My Thoughts. . .
Isaiah 13, 65, 66 and a host of other passages are prophecies about things that would befall nations in Isaiah’s day, or shortly thereafter. Prophetic language is used which often causes today’s reader to mistake it for apocalyptic warnings for present generations. Language such as the stars not giving their light, the sun being darkened, the moon not giving its light, the heavens being shaken, and the earth being removed from its place is used. Within this same context the prophet uses the expression “new heavens and new earth.”
When we find the same language in the New Testament, we are given a choice. The reason for that choice is because there is no specific instruction that declares “this is the specific way God wants you to believe” about the “the new heaven and earth.”
Are we free to apply any belief we have to those passages so it will fit our interpretation?
Some interpret these Old and New Testament passages foretelling similar judgements upon people as being a coming judgment in our century.
The Old Testament passages shows God’s judgment under that covenant being brought upon nations in that time frame. Wouldn’t that also be the interpretation of similar statements made in the New Testament?
Since the stars, sun, moon, heavens, and earth were not literally affected as mentioned by the Old Testament, wouldn’t the same language in the New Testament carry that same idea? Wouldn’t it be prophetic language in poetic style for both time periods?
If number #3 is the correct way to interpret “new heavens and new earth,” then one needs to know what that new heaven and earth was in Isaiah’s time frame.
1). Did the “removal of the earth” mean that the earth was actually removed, or was that a prophetic or figurative statement?
2). Were the descriptions of the sun, moon, stars and removal of the earth just figurative in order to illustrate that a nation would be judged through a destructive war or natural calamity coming upon it?
3). If the language is figurative, and Peter borrows it, why wouldn’t it be figurative also in the first century?
A. Peter would be familiar with Isaiah’s prophecies and the figurative nature of the prophet’s words.
B. Wouldn’t those words be figurative also as used by Peter?
C. If the “new heaven and earth” in the Old Testament refers to a new relationship between God and His children when they returned from Babylonian exile, would that same expression not fit that same category in the first century?
D. Was this the beginning of an entirely new relationship between God with Jew and Gentile in the first century?
E. Didn’t the Old Covenant decay and disappear in the first century (Hebrews 8:13)?
F. Wasn’t a new relationship established where both Jew and Gentile could be saved in one body (Ephesians 2:14-22)?
G. Wasn’t the New Jerusalem sent down from God to replace the Old Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2-3; Galatians 4:22-31)?
H. Didn’t God begin dwelling in a new holy Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20)?
I. Don’t we have “all spiritual blessings” in our Savior (Ephesians 1:3)?
J. Haven’t we been made living stones, a spiritual house, and a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5)?
K. Aren’t we living in that new heaven and earth which angels longed to look into (1 Peter 1:12)?
L. Haven’t we entered into the Most Holy Place, the new and living location where we are near God and have full assurance that we are no longer under condemnation (Hebrews 10:19-23; Romans 8:1)?
M. Because of all that God has provided, can’t we now shout out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15b; Galatians 4:6b)?
N. Haven’t we been adopted (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5)?
O. Are we still looking for the new heaven and earth Peter spoke about or are we not enjoying it today as members of his kingdom (Colossians 1:13)?
P. Or, are we living in that new heaven and earth which is the body of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:27)?