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God’s message to his people has been consistent throughout the Book of Isaiah.
Thus says the Lord:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed. (Isaiah 56.1)
The relationship with God and other humans is to be characterized by justice and right living. Imagine for a moment how wonderful our world would be if this admonition was followed by the majority of persons.
On God’s side of the relationship, he promises salvation and deliverance.
God’s salvation has many expressions. The Exodus from Egypt, God’s personal care for humans, and deliverance from the power of sin through Christ are three significant examples.
Another dimension of God’s salvation and deliverance involves his remaking of humans and the world. When the world is remade, we will have greater ability to live in faithful obedience to God.
I once read a description of heaven that said it is more like woodcut, than a finely detailed picture drawn with a Sharpe Pen.
I like that image. The Bible contains enough information about the new heaven and new earth to make us want to live there. However, it does not have detailed specifics that modern humans so often long to know.
Isaiah provides a big picture image of what God will do for his children.
For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress. (Isaiah 65.17-19)
What are the big images in these verses?
God, who created the universe, will create a new heaven and new earth.
The Book of Revelation pictures a kingdom that lasts for 1000 years in which this world will be renewed.
“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God.
“They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
“(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20.4-6).
There is enough in these verses that should make us want to be part of those who live with Jesus during his 1000 year reign.
There is significant caution to those who run the risk of having the mark of the beast. While people would never accept a physical mark on their hand or forehead, if they imitate the behavior of the beast, then they are “beast people.”
God, who made the world and sustains it, is the Creator. He is not part of the system of the world, but stands outside of the created order. This is the central meaning of the word, “holy.”
As the Holy One, who is the Creator, he is perfectly able to create a new heaven and a new earth.
Our part in the matter is to follow him with obedient faith. As I often say, God’s not going to be asking our opinion, only our trust.
A Place of Joy
God’s new creation will be a place of joy. Once again, the Book of Revelation provides a picture of this experience.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.'” (Revelation 21.1-4)
There will be three joyous happenings in God’s new heaven and earth.
(1) All that has plagued humans on earth will be absent in this realm.
(2) The new heavens and new earth are beautiful beyond our current comprehension.
(3) The most magnificent aspect of this new world will be the presence of God.
Think About It!
As we think about the new heaven and new earth, there are serious things to consider.
(1) Isaiah criticized his listeners because they went through the motions of religion, but their behavior showed they were in actuality distant from God.
The first chapter stated Isaiah’s case.
Ah, sinful nation,
people laden with iniquity,
offspring who do evil,
children who deal corruptly,
who have forsaken the Lord,
who have despised the Holy One of Israel,
who are utterly estranged! (Isaiah 1.4)
These words were spoken to religious people who believed that they had a relationship with God. It is important that we examine ourselves and our relationship with God in the light of what he is about to do.
(2) Trust that is evidenced by humble obedience is called for. The message to Ahaz is appropriate for us all.
If you do not stand firm in faith,
you shall not stand at all. (Isaiah 7.9)
(3) God knows our inability to live in a trusting and faithful relationship with him. He sent his Suffering Servant (Jesus) into the world to forgive our sins.
He will recreate the heavens and earth, so that we may live in an environment that will enable us to live with him in love and trust.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I have a YouTube video on this chapter on the Bob Spradling channel. I hope you will find time to listen. Rudy has some excellent insights.
I am indebted to John Oswalt and his two commentaries on Isaiah for information that help the writing of these blog articles.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.