Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth - It is finished
Isaiah 65:17-25 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
New Heavens and a New Earth
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
20 “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred
Will be thought accursed.
21 “They will build houses and inhabit them;
They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 “They will not build and another inhabit,
They will not plant and another eat;
For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.
23 “They will not labor in vain,
Or bear children for calamity;
For they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord,
And their descendants with them.
24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.
Jesus came to earth, as a man, to redeem man from sin, to reconcile man to God and to restore both man and all of creation back to the way God intended. When Jesus was on the cross, He said: “It is finished.” Everything that Jesus came to do, the redemption of sin, the reconciliation to God and the restoration of creation was accomplished then and there, on the cross. In today’s text the prophet Isaiah describes a future time when God’s heavenly kingdom will exist here on earth. God speaking through Isaiah says: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” In Revelation 21:1-5, John also saw this time when the heavenly kingdom came to earth. He says: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” The text from Isaiah says: “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. These two obviously both describe the same thing, the time when the earthly realm and the heavenly kingdom are one, when things on earth are fully aligned with the heavenly kingdom.
When Jesus was here on earth, He said: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) He said: “Behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.(within you)" (Luke 17:21) When Jesus was here on earth, the kingdom of heaven was here with Him. The miracles He did, healing the blind, the lame and the leper, raising the dead to life, feeding thousands with a few fish and loaves, were all signs of the realities of heaven impacting earth. Some believe that because Jesus said: “It is finished.” Because He accomplished all that there was to do for the redemption, reconciliation and restoration of man and creation, that we live in the time which Isaiah and John describe, that because of the finished work of the cross, the kingdom of heaven truly has come. They believe all that is left, is for us as Jesus disciples, to walk in the fullness of what has been accomplished.
I am no theologian. I have not extensively studied the scriptures in their original languages and contexts. But when I combine what I read in the word with what I see in the world, I believe that the fullness of the kingdom of heaven is still in the future. I believe as the Word, both the written Word and Jesus the living Word say, Jesus will return again. He Himself will usher in and establish the kingdom of heaven here on earth. I don’t see the evidence of the fullness of the realities of heaven here on earth. There is still mourning and pain, even for believers. There are still infants who live but a few days and few people live to be one hundred, let alone we think one hundred is young. In Revelation 21:22-27, the description of the future kingdom continues: I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” We still obviously have need of the sun to sustain and illuminate the earth. There is still sin in the world. So what does it mean for us that Jesus said: “It is finished.”?
Jesus taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” He said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18) He said: “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19) Upon the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Lord and Savior, the Anointed One, Jesus has built and established the church, His chosen and anointed ones. He has given us authority and power to bring the realities of heaven to earth. We are to be agents of the kingdom of heaven, here on earth.
Still though, the fullness of that reality has not come. We see glimpses of it, miracles of healing, protection and provision. We see times when this earthly realm does indeed align with the realities of heaven and the finished work of the cross. We should see more. If we are faithful to fulfill the call and commission of Christ, if we are faithful to pray as He taught us to pray, if we are faithful to preach the gospel to all creation, then we will increasingly see signs and wonders. We will increasingly see evidence of heaven on earth. I believe Jesus will return. About the time of His return, 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Jesus Himself says: "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Mark 13:32) In 2 Peter 3, after he says God wills that none should perish; that, that is why Jesus has not yet returned, the harvest is not yet complete, verses 11-12 say: what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…
What sort of people should we be? In light of the finished work of the cross, in light of the authority Jesus has given us through the revelation that He is the Christ, in light of and in response to His commission that we: preach the gospel to all creation, What sort of people should we be? Regardless of the evidence of the situations and circumstances we see in the world around us, we should be agents of the kingdom of heaven, here on earth. In Revelation 22:12-21, Jesus says:
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”… The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost… He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.