(11) If Isaiah 66:23 is talking about a new earth, how do you explain verse 24?

Hi

If "New Earth" and "New Heaven" in verse 23 do not parallel the final "New Earth" and "New Heaven" of Revelation 21:1, what other explanation can you provide for its mention in Isaiah? Could we say, perhaps, there will be a second New Earth? This is not likely.

There are a couple of things we need to consider when we read Isaiah chapters 65 and 66. Isaiah is documenting what he sees in vision in his own words, with what he was experiencing in his time. God sometimes gives a prophet a vision, but leaves the prophet to document those visions in his own words. If we examine verse 24 in light of what verse 23 tells us, we can gather a couple of things:

First, verse 24 mentions "carcasses." Just before the New Jerusalem lands upon the earth, there will definitely be carcasses present, for fire will come down from heaven out of God and devour the wicked upon the earth (see Rev. 20:9). This is after the 1000 years. Even Malachi tells us a bit about what the righteous will behold:

(Malachi 4:3)
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

This is not to say that the bodies will remain there forever. A carcass, by definition, will eventually disappear. The word "ashes" in Malachi 4:3 shows this.

Second, verse 24 mentions worms that die not. Jesus used these words, but when he did, the greek word he used to refer to "hell" was Gehenna:

Mark 9:43-44
(43) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched:
(44) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

The particle "where" in verse 44 refers us back to "hell" or "Gehenna." In other words, it is in Gehenna where there are worms that don't die. Jesus used literal figures to teach his crowd. There really was a place called Gehenna, and there really was fire there. Why was there fire? Because that's where people in the city went and threw their garbage. To prevent accumulation, there was constant fire there burning it all up. And the worms? Easy, they also threw dead corpses there as well, especially after a war, to be burned up. A dead corpse, we know, will produce "worms" or as we now call it... "maggots." The fire that's does not get quenched is also true of that dump yard called Gehenna. It was lit for 24 hours, 7 days a week, to constantly burn the waste that was thrown there on a daily basis.

This place "Gehenna" also existed in the time of Isaiah the prophet. It seems like he used it as did Jesus, to make the point that the wicked will in reality be destroyed. The fire there did not keep anything alive. It devoured it completely. So will it be with the wicked, they will not live forever in the flames, but will instead, like the results of Gehenna, put the wicked to "ashes" (see Malachi 4:3 again).

Third, the verse mentions fire that will not be quenched. Look up the word "quenched" in both your dictionary and your Hebrew and Greek concordance. It will give you the meaning of something "being" turned off, or extinguished. In other words, someone or something must put the fire out in order for it to be "quenched." This is true. No one, and nothing, will put the fire out. But, fire goes out on its own when there is nothing left to burn. These corpses, which will be visible to the righteous, will eventually become "ashes." No one will "extinguish" the fire. It will go out on its own, after it has done its job.

Psalm 46:8
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Psalm 91:8
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

The righteous will see the destruction of the wicked, but after this, we will spend eternity in peace, without ever having to worry about sin again, upon the "New Heavens and the New Earth" wherein we will gather every Sabbath to worship God as creator, and every New Moon (new month) to eat once more of the Tree of Life:

Revelation 22:2
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

I hope this helps. Your welcome to reply with your comments, or with another question.