Isaiah 65 - New Heavens and New Earth - Interpretations?

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crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Ran across this passage the other day preparing for a Sunday School lesson on work.

Is this a vision of heaven? Is this a mixture of heaven and earth? Will we be laboring in heaven? Thoughts?

New Heavens and a New Earth

17"For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy[c] the work of their hands.
23They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,[d]
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their descendants with them.
24Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Will people die in heaven (new creation/post-resurrection)?

No. So this is either all now or a mixture of the now and not yet. Can't be an all not yet. So which is it and what fits in what and how do we know?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by crhoades
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Will people die in heaven (new creation/post-resurrection)?

No. So this is either all now or a mixture of the now and not yet. Can't be an all not yet. So which is it and what fits in what and how do we know?

If we were scientists we would say this is the "ultimate anomaly." As good theologians, whenever we come to a passage in the bible that is "glorious/prosperity/joyful/victorious" we a priori relegate it to the "not yet."

This passage, however, has realities in it that are impossible in the "restored cosmos." Thus I can only conclude that things will get better in space-time history.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
It gets better:
Will there be "nations" in the eternal state? Revelation 22:2 posits "leaves will be for the healing of the nations." I was always taught that politics is of secondary importance because we won't have political entities in "heaven."

But someone could, concievably counter, that there will be politics in "heaven" (or the restored cosmos), they just won't be "bad guys" there. Okay, I'll bite.

Psalm 72, which many take to be of the reign of Christ, notes, "his enemies will lick the dust" (v.9). But enemies aren't in "heaven." But the psalm goes on: there will be peace in his reign (which both covenant theologians see as now) until the "moon is no more." This can't be heaven because of the presence of astral bodies, which are gone in the eternal state.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I find it helpful to look at OT prophecy through the lens of Heb. 11, "seeing afar off." Thus the OT describes the consummation of the covenant from a distance; like a mountain range, particulars which seem close together can have some distance between them. Hence Isa. 65 can be understood as having multiple applications of varying degrees. It can refer to spiritual blessings in Christ poured upon individual believers, the blessing of the Spirit poured upon the nations, and ultimate consummation in heavenly glory.

I would be careful of over-literalising OT visions of glory. The eschatological hope is necessarily stated according to the ideas that then prevailed concerning blessedness. Canaan is a type of rest, and so it is natural for the prophets to speak of spiritual rest in terms of earthly Canaan.
 
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