New Heavens and a New Earth
Text: Isaiah 65:17-25
I. A frequent mistake made in reading the Scriptures is to recognize the meaning of a phrase in one area of the Bible and then assume that the phrase has the same meaning everywhere it is used.
A. An example of this is found in Isaiah 65:17.
1. Some contend that Isaiah’s prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. We still have the same earth and the same heavens as back then.
2. The Jehovah’s Witnesses cite this passage and the verses following to claim there is still a promise of a paradise on earth to be fulfilled.
B. When dealing with prophecy, we must remember that much is not literal, but figurative in nature - Hosea 12:10
1. Jesus used figures of speech in his teachings - Matthew 13:34
2. When Jesus called himself a door in John 10:19
a. Is he made of wood?
b. Does he have hinges
c. Or do we realize that he is figuratively saying that he is the way - John 14:6
II. What did Isaiah mean by “new heavens and a new earth?”
A. Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1-2 and applies it to the present age - Romans 10:18-21
B. The chapter ends with a reference to God’s holy mountain - Isaiah 65:25 (also Isaiah 65:11
1. God’s holy mountain is mentioned in Isaiah 11:9
a. But it referring to the time of Christ - Isaiah 11:1-2, 10
b. Isaiah 61:1-2 talks about the same ideas as Isaiah 11:2
c. Christ read Isaiah 61:1-2 and said it was fulfilled - Luke 4:16-21
2. God’s mountain is his kingdom, the church - Isaiah 2:1-4
a. Hebrews 12:22-28
3. God’s kingdom is spiritual - John 18:36
C. Isaiah 65 cannot be referring to the second coming
1. Christ’s coming brings an end of death - Revelation 21:4
2. Yet in Isaiah 65:20 death is still present. The emphasis is on a long life, but not eternal life.
3. Too, notice that some might be thought accursed or sinful, yet with Christ’s coming there is no more sin - Revelation 21:27
D. Isaiah 66:22 also speaks of the new heavens and new earth
1. Notice the mention of the travail of labor, something also mentioned in Micah 5:2-3
a. But this is a reference to the Messiah’s coming
2. The same symbol was used in Revelation 12:1-11
a. It talks about the coming of Christ into the world, his death and the birth of his kingdom
E. Both Isaiah 65 and 66 talk about peaceful things - Isaiah 65:19-25; 66:10-14
1. Christ came to bring peace - Ephesians 4:14-18
F. The phrase “new heavens and new earth is to say there is goin to be a complete change. In this case the change is in the kingdom from physical Israel to the spiritual one
1. The old Israel sinned - Isaiah 65:1-7
2. It was removed - Isaiah 65:12
3. It was replaced by something completely new
III. That same concept of a complete change is destined once again
A. Instead of figuratively, this world will be completely destroyed - II Peter 3:10-14
1. It is different from the old because here sin reigns, but there righteousness dwells.
2. Here there is death, there is eternal life - I Corinthians 15:42-55
B. John also saw this in a vision - Revelation 21:1
1. No sea – no separation from God - Revelation 21:2-4
2. And the explanation - all things are made new - Revelation 21:5
IV. Really the failure is not in finding a consistent meaning to a phrase, but establishing a meaning that seems to fit one passage instead of looking for one that fits all passages.
A. But if we get fixated on one understanding, we can neglect to look at the context and see what is really being said.
Based on an article by Keith Sharp