Wondering about the new world…

What do we know about the new earth, freed? Will the trees dance with us? Will we understand the words of the birds’ songs? Will we join in worship with flowers and butterflies and the wind and rain? Will we talk with beloved pets? (Okay, I know many people do that now…but in a new way?)

What will a creation free from decay and death look like? I don’t know. We have very few hints in Scripture. I’m pretty sure it will be something new and beyond anything we can dream up now.

And it’s even beyond what we can describe now. My questions about trees and birds are couched in what we know now. What is coming—well, that is something we have never known. Even if we saw it clearly, we would have no words for it because we’ve never experienced it before.

Still, God in His love and mercies, has given us some glimpses. A taste. We are given many Scriptures about what life in this new world will be like. And He presents the picture in terms of what we know now.

Read Isaiah 65 and 66. Isaiah was given a vision of that new world coming someday, a world where God’s people flourish and enjoy “a river of peace and prosperity.” They enjoy rewards of their “hard-won gain.” Children no longer die young; full lives are not cut short by untimely deaths. God provides for His people’s needs before they even ask Him. Jerusalem sees an end to her mourning and is restored as the holy city of God, given honor and glory. God’s anger punishes His enemies, and…don’t you love this?… “The snakes will eat dust”!

Peter sums it up when he says the new heaven and earth will be one world filled with God’s righteousness. (2 Peter 3:13)

John’s vision also saw heaven and earth joined together, one place where God dwells with and is worshipped by His people. A place where the river of life flows freely and the tree of life offers healing and there is no more death or tears or sorrow or pain. And there will no longer be a curse on anything. (See Revelation 21 and 22)

But, as we are told, this will all be something new. So new, in fact, that we can’t grasp it or have words that will truly describe it at this time. And, frankly, when we try to do that and give this new thing that God is doing a description and definition in our current language and comprehension, we get pulled into debates—sometimes such strong disagreements that we forget Christ’s one, new commandment to His disciples.

These lines are from Isaiah 65. There, Isaiah passes on God’s message to all generations, a view to the future that was given even before Christ came to earth. And God said:

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!” (65:16-17)

God is creating. The story of creation is not done. Far from finished! That’s one of the things that is so exciting as we read God’s history Book.

Be glad! Look at what He’s doing!
We already have this new life that lives in eternal realms.
Someday we’ll see and understand and be able to describe the new world He’s planned.

For now, be glad and rejoice in His creation—now and in the world to come.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

I am trusting you, O LORD,
saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.
(Psalm 31:14-16)

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

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