cut dow to the ground by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (the CROSS).Luke 10;18,Jesus said,I beheld satan fall like lightning!🙏🏽😇❤️ In eternity the LAMB will remind us the VICTORIOUS supreme sacrifice of Christ and the serpent will evident the defeat of Evil and satan forever 🙌🏻!

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Isaiah 65 : 25

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

OP's question;

He promise ushers in a change of diet and attitude amongst former foes.
Why does the serpent continue to eat dust in the new settings?

What's interesting is a serpent is upon the Lord's mountain, where there is no harm. What is gone is the enmity between him and the woman that was there before and now gone.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15

So one can see there is no fear of snakes anymore on the Lords Holy mountain.

The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:8

What is not remembered anymore in this new earth is the fear of snakes, is gone because they do no harm anymore to anything. They will be sustained by eating dust. It's probably easier for them to eat that then straw and must be enough to sustain their lives.

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After Armageddon, the beast and the false prophet are in the pit but lucifer is not. The serpent is bound for a 1000 years as to not deceive and will continue to feed on dust at the time that God and Jesus reign upon the new earth. Only after the dragon is loosed for a season resulting in gog and magog is the serpent cast in the pit for ever more and will require to be fed no more.

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