Summary: The marks of the new Jerusalem will be rejoicing, longevity, security, satisfying work, fellowship with God, and peace.


Isaiah 65:17-25.

“Behold,” says the LORD, “I create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). The word for “create” is the same as in Genesis 1-2. But this is something “new,” which stands in contrast to “the former” things which “shall not be remembered nor come into mind.” This is the same as the ‘new heavens and a new earth’ that we look for, ‘wherein dwells righteousness’ (2 Peter 3:13).

At the heart of this new heavens and new earth is a ‘new’ Jerusalem (Isaiah 65:18; cf. Revelation 21:1-2). The details that follow suggest something that is altogether new. This cannot be limited to the restoration of Israel’s ancient capital under Ezra and Nehemiah, but is something quite different, much better. A cosmic paradise.

“Be GLAD and REJOICE for ever in that which I CREATE: for, behold, I CREATE Jerusalem a REJOICING, and her people a JOY” (Isaiah 65:18).

God’s “people” (Isaiah 65:18) are variously called ‘my servants’ (Isaiah 65:9); ‘my people that have sought me’ (Isaiah 65:10); “mine elect” (Isaiah 65:22); and “the blessed of the LORD” (Isaiah 65:23).

Not only are we to rejoice in it, but God Himself rejoices in it: “I will REJOICE in Jerusalem, and JOY in my people.” This stands in contrast to: “the voice of WEEPING shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of CRYING” (Isaiah 65:19; cf. Isaiah 35:10).

The contrasts continue. The death of an infant, or of an old man who has not fulfilled his days, will be replaced with longevity. For a hundred year old shall be considered but a child; and those who do not make it to a hundred shall be considered “accursed” (Isaiah 65:20).

They shall build houses and inhabit them, rather than build houses and another inhabit. They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit, rather than plant and another eat (Isaiah 65:21-22a).

“For as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isaiah 65:22b; cf. Psalm 92:12-14). Trees certainly live long, as did the ancestors before the Flood. Interestingly, the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates this as ‘the days of the tree of life.’

“They shall not labour in vain.” No more failed crops. No more stolen or war damaged produce. “No more bringing forth for trouble.” No more bringing forth of children to poverty or an early death. Why? “For they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their children with them” (Isaiah 65:23).

This “seed” language echoes Genesis 3:15. It is the reversal of the curse. ‘If you be Christ’s,’ Paul teaches, ‘then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (Galatians 3:29).

There shall be fellowship with God, and prayers answered before they have finished asking (Isaiah 65:24; cf. Mark 11:24).

The disruption brought into the world by the serpent will be finally undone. The animals will stop devouring one another. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD (Isaiah 65:25; cf. Isaiah 11:6-9). ‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea,’ adds Isaiah 11:9b.

Jesus said, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). Jesus holds the key: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me’ (John 14:6). Paul says, ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved’ (Romans 10:9).

‘Now Christ IS risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that slept,’ (1 Corinthians 15:20). Because of this, our bodies shall be transformed (Philippians 3:21), raised (1 Corinthians 15:52), and glorified (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). The creation itself shall be delivered ‘from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Romans 8:21).

‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

‘He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son’ (Revelation 21:7).

May we so live as to glorify God in this life, and to enjoy Him forever in “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). In Jesus' name. Amen.

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