17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD.
So I thought that I would share this passage and reflect on it a little. This passage has reoccured so many times this semester, so I thought that it warranted some of my blog time.
How you read this passage will be a great indicator of how you read the Bible, but more importantly what your vision of the end will be. Something which has been pounded into my head this year is that the goal or purpose that we concieve of as Christians greatly dictates how we do everything else. If affects how we read the bible, how we live our lives on this planet, and how we treat other people.
If your ultimate goal is simply to get yourself that nice green-card into heaven, you will naturally interpret all the things in the bible as having to do with heaven and subsequently hell. Every positive command keeps you in heaven, every negative one sends you to hell. Well someone with this lens is going to have a lot of trouble with this passage. This is clearly a vision of the end, but it seems to be nothing like what a lot of Christians are preaching.
Isaiah 65 paints a picture of a future world where God has renewed both heaven and earth. It paints a picture of a city where God dwells with his people, and they do a lot more earthly things than we like to admit. They plant crops and build houses.
Now that I realize I’m going all over the place I’ll make my point. Perhaps, dear readers, the Bible is not a “how to” book on getting to heaven. Isaiah 65 points out a clear cultural understanding of the ancient Israelites, that to be blessed by God meant to be blessed while alive, not in some utopian future in the clouds with harps. The entire Bible has so much to say about what we need to be doing on a day-to-day basis in order to help this world along; in order to lead this world to it’s renewal, and it will speak that into your life if you remove your heaven and hell goggles and try to understand what it’s actually talking about.
For more cool info on this subject, check out this youtube video by N.T. Wright.
- justinkoop posted this