In today’s first reading from Isaiah, the prophet is speaking to the Jewish people in exile in Babylon (or soon thereafter) and reminding them of their mission to be a light to the world of the goodness and justice of the God of the Covenant. Isaiah holds up an image of a “new heavens and a new earth” – a similar image to one spoken of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament…. and those images, I suspect, are quite different from ones we hold in our minds. Images that propose for us, heaven is somewhere not here, a place we hope to go to when we pass from this mortal coil, where God lives. Earth becomes the transit stop on the way. All of this is mingled into the idea of the Second Coming of Jesus. When this latter topic is brought up, I will often say, “That’s right…. but have you ever heard of the Second Going?”What is the “big picture” about “heaven and earth?” How do these two idea fit into the larger narrative of the whole of the Bible? How is Jesus involved in the “new heavens and a new earth” of which Isaiah spoke? Our good friends at The Bible Project have a great video: “Heaven and Earth” that I highly recommend you take 5 minutes and watch. It will open up a whole new understanding ideas such as “heaven” “earth” “kingdom of heaven” “kingdom of God” “tabernacle” “temple”… and so much more!
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