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THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH
(1) Great Expectations
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:1-2).
The earth was cursed when Adam sinned. This curse will be lifted at the beginning of the millennium, but the results of Lucifer’s rebellion will not be over until the earth is made completely new. Heaven and earth are not going to cease to exist; they are going to be remade for eternity. It seems the earth will be the center attraction of the universe. It also seems the New Jerusalem will be suspended above the earth during the millennium (Rev. 21:9-27), and it will rest on the earth after the earth is purified by fire.
In the millennium, Christ may rule from the New Jerusalem, and it may appear as a bright star in the heavens. Viewed through a telescope, one may be able to see it is square. A square cube of light in the heavens would certainly be an unusual sign, which could only be explained in the light of Scripture. Revelation 21:24 may have a spiritual and literal meaning: “The nations that are saved shall walk in the light of it.”
Going to heaven at death is great, the resurrection will make it even better, and the millennium will be like heaven on earth, but I’ll be glad when we begin the new heaven and earth. Looking forward to this could be called, The Great Expectation. Paul says:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjection to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:18-21, NKJV).
(2) What Will Eternity Be Like?
You may ask: Will we marry in heaven? Matthew 22:30 tells us, “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in Marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven.”
Some believe there will be no women in heaven. The last thing the Lord created was the most beautiful—woman. I don’t think He will change their personality, nature, and looks to masculine. They will all be beautiful, and their inward beauty will excel their outward appearance. We won’t marry, but we will have one good and eternal time getting to know the many personalities in the new heaven and earth.
A glance at the difference in men, women, animals, plant life, the sun, moon and stars, reveals that the Lord likes variety. I don’t think this is going to change in heaven. The things that are pure, wholesome, and enjoyable in this life are not going to be done away with in the life to come. They are just going to be made better—better than we can comprehend now. Paul says, “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Some can say, “I do what I want when I want and enjoy every minute of it.” This is the way it will be in the new heaven and earth; because what we want will be what God wants for us.
Before Adam sinned his work and time in the Garden of Eden was a pleasure. It really could not even be called work; for when you thoroughly enjoy what you are doing, work and time take on a new meaning. It’s like children at play.
After Adam sinned work became toilsome, and sorrow came. This is the way it has been for the vast majority since Adam. And even if one happens to be in a profession he loves and life has gone his way, he knows life is unpredictable and time is running out. But in the new heaven and earth there will never again be any sorrow, and death will be a thing of the past. John says:
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. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new...(Rev. 21:3-5).
(3) Is God Just?
In answer to the above question: Yes! But His justice doesn’t always come in this life. Bad men live “sumptuously every day” while good men have nothing but trouble. But in the end everything will be put right. The rich man and Lazarus of Luke 16 is a good example.
The book of Job is thought to be the oldest book in the Bible. It deals with suffering, pain, and the question of God’s justice. But it never really answers the question of why God allows so much misery, even to good people who serve and believe in Him. Job’s friends were like many today, believing that God’s blessings and justice always prevail in this life. They thought Job’s troubles were because of his sins. Job was also wrong in his thinking. He had done nothing to warrant all his troubles, so he finally charged God with injustice.
Job thought what millions have thought. Why me? But God showed Job he wasn’t near as good as he thought and that he spoke about “things too wonderful” for him to understand (see Job 40:1-8; 42:1-6).
It wasn’t God, but Satan, who caused all Job’s problems. Job was blaming the wrong party and questioned God. So the LORD answered Job, and what He said could be said to all men: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? ” (Job 38:1-4, 7).
I have no recollection of it, but I believe we were there. We are “the sons of God” mentioned in Job 38:7.
(4) The Purpose of it All
The creation of the sons of God was a great miracle, but the cross which enabled us to be recreated was even greater. The cross has made it possible to overcome sin and become “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
The Father’s plan of a new spirit united with the Holy Spirit in a new body in a new heaven and a new earth under the lordship of His Son has fixed it so nothing can ever go wrong again! What happened in this world and the prior earth can’t happen in the world to come. And when all is finished, it won’t matter at what time one lived. All the “elect” will have been saved the same way—by a repentant faith in Christ.
And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Rev. 21:6-7).
Notice in Romans 8:18-21 that Paul says this present world was created for destruction and “in hope” for “the sons of God.” In other words, the whole point of all this was to recreate everyone and everything so that this could never happen again and to make a way back if you want to come back. But it will be on His terms. The decision is yours!
There is a saying: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen
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