Q&A: New Heavens & Earth
In Isaiah 24, he say’s in chapter 24: 19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. My pondering is, if the earth is to be shaken and dissolved, where will the remnant be at that time, and the ones who escape the wrath of God? Fall and not rise again? All things to be made new, Is the earth, dissolved? Are these terms of accommodation, or literal?
The short answer to your question is that it is literal, but what it literally means is different than what many people might think. This is in connection with the events of the Lord's Day, particularly the great and terrible day of the Lord. There is a great earthquake that will occur causing the "seas and the waves roaring" and men's hearts "failing them for fear", etc. It is in connection with the events of this time that the "new" heavens and earth are established. As I have written extensively about in books such as Up & Away and Through the Looking Glass, these are brought in at the beginning of the thousand years, not at the end of them as commonly taught. It is a new world the same way it was after the flood. The difference is that after this second judgment it will be a world "wherein dwelleth righteousness", not a "world of the ungodly". This new world will be "new" both physically and socially. The remnant will be actively "looking for" these things as we do the "blessed hope". They will see all this burning occur. Peter explicitly makes reference to this "dissolving" that occurs in connection with the fire baptism of the Lord's Day whereby fire will come from heaven and the "elements will melt with fervent heat" and the earth will be "burned up". The first judgment was in connection with water and the "world that then was". The earth and heavens which are now are reserved for the second judgment of fire spoken of by Enoch. The Revelation will discuss this "burning" of the earth extensively. I would especially point you to the chapters on the "Foundation Beams" and "Tabernacle & Temple" in Through the Looking Glass and "The World to Come" in Up & Away on the issues of when things get "moved" in connection with the world versus it "never being moved again" after Christ's return. Once Christ takes the throne at the end of the Lord's Day, things will be very different for the world as we know it and will never be changed again. Concerning the remnant, there are those who will be specially protected during the various judgments at that time as they were during the plagues and exodus from Egypt. It is also clear, however, that there will still be those among the nations who will survive and go into the new world. The judgments of the Lord's Day destroy a massive amount of the world's population, but not all of it. The Revelation makes it clear what this "burning" looks like. The destruction of the Lord's Day is targeted in such a way to facilitate Christ taking possession and dominion in the earth in connection with his city and the "foundation of the world". This is what is contained in the "seals" of the book in The Revelation and Christ will orchestrate and unleash the events of the Lord's Day to that end. This will result in him being recognized as "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" and the world will never be the same again. This is made abundantly clear by Christ's response to the rebellion at the end of the thousand years. There will be no repeat of the garden and the world being "made subject to vanity" and the "bondage of corruption". This is God's world now and he will never "give it up" again. Hope this helps. Seated in heavenly places with Him, - DWB