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| | |-+  Isaiah 65v17-23 and Revelation 21v1-4 Compared
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Author Topic: Isaiah 65v17-23 and Revelation 21v1-4 Compared  (Read 1059 times)
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« on: September 16, 2004, 06:06:23 AM »

Isaiah 65:17-23 (KJV): "17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them."
Revelation 21:1-4 (KJV): "1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Despite many similarities in the language, Isaiah 65 speaks of death and sin, Revelation 21 speaks of "no more death". Are these the same new heavens and new earth, or do they represent changes at a different period of time?

One question that should be considered is what does the term "new heaven and new earth" represent. Is this the complete destruction of the universe and a replacement with a new universe? Do the heavens mentioned speak of the clouds and atmosphere of the earth and hence a new local heaven and a new earth? Or is this figurative language?

Looking at some passages that speak of the literal earth
Ecclesiastes 1:4 (KJV): "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever."
Psalm 78:69 (KJV): "And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever."

These two passages indicate that the earth will not be destroyed or replaced.

When the generation of Israel under Moses failed God pronounced:
Numbers 14:21 (KJV): "But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD."
This passage also does not teach that the earth will be destroyed or replaced. God's purpose is to fill the earth, that is the present or literal earth, with His glory. God's purpose will not fail despite the failure of Israel..

At a time when the nation of Israel was failing once again through idolatry and wickedness, God told Habakkuk that He was raising up Babylon to judge his nation. Habakkuk objected, but God answered with those well known words concerning individual salvation. Again God's purpose will not fail, individuals will be blessed even if Israel fails. Further down in the chapter we have an echo of the thoughts of Numbers 14:21.
Habakkuk 2:4,14 (KJV): "4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. 14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
The earth will not be destroyed, but filled with the knowledge of the glory of God.

There are some passages that speak of the heavens and earth in a figurative sense. The following is the same prophet, Isaiah, who spoke of the new heavens and new earth in Isaiah 65:17.
Isaiah 34:4-5 (KJV): "4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. 5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment."
Isaiah uses the figure of heaven for those of Idumea when speaking of their judgment. Heaven is used figuratively for a political power, while earth is used for the people subject to that power.

Paul quotes the following and gives us an interpretation of shaking the heavens and the earth.
Haggai 2:6-7 (KJV): "6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts."
Hebrews 12:26-29 (KJV): "26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire."

The deduction from all the above is that a new heaven and a new earth do not speak of the complete destruction of our heaven and earth, but the replacement of the existing system with a new system. This new system is the Kingdom of God as taught in the dream of Nebuchanezzar:
Daniel 2:35 (KJV): "Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
Daniel gives the interpretation of these details of the dream:
Daniel 2:44 (KJV): "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Christ will return to replace the kingdoms of men with the Kingdom of God, and the end result be that the Kingdom of God will fill the whole earth, fulfilling Numbers 14:21, Habakkuk 2:14.

How do we reconcile Isaiah 65:17-23 with Revelation 21:1-4? Paul quotes Psalm 8 in Hebrews 2 and shows that Psalm 8 refers to the "age to come". He also quotes Psalm 8 in:
1 Corinthians 15:25-26 (KJV): "25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
This shows that during the Kingdom there will be sin and mortals, as is also obvious from Zechariah 14:16, and this corresponds with the period mentioned in Isaiah 65:17-23. This period is also mentioned in Revelation 20 that speaks of the Kingdom lasting 1000 years, when the chosen faithful will be kings and priests. To be kings and priests necessitates mortals and sinners over whom the faithful will rule and teach.

Revelation 21 speaks of a time when there is no more death. Comparing 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20 this must be after the 1000 years, at the end of the Kingdom of God, when Christ will have "put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Looking at:
Revelation 21:1 (KJV): "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."
The word "first" is translated "former" in v.4. The heaven and earth of Revelation 20, where there was sin and death has in Revelation been replaced by the period after the 1000 years, and in that period there will be no more death. as testified by 1 Corinthians 15.

We wait in patience for the return from heaven; of "the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV). May each of us share Paul's hope 2 Timothy 4:8 (KJV): "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Kind regards
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