Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 65:17
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” – Isaiah 65:17
This new paragraph begins with an announcement of God’s marvelous work, starting with ‘behold, I’ to emphasize the amazing fact that God ‘will create’ a new heaven and a new earth. Now earlier, the kingdom that God will establish was not described earlier in these terms. Earlier in Isaiah we read, “Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.” Isaiah 24:17-20. And “Lift up your eyes to the heavens and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 51:6. In both of these, there is the idea to the heavens and the earth will need to be replaced due to the condition of the earth in the last days. I like the way theologian Gary V. Smith. “This new world with its transformed people will be so completely different that God’s servants will not remember the ‘former world’ of sin, suffering, hunger, death, and destruction. In fact, this new world will be so different that even the more positive aspects of the former things will probably fade from memory.” Then in the next two verses, we see that all will rejoice, both of His people and God. “But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” Isaiah 65:18-19.
Then in the next set of verses, it speaks of the sadness that will no longer be in the new heaven and earth. “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.” Isaiah 65:20-23. Isaiah is using concrete examples that explain why there will be no crying or mourning in the kingdom. They are examples drawn from this current world in order to help Israel understand. He is showing all those things that caused His people pain and suffering, to be in sorrow or to weep. All of the above are simply examples of those things that cause people, in the time of Isaiah, to weep.
And finally, we read in the last three verses what we shall experience in the New Kingdom. “They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the LORD.” Isaiah 65:23-25. God explains this new setting by describing a state of complete harmony and oneness among animals that formerly were enemies. In the future, the wild meat-eating wolf (the predator) and the defenseless little lamb (the prey) will graze together in peace and unity. In addition, the ferocious lion (the predator) will eat straw with the ox (the prey). Although animals can sometimes represent people, there is no indication that these animals are symbolic of anything other than animal life. We see this as well in earlier verses. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9.
What a beautiful picture of what we have to look forward to in the new heavens and earth and all the ‘junk’ in this world will go away. And we can look forward to this promise given by God. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:11-13.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries,