Preterism Refutation (Part 09) - The New Heavens and New EarthSubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, August 4, 2019.
4. Argument #4: The "new heavens and the new earth" are the New Testament church times. A. The argument goes as follows: i. Isaiah's prophecy of the new heavens and the new earth in Isa 65:17 was made in connection with his prophecy of the NT church in Isa 65:15. ii. Therefore, the new heavens and the new earth refer to the New Covenant and the New Testament church which would replace the Jewish economy after 70AD. iii. Peter was quoting Isaiah when he wrote of the new heavens and new earth in 2Pe 3:13. a. Therefore, when Peter prophesied of the destruction of the present heavens and earth he was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the abolition of the Old Covenant in 70AD. b. The heavens and the earth being destroyed by fire is speaking metaphorically of God's severe judgment of Israel. B. Refutation i. First of all, the New Testament church times were already in place when Peter prophesied in 2Pe 3:13 of the new heavens and new earth to come. a. The Old Covenant/Testament was abolished by Christ and replaced by the New Covenant/Testament when He died on the cross (Col 2:14-17; 2Co 3:6-14). b. The NT church was already built and being enjoyed by Jews and Gentiles together (1Pe 2:5; Eph 2:11-22). c. The new heavens and the new earth were something for which they were yet looking. ii. Secondly, a fundamental rule of Bible interpretation is to always interpret the Old Testament (Hos 12:10) in the light of the New Testament (2Pe 1:19; Heb 7:22; Eph 3:4-5; Col 1:26), and not vise versa. iii. Therefore, 2Pe 3:3-14 should be used to interpret Isa 65:15-25, not the other way around. iv. The context of 2Pe 3:10-12 is the physical heavens and earth (2Pe 3:5). a. The physical earth was destroyed by water in the flood of Noah's day (2Pe 3:5-6). b. Just as the physical earth and its inhabitants were reserved unto judgment in the days leading up to the flood, so the physical heavens and earth and its inhabitants are now reserved for the final judgment (2Pe 3:7; Job 14:12; Psa 102:25-26; Isa 51:6; Mat 24:35). c. Peter uses natural, literal language to describe the destruction of the heavens and the earth (2Pe 3:10-12). (i) The heavens shall pass away with a great noise (2Pe 3:10). (ii) The elements shall melt with fervent heat (2Pe 3:10). (iii) The earth...shall be burned up (2Pe 3:10). (iv) These things shall be dissolved (2Pe 3:11). (v) The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved (2Pe 3:12). (vi) The elements shall melt with fervent heat (2Pe 3:12). d. If Peter was speaking figuratively here of the destruction of the Jewish economy, then what plainer and more literal language could he possibly have used if he wanted to convey that the heavens and the earth were going to be destroyed by fire? e. Therefore, since Peter was clearly speaking of the literal destruction of the literal heavens and earth in 2Pe 3:10-12, then in 2Pe 3:13 he was speaking of the literal new heavens and earth that God is going to create after He destroys the current ones. v. Now that we have a clear declaration by the apostle Peter that the new heavens and the new earth are going to be literally, physically created, now let's use this info to interpret Isa 65:15-25 and Rev 21:1-8. a. The new heavens and new earth in Isa 65:17 (i) Isaiah 65 is a prophesy of New Testament times (Isa 65:1-2 c/w Rom 10:20-21). (ii) There was a time coming when the Lord would slay Israel and call His servants by another name (Christians) (Isa 65:15). (iii) The creation of the new heavens and the new earth will be the consummation of the New Covenant. 1. The elect have a foretaste of the new heavens and the new earth in their salvation from sin and in the NT church. a. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise when we believed the gospel and were baptized (Eph 1:13 c/w Mat 3:16-17 c/w Joh 6:27), which is the earnest of our inheritance until our bodily resurrection at the last day (Eph 1:14 c/w Rom 8:23). b. Earnest n. - 1. Money, or a sum of money, paid as an instalment, esp. for the purpose of securing a bargain or contract. Also fig. A foretaste, instalment, pledge, of anything afterwards to be received in greater abundance. c. By living by faith in this fallen flesh we get a foretaste of life in heaven in our resurrected bodies (Php 3:20-21). d. We are now the sons of God, but when Christ returns we will experience the full manifestation of the sons of God when we will be like Him (1Jo 3:2 c/w Rom 8:19). e. We get to partake of the Lord's Supper in the church (1Co 11:26) which is a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb after the resurrection in glory in the eternal kingdom (Mat 26:29 c/w Mat 25:34 c/w 2Ti 4:1; Rev 19:7-9). f. In the kingdom of God in this life we experience joy (Rom 14:17) mixed with sorrow (2Co 6:10), but in the new heavens and new earth we will experience perfect joy with no sorrow nor tears (Rev 21:4). 2. In the new heavens and the new earth we will experience the fullness of what we have only had a sampling of in the church in this life. (iv) This is why the prophecy of the new heavens and the new earth is given in Isa 65:17 right on the heals of the prophecy of the NT church times. 1. There is something in prophecy called the prophetic perspective. 2. This refers to a prophet seeing a blended vision of things to come. 3. The prophets spoke of things both near and far away such as the return from the Babylonian captivity, the coming of Christ, the church, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, and the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. 4. It can be likened to looking at a mountain range off in the distance wherein all of the peaks look close together, but in reality are very far apart. 5. When Isaiah prophesied of the coming of the NT church and the new heavens and earth, he spoke of them together, although their fulfillment would be thousands of years apart. (v) The description of the new heavens and new earth in Isa 65:17-25 does not describe life in NT church times. 1. Infants dying at 100 years old (Isa 65:20). a. There are infants in the NT church times, and children do not now die at 100 years old. b. This passage is describing in metaphorical language a time and place in the new heaven and new earth where there is not aging. 2. Enjoying the work of our hands (Isa 65:22). a. We do not always get to build houses now and inhabit them and enjoy the work of our hands. b. We often do labor in vain in this time. c. But such will not be the case in the new heaven and new earth. 3. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like a bullock (Isa 65:25). a. This does not happen today. b. This passage is describing in metaphorical language a time and place where there is no violence nor bloodshed. c. Such is not the case now, but it will be true of the new heaven and new earth. b. Rev 21:1-8 (i) In the new heaven and new earth there will be no tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Rev 21:4). 1. This is not true of the NT church times today. 2. But it will be true of the new heaven and the new earth. (ii) One of the reasons there will be no more sorrow and death is that there will be no more wicked people on earth because they will all be in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). 1. This is not true of the NT church times today. 2. But it will be true of the new heaven and the new earth (2Pe 3:13).