How does the Bible describe the eternal heaven and earth?
Editor’s Note: Chronologically according to the Bible, the rapture will occur, then the 7 year tribulation. Then Christ will return to defeat Satan and rule for 1000 years. Then the eternal heaven and earth will be created as described below.
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“AND I saw a new heaven and a new earth:…”
I try to get people to ask themselves questions as they study their Bibles. This verse should stir a question. What happened to the old ones? Scripture has the answer. Go to II Peter 3:10. I feel these verses in II Peter give us the reason for Revelation Chapter 21:
II Peter 3:10
“But the day of the Lord (remember this term, “…the day of the Lord” actually begins with the onset of the Tribulation and runs all the way through the thousand-year reign of Christ in the Kingdom) will come as a thief in the night (it will catch the world by surprise. Notice there is a semicolon at the end of night. Many times a punctuation mark in the Scripture will skip hundreds or thousands of years. That’s the case here); in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
I like Peter who, though an uneducated fisherman with no degree in science, uses the very terms that scientists use today. We speak of this earth made up of elements. The various elements and fervent heat in verse 10, spoken of in verse 11 as dissolving, is another science term. These are the exact words that Peter uses with regard to this planet, “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” I see no room here for leaving even the core of the earth.
II Peter 3:11
“Seeing then that all these things (what things? Everything that makes up the planet. I don’t know if this will include the solar system or not. Our solar system is just a pin-point compared to all of outer space. My pastor made an analogy in a sermon which I liked. He said if man could launch a rocket, pointing it to outer space, and even if he could get it going 186,000 miles per second (the speed of light), at any given point in time will it stick into the ceiling of outer space? I’d never thought of that. Naturally the answer is “no.” If it did, there would have to be something on the other side. This is completely beyond our imagination – the vastness of space; that something going at the speed of light can keep on going forever. But, as far as space goes, God is always beyond it. The infinity of God and space is mind boggling. But we know that “these things” applies to all that makes up our planet) shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,”
Peter is saying, “Since you dealing with this kind of God, who is man to even attempt to reject Him.” But we also know that throughout human history the largest percentage of men have kept God out of their life. I try not to get on a stump and start preaching, but I get so alarmed that our younger generation seems to have no concept of God, of eternity, or things that are spiritual. They’re living for the here and now. They’re living for the gratification of the flesh, with no concept of the Scriptures. It just scares me. On the other hand we have to understand that all of this is getting ready for these end-time events, when the Anti-Christ will appear. These kids in our so-called “Christian America” have no concept of what’s coming. Being ignorant of the Scripture, when they hear this charismatic individual promising peace and prosperity, they will fall for him hook, line, and sinker. Back to Revelation 21. As this planet has been plagued with the curse and sin for so long, we find that it is totally dissolved. Then the following:
As this planet has been plagued with the curse and sin for so long, we find that it is totally dissolved. Then the following:
“AND I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (gone!); and there was no more sea.”
Because the earth here has passed away, that’s the reason Hell has to be emptied out. Most people don’t think of these things. Hell as we know it is, at this moment, in the very center of this earth. But since this earth is going to blow up and be completely destroyed (as we saw in II Peter Chapter 3), even the inhabitants of Hell must be removed. In order for this to happen, Christ will resurrect the lost bodily out of Hell to stand before the Great White Throne. Then this old planet can be destroyed. Now for the exciting part:
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem (the one for all eternity), coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Remember in John Chapter 14?
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
I don’t know if Jesus had the new Jerusalem in mind here, but we know that God has this glorious abode that we’ll enjoy for all eternity. He’ll still have a thousand years to work on it if He needs that much time. It will be beyond our comprehension. Now verse 3:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, `Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.'”
When this happens, God is going to be in the very present (not in a distant place where we have to take Him by faith). And eternity being what eternity is, it is in another dimension that you and I can’t comprehend. Even though there will be billions in eternity, each one of us will know God as personally as we do our own parent. That is one of the unique qualities of the eternal. Now verse 4:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (this is what makes Heaven the Heaven as we think of it); and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. I like to tie tears, death, sorrow, and pain to this earth. That is part of the curse and the earth today! And he that sat upon the throne said, `Behold, I make all things new.’ And he said unto me, `Write: for these words are true and faithful.’ And he said unto me, `It is done, I am the Alpha and Omega (only one Person in the Godhead says that. It’s Christ. So the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as), the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.'” That’s the eternal part again.
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” In verse 8 we have a reminder from God of those who will not be in this eternal state with us.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” The final separation from God.
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues (of the Tribulation), and talked with me saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” These are terms of position, not communal living. This bride is the new Jerusalem descending out of Heaven.
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;”
I won’t read all the descriptions (which are completely beyond our comprehension). With the gem stones and jewels that will make up this city (it isn’t just going to be gold), it’s going to be everything that we think of as wealth and beauty.
“And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles (Peter and the eleven) of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.” Now in verse 16, he brings it into language we kind of understand.
“And the city lieth foursquare (it won’t be so many miles wide and long, as our cities are today, but rather long, wide, and high – actually a cube. Some feel it might be a pyramid, but I doubt that; I think it will be a cube), and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”
So we have a cube that is 1500 miles in each direction, plus 1500 miles high. That is from New York City to Denver to Mexico City. From Mexico City into the South Atlantic Ocean and back to New York City. That would be a 1500 mile square. And this city goes up 1500 miles. What’s another reason we’ll need a new earth? Well, that city could never rest on the earth we have now. The curvature of the earth would fall away from it, and most of the city would be setting out there like birds’ wings. I think this new earth will be so big, that even a city this size won’t go beyond the curvature. Get your calculators out and tell me how large this new earth will have to be for this city to sit on it. And there will be billions in glory. I think most Bible believers agree that infants and little children under the age of accountability are going to be in glory.
Looking back through human history, what percentage of infants got beyond infancy? Take the third world tonight and think of the millions of infants that die before they are even a year old. They will all be in glory as adults. That makes me think this new earth will be so huge and beautiful that no one is going to be crowded. Remember, this 1500-mile city is just our apartments so to speak. And as you come down through the text, we find there is going to be food production. I think there will be all the aspects of the thousand-year Kingdom reign. I feel there will be an animal Kingdom, and birds. There won’t be a sea, so there might not be fish. I think it will be an extension of the Kingdom economy, except on a greater and grander scale. God is preparing this that we might have pleasures evermore. Not pleasures as the world thinks of pleasure, but as God thinks of pleasure. I don’t know what that will be but I know one thing (knowing God as I do), He can’t make a mistake. It’s going to be glorious. To think that man will turn his back on all of this for seemingly 10 or 15 years of a so-called “good time.”
Put it this way. Show me a person who “lives in the fast lane” (we see this constantly with entertainers, etc.). How long can their body take it? Only a few years. They burn themselves out for just a few years of “pleasure.” And they have turned their back on an eternity of real pleasure! Isn’t it foolish? But mankind can’t get these concepts straight. They think in terms of living their own life and having a good time for three-score years and ten, not worrying about what comes after that. I look at it the other way around. I’m not that concerned about this three score and ten; I’m more concerned about the billions of years ahead of us. Now, let’s move on.
“And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth sardius; the seventh chrysolite; the eight, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.” Such beautiful gem stones! These foundations are going to be garnished with them. And then verse 21. This would make any bride’s mouth water.
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, every several gate was of one pearl (the Bible says it. Women have gone to great lengths to possess the biggest pearl in the world, but here we will have gates made of a single pearl): and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” This is where songwriters have picked up that we will tread the streets of gold. But this is our prospect. Since God is present with us there is not need for a place to worship.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun (that doesn’t mean there won’t be a sun. Because when you get into Chapter 22 the sun is mentioned again. But there won’t be a need for the sun), neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
“And the (what’s the next word? Please underline it) nations (Remember, the Kingdom economy will slip right into eternity, except on a new Heaven and earth. We have nations in the Kingdom and we’ll have nations in eternity. The Kingdom will be forever and ever) of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” It appears there will be nations with sub-governments under the headship of God (which comes back to the promise to you and I as believers). We will reign and rule with Him.
“And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”