THE TRUTH ABOUT ISAIAH 65:17-25
17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
God’s creation and maturing of His new heavens and new earth arrived with the imminent return of Christ to end the “last days” of the old covenant age in AD 70 – according to (2 Peter 3 – being a “reminder” of 1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7, 17 and Revelation 21-22: 6-7, 10-12, 20). This is when the curse of the Adamic and Mosaic “the law,” “the sin,” and “the death,” creation was “about to be” completely removed for the Church (Romans 5-8).
Some Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison teach that Christ did in fact come in AD 70 which caused the “first” heavens and earth to pass away with God replacing it with His Church as the New Creation. But eisegetically, they also try and maintain (at the same time) that the text is teaching a passing away of the first heavens and earth which involves a 2000 plus years and counting to the earth’s literal destruction/renewal. This is supposed to be the “physical phase” of the passing of the Genesis 1-2 creation associated with the Second (third) Coming of Jesus. Gentry oddly interprets John’s use of Isaiah 65-66 as fulfilled in AD 70 in Revelation 21:1, but because 2 Peter 3 mentions “the beginning” of Genesis 1:1-2, he gives Isaiah 65-66 an “expanded” literal interpretation unlike some of his other partial preterist colleagues which place this as fulfilled in AD 70. His reasoning is more than odd, since the “first” heavens and earth of Revelation 21-22 is no less Genesis 1-3 material than 2 Peter 3 is. The NT writers do not develop that there are thousands or millions of years associated with a “not yet”/ “ongoing” “literal phase” of fulfillment – in developing the restoration of creation motif of the OT prophets!
18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
According to the parallelism here, Jerusalem is equivalent to the “new heavens and new earth” or at the very least is inseparably connected with it in its prophetic spiritual substance. So why are the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the “heavens” and “earth” rejoicing? Because Jacob has been redeemed and glorified within Her (cf. Isa. 44:23). Again, this redemption and glorification of the creation (cf. Romans 8) was “about to” take place in AD 70. There is no more weeping, because God’s people have been forgiven of their sins. For all Partial Preterists and futurists, my interpretation is somehow “Gnostic.” However, this is the NT’s eschatological goal of redemption, and we must reject their “literal phases” propped up with their invented “not yet” and “ongoing fulfillments” which the NT authors know nothing of.
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
The “infant” and “old man” filling out their long days yet “die” is symbolic of eternal life (John 11:25-26). But the “sinner” being “accursed” is symbolic of everlasting condemnation (cf. Dan. 12:2-3; Matt. 13:40-43) and those without the City of Revelation 21-22 who die the second death in rejection of Christ (the Tree of Life). Again, I see no literalization of “ongoing” or “not yet” teachings coming from Jesus in the Gospels, Daniel or John in the book of Revelation in addressing this Genesis 1-3 material.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
This is the same concept as can be found in the joy of verses 18-19 of the inhabitants of “Jerusalem.” Is “Jerusalem” there literal or the NC Jerusalem “from above” (Gals. 4)? Under the OC everything was temporal and subject to being taken over by the times of the Gentiles. Under the NC, this building, planting, and fruit are likewise equivalent to the spiritual “Jerusalem” and spiritual “new heavens and new earth” previously discussed.
Through the preaching of the gospel by the apostles and the power of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, God was forming “dwelling places” (the side rooms of the Temple structure) for the Church in which He would be in His people and they in Him (John 14:2-3, 23; Gal. 4:19). The building and dwelling places or houses that are eternally secure for the child of God, have to do with the building up of the NC Temple/the Church. No man can plunder the riches of this heavenly Temple/Most Holy Place of God (Rev. 21:16). God through Moses exercised dominion over Egypt and spoiled their gold which was used to beautify the Tabernacle. God did the same through David and Solomon to build the Temple in which even the floor was even made of gold. However, one greater than Solomon (Jesus) has come to redeem His Temple/People with His precious blood which is more valuable than gold (Psalm 49:6-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 23-25). It is the wealth of God given faith which adorns this Temple and comes through Her gates (Isaiah 60; 1 Peter 1:7-9). He is the eternal Precious Corner Stone and through faith in Him, we become precious living stones and the jewels which adorn the New Creation (1 Peter 2; Revelation 21:18ff.).
The “planting of vineyards” and eating of its “fruit” has reference to the planting of God’s Church (the NC Israel of God) whereby the apostles and the Holy Spirit labored and watered it continually so that it never ceases to bear fruit to God (Isaiah 27:2-6; 35, 44; Matthew 21:41-43; John 15; 1 Cor. 3; Gal. 5). They enjoy long the works of their hands, because after they die they do not go to a waiting place, but “their works/fruit do follow them” (cf. Rev. 14:13).
Some Postmillennial Partial Preterists suggest that a part of the “ongoing” and “literal phase” of the restoration of the creation motif of the prophets, involves men beginning to live longer than they had a hundred years ago and that this is “proof” that we will live to be 950 years old one day – “as the days of a tree are the days of my people.” The Church/New Man in union with Christ (The Tree of Life) has already lived for a thousand years in and unto the NC eternal age (Revelation 20-22). As John Gill suggests, “The Targum, Septuagint, and Arabic versions, render it, “as the days of the tree of life;” “…The allusion may be to the tree of life in paradise, and may be expressive of the long life of good men in this state; and as the tree of life was typical of Christ, who is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon him, it may denote that eternal life his people have by him.” (emphasis added).
The average long life of man is still 70-80 years just as Moses said (Psalm 90:10). There is no exegetical or scientific evidence that would suggest that man is going to live to be a literal 900-1000 years old and that this is an “ongoing” or “not yet” fulfillment for the Church to enjoy as a fulfillment for the “healing of the nations.”
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
Paul and the first century churches temporary eschatological “labour” (pains, persecutions in preaching the gospel, and groaning under “the death” of Adamic sin), were not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58; Romans 5-8; Gal. 4:19; 2 Cor. 3-5:5). Their temporary labour pain would result in a nation being brought forth in one day – Zion/Jerusalem (Isa. 66:8). The “seed” and “offspring” are Christian converts – the true seed of the Abrahamic covenant (Isa. 53:10–Isa. 56:4ff./Acts 8; Gal. 3:29).
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The prayers of the saints for vindication and redemption/rewards of the New Creation were soon answered (Luke 17-18; Rev. 6:10-11; 20-22:10-12).
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
Because many simply assume that the physics of the planet changed along with the dietary habits of lions and wolves after Adam sinned, it is also falsely assumed that all this needs to be restored as it once was as an “ongoing fulfillment.” Therefore, many Evangelicals and Postmillennial Partial Preterists believe this “physical effect” of the fall will be restored (along with literal 900 year old ages). I beg to differ.
Older commentators understood these peaceful animal passages such as (Isaiah 11:6-9) to be a description of the peace the gospel produces among men – Jew and Gentile. They had it right! But because of their futurism and faulty presuppositions in Genesis, they also were forced into literalizing these passage of literal animals with “ongoing,” “physical phases,” when God’s creation would be finally restored. The passage has nothing to do with “lion tamers” or lions becoming vegetarians as an ongoing reversal of the physical effects of the fall.
Beloved, do not be deceived, Postmillennial Partial Preterism is not Biblical Preterism. It is carnal futurism both in the timing and nature of fulfillment – plain and simple. The “first” heavens and earth have passed away, the new is here, the healing of the nations is taking place, and it won’t be realized in an “not yet” of 900 year old naked men (fig leaves were a “physical effect” of Adam’s sin – right?) running around taming vegetarian lions and watching their children playing with poisonous snakes!
James Jordan, THROUGH NEW EYES Developing a Biblical View of the World
, Brentwood, TN., 1988), 270-271. Kenneth Gentry (multi-authored book), FOUR VIEWS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Peter J. Leithart, THE PROMISE OF HIS APPEARING AN EXPOSITION OF SECOND PETER
, (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004).
Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY
, (Draper, VA: 2009 THIRD EDITION: REVISED & EXPANDED), 305.
, Ibid., 538. James Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel
, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision 2007) 618-628. Leithart, PROMISE
, Ibid., 95.
See my chapter and response to Keith Mathison in, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology a Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?”
(Ramona, CA: Vision Publishing, 2009), 122-123.