Summary: Message 38 in our exposition of Revelation exploring the hope of a new heaven and earth.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Heaven and Earth Reformatted” Rev 21: 1-9
The doctrinal statement of the Christian Missionary Alliance states…
The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible and premillennial. This is the believer's hope and is a vital truth that is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.
There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life; for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.
We have contemplated the resurrection of the unjust unto judgment. Now we turn our focus on the resurrection unto life for the faithful. The common concept of heaven and eternal life do not really reflect the Biblical data. Most see heaven as an “otherworldly” place where things are more spiritual than physical and more dreamlike than tangible, more unfamiliar than familiar. We envision an eternal cloudy existence in a perpetual worship service.
It is filled with unfamiliar surroundings completely different than we are accustomed.
If we were honest, most of us would have to say that is not really all that exciting a prospect.
Is that God’s plan for us or is there something different? Through a fresh look at some familiar passages I hope to paint a more accurate, and honestly, more attractive picture of our future eternal existence.
G. Renewed Heaven and Earth Rev 21:1-9
First, I believe we need to understand the difference between the current temporary heavenly holding place and our final dwelling place. While Jesus prepares a literal and physical dwelling place (which we wouldn’t need if we were primarily immaterial beings) for followers of Jesus who die and go to be with Jesus. It is like being put up in a five star hotel while we are waiting for our personalized permanent residence to be constructed. The hotel is great and life is wonderful but it is still not home.
The current heaven is also a tangible place. There are believers in temporary bodies, who recognized one another, have memories of life on earth, enjoy the presence of Jesus, chat with angels, and perhaps observe action on earth. There is some indication that God’s special garden (Paradise) is there. God sits on the throne surrounded by the 24 angelic beings and four living creatures. The Holy City of God, (Jerusalem) is there. Perhaps this is the “Father’s House” with “many rooms that Jesus mentioned in John 14. God gave Paul a glimpse of the 3rd heaven and he could only tell us it was glorious beyond description. Perhaps God blessed him with such a graphic glimpse into the future as encouragement to endure the unbearable suffering he experienced on earth. The concept of a renewed heaven and earth is found in a number of Bible passages.
These passages seem to indicate that there is a final existence that takes place back on a renewed earth. We are all too familiar with life here and now but the Bible does encourage us from time to time focus on life hereafter.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev 21:1-8
Renew the old or create something new?
The first thing in this passage we must address is the term “new”. What is meant by new?
Does it mean new as in something completely different than before? There would be no reason to use the old term heaven and earth if it was completely new without any correspondence or similarity to the old. If that were the case he would have said God will make everything different. There would be no reason to speak of a new heaven and earth.