The Great Salvation/24
God Has Promised to Bless and Fill the Earth with His Glory
Numb. 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
Psa. 72:l7-19 His name shall endure for ever; his name shall be continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Isa. 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Hab. 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Matt. 6:9, 10 After this manner pray ye: * · * Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
You will see that these promises have never been fulfilled. In these testimonies we have God's Word concerning the future of the earth. Can His Word fail? Listen to what He says:
Isa. 55:10-13 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, · so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar 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.
According to these promises the earth is to be restored to the beautiful state it enjoyed before sin cursed it; and in that restored beauty and fertility will be an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off --- a sign of the wisdom, goodness and power of God in removing the curse and giving blessings without end.
The Earth to Abide Forever
It is by failing to observe the different ways in which the earth is spoken of that the mistake is made in believing in the destruction of the literal earth. That it is not to be destroyed is not only clearly implied in the above testimonies, but is declared in the following:
Ecc. 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh but the earth abideth for ever
Isa. 104:1-5 Blessed be the LORD. * * * who laid the foundation of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
Psa. 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
Now those Scriptures that speak of the earth passing away also include heaven. If the destruction of the literal earth and the literal heaven is meant we may well ask:
"When heaven and earth are fled and gone, Oh! where shall I appear?"
The following passages will show you that the earth sometimes represents the inhabitants of the earth and the heaven the rulers, a figurative use of these words drawn from the fact that the literal heaven rules the literal earth.
Heaven and Earth, Figurative and Symbolic
Deut. 32:1 Give ear O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Deut. 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone; the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
Isa. 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD hath spoken.
Isa. 49:13 Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth
Jer. 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD
Hab. 2:20 Let all the earth keep silence before him.
These testimonies will show that the words heaven and earth frequently apply to the rulers and ruled upon the earth; and they enable us to see that the Scriptures that speak of the passing away of the heavens and the earth are not a contradiction of those which declare that the heavens and the earth are never to be removed
You may find a difficulty, however, as some have, in the fact that the Apostle Peter says that the earth and the works therein shall be burned up (II Pet. 3:10). The question is sometimes asked, What are the works therein, if the word earth refers to the people? The answer is, The earth represents the social system as a whole, and the works are the various productions of the people which feed their vanity and pride.
The figurative and symbolic use of terms in relation to the heavens and earth finds a good explanation in the following from Dr. Adam Clarke's introduction to Isaiah's prophecy:
"By images borrowed from the world natural, the prophets frequently understand something analogous in the world politic. Thus the sun, moon and stars and heavenly bodies denote kings, queens, rulers, and persons in great power; their increase of splendor denotes increase of prosperity; their darkening, setting or falling denotes a reverse of fortune, or the entire ceasing of that power or kingdom to which they refer. Great earthquakes and the shaking of heaven and earth denote the commotion and overthrow of kingdoms; and the beginning or end of the world their rise or ruin.
"The cedars of Lebanon, oaks of Bashan, fir trees and other stately trees of the forest denote kings, princes, potentates and persons of the highest rank. Briars and thorns the common people or those of the meanest order. High mountains and lofty hills in like manner denote kingdoms, republics, states and cities; towns and fortresses signify defenders and protectors; ships of Tarshish merchants or commercial people; and the daughter of any capital or mother city the lesser cities or suburbs around it. Cities never conquered are further styled virgins."
Sir Isaac Newton also says:
"In attempting to understand the prophecies, we are in the first place to acquaint ourselves with the figurative language of the prophets. This language is taken from analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom as a world politic. Accordingly the whole world natural, consisting of heavens and earth, signifies the whole world politic, consisting of thrones and people, or so much of it as is considered in the prophecy. Great earthquakes and the shaking of heaven and earth are put for the shaking of kingdoms, so as to distract or overthrow them; creating a new heaven and earth and the passing away of the old one, or the beginning and end of the world for the rise and wane of the body politic signified thereby. The sun and moon are by the interpreters of dreams put for the persons of kings and queens; but in sacred prophecy, which regards not single persons, the sun is put for- the whole series and race of kings in the kingdoms of the world politic, shining with regal power and glory; the moon considered as the king’s wife; the stars for subordinate princes and great men.
Now with these explanations we shall escape the folly of believing that God will destroy the heavens and the earth, which declare his glory and show forth his handiwork (Psa. 19:1), and shall be able to see in such texts of Scripture as speak of heaven and earth passing away and the creating of new heavens and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Pet. 3:4-13; Isa. 65:17-19) the destruction of the kingdoms of men and the establishment in their place of the kingdom of God, in the former of which there is unrighteousness---hence the reason they pass away--and in the latter ,of which "dwelleth righteousness; hence the reason they represent a kingdom that shall never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44).
Now that we have seen that the earth is to abide for ever, we can safely proceed, feeling we are on solid ground.