Isaiah 65:17
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
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(17) Behold, I create new heavens . . .—The thought reappears in many forms in the New Testament—verbally in 2Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1, substantially in the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), in the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). The “former things,” the sin and sorrow of the past, shall then fade away from the memory of God’s people, absorbed in the abounding and everlasting joy.

Isaiah 65:17-19. For behold, I create new heavens, &c. — I will tell you yet a more admirable thing: I am about wholly to change the state, not only of my people, freeing them from the afflictions and troubles by which they have been oppressed, but also of the world, bringing a new face upon it; sending my Son to institute a new economy and worship, and raise up a new church; and pouring out my Spirit in a more plentiful manner; which new state shall continue until a new heaven and a new earth appear, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness, 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1. And the former shall not be remembered — That state of things shall be so glorious, that the former state of my people shall not be noticed in comparison of it. But be you glad and rejoice for ever — You that are my people. Though you cannot rejoice with that degree of joy which will attend the fruition of such a good, yet be glad and rejoice with the rejoicing of hope, for the thing is certain, and what I have already begun to do. Nor let your present state, nor the discouragements you have from seeming improbabilities, prevent your joy; for it is not a work to be performed in an ordinary way, or by an ordinary power, but by that almighty and creating energy which produces and brings into being what before had no existence. For behold, I create Jerusalem — Namely, the gospel church; a rejoicing — That is, a cause and source of joy, because of the light and grace, the wisdom, holiness, and happiness that shall be possessed by its members, the pure doctrine which shall be held and professed, and the excellent discipline which shall be maintained in it; and her people a joy — They shall not only rejoice, but be rejoiced in: those that sorrowed with the church shall rejoice with her. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem — The prosperity of the church shall be a rejoicing to God himself, who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants; and joy in my people — Taking complacency in the work of my grace wrought in them, and in the works of righteousness wrought by them. And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard — Such promises, many of which are to be found in the Scriptures, must either be understood in a comparative sense, meaning they shall suffer no such misery as formerly, or as signifying only some long or eminent state of happiness; unless they be referred to another life, in which case they may be taken strictly, as signifying a perpetuity and perfection of joy and happiness.

65:17-25 In the grace and comfort believers have in and from Christ, we are to look for this new heaven and new earth. The former confusions, sins and miseries of the human race, shall be no more remembered or renewed. The approaching happy state of the church is described under a variety of images. He shall be thought to die in his youth, and for his sins, who only lives to the age of a hundred years. The event alone can determine what is meant; but it is plain that Christianity, if universal, would so do away violence and evil, as greatly to lengthen life. In those happy days, all God's people shall enjoy the fruit of their labours. Nor will children then be the trouble of their parents, or suffer trouble themselves. The evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely moritified; all shall live in harmony. Thus the church on earth shall be full of happiness, like heaven. This prophecy assures the servants of Christ, that the time approaches, wherein they shall be blessed with the undisturbed enjoyment of all that is needful for their happiness. As workers together with God, let us attend his ordinances, and obey his commands.For behold - The idea in this verse is, that there should be a state of glory as great as if a new heaven and a new earth were to be made.

I create new heavens - Calamity and punishment in the Bible are often represented by the heavens growing dark, and being rolled up like as a scroll, or passing away (see the notes at Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 34:4). On the contrary, prosperity, happiness, and the divine favor, are represented by the clearing up of a cloudy sky; by the restoration of the serene and pure light of the sun; or, as here, by the creation of new heavens (compare the notes at Isaiah 51:16). The figure of great transformations in material things is one that is often employed in the Scriptures, and especially in Isaiah, to denote great spiritual changes (see Isaiah 11; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 35:1-2, Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 60:13, Isaiah 60:17). In the New Testament, the phrase used here is employed to denote the future state of the righteous; but whether on earth, after it shall have been purified by fire, or in heaven, has been a subject of great difference of opinion (see 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1).

The passage before us is highly poetical, and we are not required to understand it literally. There is, so far as the language is concerned, no more reason for understanding this literally than there is for so understanding the numerous declarations which affirm that the brute creation will undergo a change in their very nature, on the introduction of the gospel Isaiah 11; and all that the language necessarily implies is, that there would be changes in the condition of the people of God as great as if the heavens, overcast with clouds and subject to storms, should be recreated, so as to become always mild and serene; or as if the earth, so barren in many places, should become universally fertile and beautiful. The immediate reference here is, doubtless, to the land of Palestine, and to the important changes which would be produced there on the return of the exiles; but it cannot be doubted that, under this imagery, there was couched a reference to far more important changes and blessings in future times under the Messiah - changes as great as if a barren and sterile world should become universally beautiful and fertile.

For the former shall not be remembered - That is, that which shall be created shall be so superior in beauty as entirely to eclipse the former. The sense is, that the future condition of the people of God would be as superior to what it was in ancient times as would be a newly created earth and heaven superior in beauty to this - where the heavens are so often obscured by clouds, and where the earth is so extensively desolate or barren.

Nor come into mind - Margin, as Hebrew, 'Upon the heart.' That is, it shall not be thought of; it shall be wholly forgotten. On this verse, compare the notes at Isaiah 51:16.

17. As Caleb inherited the same land which his feet trod on (De 1:36; Jos 14:9), so Messiah and His saints shall inherit the renovated earth which once they trod while defiled by the enemy (Isa 34:4; 51:16; 66:22; Eze 21:27; Ps 2:8; 37:11; 2Pe 3:13; Heb 12:26-28 Re 21:1).

not be remembered—See on [874]Isa 65:16, note on "troubles"; the words here answer to "the former … forgotten," &c. The former sorrows of the earth, under the fall, shall be so far from recurring, that their very remembrance shall be obliterated by the many mercies I will bestow on the new earth (Re 21:4-27).

For, behold, I will tell you yet a more admirable thing, I am about wholly to alter and change the state not only of my people, who are now afflicted, restoring them to a more lightsome state, more free from trouble and afflictions; but

I create new heavens and a new earth, bringing a new face upon the world, sending my Son to raise up a new church, and to institute a new worship, John 4:21,24, and giving out my Spirit in a more plentiful manner, Acts 2:17, which new state shall abide until a new heaven and earth appear, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness, 2 Peter 3:13 Revelation 21:1. And that state of things shall be such, and so glorious, as the former state of my people shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Whether this new heavens and new earth here promised signifies such a stale of the church wherein Christ shall personally reign upon earth over his saints, the wicked being destroyed, (as some have thought lie shall for a thousand years,) I very much doubt, and do not see how from this and the parallel texts any such thing can be concluded.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,.... This prophecy began to have its accomplishment in the first times of the Gospel, when through the preaching of it there was a new face of things appeared in Judea, and in the Gentile world, so that the whole looked like a new world; and this was all the effect of creating power, of the mighty, powerful, and efficacious grace of God attending the word, to the conversion of many souls; a new church state was formed, consisting of persons gathered out of the world, the old national church of the Jews being dissolved, and Gospel churches everywhere set up; new ordinances appointed, to continue till Christ's second coming and the old ones abolished; a new way of worship observed, at least in a more spiritual and evangelic manner; a new covenant exhibited, or the covenant of grace held forth in a new form of administration, the former waxen old and vanished away; and the new and living way to the Father, through Christ, made more manifest: this will have a further accomplishment at the conversion of the Jews, which will be as life from the dead, and things will look like a new world with them; their blindness will be removed, the veil will be taken away from them; they will part with all their legal rites and ceremonies, and the traditions of the elders, and embrace the Messiah, and all his truths and ordinances; old things shall pass away, and all things become new: and it shall have its complete accomplishments in the New Jerusalem state, when not only Christ will appear, and make all things new in a spiritual sense, and that completely; but even in a literal sense there will be new heavens, and a new earth, which John in vision saw; and which Peter says he and other believers expected, according to the promise of God, when these heavens and earth shall be dissolved and pass away; and unless this passage is referred to by him, it will be difficult to find where this promise is; see Revelation 21:1,

and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind; either the old heavens and earth, which shall pass away, and be no more seen; or the former state both of the Jewish, and Gentile world; or the former troubles, as in the preceding verse, taken in the sense of affliction and persecution; all antichristian troubles shall cease in the latter day, after the conversion of the Jews, and especially in the New Jerusalem state; see Isaiah 2:4.

For, behold, I create {y} new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

(y) I will so altar and change the state of my church, that it will seem to dwell in a new world.

17. new heavens and a new earth] i.e. a new universe, Hebrew having no single word for the Cosmos (cf. ch. Isaiah 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). The phrase sums up a whole aspect of the prophetic theology. The idea of a transformation of nature so as to be in harmony with a renewed humanity has met us several times in the earlier part of the book (ch. Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 29:17, Isaiah 30:23 ff., Isa 32:15, 35, &c.), and is a frequent theme of prophecy, but the thought of a new creation is nowhere expressed so absolutely as here. It may have been suggested to the prophet by ch. Isaiah 51:6, where it is said that the present universe shall be dissolved, although it is doubtful if that verse contains more than a metaphorical expression of the transitoriness of the material in contrast with the spiritual. Here there can be no doubt that the words are to be interpreted literally. At the same time the new creation preserves as it were the form of the old, for the next verse shews that a new Jerusalem is the centre of the renovated earth.

the former] R.V. the former things. The reference may be specifically to the “former troubles” of Isaiah 65:16, or generally to the old state of things which shall have vanished for ever.

nor come into mind] Lit. “come up on the heart,” as Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 7:31, &c.

17–25. The last sentence of Isaiah 65:16 inspires the loftiest flight of the prophet’s imagination. The “former troubles shall be forgotten” in the glories of a new creation, in which all things minister to the welfare of Jehovah’s regenerate people.

Verses 17-25. - A PROMISE OF NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH. The final answer of God to the complaint and prayer of his people (ch. 64.) is now given. The entire existing state of things is to pass away. God will create a new heaven and a new earth, and place his people therein; and the old conditions will be all changed, and the old grounds of complaint disappear. In the "new Jerusalem" there will be no sorrow, neither "weeping" nor "crying" (ver. 19); life will be greatly prolonged (ver. 20); men will always enjoy the fruit of their labours (vers. 21, 22), and see their children grow up (ver. 23). Prayer will be answered almost before it is uttered (ver. 24). Finally, there will be peace in the animal world, and between the animal world and man. No living thing will kill or hurt another in all God's "holy mountain" (ver. 25). Verse 17. - I create. The same verb is used as in Genesis 1:1; and the prophet's idea seems to be that the existing heaven and earth are to be entirely destroyed (see Isaiah 24:19, 20, and the comment ad loc.), and a fresh heaven and earth created in their place out of nothing. The "new Jerusalem" is not the old Jerusalem renovated, but is a veritable "new Jerusalem," "created a rejoicing" (ver. 18; scrap. Revelation 21:2). The germ of the teaching will be found in Isaiah 51:16. The former shall not be remembered. Some suppose "the former troubles" (see ver. 16) to be meant; but it is best (with Delitzsch) to understand "the former heavens and earth." The glory of the new heavens and earth would be such that the former ones would not only not be regretted, but would not even be had in remembrance. No one would so much as think of them. Isaiah 65:17The fact that they have thus passed away is now still further explained; the prophet heaping up one kı̄ (for) upon another, as in Isaiah 9:3-5. "For behold I create a new heaven and a new earth; and men will not remember the first, nor do they come to any one's mind. No, be ye joyful and exult for ever at that which I:create: for behold I turn Jerusalem into exulting, and her people into joy. And I shall exult over Jerusalem, and be joyous over my people, and the voice of weeping and screaming will be heard in her no more." The promise here reaches its culminating point, which had already been seen from afar in Isaiah 51:16. Jehovah creates a new heaven and a new earth, which bind so fast with their glory, and which so thoroughly satisfy all desires, that there is no thought of the former ones, and no one wishes them back again. Most of the commentators, from Jerome to Hahn, suppose the ri'shōnōth in Isaiah 65:16 to refer to the former sorrowful times. Calvin says, "The statement of the prophet, that there will be no remembrance of former things, is supposed by some to refer to the heaven and the earth, as if he meant, that henceforth neither the fame nor even the name of either would any more be heard; but I prefer to refer them to the former times." But the correctness of the former explanation is shown by the parallel in Jeremiah 3:16, which stands in by no means an accidental relation to this passage, and where it is stated that in the future there will be no ark of the covenant, "neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it," inasmuch as all Jerusalem will be the throne of Jehovah, and not merely the capporeth with its symbolical cherubim. This promise is also a glorious one; but Jeremiah and all the other prophets fall short of the eagle-flight of Isaiah, of whom the same may be said as of John, "volat avis sine meta." Luther (like Zwingli and Stier) adopts the correct rendering, "that men shall no more remember the former ones (i.e., the old heaven and old earth), nor take it to heart." But ‛âlâh ‛al-lēbh signifies to come into the mind, not "to take to heart," and is applied to a thing, the thought of which "ascends" within us, and with which we are inwardly occupied. There is no necessity to take the futures in Isaiah 65:17 as commands (Hitzig); for אם־שׂישׂוּ כּי (כי with muach, as in Ven. 1521, after the Masora to Numbers 35:33) fits on quite naturally, even if we take them as simple predictions. Instead of such a possible, though not actual, calling back and wishing back, those who survive the new times are called upon rather to rejoice for ever in that which Jehovah is actually creating, and will have created then. אשׁר, if not regarded as the accusative-object, is certainly regarded as the object of causality, "in consideration of that which" (cf., Isaiah 31:6; Genesis 3:17; Judges 8:15), equivalent to, "on account of that which" (see at Isaiah 64:4; Isaiah 35:1). The imperatives sı̄sū vegı̄lū are not words of admonition so much as words of command, and kı̄ gives the reason in this sense: Jehovah makes Jerusalem gı̄lâh and her people mâsōs (accusative of the predicate, or according to the terminology adopted in Becker's syntax, the "factitive object," Ges. 139, 2), by making joy its perpetual state, its appointed condition of life both inwardly and outwardly. Nor is it joy on the part of the church only, but on the part of its God as well (see the primary passages in Deuteronomy 30:9). When the church thus rejoices in God, and God in the church, so that the light of the two commingle, and each is reflected in the other; then will no sobbing of weeping ones, no sound of lamentation, be heard any more in Jerusalem (see the opposite side as expressed in Isaiah 51:3).
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