Why a New Heaven and a New Earth?
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.Isaiah 65:17-19
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.Isaiah 66:22
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.2 Peter 3:13
The Depleted Earth
When I was growing up I heard the message of the New Heaven and New Earth preached from the pulpit and wondered what was wrong with the old heaven and old earth. It was especially troubling to hear Peter say that the old heaven and earth that I loved so much would be burned up with fervent heat, melting all the elements. 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13 I just thought that was a little over-done and not so necessary. However, since then I have made investments in God’s kingdom and stored treasure up in Heaven. It has become glaringly obvious to this generation why we should desire a New Heaven and a New Earth. What is less obvious to us is that we can not implement an effective clean-up process without the help of the one and only, true re-Creator.
I find great comfort in knowing that God will restore all my assets invested in His reclaimed kingdom to their original order before distributing dividends. These dividends pay out many times over my original investment because it includes, but is not limited to this planet. I will have a place on earth because of the promises made to Abraham and all the other believers that came before and after him. In addition, I will have a lofty place in the vast universe because I am a child of God and heir to His cosmic kingdom. It is the best trade in the universe to exchange my current holdings in this world for a greater profit in the New Earth plus a share in the cosmos as a sign-up bonus.
America is only about 200 years old, but already our infrastructure including roads, bridges, city streets and plumbing is old and neglected. I’m not sure our children and grandchildren understand that they are inheriting an aging system in need of extensive repair that will cost far more to fix than it did to install. America’s infrastructure is only the beginning of the problem. What about the wasteful depletion of Earth’s natural resources? Wouldn’t our descendants appreciate us if we could hand off everything in good repair? Unfortunately, we don’t have the means to do so.
The good news is that our great God is unlimited in resources, but is unwilling to establish His handiwork in the midst of man’s mess. Therefore, before He recreates, He will destroy all the works of man’s hands. This should make us want to reconsider where we lay up our treasure. I believe Peter was trying to call our attention to this consideration when he pointed out that all things earthly will be burned up and then said, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be. . .” 2 Peter 3:11
I love the fact that my children and grandchildren have opportunity to ultimately inherit a new, fresh atmosphere and clean planet. Consider the new city Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven unlike any city we have ever known. It is even more amazing that God wants to dwell with us in this place. I believe that as He was walking in the garden from the beginning of all things earthly, His everlasting longing was to dwell with man all along. I believe it is still His heart’s desire. If you have a heart bent toward God and a mind set on grander things than your eyes can behold in this world, then settle it in your heart and mind to participate in this limited time offer. Luke 21:12-19
The New Heaven and Earth will be God’s final step in dealing with the effects of sin. Before he recreates an environment minus the scars of sin, it is logical that He must deal with sin so it will not rear its ugly head and destroy in God’s holy mountain ever again. This calls for judgment of sinners by saints. God sits on His great white throne to preside over this judgment. However, after the saints spend 1,000 years in Heaven under the influence of heavenly inhabitants with access to the books of deeds, sinners will be judged by a jury of their peers prepared to deliver the verdict of the 2nd death. Daniel 7:9-10, 21-22, 27; Rev 20:4, 11-15; 1 Corinthians 6:2
Once the seven-step plan is completed, righteousness will dwell in the land forever. I would describe that to you, but I do not have the vision much less the words. The New Heaven and New Earth will surpass mankind’s finite ability to understand holy things of grandeur. We will have to wait and see. Until then we stand on the promise of pleasure in the eternal earth until we stand on the streets of gold. The ultimate gift that God desires to grace us with is His eternal rest. Do not think you will be inactive and/or bored in the presence of God. The rest God wants us to have is the rest for the weary-rest from wrest. However, as members of the royal family, we will have an active role with eternal reigning authority.
All of the communication between mankind and God has centered around the need for man to rest in the righteous works of God. It is critical to your salvation that you grasp this understanding because it is the work of Lucifer to persuade you that God is unable and unwilling to love you because of your unworthiness. Once persuaded, you will give up on grace or strive to earn it. Either position is deadly to the soul. Therefore, it is imperative that we find the rest that restores our soul.
God Declares Rest 4 Times
From the very beginning in the garden God toiled on behalf of mankind. After God declared His work finished, He sealed it with a sabbatical and invited the man and woman, who did not toil, to rest and revel in the efforts of God. When God has an object lesson worthy of our utmost attention, He repeats the lesson often and in various ways.
This sacred invitation to rest in the works of God is extended in glory and grandiose at least four times. Once at creation, then at the cross, next at His coming, and finally at recreation coupled with the condemnation of all those without Christ. Each time God completes His task, He demonstrates the finality with a rest period.
This final step in God’s seven-step plan is the full culmination of the promise of rest. Those that are sheltered in Christ’s righteousness will forever rest in the shadow of God’s provision and those without Christ will eternally rest in the law’s provision known as the second death. Everyone will partake of rest after sin’s reign is over, learn more and choose wisely.
Creation and Rest
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; andhe rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.Genesis 2:1-3
It was not necessary that God teach Adam and Eve to work. Since they were created in the image of God, they had a natural inclination to labor. It was necessary that He teach them to rest because man does not know when to quit. God did not desire lazy children, but He wanted His children to recognize Him as their provider. He wanted us to know that He is our wealth and our health; our provision and our prosperity. Therefore, he made a habitat with everything Adam and Eve would need or want before He created them desiring great devotion from them.
He declared his work finished in six days and then rested with His creation on the Sabbath establishing a pattern for them to follow. Just as a mother models good behavior before her children, God used divine demonstration to model His desired behavior for Adam and Eve. In case they missed the whole point, He sanctified the seventh day, claiming it as His own and setting it apart from the six days He gave Adam and Eve. The six days were their days to choose their work, but the seventh was God’s day of rest shared with everyone for the benefit of all.
When mankind ignores this rest, you and yours experience many harmful things. The mind and body can only tolerate so much extended use before one of them begins to break down. Weekly rest restores the mind, body, spirit and soul of man. When you walk away from the activity of the world to rest on God’s holy day, you have an awareness that you are walking away leaving money on the table. Doing so will test your confidence in God, but great is the reward for your faithfulness. Finally, rest from the weariness of the world provides opportunity to restore relationships. Your family will benefit the most from this rest which strengthens family ties. It is true that families that pray together are more inclined to stay together.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.Exodus 20:8-11
Since the seventh day is sanctified, it is, of course, special. However, don’t miss the pattern that God has established. We will labor in this world for six parts of time, but God will establish a period of rest from sin in the seventh part. Each and every time God declares His work “finished”, He punctuates it with a sabbatical. God knows when to keep on keeping on and He knows when to quit. We will reap a harvest by following His divine demonstration.
Rest and the Cross
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.John 19:30-31
Our God is a Creator God. He opened the time He established for this planet with creative acts and He will culminate this allotted time with His creative acts. However, in between the beginning and the end, God will work in mysterious ways. He will perform some strange acts. The crucifixion of His son is one of these great mysteries. Some of us get it, but many more do not. The suffering and death of the cross was foreign to the Son of God, but for our sake, He endured. At the end, He was relieved to declare this part of His plan of redemption as finished.
Jesus honored the sanctity of the Sabbath by finishing His work on the cross just before the Sabbath began. To demonstrate His respect for the Sabbath institution, he rested in the grave until the Sabbath passed.
Those in heaven and earth failed to understand that His death assured the promise of eternal life to all. The death of Jesus unsettled the disciples while Satan and the demons rejoiced. Satan and his followers celebrated the entire time that Jesus rested in the grave. However, when the Sabbath ended and Jesus rose from the grave, their roles were reversed.
The demons trembled in fear and the disciples rejoiced because the blood of the lamb had the power to redeem all men from their sins. Galatians 3:13-14 It is finished!, cried the Redeemer and then He invited all nations to rest in His glorious work. Even in the grave we have assurance of His redemption. We can rest in the promise of His coming and our resurrection regardless of the circumstance.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!Job 19:25-27
Jesus rising from the grave on resurrection morning does not negate the sanctity of the Sabbath, but His rest in the grave during the Sabbath does validate the holiness of the sanctified Sabbath. Then He got up on the first day of the week and got ready to go back to work. Resurrection day is a sacred event, but this glorious event did not replace the sacredness of the seventh day with another day. Let us rest in the Sabbath as Jesus did believing in the promise of the resurrection. Hebrews 4:1-11
Rest at His Coming
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying,Revelation 16:15-21
It is done.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
The above verses describe the creator God’s strange act of destruction. He does not desire your destruction, but is patient and long-suffering desiring salvation for you. The pouring out of the seventh plague demonstrates the destruction of the wicked at the coming of Jesus. As soon as the task of destruction is over, He will declare with great relief, “It is done!”
The last book in the Christian bible is called The Revelation of Jesus because it describes the physical appearance of Jesus in all His glory. This is an unveiling or a revealing of all He is. Everyone that sees Him will be surprised by His persona, some of us pleasantly surprised while others are not so pleased. These will be destroyed by His brightness. Revelation 16:15-21 also parallels the coming of Jesus described in Revelation 19.
When Jesus comes, He comes as a conqueror, and He will destroy all His foes. However, He also comes as a savior desiring to save all that will be saved in the day of salvation. That day is today, do not delay your salvation even by a moment. Sin will reign for seven periods of time, and just as the seventh day was a time of rest, the seventh period will also be a time of rest.
How long will this rest last? It will last 1,000 years. II Peter 3:8-10 For 1,000 years, Satan will be bound on earth because the saints are out of his reach and so are his own. All the ones that refused rest in Christ will rest in the grave until the 1,000 years are over. During this time, the saints are also out of the reach of Satan because they are in Heaven resting and reigning with Christ.
They will be given thrones and it is their job to search the records and ask questions to prepare to serve as jurors at the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 20:4; Daniel 7:9-10, 26-27 They are in the most secure witness protection program ever. It is evidence at the Great White Throne judgment that they need the protection of the program because Satan leads all the condemned in an effort to destroy all those that are in the new city, Jerusalem. However, during the time of their investigation, they can rest without molestation in Heaven–the most secure gated community in the cosmos.
The Final Resting Place
After the 1,000 year period, Christ, desiring everything on earth to be as it is in Heaven, will extend His reign to Earth ending a 7,000 year reign of sin on our planet. After the millennium, Satan will be loosed at the resurrection of the ungodly. They will be judged, found wanting and condemned. He will gather them to battle against God’s own at the battle of Gog and Magog. God will destroy them in the lake of fire and the ungodly will forever sleep in the eternal isolation of the second death. This is their final resting place.
Finally, the meek inherit the Earth. Everything is restored and nothing will ever again commit harm in God’s Holy Mountain. Prior to the millennium, the heavenly angels must have had some slight concern about Jesus bringing Earthlings to Heaven. Surely, as they watched Christ prepare us a place in Heaven, they must have been concerned about the potential decrease in their property values. Therefore, the most amazing part of this story is that after the millennium, the saints will be returning with Christ to reclaim our lost dominion, but they will not be coming back home alone. Revelation 21:1-2
God the Father is moving his throne to our planet. Revelation 21:3-4 Heaven and all its inhabitants will be moving to our humble abode. Talk about movin’ on up! Suddenly, we are not living in a war torn ghetto in a remote part of the universe. No sir, when God establishes his residence here with us,this old dark place will light up the whole entire cosmic community and serve as the hub of all things created. Revelation 22:5
When the new city Jerusalem comes down from God out of Heaven, the saints find a final and eternal resting place on the surface of our renewed planet. All those that endured the reign of sin will become most highly sought after ambassadors for good will. We will have the privilege of forever extending the peace of God to all His creation throughout the vast universe. As kings and priests of the Most High God and His Son, we will reign with Christ as rightful heirs to the kingdom. It will be our pleasure to make known and extend the mystery of the grace of God to all those that seek Him since we know The Way.
One of the gates into the New City Jerusalem
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.Matthew 13:45-46
Him that over cometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.Revelation 3:12
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. 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.Revelation 21:1-3