The New Thing


The heaven and earth you see today is not the one you will see in the future.

Isaiah 65:17; 66:22

The words of 1 Corinthians 13:12 in the King James Version are well known: “For now we see through a glass, darkly . . . .” While not the best translation (see any modern Bible version), these words have endured as a beloved metaphor for our present limitations: we do not, in our present condition, always see every part of God’s ways with absolute clarity.

Evidence of our lack of clarity about the future is found in the differing views on how to determine prophetic portions of the Bible. Three writers in Scripture, for instance, speak of a new heaven and new earth that God will establish in the future. Think of it—an entirely new heaven and new earth! Isaiah saw this truth first, the apostle Peter saw it next (2 Pet. 3:13), and the apostle John saw it perhaps most clearly of all (Rev. 21:1-5). It is Isaiah’s vision of these “new things” (Isa. 42:9) that contain some challenging references.

Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth appear to have earthly characteristics: life spans will be increased, homes and vineyards will be abundant, blessings will flow, and even the animal kingdom will be at peace (Isa. 65:17-25). Some interpret Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth to be the earthly millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6, while others believe those millennial blessings to be spiritual and heavenly only. But while we are looking through a glass darkly about the future, we can look back on another prophecy of Isaiah’s and use it as a guide. Isaiah was the prophet who told us that the son of a virgin, Immanuel, would come and be a “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, {and] Prince of Peace” (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7). We no longer see that prophecy through a glass darkly—we know that Isaiah’s words came true, though not in a way that anyone could have predicted with certainty.

In the same way, we can depend on Isaiah’s words of “comfort” (Isa. 40:1) concerning the new heavens and new earth. Our hope lies in what we know, not what we don’t. The same prophet who told us about Immanuel is telling us not to get attached to this earth as we know it. God is “doing a new thing!” (Isa. 43:19)


God’s Promise to You: “The heaven and earth you see today is not the one you will see in the future.”


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