The Book of Isaiah has more prophecies about Jesus and the end-times than perhaps all the other prophets put together. Many Messianic and end-time prophesies are interspersed like golden nuggets throughout this Old Testament book. It is astounding that he was able to foresee the Messiah over seven centuries beforehand. But even more amazing is how he was able to describe the New Earth and New Jerusalem to come in much the same way as the Apostle John described them in the Book of Revelation almost 800 years later.
We can understand Isaiah’s prophecies and those Jesus imparted to John in Revelation by studying them together which gives us a much clearer view of these times to come.
The reason Isaiah had such incredible foresight is because he saw the Lord directly, opening a wide and deep channel of communication from Yahweh, the Lord God Almighty:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. (Isaiah 6:1)
It was Isaiah’s response of humility in the Lord’s presence and his willingness to go and speak what the Lord told him that made him such a good conduit for communicating the Lord’s wisdom and revelation.
So, I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people.” (Isaiah 6:5-9)
Then the Lord revealed to Isaiah what the future held for the sinful, idolatrous people of Judah – that is, the Babylonian conquest and exile:
And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.” (Isaiah 6:11-12)
Isaiah went on to repeatedly prophesy about the coming Babylonian conquest and exile. Although the Lord, through Isaiah, pleaded with the idolatrous nation of Judah to repent over several decades, they did not. He even gave them a one-year (plus some days) notice about the invasion of the Assyrians (who were supposed to be Judah’s protectorate), but again, Judah did not believe Isaiah.
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. In a year and some days, you will be troubled, you complacent women; for the vintage will fail, the gathering will not come. Tremble, you women who are at ease; be troubled, you complacent ones; strip yourselves, make yourselves bare, And gird sackcloth on your waists. People shall mourn upon their breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers, yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city; because the palaces will be forsaken, the bustling city will be deserted. The forts and towers will become lairs forever. (Isaiah 32:9-14)
During the Babylonian exile, Isaiah also prophesied that the Persians would conquer the Babylonians, and most astounding of all, Isaiah mentioned King Cyrus by name nearly a century in advance as the one who would liberate the Jews and enable them to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer… Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure,” saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.’ (Isaiah 45:24,28)
However, for this study, we will focus on Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah and the end-times. We will segment Isaiah’s prophecies into several chronological eras: 1) The Remnant; 2) The First Coming of Jesus; 3) The Christian Era; 4) The Second Coming of Jesus; 5) The New Earth and the New Jerusalem.
1. The Remnant
Throughout history, especially in times of great persecution, God always delivers and preserves a remnant of His people, primarily those who have chosen to hear and follow Him. We see this over and over again throughout the Book of Isaiah, with the first mention of the remnant in the very first chapter:
Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:9)
The remnant is about a tenth of the overall population, although this is symbolic more than precise:
But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So, the holy seed shall be its stump. (Isaiah 6:13)
After prophesying about the upcoming exile to Babylon, the Lord (through Isaiah) reassured His people that a remnant would survive and return to Jerusalem:
And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a determined end in the midst of all the land. (Isiah 10:20-23)
Isaiah also prophecies that a remnant would be gathered up from all areas of the earth.
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:10-12)
This prophecy has a near-term and long-term fulfillment, as do many prophecies in the Old Testament. In the near-term, it is referring to the return from the Babylonian exile. But further out in time, it is referencing 1948 when the nation of Israel was restored after World War II and even further out, to the time following Jesus’ second coming when the Gentiles (Christians) will come from all over the earth to the New Jerusalem.
Later in Isaiah, the Lord expounds upon how he will cherish the remnant at the end of the age, looking toward Jesus as the heir of the kingdom to come.
In that day the Lord of hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people. (Isaiah 28:5)
Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,’ So will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob [northern kingdom], and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me.” (Isaiah 65:6-10)
As the Lord repeatedly states through Isaiah, the captivity and exile were not mere happenstance, they were specifically orchestrated by the Lord God as punishment for His people’s sinfulness and worship of Canaanite idols:
For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stock and the store, the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water; the mighty man and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, and the diviner and the elder; the captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the skillful artisan, and the expert enchanter. “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. The people will be oppressed, everyone by another and every one by his neighbor.” (Isaiah 3:1-5a)
The Messiah: The First Coming of Jesus
It is truly remarkable how clearly Isaiah saw the first coming of the Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus. Isaiah foresaw that Jesus would be descended from Jesse, the father of King David, through Joseph (see Matthew 1:1-16). Of course, Joseph did not sire Jesus, the Holy Spirit did, but Joseph became his earthly father afterward.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. (Isaiah 11:1)
Isaiah also foresaw that Jesus would not have a natural father, but rather be born of a virgin, just as the angel Gabriel confirmed as recorded by Matthew:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah7:14)
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
Isaiah saw that this child would be God’s own Son on earth, destined to eventually establish His government over all the earth (the fulfillment of which will occur after Jesus’ second coming).
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Isaiah knew that Jesus would live a sinless life as confirmed centuries later by the Apostle Peter.
He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. (Isaiah 7:15)
Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. (1Peter 2:22)
Isaiah also knew (through God’s revelation) that Jesus would embody the Spirit of God the Father, Yahweh.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
The Spirit of the Lord did indeed rest upon Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matthew 3:16)
Isaiah also saw centuries in advance that Jesus would be a light within the darkness of a fallen world:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death [the] light has dawned. (Matthew 4:16)
In the Book of John, Jesus proclaims Himself to be the light of the world: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Remarkably, Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah would not be bombastic and would bend, not break, from the assaults of the world. Instead, He would be victorious and bring justice and truth to the world:
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)
Matthew referenced these verses to explain why Jesus warned those he healed not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory.” (Matthew 12:16-20)
Isaiah also foresaw that God the Father would guide and empower Jesus via His Holy Spirit:
“I, the Lord, have called You [Jesus] in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1)
Jesus Himself affirmed this as His mission when He read from Isaiah 61 in the temple: Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:20-21)
Isaiah also foretells that the Servant of God will be stricken, but would not give up:
“I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore, I will not be disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He is near who justifies Me.” (Isaiah 50:4-8)
Jesus did not turn aside from His mission even knowing that he would suffer many indignities, persecution and torture. Matthew 27:26-31 describes how Jesus was scourged (lashed with a whip), stripped, given a crown of thorns which drew blood, mocked, spat upon struck on the head and then led away to be crucified.
Just as Isaiah prophesied, Jesus did indeed set His face like flint and turned to His Father for the strength to endure and prevail on the cross: And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. (Luke 22:41-43)
Isaiah was the one to first identify the Messiah as a “Man of Sorrows:
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. (Isaiah 53:2-8)
The message of the cross comes through clearly in Isaiah’s revelation –it is our sinfulness that is the root cause for Jesus’ sacrificial death. Astoundingly, Isaiah also foresaw that Jesus would be hung with thieves but buried in a rich man’s tomb:
And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. (Isaiah 53:9-10a)
There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. (Luke 23:32-33)
Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. (Luke 23:50-53)
All council members were rich by the standards of the day
Isaiah’s prophecy notes that Jesus’ death was not in vain, but that Jesus will see the fruits of his great sacrifice:
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge, My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12)
And, once again, Isaiah sees a detail far in advance of its fulfillment – that is, Jesus praying for those who crucified Him as well as for the two criminals: Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
The Christian Era
Once Jesus had been resurrected, the period of time between His two comings (AD – Anno Domini) was distinctly different than the BC (Before Christ) era.
The Old Covenant had been fulfilled by Jesus (Matthew 5:17) and He brought forth a New Covenant by His shed blood (Luke 22:20)
Salvation is now available to all, not just the Jews, requiring only born-again faith (John 3:5, Ephesians 2:8)
Under the New Covenant, we have direct access to God the Father through Jesus (Ephesians 2:18, 3:12) and forgiveness of sins directly through Jesus instead of through Old Testament rituals (1John 1:9)
Isaiah saw all this from afar:
“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
Jesus also says He wants a personal relationship with us (Revelation 3:20). Under the Old Covenant, coming near to God meant death (Exodus 19:21)
“Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning [i.e. He spoke through the prophets]; from the time that it was, I was there. and now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me [Jesus].” (Isaiah 48:16)
Jesus said that He would give us living water (John 4:13-14) and that He was the bread of life (John 6:35), all free to believers. Isaiah foresaw this long beforehand:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and, I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Jesus calls upon us to repent (Matthew 4:17) and come to Him for eternal life (John 17:3)
Isaiah also said repentance was the pathway to salvation at a time when only temple rituals could remove the burden of sin from the people: This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV)
The New Testament tells us that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11), but this was simply repeating what Isaiah had already prophesied over 800 years prior:
“I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the Lord all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.’” (45:22-25)
Jesus was proclaimed to be “the Word of God” by the Apostle John (1:1,14), again foreseen by Isaiah who sees the Word as a living, prospering force:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
Twice in the New Testament, Scripture says that when we are saved, we will receive a new name directly from Jesus (Revelation 2:17, 3:12). Isaiah also foresaw this as well as the words Jesus would speak when he cast the moneychangers out of the temple, declaring it a ‘house of prayer” (Matthew 21:12-13)
“I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also, the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others [Gentiles] besides those who are gathered to him.” (Isaiah 56:1-8)
Revelation 13 tells us that the time before Jesus’ Second Coming will be a very dark hour in history for Christians under the thumb of the beast (i.e. the anti-Christ). Isaiah also saw this dark period, but calls on us to be lights within the darkness (as in Matthew 5:14-16) for our light (Jesus, the risen Savior) has already come, and in so doing, many people will be drawn out of the darkness into the light and be saved:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. (Isaiah 60:1-5)
Jesus’ Second Coming (The Day of the Lord)
Many of the prophets saw the eventual Day of the Lord – the day Jesus returns. Like the others, Isaiah also sees it as both a great and terrible day (Joel 2:31), which Revelation 6 describes in much greater detail.
It is a great day for Christians, for they will be raptured (1Thessalonians 4:17) out of the deep darkness of the world. However, it is a terrible day for all the rest of humanity who have not accepted the gift of salvation.
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low—Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; Upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; Upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; Upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:12-17)
In that day the Branch of the Lord [Jesus] shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped. (Isaiah 4:2)
Whereas Isaiah 61:1 referred to Jesus’ First Coming, the second verse refers to His Second Coming when He announces and enacts God’s vengeance upon a sinful world:
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.” (Isaiah 61:2)
Because Jesus is the one to carry out the day of vengeance, the wrath of God, his robe is “dipped in blood” (Revelation 19:13), which was also foreseen by Isaiah:
“Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come.” (Isaiah 63:1-4)
This is what causes Babylon to fall (In today’s world, Babylon is not a place but rather the worldly culture that elevates mankind and opposes God), as described in Revelation 14:8 and 18:2, again foreseen by Isaiah:
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground.” (21:8)
Isaiah goes on to describe the destruction of the earth in great detail, as confirmed in Revelation 6-16:
Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants… The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. (Isaiah 24:1-6)
The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. (Isaiah 24:19-21)
For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; No one shall pass through it forever and ever. (Isaiah 34:8-10)
Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also, their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. (Isaiah 34:1-4)
Compare the above verses to Revelation: I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17)
New Earth, New Jerusalem
From the verses above, it is quite clear that the earth as we know it will be completely destroyed. But God promises a New Earth and a New Jerusalem:
Jesus told his disciples before He was crucified that the earth and heavens would pass away, then He reconfirmed this to the Apostle John after his ascension in the book of Revelation:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. (Revelation 21:1)
The Apostle Peter further clarifies this astounding event:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements [i.e. the earth] will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:7-14)
Scholars disagree over whether this is a totally new earth or one that has been restored, but this difference doesn’t really matter.
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
A bigger issue is whether or not this new earth is where Jesus’ Millennial (i.e. 1000-year) Kingdom will be established.
Some theologians even say the new earth becomes our eternal heaven, but I think not. Rather, it will be where Jesus rules and reigns for a thousand years.
It will, however, seem like heaven on earth for those thousand years.
Regardless, Isaiah also foresaw this new earth/Jerusalem that would be established after Jesus’ Second Coming:
“For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22)
All the promises of God made to and about Israel concerning her glorious future will be completely fulfilled in the New Jerusalem – not before.
What will it be like in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth under the New Heavens? Both Revelation and Isaiah have a lot to say about this, and together they provide a wealth of information:
The New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven onto the New Earth:
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:12)
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; (Revelation 21:10)
The New Jerusalem will be quite large, a square 1,400 miles in width and breadth with high walls:
And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs [about 1400 miles]. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. (Revelation 21:15-16)
The New Jerusalem will be glorious:
Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:1-5)
I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:18-20)
He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. (Isaiah 51:3)
“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, (Isaiah 54:10)
And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing. (Isaiah 65:18)
I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. (Isaiah 54:11)
Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also, she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs [about 1400 miles]. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (Revelation 21:11-21)
Jesus will dwell with us in the New Jerusalem and be its light as well as its temple:
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:22-23)
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
Inside the walls of the glorious New Jerusalem there will only be peace, love, and rejoicing, no more death, pain or sorrow:
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:1-5)
They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them. I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highways shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim.” Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. (Isaiah 49:8-13)
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. (Isaiah 54:14-15)
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:12-13)
To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore, in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. (Isaiah 61:3-7)
Outside the walls of the New Jerusalem will be those who were not killed when the old earth was destroyed. They will form nations that bring tribute to the gates of the New Jerusalem:
And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. (Revelation 21:22-26)
Therefore, your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession. For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined. “The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. Also, the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, and milk the breast of kings; you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. “Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. God the Glory of His People. “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also, your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.” (Isaiah 60:11-22)
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:10-11)
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah [My Delight is in Her], and your land Beulah [Married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry You [Jesus]; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: “Surely I will no longer give your grain as food for your enemies; and the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored. But those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts.” Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples! Indeed, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’ ” And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken. (Isaiah 62:1-12)
I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old [inside the walls], but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed [outside the walls]. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 65:17-25)
Who are the saints who inhabit the New Jerusalem?
Revelation 20 tells us that after Satan is cast into the bottomless pit for 1000 years, that those who were martyred (beheaded) and did not receive the mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation will be the saints who inhabit the New Jerusalem
Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
What happens after the 1000-year Millennial rule of Christ on the New Earth ends? The only things we know for sure are that Satan is released once again and he tries unsuccessfully to gather the unsaved masses outside the walls of the New Jerusalem to war against God again and is then tossed forever into the Lake of Fire:
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)
Following that, the New Earth and death are eliminated forever, and then the Great White Throne Judgment occurs where the unsaved (those not found in the Book of Life) are also cast into the Lake of Fire:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)