Relevant Biblical Passages: Isa 35; Jn 14:1-3; Acts 1:10-11; 1 Cor 15:51-57; Rev 21:1-7
The End and the New Beginning. The whole point of apocalyptic is the promise of a new beginning. And that means the end of the old. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, judgment on the old evil world is combined with the hope of a future restored one. But what is striking is that the various pictures which describe the end of the old and the establishment of the new are not carbon copies. The principle of judgment and the principle of restoration are consistent, but the details differ. The following comparisons are worth noting:
Key Old Testament Passages:
Isa 11:1-9: Vegetarian lions and friendly snakes
Isa 35:1-10: No lions, but apparently some fools
Isa 65:17-25: A “new heavens and new earth” where childbirth and death continue
Isa 66:22-24: A “new heavens and new earth” shadowed by the burning remnants of the wicked
Zech 14:1-21: A few stragglers to be brought into line and animal sacrifices still in place
Key New Testament Passages:
John 14:1-3 A new home
1 Cor 15: Resurrection
Rev 21: A new earth
Rev 22: A new city
- What are the primary differences between OT and NT visions?
- Do these differences suggest that we can let our imaginations run riot when it comes to thinking about a new earth?
Ellen White, Selected Messages 1:22: “The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, early perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God’s condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought.”
C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 121, 124: “What the soul cries out for is the resurrection of the senses” (p. 121).
“Then the new earth and sky, the same yet not the same as these, will rise in us as we have risen in Christ. And once again, after who knows what aeons of the silence and the dark, the birds will sing and the waters flow, and light and shadows move across the hills, and the faces of our friends laugh upon us with amazed recognition”.
“Guesses, of course, only guesses. If they are not true, something better will be. For ‘we know that we shall be made like Him, for we shall see Him as He is’ [1 Jn. 3:2]” (p. 124).