The Heavens and Earth: Matt. 5:18 in Covenant Context

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”.Matthew 5:18

We bring so much of our own worldview into Scripture that we have a hard time understanding Bible terminology. And many churches today do not help the situation. They are New Testament churches – in the worst sense. They teach the New Testament as a stand-alone revelation, disconnected from the foundational background that gives meaning to much of the New Testament.

Case in point is the “heaven and the earth”. No, “heaven and earth” do not exist today. Not the “heaven and earth” that Jesus was speaking about in Matt. 5:18. Those heavens and earth refer to the Jewish dispensation.

“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;”Isaiah 1:1-2

Now, is God speaking to all of the Earth here? Is He speaking to the heavens? No. He is speaking to Israel; according to context, to “Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah”.

“But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared; The LORD of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You
are My people.'”Isaiah 51:15-16

When did God create the Heavens and Earth? According to this passage it was after He divided the Red Sea. Notice the tenses – “That I may plant…” No, I am not denying the physical creation as described in Genesis 1, but that is not the topic here. And – once again, focusing on this passage in Isaiah – what were the
accompanying results?

1. The planting of the heavens,
2. The laying of the foundations of the earth, and
3. The saying to Zion, “You are My people”.

It is this “heavens and earth” Jesus is referring to in Matt. 5:18.

Peter, writing three decades later, but still before the Parousia, describes this same heavens and earth:

“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter. 3:7

Peter is looking forward to the time that Isaiah had written of:

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17

Peter looked forward to an event that we now look back on. An event whose present reality we are blessed with. But once again, most have a hard time appreciating the context of Christ’s, Peter’s, and Isaiah’s words because we are so attuned to our own understanding of the phrase “heavens and earth”, not the Scriptural intent.

About asterisktom

I breathe, therefore I blog.
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