“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.”
There is a certain quality to really good literature which causes us to become lost in the world that is being described to us. We begin to see, if not live in, the world of the author. For a time our present tribulations seem to recede from our attention as we truly become lost in the book. Such is the case with much that we read in the Word of God. It lifts our attention away from this world and its trials and focuses our attention upon the world to come. In Isaiah 65:17 the prophet does exactly that with one word, “Behold.” He calls us to lift our eyes away from all that we are currently facing and to “see” the world which is to come. We are to put our attention upon that world, discovering that it is the creation of God and that He is calling us to enter into it by faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.
Isaiah has been engaged in a long prophetic book in which he has been warning the people of Israel about the judgment which is coming as well as explaining the reasons why it must certainly come. It is the fulfillment of long established warnings and promises that God had spoken of in His Word right from the beginning. Isaiah is merely reminding God’s people of what God Himself had promised them. Now it is becoming a reality for them. When it comes they will know that it comes from the hand of a holy and gracious God and that it is given as a chastening in order to call them back to their God.
Isaiah weaves into his prophesy some strong strands of hope which are there for anyone to see who approaches God’s Word with the eyes of faith. Such is the promise here in chapter sixty five. After describing in great detail the consequences of judgement Isaiah cries out “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.” Look up, he seems to be saying, your redemption is drawing near. It will be the work of God so its coming is a certainty. It does not depend upon the efforts of fickle and failing people. God is doing it. We could look at what Isaiah writes here and see it as something which God is already doing. He has begun the work. We can expect that He will bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. We behold it with the eyes of faith.
The book of Hebrews in the first three verses of chapter eleven defines this faith that sees so clearly in this way. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)
R.C. Sproul describes faith in this way. “It is one thing to believe in God; It is quite another to believe God.” (Ligonier Twitter Page) Faith is believing God when He speaks revealing His truth to us. It is taking Him at His Word. It is looking at His promise and believing that what He has promised He can do. It is Mary hearing the Angel’s promise that she will have a child and believing him because he came with God’s Word and nothing will ever be impossible with God. It is Isaiah giving us this a promise of a new heavens and a new earth and us believing it because God has not only said it to us repeatedly but He has also told us how he will do it through the coming Messiah who will come and bear our iniquities on the cross (Isaiah 11:1-10; 53:4-6). God has said it and He will do it. In fact He is already doing it in the cross of Christ. The only question is, do you believe God?