Three destructions' of the earth are described in the Bible, one past and two yet to come. The first destruction came when the Flood covered the earth in the days of Noah, sparing only eight righteous persons. (Gen. 6 v.8) In one of the best-known promises in the Old Testament, however, signified by the rainbow, God promised Noah that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood. Nevertheless, two passages in the Bible predict that God will yet again destroy the earth.
One, destruction will come by fire, after which He will restore all things. Isaiah 65 v.17-20) speaks of a restored earth, and 2 Peter 3 v.4-14 describes the judgment of fire reserved or kept in store "for the day of judgment."
Two, the other destruction is described in our text. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Rev. 21 v.1) New Heaven and a New Earth
Many Bible scholars identify Isaiah 65 v.17-20 and 2 Peter 3 v.4-14 with Revelation 21 v.1. This presents some serious problems. A thorough examination of the two passages suggest that since death appears in the Isaiah 65 passage, Isaiah was obviously not talking about the eternal order, but the millennial Kingdom. And since 2 Peter 3 v.10 refers to the Day of the Lord, I am inclined to believe that he meant the second catastrophic event that will come upon the earth, producing a refurbished earth to begin the Millennium.
We have already examined Rev. 20 v.7-10 concerning the final insurrection of Satan, when again the heaven and the earth will be polluted by the rebellion of Satan. Therefore the words of our Lord, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Mat. 24 v.35), evidently will be fulfilled when the prophecy of Rev. 21 v.1 is completed: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
The Destruction of the Heavens - Why will God destroy the heavens? Very simply, because the atmospheric heavens are filled with evil. Whenever we read about heaven in the Bible, we should keep in mind that there are three heavens: the atmospheric heaven around the earth, the stellar heaven, which contains the great galaxies that we view on a starry night, and the third heaven, or the throne of God (see 2 Cor. 12 v.2 and Rev. 4 v.5).
Our text indicates that God will destroy the atmospheric and stellar heavens but not the place of His headquarters. But He will destroy both the atmospheric and stellar heavens, where Satan lives. Ephesians 6 v.12 indicates that Satan, who is the god "of this dark world," and his emissaries are performing spiritual wickedness in heavenly realms. Therefore, after the final rebellion of Satan, God will destroy this earth that is so marred and cursed by Satan's evil. He will include the atmospheric heaven and stellar heavens to guarantee that all semblance of evil has been cleared away (Rev. 20:11; 21:1; 2 Peter 3:10-12; Isa. 34:4).
The New Heaven and the New Earth - Because it is God's plan for humankind to inhabit the earth forever in fulfillment of His promises, after He does away with this planet as we know it, He will create a new heaven and a new earth, better than anything this world has ever known, including the Garden of Eden. Many changes will be made as seen in Revelation 21 verse 1, "And there was no longer any sea." Two thirds of the present earth's surface is covered with water; the remaining one third includes a large area rendered worthless because of mountains and deserts. Thus only a small percentage of the earth's surface is today inhabitable.
Nothing in the text indicates a new earth limited to the 25,000 miles in circumference and eight thousand miles in diameter of the present earth. It may be much larger; the Bible does not say. But one thing is certain - the new earth will be the Christian's heaven. When Christians talk about going to heaven, they mean in the soul state, provided they die before the Rapture.
After the resurrection of the body, believers will come to earth to reign with Christ during the Millennium. After that 1000 years we will live forever on the new earth described in our text. Although it will have a river and an abundance of water, it will not have land surface wasted by seas. How Do I Become a Christian
"I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" (Rev. 21 verses 2 and 10) The Holy City, which our Lord went to prepare for His saints (John 14 v.1-3), will come down from heaven to this earth. This New Jerusalem, fully described in Rev. 21, will be the city of righteousness, prepared by God for the enjoyment of His people.
The expression "prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" is a symbolic reference to the preparation of a virtuous young woman for the day of her marriage. Prepared as a Bride God has been preparing the city for almost 2,000 years. Since Christ instantly called worlds and universes into being, one can scarcely imagine the glories of the city that has been so long in preparation.
"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them" (Rev. 21 v.3). Another outstanding characteristic of this new city is that God's Tabernacle will no longer be in the third heaven, for He will move His headquarters to the new earth and will literally take up His abode in the New Jerusalem. We simply do not have the mental capacity to comprehend the significance of living in an economy where God Himself exists. "They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God" (Rev. 21 v3).
The people who inhabit the new eternal earth will be those who voluntarily received Christ by faith - before the Flood, before Abraham, before Christ, during the Church Age, and throughout the Tribulation and Millennium. As indicated in our study of the Millennium, far more people will inhabit heaven than hell. God has a special love for humankind. That love will have all eternity to express itself upon His obedient creatures. To true Christians heaven is not just a place where all things are new, but also a place where they can enjoy unbroken fellowship with God. How Do I Become a Christian
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