Isaiah 65:17: Meaning of “New Heaven and Earth”

Question

Isaish 65:17 (66:22) writes about a ‘new’ heaven and earth.

Although I’m not sure what that means, I find these words somewhat strange, because there are some verses which indicate the possibility that these won’t pass away.

For example David says in a Psalm (37:29): “The righteous will inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.” Again Asaph says: “..like the earth which He has founded forever (Psalm 78:69).” Kohelet 1:4 says: “the earth endures forever.”

Besides this, I always thought heaven and earth were called upon as witnesses, as these would endure forever.

So what’s the meaning of ‘new/renewed heaven and earth,’ and in such a case what is it exactly that’s new/renewed about it?

, 9 months

Answers

  1. As you write, it seems to be a rather strange description, and the various Torah commentaries take different approaches to explain the verse.

    According to Rashi, God will make significant changes to the hierarchy that exists in the Heavenly realms. The angel that assists God in guarding the Jewish nation will be the most important of the angels, and all the other angels of the other nations of the world will be completely subservient to it. Those differences will be reflected in the physical realms as well.

    Rabbi David Kimche (the Radak) explains that there will be such an abundance of goodness and blessing in the world that there will be no resemblance to the world that we currently live in and it will look as if the world had been created anew.

    The Ibn Ezra explains that God will create a whole new environment that will allow humans to live longer, healthier lives.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team