Today’s Reading: Isa 65:1–66:24, Luke 24:13–53, Job 14:11–22
Today’s Theme: The New Heaven and Earth
Today we focus on the promise of the coming new heaven and earth where the death and decay of this fallen world will be no more when Jesus our resurrected Lord will reign.
God stands ready
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name. Isaiah 65:1 (ESV)
This verse speaks of Gods stance of calling for salvation to Israel. In a wider context He calls all men from every nation.
God stands with arms open wide and His creation, goodness and our consciences along now with the preached Gospel continually beckon all mankind to come. But man is so desperately wicked that without the specific drawing of the Spirit and intervention from God, man cannot be saved.
The New Kingdom
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)
God will establish the kingdom but this will come in two phases. Part one is the millennial kingdom where people will still be born and die and the final one is the eternal kingdom where no one dies.
As we have seen in Isaiah’s prophecies concerning Messiah, the two advents (Jesus’ first and second coming) are often spoken of at the same time. This is done with the prophecy regarding the New Heavens and Earth too.
We can look forward to the coming new creation and kingdom. This should be the motivation for Isaiah’s calls to holy living in anticipation of the promise, so we should flee idolatry, have faith in God, trust in the truth of His word, listen to the Holy Spirit and walk in humility.
Honour God’s word
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These … Isaiah 66:2–3 (ESV)
God can see right through the external keeping of religion vs genuine humility and reverence for God’s word.
This points to the fact that people cannot just follow principles and receive the blessing from them or be in right standing with God.
We need to be in loving relationship with God and delight in Him for our religious actions to have any significance.
If we tremble at God’s word then we will do what the word of God says including religious duty but not in deadness or hypocrisy but from a heart for God.
This is very much in line with the word Michael Hosanna shared yesterday evening regarding fearing God.
Jesus in all scripture
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27 (ESV)
Jesus gave them an exegetical overview of the Old Testament pointing to Himself. This is one of the best ways to read the Old Testament, we should read it in context to Jesus.
Tim Keller in this short video shows how the whole Old Testament points to Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmnSnNC8UJk
Enjoy biblical exposition
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32 (ESV)
Our hearts should also burn with joy when we have the scriptures opened to us by our pastors and teachers.
This is a good test for our hearts, if the explanation of the scriptures holds no appeal for us then we must check our desires.
Full bodily resurrection
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:39 (ESV)
The physical world is not evil, God created the physical world and will physically recreate and restore it one day. Gnostics believe the physical world is evil and the spirit realm is good but this is heresy. They also say the resurrection of Jesus was only spiritual.
One of the core distinctives of our faith is that we believe in the full bodily resurrection of Jesus.
We will also have a physical resurrection body one day and will eat actual food etc. but will no longer die.
God, opens our minds
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, Luke 24:45 (ESV)
We should pray that God by His Holy Spirit would open our minds to understand the Bible too.
Avoid the lies of the new age which tell man to attempt to open his own mind without God. You will end up opening your mind to evil teaching and demons.
Revelation is a grace from God that we must ask God for.
God uses normal means to reveal His truth, namely the Bible, the church, pastors and teachers.
And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, Luke 24:52 (ESV)
Yes, we worship Jesus, this was not a new idea introduced by Paul as some say, it was a practise of the very first disciple until today.
We joyfully worship Jesus today.
The decay of the fall
the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man. Job 14:19 (ESV)
This is why we long for the new creation, we are in a fallen creation that is rotting away.
It is not God that takes hope from man, it is sin and death.
Look forward to the New Heaven and Earth.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Luke 24