What Will New Creation Be Like? (Isaiah 65:17-25)

What Will New Creation Be Like? (Isaiah 65:17-25)

Are we looking forward to the new creation? Isaiah and Paul are telling us: we should be! Our hope for the new creation should be what sustains us here and now. It’s what we were made for. 

When I was studying to be a pastor, I was invited to speak to a primary school class at a Christian school. The topic was heaven. I had to stand in front of a bunch of kids and tell them what heaven is like.

It was awful. I knew heaven would be good, but I had no idea how to describe it. The thing about kids is that you can’t fake it in front of kids. They know if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

And so I bombed that day. I couldn’t paint an accurate picture of what heaven is like. I couldn’t answer any of their questions, at least accurately. I left from that experience devastated, because I knew that I should know better than what I did.

We need to understand what heaven is like. We are alive for only a short time here on earth. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are meant to think a lot about heaven. It’s supposed to get help get you through this life, which can be very hard.

But here’s the problem: It’s hard to hope for something we don’t know very much about. So what I want to do is to give you a picture of heaven today, one that I hope will be exciting enough to give you hope no matter what you’re going through today.

We’re in a series through the entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. Right now we’re in the part of the story in which we hear from a prophet named Isaiah, written some 2,700 years ago. Today we’re in the latter part of Isaiah, which is significant. The first part of Isaiah—chapters 1 to 35—contain a lot of doom and gloom. The second part of Isaiah—chapters 40-66—give us a lot more hope. Isaiah has a lot to say to Judah. He accuses them of sin. He calls them to repentance. He talks about God’s judgment. But he also provides hope: hope that God isn’t done with them, and that he will bring the restoration that we need.

We’re in the hopeful part of the book of Isaiah today. In the passage we’re looking at today, God gives us a glimpse of what we’re waiting for. We need to hear this.

Two Descriptions

So what is our future like? You’re going to like this. Two things:

It will be a place of joy.

For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
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 65:17-19)

I want you to notice a couple of things. First, Isaiah says that God will create a new heavens and a new earth. The new creation will not mean the end of the earth. It will mean the recreation of the heavens and the earth. We need to get rid of the idea of a disembodied, floating existence somewhere out there. Think about the recreation of the world, except as it should be.

The Christian hope is not merely that someday we and our loved ones will die and go to be with Jesus. Instead, the Christian hope is that our departure from this world is just the first leg of a journey that is round-trip. We will not remain forever with God in heaven, for God will bring heaven down to us.
(Michael Wittmer)

What is it like in this remade heaven and earth? Isaiah says that the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. “About five seconds into this new world, you and I will turn to one another and say, ‘Cancer, terrorism—what were they? Hmmm. Can’t seem to remember. No matter. Here we go!’” (Ray Ortlund). Now I can get behind that.

But that’s not even the best part. It will not just be a place where bad things are forgotten, it will be a place of joy. Verse 18 envisions this new heaven and new earth with a new Jerusalem at the center, and that it will be filled with joy. In this new earth, we get what we want and need most: God, and it will make us very, very happy. It will be what we’ve longed for all this time. The new creation will be a place of inexpressible joy.

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