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After asserting the Amen principle in verse 16, Isaiah 65:17, 18 says,
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness.”
Revelation 3:14 thus links “The Amen” to “the beginning of the creation of God.” John applies the Amen principle in the same manner that Isaiah does, showing how the “new heavens and a new earth” are created by its power.
In the beginning of the first creation, Christ was “The Amen,” as John calls Christ, who provided the double witness to the Father’s word. Christ was again the Initiator, or First Cause, of the new creation. However, in this case, we are His witnesses—if, indeed, we bear witness to Him as He bore witness to His Father. Hence, Christ tells Israel in Isaiah 43:12, “you are My witnesses.”
To be a true Israelite, one must attain that status in the same manner that Jacob did. Many were Israelites by a fleshly definition, but to be Christ’s witness and be part of the creative process, one must bear witness to Christ. Non-Christians fail to do this, and most Christians fail as well, believing only a portion of the gospel. Most Christians attain Old Covenant faith, which stands upon the flesh, upon man’s will, and upon the promises/decisions of men. New Covenant faith stands firmly, “not of blood(line), nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13), for it is based on God’s promise alone.
The result Old Covenant faith is that such people believe that the salvation of the world will surely fail. Such people bear witness to God’s apparent failure to fulfill His word. Man’s will and man’s flesh is said to be independent of God and too powerful for God to overrule. Hence, when they bear witness to another gospel—a gospel of bad news—they are not functioning as Christ’s witnesses. There are many on earth who bear witness to this bad news gospel, but heaven does not bear witness to their declarations on earth that God is unable to save mankind.
The new creation is established by Christ’s declaration (gospel) and by His witnesses who believe that gospel. The gospel (basar), as we have seen, means both “good news” and “flesh.” To eat of Christ’s flesh was to believe the good news that He is “the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14) and that He died “for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Old Covenant believers certainly bear witness to a portion of Christ’s gospel, but by their own admission, they do not believe the full gospel that Christ will reconcile all of creation to Himself, as we read in Colossians 1:16 and 20. Hence, their witness is insufficient to create new heavens and a new earth, as Christ fully intends to do.
Isaiah speaks not only of a “new heavens and a new earth,” but also of “Jerusalem.” Though none of the prophets use the term “New Jerusalem,” they often speak of that heavenly city. As I have shown previously, the Hebrew name, Ierushalayim, literally means “two Jerusalems.” The ayim ending is a Hebrew dual, meaning precisely two—no less, and no more. It is distinct from the im ending, which is a simple plural. Hence, every time Jerusalem is mentioned, we must discern to which city the prophet was referring.
In the case of Isaiah 65:17, 18, the creation of “Jerusalem” was linked to the new creation. Hence, it referred to the creation of the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly. Isaiah’s description was in terms of “rejoicing” and “gladness.” Isaiah 65:19 continues, saying,
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; and there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.”
The Apostle John understood that this was a reference to the heavenly city, for he alludes to Isaiah’s prophecy in Revelation 21:2, 4,
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
What things have passed away? Obviously, the earthly Jerusalem, with its pain and sorrow, has passed away, since it is replaced by the new Jerusalem, with its rejoicing. The Apostle Paul agrees with John, saying that the earthly Jerusalem is “Hagar” and must, in the end, be “cast out” (Galatians 4:25, 30), according to the Scriptures.
The New Jerusalem is a place of rejoicing, gladness, and mirth. That is why Abraham prophetically named his son Isaac, “he laughs, laughter.”
Isaiah 65:20 gives us another reason for laughter and rejoicing,
20 “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 will be thought accursed.”
It was common in those days for a child to die shortly after childbirth and for an old man to die before reaching the age of 100. But in the days of the New Jerusalem, where the Tree of Life is given “for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2), lifespans will be increased, and the blessings of obedience will be fulfilled, saying in Deuteronomy 28:4, “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body.”
This also implies immortality, which is the ultimate promise of God. The law commands us to obey God so that “your days may be prolonged.” (Deuteronomy 6:2). On an earthly level, that may be interpreted as a long life before dying; but ultimately, the promise is to receive immortal life. Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 says,
19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.
The New Testament makes it clear that these promises of life refer to immortality, which is promised to us “so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). When a nation is obedient to God and His law, sickness and war will be minimized, as well as crime. Obedience under the Old Covenant will result in people living longer. But when the Holy Spirit works in us according to God’s New Covenant, we are given the promise of immortal life.
Life Conditions in the Kingdom
Isaiah 65:21, 22, 23 says,
21 “They will build houses and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. 23 They will 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.”
The curses for disobedience are seen in Deuteronomy 28:30, 31,
30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit. 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you.
The difference between a godly and an ungodly lifestyle is thus described in the law and the prophets in terms of the basic laws of labor. Biblical law establishes the rights of God and men, especially in terms of their right to own that which they labored to produce. This is the right of private property, which is held sacred to God, as long as such property was acquired in a lawful manner.
Nations often make war against other nations with the intent of stealing the wealth and property of their neighbors. Nations which legalize theft do not respect private property. They tax the people as they will, rather than submitting to the law of taxation (tithe) that God requires for His labor at creation.
Governments today, which are Babylonian in nature, have chosen Socialism as their fundamental philosophy. Such governments “redistribute” wealth, following the principle of legalized theft of private property. They do this without regard to the rights of men to own what they have produced in a lawful manner. Such is lawless love. It is not the love of God (agape).
But Isaiah says that in the Kingdom property rights will be restored, and “they will not labor in vain.” Furthermore, in the Messianic Age to come, peace will be enforced, so that one nation will no longer be able to steal the wealth of their less powerful neighbors (Isaiah 2:4). There will be true international justice as well as national justice. The right to own one’s labor will be upheld, and this includes God’s right to own that which He has created.
Finally, Isaiah 65:24 says,
24 “It will come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
I have seen cases where we saw this literally happen. We saw disaster coming but had no time to organize a prayer campaign before the disaster. So God instructed us to hold the prayer campaign ten days after the coming disaster and make it retroactive. The disaster was diverted, and we held the prayer campaign ten days later. Before we called on Him, He answered.
When God says, “while they are still speaking, I will hear,” He was painting a picture of the nearness of God. This is obviously a metaphorical view, since God is always near; however, the picture is of two people speaking face to face in a conversation. The opposite is where a man sends a letter by messenger to someone afar off and must wait to hear a reply.
The day is coming when answers to prayer are immediate.
Isaiah 65:25 concludes,
25 “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.
This is probably to be understood metaphorically, rather than literally. In order for a wolf to graze, it would need a new set of teeth and a new digestive system. While it is possible that God could provide for this, the main picture is of peace and harmony. One nation will not prey upon another. Neither will one man prey upon another. The law of God will be the law of the land, sea, and air.