The Scroll of Isaiah closes with a stunning picture of a new heavens and a new earth, ruled by the one true King and filled with joy and peace. This picture of new creation is not unique to Isaiah; similar pictures are painted by other biblical prophets, and picked up by the authors of the New Testament as well. This picture of the end of suffering and sin is beautiful and provocative, evoking in the reader a sense of hope and longing for a reality that the present world cannot satisfy. But Christians are not called to a passive hope. What does Isaiah’s vision of the future mean for us now, in the present? What can the Church do, as God’s servant on earth, to offer a glimpse of this future to a world without hope?
Isaiah 65:17-25 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. 18 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. 19 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. 20 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. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 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. 23 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. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Revelation 21:1-8 21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” 25 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.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sam Whittaker is our Mission Pastor. His role is to oversee all of SVCC’s missions and charity work, including all of our global Focus Country partnerships. He also serves on SVCC's teaching team and worship team. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors for Hope of the Nations, and serves on the Church Partnerships team at Foster the Bay. Sam has been a lifelong member of the SVCC family, and lives in Gilroy with his wife Christina and their daughter, Jubilee. He loves theology, nature, and guitar pedals.