REJOICE IN ANTICIPATION OF GOD’S NEW CREATION – MILLENNIAL BLESSINGS
This earth is headed for a glorious finish as God’s holy mountain – the establishment of His kingdom of righteousness and peace on a global scale. Hard to imagine when we look around us at the fallen and depraved conditions of our day. But only this type of glorious finish realizes God’s original intent in creating the heavens and the earth. It has always been His intention to establish His Son on the throne to rule over the earth and administer justice within a context of worship and holiness. God’s law will be taught and embraced by all the subjects of the kingdom. God’s purposes will not be thwarted by Satan. In fact, God will exercise His dominion by binding Satan for the 1000 year Millennial period. Make no mistake, God will demonstrate His control visibly on the earth and glorify Himself in that way.
This great hope is what so motivated the OT Jews. They died in faith it says in Heb. 11:13-16 – “without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them.” That heavenly New Jerusalem is the extension of the revitalized New Jerusalem seen in this millennial passage just as the eternal state of the kingdom is the final extension of the millennial kingdom seen here.
The disciples of Jesus’ day were motivated by this hope as well so that when He appeared after His resurrection they eagerly asked Him: “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6]
Peter’s writings indicate that we are to be motivated by such a hope as well as he jumps forward to the ultimate end: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of “God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heart! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” [2 Pet. 3:10-13]
The study of future prophecy is not something that Jesus wants us to dismiss as just pious speculation. It had practical application to how we live today.
Constable: As the book opened with an emphasis on judgment (chs. 1—5), so it closes with an emphasis on hope (65:17—66:24). Amid judgment, Israel could have hope. References to “new heavens” and a “new earth” form an inclusio for this final section of the book (65:17; 66:22).
Oswalt: How will humans ever be able to live the righteousness of God, to be the evidence to the nations that he alone is God? Only in one way: if God himself intervenes and exercises His creative power to remake us and our world.
David Thompson: The world in which we are living is depressing, but God wants His people joyful. Look carefully in this context and see the emphasis on joy and gladness (Isaiah 65:13, 14, 18, 19). Where in the world can Israel find joy and happiness right now and where can we find it? We certainly cannot find it in the threats and intimidations of this world. We cannot find it in a bunch of lying politicians who say one thing and do another.
REJOICE IN ANTICIPATION OF GOD’S NEW CREATION – MILLENNIAL BLESSINGS
I. (:17-19a) CREATION OF NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH
A. The Timeframe – Possibilities
1. Eternal State – after the Millennial Kingdom – Rev. 21:1 following Rev. 20
we know that everything here cannot be speaking of the eternal state:
– Death and sin in vs. 20 = problem for Amillennial view
– Similar language to what has been described in other parts of Isaiah
2. Millennial Kingdom – a refurbished new heavens and new earth is then created after the Millennial Kingdom to lead into the eternal state; the first stage of what merges into eternity
3. Passage starts with description of eternal state but then flashes back to characteristics of Millennial Kingdom –
4. Telescoping comingling where there is no precise differentiation here between the Millennial Kingdom and the Eternal State
Beall quoting Wolf: the description of the messianic age in vv. 17-25 in many respects could find its fulfillment during the Millennium, but some of the features of Isaiah’s description of the messianic age seem to look ahead to the eternal state” [Interpreting Isaiah, p. 251].)
Oswalt quoting Delitzsch: in speaking of the kingdom of God here Isaiah amalgamates several aspecs of it that may be chronologically distinct but are spiritually identical. Thus in its present manifestation in the lives of believers, the kingdom is a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), “the world to come” (Heb. 2:5). But there is also the millennial kingdom, in which this world will be redeemed and renewed (Rev. 20:4-6). Finally, there are “new heavens and a new earth” that will exist after “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). All three of these manifestations of the kingdom of God and of his Messiah seem to be telescoped together in the prophet’s mind, much as the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world seem to have been telescoped for Jesus (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). The point is that the God who made this world and sustains it to the present moment is not locked in by anything that has happened up to now. He is not any part of the system. He is the Creator! And that means that the destructive power of sin can be broken, beginning now, and forever at the last day.
Alva McClain: The Greatness of the Kingdom – definition of the concept of a kingdom
At least three essential elements:
1) ruler with adequate authority and power
2) realm of subjects to be ruled
3) actual exercise of the function of rulership
All 3 of these are found in the Millennial Kingdom
What will be our role? Understanding that the millennium is populated by those saved believers who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation Period – includes both saved Jews and Gentiles –
3 different groups of resurrected believers that will be participating in some fashion and have some role of leadership –
1) OT resurrected saints
2) NT resurrected saints – the church … along with those raptured before the Tribulation
[even though our home is described as heaven where Jesus has gone to make a
place for us; we must commute back and forth or reign as angels do now]
3) Tribulation period martyrs
Remember, the resurrection of the unsaved does not happen until after the Millennial Kingdom when they face the Great White Throne Judgment described in Rev. 20:11
McClain: 6 Key characteristics:
– Spiritual in nature – still real and tangible on the earth but governed by the Messiah by the power of the Holy Spirit – emphasis on righteousness, spiritual cleansing, regeneration
– Ethical conduct – God’s law embraced world-wide
– Restoration of perfect social conditions – no more war or conflict among nations
– Physical transformation back into almost pre-Fall conditions – yet still sin present – geological changes; climate changes; increased fertility for growing crops; restoration of long life
– Political changes – Jerusalem and Israel will be the focus; centralized authority
– Religious purification – centralized worship centered around rebuilt temple in Jerusalem; Messiah following pattern of Melchizedek as both king and priest; Shekinah glory resident in the temple
B. (:17) The Transformation
1. The New Comes Into Existence
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;”
Parunak: This expression, which recurs in 66:22, is quoted twice in the NT: in 2 Pet 3:13, and Rev 21:1.
That significant word of introduction and attention-getting “Behold” – look and marvel
God is not part of His creation; He stands outside and distinct from it; He creates ex nihilo – out of nothing
Transformation of an individual or of a nation or of a planet cannot come from human effort; only God can affect the transformation that is needed; don’t we all long for a new heavens and new earth?? Our current environment is so marred by sin; it is polluted; it is beyond cleaning up; nothing short of a new heavens and new earth will suffice
2. The Old is Forgotten
“And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”
Parunak: The “former things” might be a reference to the former heaven and earth, a tempting option in view of the insistence of Peter and John that the old heaven and old earth will be done away. But the expression is a favorite of Isaiah, who accounts for 5/6 of its instances in the Bible, and in all the others (41:22; 42:9; 48:3; 65:16 “former troubles”), it refers to past events. The point is not that the old heavens and old earth are not remembered, but that the former chastisements fade away in the glory of the new order.
Oswalt: All the ways in which sin has stamped this world with its own deformed image will be wiped away, not only from reality but even from memory (cf. Rev. 21:4). They will not even come to mind.
David Thompson: God is going to reprogram our minds one day and we will never even remember the bad stuff we did or the bad things others did. No more sad things, no more bad things, no more things that make you cry
Application: In Christ we are a new creation
2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
C. (:18-19a) The Tone = Supreme Rejoicing
1. Command to Rejoice
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;”
Look at how pleased God was with His original creation – looked around and saw what He had created – that it was good
Remember that God formed you and made you the unique person that you are – we enter this world with the image of God marred and disfigured because of sin but with the potential to have God redeem us and create the NEW YOU – “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” – [2 Pet. 1:3-4]
Are you rejoicing in what God has created in you or are you complaining?
Remember the Apostle Paul’s prescription for a healthy Christian life: [1 Thess. 5:16-18] “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – should be no confusion about God’s will – despite all the books written on the subject – very simple – are we obeying??
2. Intent of Creating the New Jerusalem
“For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing,
And her people for gladness.”
Certainly Jerusalem today is more associated with weeping and mourning that with rejoicing and gladness; God’s purposes have not yet been realized
Motyer: The nouns delight and joy are in apposition, respectively, to Jerusalem and people. Hebrew uses apposition when one thing is so identifiable with another that they can be said to be the same, i.e. here Jerusalem and delight, its people and joy, are interchangeable (cf. 60:18).
God’s design accomplishes His intended purpose
David Thompson: The New Jerusalem is described in Revelation 21 and there it is called a “new” Jerusalem, meaning this will be brand new, not just refurbished. Some of the things we learn about the city in Revelation are amazing:
1) It will be a city of brilliant light . Rev. 21:11b – It will be the “zenith of beauty”
2) It will be a city surrounded by an impressive wall . Rev. 21:12a
3) It will be a city that has twelve gates . Rev. 21:12b-13 A. Each has a specific angel B. Each is named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel C. Each has a specific location
4) It will be a city that has twelve foundation stones . Rev. 21:14 – each with the name of an apostle
5) It will be a city of precise measurements . Rev. 21:15-17 – a perfect cube of 1500 miles
6) It will be a city surrounded by a beautiful wall 72 yards high – Rev. 21:17
7) It will be a city of amazing wealth and beauty. Rev. 21:18-20 – stones are costly
8) It will have twelve gates made out of pearls . Rev. 21:21a
9) It will have one major street made of gold . Rev. 21:21b
10) It will be a city where God , Himself, will live. Rev. 21:22-23
11) It will be a city of visited by believers of all nationalities. Rev. 21:24
12) It will be a city that will never shut down. Rev. 21:25
13) It will be a city where God will receive glory and honor. Rev. 21:26
14) It will be a city that no unbeliever will ever enter. Rev. 21:27
3. Delight of God
“I will also rejoice in Jerusalem,
and be glad in My people;”
Constable: Isaiah wrote many times that God presently lamented over old Jerusalem and her inhabitants (e.g., 24:7-12).
Application: Are we rejoicing in how God is transforming us right now?
II. (:19B-25) CHARACTERISTICS OF NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH / MILLENNIAL BLESSINGS
A. (:19b-20) Blessing of Old Age vs. Premature Death
“And there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be thought accursed.”
Is. 25:8 “He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.”
Illustration: just celebrated 90 year birthday for my Mom – quite a milestone in this age – nothing special in the Millennium
Motyer: in this present order of things death cuts life off before it has well begun or before it has fully matured. But it will not be so then.
Cf. length of life in pre-flood time period — Gen 5:1-32
Chuck Smith: So during the millennial age… now, we will not die. We’re in our new bodies. We’ve moved out of our tents and we’ll be in our new bodies during the Kingdom Age. But there will be people that will live through the time of the Great Tribulation who will also live through the judgment of the nations when Jesus returns and they will live into the Kingdom Age. And they are the one that will be bearing children and so forth during the Kingdom Age. But we will be here to reign with Christ as enforcers of righteousness. As a kingdom of priests upon the earth, representing Christ to the people and the people to Christ. And we will be here to rule and to reign upon the earth with Him during this millennial age in our new bodies. Now what will our new bodies be like? I really don’t know. Vastly superior to the one I’m presently in.
Application: Are our lives right now characterized by joy rather than weeping and crying?
B. (:21-23) Blessing of Fruitful Labor vs. Vanity
“And they shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build, and another inhabit,
They shall not plant, and another eat;
For as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity;
For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD,
And their descendants with them.”
Beall: productive labor for the man and the woman (the man’s labor being in the vineyard, enjoying “the work of their hands”; the woman’s labor being physical labor in bringing forth children) . . . Note how in this section the curse of Gen 3:16-19 is reversed, with man tilling the garden productively [compare Gen 2:15 and 3:17-19], and the woman similarly experiencing blessing in her child-bearing
Constable: The blessing of work will characterize the messianic age, though people will not have to labor as they did under the curse (Gen. 3:17-19).
Parunak: The curse warned that others would enjoy the fruit of their labors:
Deu 28:30 thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
This element echoes the experience of the Amorites at the time of the conquest:
Deu 6:10 the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; …
In the light of modern ideas of justice, it is remarkable that the Lord defines the ideal state in a way that condemns redistribution. God does command us to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and care for them, as a matter of individual discretion and obedience. But for a higher power to take the fruit of one person’s labor and give it to another is not justice. It is a curse, imposed on people for some moral fault, such as the Amorite culture when their iniquity was full (Gen 15:16). When the Day of the Lord arrives, such redistribution will end.
Motyer: Vineyards are the chosen example because they took so long to cultivate and bring into production that they required settled conditions
Oswalt: Labor will not be for nothing (cf. Job 9:29), and children will not be born for tragedy (Lev. 26:16; Ps. 78:33; Jer. 15:8). Again the theme is the canceling out of futility. How futile to expend the energy to build something, and never be able to enjoy the results. Likewise, how futile to undergo the life-threatening pain of giving birth while knowing that disease or famine or sword could send those children to the gave even before their parents.
Application: Are we laboring right now for the Lord in a way that is productive and fruitful?
John 15 – His goal is that we abide in Jesus and bear much fruit;
1 Cor. 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
C. (:24) Blessing of Access to God’s Favor vs. Separation and Silence
“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer;
and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
Contrast Is. 59:1-2
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
Efficacy of our prayers when our requests are perfectly in harmony with the will of God
Application: Are we communicating effectively with God right now and enjoying the access to His favor in our lives?
1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
D. (:25) Blessing of Peace and Tranquility vs. Fear and Violence
Man’s Dominion Over Nature Restored
“’The wolf and the lamb shall graze together,
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,’ says the LORD.”
One commentator pointed out that if a wolf and lamb are lying down together now, it is because the wolf is feeding on the lamb.
Wolf, lion and serpent are all creatures that pose a threat to man in the world’s present fallen condition; no more will they be predatory creatures
Motyer: The only point in the whole of the new creation where there is no change (cf. verse 20fg) is in the curse pronounced on sin, which still stands (cf. Gn. 3:14).
“dust shall be the serpent’s food” – 2 possibilities:
1) no more will the venom of the serpent attack humans
2) the curse on the serpent continues despite all of the other areas of change and transformation
F. B. Hole: Moreover mercy will be extended even to the animal creation, which at the outset was placed under man, and so has suffered as the result of his fall. No longer shall strong animals slay and devour the weak Those most opposed, like the wolf and the lamb, will feed together, and the most voracious, like the lion, will be satisfied with vegetable food. All hurt and destruction shall cease.
To this there will be just one exception. The serpent was used by Satan in deceiving Eve, and the curse upon it ran, “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:11). Now this sentence is not to be revoked. It seems that in the ranks of the lower creation it will be retained as a sign and reminder of the tragic effects of sin. The serpent will not be able to hurt nor destroy, but its degraded and miserable state will remain.
Application: Are we experiencing God’s peace and tranquility right now?
Value of focusing on the coming Millennial Kingdom:
– Matt. 24:15 “Let the reader understand” – Christ commands us to understand future prophecy – not unimportant to Him
– Tells us where history is going – the end game for God’s agenda
– Provides hope
– Context for Messiah to govern the kingdom of God on earth in visible form
– Shows us God’s design for the world
The rule of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom is simply the door to Christ ushering in the final chapter of the eternal dominion of God as described in 1 Cor. 15:24-26 – that great resurrection chapter:
“then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power, For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”
REJOICE IN ANTICIPATION OF GOD’S NEW CREATION