For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. (18) But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (19) And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. (20) There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. Isaiah 65:17-20
There are all kinds of worries that can steal your hope. If you want to be worried, then watch lots of news and pay a lot of attention to the politicians. Another way to worry is to pay a lot of attention to the stock market. Social media can leave you with all kinds of tension as you compare entire life to the highlights of other people’s lives.
I would have you fill in the blank for what brings worry and fear into your life, but it is probably not good to dwell on these. For many people these things are top of mind anyway. Little effort is needed to develop this kind of list.
If our future focus does not include what God tells us will happen for believers in the future, we will inevitably be without much hope. Conversely, when we understand what God has planned as He has revealed it to us, we will have so much hope! Jesus said it this way:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
God sent Jesus to redeem us from our sins. Because of this reality, those who trust in Him have an incredible future. I want us to look at Isaiah 65:17-24 today for precisely that reason. I want our future focus to be hopeful by seeing God’s plans for us.
Now to give you some context, this text clearly speaks of the future kingdom of God. It speaks of our future. Isaiah is speaking to a Jewish audience. To full grasp the future that this text is speaking about, you need to understand that whole of the teaching regarding God’s future kingdom points to two aspects of this future kingdom. There will be a temporal aspect, and an eternal aspect.
Keep in mind the order of events:
- (1) the rapture of the church (1Th_4:13-18);
- (2) the rise of Antichrist (2Th_2:1-17);
- (3) the breaking of Antichrist’s seven-year covenant with the Jews (Dan_9:27) after three and a half years;
- (4) the pouring out of God’s wrath on the world (Mat_24:15-28) to judge the Gentiles and purify Israel;
- (5) the return of Christ with the church to the earth to defeat the nations (Rev_19:11-21, Armageddon)
- (6) the establishing of the millennial kingdom (Rev_20:1-6),
- (7) the release of Satan from the prison to deceive the nations and to ultimately be defeated in battle (Rev 20:7-10),
- (8) the Great White throne judgement (Revelation 20:11-15),
- (9)and then the eternal state with the coming of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21).
The metaphor has been made that Isaiah sees the future the way we see mountains from afar. We can see them in the distance, but we cannot tell the distance between them. We see the peaks but not the valleys. One commentator, speaking of both the millennial (temporal) kingdom and the eternal kingdom:
“The prophet uses the eternal kingdom here as a reference point for both. Isaiah’s prophecy does not make clear the chronological relationship between the kingdom’s two aspects as does later prophecy (Rev. 20:1-21:8). This is similar to the compression of Christ’s first and second advents, so that in places they are indistinguishable (cf. Isa_61:1-2).” (Macarthur)
Essentially in the list above Isaiah speaks of some of life in both number 6 and number 9. So, this particular passage gives some details that will all be true in the future for us. Some of the details are true in the millennial (temporal) kingdom but not in the eternal kingdom. Some of the details are true only in the eternal kingdom. Some of the details are true in both.
Either way, when we focus on this future that is described it will be bring us all kinds of hope. Why? Because of what will happen for us in this preferred future when we know Christ.
Hope can be ours when we see the results of God’s future kingdom, and by living in light of these results that are described in Isaiah 65:17-24. When we know what our future will be, it will impact how we live now.
In today’s text, verses 1-3, we see the first result of this future kingdom. That result is joy.
Why is there so much joy?
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
There will be in the future, a new heaven and a new earth. This earth, although it is beautiful, has been cursed by sin. God makes a new one that is free from sin, pain, and death.
Look at all of the words of joy in verses 18 and 19.
(18) But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (19) And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.Isaiah 65:18-19
Notice the words spoken of Israel:
- “a rejoicing”
Then the words spoken about God Himself
- “I will rejoice”
- “joy in my people”
Another reason for such joy is the sheer lack of sorrow spoke of in verse 19. There will be no more weeping or crying. Why? The things that produced all of those sorrows are gone!
Verse 20 explains it this way:
(20) There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. Isaiah 65:17-20
This verse is obviously true of the temporal kingdom, during the millennial reign. In the eternal kingdom there will be no more death. Even in the millennial kingdom, God will allow for length of life and a severely declining infant mortality rate.
Imagine a world characterized by an abundance of joy with little to no hint of sorrow. Imagine a world where God dwell with his people, where he will wipe all tears from our eyes. This will be an incredible thing. Paul spoke of it this way in Romans 8:18:
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.Romans 8:18
The intensity of the greatest sorrow that we feel down here is not worthy to be compared with the intensity of the joy that we will experience in the incredible future God has for us!
Are you down and discouraged today? Are you worried or anxious? Hope in God! Take some time to thank God for this incredible future He has planned.