God Creates

Isaiah 65:17-25

Thread runs through Scripture from about Genesis chapter 3 onward: deliverance. Bible uses various words, emphasizing God’s actions / individual experience – deliver, save, redeem. We tend to put all into one bucket: salvation. Bible speaks much of being saved or delivered from – reminds us something happened: the Fall, its consequences, and Curse that immediately followed. We know from Scripture the ultimate consequence of the Fall for the unrepentant – death, followed by eternal condemnation in the lake of fire. Think through some what-if’s:

=> salvation means only from death and hell, everything else stays the same (bodies, sin, cosmos); blessing or curse?

=> only from death, hell, sin (not its consequences), rest the same (bodies, cosmos); blessing or curse?

=> all that plus new bodies, same place and conditions to live in forever; blessing or curse?

For salvation / deliverance to be blessing not curse, must include everything corrupted by sin that will be part of believer’s eternal experience. Puts benefits of what Christ accomplished by death, burial, resurrection in different light, doesn’t it, when consider entire scope. His sacrifice purchased redemption for his people and heavens and earth. Paul writes Rom. 8:21the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” God has it covered – our salvation is complete and will be genuine and eternal blessing, with no remaining trace of sin and its curse to spoil our endless enjoyment of God.

For that to be achieved, God’s got a lot of work yet to do! Promised deliverance of a remnant, salvation for the nations in first part of chapter. But what about all the rest? Their condition, their circumstances, all things necessary for them/us to experience blessing of eternal life. God continues response to Isaiah’s prayer, revealing more of what he, the covenant Lord, intends to do for his covenant people.

Side note: several places in Bible where what authors try to describe goes beyond words and ability to express. Paradigm shift is so radical requires new ways of thinking to fully comprehend. e.g., Paul’s attempt to discuss resurrection in 1 Cor. 15. Post-resurrection bodies sorta kinda like, continuous with, but not really…. Same for Isaiah. How we think about young/old, life/death, relationships within created order will be fundamentally different in new heaven/earth from what they are now. Also, if things about Isaiah’s description are murky, must understand them in light of Scripture that has more clarity.

A. new cosmos v.17

already new creatures “in process” (2 Cor. 5:17)

don’t need NT to get that, at least a little – first half of chapter makes clear distinctions between saved and lost

new creatures need new home

can never experience absolute full joy / blessing with constant reminders of sin around

can never experience fullness of God’s presence in sin-corrupted environment

intermediate state not ultimate destiny

at death, bodies go into ground and souls to Lord’s presence (2 Cor. 5:6-8), awaiting Christ’s return and resurrection

the in-between: better than now, not best

man is made for bodily existence

still have memories, connections with earthly life

but,… if John is right (Rev. 21:4), also v.19 – no more tears, sorrow or crying, then…

cause for such must be removed – everything wrong with present universe

eventually, even memories of things that would distress will be superceded

God will have ideal people in ideal universe

holy God will have holy people in holy place, his divine purpose includes all means to that end

B. new joy v.18-19

God’s people rejoicing in his new creation (18)

joy in what God will do begins now – based on hope (confidence) in him

means we shouldn’t dwell in past; hope in future should fuel our passion for holiness and making disciples

worship is foundation for joy

enhanced by fellowship with other worshipers

part of worship is rejoicing in what God creates

giving him glory for his glorious work

a work of such incredible proportions only God could perform it

same kind of language as Genesis and first creation

saints will see God’s ultimate purpose in its fullness

giving him glory for joy we experience because of what he has made

especially when he has made it for our joy

God rejoicing in his people (19)

nothing any longer in God’s people to cause him grief

nothing any longer to cause his people grief

God rejoices in them and with them

approving and reveling in his own handiwork

other prophets give further light on God’s rejoicing:

Zeph 3:17He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

C. new life v.20

death will have no more power

death is sad fact of life – millions die before born, many more at very young age; no age or stage of life immune

no longer true in new heaven / new earth

no one will die in infancy, no one’s life will be cut short

someone 100 years old considered just a child

if no death, or its power, then no more aging process

if in this life our “inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16), in the next life our entire person will enjoy that experience of daily renewal

sin will have no more presence

inmate in max-security may be able to go visit another cell undetected (Cumberland County Jail)

will never happen in new heavens / new earth

will be no sin, no sinners, only redeemed and purified saints

but if a sinner managed to get in unnoticed… if managed to live there under the radar for 100 years…

his sin eventually do him in – would be cursed, condemned, cast out

isn’t simply that sin not present there

will never be tolerated

nothing allowed that will disturb joy of redeemed in eternity

D. new conditions v.21-25

no curse (21-22b)

frustration of having to work for benefit of another

building for other people to enjoy

raising food for other creatures to enjoy (think pests and predators, too!)

curse – laborious toil, thorns, thistles, sweat – removed from new creation

no longer too little time (22c)

as old as the trees:

“many trees in the bristlecone pine forest of the White Mountains (California) that exceed 4000 years of age, and are still growing!” (USDA website) Oldest single tree – Methusaleh, estimated 4,843 years old. Allowing for minor calculation errors – sprouted immediately after the flood.

no more “make-work work”, no need for do-overs (22d)

labor will be to good purpose, will have substantive result

outcome of labor will suit God’s purpose

disaster, calamity, trouble out of the picture (23)

curse – pain of child-bearing and raising – removed from new life

how many times have you heard: “I wouldn’t want to raise children today, in this world”

circumstances that cause physical, emotional and spiritual pain no longer exist

all generations will experience only blessing

no need/delay (24)

God will provide for need even before it is articulated

God will be so near – no “delay” in communication

even in new life: creatures still dependent on God; God still faithful to supply

no danger (25)

no more predator / prey relationships

The story is told of a Russian named Ivanovich who visited the Moscow zoo for the first time. To his amazement, he found a little lamb sharing the cage with a big fierce bear. Ivanovich expressed surprise to his guide. The guide smiled and said, “That is peaceful coexistence.” When Ivanovich shook his head in a doubtful way, the guide explained, “Of course, we have to put in a fresh lamb every morning.”

no more bloodshed

no more injury or destruction

no more danger from the Serpent

curse not lifted from him

all traces of sin and its corrupting effects along with result of God’s curse erased from heaven and earth as God makes them new

All possible only because of redemptive work of Christ – one Savior, one sacrifice – sufficient to purchase our salvation, accomplish redemption of his people in full. Nothing overlooked, nothing held back:

Heb 7:25-27So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. NET

Best part of it all: enjoying our Savior’s presence, to be near him, experience his smile, hear his voice, feel his touch. That “will through the ages be glory for [us]”.

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