For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and
the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind...For as the new heavens
and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord,
so shall your seed and your name remain (Isaiah 65:17 & 66:22).
In context, we learn that in this blessed state men will
plan and build. They will labor. There will be wolves and lambs. There will
be serpents. And there will be sin and death. Those that transgress will
be judged daily and their carcases will be burned and eaten of worms in the
valley of Tophet.
This clearly shows that this is about the millennium. It
is the age to which Israel was looking and of which Isaiah prophesied.
But how about the new heavens and new earth? How does this
happen? In Eden there was a firmament and earth under which there was peace
among animals and man could live long. This was altered a bit at the fall
and expulsion from Eden. Then thorns and thistles began to grow. But still
long life and ideal conditions for living. But at the flood, all changed.
No longer a cloudless sky and watering of the earth by mists. There were
winds and rain and the rainbow. These conditions restored (the days be shortened,
see Matthew 24:22 and Revelation 8:12) makes it like a new heavens and earth
for man to dwell in. And after the millennium there will be a better condition
as in Eden.
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new
heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
We see here something new. In this realm will dwell righteousness.
That is not entirely true of the millennium. So this is not the same as the
quotations in Isaiah as above. And this comes to pass after the present heavens
and earth are burned up. There is nothing like that preceding the millennium.
So we cannot for a moment equate the passage in Peter with that in Isaiah.
They are about 2 different events.
And note that the above is the result of a promise. So
where do we find that promise? It is not in Isaiah 65 or 66.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first (former,
the one we live in now) heaven and the first earth were passed away; and
there was no more sea (Revelation 21:1). Here is our answer. Paul had written
2 Corinthians a few years before Peter wrote his epistles.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-5 Paul tells of how that John
14 years before had seen this new heaven and new earth, had been caught up
to that time. So here is the promise Peter refers to. Of course tradition
would place the Revelation long after and so cancel the promise. And note
that in the new heaven and earth, water is no longer there. It had caused
the overthrow of Genesis 1:2. The burning brings back the conditions of the
first heaven and earth, before man was here.