Revealing Revealtion – The (Not So) New Heaven and Earth?

05Jan11

For some reason I have dreaded and postponed the writing of this post. Not because of the subject matter, nor a lack of familiarity with the arguments, but rather this post could easily become the exact opposite of the purpose of this blog. As stated several times, the intention of this blog was to walk through difficult prophetic issues and passages and try like crazy to simplify make them easier to understand.

I have yet to figure out how to do so with this topic.

As discussed in the previous post there are several different views on how to approach the topic of the New Heavens and the New earth, but the more I read on the subject the more the simpleexplanations simply do not suffice. I would love to state that this is just all some future “Eternal Order” and leave it to that. But the more I study the more I see the language usage employed by John following the language used by Isaiah to mean something completely different.

The first order of business, then, is to see if the case can be made from the Old Testament passages that the concept in question is actually a picture of the Eternal State or whether it is a past or present reality.

Isa 65:20 “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.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 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.

23 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.

Note how many non-Eternal State type functions the people of the Lord will partake in. They will eat and drink, build houses, work the land, have children and eventually die. Those are not the hallmarks of the eternal state in which one lives eternally with God in heaven, or as argued, on a re-established new Earth. Yet this falls immediately under the heading and introduction of the New Heaven and New Earth.

There is more of an explanation to be found in Chapter 66 and how it relates to the New Covenant. This will be expanded and understood more clearly when compared to passages in the New Testament including Hebrews and Revelation.

So, what does the New heaven and Earth look like functionally in Chapter 66? Here are highlights of the chapter worth noting.

Isa 66:1 This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?

So, in the NHNE there is no Temple. There is no physical house for the Lord to abide. rather we discover the New testament understanding in that the Church is the New Temple and residence of the Lord. This is expanded in Revelation as the New Jerusalem (the Church) descends and we are told that He will live with and within this new residence and amongst it’s inhabitants. This Old Covenant Temple is replaced in the NHNE by the Church

Isa 66:3 But whoever sacrifices a bull

is like one who kills a man,

and whoever offers a lamb,

like one who breaks a dog’s neck;

whoever makes a grain offering

is like one who presents pig’s blood,

and whoever burns memorial incense,

like one who worships an idol.

They have chosen their own ways,

and their souls delight in their abominations;

4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them

and will bring upon them what they dread.

For when I called, no one answered,

when I spoke, no one listened.

They did evil in my sight

and chose what displeases me.

Sacrificing is abolished and rejected because of the evil done bu those who claim to be His. This is not a future event, but rather a first century event as the NHNE is eternally established when the following takes place…

Isa 66:6 Hear that uproar from the city,

hear that noise from the temple!

It is the sound of the LORD

repaying his enemies all they deserve.

Does this not perfectly predict what we have been discussing in all of these posts? The Lord repays His enemies that are found where? In the city and Temple! But before the “labor pains” (Matt 24) take place we discover this prediction…

Isa 66:7 “Before she goes into labor,

she gives birth;

before the pains come upon her,

she delivers a son.

8 Who has ever heard of such a thing?

Who has ever seen such things?

Can a country be born in a day

or a nation be brought forth in a moment?

Yet no sooner is Zion in labor

than she gives birth to her children.

So, the children of Zion that are birthed right before her labor pains, or destruction. The Church undeniably comes forth from Zion, and it is her destruction and removal that make way for the birth of the Church. It even begins with the birth of a “son!” So this repayment of God’s enemies in the city and Temple also births the Church that would proceed from her.

This birthing then leads to the rest of Chapter 66 which is fulfilled with promises to these new children of Zion. All of this is contextually found under the heading of the New Heaven and New Earth!

So, perhaps it is best to understand the NHNE covenantally as a picture of the promised New Covenant that find origination in the Old testament, institution in the Gospels, unfolding in the Acts and explanation in the rest of the New Testament.

This coincides beautifully with the picture painted in Hebrews 8 where we are told the Old Covenant and it’s ways were fading away forever to be replaced with this new and better Covenant. Which then leads to a better understanding of Revelation 21.

But before addressing Chapter 21 directly it is important to remind the reader that much of the New Covenant language deals with the impact of an eternal work of Christ found in the New Covenant that outshines the limited work of the ceremonial law of the Old Covenant. So, when eternal images are used they done so to show the greater power and impact of this New Covenant.

Rev. 21:1-3 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. [2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] 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.

With the previous information one must now ask the question is there anything here that did not begin with the introduction of institution of the New Covenant in the first century? Was the Church not established and did it not come from God in heaven (not of this world…). Is God’s dwelling place not with man?

Did Paul not clearly dictate that the old has passed away and that all things become new? (2 Cor 5:17)

Did the end of the sea (Gentile Nations) not take place in the birth of the Church? Since the sea is seen in the Old Testament and in Revelation 17 as representing the gentile nations it’s usage here now makes more sense. There is no longer Jew nor Gentile in the New Covenant therefor the sea is no more covenantally.

So, John here is now returning to the end of Chapter 19 after a brief glimpse into the future describing the Kingdom era and it’s eventual end. this return is marked by the restating the proof of the New Jerusalem’s existence is the destruction of the Old Covenant, most notable the symbol of that covenant, the temple. Once that symbol has been destroyed it becomes covenatally obvious that the New Jerusalem (the Church) takes center place in the Covenantal relationship between God and Man, and this is accomplished by the finished work of Jesus Christ as aptly argued in the book of Hebrews!

Please note that Chapter 21 ends by stating there there is no longer a Temple. Exactly what the prophet Isaiah stated would signify theNHNE… an event some 2,000 years in the past!

The Church should not frown on this understanding, but rejoice mightily. This is a great and powerful truth! The power of the truth that God resides in and with His people eternally should cause the church to rejoice and should, like they did in the first century, embolden the members of His body to proclaim His truth from one end of the heaven to another with passion and confidence.

He is our God and we are His people!

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10 Responses to “Revealing Revealtion – The (Not So) New Heaven and Earth?”

  1. 1 Christy

    I surely hope that more people will find this truth as time goes on and “the world is not destroyed.” Awesome!!

  2. 2 Tracey

    Love it.
    Can you explain how Isaiah 65:25 fits in with the other verses that you quoted in the chapter? Upon first glance it wouldn’t appear that v. 25 would apply to the coming of the new covenant…

  3. 3 Maurice

    Excellent post.

  4. This is an excellent post indeed. Tracey, I noticed your question regarding Isaiah 65:25, and thought I’d address it since I discussed a parallel passage (Isaiah 11:6) recently elsewhere. I’ll share that excerpt here, in hopes that this will be of help to you:

    If we are in the Millennium now, premillennialists will likely ask, in what sense is the wolf dwelling with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6), the cow and the bear grazing together (verse 7), the nursing child playing over the hole of the cobra (verse 8), and the earth full of the knowledge of the Lord (verse 9)? Good question—let’s ask the apostle Paul. He quoted the next verse as being fulfilled in his own lifetime: “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). Romans 15:12, where Paul cites this verse, reads this way: “The root of Jesse will come, even He who arises to rule the Gentiles, in Him will the Gentiles hope” (Romans 15:12).

    The context of both Isaiah 11 and Romans 15 suggests a bringing together in Christ the remnant of God’s people from among both the Jews and the Gentiles. Isaiah uses apocryphal language; Paul in Romans is more straightforward. Why not? The “mystery of God” spoken of by the prophets had been revealed and was about to be fulfilled in Paul’s day (cp. Eph. 3:6 with Rev. 10:7). “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6). There is no Jew or Gentile in Christ Jesus (Rom. 10:12-13; Gal. 3:28, 5:6, 6:15-16); “the dividing wall of hostility” has been broken down (Eph. 2:14). The wolf (Gentiles), so to speak, now dwells safely with the lamb (Jews), i.e. among those who truly belong to Christ. The Gentile nations which were deceived and dwelling “far off” (Eph. 2:11-22; Rom. 9:22-26) prior to Christ’s work on the cross are now brought near (so that without distinction “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”; Rom. 10:12-13); in this way, Satan’s deception over the nations is broken (Rev. 20:3).

    Paul’s application of a classic “premillennial passage” (Isaiah 11) to his own lifetime (Romans 15) is not an isolated incident in the New Testament… Simply put, a lot of Old Testament passages taken by premillennialists to refer to a future, physical kingdom centered around earthly Jerusalem actually have to do with a present, non-physical kingdom centered around the New Jerusalem, the Church (Gal. 4:24-27, Heb. 12:22-24).

    [SOURCE]

  5. 5 Tracey

    Thanks so much for your input, Adam. Yes, it’s a big help. I also looked around on your site- looks like a lot of great info. I’ll be perusing more in-depth in the coming days.
    Blessings,
    Tracey

    • Thank you for your kind words, Tracey. I’m glad it was of help. I must say that David’s site here has been instrumental in helping me to complete my journey out of dispensationalism, and in helping me understand the partial-preterist position which I now hold to.

      In Christ,
      Adam

  6. 7 Tracey

    It’s been great for me, too. It’s pretty easy to feel all alone with this position, with no one really to answer questions and kind of guide you through the tough stuff. My husband (a pastor on staff at our truly wonderful church) thinks I’m CRAZY, but I feel liberated!!


  1. 1 Revelation Chapter 21 (Part 1: Verses 1-4) « Pursuing Truth at 2909 (Minneapolis)
  2. 2 Revelation Chapter 21 (Part 1: Verses 1-4) | Pursuing Truth
  3. 3 The New Testament Repeatedly Applies Isaiah 65-66 To This Present Age | Pursuing Truth

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