The New Heavens and the New Earth - Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1
How many times will God do this?
As I read my King James Bible and think about these things, I wish to present a case for what I believe at this point is the truth of what God has revealed to us in his Book.
I will state from the beginning what I think the Bible teaches about this, and then present the Scriptures that I think support this view.
This is not the usual interpretation that is presented, but I think the typical view presents us with contradictions and confuses the order of events.
I offer this explanation for your consideration.
The Bible clearly tells us in several passages that God will create a new heavens and a new earth. But, how many times will he do this?
I think a good case can be made from the Scriptures that he will do this TWO times - Once after the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and at the beginning of the Millennial reign.
And the second time at the end of the Millennium and the beginning of the eternal state.
2 Peter 3:3-14 King James Bible.
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT; 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.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
The timing of this creation of NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH seems to be (according to the context) at the second coming of the Lord Jesus as a thief in the night.
Verse 10 again. “ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; 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.”
Compare with 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD SO COMETH AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you AS A THIEF.
Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 all tell us of the signs of the second coming of the Lord Jesus and the end of the world.
I know that some criticize the KJB for saying “THE END OF THE WORLD”, but it is right and here is why -
The End of THE WORLD? or the end of THE AGE? Matthew 24:3; 28:20
These three chapters (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) and the book of Revelation tell us of major disruptions and catastrophes that will come upon the earth during the period called the Great Tribulation.
The stars will fall from heaven and the moon will be darkened.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” (Revelation 6:14)
The trees and all green grass will be burned up. (Revelation 8:7) The sea will become like the blood of a dead man, and every living soul in the sea dies. (Revelation 15:3) Great earthquakes will level the mountains.
When the Lord Jesus comes “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8) at the end of this tribulation period, that is when God renews this destroyed earth and heaven for the first time and we then enter into the Millennial kingdom when God keeps all those promises he made to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.
Several large sections of many Old Testament books tell us of a time when Israel will be restored in the promised land where “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover THE SEA.” (Isaiah 11:9)
I emphasize the word THE SEA for a reason. This will become clearer in a moment.
Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48 describe the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and goes into great detail about the burnt offerings, sin offerings, drink offerings, peace offerings and the Passover that are once again celebrated and practiced.
I, along with many others, believe these sacrifices are COMMEMORATIVE in nature and look back symbolically to the once and for all final sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as the previous O.T. sacrifices looked forward to the sacrificial death of Christ, so too these future sacrifices will look backwards to the same Lamb of God.
The New Heaven and New Earth as found in the book of Isaiah and its timing.
Twice in the book of Isaiah we have the specific promise of God to make new heavens and a new earth, and in BOTH cases the context seems to be speaking of the days BEFORE the Millennial reign.
Look at the context in both instances.
17 For, behold, I CREATE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
18 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.
19 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.
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall DIE an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be ACCURSED.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
Notice that in this new heavens and new earth there will still be death, both of infants and old men, and sinners who will be accursed are still be living alongside of the righteous.
22 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.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one NEW MOON to another, and from one SABBATH to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
Here again this creation of new heavens and the new earth seems to take place BEFORE the Millennial reign and once again we see (as in Ezekiel chapters 40-48) the new moon and sabbath festivals taking place in Jerusalem. And the death of sinners is still a present reality.
BUT what about the book of Revelation? Doesn’t this change the whole timetable of events? No, I don’t think so.
When we get to the book of Revelation we once more read about the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, and IF we take the verse as being in chronological order, it seems to follow the Thousand years, or what is called the Millennial reign.
In Revelation 20 we read of the dragon, which is Satan and the Devil being shut up in the bottomless pit for A THOUSAND YEARS.
And those the saints “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4)
“5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
But look what happens after this thousand year reign.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And THE SEA gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
It is then at this point AFTER the thousand years that we read in Revelation 21:1-4
1 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.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
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.
4 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.”
Please notice that at the time of this new heaven and new earth, that there no longer is a SEA.
But when we refer back to the Old Testament Millennial reign which appears to be AFTER the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth (because the old one was destroyed through the tribulation period), during this Millennial period there IS A SEA clearly mentioned.
The SEA and the great SEA are mentioned 8 times in Ezekiel chapter 47 where is it describing the holy city of Jerusalem and the bordering areas of the tribes of the children of Israel and the strangers that sojourn among them.
God mentions here the “sea” the rivers, the waters, and the great multitude of fish.
See Ezekiel 47:8 - “Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into THE SEA: which being brought forth into THE SEA, the waters shall be healed.”
Ezekiel 47:10 - “And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of THE GREAT SEA, exceeding many.”
See also chapter 47 and verses 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20 where the SEA is clearly mentioned.
It is also mentioned in Ezekiel 48:28 which continues the topic of the borders of the 12 tribes, the gates of the city and “the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.”
“And by the border of Gad, at the south side southward, the border shall be even from Tamar unto THE WATERS of strife in Kadesh, and to THE RIVER toward THE GREAT SEA.”
Note about Revelation 21:1 and possible objection to the phrase “for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away”.
“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.”
Compare 2 Peter 3:6-7
6 “Whereby THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 BUT THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, WHICH ARE NOW, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Here it speaks of “the world that then was” and “but the heavens and the earth, which are now”.
This was actually the same earth both before and after the flood, but God renewed it using the same material. Yet he seems to speak of it as a new world. This was NOT a case of making an entirely new and different heavens and earth.
And neither will “the new heaven and the new earth” created in the passages in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22 and in 2 Peter 3:13 be an entirely new creation, but will be a wholesale renewing of the heaven and earth from the same, pre-existing material.
But in the case of Revelation 21:1, here we have an entirely new creation - “ for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away”.
So, as I presently understand it, the first time the Lord will create a new heavens and a new earth is at the end of this present world which takes place at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ AFTER the tribulation and BEFORE the Millennium.
AND he will do it again AFTER the Millennium when Satan and a great host of wicked men (“the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” Rev. 20:8) gather together for their last stand against God and are destroyed by the fire of God coming down from heaven.
Why create an entirely new heavens and a new earth after the Millennium? Because now there will never again be the presence of death, either of infants or old men, and no longer will there be any sin, or wicked men who rebel against God or Satan to oppose God any more.
From this point on “the holy city, new Jerusalem will come down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband” (Revelation 21:2) and all things will be made new - “for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4.
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” - 2 Peter 3:12,
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