Welcome to part four of the series on the
when the law passed. This lesson on
Eschatology – Have Heaven and Earth
Passed?, Part 4,focuses on Matt. 5:17–18.
The Lord gave very specific details
concerning the fulfillment of the Old
He tied it to the passing of heaven and
earth. Those unfamiliar with covenant
language may ascribe the meaning of
these words to the physical world in which we live.
The Jews of ancients times had no concept of the end of the material world. In fact, we demonstrate later,
they understood very clearly God’s promises that the material world would never end.
God’s Promise Concerning the Material Universe
To understand what will later be said about the covenant world, it’s necessary to give a brief history of the material world and God’s promises regarding it. God created the heavens and earth per Genesis 1.
From other scriptures, we learn that this creation is permanent. In other words, God promises he would never destroy it. During time of Noah, because of man’s evil heart and wickedness, God promised to destroy all living things from the earth, but he never promised to destroy the earth.
Following the flood, God’s mercy led him to make a covenant that he would never again destroy all living things from the earth as he had done. God remains faithful to this promise to this day. See Gen. 8:21, 22.
Since God made this promise concerning the life on the planet, he also made promises concerning covenants with his people based on the continuation of the universe.
Permanence of the Sun, Moon and Stars Vouchsafed to Spiritual Israel
In a passage that is misinterpreted by Dispensationalists to argue for the continuation of the fleshly nation of Israel, to the contrary God argues for the permanence of the seed of Israel through Christ.
Speaking of the Sun, Moon and stars, he says:
If those ordinances depart from before me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before me forever.
Thus says the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord. (Jer. 31:35–37)
This promise is spoken immediately following God’s promise to make a new covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah, (Jer. 31:31–34; Heb. 8:6–13). It is not a promise for those under the Old Covenant who rejected the New Covenant God made with Israel.
It is the New Covenant Israel comprised of Jews and Gentiles in the one body of Christ that God would never cast off. This is the great mystery of spoken of in many New Testament texts. (Eph. 3:3–10).
Permanence of Christ’s Throne
In Psalms, David prophesies the same for Christ’s throne. “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David; His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.
The throne of David’s seed is the throne of Christ, (Luke 1:32, 33; Acts 2:29–35).Christ’s throne will continue as long as the sun, moon and stars above.
For those who interpret such texts as 2 Peter 3:10, to refer to the destruction of the material universe, they have unwittingly destroyed God’s promise regarding the permanence of the Lord’s everlasting throne.
These passages show clearly that the material universe is permanent, as permanent as the throne of Christ. Otherwise, heaven would be nothing but an extended vacation that would some day come to an end.
One generation passes away, and another comes, but the earth abides forever, (Eccl. 1:4). Hence, Israel quite well understood the permanence of the universe and did not entertain ideas of a gloomy destruction of the planet.
Have Heaven and Earth Passed? – Apocalyptic Language of the End of the World
In their genre of prophetic literature, they also understood the meaning of texts which spoke of the end of the world to be figurative descriptions of the fall of nations.
We will continue this in the next segment.