Today’s reading: Isaiah 64-66.
What will happen at the end of time? So far, the Old Testament has revealed the Day of the LORD, a future time or event when God judges the wickedness of those who oppose him and begins to pour out blessings on the remnant of those who believe in him. As Isaiah closes out his book of prophecy, he looks beyond the Day of the LORD to see something new that God will do.
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” Isaiah 65:17-18
Pastor Chuck Smith says that the creating God describes is the kind of creating that only God can do: making something out of nothing. He doesn’t have in mind a revision or upgrade. He is remaking the universe from scratch just as he created it out of nothing (from buckets of nothing as Calvin Miller said) in the beginning. Peter described it this way:
…the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:10
John also saw it in his Revelation and added more details.
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, 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, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
God redeems his creation by creating it anew. This is the final event of history before eternity takes over, but Isaiah has more to say about what happens before that final day.
Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Isaiah 65:20-23
He’s describing the Millenium, the thousand-year period when Jesus Christ rules on the earth after his second coming. It will be a time full of God’s blessing, including the fullness of God’s blessings on his chosen people.
- It will be a time of great health and long life, far exceeding what we know now.
- It will be a time when men and women enjoy the fruit of their work.
- It will be a time when parents see their children grow up and enjoy fortune, not hardship.
- It will be a time when God answers their requests before they can finish speaking them.
- It will be a time of peace and joy.
Remember that Isaiah opened his book with warnings of judgment, but he always followed the judgments with accounts of God’s mercy. It’s fitting, as he closes his book, that he finishes with words of hope and blessing. Our eternal future is glorious, and that should make us joyful in the midst of whatever troubles we face today.
Image by lapidem on Flickr, CC by-nc 2.0