John Calvin on Isaiah 66:22 and the New Heavens and the New Earth

Sometimes I think the only real reading of John Calvin many do is excerpts from his Institutes. Here in Isaiah 66 we see John Calvin speaking of the “New Heavens” and the “New Earth”  being a present reality for the current Age, not a time to come.

22. For as the new heavens. Here he promises that the restoration of the Church shall be of such a nature that it shall last for ever. Many might be afraid that it would be ruined a second time; and therefore he declares that henceforth, after having been restored by God, its condition shall be permanent. Accordingly, he mentions here two benefits of surpassing excellence, restoration and eternity. When he speaks of “new heavens” and a “new earth,” he looks to the reign of Christ, by whom all things have been renewed, as the Apostle teaches in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Now the design of this newness is, that the condition of the Church may always continue to be prosperous and happy. What is old tends to decay; what is restored and renewed must be of longer continuance. (Hebrews 8:13.)

So shall your seed and your name remain. God had promised that “the sun and moon,” so long as they remained in heaven, should be witnesses of the eternal succession, that the posterity of David might not be cut off. But because some interruption arose from the treachery and ingratitude of the people, the restoration effected by Christ actually confirmed that prediction. Justly, therefore, does Isaiah say, “Your sons shall succeed to you, and your grandsons shall succeed to your sons;” and as God will establish the world, that it may never perish, so the succession of the Church shall be perpetual, that it may be prolonged through all ages.

In a word, he explains what he had formerly said about renewing the world, that none may think that this relates to trees, or beasts, or the order of the stars; for it must be referred to the inward renewal of man. The ancients were mistaken when they thought that these things related absolutely to the last judgment; and they had not sufficiently weighed the context of the Prophet or the authority of the Apostle. Yet I do not deny that they extend as far as to that judgment, because we must not hope for a perfect restoration before Christ, who is the life of the world, shall appear; but we must begin higher, even with that deliverance by which Christ regenerates his people, that they may be new creatures. (2 Corinthians 7:1.)

Advertisements

One thought on “John Calvin on Isaiah 66:22 and the New Heavens and the New Earth

  1. Good point, Benjamin – and John. I think 2 Cor 5:17, the notion of newness, speaks to this as well. I cannot “prove” this from Scripture, but when Christ was resurrected, and then ascended, that is when he led captivity captive. This is the reason that the Son was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil – permanent death to sin, Satan and death. And so he does create “all things” new.

    Calvin notes that the extant view is misconstrued: that people look at the physical heavens and the earth, and then assert that the new heavens and the earth occur at the time of the great white throne judgment. If we are talking about real time, then those things occurred at the resurrection/ascension. That’s my two penneth worth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s