Isaiah’s Thoughts on Heaven

July 9, 2008 at 10:13 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Eschatology | 1 Comment

Isaiah 65-66.  I was pondering heaven in my Bible reading this morning.  We have so many misconceptions about it.  The popular notions have heaven as a place where we can do all the pleasures we missed on earth – where we can live lives similar to what we have here, only happier.  Of course, Jesus dismissed that notion in Matthew 22:23  I don’t claim to know much about the subject, as I’ve never studied it in detail, but here are some thoughts I gleaned from the last two chapters of Isaiah this morning.  The section starts out with the words, “See, I will create a new heaven and a new earth.”  Though many things in this section are couched in symbolic terms, here are the thoughts that stood out to me this morning.

            First, heaven is only for God’s people.  There is much in the last two chapters of Isaiah telling of the destruction of those who do not know God.  “They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring on them what they dread.”  “His fury will be shown to his foes.” (66:3f, 14)  But the good things promised are for his people;“so will be the days of my people.”   It’s about those “who are humble and contrite in spirit and who tremble at my word.”

            Second, though heaven is only for God’s people, his people will come from every nation on earth.  “I am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages.”  (66:18, see also verse 20)  The Jews thought only they were God’s people; some denominations and churches think only they are God’s people; some Americans think only they are God’s people; etc, etc.  People who think that underestimate the grace of God and overestimate their own righteousness.

            Third, heaven is marked by joy and comfort.  The words rejoice, joy, delight are repeated numerous times in this section.  Comfort is mentioned many times also, and that comfort is often tied to joy.  For example 65:18-19 says “Be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more”   (See also 66:10-13)

            Finally, heaven is all about God – about his glory and his praise.  Notice that the joy in heaven is the joy of God, and the comfort of heaven is comfort from God.  “This is what he LORD says, ‘I will extend peace to her like a river and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream. . . .  As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.’” (66:12-13)  “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people.”  (65:19)  The reason heaven has people of all nations is so that those who have not heard of God’s fame and glory will proclaim his glory among the nations.  “They will come and see my glory.” (66:18-19)  We usually present heaven in terms of what we will get out of it, what it will be like for us, typical of human-centered religion.  But heaven should be presented as the ultimate revelation to us of the glory of God.  Even heaven is God-focused and God-centered.  “Let the LORD be glorified that we may see your joy!”

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  1. Thanks !

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